MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “home”

Split between worlds

http://perfscience.com/sites/default/files/styles/nodeimg/public/field/image/Mars_Jupiter_Saturn.jpg?itok=QJIicVzwJupiter was born and raised on Saturn but fell in love on Mars. She knew well what it meant to be split between two worlds. Literally.

 When she was born, her parents, native Saturnians, decided to give her the name of another planet, simply because it seemed so majestic from their view of the solar system. She grew up on Saturn, a planet where everything had the shade of blue. From sky blue, to aquamarine, to turquoise, to dark blue, to blue black even. She liked her planet a lot. But Jupiter was restless. She wanted to go out there and explore. She was certain there was something more out there. Something other than just this blue.

 She soon found herself on Mars, a planet filled with shades of red – ruby red, dark red, pink red, rose, coral red. She decided to stay a while and discover a different way of life. Variety always intrigues. Together with that, however, she found a breath of fresh air and a soulmate that made her heart beat a little bit faster.

But he was on Mars. And her family was on Saturn.

The distance was minimised by rapid-speed vehicles that helped make the light-year journey seem like crossing over to another neighbourhood. But it still entailed travelling between planets. And no matter how often or how long she stayed on one, it never seemed enough. So Jupiter decided to do something. She took out her heart and split it in half. She gave one part to her family to remember that even if she wasn’t constantly physically present she was always with them. The other she replaced in her chest and flew to Mars. Her soulmate would complete the other half, and she would always be whole when she returned home.

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The screen that unites us

https://img.clipartfest.com/cff882c695c65e98e3882a6a62ee1d15_-online-chat-clip-art-1-online-chat-clipart_400-400.jpegYou might in essence be talking to a screen, but it’s beyond that: you’re engaging with the people who for some reason or other can’t be physically with you at that moment. The range and evolution of new technology nowadays allows you to contact at any place and any time people who may be situated miles away.

It enables you to share your news, to ask for help, to learn how to do things together – such as cook a meal, bake a cake, or even sew, no matter the distance that physically separates you.

There are some things you just know. And there are some people who can see those things without you really having to say anything. Parents are people like that. People who know when you need help even when you’re not asking for it. People who understand you are not well, no matter how much you try and hide it. People who will reassure you and make you feel better, even when you insist that everything is fine.

And it is at moments like those when you acknowledge the importance and dependence we have on technology and social media. Because if used right, it diminishes the miles and brings you home.

Making a house a home

https://neurosculptinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/HOME.jpgHome is not a place it’s a feeling”. It’s the sense you get that you are exactly where you want to be. With the people you want by your side. To create the memories that will last a lifetime. It’s the starting place of love, hope and dreams. It’s your refuge, your retreat, your safe haven. It’s the place where your heart will always be.

It may take bricks to build a house, but it takes so much more to build a home. Perhaps that is why it becomes all the more important when after roaming around countries and houses, you may finally decide on settling somewhere and begin to think longer-term. You start planning for a future without that sense of insecurity of “who knows where I’ll be by then”; when you’ve found where you want to be and want to build a home there.

We are the ones who create the homes we live in. We fill them with love, with dreams, with memories and the longer-term prospects that a beautiful story can start from right there.

Life takes you to unexpected places. Love brings you home”.

Head in the clouds

flying over clouds and rainbowYou know that expression “you’ve got your head in the clouds”? Well, some people actually do. Like Jazmin.

It was only natural she would become an air stewardess, as her father was a successful pilot and she often exploited the free travels she received as part of the perks of being a pilot’s daughter. By the time she was eight she had already set foot in all continents and was the youngest frequent flyer the airline had ever seen.

It was a logical aftermath, therefore, that Jazmin would choose to make a profession out of what she so loved.

Every few days she would embark on a different destination in another part of the world, ready to savour new cultures and mentalities.

She felt as if wanderlust – that strong desire to travel and constantly be on the move, to explore the world – was an emotion running in her veins ever since she was born. Combined with “Fernweh” – that crave for travelling, being homesick for a place you’ve never been – Jazmin was the personification of the ultimate traveler.

She rejoiced every time she set foot on the plane, and never really felt like home anywhere else. She was very well adapted to life on air that she had difficulty adapting to life on the ground.

The excitement and enthusiasm, however, began to fade three years later. Jazmin began to grow tired of the constant change of location, of the packing and unpacking, of the same air routine every couple of days. And she began to feel jealous of the young couples who would come on board, exhilarated that they were fleeing to an exotic destination, together. That is what she now longed for. Sharing this Fernweh that dominated her existence with someone else. Having a partner. Having a home. A stable place to which to return.

It was not too long after she admitted to herself that she yearned for some stability in her life of travels, that one particularly charming passenger made her heart skip a beat, so much that she almost poured the hot coffee on the person sitting right in front of him. Jazmin blushed, and the dandy gentleman radiated what she was for so long expecting – a smile that would make her feel at home.

But he disembarked, leaving Jazmin to wonder if should would ever see him again.

Until she found the note he had left for her on his seat. It was a meeting place for their first date, and the start of their life together. A life as colourful as all her travels, as energized as all her trips, and as loving as all her desires.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Roy G. Biv

This title has been hoarded too

Hoarding1Roger decided it was time he attended an H.A. meeting when he reached the point when he could not even find his bed anymore. He was one of the lucky few who had a home in one of the biggest trees in the forest so the situation he was now in was more than just “a pickle”.

He had heard about Hoarders Anonymous (H.A.) from his Aunt Sara who in turn had heard it from a cousin of a friend of someone else and it just got too complicated for him after that to follow the timeline of who found out about it first. The point was, however, that they existed and they promised to help.

Roger was a compulsive hoarder, but not a severely obsessed one. He could restrain himself, something that could not be said about some of the other participants of H.A. One of them had even gathered all the teaspoons that were set out with the coffee and tea that was offered during the meeting. And when wooden sticks were brought out to replace the vanished spoons, he even gathered those too!

Roger began hoarding as a baby squirrel. He was born in a drought and his family was always afraid they would never have enough acorns to survive the winter. So he too was infiltrated with the mentality that more is never enough: it was better to have the option of having something, than not having it at all in the first place. Having grown up this way, he couldn’t help himself now. He, like many other of his H.A. ‘co-sufferers’, assigned too much value to all of his possessions, seeing things in them that other people didn’t, and thus making it difficult for him to get rid of them. He believed that things may prove useful in the future or they simply reminded him of something, some moment or some person and thus he became emotionally attached. So, slowly, Roger’s nest began accumulating stuff of all sorts. He was very organized so he did manage to keep his home quite tidy. You couldn’t even tell he was hoarding so many things. Until that week when he became too busy, too tired and too lazy to arrange things. So they just kept piling up. And piling up. And covering furniture. To the extent that one day he couldn’t even find his bed, and that is when he decided radical action was necessary.

At H.A. all participants struggled with their hoarding obsessions. They knew it was unhealthy and very often costly in many ways other than money. But at this point it was something out of their control. Listening to the other participants speak, Roger knew he was better off.

One of them stated that she couldn’t sleep at all, not only because she couldn’t find the bed, or the bedroom for that matter, because everything was covered under heaps of stuff, but because whenever she closed her eyes she saw nightmares that she was stranded in the fourth circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno. This was the one reserved for the “hoarders and the wasters”, where hoarders spend their lives acquiring wealth and material possessions—represented as giant boulders—and are forever doomed to push the crushing weight of the rocks against the opposing force of wasters. She thus had panic attacks added to her list of obsessive-compulsive traits. Another of the H.A. participants said that he became a hoarder when he found out that his idol, Andy Warhol, was also a hoarder and that his four-story Upper East Side town house was so jammed with items that the only rooms with paths through them were the kitchen and the bedroom. In fact, when Warhol died, in 1987, he left behind 610 cardboard boxes that he called time capsules and this fan wanted to live up to that.

Roger was now certain he was not the nutter anymore. When it was his turn to speak, he got up and said “I’m a hoarder and I know it”. They all gasped at his certainty and self-confidence. Roger had something these others didn’t. Self-restraint. He knew what he had to do. He just had to decide what was truly worth keeping and what was not. And if that didn’t work, he would just find another tree bark he could use as a storage room!

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done!

Il ritorno del grifo

1 DSC08984There are few cities that invite you back no matter how much time has passed. Cities where you spent a significant part of your life, your ‘formation years’ and which draw you back to inject in you every now and then that adolescent hope which you had when you first set foot there. Few cities actually have something new to offer every time you visit. And even fewer make you feel as if you arrive at home. Every time.

The highway ends and you can begin to sense the excitement creeping up inside you. As you turn on those winding roads lined with blooming green trees, you feel that you are returning somewhere familiar. 2 DSC09120And the moment you see that first building, that first location which springs a memory to mind, you know you’re there. Where you left a piece of your heart, a piece of yourself. At a place which is filled with experiences and a best friend who always awaits you with arms wide open. It’s a place where you have a family and it feels like home no matter how long it’s been since your last visit. All it takes is a couple of hours to rediscover it all and blend right back in, as if you never left. As if a part of you continues to live here, evolving along with the city and yearning to remain free, independent and energetic, just like your youthful self when you first arrived.

3 IMG_0746Perugia is a city that registers in your mind and heart. With historic medieval stone buildings, situated in the heart of Umbria at the centre of Italy, between Renaissance Florence and the capital Rome, Perugia is famous. It is a well-known cultural and artistic centre of Italy, rich in architecture.

It hosts arguably the best Italian language school for foreigners, while famous Popes, 4 IMG_0739as well as renowned actress Monica Bellucci (among others) were students at its university. The famous painter Pietro Vannucci, nicknamed Perugino, who was the teacher of famous Renaissance artist Raphael, was a native of Città della Pieve near Perugia, while famous painter Pinturicchio lived in Perugia. Also from Perugia was the famous architect Galeazzo Alessi.

5 DSC08995Situated in the Umbrian hills with an elevation of 493 metres, Perugia is a beautiful medieval city where you can go pretty much anywhere on foot. It is actually more convenient to walk rather than try to drive a car through the narrow winding roads, especially in the city centre.

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With so many uphills and downhills, it is also an ideal city to exercise naturally. Perugia is one of the rare cities that even require the presence of escalators and lifts – hundreds of steps exist throughout the city joining the different levels created due to its very particular geographic location.

7 DSC08989And the most exciting thing is that every strait around every winding corner leads to a magnificent scenery, a stone balcony full of colourful flowers smelling like spring and a series of steps that invite you to follow them to quench your curiosity.

Perugia is a city that inspires and encourages you to enjoy its elegant and interesting lifestyle to the fullest. 8 DSC09145It was only fitting therefore that the city chose as its protector during the Renaissance the mythological griffin – il grifo. With the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, the griffin – found all over Perugia – is the city’s symbol, its emblem, its mascot, and during a football match, the city team’s nickname. It is associated with strength, courage and intelligence. The wings give it speed; the claws give it ferocious power – a proper combination of the king of beasts and the king of birds.

9 DSC09117Even more fascinating is the presence of an old city, buried when Pope III Farnese at the end of the ‘salt war’ in 1540 decided to build a fortress – Rocca Paolina – to keep the Perugians in line. Five levels high and symbolic of the papal domain, it encompassed an entire medieval neighbourhood, complete with houses, towers and streets. It was finally razed to the ground in 1860 and all that remains are the charming and unique basements, crossed through by escalators and used for cultural exhibitions.

No matter how long or how little you stay, 10 DSC09749there is always something new to discover – a small artisan shop, a tasty dish, a delicious drink. With festivals taking place all year round – be it Umbria Jazz in the summer (when the streets fill with music) or Eurochocolate in the winter (when the city is overflowing with chocolate) – the city invites tourists worldwide to discover the fascination of being a Perugino (and this is not only in reference to the famous Baci chocolates).

11 DSC09053In addition, few cities can boast an ideal balance between provincial traditions (the city’s population counts a mere 170,000) and technological progressions. With almost everyone in possession of a smartphone, the Umbria region even offers free Wi-Fi for two hours a day wherever you are in the city. Plus, the Perugini are avid recyclers – with containers separating waste found throughout the town, thus making the city exceptionally clean.

12 IMG_0735The best thing about a constant stroll up and down the city is that you return home tired but upbeat. Particularly since most of the high-ceiling houses here are naturally cooler inside than outside in the summer and in the winter do not require heaters to retain their warmth. This is when you truly feel fulfilled, when you are falling fast asleep in the warm embrace of a bed bigger and more comfortable than the one you usually lie in, to wake up refreshed, elated and safe of being among family.

13 DSC09057Then when the time comes you don’t want to leave. You already feel accustomed to this tranquil life, carefree and stress-free. Why return to the other side of reality? But departing will only make the next return taste sweeter. Because you will return. That is for certain.

 

N.B. All photos are mine taken in Perugia, Italy on 15-24 July 2014

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap

Catching that Zen moment

travel 2It already starts during the return trip. That feeling of melancholy that slowly creeps up on you when you are about to depart from a place at which you’ve spent a few amazing days. You’ve already sort of lost touch with reality, at least for a while having left aside your routine, even if you worked during your trip.

No matter what the reason for a trip, a change of location certainly offers a breath of fresh air. Scientists have even argued that traveling is good for the health because it creates new neurons and it augments optimism and the feeling of happiness. Indeed the fascination of going somewhere else, somewhere you don’t see on a daily basis, triggers in you a wave of excitement that in fact also makes you a much more positive person and brings on more smiles.

Traveling is also good for the soul. It opens your mind to new cultures and mentalities, it allows you to discover new places and meet new people, and it makes you more dynamic and sociable, particularly if you try to engage in the ‘normal’ life of the location and not simply follow the tourist route.

But the worst part is when you are preparing to leave. That is the instance when it hits you that the fun is sort of over. That you have to leave the friends you’ve stayed with to return to your routine, however agreeable that may be. Somehow, whenever you return to your home and familiar surroundings, nothing seems the same. You see everything differently, at first often with an inevitable comparison, and something always seems to be missing. It does take a while to reacclimatize yourself. Especially if for so many days you were speaking a different language, as at home this would offer an additional incentive for people to consider you a foreigner in your own country.

It is difficult to return to base. Just imagine how astronauts would feel. Nonetheless, there is nothing to regret. The trip has certainly opened up your mind, relaxed your soul, and soothed your heart. And that alone is something to be grateful for. For having the luxury to travel. To see other cultures, (re)encounter friends, and reach that Zen moment that escaped you for so long.

Why do you stray away?

cute stray dogWhat draws a person into becoming a volunteer? (An actual volunteer and not a person who is expected to do professional work without getting paid in kind or acknowledgement.) A volunteer for a cause. Deciding to invest time and energy into something that is important. Like for example, entertaining sick children, playing board games with old people, or taking care of animals found injured and abandoned. It takes strength to do something beyond your own interest. And it is a sad fact that fewer people today choose to do so.

Every day there are tens of animals left in the streets to fight for their survival. People who loved the idea of having a puppy but when it grew up, they decided it’s too much trouble, entails too many expenses, and the kids who were supposed to “play” with it have now found a new gadget that consumes their time. So the apparent solution for some, is to just drop it off and drive away. “It will find a way to fend for itself”.

Hunters adopt Pointers simply for the sake of that season when they wish to engage in the “thrill” of crawling within the bushes and ambushing small, defenseless creatures, because “it is fun” and “it is a hobby”. One in fact that has royal roots – but that is another story. But throughout the rest of the year, these dogs are often left in appalling conditions, locked up in cages outside, with scarce food because according to some that will create a greater appetite that will make them better hunters, and the worse part, if they get sick they are left to perish.

bigstock-stray-kitten-sitting-on-the-gr-18946910As for cats, these tend to reproduce generously, something which frequently causes the discontent of the neighbourhood, as little felines run around house to house constantly searching for food. And in their attempt to stay out of the human hand that seeks to domesticate or punish them, cats habitually end up under some (race)driver’s wheels in the middle of the road.

If only there was some sort of way that these animals could be protected, while at the same time appeasing the neighbourhoods’ request for quiet and stray-free areas.

Animal shelters try to offer some help. But there is little to do if you are fighting on your own. A young couple in Athens set up on their own an animal shelter located in a large field in the suburbs of Attica. They currently offer care to over 100 dogs and on a daily basis issue calls for adoption of cats and dogs alike. Facing huge financial difficulties in supporting this shelter – often at the expense of their own comfort –, they demonstrate their love to these animals (all of whom they name) by refusing to give up on them when everyone else does. The lady described the tender story of how one Pointer was abandoned at their shelter as the previous owner was about to put her down because she had developed a sort of bulking tumour on her chest. Yet after months of tender, love and care, the swelling retreated and the dog was now a joyful, energetic, barking normal dog. One that had almost been killed for no reason.

There are so many people out there who maltreat animals”, she tells me. “And what do these sweet creatures want? Just some love and affection”.

Just recently, in Cyprus, a small stray dog was thrown into a cardboard crusher by two hotel employees “because it was irritating the customers”. The dog did not survive. But just a few weeks later, the story has already been forgotten.

It is strange how we can so easily let go when it does not concern humans. Yet these animals often offer to us much more than some humans ever can. Unconditional love, loyalty, understanding, to name but a few. All you have to do is look into the eyes of a stray to see reflected in them the magnitude of its soul – that despite having suffered so much because of humans, it still has not given up on them. Maybe it is time to return the trust and do something for them in return. Something that goes beyond our own selfish interests for someone who is silently pleading for our help.

What lies in a bed

bed_walnutWhat most people look forward to at the end of each day is falling into soft, clean sheets and getting the rest they deserve after a tiring day. Then of course, you have to find the courage to get out of bed the next morning. George Horace Lorimer perhaps said it best “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination, if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.

Sleeping in your own bed entails the comfort of floating – that light-weight, carefree, burden-less sensation that allows you to carry off in a deep, tranquil sleep.

And when you’re away from your own bed for a while, you learn to appreciate it more. It is more than just the feeling of luxury, it is rather feeling where you belong. It is being embraced by a mattress, into which you have molded the very shape of your body. Which has been fashioned over the years so as to act as a perfect fit.

But the best part of it all is when you turn in tired and satisfied after a productive day. That is when you truly experience the indulgence of cuddling into bed, wrapped into warm sheets and drifting into the arms of Morpheus.

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