SEND HER BACK…

One of my favourite quotes comes from someone I meet in my first year of University. He was there on an exchange in Canada, we meet each other and added each other on Facebook. As he graduated back home in Europe, he posted a rather interesting post.

“We are a new generation of students/employees, living on the fast lane, travelling between timezones, having friends and significant others on the other side of the globe. For us borders are an old fashioned concept. We are the children of globalization. We see the good in each others culture and customs, we don’t judge, we accept, we adapt. Maybe we are the future. A future free of wars and diplomatic tensions. We might not have realized this yet, but we live the life our forefathers worked so hard for…Or maybe these are just crazy thoughts of a sleep deprived man…” – His post

When I saw this quote I could not help but to feel proud of the world we were creating. I thought my gosh he is right. I love learning about new cultures and growing up in a different culture than my parent’s I learned to take the best of each, recognize the failures, challenge them, combine them, celebrate the good parts, celebrate the wins, adapt, and most of all love them.

It is astounding to me that within a couple of years of reading his statement I would hear in the news that a political figure was shot in the head for being pro immigration here in Germany. And then a couple more months to hear that this past week in America a full stadium would chant: “Send her back!” talking about an American citizen. Send her back where? The land where her parents where born? Because let’s be honest SHE IS HOME.

This is perhaps one of my greatest fears come true. Through out my life I have encounter single cases of uneducated and closed minded people but never in such a scale. It never surprised me because let’s be honest for a moment. No matter in which country you go to, it is human basic instinct to fear the unknown and what we don’t understand in order to survive. But I thought that we had become more evolved as I also meet even more people who are opened minded, who cared to educate themselves rather than be driven by fear of the unknown and classify people by the stereotypes.

If we went by the simple stereotypes that we see on TV then this would be an extremely sad world. All we would find would be the negative. But I’ve learned that generally TV and news tend to show the worst because it is what sells. If it’s a good news story it cannot be longer than 1 minute and 15 seconds because then people get bored and change the channel. Crazy right? But that is a statistic. That’s a hard fact to swallow.

Here is another one. No one culture is perfect. Humans are not perfect. I’m not perfect. But at least i’m trying to be a better person each day. But I’ve come to learn that if we open ourselves to the possibility to look for the good rather than focus on the bad we can co-exist and strive. Some of the greatest discoveries have been when there has been a mixture of cultures. When we have learned from each other rather than when we have attacked each other.

World wars, civil wars, wars, extremism, genocides, ethnic cleanses, a culture of racism, and a culture of classism does not happen over night. They brew and grow by stroking and manipulating fear.

There is a saying that says that you can gain power by fear. It’s been demonstrated a million times. They even sometimes throw it out on popular TV Shows. I know this is over and done with but if you’ve ever seen Gossip Girl there is a scene with Blair and Jenny. Where Blair tells Jenny: “You can’t make them love you but you can make them fear you.”

What Blair doesn’t know yet or has not learned it is that you may gain power by using fear in your enemy. But leading that way is dangerous because as soon as the other party does not have anything to fear/lose they will get out of under and destroy the other person so they don’t have to live in fear again. While leading with love and caution creates loyalty and a way more effective system.

I know it is more comfortable to stay in with what we have learned and our comfort zones. It is easier to stay quiet and not be uncomfortable by touching controversial topics. It is easier to say it is useless, or a waste of time, or that it doesn’t matter because they are radicalized and won’t hear anything anyways. It is easier to say it will pass, so there is no point in doing anything. This is nothing new. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said once: ” Rabbi Alfred Bettleheim once said:’ Prejudice saves us a painful trouble, the trouble of thinking.'”

I have meet many people of different countries and I can tell you one thing, if you look pass the stereotypes and see the person for who they actually are, one will see there is not a one mold fits all. So take a chance and respectfully discuss and try to find common ground.

Because what I’m seeing right now cannot be better illustrated than by a quote from Erwin Griswold in On The Basis Of Sex, : ” [you] are deciding what kind of country, what kind of society [you] want [your] children and grandchildren to grow up in. You make sure the [world] sees what’s at stake is [your] family.”

I know it’s hard to speak up. I know it is more comfortable to think of this too shall pass. Nothing like WW2 or anything that bad can happen again. However, I’ll leave you with this quote.

“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”- John Stuart

xxx,

Adriana

PLAYING TOURIST AND HOSTING IN A NEW TOWN WHERE YOU’VE NEVER BEEN

You know something I love about Germany is the fact that it’s easy to travel. Recently I took a last minute decisions. One of my cousins was taking a cruise and she was stopping in this little town Warnemunde for a couple of hours. I had never heard of it before but honestly it was totally worth it to go off the beaten path. So since it was a small town and there was another little town near it we decided to see if we could do both!

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever…” – J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

We decided to meet in Rostock since it is a little bigger, was near and my train would get there easier. And when I say easier I mean to get there it took me about 4 hours and 40 minutes. I was so tempted to say it was a long way but to be honest with the train here in Germany it is so comfortable that really those 4 hours felt like nothing. I think what was the hardest part was getting up at 3:50 am since my train would leave at 4:50 am!

Whatttttt?!?!? On a regular day I usually have the benefit of being able to wake up at 8 so I can do all my errands, clean the house, and head to language school in the afternoon. But waking up was completely worth it. Since I started living in Germany it’s been a while since I saw my side of the family. Now those who live in Guatemala its even more rare than those who live in North America. Seeing them really did make my month. Plus it was fun playing tourist in my new country once again and see the town through a tourist eye.

Since it was a new town we had to look up a couple of things online to see what would possibly interest us.

Rostock

The first spot we hit was the new market from Rostock. It’s a central square which is supposed to hold a sizzling market. Yet there were only a couple of stalls. That might have been due to the fact that we went on a week day. However, the best part of the market was still standing. The market is held in the plaza which is a bunch of super colourful and pretty houses. One of the buildings is huge and pink and you can’t help but look at it. We found the church which was a main attraction for this town and found it incredibly cool. They have the only astronomical clock of its’ kind in the whole of Europe. It’s extremely old and it reaches until the end of 2017. But don’t worry they have placed a new smaller clock at the bottom to continue the information from that date on.

Rostock Neumarkt and Church

It was really great in the church and I completely recommend looking into it. There is so much variation inside. The clock is at one end behind a podium while at the other extreme you have an organ that literally looks as if its build on the back side of a ship. All I could think about was about pirates and Peter Pan.

This is such a cool clock!

After that we walked around, shopped and enjoyed our surroundings. It was good weather and they had a bunch of stalls near the water fountain. We ate some curry wurst and fries. Because let’s be real they are a staple here in Germany. Everywhere you go you find these stands with hot dogs and fries. It truly is one of the things I enjoy so much.

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it..” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Thanks for always being such an amazing example for me ❤

I guess this is getting long so I’ll tell you about Warnemunde next time! What are your experiences going of the beaten path? I really loved this one. It still feels like a dream to have been able to enjoy such a beautiful day with them.

xxx

Adriana

FINDING YOUR QUIET (HAPPY) PLACE AS A BALANCE WHILE INTEGRATING INTO A NEW SURROUNDING

Every time you move, wether it is from one country to another country or from city to city, it always takes a while to find your favourite places. First things first… though a girl has got to eat so usually the grocery stores are the first things you look for and then you go onto other things. Where do you hang out? What do you explore? Where will you go when you need a break? Where will you go when you want to be outside? And the list goes on.

Of course there is always your favourite stores. But I mean you can only go to it so many times in one week without buying anything. I don’t know I feel a little guilty if I keep going in without buying anything…. Do you guys feel like that too?

So I’ve become more in tune with the outdoors. I mean I try to walk around my town and explore. Thanks to my sister in law (*shout out to Carol ❤ @happilyeverrivera) I started to think okay maybe I should also explore the surroundings like forest, etc. And guess what?! I found we actually have lots of place around Osnabrück to hike. They are really pretty and peaceful.

I knew I liked to be around water so one day I got in the car with my husband and we looked on google maps which was the closest lake around. Turns out its actually about a 10-15 minutes drive in the city. It’s surrounded by a forrest where you can walk around, it has a small restaurant, some play parks, enough green place to have a picnic, they have some pedal boats and near it there is a mini golf course. This place is perfect. It’s like a little piece of heaven where I can disconnect from the world. I’m not going to lie it is the perfect place to go on a date. Sometimes it’s just nice to go out of the city but still be in it.

I like to go there and disconnect from my everyday life and take some time to recharge. I recharge my focus and find a balance in life. It’s such a nice place that I love bringing people there as much as I like going there by myself. Being surrounded by so much nature makes me feel the need to disconnect from anything that is not right in front of me which helps me be able to connect with the people right in front of me.

I think part of wellness is also recognizing when you need time alone and when you need social contact with other people. As humans being we will always crave contact with other people, the only difference is the amount of time we need. Wellness is extremely important and you have to take care of it yourself. Sometimes when we immigrate finding a routing, a place, a connection, getting everything ready, specially here in Germany where there is so many documents to prepare feels like it’s too much. But things that are rushed rarely end up well so it’s important to be patient with yourself, find a place where you can breath and take care of yourself. Make some time to explore not only your surroundings but yourself too.

xxx

Adriana

The Explorer

rrem

There is a quote I once read in my first year of University and it has stayed with me. It goes something like this: “True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character.”
― David O. McKay

I was in University, set dead in becoming a psychologist. I was so focused on my studies and then this quote came. I meet a lot of internationals that year. I had always thought that my circle of friends and my knowledge of cultures was big enough until that year. YOLO was a huge thing, and well this group of people they were there on an exchange and their motto was to live that exchange to their fullest. I saw a hunger for learning not just in the classroom but also in life that intrigued me.

You know that saying: Life comes and goes so they say we should live to our fullest. Well, I’ve always tried to live by that since then. And now I’ve decided to let you into a different part of my life. And that’s my passion for traveling and learning about other cultures. Learning about new cultures, going out of my comfort zone, seeing how other people live and why they live that way, helps me grow each time. I learn new things about myself like how I can rely on myself, or the capabilities I have to plan things. It shakes my character because I want to understand other people. I want to take all the good from each culture and learn to appreciate each of their qualities. And most importantly I want to help my character develop with each thing I learn.

So guys I’ll be opening up a section as well on traveling! This year there are some smaller trips that I’ll be making around Europe. So stay tune for a picture of me and @happilyeverrivera in the coming weeks as I’ll be visiting the lovely Baden-Baden.

And well two big trips! One will be to China ❤ and the other will be going back home and visiting @madamerivera.mtl for Christmas!

*This image is not mine. I got it off pinterest years ago and I still find it beautiful.

Hope you’ll enjoy this section too! And let’s be real if you have any tips on what to see or try, and where to stay… don’t be shy. Drop a comment!

POOL SIDE LIFE

Today was our last day of school, and summer is finally full on in Montreal! I wanted to share some of my pool tips to stay safe and have more fun this summer.

One of my favorite things about living in a condo is having a pool. I love how convenient it is! We spend almost every sunny afternoon at our pool. We like to go after the kid’s nap. It is great because the time between nap and bed time is so difficult and tight. Usually the kids wake up in a bad mood which makes it hard to plan anything. Time wise, we have to do dinner, bath time and clean up so we don’t have a lot of time to get ready and go out. With a 1 year old and 2 years old, post nap time everything takes forever and it is a struggle to get out the door. It is so easy to be able to just wake up from our nap and take the elevator to be somewhere fun.

Staying safe in the pool is super important so we can have fun. When I had Hunter last year, I started to think. How will I manage at the pool on my own with two children? They both are so little and they don’t know how to swim. I was really afraid of one of them falling into he pool. My nightmare was that one of the would fall and the other one would follow. Okay, I know it sounds like a movie. But really, with my kids… you never know what they are planning!

My number one rule is that we can not leave the house unless they both have their floaties on. I like to make sure that they are on because this way if they want to jump right in the pool as soon as we arrive it is okay and it will be safe. This is something that has actually happen with Vera. She is so comfortable in the water and she is definitely not afraid. This also helps me not to have to fight by the pool because they don’t want to wear their floaties. Also, we have the rule that once floaties come off we will go home. This really helps us to keep them on since they never want to leave!

We started Vera in swimming classes so she could have more freedom and independence. This has helped me and her so much. She has so much fun and doesn’t need me to hold her. She does her own thing now and I can just watch and hold Hunter. I can not imagine having to hold both of them! Ha, I just don’t think I would go to the pool.

As you know change is usually very hard for everyone, specially for children. Not every kids is as simple as you tell them things once and they magically listen and do it. Obviously leaving the pool to go get ready for bed is less than ideal for any kid. Who wants to stop their fun to go to sleep?! To help to make this transitions easier for my kids I started to set up an alarm. When the alarm goes off it means it is time to go. This helps children to get emotionally ready to go and minimize … tantrums! We actually implement this method for a lot of our daily activities. It is something that has helped me to have an easier day.

I decided to establish these ground rules for the kids. They have really helped us this summer. We have less fights and more fun. Most importantly these are our pool safety rules! The best way to make sure it is easier for the kids to follow these rules is by staying consistent. This way, the rules becomes a habit! They will know what to be expected and it will just be part of our routine.

How do you stay safe by the pool? Make sure to tell me your tips in the comments bellow.

LOVE

XXX

ELA

AT THE END OF THE DAY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS YOU

How many of us have heard the phrase: If you don’t love yourself, no one else will? or At the end of the day, all you really have is yourself.

There are many more sayings along those same lines. Which one is your favourite?

The thing is we all have heard or said it at one point or the other. But do we practice it? I for one can tell you there are days that I do and days that I let it slip. Each year I say to myself: I’ll put myself first and I’ll work on my wellness. #NYResolutions……Fast word and when I moved to Osnabrück I said okay let’s try it again. But words without actions are just that… words. So I’ve been trying to do more active wellness.

But first let’s understand what wellness is…. What is wellness? According to the dictionary.com: “noun. 1. the quality or state of the body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. 2.an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.”

Each of us is different and so each of the things that work for me may differ from what could work for you. Yet I find that it never hurts to try something to see if it helps better the quality of my life. So what are some tips you have to re-find balance in your life?

One of the things that helps me sometimes it’s to take 5 minutes and do something for myself like paint my nails myself. I play with the colours and sometimes try to combine them with my outfits for the week. Sometimes I want them to look special and go for a bold colour, and sometimes I just go with a very light pink/nude or clear so it goes with everything.

My favourite brand for my nail polish is Inglot. They are a Polish brand I believe. I find that they have so many different kinds but which ever I use they don’t damage my nails. One of the things i used to hate when doing my nails as a teenager was when my nails would turn yellow due to painting them. But with this brand I’ve actually had a really good experience. My cousin introduced me to it and I swear I cherish these nail polishes.

I usually sit in front of my couch, choose a movie on Netflix, get some snacks and all my nail polishes and then start doing my nails. It really does help my quality of life because I feel like it makes me remember that I am important enough. That I do deserve to be pampered. Sometimes I’ve heard people say that means then I’m too high maintenance and it makes me think for a second. But really putting yourself first just for a couple of minutes is not being high maintenance. It is allowing myself a bit of wellness.

dav

xxx

Adriana