Success – an update on Amjed

This is just a quick post to let you know that Amjed got a job πŸ™‚
I cannot express how happy I felt when he told me. It was just one more way the universe was reinforcing how anything possible if you believe. I had been told by some people that he would have to go home,back to Pakistan as there were too many obstacles in the way of him successfully obtaining a job and living a nice life here. In fact, at a loss for a better solution, I suggested it to him myself but he was determined to stay and find work, probably because he didn’t have the luxury of that option. And his optimism and determination paid off. When I met him the other day he was armed with a big book, a phrase book with each page divided into three columns- Spanish, English and Urdu. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair, he decided to spend his time wisely by teaching himself not one, but two new languages, to better prepare himself for the future life he just knew he would succeed in creating here. I felt so proud of him. Witnessing his difficult journey, even from a safe distance, really taught me a lot. It showed me that alot of people would rather look away for fear the poverty of others will make them feel bad. I learned that most people will assess the risk to their own lives first before attempting to help others and in fact, perhaps enter the situation with scepticism as well as caution. Imagine if we saw the world for what it really is, that we are all an extension of one another, therefore to create a better world for ourselves we must help those in need. We cannot receive what we first don’t give.
One of the positive elements I will retain from this experience is that more than ever I realise how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, a family who loves me and supports me and enough to eat every day. It has reinforced for me how we are always in the right place at the right time if we believe it. I am glad I was in the park that day and that I didn’t just walk away when I was being ‘bothered’ by a stranger. I am glad I trusted myself and my instincts and didn’t listen to people suggest that perhaps it was a scam or that I was being taken advantage of. We all have an energy system of intuition inside, available at all times to protect us and guide us in the right direction, hence I had no such negative or doubting thoughts.Amjed showed me that you can always achieve what you want, if you persevere and stay positive. I don’t know if I’ll meet him in the park anymore but that’s ok. Everyone comes into our lives for an unknown period of time to teach us a lesson, about life or about ourselves. I wish him all the best in his new life. X

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Today’s challenge: Me v.s. Maps

Map of Barcelona This is my new home… And my navigational aid to help me find my way around. Who am I kidding? What bother with maps when you have a phone with google maps?! I do have a map in my bag just in case, as my battery never lasts more than a few hours :/ Anyway, after three days here I figure I have the metro all figured out so I decided to take the train on my shopping expedition, as a challenge. Although both the metro and train only take a few minutes I had to wait more than five minutes for the train to leave so next time I’ll be taking the metro! Now where was the train bringing me to, only on my very first visit to Ikea. Wow is all I can say. Despite my previous post on the advantages of not having lots of ‘stuff’ and proving this by moving here with only 15kg of luggage, I must admit I was very tempted to go crazy and buy everything within reach, especially everything pink, orange, fluffy or shiny lol! And if I thought the city map was a challenge, I was give a rude awakening when I was given the map of the store. I spent well over an hour trawling my way though hundreds of people, exasperated at how they were all getting in my way… Only to realise at the end I was going the wrong way all along oppsy πŸ™‚ And if you’re curious, I did escape relatively intact with just one (large) bag of ‘essentials’ for my new home. Now I must put it all together. Happy weekend everyone πŸ™‚

Map of IKEA

There’s no such thing as luck

Hola πŸ™‚

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This is my first post written from my new home, Barcelona. It’s been two days since I arrived and I really feel I have a good grasp of the city so far. It’s sprawling neighbourhoods, each with a distinct look and feel, gave me many attractive options to choose from when looking for a new home, but perhaps too many. Do I want to be near the beach? The city? A bit further out to escape the busy city? Needless to say, the task of looking for an apartment in a strange city in a language I don’t actually speak, posed a difficult challenge. The offer of a job in ibiza for the summer, just two nights previous, played in the back of my mind, while I tried to deal with the daunting task at hand. Obviously, it was an appealing option. Beautiful beaches, lots of friends, familiar places and amazing nightlife. Why wouldn’t I jump at the chance to go back? I really was tempted. But I knew that by over thinking the situation it would just make the decision harder, so I explored the city, wandered the carreterra and relaxed in the parks. It was while I was writing in the park, soaking up the suns heat and enjoying the ongoings around me like yoga and language exchange meetings, that I realised there was no decision to be made. I’m here. I’m happy to be here so I’m staying. It’s always difficult settling in but once it’s done then I have a whole summer of great times ahead. imageI really don’t believe life should be a struggle. Try your best but really it’s not meant to difficult. Life has a way of giving you all the opportunities you need to be happy without a struggle, if you allow yourself to be open to them. Last night I had already seen one apartment, which was tiny and expensive and had still another 3 to see that night and more today. It was getting so confusing trying to remember which was which, I felt quite upset and stressed. It was then I realised how absurd that was and made the decision to no longer feel that way. I am blessed to have the opportunity to live in an new and exciting city. That is not something to be stressed about, only grateful. I realised that I was putting myself under a lot of pressure to find a home straight away with the extra stress thinking that I should be looking for a job also. I am a firm believer that you attract your reality with your thoughts and so by stressing and focusing on how difficult it was to find a place, I knew it was only going to make that a reality, so I decided I was not going to go view the places that night, while I was I feeling upset. If you are in a happy place in your mind, you will attract more things that will make you happy and I mentally reminded myself that the right place would come to me easily, without the stress and hard work. Every circumstance is only as easy or difficult as you perceive it to be. I choose to perceive my experiences as joyful and easy. I woke today and organised to go see one apartment. I figured I’d try the 20/80 rule. 20% of your efforts give 80% of the rewards because I really didn’t want to go running all over the city to the 20 or so places I’d contacted. As luck would have it (even though I don’t believe in luck) the lady showing me the apartment had to leave 10minutes before I got there and so there was no one to show me around when I arrived, after getting the metro and walking for 10 minutes! Of course I didn’t get annoyed, I merely thought it was an interesting occurrence. I decided to explore the neighbourhood and within two minutes I got a txt from an unknown number asking did I want to see the room. I assumed I must’ve emailed them the night before, as there was no conversation history, so without knowing anything about it, I said ya sure, what’s the address? Turns out it was only a ten minute walk away (how convenient!) and so, following google maps, I made my way there. imageI was so impressed as I walked by historical monuments, lovely restaurants and a huge arena and silently hoped I hadn’t got the address wrong. Just around the corner from the main street, was my building, right in front of a large park. Another box ticked, great. The apartment was big, bright and had a lovely balcony overlooking the park. That was all I needed. Where can I sign? I couldn’t and still can’t believe how amazing it is that I got exactly what I wanted and it was only my second apartment having to go see and is a million times better than the first one. I moved in two hours later and since then, I haven’t been able to contain my happiness. I want to share it with everyone. I am so happy I didn’t give up and leave or continue stressing, thinking I needed to go see every apartment to make the best decision. Life is meant to be enjoyed. The right things will flow to you easily if you allow them. And then the icing on the cake. I sent a message to all the others, explaining I no longer needed a place and one guy txt back asking where I was from. I noticed I had saved his number as ‘room please’ and I recalled having found a particularly nice place online and decided that was the one I wanted so I saved it as ‘room please’ to tell the universe that’s the one I wanted… and the universe was obviously listening. I scrolled up through the conversation and noticed that he had given me directions that were quite near here. I laughed, thinking it was funny I had rented so close to the one I asked for. Then it dawned on me. It is the one I asked for. It was his sister who had messaged me and met me to show me the apartment. So without realising it, without a struggle, not only did I find a new home, but I got the home I really wanted. I couldn’t be happier and I am so grateful to the universe for once again providing for me. I think it is very easy to get caught up in a moment of weakness, frustration, trouble and get in a negative flow, but it’s important to realise you will only attract more of the same into your experience by focusing on it. So if I’ve learned anything is that the most important thing in life is to feel good, to feel happy, maintain a positive outlook on life and you will attract everything you want and lead the life of your dreams.

Fiji Flashback

I’m so grateful that the weather has been so nice here in Ireland recently. Today is going to be 18 degrees if you can believe it (that’s like 28 in Australia!) but sometimes I allow myself to drift off to memories of island life in warmer seas. I decided to use my notes from my old travel diary to create today’s post about the beautiful Fijian islands that I visited a few years ago.

From the place you’d rather be this lovely Monday morning…

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Day 1

I arrived at Sydney airport at half 6 this morning and was greeted with the delightful surprise that I cannot go to Fiji on a one way ticket hmmm! Why do they sell one way tickets so? I ended up buying a very expensive return flight on a flexible fare to allow me to change it ( you never know I might want to stay!) problem sorted πŸ™‚ When I arrived in Nadi (pronounced Nandi) airport I was greeted by 3 men singing and playing some native song and they all wore flowers in their hair! It was just lovely!I was even given welcoming beads to wear πŸ™‚

Bula means hello and welcome!!
The resort shuttle bus soon came to pick me up and off we went.My driver’s name was Joe and he was very nice. The roads are quite bad and the driving is atrocious and my suspicions were confirmed when I later witnessed a bus crashing into a car!! Interestingly this incidence did not deter my ambitious desire to attempt the local bus getting into the main town, which isn’t far away as I am stayingΒ on the beach! The bus was about 100 years old and had no windows and I can’t even begin to describe the gear stick!! So far, no other tourists, just me, which is probably why, once in the town, I was accosted by every shop owner trying to get me into their store! Opting for the safer choice, I got taxi back and watched an amazing sunset from the rooftop, overlooking the beach.

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Day 2
I spent the morning organising my trip and I decided on a bula combo pass, which includes sea transfers and accommodation and food to the Mamanucas and Yasawas. Apparently I will be lucky to have electricity so will have no internet or phone coverage on the islands! The man in the office has kindly requested chicken and chips for me for lunch and dinner at each of the resorts hehe! (Priorities!) Chilled out on the beach for the day!

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Day 3
Got picked up at 7.15am (what kind of holiday is this?!) and spent the day on the boat. We passed many of the other islands I didn’t choose to stay at, so was nice to see them all. Some of them are tiny seriously! My first island stop is Bounty Island for a few nights. I met some lovely people staying here as there is only one resort on the whole island and set meal times so everyone has to come to eat at the same time when called. It’s quite funny! I’m not sure a roasted pig constitutes chicken and chips, but I embraced the challenge of trying something new. It wasn’t so bad πŸ™‚ One of the days here I kayaked around the whole island… In 20 minutes!!

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Day 6
It seemed the mana flyer (my transport for the day) was on Fiji time, (everything runs late but don’t worry we’re on island time!) when it didn’t turn up to take me to my next island but later, it transpired that it was late because it actually broke down and a little replacement boat came to collect me 3 hours later. While I was waiting I lay out by the pool and watched a little Fijian boy having a scuba diving lesson in the pool. It was very cute! I had my doubts about the dependability of the replacement boat when the engine suddenly stopped mid ocean! Uh oh! I immediately imagined myself heroically swimming to the island with an adventurous tale to tell in the end. Luckily it was just a case of pulling the pipe that was sucking the petrol out of a canister and putting in another petrol container. It had run out of fuel and I found this immensely amusing! I was quite happy bobbing away in those gorgeous waters anyway… As long as the fish didn’t get me ( silly fear of fish.. I’m working on it lol!)

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Eventually landed on Mana island. It seems the lonely planet book review was quite accurate about the resort I was booked into, which is why I didn’t want to stay in this place, but according to Ab, who booked my trip, it was the only place that would accommodate my chicken and chips every day request. I found out later that the english couple next door to me were the only other people in the resort and turns out it was Ab who booked their trip too. It was so unprofessional,more like someone’s home. It didn’t even have a name on the establishment!

Anyway, I went for walk and booked my trip on the seaspray for tomorrow. On my return, I asked about using the internet and turns out there’s no electricity until 5pm. It was raining and stormy so I went to lie down only to find 2 black bugs on my bed eggghh!! There was a loud banging noise and I discovered it was a man making cava, a Fijian drink. I’m curious as to what it tastes like because it looks like mud lol!

Day 7
Had fun today on the day trip to Monuriki which is where Castaway, the movie with Tom cruise was filmed. I needed the fun after a horrendous night last night. Briefly, there were many over living creatures keeping me company in my bedrooms me so my sleep was intermittently distrusted by my compulsive need to use the torch on my phone to check and make sure there was nothing crawling on my bed! At about 2am I heard a strange noise. I shone the light around the room. Nothing. And again… The strange scratchy noise. I shot the light directly in front of my bed to see a dark shadow perched upon the other empty bed. Frozen in fear I mentally calculated how safe it would be to get up and turn the light on. Oh wait… No electricity. Bloody marvellous!! Ok maybe I imagined it… So I look again and there is a big fat rat. Omg!! Grabbed bag and legged it out of the room, with my heart racing.As luck would have it the door to the reception was closed and no one was about so I sought refuge in the building next door. It was a bar that I had watched a traditional Fijian dance earlier. I sat, curled up in a ball, on that chair,a fraud to sleep but my fear disappeared with the night and my spirits rose with the sun and I was ready to enjoy another fabulous day in Fiji.
We visited a few other smaller islands as well as a local village to participate in a cava drinking ritual with an elder from the community.

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Day 9
Finally, some luxury. I arrived for four glorious nights in Malolo. Walu beach, where I was staying, was specially built for the reality show called The Resort!!!Β In fact Bounty Island, which is a 20hectare coral island, was used for Celebrity Love Island while Mana was the setting for tv show, Fiji Survivor. ( I think I deserve that title!lol!) I spent these few days chilling I a. Hammock, reading by the pool, learning about the medicinal purposes of plants found on the island, enjoying food cooked underground and I even made my own bracelets from leaves and coconuts. I feel very accomplished lol!

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This is really the colour of the water!!!

This is really the colour of the water!!

I’d love to hear about your experiences of Fiji. There are so many more islands to visit I definitely will return.

Relaxing in Romantic Rome

Here is a photo journal of my few days in the beautiful city of Rome. It really stole my heart and I would definitely love to live here some day.

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My Observations…

Everyone is so friendly here. They dont speak with their hands as much as I expected.The men are living up to their Romeo reputations and are not shy in their approving stares!It is not as busy as we expected, even in the very touristy areas like the Colosseum. The streets are filled with trattoria and people eating al fresco, although there is a noticeable lack of presence of open green areas- none to be exact.I read about pop-up pools alongside the River Tiber but we didn’t have time to sample these cooling treats. I did, however, have plenty of famous Italian gelato to cool me down! My favourite part of the city are the cobbled stone streets, and its italianess is accentuated with the many scooters flying along the narrow , haphazard streets.The map of Rome is quite hilarious and seems to have no plan or strategic method to it at all and yet everything seems to be within walking distance, thankfully, as I’d say the public transport leaves much to be desired here!My second favourite feature in Roman life are the shutters on all the buildings.Fascinatingly old most of the time, but beautiful. I imagine myself living in one of these old buildings, waking to the sound of the singing birds, with the sunshine streaming in through the filters of the dusty shutters and when opened, I could observe the busy village affairs on the cobbled street below, with Italian men shouting loudly at a tv screen with the soccer on and the local women sitting on the steps, idly chatting, with one eye on their diapered, bare footed children who are happily playing with stray dogs.I havent actually seen this scene with my own eyes but I can imagine it’s not too far from me!Something new I learned here is that they call many things pizza, not just what we westerns call pizza. After trying spaghetti bolgonese last night I am sure I could adapt to their simple diet of pasta and pizza, with the odd mc donalds thrown in of course πŸ™‚ I was also saddened to learn that pizza originated here out of necessity to feed the poor population and unfortunately there is still a noticeable homeless population present.There is also a lot of construction work going on in the local buildings and basilicas, though obviously the authenticity and character of the buildings are strictly maintained. Romantic Rome you have truly stolen my heart.

Ciao XX