Feeling creative

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I love a good piece of art. I have purchased several paintings over the years from different parts of the world. I have bought original works of art in South Africa, in Syria and even in Zambia! I love different styles of art and even though I don’t have enough wall space yet, I buy pieces of art in the hope that one day soon I will be able to display them properly. I don’t have the money to buy an original Picasso, so I just go for whatever tickles my fancy.

Now, since I haven’t bought any works of art for a couple of years now, I thought I would try my own hand at it! I had something in mind and just felt like letting it out! I hadn’t painted anything since school so I had no idea where to buy the paints and canvas, nor which paints and brushes I should get. Luckily, I have a friend who is an artist and she kindly took me shopping for the basics. It’s not a cheap hobby, I’ll tell you that much.

Anyway, so I got my acrylics and canvases and started right away on a small canvas. The nice thing about acrylic paint is that it dries very quickly so you can finish a piece in a few hours. Even though I probably spent longer on it than I needed to, I really enjoyed experimenting with the paints. I wanted to finish it in time for a friend’s birthday, so I spent most of the day on it. I am happy with the result, however, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, art is a matter of taste. Some people may like a certain piece while others may think it’s awful.

If you’ve ever had the urge to paint or sculpt something, I recommend trying it. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you had imagined it, it is fun and quite cathartic. I plan on getting my hands even dirtier next week when I go to my village for Easter! Time is really a huge factor when it comes to expressing your creativity (in any form), so I am going to try to make the most of mine now!

 

 

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The Teacher Creature

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

– Chinese Proverb

A good teacher cares. A good teacher teaches and doesn’t just correct. A good teacher gives examples, explains, shows, draws, dances, sings, writes and sometimes shouts. A good teacher makes jokes, smiles, laughs and makes others smile and laugh, too. A good teacher sets boundaries. A good teacher earns the trust and respect of students. A good teacher is honest. A good teacher has a sense of humour. A good teacher understands. A good teacher teaches students how to think for themselves. A good teacher gets across and also sometimes gets cross. A good teacher hugs freely. A good teacher removes splinters from toes and fingers! Yes, a good teacher does all these things…and so much more!

Teachers are definitely generally underestimated. They make such a difference to children’s lives and we all remember most of our teachers from way back. We especially remember the very good ones…and the very bad ones as well! So, here’s a little poem I wrote to outline what I think teachers do…or should do:

The Teacher Creature

To be a teacher means to teach

And make students extend their reach

To touch the hearts and souls of babes

Not just to look for the top grades

 

To be a teacher means to care

And make your pupils more aware

 To read, to write, to draw, to sing

To know they can do anything

 

To be a teacher means you must

Make sure in you your students trust

 To learn, to listen, to believe

That anything they can achieve

 

To be a teacher means in your hands

Responsibility of guidance lands

 And if you love the job you do

No doubt they will remember you

Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are

Δείξε μου τους φίλους σου να σου πω ποιος είσαι ~ Greek saying

If we go by this saying, then I must be an amazing person! Haha! Seriously though, I feel blessed and very lucky to have such wonderful friends. I really believe I have the best friends anyone could ever ask for. At times I am not sure I deserve them, but I am thankful none-the-less.

In life, health is obviously the most important thing to have and in my opinion, good friends come a close second. Family is also very important, but I think friends are more important in some cases. You see, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. I got quite lucky with my immediate family! Phew! However, others are not so lucky.

Some members of my family are also my friends; others have nothing but DNA in common with me. Some friends are closer than some family members and just because we don’t share the same blood doesn’t mean we are not family. They say ‘blood is thicker than water’. Sure. My take on that is that we already have all the blood we need in our bodies but we need water to live!

I think having good friends is paramount to being happy. I mean, what is the point of anything if you don’t have friends to share it with? Whether that is a good meal, or a stunning sunset, a trip to another county or whatever makes you happy – half the joy is sharing it with someone you love!

Friends come in all shapes and sizes! They can also come from very different backgrounds, religions, countries and cultures. If you have similar beliefs (I am not talking about religion now) and values, then you don’t even need to have similar likes and/or dislikes in order to have a friendship. You do, however, need to be on the same page when it comes to the friendship itself. I, for example, believe that two of the most important ingredients needed for true friendship are trust and honesty. I also believe that a good friend should be reliable (i.e. someone you can count on) and someone who can make you laugh and generally cheer you up. A friend should bring out the best in you. I hope I am describing myself now, too!

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I have friends all over the world and even though I may not see or speak to some of them as often as I would like to, when we do get together it’s as if we were never apart.

A true friendship is not affected by distance or time…and can sometimes be strengthened by an abundance of wine!

Animals – they make the world right

Looking for a home. Who will be the lucky one to adopt this adorable lap cat?

Looking for a home. Who will be the lucky one to adopt this adorable lap cat? – ADOPTED! 🙂

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”

                                                                             – Mark Twain

The day before yesterday, as I arrived at the gym, a cat came up to me at the entrance and naturally, as I always do, I stopped to “talk” to it. I noticed it was limping and it seemed as if one of its back legs was broken. He (yes, “it” now becomes “he”) was so friendly and adorable that I couldn’t just leave him there. It was as if he was asking for help. I wasn’t prepared for a cat “rescue” so wasn’t sure how to take him to the vet. People walked in and out of the gym and mostly ignored us – apart from a couple of smiles here and there.

To cut a long story short, I picked him up, put him in the car and he curled up into a ball and sat quietly all the way to the vet. The vet checked him out, said that his leg wasn’t broken but had an infection (it was very swollen) and gave him an antibiotic shot and a painkiller. He also kept him overnight to neuter him. I went to pick him up yesterday afternoon and the vet told me he had taken photos of him because he wants to adopt him but he has to convince his wife! He fell in love with this cat because he is just so good-natured!

He is now in our bathroom and is waiting patiently for his leg to heal and for someone to give him a nice warm home with lots of love and cuddles. Every time I go in, he comes right up to me and tries to jump up to sit on my lap…even when I am standing! He is really adorable and will give someone so much love! Hopefully we will find him a good home soon. Our “cattery” is full up, which is why we cannot keep him. Believe me, we want to!

So, today being World Stray Animals Day I thought it appropriate to write a fresh story of yet another stray animal that has been rescued. This is just another day in Greece, unfortunately. There are just so many stray animals that we (individuals and societies) cannot keep up. It seems to be getting worse every day. The “crisis” hasn’t helped either, since we are now finding more abandoned animals than ever before. We can’t help them all, but we can at least try to help the ones we can, in any way we can – whether that is by giving them water and food, neutering them, vaccinating them, attending to injuries and/or ideally finding good homes for them if we cannot adopt them ourselves.

I really don’t understand how people go and buy animals when there are just so many beautiful souls out there, desperate to give love and affection. All they ask for in return is a home with love, food and water. I really believe that a home without a pet is just a house. Rescued animals just bring the best possible energy to any home. They are forever grateful (they really are) and I can’t even begin to describe the warmth they bring into our lives. They are also the best anti-stress remedy ever. Think about it. A dog running to greet you with a wagging tail every single time you come home – as if he hasn’t seen you for years and has missed you so much! A purring cat curling up on your lap after a long day’s work. What a feeling! I consider myself blessed to have grown up surrounded by animals. I cannot imagine life without them. Kitty, Mog, Bozo, Flake (all in animal heaven now) and Marmalady, Boy, Demon and Piccolino have brightened up our lives. They have all been totally different in character yet they share(d) the same appreciation and love towards their “saviours”.

Adopt a stray animal. You will not regret it. The universe will thank you for it one way or another.

If you don’t have many strays where you live, there are plenty in Greece and I am pretty sure they wouldn’t mind travelling to reach…home!

If you would like to adopt a stray dog or cat visit www.spazgreece.gr or contact me directly.

To marry or to merry?

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Last week I went out with some friends whom I hadn’t seen for a while. They are not friends from school and are all around five years or so older than me. They are all attractive, tall women with nice bodies who dress well, so naturally they get a lot of male attention.

We had a great night out and a good laugh. At some point I realised that I was the outsider there since I was the only one who wasn’t divorced with three or four kids! I was out with a bunch of self-proclaimed MILFs!

What is interesting is that they seem to mainly attract younger guys. I guess this works out well for all involved since the MILFs may not be interested in something serious or long-term since they have already been there and done that…and have the children to show for it. The younger “men” probably like the idea of not being pushed into anything too serious since there are children involved as well as one failed marriage already – so no pressure. Seems like a win-win situation to me!

Then there are the likes of me. Single, never-been-married 20-somethings…or even 30-somethings! What are we doing wrong? Or rather, what are we doing right? Many of my friends are very happy being single and have chosen to be where they are today. Others are not so happy and I can tell are quite desperate to get married and settle down. The sad thing is, they probably will do exactly that: settle. Why? What is the point of getting married just because society tells you it is the right thing to do? If you meet your soul mate and want to make what you have official, then yes, by all means, marry the person. If you have children with this person chances are that they will be happy children.

On the other hand, if you just want to have a child and have not found your soul mate, then why not just be selfish and have one on your own, rather than marry someone just for the sake of “fitting in”? If you marry someone just so that you can start a family, chances are that you will all be unhappy (including the children) and will end up getting divorced anyway. So why go through all that?

Of course, there are also people who get married for the right reasons and somewhere down the line things go sour. That’s different. However, these days I don’t think the majority belongs to this group of people.  Also, there is a small percentage that gets married for the right reasons and also stays married! Yay! They are the ones who give hope to the fairy-tale fans.

I just hope that those who belong to the fairy-tale fan club will either find their prince charming (or princess) soon, or else I hope they snap out of it because time is ticking and it seems such a waste to be waiting for something that may never come. I may sound cynical, but I see that those who are enjoying what they have or don’t have right now are the ones who are truly happy and are living life to the fullest…