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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Santa in the sun

As I slip on my new favourite blue and white Havaianas, I grab my sunglasses and head out the door. It is another glorious day with not a cloud in the sky. An air-conditioned Metro train provides me with a brief, refreshing respite from the burning sun shining just above the surface. Back out onto the bustling street once more, a giant Santa Clause defiantly wears his warm woolly clothes and smiles through the heat. I see trees covered in baubles, penguins carrying presents and elaborate nativity scenes being played out, all in the Brazilian midday sun.
And that's when it hits me: I am 5,899 miles away from gloves and scarves, mince pies and mulled wine, ice-skates and log fires. A momentary pang of missing home wrings in my stomach and leaves behind a feeling that I just can't shake.
And then it suddenly occurs to me that a huge number of people in this wonderfully crazy city might not have ever seen snow before. I smile as I watch a snowball hurtling through my mind and go crashing into a happy snowman.
Shopping done, I trade in a mulled wine for a Caipirinha and sit watching the world go by. Our beautiful blue planet is home to over 7 billion people, all with different life experiences. But despite our differences, we all have the same beating hearts, hopes and fears.
And that's what makes us family.

As 2013 comes slowly to a close, I want to thank you for following my blog every week and being part of the journey. You add colour to my life and inspire me in ways you don’t know. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and hope that 2014 brings you health and happiness!

With love!

Driving blind

And suddenly my ears pop; the sweet release of pressure.
Two and a half hours after leaving the city we begin to snake our way up through the mountain. I love to watch the world whizz by, getting lost in my thoughts. People and places wash in and out of my mind like a summer tide.
The weather is changing. Gone are the blue skies of earlier to be replaced by something else.
Carefully navigating a tight bend in the road, everything is suddenly smothered by a thickening white fog as horizon vanishes right in front of our very eyes. The car slows to a crawl as an eerie silence descends. I suddenly remember the foggy morning in East London that concealed Canary Wharf from view; a lost moment in time that now lives safely in my heart forever.
Higher and higher we drive, embraced tightly in the fog.
And my mind is racing. I can't help but wonder if, with all the challenges and choices in life, we don't all get lost in the fog sometimes. There are days when the sky is cloudless, blue, we know exactly where we are going. And then there are times when we just can't see the wood for the trees.
But sometimes a fog is there just to remind us that, as long as we stay true to ourselves and trust our intuition, we will eventually find our way through, once again breathing under a blue sky.
And just when I think that we are never going to get out of this, we turn a corner and discover a bright burning sun once more.

Friday, 6 December 2013

The people in the picture

The afternoon sun is scorching. With barely a cloud in the sky, the only respite from the searing heat comes from an odd gust of breeze that randomly circles around the square and disappears just as quickly. 
And there he stands; brush in hand, bold of stroke. Framed either side by a row of majestic palms, I stand mesmerised by his poetry. The colours are bright and the paint, thick. He seems oblivious to everyone who dances in and out of his periphery. The only thing that exists is the Catedral da Sé in front of him. It captured his imagination and is now being brought to life through the canvas. They have a connection that I will never have. He switches brushes. I watch as he coats the hair in yellow and continues on, adding more detail to his creation. Passers-by stop momentarily to watch. And then I suddenly notice the people in the painting, frozen in a moment. I wonder where the man in the red top is now. And the child in the buggy. And the woman in yellow. Did she make her way up the stone steps into the cathedral, or did she disappear down into the Metro and is now standing on a crowded train homeward-bound? 
As I eventually say goodbye to the man and his canvas, a thought occurs to me: we encounter so many people on the journey through life, our paths cross for only a second. Sometimes we share words, sometimes just a glance. But regardless of whether people live inside a painting or in our heart, everyone has a story to tell, and underneath it all, we are family.