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“Old places fire the internal weather of our pasts. The mild winds, aching calms, and hard storms of forgotten emotions return to us when we return to the spots where they happened.” ― Siri HustvedtThe Sorrows of an American

I returned from Brazil 2 days ago.  In some instances it feels I have never left the US, in others it feels like I was away for years.  I am blessed to be a citizen of two countries, but at times I feel I belong in neither. I love taking time away and being with my family but I am happy to return as I cannot stay away from my routine for too long.   Is it the fear that things will fall apart in my absence? Or perhaps the opposite, the realization that all progresses very well in my absence?  I think it is a matter of being a control freak. I always come back renewed and hungry to improve in all areas of my life. I got use this momentum to get moving in the things I want to accomplish.

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you” ― Rasheed Ogunlaru

A couple of highlights from last week: I met very interesting people at the airport.  (I will talk to anyone that makes eye contact 🙂 ) I met a young entrepreneur from Liechtenstein building a business that empowers women affected by human trafficking.  I will write more about him and his business as I learn more.  He introduced me to 2 women and a man from the Masai tribe in Tanzania.  They all had come to attend events celebrating The International Women’s Day at the United Nations in NY.  The 2 women spoke no English other than a couple of words.  The language barrier was replaced with smiles.  Later I was able to get M. (also from Tanzania and attending the event, but not from the tribe) to translate.  The two women from the tribe were shocked to find out I was not married and have no kids. One commented that I must have turned down many marriage offers.   G., one of the women said that she is sure God will send me a child as she made some gestures towards the sky.  I joked that I need a husband first.  It seems I am an anomaly in any culture or anywhere in the world.  Be it in the US or Tanzania, to be in my late 40s, never married and have no kids is shocking!

“Each person you meet is an aspect of yourself, clamoring for love.”  ― Eric Micha’el Leventhal

Meeting them was awesome for so many reasons! It renews my love of different cultures and this dream of travelling the word.  They were eager to invite me to visit them.  In that way they are like Brazilians; our doors are always open to new friends.  This chance encounter also reignited my volunteer flame. To me education for all girls, actually boys too, as well as men and women, especially in impoverished countries, is the key to a better future for all.  Knowledge brings empowerment. I have to find a way to do my part.

“To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected” ― Luke 12:48

Being with my family is always a blast! We don’t always agree on everything, but whatever disagreements we have are normally out of too much love.   We eat, we laugh, we eat some more.  Who knew just one week could do so much damage to my waistline?  It is great to see that mom and dad are doing well! Dad has completely won his cancer battle! My brother and sister are thriving professionally with great plans towards the future.  To me happy people make plans.  Any time someone has plans to look forward to it, it shows their hope for the future.  Hope is the best thing a person can have, I cannot ask for anything else for them. My dad was always a homebody, which only got worse after he amputated his right leg, so it is great to see him getting out a bit more.  Lately, whenever I am in Brazil he agrees to spend one afternoon at the pool house and also to go to brunch at a winery.

“Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.”  ― Carol Saline

One low moment,  realizing that my sister and I get along better from a distance.  On the phone we rarely have disagreements, in person we get so critical and so defensive that at times we were unable to have a conversation.  I guess it has to do with expecting the best from each other, knowing what our potentials are and expecting more.   I am sure being identical twins contribute to that.  Anything I said seemed to spark defensiveness. Perhaps I should not call this a low moment but a huge opportunity.  An opportunity for more communication, more acceptance, more love and more self-awareness and self-reflection.  I need to look in the mirror, as I am sure that which I find fault in her is what I am guilt of. The best thing is feeling loved and well received and that is clear to see from all of them!  I am blessed with a great family!

“I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.” – Steve Maraboli