Love + Light

When I first started dreaming up a Christmas class for 2020, I had imagined gathering in person, perhaps around the warmth of a fireplace, soft white lights glowing while the smell of mulled apple cider danced through the room. It was ideas of praying for each other while doing an ornament exchange and moving and breathing in unison while being physically distanced as protocols called for. As restrictions changed I changed what I thought would be possible until the reality set in-- to host a Christmas experience would be to do so virtually. Hosting online classes virtually through Zoom has been such a gift. Before covid, I had been teaching privately only and didn't have any public offering for people to attend. I shifted my private classes online and one went public and now I consider it such a gift to be able to hold space for you wherever you [...]

2020-11-30T21:27:31+00:00

Live Different– Eat a Cupcake

Cupcakes-- they are just the best. Seriously, they are deliciousness just for you in a cute wrapper, sky high frosting, and decorated to be the cutest edible thing you've laid your eyes on. Part of the cuteness obviously comes from their size—they are just handheld and adorable. Can you imagine how much I would be gushing over mini cupcakes?!!? Let’s not get started on that one! If you follow my blog, or have ever had even a single conversation with me, you know that my wonderful husband and I absolutely love, support, and are involved with the organization Live Different. Based out of our now home Hamilton, Ontario, Live Different is a youth empowerment organization who strives to teach the upcoming generation that life is about people, not stuff. They teach those in high school they can make a difference, they should strive to show kindness, and they truly can [...]

2014-07-01T16:43:00+00:00

Dreams Come True!: Thailand

“Dreams come true!” Ask anyone I am surrounded by on a daily basis; I say the above statement quite frequently in regards to the silliest, simplest things. Example: At work a co-worker will leave chicken for me to use on pizzas. She’ll say something like “Aelea, I left you chicken for pizzas!” and I’ll respond with “Dreams come true!” Another Example: At work a co-worker will have taken out the compost already and my response will be “Dreams come true!” I don’t know when I started saying it, I really don’t know why I say it so often, but a good part of me guesses it’s due to the whole ‘choosing positivity in every situation’ thing I try to do. Anytime something good happens I respond with “dreams come true!” It’s like giving an extra shot of enthusiasm to the little things that help make life awesome. When I think [...]

2014-06-05T15:30:00+00:00

Greenhouses & Elephants: Thailand

One of the best parts of Hero Holiday trips with Live Different is the ‘building project’. This project will vary depending what trip you happen to be attending. In Mexico and Dominican Republic you will build a house for a family, in Haiti you help build a school. The building project in tThailand is a little different. Our volunteers only travel once a year to the children's home which also receives sustainable funding from other organizations. This makes a ‘year after year’ project a little more difficult. So, this year, we built a greenhouse. A greenhouse, you ask? Your first thought is probably ‘cool’. Then you really think about it and question why, in a place so hot year round, we would build a greenhouse. Well, this particular greenhouse is almost the opposite of what we are used to in Canada. Our Canadian greenhouses are designed to keep heat in, allow [...]

2014-06-03T15:43:00+00:00

Courage: Thailand

Hearing stories have this amazing way of transporting us from eager listeners to supporting characters in the words being brought to life before us. I am currently addicted to the show “Once Upon A Time”. A friend of mine and I are both into the show and can’t get enough of it. It’s to the point where when I sleep at night, I dream about the characters—their lives, stories, where the plot is headed, and I happen to be involved somehow. I’m never a major character, but someone who is around viewing the happenings eager to lend a hand, an ear, or sometimes, even a little magic. Magic, as people say, is all around us. I guess it’s what we view magic to be which varies. The idea of magic can be described as the whimsical beauty in the creation around us. The grand ideas people have, the way they [...]

2014-05-20T22:52:00+00:00

The Girl In The Picture: Thailand

Myanmar. What an interesting place to travel to. When you cross the border they take away your passport and give you a temporary piece of identification that becomes your lifeline. It contains a picture of yourself taken that day by the border security, your passport number, name (excluding your last name), birthdate and a number. That number is your connection to your passport the government is now holding. Upon leaving Myanmar, you hand in this piece of paper and retrieve back your oh-so-valued Canadian passport. This process leaves many volunteers feeling vulnerable and, to put it quite honestly, kind of sketched out. You have been told all your life how precious your passport is—keep an eye on it, never let it leave your side when you are travelling, lock it in a safe when you arrive at your destination, keep a photocopy in your luggage, take a picture. Your passport, [...]

2014-05-15T21:04:00+00:00

Others First: Thailand

Did you know I’m not really a ‘kid’ person? I don’t consider myself someone who really enjoys being around children. Being the one who has to entertain a child for really any period of time, and the idea of having one of my own, just seems so ridiculous I often laugh at the idea of it. Why am I not a kid person? No reason in particular—I’ve never had a bad experience with children and there have been no traumatic events. I treat children like humans (as they are) and they generally respond well. Any child I tend to be around kind of understands I am someone they can sit with, but if they want to play around a bunch, they should find someone else. Bottom line, if there were a hyperactive child around who yells, runs, and is constantly up to shenanigans, I would choose to not be around.  [...]

2014-05-12T18:57:00+00:00

From The Heart: Thailand

In very roughly translated paraphrasing from ‘The Art Whisperer’,  “Everything you do needs to come from the heart.” The past few days we were involved in a Creative Arts Camp with the children at the home. It was an interesting mix of fun and games, intense meditation leading into spurts of heartfelt art forms and even creating musical instruments! Live Different sponsored the camp and, as part of our contribution, we helped the kids with sketchbooks, which were used to express themselves and share their stories. One little boy I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with these past few days is the most affectionate and enjoys the simple things—just a cuddle, holding onto your arm and sitting together. One of our amazing translators, Pim, was sitting with this little boy as we the children were working on their sketchbooks. I asked her to translate and share with me about [...]

2014-05-05T15:37:00+00:00

Back To The Beginning: Thailand

“The adventures of a humanitarian striving to keep Love at the root of it all.” While the original tag line of my blog still rings true I find it has evolved from a place for friends and family to read about my humanitarian adventures into a place where I write about my passions, dreams, experiences, bring light to important issues and share what inspires me in hopes it will inspire you. Thinking back to the beginning of this blog, it never would have started if it weren’t for people mentioning I should write so they could keep up with all of my travelling adventures. Upon arriving home from places like Haiti in 2010 after the earthquake, or leading students in Dominican Republic various years, people in my life were interested in what happened on these trips. Sit down chats were often had, stories shared, pictures shown on phones and laptops… [...]

2014-04-28T15:00:00+00:00

The Angry Humanitarian

Oh the Angry Humanitarian. No one really intends to become one. You try to stay friendly, educational, and open but eventually get to the point where you get angry at the decisions and ignorance of the people around you.  Why can’t they understand? Why don’t they change the way they act? Why don’t they care about the rest of the world? The Building Dreams group on the last day of their trip! While spending time with youth empowerment humanitarian organization Live Different in the Dominican Republic we warn volunteers about becoming the Angry Humanitarian. It’s possibly the most common reaction to your surroundings when you head home after a completely life changing experience. Our volunteers just spent 10 days in an impoverished different country, not only building a house for a deserving family, but also really gaining perspective on how a majority of the world lives. They put stories to [...]

2013-09-13T17:20:00+00:00