And then Christmas came along…

20151225_165941.jpgChristmas, a favourite time of the year for many. I imagine right now on the streets of London people are frantically buying Christmas presents, lights everywhere, Christmas tunes blaring from various shops and decorative accessories beckoning eager shoppers to come in and spend their hard earned cash in the spirit of Christmas. I can only imagine right now because whilst the rest of the world is busy preparing for this season, I’m scooped up on my couch with the worst flu known to mankind,  short of the dreaded avian flu – not that I  know what that felt like but I feel like I’ve come pretty close judging by the past few days. With nothing better to do,  I’ve had a lot of time to think about this season a lot and whilst I’ve always been a lover of Christmas and have declared it my favourite time of  the year in times past , I’ve also come to see and experience a less than glamorous or joyful side of this season. Sadly, the festivity and emphasis on family time can also be a harsh and glaringly painful time for many because it draws attention to what isn’t. Absent fathers or mothers, a lonely widow or widower or a singleton wondering how many more Christmases they will have to spend alone or tagging alongside others because they have no one else to share it with. I don’t mean to paint a gloomy picture, but it is reality. And staring at this reality,in light of my poorly state got me thinking about what love truly is.

Love isn’t words first and foremost. Sure expressing love for one another is still important but what counts even more is what action follows those words we so easily say to one another. Love is picking up the phone and calling (not WhatsApp ing, texting, IG’ing, Facebooking or Twittering) that friend or family member or loved one to check how they’re really doing. Love is going the extra mile, even at one’s own inconvenience to help the invalid with their groceries or domestic chores. Love is seeking out opportunities to show kindness to someone – even if all you can offer them is a smile or a prayer, something that may mean little to you but mean the world to them in a world where they’ve been shown little to no love. Love is looking after the elderly in your midst,  love is helping the homeless escape the bitter cold of winter or treating them with  dignity and respect and talking to them so they don’t feel forgotten.

Love is action, the loudest word you can speak. So if Christmas truly is all about generosity of spirit and making merry, then the best thing you can do this Christmas is light up someone else’s world who can’t pay you back cos let’s face it, family members and friends can easily give back what you give them.

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Istanbul, the unexpected surprise

I love travelling, so much so that lately some of my friends no longer start by asking me how I’m doing but rather where am I?! At the start of 2015, I really had no idea just how much travelling I would get up to but suffice to say I traveled to more countries last year than I have at any given time in my entire life so far. While I would not consider myself a travel expert, I must admit I’ve caught the travelling bug, a situation which has not been helped by my very generous friends who gifted me with the largest Lonely Planet book I’ve ever seen titled “A journey through every country in the world”. Having received this, I almost feel obliged to make this book become a personal reality and not just colorful pages sitting and accumulating dust on my book shelf. Continue reading “Istanbul, the unexpected surprise”

Stinky tofu, pink sunsets and an appendectomy

I can’t believe 6 months have gone by already since I last blogged! So much has happened in the last 6 months…where do I begin? Let’s see, in that time I quit my job, went on a 2 week holiday to Taiwan and Bali and discovered stinky tofu in Taipei 😷 (there’s a reason it’s called “stinky”), saw the most exotic sunsets I’ve ever seen in Bali, started a new job, and last but certainly not the least, had my appendix removed while on “vacation work” visiting family in the US! Needless to say there’s never a dull moment in my life! Continue reading “Stinky tofu, pink sunsets and an appendectomy”