Exhaling…just a little!

Inhale, exhale

Image credit: whisper.sh

Last year, I wrote a post titled Waiting to Exhale. In it, I spoke about working on my daughter’s health and well-being. I alluded to behaviours that were impacting my daughter’s well-being by her peers. It all came to a head at Easter last year when my daughter broke down and let her father and I know what was specifically causing her such distress. My daughter has anxiety, from a young age due to health conditions when she was born, resulting in her undergoing 2 lots of corrective surgery (at 3 months and 7 months old). Due to this, we were in and out of hospital until she was 4 years old – her anxiety became more apparent at age four.  Since then, her anxiety has been manageable and not been triggered…until recently. It is heartbreaking watching your child go through something but feel helpless because you don’t know the extent of what the issue is.

e8d6059544daf9258d05a5571da3ec9b

image credit: pinterest.com

Once my daughter finally opened up and this was after seeing a psychologist, working with her eating and general health…and just loving her! It was shocking to learn this was happening to my child and she hadn’t told us (her parents) even though it had been happening for 2.5 years already! I felt that once it was out, it helped shift things immensely – we knew what we were dealing with and how we would like to tackle it. My husband and I were exasperated and felt helpless when everything we tried had not helped, but now I realise it was because we hadn’t gotten to the root of the problem.

The issue that triggered my daughter’s anxiety was bullying. Something that I am so opposed to that it just shocked me to the core! I am aware that the bully/ perpetrator is usually dealing with things themselves but I feel there is no excuse for bullying. It doesn’t only impact the victim but their families, and usually for longer than the actual period of time the bullying took place. It is a complex situation and I don’t condone it nor do I tolerate it. As children we first learn from our parents and adults in our life, so I feel it is fundamental that we display behaviours that are congruent with what we teach our children.

What we say or don’t say is behaviour that is observed and learnt by our children. I am becoming more aware of what I say and how I behave to ensure they are congruent with what I say/ teach my daughter. I cannot control other people’s words and actions but I can control mine in order to help guide my daughter. Our children become who we are, if we don’t like who we are then we have the power to change that. As per my favourite song by Whitney Houston, I believe our children are our future. We need to teach them well so they can lead the way as they become adults. Children are our future leaders so time invested in our children is time well spent. Who do you want your children to become? What type of leaders do we want for the future? How do we ensure our children become good role models?

children

Image credit: happilyevermom.com

My time invested in my daughter is a work in progress, we are learning together and committed to her health and well-being. That said, she has started high school, made some new friends and has shared her experience with them, she has found them to be supportive and protective of her. She has a tighter group of friends consisting of existing friends plus a few new friends. I have often mentioned to my daughter that friendships will change but if she finds a good group of friends – who support and encourage each other, accepting their differences then hopefully, their bond will grow and strengthen. Since that revelation over a year ago, I have watched my daughter become more assured, happy and healthy in mind and body again. There is still work to be done, the journey is not over but I have been able to exhale…just a little – so we have been able to continue to Laugh.Love.Live more fully again.

Please contact the services available in your area/ country to assist with any issues regarding mental health, bullying, general health and well-being. I have included some website links to some available in Australia but please do not feel limited to these – please feel free to explore all options to find one that is most suitable for you. Peace and blessings!

www.beyondblue.org.au

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

https://www.headspace.com/

https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens

https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what’s-going-on/bullying-and-cyberbullying

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/

http://www.thechildrenspsychologyclinic.com.au/

 

 

Advertisements

Who are you becoming?

4024ef31743ec2d2ff40764f9c65ca28

Image credit: pinterest.com

The title of this post was a homework question to ponder for an accreditation I am completing. I didn’t like who I was 20, 30 or even 10 years ago but I like who I am becoming. I am becoming authentic – becoming who I am supposed to be. I feel as though I was living my life based on expectations placed on me – whether that be mine, my family, friends’ or society’s. I am unlearning years of conditioned thoughts, actions and behaviours. It took years to learn and will also take years to unlearn and I am glad to be on that journey.

 

I have been on a self-discovery/ learning journey now for about 6 years. Learning about yourself is often an uncomfortable one, accepting things about yourself that you may not like. It is also about looking at what you can change and how you can go about it. It’s not an easy journey and one that I still stumble on but one that I am committed for the whole journey. There are thoughts, actions and behaviours due to unconscious or sub-conscious thoughts/ behaviours that I am still addressing. Sometimes they will pop up at times least expected. Like my one with body image, familiar with most people – females in particular.

When I was younger, I was unhealthy for a long time – physically and mentally. As a result, I was quite thin. People used to say to me “You’re so lucky to be skinny” but I didn’t see that comment as a compliment. I would exercise to try and put on weight, muscle and to look healthy but I remained “skinny”. I was in a toxic environment and this resulted in not being in a good space physically and mentally. I became anaemic, my acne flared and I was making unhealthy food choices – I wasn’t eating or sleeping well for many years. When I was able to remove myself from the situation, I was able to sleep and eat properly. I gained weight, looked healthier and felt better about myself.

However, when I bumped into people who hadn’t seen me since I was “skinny”, the comments I would receive were “Oh, you’ve put on weight” and “Be careful you don’t get too fat”. So, even though I was finally healthy, people didn’t seem to observe this and chose to comment about me getting ‘fat’. I was in my early twenties so image was one of those things that was kind of important (not something I’m proud of but it was reality). I would respond to those people with “Yes, but I’m healthy now”, but I still had a small part of me thinking I was ‘fat’. I try to avoid using those labels especially now that I have a daughter who could be influenced by how I perceive myself. I prefer to say that our bodies should be healthy – regardless of weight, size or shape. By choosing not to use those labels, I am unlearning years of conditioning and still progressing. I have a long way to go but slowly making progress – and progress, no matter how small is still progress. Something that I feel society has yet to tackle successfully eg Media, advertising, films, etc. There has been some progress but there is much more to room to move.

Which is why my comment to a couple of my friends one night bothers me so much, even to this day although it happened a few weeks ago. I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen for a while and we started discussing tattoos. One of my friends, whom I call my ‘tattoo buddy’ as she has accompanied me previously, has a design that she drew and had finally decided where she wanted it to be placed. I love her design and also the location she has decided. I have also been contemplating where I’d like mine and mentioned a spot I was considering. That spot is on my side torso, my friend said with encouragement “Yes, that’s where you should put it!” To which my response was (to my horror) “It just means I can’t get fat”.

Awkward poster

The thing with words is once you have said them, you can’t take them back. I can’t take back my words and I have been ruminating over them since. I realise my comment was a reflection of how I felt about my body, not anyone else’s. I tend not to notice people’s weight/ size unless it is pointed out but I’m quick to criticise myself. Something I am slowly changing… becoming. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be but I can be better. Even when I facilitate learning, I say “Practice makes permanent” – not perfect. I feel that nothing is perfect. I can practice the change in my thoughts, actions and behaviour to become permanent.

I caught up with my youngest sister recently and we spoke about this question amongst other things. She is also on a self-discovery/ learning journey so our discussion revolved around a few things related to this. My sister spoke about what she wanted in her life right now was different to what/ where some of her friends were at the moment. I said that it was okay for her to be different and she agreed. I also mentioned what her friends want or are doing in their lives at the moment may not be what they want but may be because it is expected of them. We spoke about how sometimes the years of conditioning also takes a long time to unlearn.

How sometimes we may say/ do things sub consciously or unconsciously based on what friends/ family/ society has projected on us rather than what we really want and that we need to become more aware/ conscious to prevent doing that. Especially if it is not congruent with who we are. She mentioned how it is with me being the eldest and her being the youngest (there are 14.5 years between us), how responsibility is always expected of me and sometimes thrust upon me even when I may not want it. I agreed, and mentioned with her being the youngest, that there were also certain expectations that were projected upon her.  We both laughed and said we are ‘flipping the bird’ to expectations! We accept who we are and who we are becoming, faults and all – it’s quite liberating!

So, who are you becoming? How can you ensure you like who you are becoming? What are some things you could start or continue to do, to become who you ARE?

I aim to enable myself and others to Laugh.Love.Live. Thank you for allowing me to share and process my thoughts through this blog. I feel I process things better when I construct my thoughts into writing. Thank you for sharing back with me via your blogs, likes and comments – it is very much appreciated, provoking thought and insight! The definition of authentic is below – I hope to realise point 1, but not so much point 2! Peace and blessings!

authentic
ɔːˈθɛntɪk
adjective
adjective: authentic
  1. of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.
    “the letter is now accepted as an authentic document”
    synonyms: genuine, original, real, actual, pukka, bona fide, true, veritable; More

    sterling;
    attested, undisputed, rightful, legitimate, lawful, legal, valid;
    echt;
    informalthe real McCoy, the genuine article, the real thing, your actual, kosher, honest-to-goodness;
    informaldinkum;
    raresimon-pure
    “the first authentic Rubens in the museum’s collection”
    antonyms: fake, spurious
    • made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original.
      “the restaurant serves authentic Italian meals”
    • based on facts; accurate or reliable.
      “an authentic depiction of the situation”
      synonyms: reliable, dependable, trustworthy, authoritative, honest, faithful; More

      accurate, exact, factual, true, truthful, veracious, true to life;
      informalstraight from the horse’s mouth;
      rareveridical
      “an authentic depiction of the situation”
      antonyms: unreliable, inaccurate
    • (in existentialist philosophy) relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life.
  2. Music
    (of a church mode) containing notes between the final (the principal note) and the note an octave higher.

Gratitude!

thank-you-3270740_1920.jpg

Image credit: pixabay.com

Just a quick shout out to my followers – thanks so much, I have reached over 200 follows! It’s reassuring to know that my posts are read and resonate with you all. Thank you to those who have also engaged with my blog by leaving comments – much appreciated! When I started blogging (it has been 6 years to date!), I wasn’t sure how my blog would unfold but it soon took shape and I am continually inspired by fellow bloggers who provide encouragement with their ‘likes’ and ‘follows’. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy lives to read and follow my humble blog and also than you for sharing your experiences, knowledge, ideas, creativity and thoughts via your blogs! Due to work/ study commitments as well as family and extra curricular commitments, I may take a while but I eventually read and follow back those who comment, like or follow my posts. Continue to Laugh.Love.Live via your own blogging experiences – peace and blessings!

 

200followers

From the city of fountains to a coastal escape!

 

As we left Rome, we were excited to start the next phase of our trip which was to relax, rejuvenate and rest. My good friend who went to Italy a few years ago, said that if we are going to Italy then we have to go there – ‘there’ is Positano! We organised to fly to Naples which was humorous in itself as we didn’t realise how quick the flight would be – it was a 45 minute flight and no sooner had we made our ascent, then the pilot announced that we were on our descent! We landed in Naples airport and headed out to meet our driver. It was probably a good hour and a half drive. It was nice to sit and take in the sights as we drive through Naples and headed down and up the winding roads to Positano.

We were staying in Montepertuso which literally translates to hole in the mountain. Our apartment was just underneath that ‘hole’. We had seen the photo taken from the balcony in the booking and it looked amazing, we were excited to arrive and unwind. We arrived before the apartment had been finished cleaning so the daughter of our host, Teresa advised us to go to town centre, which was 5 minutes walk away. She recommended we try Il Ritrovo, it was in Piazza Capella. We walked to the town centre and found Montepertuso to be a quaint little town. There is a general store which we frequented to buy food and supplies during our stay and bus tickets. The restaurant was easy to find, it was the main one there and only one open for lunch which made it an easy choice!

We were seated on the balcony which had wonderful views over the Tyrrhenian Sea. We had glimpses of the amazing view when we arrived at our apartment and along our walk to the Montepertuso town centre. We had a lovely lunch, the restaurant uses all local, fresh produce and the food is very good. We felt relaxed already as we sat and enjoyed the view, the lovely food and the friendly atmosphere at Il Ritrovo. When we finished lunch, our waiter gave us some mixed herbs and dried chilli to take away which came in handy when I cooked dinner a few times during our stay. After lunch we headed back to our apartment to check in, change and head down to Positano Centre.

The bus ride to Positano Centro was a harrowing experience for the uninitiated! It was nail biting as the bus driver navigated the narrow roads where at times, you could reach out the window and touch the side of the mountain! We give the bus drivers much credit as they all navigated the mountainside with ease. At times, you wondered how two cars could fit alongside each other to pass but it happened without incident. The bus stop was at the street which was above our apartment and due every hour. You could buy bus tickets on the bus for 1.30 euro but if we purchased them from a newsagent or at the general store, it was a little cheaper at 1.10 euro. We found out that you could buy as many as you needed in advance as they were one way tickets so we would buy 6 or 9 at a time for the 3 of us. We had no idea once we were dropped off at the bus stop at the Positano Town Centre, which way it was to the beach but we rationalised that we should keep walking down.

As we walked, we passed may shops, markets and the iconic church of Santa Maria Assunta right in the town centre. We didn’t stop to admire much during this walk as we wanted to get to the water to have our first glimpse of the beach and fit in a quick swim for the afternoon. When we arrived, we were not disappointed by the beauty of our surrounds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our first day at Positano and Montepertuso exceeded our expectations. Our host was a lovely man named Raffaele who lived in a nearby apartment as did his daughter, Teresa and her family. Teresa speaks English and helped us with directions, communication and organising a boat trip to Capri on her Father’s boat on our last day in Montepertuso. More about that later. We learnt from our balcony, we could see the island Il Galli – it is privately owned and is the one that looks like a dolphin from the air. Being a private island, you are unable to visit but we were told by Teresa that it has beautiful villas on there and you can see it from the air. I’ve included a picture I found on the internet as some of you may be familiar with it.

Li Galli

Li Galli – picture courtesy of Golden Tours Sorrento

We headed back up through the town after our afternoon swim to catch the bus back to Montepertuso. There is only one bus and the bus stop is right above our doorstep so it was very easy to catch the bus to and from Positano town centre. There is also the option to walk to and from Positano Centro down the many flights of steps and back up – we were advised it would take about 45 minutes either way but we decided the bus trip, although a nail biting experience at times, was an easier alternative with my daughter in tow.

The next day we decided to spend a full day in Positano, after breakfast we headed up to the street (which was up 5 flights of stairs) to get the bus. We did a lot of walking even though we took the bus up and down to Positano Centro! We decided we would relax and enjoy the beach, have lunch and just soak up the sunshine and atmosphere at the main beach. This was our down time, family time at our happy place – beachside and we were savouring every moment!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had a couple of days where it was Wake up, eat, beach, sleep, repeat! Then one day we decided to hop on a ferry to explore Amalfi. There are many ferries you can catch from Positano at various times and prices. We walked out to the ferry wharf to find out what time the ferry was due to depart and we were lucky that there was one leaving fairly soon. We bought our tickets and waited to board, we had no expectations and just wanted to see where the day took us. The ferry ride was amazing, we loved seeing the coastline as we sailed down the Amalfi Coast from Positano. We arrived at Amalfi, not knowing what we would do other than wanting to see Grotto Esmeraldo.

When we got off the ferry, there were people asking people to join a boat to go to the grotto, as it was what we wanted to do – we got onto the boat, paid our 15 euros and we were off! It all happened very quickly, no sooner were we off one boat, then we were aboard another! The trip to the grotto was quick, we unloaded and waited at the entrance to the grotto. It cost 5 euro for the tour of the cave – it is one cave and has the nativity scene submerged under the water. There are plenty of stalactites hanging from the ceiling of the cave and due to the refraction of light, the water looks emerald. It was a very quick tour of the cave before we were waiting for the boat to return and take us back to Amalfi. Once we arrived back at Amalfi, we grabbed some lunch near the wharf, then walked into the town centre to explore.

It was such a beautiful little town to explore, markets, stores, we saw the Duomo di Sant’Andrea in all it’s glory. We ate delicious arancini, roamed the streets, taking it all in and found at the end of the main street in the piazza, the Fontana cap e ciuccio. It is an unusual decorated fountain basin which was originally used to refresh the local donkeys who had pulled carts from nearby villages. We enjoyed this spontaneous day trip and we planned to have a couple more before we left the Amalfi Coast.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another day trip we decided to do was Sorrento. We arrived to the port and made our way up to the town centre. It was a maze of streets, markets, rows and rows of stores and was very busy. We walked around, looking the Basilica di Sant Antonino which was beautiful and walked to a vantage point to take in the view. We had a lovely lunch in a restaurant down by the marina during the infamous Sorrento Summer storms before heading back to Positano. We weren’t that impressed by Sorrento – we found there were rows of shops and not much else. We spoke to another couple waiting for the same return ferry to Positano and they shared the same sentiment. We were glad to have experienced it for ourselves, although we now wish we had visited Ravello instead. It will have to wait for another time!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We spent Father’s Day at Positano, having lunch at a restaurant with great views a little further from the main beach, called Ristorante Lo Guarracino. The food was amazing and was a great way to celebrate Father’s day while away! We explored walking around from the restaurant to a little beach further up, taking in the gorgeous views and enjoying the scenic walk. It was a spontaneous exploration where we uncovered a great walking track, having our own little adventure! We were liking our stay here at Positano more each day, always something amazing to discover!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On our last day, it was nice enough to go out on the boat trip to Capri. We were excited to be able to take the trip because we had booked a different boat trip but due to the storm a day earlier, it was cancelled and our deposit refunded. Initially, we were supposed to share the boat with two other people but we were lucky to have it to ourselves for the day. The weather was beautiful, sunny and calm seas – it was an amazing way to end our week in Positano. We toured along the Positano coast then headed out to Capri. The sea was calm, the sun was shining, there were no clouds or rain in sight! We sailed under the famous arch of Il Faraglioni where we were advised that it was good luck to kiss your sweetheart as you pass undderneath, which we happily obliged!

Raffaele gave us a tour around the island of Capri before we disembarked. We had lunch at Ristorante Lo Zodiaco, it was a lovely place to eat lunch by the water and helped my daughter to feel better as she had gotten a little seasick as we travelled across from Positano. We wanted to see the blue grotto but when we bought tickets, the man said “if it is open”. When were we aboard the boat, we were advised that due to the storm a couple of days ago, it wasn’t open but we still enjoyed the boat trip – we love being in and around water.

We returned to peruse the markets along the marina, unfortunately we didn’t have time to go up to the gardens due to the time taken to see if the blue grotto was open but we still enjoyed the day – we knew we would return one day. On the return trip to Positano, Raffaele stopped the boat in the bay of a small beach. It is only accessible by boat and we jumped into the clear aqua waters of the Tyrrhenian sea! It was the  highlight of our trip. We swam to the beach, walked along the beach before heading back into the water to swim back to the boat. I languished in the sea a little longer, not wanting the day to end. The water was so refreshing and clear, it was such a treat and a great way to cap off our week in Positano!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We hope you enjoyed Positano and the Amalfi coast as much as we did – we hope to return to explore more of the area and see places we didn’t get to visit this time around. Our ‘places to go’ list seems to grow each day! We definitely felt relaxed and rejuvenated after a week here. It was a priority to Laugh.Love.Live during our time here and we looked forward to visiting a few more places in the eternal city before heading home. I’ll leave with a few pictures of us exploring Montepertuso, the main piazza, the Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie and the “Pierced rock” where the legend states that Mother Mary fought with the devil ( in Serpent form) and won. Mother Mary pierced the rock with her finger as a sign of her everlasting presence here – what a great legend! Peace and Blessings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

The city of fountains – Part one!

We arrived at our final destination and the realisation hit me that our adventures were at the beginning of the end! I felt as though I didn’t want our adventures to finish. My husband and daughter were looking forward to this destination as was I especially to one part it in particular – a week with no itinerary down the south coast to relax and unwind. We arrived in Rome and headed for the taxi stand to be taken to our accommodation for the next 3 days.  We took everything in with our eyes when we left the airport – it is so exciting arriving at a new destination with no expectations other than to be amazed by the beauty, history and culture!

When the taxi driver arrived at our destination, I was a little underwhelmed as he pulled up alongside an old building that looked neglected, graffiti covering the walls and a little deserted but it was only around 3pm in the afternoon. I had booked online and was a bit worried. The taxi driver stopped and said, the hotel is in there, pointing towards the door in the middle and I asked “The hotel is just here?” He confirmed it, let us out and put our suitcases on the steps.

We needn’t have worried as we walked down the front of the building, finding the hotel entrance towards the middle, as indicated and walked inside. We were greeted by a very friendly concierge, who called the porter to bring us to our room before bringing our bags up for us. We were surprised at the size of the room compared to the tiny room we had in Paris! We had a quick walk around the hotel to get our bearings as we were taken up a lift then up a few flights of stairs. We found the hotel housed some beautiful artwork in the common area which was unexpected. I have included some pictures of the artwork on display and one of the lounge area where a lot of this artwork was displayed. We were quite impressed!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The hotel we stayed at was Hotel Napoleon, it was quite close to the Metro line A and our first major attraction when we went for a little wander after finding something to eat close to our hotel. We stumbled upon the Santa Maria Maggiore, a beautiful large basilica only 5 mins walk away. It is an 18th century building and we found it looming above us and beautiful from the outside. Unfortunately, we had so much to see in our short time here that we didn’t get to go inside the basilica – we came close but realised we were dressed inappropriately. When visiting churches in Rome, your shoulders and knees must be covered and most days, the temperature was quite high (over 30 degrees celcius/ 86 farenheit) and as a result, we were dressed in shorts and singlets. So unless we had planned to visit a church, we would only see the outside of the building. As you can imagine, there are many churches, cathedrals and basilicas to see in Rome so we had plenty to choose from!

We were already in awe of Rome after seeing the Basilica and went exploring around the neighbourhood within a 10 mins walking radius to find somewhere to have a nice Italian meal for dinner later that evening. We walked past many and decided that we’d come out later and see what took our fancy.

We walked into a restaurant we had walked past earlier that was quite nondescript from the street. It had a little sign out the front and steps leading into the restaurant below street level. We entered and were taken to our seats, we realised it was deceivingly larger than first impressions would lead you to believe. The restaurant is called La Vecchia Conca and we found the meals to be delicious! It was cozy and served great Italian food, the waiter spoke English as my Italian is rudimentary at best! It was family friendly and locals frequented it as well as tourists so we took it to be a good sign. We liked it so much, we ate there again before departing. We found out a little later, a tip to eating in Italy is that if there is someone outside the restaurant/ cafe enticing you to eat there then it’s not worth a visit.

After our lovely meal, we walked around a little before heading back to the hotel to settle in for the night. The next morning we walked out to the bus stop near the Santa Maria Maggiore to wait for our bus. When we arrived, there were a few tourists already waiting, some hawkers were there selling hats and scarves. They were particularly persistant even when the two ladies said no, they would put a hat onto their heads. Luckily we were all wearing hats ourselves so were not bothered by them. This we found was a common occurrence where tourists were gathered en masse!

The first stop for our bus was where we also got off to explore as it was the main attraction for us that day – the Colosseum! We saw it from afar and could not believe we were so close to something we had only dreamed of seeing! Once we arrived, we were awed by the sheer size of it! Even if you have seen images before, it pales in comparison to when you are standing in front of and in it! We proceeded to the Roman Forum as that is where the visit commenced. We collected our tickets and proceeded into the Roman Forum and Palantine Hill. It is such an expansive area with so many ruins, amazing architecture which we found was a great pre-cursor to the main attraction! My husband studied ancient history in high school and was blown away by the fact that you could touch artefacts that were thousands of years old and be surrounded by so much history!

Climbing up Palantine Hill is amazing, to see how the Romans built their cities, the views, architecture and beauty surrounding them was astounding! There were rooftop gardens, city views, temples and so much more! It really is amazing to see how much history was around us, in front of us, behind us and underneath us! There are still ruins being found to this day as they dig underground – they have been trying to build another metro line since the 1980’s but as they dig, they come across more ruins and have to cease! My husband joked that they have to stop because they keep finding more ruins before we knew that was the actual reason! It is a city rich in history and everywhere you look, you will find ruins scattered amongst the modern buildings – such a unique city!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our ticketed time for the Colosseum was around 3pm in the afternoon so we headed out of Palantine Hill to grab some lunch at the metro station next to the Colosseum. It was a very warm day and we enjoyed lemon granitas with pizza – they were a refreshing, cool accompaniment to our lunch – when in Rome! We rested and cooled ourselves before lining up to see the Colosseum. This is what my daughter and husband had been waiting for – this was the highlight for both of them (and me too)! It still felt surreal that we were standing in Rome about to see the Colosseum even after being blown away by the Roman Forum and Palantine Hill! We passed through the security checkpoint and then were inside walking along underneath admiring the structures from below only to be blown away once we walked up the stairs which revealed the structure in all it’s glory! Walking around, reading the information, seeing the sheer size and detail makes you realise the engineering and architectural marvel as a testament to why it is still standing there today! Even though we took many photos, I feel the pictures do not do the Colosseum justice. Even though it has a macabre history, I feel it shouldn’t take away from the amazing structure built centuries ago that is still standing in modern times! I hope my photos do not want spoil it for those who have yet to see it for themselves!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After our day at the Colosseum, we hopped back on a bus to see more attractions and see where we wanted to explore the next day but there was one stop we had to make before calling it a day! We got off the bus and walked our way through the cobblestone streets towards the buzz of a crowd. We arrived to the one place I wanted to see with my own eyes – Fontana di Tevi! Yes, it was crowded, full of tourists, noisy and busy but we felt it was so worth fighting the crowds for! The Fontana di Trevi is the largest Baroque Fountain in the city and the most beautiful in the world. We all threw a coin each into the fountain to ensure our return to this wonderful city! I was advised by a good friend to visit the fountain at night so that was planned for a later date during our stay!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was also the place where I sampled my first Cannoli in Rome and it did not disappoint!  There just happens to be a great Gelateria and Pasticciera right near the fountain, it is called Don Nino and I recommend visiting it if you ever happen to be in the area! Our first full day in Rome – what an eventful day that is forever etched into our memory. We looked forward to more amazing sights in the days to come.

The next day we headed off in the morning and planned to visit Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus). It is an ancient chariot racing track which you may be familiar with as it was used in the filming of Ben Hur. It looks plain and dry upon first look but has much history attached to it. We were amazed at the sheer size of the track and how it was used as an entertainment arena by the ancient Romans. From there, we walked to the Piazza della Bocca della Verita this translates to the Square of the Mouth of Truth. This is situated near the Tiber River and was interesting to walk around to view the remains of a temple, the fountain and park. The Mouth of Truth is situated near here in the portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church. We didn’t line up to take photos, we enjoyed the Piazza and the Tiber river instead.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From here, we got on another bus which took us to the Il Vittoriano.  Romans don’t much admire the Vittoriano; they refer to it as ‘the wedding cake’. We decided to stop and explore this monument or ‘wedding cake’ as it affectionately known. It is very impressive due to it’s stature and those who love it for it’s beauty, views and architecture – it certainly delivers! There are great views back to the Roman Forum from behind. There is a museum to visit, galleries to explore and of course the Monument to visit and views across the Piazza Venezia when you get up to the equestrian statue, as the monument itself does not impede the views. There are also impressive fountains in front of the monument as most fountains in Rome. We spent a bit of time walking around, exploring and taking in the sights.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next stop was Castel D’Angelo, it is built along the banks of the Tiber river – also with a deep history as was the case with many of the places we visited in Rome. It has been a papal residence and has a bridge that you walk across which has the statues of the apostles Saint Peter (holding a book, with the pedestal inscription Rione XIV) by Lorenzetto, and Saint Paul (holding a broken sword and a book, with the pedestal inscription Borgo) by Paolo Romano.

There is so much to see and learn in the city of Rome and we had only begun to scratch the surface! From the Castel, you can see the Vatican City and the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. We wondered around the building and markets nearby where we bought some refreshing lemon and watermelon granita to cool down and walked under a water sprinkler to get some relief from the heat. The temperature was above 30 degrees celsius during our visit to Rome, so it was quite warm!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Afterwards, we enjoyed travelling around Rome taking in a few sights and stopped at Piazza Barberini to walk around and view the famous Fontana del Tritone, sculpted by Bernini. This piazza is named after the Barberini family who made their home here. There is also a smaller fountain called the Fountain of Bees which was the symbol of the Barberini family.

Another full day in Rome, where we did so much walking and exploring, drinking in all the sights with our eyes. We were thoroughly enjoying our visit to this city of fountains! The next day was also a highlight of our visit to Italy. We were up early, catching the metro at 7am to meet at Piazza del Popolo for our day trip to Pompeii! It was an early start but worth every second! There is a house with interesting history called Casa Longus, not due to the family who lived there but for the marble table on display. Servilius Casca Longus who was one of the people responsible for Caesar’s death. This table was auctioned by order of the future Emperor Augustus, as all of Caesar’s followers were stripped of their worldly goods. They are certain that the rich owner of the property bought these things at an auction then brought it back and put it on display as a proud purchase from that auction in Rome.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After visiting the ancient city of Pompeii, we had lunch in a restaurant in Naples (apparently where you can find the best pizza!) and then visited Volcano Sulfatara. We were meant to go to Mt. Vesuvius but due to recent fires, it was unsafe to visit. Volcano Sulfatara gets it’s name due to the sulphur gases you can smell when you visit (smells like bad eggs!) You walk out into the crater of the volcano and see the natural saunas that were used by the ancient Romans – the Mouth of Hell and Purgatory. These are aptly named due to the high temperatures (above 60 degrees) which were believed to cleanse and purify. You are able to sit inside the Mouth of Hell at your own peril!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our full three jam-packed days exploring Rome were over for as we headed off to our Coastal escape on the Amalfi Coast. This post ends the first part of our visit to Italy, what we had seen and experienced so far had been amazing. We were looking forward to some rest, relaxation and family time to Laugh, Love, Live together near the water – our happy place. Thanks for joining our journey so far, it’s been great reliving our journey by writing this and previous posts, I hope you will join us on the next part of our Italian adventure – Peace and blessings!

Here are links to the previous posts of our European Adventure so you can read and follow in order of our trip:

https://tigre23.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/european-adventure/

https://tigre23.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/double-deckers-wizards-and-just-rocks/

https://tigre23.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/olde-worlde-charm/

https://tigre23.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/ville-damour/

 

 

 

Education Death Valley

I am sharing a TED talk that I recently watched because it resonates with me and also because I have been having conversations with people about how the conventional/ traditional education system does not suit every child. In adult education, we facilitate learning using different techniques based on the research that we all learn differently and tend to favour a specific learning style or a combination of learning styles be it Auditory, Visual and Kinaesthetic.

I have come across adults with a fear of classroom learning based on their childhood learning experiences and I find this quite sad. I’ve had to adjust some activities I do in my facilitated sessions based on this, for example, in my early days I used to ask for volunteers to read a part of the learning material we were using during the session until a mature lady pulled aside after a session and asked me privately if I could refrain from asking her to read during a session as she had a fear of reading aloud because of her school experiences. Since then, I ask people to read the content on their own within a time-frame and then ask if any clarification is required. I feel it should be the same with school learning, observations and research have been completed that support the need for change, it would benefit children to ensure school education is designed to meet children’s learning needs across a wider spectrum than the traditional classroom/ rote learning.

I have read articles where schools in Finland provide holistic education that benefits the students resulting in academic excellence but they do not focus only on academics. I saw a video of a Japanese kindergarten whose classroom is outdoors so it encourages play and activity in children’s learning which is very important as younger children learn through play. There has been open classroom learning implemented in schools here in Australia, with limited success due to lack of resources/ training. My daughter thrived in the open learning curriculum as her school introduced it after she had started, I was open to the concept and waited to see how my daughter would be affected. I feel it may be better implemented given more resources, time and training.

The TED talk focuses on the fact that the traditional school system does not foster a creative learning environment. It encourages creativity but also shoots it down at the same time. My daughter has experienced this in school and I have felt that sometimes schools should let children be more creative and do more to encourage their imagination. I understand there needs to be a curriculum but maybe it’s the curriculum that needs to be tweaked.

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts once you have viewed the TED talk (the link is provided below). I feel that our children – our youth are our future and investment in youth is important as they become our future leaders. Creativity, imagination, play, music, art, mindfulness, tolerance, acceptance, gardening, sustainability and compassion (and much more) are also important to a child’s education as are maths, english and science. This provides a balanced view for children to grow into adults who will Laugh. Love. Live. What are your thoughts? Peace and blessings!

https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley

 

Lunar New Year!

Chinese-Zodiac-Dog-Year-of-the-Dog-1280x960-1200x900

Buildingbeautifulsouls.com

Today is the Lunar new year’s eve as we celebrate the Vietnamese New Year – Tết. It is also celebrated on the same day by the Chinese and Koreans. The Chinese New Year being  familiar with most people. This year is the year of the Dog – Earth element. People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility. On the negative side, they are likely to be self-righteous, cold, terribly stubborn, slippery, critical of others and not good at social activities.

This year is my daughter’s year, she was born the year of the dog – apparently it will be a good year for her but exhausting. Let’s see how it pans out! We like to keep the custom of celebrating the Vietnamese New Year – it is a time for family, eating and celebrating! Hope the year of the dog brings much love, happiness, fortune, good health and prosperity so we may continue to Laugh.Love.Live – Peace and blessings!