TIMING IS IMPORTANT

“I want to spend time with you but you only give me nights!” he said.
“Are your days so filled that you cannot make me space or time outside your bed?”
A wistful smile and answer she gave as inside she gently bled,
“The daytime offers me sunshine, and I’ll be a long time dead
So while the night is black, under stars with your body I will wed.

During days I can travel through my life with the sun my guiding light;
Everything I see, do and feel is clear, clean, whole and bright;
But whatever I encounter, when I have to sleep at night
What better than to be in your arms, while you hold me tight?
For as night closes in we can sleep in peace and it feels completely right.”

He cried out “Do you only want me for my body then and for what I give to you?”
Her tears fell softly but she could not answer for the question made her blue.
Over passing months their situation had been reversed and he really had no clue
That the questions he posed now were hers before – No this was nothing new
As she recalled when she’d needed him he’d had “better” things to do.

Loopy Dec 2014

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THE POWER OF FACEBOOK MISCOMMUNICATION

understandingIn a recent blog posting: (see Dec 14th 2014 – “True Communication –is it a thing of the past?”) I stated that due to the new way of interacting with people (texts, Facebook, posts, Twitter, emails, IM s and all non-verbal methods)  that:
“I feel we are now leaving a lot of this communication open for misinterpretation”

Oh boy, did I discover the truth of that yesterday!

What occurred as a result of my visit to old work colleagues was that I was asked,  within minutes of meeting them, if I had fallen in love with someone and when I queried why they should think that I was informed that my Facebook Posts indicated that this was the case. Obviously I had found a toy boy in Africa to make me feel wonderful!

I burst into laughter at how comical that was but…..oh wow and yikes, the power of miscommunication eh?hedgehog

On returning home I decided to trawl through my timeline to discover where this misconception had arisen, and finding no trace of this (going back about a month) I then posted a comment on Facebook to the effect of this mistaken reading of my post.

I was thus amazed when 3 of my Facebook “friends” read this post and stated that they had also thought I had an African toy boy lover!  One even stated that they felt from recent posts it had all ended sadly! Hahaha – the power of Facebook eh?

So there you have it – what I said previously about direct and verbal communication was truly endorsed from this experience. No-one knows you like you know yourself and no-one can interpret what you are or how you feel without direct verbal communication.illusion

With respect to Facebook, I find it a fascinating medium and a great place to post crazy thoughts and ideas that pop into my head in certain moods. It is also a great place to introduce others to what you are getting up.

My comments are often general, noting my doings at the time, often tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic or ironic and based on things happening to me, as well as on my mood at any given time.

However, although I do put some thoughts on life there as well, I really put very little of my personal inner feelings on personal relationships with others out there, as I tend to be a predominantly private person in that respect, so it was interesting to note that others thought perhaps I do. Yes, I often wear my heart on my sleeve but the inner workings of my mind and emotions? – not really,  no!

It was at this point that I then recalled a comment thrown at me by a new acquaintance I had made when I met them 2 or 3 times a few years ago and who had then continued to keep in touch with me through Facebook. Now we wanted to meet up while in Goa to see where this would lead us.

On meeting up after 2 years the initial comment from them was “I know everything about you!”

I was totally surprised by this statement as I had never spent much time in their company to chat and their friends knew me only slightly also so…..where did this come from?
I asked how they “knew” me and who had told them ALL about me. They replied “Facebook!”

At that point I simply smiled and answered, “Then if you think you know me from Facebook you know only what I am prepared to show you there”knowing the lyrics

Well, over the next few weeks we did get to know each other better through the power of verbal communication and without Facebook and as a result of direct meeting and discussion we have become good friends.

Facebook may have helped me to find a new friend but equally it could have hindered this relationship – who knows?

I believe, that direct verbal communication is the only honest way to develop relationships however.

When you look into the eyes (which are the windows to the soul) then you see the truth within and communication is far easier. You talk things through, explain your meanings, laugh together and see what makes the other laugh, dance or sing. This is the way to communicate honestly and find true friendship.

So many of my wonderful friends (and I count myself lucky to be blessed with a few close ones) understand who I am from spending time together, talking together and developing bonds through understanding of differences and similarities.

In respect of my madness and lunacy, they may not understand my quirkiness or craziness but they know it is part of me and love me for it, as I love them. They would never assume what I am doing or thinking in my life. If they were hurt by something I did or said they would tell me. We would sit down and discuss these things. After all, that is what friendship is all about –  wanting to know the other person better, accepting them for who they are and caring for and loving another.

And thereby possibly hangs a situation which is reflected in every non-verbal direct communication throughout the world and through time immemorial perhaps!

Without talking to another and seeing their reaction and their direct response to something you say, how can you ever really communicate effectively?  Without hearing their tone or noting their expression we can too easily confuse and receive mixed messages. We even do this at times when we do communicate directly so what hope non-verbal, non-direct dealings?doggy style

All forms of communication are open to misinterpretation but direct verbal interaction surely is the most effective way of getting your meaning across.

It’s fine if you only want to state something flippant but when your heart and soul is intently involved and you care for another then the only way forward, in my belief is through direct face-to-face talk.
Thus for social media and communication any form of video-calling (Skype, Facetime, etc) MUST be the best communicator when keeping in touch over long distances.

In my humble opinion, the only way to clarify and confirm another’s understanding is to talk and to question them when you are confused.

Thus I thank my old work colleagues for their questions “Are you in love?” “Do you have an African toy boy?” and their subsequent explanation of Facebook being responsible for “misleading the way!”

Maybe Facebook should introduce interactive video – now THERE’S a thought – although it still may be open to misinterpretation of course!understanding

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HEALING LOVE

I am here to heal she cried;
But her own healing seemed denied;
And though she sought to ease her pain
Such heartfelt grief returned again;
The peace she thought had come to reign
Ran off, and left her once again.

Bereaved, bereft, she sought to hide
To keep her feelings deep inside;
But love and life it must be shared
The fear and pain it must be dared;
To heal your soul, it must be bared
So with another you need it paired.

To love, to laugh, to live again
Will often mean some measure of pain,
As pain and pleasure are intertwined;
So are the soul and heart and mind;
Thus when you seek, you hope to find
Someone who will not be unkind.

Confront your fears and welcome all;
Be prepared to rise up even when you fall;
Many don’t try so never know,
When to another you let your heart go,
The happiness of that warm glow
That lifts you up and creates life’s flow

©Loopy Dec 2014

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REIKI CLEANSING

A love of life, a life of love,
So far and yet so near…
Within a touching distance;
But what soon became quite clear
Was that the wandering spirit
Had not overcome its fear
Of being trapped, it therefore ran
Whenever love came too near.

This spirit could not see reality;
Mistaking all the signs;
So tears rolled down and the heart bled
To wash away the lines
Of anxious disappointment.
Thus the healing now began;
For the heart, soul and spirit,
Once healed through love and light,
Can see the greater plan.

So we aim to balance chakras;
To clear meridians and blocked minds;
Bringing happiness and laughter to all of humankind.
The universe has an answer;
Energy flows within and without;
Nature….both beautiful and inspiring
Will cleanse, bringing
Peace and calm throughout.

©Loopy Dec 2014

Posted in Goa, healing, Patience, peace, reiki, universal energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TRUE COMMUNICATION – IS IT A THING OF THE PAST?

communicate With the advent of the mobile/cell phone and then later, internet communication, we have supposedly improved our ways of communication. Now we can contact everyone at any time we want to and without delay.

Has this improved our actual communication skills though?

Obviously, there has been a distinct shift in the way we now communicate with each other but it seems that people actually TALK a lot less, whether on the telephone or in person.

When we now go out we see so many people with their cells attached or with an I Pad or similar notepad or Wi-Fi device in hand.  In fact many people now will not go out without them – it is almost as if they are part of the person and withdrawal symptoms will arise without these instruments to hand.

Due to this new way of interacting with people I feel we are now leaving a lot of this communication open for misinterpretation.

Many people benefit from non-verbal communication of course, as they are clever with words and can express themselves well on the media of text or instant messaging and on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

This non-verbal communication also can work well for advertisers, media & governments to get their messages across. However, it is equally effective for scandal-mongers to use scary tactics and to terrorise people who believe everything they read or hear via the grapevine.

We are all subject to the clever manoeuvring of those who wish to remain aloof or mysterious and who are not good at expressing feeling or who wish to manipulate others.  However, those who are more interested will actually take the time to check facts on what is texted, posted, emailed or even said to them.

On this note, as an aside, I recall my brief internet dating days when I came across many an unscrupulous married man who declared themselves a “Widower” or “single”. Once the IM had gone on for a while and I discovered the other party was not interested in actually talking to me on the telephone at pertinent times of the day or they were vague with basic information I would quickly disassociate myself from them.

Call me old-fashioned if you will but without direct verbal communication and true interaction, I do not see the point of “chatting” to these people who are apparently on some weird ego-trip and not truly interested in me as a person except for their own ends.

Obviously, as with beauty, interpretation is in the eye of the beholder and when we READ messages or posts from people we will additionally be affected by the mood WE are in at the time of reading and also thus often may misconstrue what is said or texted in a totally different way to that which it was meant.

Sad to say, this happens more and more nowadays and sometimes it may purely be as a result of a defence mechanism on the part of the poster/texter/emailer.

This was bad enough when people took things you actually SAID to them  the wrong way, but now this can create real rifts and total misunderstandings, that if allowed to go on can cause all sorts of upsets in your life. After all, taking things at face value has always seemed to be the way of people who are not prepared to spend time researching and questioning the reality of what is said or purported.talking

This is one reason that I have always advocated TALKING to people as opposed to simply sending them a message when it is important to communicate an idea or a feeling truly. Even when talking we can be misunderstood but at least we have the chance to explain and reason with another at the point of verbal contact.

After all there is no financial reason nowadays to not talk to people with the advent of Skype, What’s App, Viber and other FREE internet and Wi-Fi enabled services and Apps.

So does this mean that people do not want to speak anymore or is it simply that they are too busy with their own lives?

If so, then this is one of the saddest things to come out of new technology, isn’t it? NO time to talk and too busy with what exactly?

The personal interaction and face to face discussion between two or more people can be so exhilarating and can make your day flow wonderfully.   A frown can be turned to a smile, a moan turned to a sigh of relief, and a misunderstanding can be easily solved.  A misplaced word can be easily explained. Can you do this without true verbal communication?  Sadly, I think not.

Sure, we can send a text for things that are just “keeping informed” or meeting but after 2 texts I like to pick up the telephone and SPEAK  and really catch up on the mood of another person to establish whether the wavelength is one on which we are in sync in any way apart from through technology.

So please, if you value your friends and family, pick up the phone today and truly communicate with them. Find out what you may have been missing. Show your love and display your emotions.

I will guarantee you that you more can be learnt in less time through conversation than can be discovered through text, IM or any other non-verbal contact.

communicating

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Balancing Act

You cannot undo what is done:
You cannot unsay what is said:
But you can learn from your mistakes,
Thinking more logically, using your head.
And there is also always a way
To show another what your heart can feel,
Through little acts of kindness and of love
So they know what you say is real.

With intuition you can know,
When the time to speak is right:
You can turn your face towards the wind
And view the moon and stars at night
The universal energy will flow through
Bringing love and light into your heart
Then whatever you say or do
Whilst logical, it’s from the heart.

Loopy (December 2014)

Posted in Loopy Lines, love, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CAVEMEN

caveman So living here in Abuja for a few days now has got me thinking about cavemen:

I am working and living with two English“men” but they are basically still just big boys with fairly chauvinistic attitudes who retreat to their caves every evening!

Is this conducive to a satisfactory working environment?  Does this massage my ego? Do I feel content in my situation?  No I do not!

Even in this modern age of equality, what is it about some men that they believe females are a different species? Why do so many of them expect us to treat them like their mothers would do?  Or why do they think we would be happy if we simply had a good man to service our “needs”?

cavegirlThe comment was made – “What are you cooking us tonight for dinner?”

This may have been said tongue-in-cheek as a distant hope when speaking to me. As a woman who is carrying out a job that is just as tiring and time-consuming (if not more so) than their own jobs I don’t appreciate it especially as I know that if I offered to cook they will be happy but they would  be unlikely to offer to cook me something.

And one of them goes back to the UK each time for a few days with a bag of washing – OMG – What is THAT all about for Christ sake?  His wife apparently will take this bag   – wash, iron and make ready the clothes for next time he goes back to the UK and he then swaps one lot for another. He will NOT use the washing machine here and cannot iron either!!!!

Is this a woman’s fault – Are some women continuing to treat “men” as the cavemen these have become? Are they liking this type of “macho-man”?

caveman attitude

Don’t get me wrong, I am really not a total feminist but I do believe that we are all human beings and should therefore be treated equally.  Especially when we are all expected to go out and earn our own money and not “sponge” off the men.

Sure, if I wantdomestic goddessed to be a “housewife”, “domestic goddess” or” home engineer” then I would consider an agreement with a man so that we both shared the chores and issues of everyday life evenly. I am happy to fix things and therefore, that does not mean that I would simply do all the cooking, cleaning and home-making. I actually enjoy some of the “get down and get greasy” jobs that men tinker with (fixing things is all part of my recycling attitude to life after all!).

In the past I was very fortunate to have a partner who not only loved to cook but also did the ironing better than me and also was a very clean and handy person also.  Before you remark on this I can tell you he was totally heterosexual and a wonderful sharing and caring person.

The reason he was like this was from the attitude of equality instilled in him by mother and father who did not treat him differently from their daughter (his sister). Both as human beings were capable of realising full potential on their own unhampered by sexual mores.

I do put a lot of men’s attitudes down to the age they were born into. This gorgeous guy was 11 years younger than me and the world by the time he was born was possibly less focused on men being breadwinners and women staying home than when I was his age. Add to that that his family moved countries a few times as a result of his father’s job.

Actually I have found similar with many men of his age range but in addition I find it hard to find real equality with men of my age or older who should have the same capacity for open-minded thinking in this respect.

I have however, recently met an “old-fashioned” style man who actually has taken the time to learn how to cook now that he is without a “woman” to do for him. He seemed to be quite proud of this achievement and I really do think this was admirable of him.

However, it remains to be seen how long he will remain in that mode as it may all depend on whether he was really forced into the situation or if he made a conscious effort to learn the skills after he no longer had a woman in tow.

As he has apparently spent many years with one or another woman in his life, proof of the pudding will be when he meets another woman he really wants to be with. Whether or not he then reverts to his previous ways or really is prepared to “share” such caveman wheelthings as cooking, cleaning, technical things, will obviously also depend on what that woman wants and expects I suppose. After all a “caveman” may be her ideal partner.

I however, am NOT seeking a caveman of any kind, which is why I have tended to stay alone and “passionless”.

I want to find a man who not only ignites my feelings for them but who is also passionate about wanting to see me happy and who will make every effort to spend their time with me (physically or mentally) as I will with them, whatever the circumstances surrounding us.

He may retreat to his cave occasionally but he will never have a caveman attitude.  I truly believe that he is out there for me but whether we join up in this life or the next remains to be seen.

younger men

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WHAT IS THIS GAME CALLED PATIENCE?

No –  I refer not to the card game but to real patience which is considered a virtue.

There are many sayings to do with patience and waiting  – such as:

“the best things in life are worth waiting for”, “wait your turn” “seek and ye shall find”, “patience is bitter but its fruit is sweeter” etc.sweet patience

Now interestingly enough (or by some strange coincidence at this time in my life) in the 1980’s Heinz ketchup ran a successful advertisement which stated: “The best things come to those who wait” you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYyBu9xTTHI

Taking all these statements above into consideration let me tell you that yes, I have waited and what I have learned from waiting is that I have the ability to learn patience and it has really made me happier.

Patience has never been the easiest thing for me to achieve as although I am not a “bull in a china shop” Taurean, as a Piscean I am often trying to do many things at once and constantly swimming in different directions.Pisces

However, patience is definitely the key to a more settled way of life and I put a lot of my learning of patience down to the fact of living in India, to having a totally positive attitude, and to being prepared to think outside the box and observe the grey areas as well as those black and white ones.

In the past I really only thought in black and white (and still predominantly do) but now that I have  reached a stage where I understand the importance of patience I see that there are shades of patience and the phrases “Good things come to those who wait” & “the best things in life are worth waiting for” hold a lot of truth.

I particularly like the saying that states: “At the bottom of patience one finds heaven” (West African saying) as I hope that I am closer to finding my own little piece of heaven now.

In fact, as a result of my learning patience I can no longer, with heartfelt honesty sing the U2 classic  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EabB55IYyOg  as I used to do because my heart tells me I have found what I am looking for.

Mind you when I say that,  I do still have to get to the stage where I am totally content in that space. So patience is always needed.

patience virtue

Of course there is another phrase that advocates patience in your wishful thinking – “Be careful what you wish for, in case it happens”.

So often we wish for something without considering the outcome, consequences or possible side effects that may result. We should therefore always be patient and careful in the asking and prepared better for the result. Make sure to consider the black,  the white AND the grey areas in all things.

In my case, I had fully prepared myself for a possible disappointment in what I had wished for in recent months. After all I waited a couple of years to get to this stage and that is a patience I would never have had previously.

However, I was positive that the result would NOT be disappointing.  I looked forward to finding out if what I felt was reality or  was simply only a dream of my imagination (which can be extremely vivid!)

In the event, it appears that I did not deceive myself and was correct in my instincts so (unless I have been totally deceived by others) thus far, the result has proved a positive one.

Having the feeling that I have fBelieve Patienceound what I was looking for has boosted my spirits and made me feel happier in some ways than I have felt for a long time.

So when you have found something that you are looking for how do you proceed when the circumstances take it away from you?

Patience is still truly needed  as this is a stage where we have to fight the fears of restlessness and self-questioning which can cause self-doubts. But why should you self-doubt when you are following your inner spirit and listening to your soul?

As long as you are aware that a “que sera, sera” state must be accepted and simply continue to live in the NOW and just BE accepting of the fact that we are and will be loved –  rewards will come.

My take on this is to be yourself and look within to find what your heart & soul can show you. Listen to the mind perhaps but do not let her take you over or the stress levels will once again increase. The mind will expect you to “weigh up the pros and cons” and this is obviously important but “going with the flow” is always easier than “swimming against the tide” of course.go with flow

Through meditation and other holistic practices you  can calm your fears and bring your attention within. Thus the heart and soul,  when lifted to a higher plane, can ignore the vagaries of circumstances brought to challenge you.

Always remember one other saying:

yours forever

Waiting is never easy but when you have learnt patience it will help you to soar high above the world and once you can live with the idea of letting go then true contentment will follow.

everything you want

Patience is a Waiting game after all!

Posted in change, Comments, Goa, heavenly, Holistic, How to, India, Life, Loopy Lines, Magic, Patience, virtue, waiting game | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

COMPROMISED OR COMPROMISING?

I am and have been an independent woman for the majority of my life, brought up by parents who taught me to stand on my own two feet, believe that nothing is impossible and who felt that being a woman was no reason for me to be hampered in my life.

For someone such as me therefore, the idea of physically sharing time and space with someone new can be very difficult once you have learned to live independently and alone.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love to share and I love nothing more than to see others happy and smiling as a result of sharing.  However, I am also very comfortable in my own space and enjoy being on my own with only my thoughts and the silence that surrounds.  Rarely can you find that true bonding with another person.   So to share that space would really take a very special person as the actual idea of me physically being in a relationship again is attached to memories of making compromises in the past.

How hard is that for most people – to make compromises WITHOUT being compromised in one’s beliefs?

So many make “compromises” for the wrong reasons. They compromise to accept the lesser of two evils perhaps. They “settle” for things because they do not believe they deserve more. They don’t want to be alone. Whatever the reason for the “compromise” they are basically surrendering.  Surrendering is giving up or submitting to someone or something else. I know – I have been there! It is not a positive word.

My definition of the word compromise is that it is all about understanding and should therefore be done out of love. Love for an idea or another person and the chance for a new learning opportunity or experience. This is the positive way of thinking.

Compromise when you WANT to give is very different to the compromise that some people feel they are “forced” to make or to accept given their circumstances of the time.

In the past, as what is known as a “new-age” thinker and old style “hippy” I have been accused of “running away from life” , of not accepting the “reality” of life and situations, of “not accepting responsibility” for my future,  but really this is not the case.

I have never run away from life experience although I have often run out or turned my back on relationships that proved destructive for me.  But life itself? No………….I have always tried to embrace life in all its glory, accepting & rejoicing in the pleasures, accepting and learning from the pain. The differences that are in everyone and every aspect of life are an essential part of living.  Life to me is not about compromising ones beliefs.

I have never expected or wanted to be nanny-fed or receive hand-outs or financial rewards for anything more than my own deserved hard-work. My parents instilled those ethics in me and I have the integrity (as do the rest of my family) to not want to be compromised.

What I do hope for is a relationship with another that will not compromise my beliefs or theirs and when I feel that I may have found that it will be pretty amazing.  After all, I really am not the stone cold fish that some (including myself sometimes) believe I am and there is life in this old nag yet.

My heart will always be given to another when they want to share their love, life, thoughts and experiences.

Then they may happily invade my thoughts constantly,  for my soul-mate will never be a compromise OR compromised by me either.

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DRAGONFLY MEDICINE

Have you ever met a person whose energy is so light and colourful, and they seem to zip through life with ease and joy? They carry dragonfly medicine.

Dragonfly-red-1024x640There were myriads of these beautiful glistening dragonflies on the beach yesterday and I dashed off a quick ditty (I can’t call it a poem as I am not as skilled in that area as I would really like to be but I can dash off a rhyme at short notice usually)

You can read this one (Dragonfly Dance) below and give me your opinion perhaps – ditty, poem or usual mad-woman’s rambling!? Hahahaha

Anyway, it seemed a very strange coincidence last night when I arrived home after a pleasant evening spent with friends, to find a trapped dragonfly in my house.

It must have flown in to the light from the night and could not go out again. Last night it would not leave and this morning it was still here so I tried to help it escape by placing my long pole close to it on the ceiling (I have a high ceiling) but this only caused it to flap a lot in seeming stress.

So I left it alone with all the doors and windows open to allow it to go to the light and coming back into the room a few minutes later I was pleased to see it was no longer here.

Now I do not believe that coincidences simply happen. Everything for a reason is my belief and everything in nature has a symbolism and a meaning to be read  – when our eyes are open to the possibilities of the world of nature.

To me this was a message – I look for messages in many areas of my life in the same way that other people look for meaning possibly.

I do not need to find the meaning for my life now as I strongly believe that I am here to heal and to help others along their paths to peace and contentment. However I do look for the messages that point me to the next way of healing (myself or others).

With the knowledge that everything is for a reason in this case I wondered why this dragonfly symbolism was there for me today and at this time in my life.

So being the person I am I did some research to check out the spiritual significances accredited to dragonflies. .

According to many – dragonflies appear to us to let us know that we need to dig deeper into things and look beneath the surface more. To remember the ways of the spirit and connect with the rich realm of feelings within. I seem to always do this anyway so maybe I was a dragonfly in a previous life?

They are asking that you pay attention to your deeper desires and be mindful of the outcome we wish to have. There are lessons to be learned and you are reminded that “what you think” is directly proportionate to what you “see on the surface”. In other words your thoughts are responsible for your physical surroundings.

Dragonfly is also letting you know to live your life to the fullest with what you have. It also beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits that need changing. Use the Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation. It will bring you the light and colour of transformation into your life.

So how appropriate was this for me at this point in my life?

Well I had already spent a few days consulting with friends to see how they felt it would be best for me to proceed from now in my domiciled situation as my life is already changing somewhat.

It has only been 2 months since work changes have affected my life and in addition in recent weeks my emotions have also caused my heart to flutter somewhat bringing changes to my attitude as to what I possibly am missing in my life also.

So all this has impressed itself on my thinking of course and I am now considering fresh fields and moving on.

Having said all this I usually find (for me at least)  that when change does present itself, it is always the sudden change that have the most impact on my life.

Anyway, after the beautiful red dragonfly had left my house and I sat on my balcony to drink my morning coffee I heard a thud on my window and saw a bird ( which I then discovered was an Oriental Magpie-Robin) flit from my house to the trees opposite and I wondered what attention it was trying to give me.

magpie-robin

Researching this bird I find a link to its sounds:

As soon as I played this link on my balcony I was immediately answered by an actual bird. So of course,there is a message and I now start to look for the spiritual significance of this bird. However I can only find the following for a magpie and a robin – nothing combined in symbolism so I decide it is a mixture of both:

A magpie is the symbol of excellent fortune but the need to search to discover the true gift on offer may also be essential. Opportunity is knocking at your door so think whether you are using the skills and knowledge you have to the best of your ability?

A robin has the message that change can be accomplished with joy and happiness in the heart. It signifies growth and rebirth in areas of my life that have become stagnant – You must sing your own song and dance to your own drummer but move forward trusting in yourself and your own intuition.

A robin also has special personal significance to me and my sisters and whenever she visits me she contains the spirit of my mother offering  help and guidance.

So I was just thinking that there is a message from my mother perhaps when I realized – OF COURSE IT IS A MESSAGE FROM HER! After all it is her birthday today or it would be if she were still earthbound.

Today is Halloween and it was totally appropriate for my mother to be born on this day as she was born in Ireland and always had the natural psychic and spiritual powers that run through the Celts and now in my family.witch broomstick

So happy birthday mother dear.

 

 

Now getting back to the symbolism and messages to which I need to listen.

Given the fact that for several days now one of the seven sisters bird has been knocking on my windows as well as all these other symbols I now know that they have all being trying to tell me to now embrace change again and possibly this change will be quite a major one.

Throughout life since the age of 13 when major changes occurred, I have always been prepared for sudden change but often it has scared the hell out of me! Nowadays I am less prone to fear of most things but change can still be frightening of course..

Nowadays it is not really sudden change that makes me hesitate. Instead it is complacency perhaps and doubt of which way to best move forward. Should I close the door totally on this side of things or should I leave it ajar? If I leave it ajar how to proceed? Is there another door waiting to open and embrace me? Something is definitely stirring though.

The major change will be for me to possibly have to revert to my old way of living from 2 suitcases, which means sorting through and disposing of many things I have collected in the last 8 years to make my living space a homely one. Silly things like saris for curtains, balcony furnishings, books (I seem to still collect various books even though I am firmly a believer in travelling with all my books on a “Kindle”) and the paraphenalia that goes along with having a computer and phone and so and so on…..

Then I think that maybe I will regret leaving this “home” in future if suddenly I decide to return to this area of Goa and then have to find another place to live. It is cosy light and peaceful where I live although there is less and less on offer for me now that my work takes me elsewhere.

So all these things are part of my thoughts currently though a major part may also be  the laziness that creeps into the idea of the emotional and physical efforts involved to make the changes.

But then again most of my life here is only stuff. The memories and photographs and friends will still be here in my heart so let me listen to this dragonfly and to the “mother” birds that are encouraging me in my beliefs and strengthening me in my desires. Shall I move forward or stagnate is the real question I suppose and stagnation NEVER was suited to me, whether for my mind, my heart or my psyche.

In the world of plants in nature growth does not necessarily mean having to uproot from where you are in life although sometimes we may need to “re-pot” ourselves to grow further. My time to re-pot may be soon and I will embrace it when it happens as ever.

Enough of my mad woman ramblings on – let’s wait and see what the universe offers me today.

In the meantime I offer you some dragonfly medicine below.

Dragonfly dance

Love is all around
Where dragonflies abound
Within the sound
Of the ocean waves.

Tiny wings vibrating fast
How long can their hover last?
As they shine and glisten gold
Will their story they unfold?

We’re mostly blind to miracles
But these little beauties show it
For miracles are all around
When you only know it!

Feel with your heart.
Hear with your soul.
Recognise these wonders.
Know that YOU are heavenly
Even with your faults and blunders

Heaven is within us all – God is just a word
And words that tell a story can be wonderful  or absurd
Thoughts are only fleeting, though within they hold the truth
The gap between a thought or word may offer up the proof

So absorb the mother, meditate – share the energies you’re given
For when you soak in life itself – THEN you are truly living.

Loopy Oct 2014

Posted in 2014, Books, Goa, Health, heavenly, Holistic, How to, India, Loopy Lines, Mother Nature's Magic, New Age, reason, relocation, spiritual, Travel, Traveller, Uncategorized, witch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A LESSON IN PATIENCE

Today I experienced a different side of Goa when I went to try and get a Yellow Fever Vaccination or exemption certificate.

YELLOWI had previously enquired in 2 private medical facilities (hospitals) re this and had been advised that they did not do these. In fact it was only the Urban Health Centre in Panjim or the Government Hospital that could do this for me.

I had failed to be able to reach the Urban Health Centre by telephone and thus not sure whether it was still open and when it performed the vaccinations (as it stated on the website it was every 2nd and 4th Tueday in the month but another hospital had advised it was on a Wednesday so……………I asked my friend who was going to be passing the main government hospital in Panjim if she could check out for me if they did the vaccination.

Great news – they told her yes they did do, so I headed up there early on Monday morning and reached there about 0830.  I had anticipated I may be there a few hours so took my Kindle.

Checking at enquiries they sent me to the injection rom who told me they didn’t do them but I should check with OPD 14 on the first floor. Got there to find they did not do them but they sent me to Casualty. Got lost trying to find Casualty as I was directed the wrong way twice (Indian directions are never clear – however I put that down to the fact that they just all know where everything is in their vicinity and they never travel outside of it!) until I saw an ambulance and realised it was there.

When I did speak to a man in Casualty department he now referred me to OPD 12 but first I had to go and register in the from hall (where I had come in). So I went back around the buildings and joined the registration queue for women – they have another one for men.

IMG_0132By now it is 0915. I see that only Indians are in the queue – and am sure they are wondering what this nutty foreigner is doing here.

IMG_0134Anyway, at 1000am I paid my 20/- and was registered and headed to OPD 12 with my piece of paper where I joined another shorter queue and after 20 minutes I reached the front.  The man there then wrote on my piece of paper, gave it back to me sent me to the end of the corridor to get a ticket.

I then swapped my piece of paper for a ticket with number 92/F on it and joined the throng of people waiting to be called in to see a junior registrar.

I quickly discovered that the F on my ticket denoted female and also realised that they had only just called 32/F. So I stood outside this door for a couple of hours with a vast array of Indians (still no foreign faces) who were smiling and charming and patient also. We were all gradually called in by number to the room behind the door where we then queued up until called by name by a junior registrar.

Waiting room queueuIt is now 1215 and I am called up and when I explain what I need, I am advised by the junior registrar that he will check with his senior so please to follow him. Into the other room we go and she charmingly tells me that unfortunately they do not do yellow fever vaccine here and that I will need to go to the Urban Health Centre in Pan Jim.

However, she does suggest I may like to check first with the DHS (Directorate of Health Services) which is opposite the Kala Centre in Panjim .  As I am only 3 miles away and it is not the lunch hour yet (1300 everything stops until 4pm usually) I zoom off to find this.

Reaching the DHS they do advise me that I will need to be going to the Urban Health centre in Panjim and not any old day as only certain days does it do this.

I ask them for the number and then call up this centre whilst still in their offices. Connecting I am informed that they usually do the yellow fever on 2nd and 4th Weds of the month.

However, this week 22nd (Weds) is a holiday (for Diwali) so they will be doing them from 0900 -1200 on 23rd and they work on a “first-come, first served” basis.

Right, so I will need to get there early so I decide today, whilst still in Panjim to find out where they are. After a bit of road navigating whereby a number of people point me in the direction of Bombay Bazaar and Ritzi hotel (both close to Urban Health apparently ) I find the place and get my bearings. Check it out and decide yes, OK – I will drive back up here EARLY on Thursday to get in line for my “first-come first served inoculation and/or exemption certificate.

And so at this point I drive back to Colva reaching there at 2.15pm.

A nice mornings experience you may say.  Obviously I got out in the fresh air, got some exercise, learnt a lot about life in the government hospital system and read quite a bit of my kindle book.

I also realised that patience is definitely the key to being healthy. I still do not have full peace of mind as I still need resolution to this but then life is never easy.

The hospital system actually does seem to be quite organised, amazing and efficient really when you think how many people there are in India.

I must say I felt sorry for Gloria (who was in the queue for OPD12 with me) as she told me that she has to come every three months to have her blood pressure checked and after that has been done then she waits around for a prescription and then gets it filled in the hospital pharmacy.

She did however say she felt that the queues were a lot better today and that is probably because it Diwali.

Thank god I went this weekend not next week is all I can think. Then I really would need patience.diwali

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Soapbox Sermon on request

So a friend said Sue DO get on your soapbox about this – I am behind you.

In order not to disappoint therefore I am going to have a little rant about vaccines, diseases and Ebola.

I will start in reverse with Ebola and the rest will certainly follow I am sure. EBOLA

Now according to the Wikipedia pages “From 1976 (when it was first identified) through to 2013, the World Health Organization reported a total of 1,716 cases of Ebola.” They don’t state how many deaths – just cases!

However in 2014 we have had the largest outbreak to date and this is on- going. Initially it only affected GuineaSierra Leone, and Liberia but then it started to spread to other places and “as of 14 October 2014, 9,216 suspected cases resulting in the deaths of 4,555 have been reported. Efforts are under way to develop a vaccine; however, none yet exists.”

WHO

Why is there a snake in the middle of this grassy looking world emblem?

Interesting for me in this statement is the word SUSPECTED as I am a very literal person when it comes to certain things written or spoken and I do tend to analyse why certain words are used (or some are omitted). Does this mean they are not really sure it is Ebola or does it mean they suspect this is what has caused these deaths?

Researching for this blog I discovered an article about Ebola and how it actually does not kill you – your immune system does. It also tells you how Ebola attacks something in your body called Interferon. But there is also a drug called Interferon so where did it originate I ask myself?

If you want to check out one of the articles I found when researching you will find this at: http://www.businessinsider.in/Why-Ebola-Is-Such-A-Uniquely-Terrible-Virus/articleshow/44829594.cms

Now let me also ask this please? If we have known about this disease called Ebola since 1976, how come to date no preventative measures were taken or why no vaccine has been developed?  Could it be that the powers that be thought: “Oh well, it’s happening in Africa in countries that are of no real interest to us at the moment so who cares about them anyway? They are nothing to do with us” Is that a possibility?

Perhaps certain governments believed that “What occurs in Africa stays in Africa?” I can’t understand that though as there is a hell of a lot of smuggling things coming out of Africa (diamonds, people, rhino horn, elephant tusks, etc.). So maybe governments were interested but not bothered about caring for the people suffering until they themselves were feeling threatened.

So could they really be so naïve or simply uncaring about these races of people?

It seems they could as it appears that only now when western “civilisation” feels threatened they start to worry about the poor African nations who frankly have never been much use to them unless there was a profit in it.Governemnts

Hence the countries that could supply the Slave trade, the Diamond, the Oil and anything else that could be used to make big businesses have been “explored” , and plundered and their people exploited by our expanding (and ever-increasingly greedy ) “Democratic” (said tongue in cheek of course as that is an irony in itself!)  Western nations.

So now that Ebola has “escaped” the African continent in a similar way that Aids did we all panic.  Or rather the authorities try to incite us to panic. Now we are being “educated” in what is happening and the governments of the West are rushing to produce a vaccine – they had 38 years to do this. Why didn’t they do this before now?

This is where I have a variety of suggestions to answer that question.

  1.  Greed dictates – They may have found a vaccine back then but as the pharmaceutical companies didn’t make money from it before it has been sitting somewhere in a lab for a few decades. Soon they will bring it out (saying it has been discovered and encouraging us to use it even though it has (apparently) not undergone the usual clinical trials. The one way to do this is to incite panic of course so we all blindly agree to an inoculation on this scale – as we did with the “swine flu” outbreak, which actually killed more people than the swine flu did.
  2. Experiments went wrong – I am reminded of “The Constant Gardener” movie and query whether perhaps it is part truth. Maybe when we offer “Aid” to African countries who are suffering from drought or malnutrition and other sicknesses we are not helping at all.  In fact perhaps some companies are using the people of these countries as a testing ground for their drugs BEFORE they are cleared. Live lab experiments therefore?
  3. jekyll_hide-783400HumanFlyMaybe Ebola was caused by man experimenting with additive and chemical preservatives in our food, drinks and medicines throughout the world. After all we do seem to have not only more diseases but also more of every type of disease nowadays than we did in the past (asthma, diabetes, etc.) Either we have created this OR Mother Nature is fighting back.

There may be many more suggestions or ideas on this subject and please do not get me wrong – I am not saying that Ebola is not out there or that it is not bad for some people affected.

Just as with severe flu, Malaria, Dengue fever or the various sicknesses or plagues throughout history it can kill the unwary of course and this diseases appears to be spreading rapidly through humankind. However, most diseases can be prevented by having a healthy diet, clean living conditions and ENOUGH clean water to drink – remember 80% of our body is water.

Vaccines are an extreme solution as far as I am concerned and I would avoid wherever possible as I also believe that “when your time is up your time is up”.  Of course, we should not be rash and careless or irresponsible but we need to be aware that most 21st century diseases are caused by humans in one way or another and it is NOT a solution to simply invent a new vaccine to cure one illness and possibly thus create another through a subsequent mutation of the cells of our bodies.mutation

The Evolution of the Species did not call for inoculations – things grow and then they die, evolve  or die out and although we can often prolong life – can we really prolong the quality of it?

We are human beings, from wherever we come and I believe we should pay more attention to aiding (where we are asked) to enhance other people’s lives and other parts of the world. We can learn so much from them instead of blaming them for any ills that arise in our own corner of the world.

As the “higher species”  surely we should be accountable for our own lives. Let us all act sensibly and compassionately but above all THINK INDEPENDANTLY and not believe all we are spoon fed by media or governments.

Soapbox Sermon over – Let me know your thoughts please (especially you LL)

Posted in 2014, Health, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ALL CHANGE – OR NOT AS THE CASE MAY BE

Change – this is something that Goans do in style.

ruppess

I refer of course to money in this instance (although other things also never do seem to change in Goa)

It was brought to my attention yesterday, as to exactly how precious small change (coins in particular) is in this Indian state.

I had to pay Rs.172/- and actually offered the 2 rupees to the cashier in Big G  – this being the main department store in Margao which seems to be the only shop in the area to stock the Tulsi teabags of Pomegranate and Methi (liquorice) that I love.

The lovely lady cashier expressed great delight and a big smile when I offered her the change saying “Wow – you have change!”

To a non-Goan visitor this may seem unusual. However, when you have lived here for a short time and been in a few shops that all offer goods selling at odd prices such as Rs.38/- Rs. 172/- Rs. 297/-, etc you will understand why there are so many little jars of sweets by the check outs in so many stores (particularly the supermarkets).

sweetsWhen shopkeepers have no small change in Goa (most of the time it seems!) they give you one of a variety of little sweets most of the time. Rarely will they wave the odd coins of change in your favour.

We called these little sweets penny-chews in England as they used to cost that in the sweet-shop. Thus you could with only a few pence always get a sweet treat without breaking the pocket-money bank. This was obviously important when two shillings was all you got for a week’s pocket money.

Two shillings (also known as 2 bob) consisted of twenty four OLD pennies and YES, I am going back to the 60’s now but I CAN still recall the joy of being able to go to the Saturday morning pictures and still have change for a comic and a few penny chews.

However, I digress. Let’s get back to Goa and the penny (rupee) sweets – not long after I had been congratulated on having change by the cashier in Big G I went to a supermarket in Benaulim to buy my favourite Mud face pack.

There I was greeted at the counter with a penny chew in change! In this case I had spent Rs. 199/- and the supermarket purported to have no change!

I have noticed that a lot of supermarkets here seem to price their goods at 199/- 299/- 395/- and other odd amounts instead of rounding them up or down to the nearest 10 rupees. You can no doubt see where I am heading with this!

They never have small change but always have lots of sweet jars (which are cheap to buy as a whole jar) from which they offer you a selection of different flavoured chews. This can become very annoying after a few times of shopping and only getting sweets which I don’t even want, never mind eat!

In fact it can be so annoying that I have been known on one occasion to save my sweets from a supermarket (who repeatedly did this to me even though I shop there regularly) and offer them back to them next time I had to buy something there. And yes, they DID take them – Hahahaha!

So you may be thinking – “Wow, this woman is mean. Why bother for a few pennies?” Well, I was brought up on the old adage “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”

This saying means that if you take care not to waste small amounts of money you can accumulate capital.

So – if you are thinking I am a tight-fisted cow you could be right but in this case I also would say these shops are being clever businessmen and increasing their takings by making money out of money – or lack of it! “In for a penny in for a pound” seems to be their attitude.

tight fistedNO change there then!

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NATIONAL OR “NOTIONAL” HEALTH SERVICE OR DO THEY JUST NEED A SHOT IN THE ARM?

In August I travelled over to Nigeria on a recce and, at short notice, managed to make an appointment to see a nurse at the London Travel centre in Waterloo area. This was in order to get a Yellow Fever Vaccination as it is required in Nigeria and many African countries.

yellow

Now I had one of these in 1996 and that was valid for 10 years so time had passed and although I really hate to have chemicals pumped into my body for no good reason as this is ESSENTIAL when you go to Nigeria I was prepared to be pumped full of drugs (albeit reluctantly) and to pay £80 for the pleasure.

However, the lovely nurse there, having noticed that I already had previously had this jab and the fact that I am knocking on in years a bit (AND I take a weekly tablet to stop my bones deteriorating faster than they already are) suggested that all things considered I was probably protected. Also apparently in 2016 they are demolishing the need for a 10 year renewal on the jab so instead of having to pay £80 for a jab she issued me with an exemption certificate for the duration of my visit instead.

Wow, I thought – what a resuljabt – the universe is with me! So I happily went off to Nigeria UNPROTECTED by a vaccine – I realise many people never go anywhere without being pumped full of legal drugs (and often illegal I am sure!)

A few people I know mentioned that I should be wary because Ebola is in Nigeria and one dear friend was actually concerned that I may bring it back with me! However, no mandatory jabs for that as they do not have a vaccine so….off I went.

Anyway, whilst in Nigeria I managed to procure some consultancy business and although I am heading to Goa first (in fact I am sitting in the domestic airport in Mumbai at time of writing this) I do then need to go back to Nigeria via Kenya in mid- November.

So realising that I needed to get an extension (or new) exemption certificate, this time I decided my own doctor’s surgery would be an easier option and duly booked an appointment. Unfortunately the appointment had to be made further in advance but I got it for the day before I was flying to India so felt that would be fine since it was simply a re-issue and I would not need a jab.

Well, this is where things went sideways and I began to wonder if the National Health Service is a Notional health service.

You see this charming (I say that tongue in cheek) nurse called Andrea, greeted me with a bit of a grump on at 0835 and took me to her room where she proceeded to tell me of all the other jabs I should have when travelling overseas.  I explained that I had the exemption cert issued for Yellow Fever but it had expired, so I would need a new one please. Unfortunately I had left it at home so did not show her this although I did offer to get it if needs be.

No she said, that won’t be necessary but then she proceeded to give me advice……………………….recommending I have Hep B and a Hep A booster if I hadn’t plus anti-malarial and things for typhoid, cholera etc. I had advised that I was off to India next day and she was amazed to hear me say that I had some jabs but only the essentials, preferring homeopathic medicines to assist me. She also asked me whether I was taking insurance – what business of hers that was I do not know. However, I said no I was not as the insurance companies often did not cover me for the trips I did. She then said this was rather irresponsible of me!!! Cheeky mare – she doesn’t know me or my history and so I was getting nowhere fast.

She did not even offer to give me the yellow fever jab and said she had to check a few things first to see if she could give me a certificate. I could not understand why one nurse would give me the cert and the other one was querying this. However, I waited until she returned to the room after 10minutes and told me she could not give me the cert and that I should go to Trail finders!jab 2

The fact that the yellow fever vaccine is in short supply would make me think she would prefer to give me an exemption but no…… and she still did not say she would give me the job so I left fuming!

I really had no time to go off to Trail finders and queue up there for a possible vaccine or certificate on my last day in London tidying up and sorting things.

Thus I now have to find a doctor in Goa (or a clinic) that can either give me the vaccination for Yellow Fever or an exemption certificate. It is not as if they won’t let me in the country without a vaccination – I already went once for 1 month and they didn’t evict me.

So in reality can someone tell me if the health service exists to help us or not?  It seems nationally that the health service is not of a mind since both nurses gave me totally opposing opinions AND attitudes also.

In fact that is why I wonder if we should start calling it the NOTIONAL health service. After all I have a notion that Ebola vaccines would be enforced if they existed, but as they don’t we can avoid that one. I am concerned about this new flu (and any other new) vaccine for children that are soon to be introduced however. Will it be like the MMR vaccine and offer similar results years later? Let’s hope not eh?Baby

Posted in Abuja, Comments, customer service, Health, How to, Life, New Age, Nigeria, Traveller | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Changes Underway

Well it has been a while since I blogged and I apologise to those who follow me but I have been rather busy with a new venture/ opportunity that came my way shortly after I returned from Spain.

time for chnageAn old work colleague and friend of mine met to discuss a job offer he had for me for a 3+ month period. He needed things to change where he was in Nigeria.  I explained that I could not commit to 3 months at that time as I was due back to India to carry out things there. However, he felt that if I could come over for a few weeks to Nigeria, I may be able to assist him with some tweaks to change things for the better. So I changed my plans and committed to going off  to Abuja. In fact I ended up actually staying for four weeks.

During that time, I managed to impress the bosses/owners with my skills within a short period of time (10 days got is rolling upward) and changed a struggling team of staff into a much improved team resulting in better business for all concerned. Really it was a case of changing the way they were working and thinking. This meant a little education and a lot of training.

With no plan to stay in Nigeria further than 3 weeks initially I was disappointed to hear from Goa colleagues that they could only offer me double my working hours back with them for the SAME amount of money!!!

Strange lot – they actually thought I would accept this turn of affairs. Added to the fact that the extra hours were going to mean I HAD TO WORK 6 DAYS PER WEEK – So this was the turning point for me. No way Jose is how i felt.

nigeria_map_mNow there is very little to do in Abuja other than work and the price of everything there is on a par with London so there was no outside temptation to attract me.  Luckily I was staying in a hotel with a pool and the apartment had a kitchen so cooking and shopping for food was possible with some exercise of a daily swim. But really little else to do than play Scrabble with the boys read or watch TV! No dance classes, karaoke, fun places to visit.

Abuja is the Federal Capital Territory of the country and is thus mainly civil servants, so am I surprised really? In fact it has only existed for 40 years and was purposefully built there as that is the centre of the country and previously all things were run from Lagos which is on the coast and far from any parts of this vast country.

I will say that the roads are brilliant and I love the “Sanitation Day” they have on the last Saturday of every month to clean up the streets. Thus during the hours of 0700 – 1000 no-one is allowed on the roads while this sanitizing goes on.  sanitation day

Anyway, getting back to my options, at the 2 week juncture I had further discussions with the Nigeria based colleagues who I was now working alongside short-term in Abuja. Having met the directors and discussed their needs we settled on a compromise on what I could/would do with regards to changing the way they were operating over the coming months. It is all to do with the way things are done or what some call business process re-engineering

The result is that I have arranged to work with them  for the foreseeable future on the basis of 4 weeks on for 7 days (28 days on basically) and then have a week R & R.  Flights are covered by them and as I have already got previous commitments to people in Goa I will not return to Nigeria until mid-November.

So my plans have changed again and thus I return to Goa as soon as my travel visa comes through early next week (I put the application in on Monday when I landed in UK and should get it sometime next week). Then in November after a few weeks in Goa I will then again fly to Nigeria (via Kenya this time, for the purpose of getting a business visa) to resume where I left off and train up some staff for management and supervisory roles.day airsun air

I imagine this will be hectic times, as after only 4 weeks there I will then return to India for a further 4 weeks (Company is closed until mid-Jan from 15th December anyway) when I will again go back to Nigeria. After that it is unlikely I will return to Goa for some while as it is too far to go for purely I week after all.

Having already spent 4 weeks in Nigeria I can tell you I am totally  bushed  after the 28 days’ work load (which is another change for me after so long working shorter weeks) and thus I am in need of some R & R and  looking forward to returning to Goa around 10th/11th this month. My friends will be coming out within a few days of me arriving there so I am looking forward to seeing them all in Goa and having some fun times with them this season, however short it is.

Even woptional growthhile I am in Goa I will still be in daily contact with the staff in Nigeria and reporting on and overseeing the training and development of them to hopefully have an effect to also help them change their lives and future prospects.

As a strong believer in the Universal guidance I trust that this way forward takes me towards my next goal of relocating in the future to Spain/Europe and during my short stays in Goa this winter, I may start to move things out and dispose of unnecessary goods in preparation for the future.

However, I may later change my mind (as a woman I am told it is my right) at any time. I do know the universe will guide me and “Que sera,  sera” as Doris and my mum would have sung.

So change is on the way and I saw it in the cards some time ago without knowing when it was coming or how. Looking forward again even while living in the Now and that is how life should be. imagesembrace

Change can only be for good in my way of reasoning, so onwards and upwards and let’s see what the universe will offer me with this new adventure of mine.

Posted in Abuja, change, Goa, How to, Nigeria, relocation, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tips on Spanish food, drink and classy eating.

As a Brit I recently revisited Spain after an absence of 24 years and I rediscovered the Spanish fare and must tell you I loved all I tried.

In Valencia I tried the Fartons  – a regional creation.Valencian Specialities

These are lovely little pastries and can contain a variety of bakery custards or creams.  For the English speaker though it is an unfortunate name though as I didn’t find any wind problems as a result (well no more than is usual for me!)

Entrepans (between breads) a perfectly logical name for a sandwich!  The English relates to some old Lord which really is not so logical!

In Tarragona I actually had a Patapans – this includes some potatoes between the bread hence ( I assume) the name from patates (potaoes). The one I had was delicious with peppers as well as patates.

Of course everywhere you go there are olives in all shapes, sizes and flavours – too many to count really but all “delicioso”. Go to the central food market in the town you stay in to get a huge choice – you can taste them before you buy too!

Ruzaa food market interiorEach town (or areas in larger towns) has its central market that sells fresh food – Carne (meat) and Charuteria (Cooked meats) Pescaderos (fish) Verduras (green things = fruit and veg) and all these markets should be visited for the colour and life and buzz there.  Why would you buy these things in a supermarket when you can get to choose from so many stall holders here. Oh and occasionally there are also places there selling pastries. But it seems that for bread people still prefer the panaderia in the locales as there were a few pastelerias (cake shops) in the market but I saw no bread sold in the one in Alicante (unless I missed it as there are SO MANY stalls there over 2 floors!).  

Seafood abounds – Mussels (Mejilllones) Octupus (Pulpo) Squid (chiperones), Atun (Tuna) all fresh and healthy and in abundance.fresh tuna

For the sweet=toothed, there is a franchise/chain of cafes in Spain called Valor and they are CHOCOLATE heavens for those who love chocolate. Everything they sell is to do with chocolate.

I had my choice of hot or cold chocolate, flavoured chocolate (all in cups) with churros or without. Also they offered a range of other chocolatey sweets and ice-creams – dangerous if you are a chocoholic of course.

chocy delights

On the subject of food and eating – for a full meal the menu del Dia or del Plata (depending on whether Spanish or Castellan it seems) really cannot be beat. We could do with this more in the UK in healthy form. For a sum ranging from 6 Euros to 25 Euros, often depending on the area you select to eat in, you can usually get 2 or 3 courses with bread and a drink. Sometimes they offer coffee instead of desert but it is your choice and there is always a choice of at least 2 dishes per course – in Tarragona I actually had a varied choice of about 6 per course! 

This is truly value for money and the best way to take a lunch or dinner unless you really only want a snack of course. Therefore now it is better value to go for a meal when hungry, particularly when on a budget as you can have enough in one meal so that you do not need to eat too often.

One thing to be aware of though – the SAME Menu del Dia offered in the evening can be more expensive than the daytime menu – I found this in Tarragona certainly. It probably is as a result of the preference of people to prefer to eat a main meal at dinner in Spain (whether on holiday or just the Spanish way I cannot say!)

Local beer and BoqueronesTapas of course used to be the small dish they gave you whenever you ordered a drink in a bar in Spain. Nothing major but when I first lived in the Andalucian area I spent many nights with a friend in a bar having drinks with no need to ever order food. Those days are gone but still the tapas live on with prices ranging from 3-4 Euros upwards – although the more expensive tapas do tend to be proportionally larger portions now. When I was in La Palma my friend and I ordered a dish of Pulpo (octopus)  and the portion size was enough for 2 people really!!  THAT was value for money I can tell you!

 

After a meal you will want a coffee many times and the regular expresso is only one of a choice. I love the Cafe Bob-bon (also called “cafe condensado” in other parts of Spain. bonbon coffeeIt is an Expresso shot with condensed milk (so there is no need for sugar with this one!). In La Palma I had Baratitto which is the same thing again but you can order it  either “con” (with\) or “sin” (without) a brandy (which they put into the coffee!). Yummy but dangerously addictive! LOL.

When it comes to alcohol Spain offers some great cocktails, as well as lovely wines and also beers at good prices but my drink of choice is a nice dry (Brut) Cava and you really cannot beat this if you like a bubbly drink. It is a great substitute for Prosecco or Champagne (obviously it is not wither of these but neither is it Asti Spumante (which to my mind is always too sweet). Just go easy on the amount and drink after you have eatenVermith & orange (or at the same time) as the heat will cause it to affect you faster than it does in colder climes. Oh and in Tarragona they reckon that Vermuth was invented there so I had one to remember my mum who use to love a “gin and It” – I had it without gin and it came with orange slice instead of lemon – lovely. 

 

And as a side-line on restaurants and food/eating places, I still find it a brilliant idea to have paper tablecloths replenished each time a new customer takes over. Why we can’t do this more in the UK beats me.

Firstly, it is more hygienic and considering how “Elf & Safe Tea” conscious we are you would think it was established in law by now! LOL.

Secondly, we would then also be keeping more businesses going as the manufacturers of the paper tablecloths would benefit also. Mind you then we have the problem of recycling and do we really want to be wasting paper etc??

Maybe plastic tablecloths are preferable after all but the type they have in France or Spain that can be bought in the market from a roll in a variety of patterns and colours are far superior and classier than the tacky things we tend to stick on the tables in cafes in the UK.

But then again, maybe we really are not that classy a nation anymore with our reputation for lager louts, football hooligans and slappers!

One English couple I met in Alicante actually told me that they love Benidorm as it has something for everyone. According to them in Benidorm the Spanish use the classy part of the beach where obviously the better food will also be found. The other side of the beach with it Maccy D’s, KFC, etc was for the Brits! And that’s a Brit talking!my bread art

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Visitor Views on Valencia – lalalala,lalalala, lalalala, la la

There appears to be a passion here for skating in all forms it seems judging by the number of shops selling roller-blades, skates, scooters, etc. lots of roller skates in Valencia

And there are a large amount of places set up for this energetic and healthy sport.

I loved the idea of them having converted the old Turia riverbed through the city into a park (called Jardines de Turia) and this is a great green stretch to walk taking you from the City of Arts and Science to the Bio Park at the other end – a few hours pleasant stroll will take you through landscaped gardens with tennis courts, football fields and other attractions all sporadically laid out.

The reason the riverbed is dried up is due to the fact that Valencia had a disastrous flooding in 1957. So the decision was made to divert the Turia river to avoid future floods. This they did and then they converted the riverbed to parkland

It is actually the best way to travel through the city on foot or bike ( & roller-blades or skates of course) and you walk under many bridges that are mainly used by traffic (although I did cross one pedestrian bridge during my stay there). Brilliant idea and certainly gives appeal to the city..

I did find the city rather unappealing to start with due to the lack of tourist information when I reached Valencia Nord station.

Valencia Nord stationI was also not well-impressed having arrived by train in the City to find no-one seemed to be prepared to assist me.

There was no tourist information or even a “You are Here” map at this mainline station and seemingly no customer service desk either. However, exiting the station to try and work out which direction I needed to take (Maps was not working on my phone for some reason!) I spotted a (small) sign telling you where to find the nearest tourist information place. Great I thought – that will do and I can get a map there so I headed towards Plaza Ayuntamiento which was a short walk away.

Info signHaving reached this place  – where there was a tourist information booth only – I discovered a sign saying “closed until 4pm” (in Spanish of course) so that was frustrating and as the next info place was a further distance (and I would no doubt also find that one closed) I then was lucky to spot a large street map in one corner of the square.

Stopping there with my suitcase behind me I then proceeded to try to attract passers-by to show me where I was. Unfortunately, this map stupidly had no “you are here” sign on it either!!!

Now I started to feel invisible for a time! You would think that SOMEONE would offer to help you if they saw you looking perplexed and standing by a map with a case and looking lost. But NO!

In fact I actually approached 2 people to ask where I was on the map. They said “no se” (Spanish for don’t know – and they live there!) and walked on before I managed to grab the attention of a woman who was actually trying to avoid my eye. However, she had no choice when I stopped in front of her and asked her where I was in relation to this map!! Even then she just pointed the general area.

It did help a little though as I quickly now realised I was in the City area and heading in the wrong direction. So I turned around, found my route and then went back to the station took the road to the left side and in another 10minutes was at my destination! Fortunately although my Maps app wasn’t working I had already memorised a rough map and written down the streets I needed to take In fact if I had faced the correct way in the first place I would have been fine.

So I would suggest that a well-placed Map of the streets outside the station platforms would be a great idea for tourism in Valencia. If you are visiting, make sure you go prepared with information or prepared to waste time finding it.

I did discover the main tourist office a couple of days later when exploring the old town and it did close at 1 and re-open at 3pm. They were not the most helpful of staff either and if I hadn’t wanted to have information on the Bio-Parc would probably not even have spoken to me.

They seemed to feel that as long as all the leaflets were there we could just grab and go. As I did proceed to ask about the Bio-Parc she gave me one of those pre-printed blotter maps to show me how to get there. Decided to tell me where to get the bus from (the other side of the city to where I was staying) and then I pointed out to her where my nearest pick-up point would be for the bus!!!

So my first impressions of Valencia were not good as I felt the people were rude or uncaring and was not sure whether this was a place I would really like.

However, all that changed after arriving in my room booked through www.airbnb.com in Russafa area of town. There my hostess/ landlady Carmen took me in and gave me LOADs of information on where to go, what to do, etc. She gave me a local detailed map, told me where all the buses were, and which ones to get where, etc. Totally lovely and helpful she even gave me a travel card for me to top-up for the buses thus saving me some money! Thus she then changed my opinion somewhat and I was able to set off and explore without having to waste a day or so getting information.

Russafa at Night

Russafa at Night

I was well situated for everything and although during the daytime the streets were quiet they came alive at night with trendy little bars, cafes and restaurants in abundance.

The Old Town – this is only a small area and definitely worth a look although most of the historic monuments seem to be religious. In fact the old town is also the City centre so is full of hustle and bustle with workers and shoppers milling around as well as the tourists. It is in the Cathedral here that they have the cup of Holy Grail, although this is only one of several places throughout the world that claim it I understand. I did not bother to go in and spent most of my time in this part of Valencia taking external photographs..

Old city entrance

Bio-Parc – well what a great place that is and truly the best zoo I have ever visited. So I was pleased to have chosen that as the “expensive” place of my holiday visit to Valencia.

OK, it is not expensive really (Euros 23.80 I paid) but when on a tight budget and travelling around one has to pick and choose which sights that have to be paid for and are a must to visit and Bio-Parc was it for me.

Now, I really am not a great believer in animals being locked up but I do also believe that we should educate people and kids and sometimes we also are protecting some endangered species by enclosing them in this manner. Well the Bio-Parc in Valencia is a wonderful place to visit and FEEL like the animals are free as they do not seem to feel hemmed in and are able to roam quite a wide area. A wide variety of African animals are on display there and there is one great small section of Madagascar where there are myriads of lemurs sleeping in and swinging through the tress above you –beautiful. 

red lemurI give this place a big thumbs-up, so go there if you are ever in Valencia for a few days.  

Ciudad des Artes y Ciences” At the opposite end to the Jardines de Turia is the City of Arts and Sciences and many will have seen pictures of this 22nd century style area or architecture which I found pretty amazing. I did take numerous stunning pictures here and loved the unearthly landscape feel to it all..

space place

I did not however venture into any of the exhibits however, and maybe this is where the place sadly falls apart and may not be making much money (it was very quiet the two occasions I ventured this way). Having said that it seemed that during the summer months everything quietens down here.

The Art centre had no performances scheduled until September and the review I read on the science museum sounded like it was great for kids, but a bit of a let-down otherwise.

The Hemisphere is a place that you apparently go into with 3D glasses and watch a movie on various parts of the planet or the stars and each show costs Euros 8 and last about 45 minutes. I didn’t bother with this as none of the films appealed as a learning opportunity as they were things I already had knowledge of (Egypt, Planetarium, etc.) but am sure they are highly educational and great for students.

Also, in respect of the Oceanographic area – although it sounded great it was expensive for my budget (Euros 30) and with a toss-up between that or the Bio-Parc I had chosen the latter. Having seen the Aquarium / Oceanarium in Sydney 3 years ago I did not feel the need to check out the ocean wildlife again on this trip to Valencia. Another time though perhaps.

Beaches – The beaches of Valencia are broad, long clean and white. On the first evening I arrived I got the bus there. A clean boardwalk takes you from one end to the other and there are a number of stalls selling various beach wares and souvenirs. However, as the beaches are set at some distance from the city they do really require a bus trip to get there unless you are staying close to them. They also have some nice sand art there..

more castles in th esand Building sandscupltures for my supper

I was not tempted to the beach again until my last morning for a stroll before departing Valencia because I was on an exploring holiday. On a health note and too avoid over-exposure to the sun, if you are going to the beaches make sure to take an umbrella if nothing else as there is no natural shade and the sunbeds and shade areas can be expensive to rent I understand.  

Being there during a fiesta on the last night I got to see the Battle of Flowers parade where many locals were out to watch the floats and then see the girls with their tennis racquets repelling the flowers thrown at them by the crowd. Others people throw flowers at each other too if they want to. Apparently it signifies the end of the month of July festivities.

So that is my Valencian experience to date and I haven’t even touched on the history or the notorious family that came from there. I found these statues of the Borgias within the walls of the University complex – that maybe for another time though.The Borgias

In the end Valencia does have a lot to offer, so I liked it after my initial impression not being a good one. Definitely worth a look & follow this link to get hooked – You will find it difficult to get out of your head!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYrcwKaJPjc

 

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Spanish transport systems

Having recently travelled around in Spain I must say I was TOTALLY impressed by the fact that every town I visited seemed to have a super-efficient form of public transport and offers you savings with a local card. This is similar to the Oyster card now introduced in the UK London area. However, although all these cards can save money as you travel the Spanish ones are very cheap compared to the London system. 

I particularly like the way that often in Spain if you take two or three trips within a short period of time they will count as one journey (and thus charge) 15-30 minute periods being operated in the Alicante, Barcelona and Valencia areas. And this applies to buses and trams in many towns as I am sure it applies in many places in Spain This is great if like me you are on a hop on/hop off type of exploration and you want to quickly see what is there without having to take the official hop-hop off tourist bus (which often works out dearer and is usually limited to a 24 or 48 hour period only).  

Oh and circular route buses? These were great as they mean you really have no way of getting lost and going so far out of your way because they all bring you back to where you started (eventually)

 In respect of the RENFE (Spanish railway system), my host in Tarragona advised me that in Spain if your train is delayed arriving by more than 15 minutes you get another free journey on that route! We could learn from that I think! I was actually delayed leaving Tarragona so thought that I may be lucky with that one but we made up time en route by not stopping at one station altogether and having a shorter stop at another!

 Never mind, maybe next time I am transported back to and around Spain.

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Surreal Happenings in Alicante

#1

I had checked into my Airbnb at 5.30 pm and had been met at the top of the stairs to the second floor by a charming man (Joachim) who took me into the apartment and showed me around. The person I had booked with (his flatmate Pablo) was apparently sleeping at this point. So he showed me around, explaining everything he felt I needed to know, He was from Brazil and spoke no English but I could understand him and even though my Spanish is shit now (through lack of any practice really mainly) we managed and I was also able to discover there was another person (girl) staying there on Airbnb basis like myself though she was out at present.

Having installed myself in my room and unpacked, I then met Pablo who told me he would give me some more information when I needed it. As he was chatting to friends who had called round I thanked him and told him that I had decided to do a quick change and go out on a recce as I like to see where I am still during the light hours.

 No worries – So I headed off to explore.

Returning after a couple of hours, during which time I had a look at the beach, a quick scoot round the old town and some tapas in a local café very close to the apartment I then attempted to get back into the apartment.

I had 2 keys – one for main door and one for apartment.

At first I thought the key to the apartment would not work properly as the key to the main door was a bit sticky when I tried it.

But then as I was fiddling with the key I managed to click on the door and suddenly a little Chinese man opened it!

Aha, thought I, possibly the other roommate I did not yet meet (although I felt sure Joachim had told me it was a girl!). So I asked if Pablo or Joachim were there – Nope he said – no Joachim or Pablo here!

This causes me slight disorientation until he mentions that THIS is the first floor –perhaps I am staying in an apartment on the second floor? So then I realise my mistake and apologise. Please note, I have now walked up 2 flights of steps and therefore my brain obviously equated 2 flights of steps with the second floor. Remember this is only my second time here and I have been moving around a lot in the past few weeks.

OK, so I go up another 2 flights of stairs to what I assume is now the second floor. However, I then discover that I can’t get into the flat there either!

At this point a Spanish girl comes to the door of the flat I am trying to enter and I assume SHE is the other housemate I have yet to meet. But NO………..and as I glimpse inside the apartment I realise it has the wrong layout so it is not the right one either, although this IS the 2nd floor and I was certain I had come in through this door.

In broken Spanish I ask her if she knows Pablo or Joachim (the flats tenants) and she says no!

So bemused, I go downstairs, out of the front door check the building number and try the bell to my apartment – no response so I go inside and up to the 2nd floor again. Knocking on the girl’s door I ask her again to confirm this is the second floor. Yes she tells me it is and then points to a second door along the landing and suggests it may be that flat! Which it was and then I got in!!

So OK ………….I AM barking mad and sometimes can be not very attentive. Maybe I should have realised the second door on this landing was to another flat (the one I AM staying in!). However I had taken it to be a second door for a cupboard or even another entrance to the accommodation. The reason for that being that I had been told (before checking in) that the flat was the one on the 2nd floor, there was only 1 bell downstairs labelled 2nd floor flat – and no other labels beside it for another bell or any way to indicate (numbers on doors etc.) that told me there were 2 flats on each floor. The flat was a three bed and quite large so………………can I please be excused?

#2

I met with Pablo shortly after coming back. He spoke good English. is from Argentian himself and explained that they were both actor/entertainers (in the style of Cirque Soleil apparently) and gave me some useful local information. i then relayed my confusing return to the apartment to him.about talking to the girl in the next door flat.

He laughed and then told me about a friend of his who had come to visit him, gone to the First floor (counted 2 flights of stairs as second floor too perhaps?), knocked on the door there and had been greeted by a Chinese GIRL who welcomed him into this flat at 10am one morning.

When he asked where Pablo was the girl (who spoke no Spanish) had smiled, said hello Pablo and taken him for a punter as it turns out that a few years ago this was a brothel of sorts!

And when I knocked on that door I had been met by a young Chinese man – he may have been the pimp or a relation – who knows? At least I didn’t get taken for a punter! LOL

How SU REAL is all that eh? Bring it on Alicante!

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Thoughts on Tarragona – a Roman town in Spain!

    Rambla Nova Tarragona

Having spent 4 days in this really lovely place I compare it to a mini Barcelona and it is only 1 hour south (by train) of the big city but a lot more peaceful and less stressful than a full cityscape.

 The fact that tourism “en masse” does not seem to have hit this place yet makes it a blessing in disguise. You can tell this from the fact that the staffs in shops, cafes and places of interest are all polite to you. They have not yet been hit by the hordes of tourist who insist on NOT trying to speak any Spanish (even though this is a Spanish country) and thus pissing off the locals!

Granted here they do already speak two Spanish languages (a bit like India with its multi-linguistics eh?) they talk Catalan and Spanish

My house host (Airbnb) advised me that the Taracco’s (original name for the place) consider themselves Roman rather than Spanish. The ones that do associate with Spain prefer to be called Catalonians rather than Spanish and judging by the number of Castellan flags I saw hanging from balconies independence is rife here.  

In fact they speak Catalan first and Spanish second (however at the train station they do go for English as a third choice when making announcements thank god!)

 My first day there I walked the streets to get a feel and took pictures to see what I could/should see.. I discovered no Gaudi art or architecture there but there are lots of roman ruins and fascinating vistas. Many of them were really quite surreal – so where was Salvador? Well I only encountered him in Barcelona (along with Gaudi and Picasso) 

The whole place actually feels like you are in a time-warp – a wonderful one though – as it has a great feel to the place. You can walk up the Rambla Nova to the cliff edge and then around to the Roman Amphitheatre ruin which fascinated me. Collisseum Tarragona

Opposite from this amazing old ruin is the Miracle beach. However, it is a miracle if you can find your way to it as the railway line splits the road and there are only two crossings (approximately 2 km apart!!)

 Mind you this beach has nothing to do with religious Miracles actually as it is a bad translation from Latin to Catalan of “miraculum” which means admirable or wonderful!

Nevertheless I did managed to go there and even though my little feet (well big buggers really) were tired it was worth the stroll. I liked the fact that the old part of town was seawards too.

Another beach north of the town and 15 minutes (or 45-50 minutes by the coastal scenic route) was set in a lovely cove and called Platja de L’Arrabassada. It hais a deep stretch of beach and warm seas. Three or four cafes situated on the beach offer shade and cool drinks and it is a great place to troll out. However, as with most of the beaches in this part of Spain there are NO sunbeds or umbrellas so take your own or burn baby burn!!! An hour in direct sun is enough for me any day.busy beach of Tarragona

While I was in Tarragona I also had my first experience of eating Bocarones (sardines) again! When I lived in Spain in the 80’s I tried them and decided that I hated them so would never order again as I am not a “fish with small bones” eater.

Local beer and Boquerones

However, I had ordered Chiperones (small squid which I love!) and by mistake the waitress brought me small plate of bocarrones. So I ate them and was pleasantly surprised to enjoy them.

So never too old to change your mind or admit a mistake eh??? I will not ever be accused of being a “grumpy old woman” I trust as am always happy to change my mind when I am shown the light!

And on that point to light (or rather starlight) with regards to beers – in this part of the world Estrella (STAR) is king apparently. Although there is a local brew called Rosita (ROSE) but not sure it tastes much different from anything else and it is certainly no cheaper so….?

Please do note that on Mondays in Tarragona most of the sites are closed.

To my point of view this is sensible as I like to have Sunday & Monday off when I am working. So therefore you just need to pick carefully where you are going. I chose the Amphitheatre, the Tower (Pretoria) and the Cathedral which are all enough for one day.

At lunch time I hit a nice taverna where I sat inside to listen to the music. Here I heard Paco de Lucia – an amazing guitar picker. Sadly he had died in Feb 2014 before I got the chance to hear him live (he was amazing on the disc!) and he had played with many famous musicians (including Clapton) and was totally amazing to listen to. 

It was interesting to find that in one restaurant I ate during my sya (in the main square area) when I had “menu del Dia” the same menu was also on offer the following evening ( a really good & tasty selection by the way) but for 2 Euros more.! So if you want to eat cheaply – eat at lunchtime was this lesson.

I had a fantastic final night there when I was able to see the Castelle building where people take their lives (heels and legs anyway)  into each others to stand as tall as possible. Very dangerous sport and gotta to be seen to be truly appreciated. If you want to see the astounding video please email me.a final stand in castelle

So in conclusion of my stay there, I must tell you that there are many lovely things to relate to you regarding Tarragona. but you need to go there to really know what I feel. Do email and ask me when you want specific information.

If you are a true traveller and lover of life then I would recommend a visit before the big boys are allowed to get their grip into it and make it TOO touristy. I will go back there given the chance.

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