Citizens of the world 365: the chronicles.

Featured

Thanks for joining us!

We are citizens of this small village called the world.

Join us while we roam the third rock from the sun.

First stop…Greece.

Follow us on:

YouTube || @CW365

Facebook || @CW365

Instagram || @CW365

Contact @CW365:

WP_20180512_12_36_00_Pro.jpg

Advertisements

Dealing with negativity.

“How is it that, every single time I see you, you’re smiling?”, asks a colleague of mine as soon as I get to work.

“Am I now? I was not aware of that and I’m quite sure that, from time to time, I’m glowering.” I replied.

“Maybe so but, as far as I recall, you are always smiling.

How is that possible, especially here?”, she carried on.

She was referring to workplace and the competitive environment that you usually encounter there.

If you do not enjoy what you are doing for a living, but you need to pay the bills, you need, at the very least, to be able to put food on the table and have a roof over your head, you have to suck it up.

That’s life, right?

So, you must endure what it feels like hardship and, therefore, your first day of the week (may it be Monday or any another day) is when you start that very special clock: A countdown clock to your days off!

Passion slowly fades away from your life and turns into bitterness and resignation.

If you’re working from Monday to Friday, Sunday evening is when you generally start feeling sick: It’s when anxiety kicks in.

So, in those cases competitive environment is actually a euphemism. It can easily stand for hostility, envy and rudeness.

In a nutshell, a place full of negative energy and where your dreams go to die.

While at work you think about spending time with the ones you love, you are eagerly looking for Friday to come, wishing for vacations and first and foremost you dream of winning the lottery.

Of course you put on a smile at the workplace once in a while but, it is mostly a fake one.

It means that you are player and perfectly understand the rules of the game.

After the last global economic crisis, that started back in 2007, things have gotten worse.

On top of that, nowadays we just need to go online, turn on the TV or listen to the radio to get an abundance of negative thinking and gloomy portraits of society and the world.

Given all that, it is very easy to go down the rabbit hole.

“Let my take a wild guess, my dearest friend, and say that you do not enjoy what you’re doing.

Workplace means disappointment, frustration and it is full of people that you do not fancy that much.

It is the last place, on dear old planet Earth, where you would like to be and, therefore, you are not happy.

Am I right so far?

I let you in on a little secret: Most of the people that you see here they feel exactly the same way!

Particularly those that seem to be angry the all freaking time, the ill-tempered, the ones that tend to get on your nerves!

I’ll bet you they are the first ones in line, when it comes to getting the hell out of here!”

She starts to laugh.

“That’s it right there!”, I said with enthusiasm.

“I try my very best to greet people with a smile, expecting nothing else but a smile in return.

Chances are it may be not happen right away, or on that day or week even.

But, eventually it will. And when it happens it is quite fulfilling.

Especially if you are feeling blue.

Just like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s not easy but it’s totally worth it!

Your laughter fills me with great joy. Thank you kindly my friend.

It’s a great way to start the day at the office and I’m truly grateful for that.”

She starts to ponder.

“There is more of course!”, I carry on.

“I have a different perspective on things: I wanted to come and live in Greece and this job gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.

Furthermore, I do not give up on my dreams. That means that I have to keep on fighting, no matter what.

From time to time I will fall, and you know what?

I just need to pick up myself on those occasions and get back on track. That is part of being alive!

I also have that special someone with whom I share precious moments, something to be grateful for as well.

Last but not least, I have a hobby that helps me balance out all that is not so positive: I write.

I’m fully aware of the fact that I suck at it, but I keep doing it anyway: It’s for my own good.”

Her smile gets bigger.

We wish each other a wonderful day.

That was the end of what it felt like a long week and I was feeling tired.

That precise moment… that was the needle in the haystack!

A reminder that one has to keep on searching, despite the prevailing circumstances, one day at a time.

It is effortless to be a pessimist.

It requires a great deal of determination, passion and resilience to be optimistic.

The journey continues…

Passion, perseverance and resilience!

“A day in our life” revisited…

1
I feel the warmth of the sun on my face.

The sun-rays seem to be peeking through the wooden shutters, trying to make their way into our bedroom.

“Let there be light!”, it appears to be what the star is telling me in a soft and gentle tone.

It wakes me up before the alarm goes off.

As I stare at the ceiling a kind of peacefulness overcomes me.

My wife is still sound asleep, looking very serene so, I let her be.

I start to listen to some music on my headphones and go about my morning ritual.

Standing at the veranda I see one of our neighbors, a nice old lady, at the building across from ours, watering the plants.

I wave and say in Greek, “Kaliméra! Óla kalá?” (Good morning! Everything ok?).

She answers back with a huge smile on her face.

I fondly recall the conversations between her and my wife over the past months, almost every single evening, from the veranda.

3.jpg

She does not speak a word of English.

We are still learning the basics of Greek.

So, instead of ideas and point of views we are actually talking about two persons exchanging pleasantries and interacting at a very basic level.

Thing is I find the effort, the attempt to overcome the language barrier, to be more meaningful than some conversations being held in your own native tongue.

Often people open their mouths, words come out and, at first glance, it looks like they are engaged in a relevant conversation. But, unfortunately, in some cases it is nothing more than a huge waste of time.

That is not the case here. A bridge is being built.

“Bom dia!” (Good morning!).

My wife greets me in Portuguese and gives me a hug and a kiss.

We finish breakfast, prepare lunch and head to work.

It’s going to be a very warm day, we can tell.

A hot breeze from the Aegean sea engulfs us as we get out of our building.

Walking down the street, we greet another friendly face.

This is a person that has distinctly seen too many winters.

This is someone that, I believe, should be enjoying his golden years somewhere else.

Someone that, gracefully, should be giving us all greater knowledge and understanding of life due to his experience.

He stands at the corner of our street instead, waiting for gentle souls. He is not the only one, regrettably…

We share our lunch and ponder about mankind and what it must be perceived as a low point.

He smiles and waves us goodbye.

“Yassas!”… he wins us over with his perseverance and resilience.

2.jpg

On our way to the bus stop we exchange glances and smiles with the fantastic group of persons that, every single morning, are at the public park near to our place.

They are mainly pensioners and homeless people who share not only the weary wooden benches, but as well narratives of the olden days.

This band of brothers they are engaged in warm conversations about society and how it all should be.

Comrades of life talking about the unpleasant changes of circumstances and fortune.

They are enjoying each others’ company and attempting to find solace.

“Our bus is here!”, my wife tells me and we pick up the pace, leaving behind a scenario worthy of meaningful attention.

We find some of our colleagues already inside and we shift our awareness to the issues of a much younger generation.

They don’t dwell on the past. They are focused on the future, on how to get a better life.

The two generations they have something in common though. They both wish for a change.

4.jpg

“Get off your seat, press the stop button and driver, please do slam on those brakes for we’ve arrived at work”, says the voice in my head as soon as I realize we have reached our destination.

The time as come now to focus on what worries our customers and how to surpass the challenges we encounter at the office.

It is a rather unique beat that we dance to throughout the remaining of the day.

Sometimes it might sound a lot like routine and that is quite a challenge per se.

I remember the reason why we are here and that puts a smile on my face. Determination comes along and does its duty.

I marvel at the character of my peers, each one of them with a formidable story to tell, and that adds value to the equation.

5.jpg

At the end of the day my wife and I, seating across the dinner table, talk about what we have experienced.

The funny thing about what I have described is that it could have easily taken place anywhere else in the world.

We currently face the same issues across the globe.

What changes?

The people and the perspective.

It may seem all black and white but, believe me, there’s some color out there and it’s worth the search.

We must observe and interact.

My wife and I remember that it is all about living life one day at a time and add some spices to our journey: Passion, perseverance and resilience!

It is all that we need.

After all, little more than one year ago we were in Portugal and now we are in Greece!

Who knows what lies ahead?

Life is full of surprises.

I’ve said it before: All days are alike because they are different and that is just wonderful.

Off to bed now and hit the reset button… new memories wait us!

The journey continues…

WP_20181117_11_51_24_Pro

Our one year anniversary!

Time indeed flies when you are having fun and enjoying life.

Little more than twelve months have passed since my wife and I decided to change our lifestyle and embark on an amazing journey, a true adventure.

For our one year anniversary we decided to visit the wonderful capital of Bulgaria, Sofia.

Roman Emperor Constantine the Great once referred to the city as “mea Roma est” (it is my Rome), a clear sign of affection for its wonders.

We went on a very special trip and Sofia was a delight.

As the expression goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

That being said, instead of an article we will leave you with a few written words  and show a video of the trip.

Hope you enjoy it! We had a blast recording it!

The journey continues…

Don’t let fear rule you!

It’s been over a year since my wife and I decided to change our lives, our lifestyle, and embark on this journey (The Change!).

So, I guess now is a good a time as any to think deeply about what we have done, what we have experienced over this period of time and see if we can reach some conclusions.

We set out to improve ourselves, make an effort to become better persons and allow our relationship to grow stronger.

We wanted to roam the third rock from the sun, visit new places, meet new people, make new friends, enjoy diversity, be confronted with different ways of looking at the same things and gain knowledge.

In a nutshell: To pursue happiness!

Challenging, right?

Before continuing, I must point out one thing: One should never forget the past.

It helps understanding the present.

We already went through trying times, both as individuals and as a couple.

So, as I’m seating in one of my favourite coffee shops in Piraeus writing this text, I have to ask: Was it all worth it?

Furthermore, what is most important, will we keep on pursuing our endeavour?

First things first, let’s take a look on what has been been happening in the world lately.

Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on global warning and it is daunting.

They have painted a true doomsday scenario.

More extreme weather, increased heat waves, rising sea levels, further water scarcity, etc.

The calamity list goes on and on and it will affect us all.

A real wake-up call.

It will be the end of the world as we know it unless we start acting know, together, as a true global village.

Is it going to be easy? No it is not.

And talking about major crises, another one that matters to us all as citizens of the world is the forced displacement of populations.

Never before we have seen so many people running away from war, violence, hunger and poverty.

The so-called migrant crisis is far from being over and the response, much like the one regarding global warming, the way I see it, has been feeble.

Instead of uniting society it is being used as fuel for stupid rhetoric, designed to strike fear in our hearts and help monsters come into power.

Do we need more examples? I sincerely believe we do not.

As it so happens, I strongly think the world also needs a change for it looks like we are going down the toilet.

Remember what I said previously regarding the past?

Quoting Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

History has a tendency to repeat itself and, ever so often, that is not a good thing.

I understand that, with all that is going on right now (and, particularly, with all that has been going on over the last ten years, at least), most of us feel beaten-up, hopeless, tired, anxious, not knowing what to do and whom to trust.

Some of the persons we have encountered in this journey, regardless of nationality or creed, believe their opinions or actions do not matter.

But, hold on a moment!

I started talking about these past twelve months of our lives, and how challenging they were, and now I’m addressing the world?

That is quite the challenge indeed!

Is it not too much?

Well, as far as I see it, whether we like it or not, there is no denying the fact that by just not caring or by thinking that our voice is not important, we are actually helping and empowering those who are engaged in battle against our planet and mankind, motivated only by self-interest.

Whether we like it or not, the wheels have already been set in motion.

Life is actually quite simple, we are the ones that insist on making it complicated, as another wise man once said.

In my humble opinion, it all comes down to one thing: Deciding if, whether or not, we need and want to change.

We have the power to decide how we wish to live our lives and the impact we will have on others.

I honestly believe if we try to be better human beings, we will be helping ourselves and society in the process.

Even though each one of us undertakes its own journey, sometimes paths cross.

Everything happens for a reason and the change starts with us.

And that takes us back to my wife and I, and our own changing process!

“Was it all worth it?”

Yes!

We have been taking it one day at the time.

Even though there have been some rainy days, most of them have been magnificent.

We have learned so much from the amazing people we have met.

Never have we felt like this before.

“Will we keep on pursuing our endeavour?”

Hell, yeah!

We will keep following our hearts!

We will not let fear or anxiety rule us!

We will do whatever we feel we must do, respecting ourselves and others, and deal with the consequences of our actions.

I said it once, I will say it again: It is merely the beginning of a long journey.

What lies ahead?

We have no idea but are thrilled to find out.

After all, all days are alike because they are different and that is just marvellous!

Positivity lifts you up and helps with the journey of life.

 

Given the choice…

It’s the morning of a beautiful rainy day.

The temperature outside it’s just right and, by opening the windows, we provide a much appreciated soundtrack to the apartment.

We allow ourselves to enjoy the soothing sound of the rain, while enjoying a delightful breakfast in the comfort of our own home.

“It is going to be a magnificent day!”, I tell my wife.

“It’s time to get out there and deal with whatever may come our way… with a smile!”, I carry on with excitement.

She answers me back with a smile and a slight gentle bending forward of her head, a clear sign of accordance.

We are working on our “software program”, the set of instructions necessary to face the challenges of the day.

After all, it is all a matter of perspective and mind-set.

I could easily have started with:

“It’s the morning of a rainy day.

It’s cold outside and, by opening the windows, we gain an accurate understanding of what is expecting us outside of the apartment.

We go trough breakfast hearing the heavy pouring rain and thunder in the comfort of our small home.

‘It is going to be a crappy day!’, I tell my wife.

‘It’s time to get out there and deal with the same old, same old… oh, brother!’, I carry on desperately.

She answers me back with a grim smile, while letting out a long sigh of despair and shaking her head in a clear sign of accordance.”

But, why would I do that? That is not the way we see and face things.

Nonetheless, there is a fine line between the two realities.

Oh yes, we are perfectly capable of being our own worst enemy.

And there lies, as far as I see it, the answer to this challenge, one that can be a difficult conundrum.

If we are capable of doing unspeakable things, we also have the ability to do the opposite.

History has shown us that much over and over again.

We can change, indeed we can! But, it requires discipline.

Quoting Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort (…) difficulty.”

Each day presents a dare, and we welcome it open-minded.

Given the choice, we choose not to be unhappy and look at everything negatively.

We choose not to exaggerate the importance of issues one finds oneself dealing with throughout our entire life.

We wear glasses with a bespoke pair of “lenses”.

They are moulded by Father Time.

As I’ve mentioned before, “we are the sum of our experiences, be they positive or negative (…) [they set] the background for the memories that stay with you through the course of time.”

Memories of darker times are still vivid so, I remember how easy it is not to be optimistic.

How effortless it is to go down the rabbit hole.

How uncomplicated it is to blame someone or something else for our own misfortunates.

To be frustrated and mad most of the time.

As the song says, it looks like we are “hardwired to self-destruct”.

It is no easy task, I’m aware of that, but we have to teach ourselves how to be hardwired to self-respect.

Whether we like it or not, society is changing and it seems that it’s not improving… daunting perspective, is it not?

Thing is, my wife and I honestly believe there’s still hope so, we choose not to follow the rabbit.

The changing process is an arduous and long journey and we believe it to be worth it.

Even when things are not as we wish them to be, we choose to smile at life.

The journey continues, one day at a time.

So, given the choice…

BAHHHHHHHH!

Ever went to the beach and shouted out loud “BAHHHHHHHH!”?

I did.

Why would someone do that, you may ask?

Well, have you ever woke up with a feeling that life makes no sense and you’re nothing but a time bomb on the verge of exploding?

So many thoughts go through your mind, with raging speed, just like loud speakers in a bar playing heavy metal, making it difficult for you to focus and feel serene.

You are angry and frustrated, saddened about the way things turned out.

“Is anybody there? Is someone listening?”

To make things worst, it looks like you are attempting to talk, but no one is really listening to what you have to say.

On the other hand, when someone approaches you and engages in what it looks like a conversation, you’re just not there.

You’re a zombie.

To put it bluntly, you feel lost and hopeless.

When that happens to me, I know that I’m just stressed out.

Quite normal and part of being alive.

It is just something that we have to deal with from time to time.

Our own personal demons, fuelled by fear and anxiety.

You know when sometimes you feel what it can be described as a burning sensation on your chest?

Because most of the times we are afraid of what might happen, we choose to do nothing whatsoever.

We let it be.

We do not address it.

So, we start feeling pressured, stressed until it becomes a vicious cycle, repeating itself over and over again…

Misery truly loves company.

So, every now and then, that feeling of lack of hope and “I’m unable to find my way” comes along and it’s simply overwhelming.

You feel adrift, reduced to nothing more than a smouldering wreck.

When that happens, how do I deal with it?

I don’t overthink it and do not let it grow out of proportion.

I face it.

I go to a beach and express myself without restraint!

That alone as such a liberating effect on me.

Moreover, I do not worry about what happened yesterday and what might happen tomorrow. They are out of reach.

It is really one-day-at-a-time kind of deal that we have going on and I’m fully aware of that.

So, whenever darkness comes creeping over, trying to feed my demons, I just tell her (or him, you choose) to go fuck herself (himself)! At the top of my lungs!

It keeps negativity at bay. I start to feel calm, peaceful and serene again, back on track.

I light my fire, let it burn and carry on with life.

When it comes to design, we are perfectly imperfect, something that we have to cope with.

That being said, I’ve stopped, a long time ago, being afraid of letting myself go and being truly free.

If that does not work, then one must seek professional help. Something quite normal as well.

Be free…BAHHHHHHHH!

 

A day in our life

I feel the warmth of the sun on my face.

The sunrays seem to be peeking through the wooden shutters, trying to make their way into our bedroom.

“Let there be light!”, it appears to be what the star is telling me in a soft and gentle tone.

It wakes me up before the alarm goes off.

As I stare at the ceiling a kind of peacefulness overcomes me.

My wife is still sound asleep, looking very serene so, I let her be.

I start to listen to some music on my headphones and go about my morning ritual.

Standing at the veranda I see one of our neighbours, a nice old lady, at the building across from ours, watering the plants.

I wave and say in Greek, “Kaliméra! Óla kalá?” (“Good morning! Everything ok?”).

She answers back with a huge smile on her face.

I fondly recall the conversations between her and my wife over the past months, almost every single evening, from the veranda.

She does not speak a word of English.

We are still learning the basics of Greek.

So, instead of ideas and point of views we are actually talking about two persons exchanging pleasantries and interacting at a very basic level.

Thing is I find the effort, the attempt to overcome the language barrier, to be more meaningful than some conversations being held in your native tongue.

Often people open their mouths, words come out and, at first glance, it looks like they are engaged in a relevant conversation. But, unfortunately, in some cases it is nothing more than a huge waste of time.

That is not the case here. A bridge is being built.

“Bom dia!” (“Good morning!”).

My wife greets me in Portuguese and gives me a hug and a kiss (after having her coffee first, I must say!).

We finish breakfast, prepare lunch and head to work.

It’s going to be a very warm day, we can tell.

A hot breeze from the Aegean sea engulfs us as we get out of our building.

Walking down the street, we greet another friendly face.

This is a person that has distinctly seen too many winters.

This is someone that, I believe, should be enjoying his golden years sharing amazing stories. Someone that, gracefully, should be giving us all greater knowledge and understanding of life due to his experience.

He stands at the corner of our street instead, waiting for gentle souls. He is not the only one, regrettably.

Our society, nowadays, devalues the elderly. It’s a global issue.

We share our lunch and ponder about mankind and what it must be perceived as a low point.

He wishes us a great day.

This person has gained our affection and respect due to his perseverance and resilience.

We’ll get together tomorrow.

END OF PART I