UN DAY OF FRIENDSHIPNelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

In keeping with his philosophy and recognizing today as the United Nation’s International Day of Friendship, let’s all try to speak the language that profoundly impacts the hearts of others.

And in honoring the intention of today as a way to cultivate the “ties that strengthen our common humanity”, here’s to all my friends from around the globe in gratitude for your friendship and for teaching me that kindness, humanity, and humility know no boundaries.

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HUMANITY I recently had the great honor of completing the University of Geneva’s program on Global Health and Human Rights in the exquisitely serene city known as Geneva.  Just back two weeks in the U.S. and still processing the lessons learned, this is what I discovered:

Life is short and as much as possible, we should fill every moment with things that positively enrich our souls. Welcome experiences, both good and bad, and appreciate that their value far outweighs any material possession or any tangible thing. Meaningful friendships and relationships should be treated like precious gems that fill our hearts with love. And we should all try to have enough self-respect to boldly walk away from situations that negatively affect our outlooks and our perceptions. Welcome each day as new beginnings but allow ourselves the luxury to just be. Be honest to ourselves. Trust our instincts. And let’s try to do our part to leave the world a better place. 

Just on the heels of my umpteenth trip to Vienna, I remain utterly and foolishly smitten with that city. Between the architecture, the music, and the la dolce vita of the Viennese, there’s no more magical place that I’ve experienced.
Easily accessible for all, the city offers old world charm with modern conveniences in the public transport system and free wireless in its countless coffee houses.
While I try to capture the images of what I experience and what I see, this is my Vienna.

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Oh, how I love sunsets. And never do I look at one without thinking of my grandma. An amazing artist, she often painted sunsets while skillfully capturing the sun glow so it jumped off the canvas.
Later in her life when her sight failed her, she wrote stories. And I often sat by her side serving as her loyal scribe.
During one session, we held each other’s hand and made a promise. We promised each other that if there was ever a time when we weren’t both on this Earth at the same time, we’d think of the other person whenever we saw a sunset.
She died the next year.
And with last night’s sunset radiating from these Portuguese skies, I imagined my sweet Grandma meticulously painting it from Heaven for all to see. Promises made. Promises kept.

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Here’s the thing. I love to roam. I love to get lost in the adventure of traveling only to find out who I really am. I love to observe people. Cultures. Daily goings on of countless strangers, never knowing their reality. They never knowing mine. I love the self induced silence in a country without knowing the language. I love trying.
I love capturing what I see. I love the imperfections. The nuances. The splendor. The excess.
Here’s how Lisbon smiles to me.

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A few days into this Portugal trip and I’m absolutely smitten. With side trips to Belem and to Sintra, the vistas are spectacular; the colors are luscious; and the culture is diverse. Not knowing a word of Portuguese, I’m loving the silence that it brings.
Still evaluating where this country ranks amongst my faves but it’s pushing itself to the top.
Love to roam. Be limbitless!

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