Be The Change Challenge

You know how everyone’s always posting motivational and inspirational quotes everywhere? Ghandi said this, Mother Teresa did this. Yes, they did. They were amazing. But posting a quote about being the change without actually doing anything about it, well that doesn’t make much sense, does it?

I’ve decided to do something about it. I am going to be the change.

A few months aga, my friend Julie and I did a 30-day yoga challenge. We did this for fun, because we wanted to do it together and because we are a little bit crazy. It was a challenge, yes, but it was also amazing and I learned a lot about myself doing it.

Starting September 1st, I am going to be participating in another 30-day yoga challenge, this time with a different goal than “Just to see if I can!” I know I can, so I’m going to use what I have to give back.

My teacher Megan, who is kind of a rockstar, is very generous with her time and her talent. With her and a group of 30ish people, I will Be The Change. The Be The Change Challenge is an event created to help victims of sex trafficking in India. We might not be able to prevent this, but we can raise awareness and help people who suffer more than we can ever imagine. Our first-world problems don’t seem so important when you think about it.

Through the organization, Off the Mat, Into the World, The Be The Change Challenge is an opportunity to help people from the country that gave us yoga. How often do I practice? How often do I take it for granted? I want to use the gift I have been given to help others.

This challenge is about more than yoga and asking people for money. I can’t tell you what it’s all about though, because I have yet to discover it. I’m excited about the discoveries to come, the challenges, the laughs, the friends, the community.

If you would like to donate to the cause, please visit my fundraising website. Help me help someone who needs to know they matter.

And remember, being the change is easier than you think. Maybe you can’t donate, but you can give yout seat up to someone who needs it on the bus. Maybe you can smile to the annoying person in front of you in line. Maybe you can spend time with someone who’s lonely. Think about if you were sad or needed help. How would you like people to react? Do that. Be the Change.

Click for free giraffe

Wouldn’t that be lovely? To have your very own giraffe? Sadly, I tricked you. I have no giraffes to give away. If I had any, I would love them, and squeeze them and keep them for myself.

Here is a picture of me on my giraffe, drawn by one of my students.

Before you get all sad at not having a giraffe, I do have something for you! A couple of days ago, I saw this great post from my Bliss Buddy, The Usual Bliss. I was inspired to do the same as her, because she’s so awesome.

Here’s the deal:

1.  I will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post.  It will be a surprise and may arrive at any time in the next 365 days (yes, a year).

2.  To sign up to receive a gift from me you must play along too.  Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade goodie to the first three people who comment on your blog post.

3.  You must have a blog.

4.  After commenting on my post, you have to post this (or similar) on your blog to spread the love.  If you haven’t posted in 72 hours then the next commenter will be chosen.

Do you want to play? If so, you will get something awesome from me! I’m not telling you what it is yet, but it is quite fantastic, if I do say so myself. Also, I assure you it won’t be a whole year before you get this amazingness in the mail. Think sooner, rather than later!

I was inspired to write about giraffes:

A) Because I love them.

B) Because I read this fabulous post from another Blissfull Blogger.

La Habana

When I was in Cuba with my mom, we decided to throw in a little culture into our trip and booked a day-trip into Havana. I was curious about the country’s capital. 12.5 million people live in Cuba, and 2.5 million of those people live in Havana. I didn’t know much about the country’s history and I was interested in learning more.

Sadly, I was a little disappointed. Not with Havana, which was as vibrant, colourful and intriguing as I imagined it to be. It was like walking around a movie set, although I’m sure people who live there don’t feel like that! The city seemed to have a beat, a rhythm of it’s own.

No, I was disappointed because the tour had us spending time doing things like buying cigars (I didn’t want any), visiting a museum where you had to pay to take pictures and everything was in Spanish (obviously, but I didn’t understand it all) and having lunch in a restaurant for an hour and a half (it wasn’t even Cuban food). I wanted more.

However, I still saw plenty. On the way there, I saw so many horses, cows and goats tied to ropes by the highway, just chomping away on some roadside grass. There were chickens everywhere too! I wanted to shoo them off the road. I was worried they would turn into squashed chicken.

Also, I have never paid to pee so much in my entire life. By the washrooms, there were women waiting and you had to pay if you wanted toilet paper. The first time, it was a new experience. After that, it was just annoying!

There were many old cars in Havana. So many colours! I don’t know much about cars, so I can’t tell you what kind they were, but I saw a really fabulous pink car and also a bride and groom drive by in an amazing purple convertible.

I didn’t get a picture of the goats or the blissful couple on their wedding day, but I did get some great pictures of the city.

I might have been a little dissapointed by the tour, but it was great to actually see the city. It made a nice change from sitting on the beach trying to find the balance between coming home a little darker than when I left, and not getting a sunburn so bad it would feel like my skin shrunk.

Also, I had a Where in the World is Carmen San Diego computer game when I was a kid, and all I could think on the drive to Havana was “He went to Havana to eat a fried banana.” That was one of the clues in the game and the first thing that popped in my head when someone mentioned Havana. I’m happy to say I am now much more informed about Cuba’s capital!

My week in Paradise

I have just spent the most relaxing week of my life in Paradise, also known as Cuba. If you’ve never been there, please, drop everything and go right now. I’ll wait. ( … ) See what I mean? Amazing, right?

I left with my mom last Thursday for what had to be the longest day of traveling ever for a 4 hour flight. Just to give you an idea, we left home around 9:30 am and got to the hotel around 10:30 pm. But everything went smoothly, so it’s all good.

When we first got there, it was dark and my mom did not want to go to the beach. I think she was afraid of sharks or lizards or axe murderers. We explored the hotel a little and we didn’t really know what to think. There weren’t many people there and it felt like a ghost hotel. Like Hotel California, which, incidentally, played on repeat all week.

The next morning, however, we woke up to this.

The beach was incredible. White sand, clear turquoise water, even a few crabs. It felt like being in a postcard. There were a couple of piers not too far away, so we decided to walk over and check them out. Afterwards, we were so hot we decided to fling ourselves into the ocean, which tastes like pretzels, by the way, and have another drink.

On our second day there (I think) we took a bus into Varadero. My favourite part was all the old cars. They call Cuba a “rolling museum”. We walked around for a while and got our first glipse of Cuban culture. Varadero is mainly a tourist town, but there are flashes of the real deal here and there.

My favourite day of the week was when we went on a catamaran cruise. I had never been on a catamaran before, and it was so much fun! The weather was perfect, there was a bar on the boat and the bartender, Elvis, (seriously) made the trip into something awesome. He asked everyone where they were from and kept bringing us more drinks. He even got everyone dancing and singing.

The boat brought us to a dolphinarium where I got to meet Jessica the dolphin. It was surreal to actually touch a dolphin! Her skin felt like rubber and I was so worried I would scratch her, but apparently she wasn’t worried because she came pretty close! I was standing on the tips of my toes on a platform in the sea, trying to keep my head above water and not get in the dolphin’s way, in case she thought my braids were fish or something. I even got a kiss! Best part of the day, for sure!

We got back onto the boat where I liked to pretend I was a movie star and had my own private catamaran. All the other people were my movie star friends.

After I was done being a movie star (for the moment, not forever) we went snorkeling. In my case it meant putting on the floating belt, the mask and the tube thingy, then going into the water very, very slowly. This was followed by my not letting go of the rope, sticking my face in the water for approximately 48 seconds and seeing some cool fish and ocean floor before I said “ok, I did it. I’m done now.” The whole process lasted under five minutes. but I did it!

The rest of the day was spent eating lunch on the beach, swimming and drinking on the boat. Bliss.

The other days seemed to flow into each other as we did a lot of reading, swimming, talking and eating. The food was not incredible, for some reason everything tasted the same, but I had a wonderful time being there with my mom. We had drinks, but not as many as I thought, because the combination of the strong sun and the strong drinks was quite potent!

I even found a tree to climb! If you look hard enough, you will always find a tree to climb. Even in a lace dress, it’s possible.

I loved being in the water most of all. I’m not a strong swimmer, but I am an excellent floater! Plus, this was saltwater, so floating was even easier. I floated on my back, sitting up, even standing. My feet didn’t touch the bottom, but I could see it, since the water was so clear. I was float-walking around all week.

I tried to do a wheel on the beach, but it didn’t work so well, because my hands were sinking into the sand and the waves were pulling me into the ocean. It was the only yoga I did all week. I had brought my mat with me, but it was just too hot to practice. Also, I was quite busy doing nothing.

Really, the best thing of all was being there with my mom. We both like to talk and we both like to read, so we were perfect traveling companions for the week!

We also went to Havana, but such a colourful, vibrant city deserves it’s own post, so that will have to wait!

The ocean is where I belong

In July, I decided I wanted to take a trip somewhere. Anywhere, really. I went to a travel agency, picked one lucky agent, told her what my budget was and said “Send me somewhere.”

Then, I proceeded to stalk her for days, asking if she had any good deals for me, anywhere exciting to send me. I was hoping for an African safari or a tour of Iceland. My adventurous side was screaming “Egypt!” while my budget was whining “A bus to beach.”

I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but I discovered that the whole “I waited until the last minute to book my trip and I got a great deal!” thing was actually a myth. I decided I needed to be more flexible and added August to my available travel dates. After all, I am off all summer.

I was planning on going by myself, because that’s number 3 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.

After a few days, I realized I had to adjust my expectations when it came to the destination. What I really wanted was a change of scenery and a plane ride. If you fly somewhere, it’s a real trip. (Not always, but this summer, yes.)

My travel agent suggested Cuba. I said “When do I leave?” I was telling my mom about my awesome deal, and asked her if she wanted to come. I did not expect her to say yes, but she did! This is amazing because number 22 on my list is “Take a trip with my mom”. It’s going to be just the two of us!

Here is where we’ll be for the next week.

I’m going to be completely disconected from technology. No phone, no computer, no Internet. I’m really looking forward to that part. I’m bringing a book (ok, 4 books) and I’m going to relax, drink, read and swim in the ocean. I’m going to do whatever I want to.

See you in a week!

We’re more than friends, we’re like a really small gang

I have a lot of friends. Writing that kind of feels like I’m trying to make myself sound really popular, but it’s true. I have work friends, university friends, high school friends, family friends, old friends, new friends. I don’t have the same kind of friendship with all of them, but they all mean a lot to me.

I also have favourite friends.

Julie is one of my favourite friends. We’ve only known each other for a couple of years, but she totally gets me, and I get her. We work together, do yoga together and try new things together. At work, she’s my person. Like Meredith and Cristina. Rachel and Monica. Buffy and Willow.

The thing is, Julie is moving to Abu Dhabi in a few days. That’s on the other side of the world! I’m losing my person and that makes me sad. I’m so happy for Julie and her husband Pete, because they’ve been planning this for a while and they’re going to have so many amazing adventures over there, but who will go out for coffee with me at lunch time?

I realize that this isn’t about me, it’s about Julie being awesome, because that’s just the way she is. I admire her so much for doing this. I don’t know if I could leave for two years to teach in another country. She’s so adventurous and curious, and those are some of the reasons I like being her friend so much.

I would never have done 30 days of yoga without her.

She’s the reason I developped a Booster Juice addiction.

Julie and Pete taught me how to snowboard. Now I love it, but I won’t have my snow buddy with me, she’ll be in the desert.

We’ve tried so many new things together, like hula-hoop dancing, aerial silks, Madonna yoga and hip-hop dancing. We talk about yoga, about boys and about what we want out of life. We take turns talking and really listening. She’s funny, kind and compassionate. I’m going to miss her very much.

I love being Julie’s friend. I know she will be happy wherever she goes, because good things are waiting for her, I just know it. I can’t imagine going back to work without her, but I guess it’s going to happen anyways! I’m not worried about our friendship, because it’s stronger than the distance that will seperate us. We already have plans for me to visit in March anyways, so watch out Abu Dhabi, I’m coming!

Friday Night Lights, a.k.a. Don’t talk to me, I’m busy.

Last winter, I discovered I had a passion for football. Ok, maybe not for football, but for Friday Night Lights, and the show’s about football, so it’s kind of the same thing. I got really into it. All the drama, cheering on the Panthers, rooting for Tyra and Landry, who have a Ross and Rachel thing going on. I have a crush on Tim, I admit it.  I got so into it, actually, that I had to cut myself off. I was halfway through season 3 when I just stopped watching, because I wasn’t doing anything else. I’m exaggerating of course. I still went to work and stuff, I just could not watch only one episode. I had to know what happened. These were like real people!

Sometimes, I would think about my friends from Dillon, Texas, and wonder how they were doing. I would be tempted to watch just one episode to catch up on their oh, so exciting lives. But, I didn’t do it. I have no self control. It was never going to be just one episode, and we all knew it (my Texas friends and I).

It’s been really hot and sunny all summer, so I have spent as much time as possible outside. Then, last week, it started to rain. Friday afternoon (how appropriate) I caved in and dusted off my season 3 dvds. I then proceded to watch the remaing episodes all weekend. I realized I had been waiting for a rainy day to completely flake out and watch tv. I missed my friends and it was great getting to know them again. Specially Tim. Bliss.

I have done this before with other tv shows. I love watching a show when it’s on dvd, because then I don’t have to wait to see what happens. Here are a few of the shows I’ve been addicted to.

Lost

Season 1 was amazing! I was a few years behind and everyone had already seen it, so I tried to get people to give me information about what was going on. I would pester them with questions like “What’s up with the polar bears?” “What’s that spooky black stuff floating around?” “Why does everyone call Matthew Fox  Jack? His name should be Charlie, like in Party of Five.” Season 2 was not as great, but still good. Then, I kind of lost interest during season 3 and never watched the rest.

One tree Hill

I also have a passion for basketball, imagine that. I didn’t think I would like this show, as I thought it was all about teenage drama and unrealistic situations. It was, but I loved it! I was pretty sad when it ended. I actually have cousins, who are brothers, named Nathan and Lukas. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the town we grew up in is not like Tree Hill. By the way, if someone could tell me what was up with Lucas’ hair in season 9, that would be very helpful.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I can’t express my love for Buffy in words. I want to be Buffy when I grow up. This has to be the best-written show I have ever watched. It’s everything a tv show should be, plus it has vampires. Buffy and Angel made vampires cool long before Twilight came along.

I could go on here, naming other obsessions of mine (Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, Friends and Sex and the City, to name a few) but I don’t want you to think that all I do is watch tv. Also, I really want to watch another episode of Friday Night Lights, because I went out and got season 4 and I think something is up with Julie and Matt.