Why You Should Give Your Flight Attendant a Pen Rather Than a Hard Time

20 Aug

These days, flying is a pain in the a** or rather – a pain in the back with the cramped, uncomfortable seats, extra fees, cancellations, security lines, bad food…. I could keep going, but it’s depressing me, so I think I’ll stop there.

Anyway, we all know the drill and it’s not fun. Unfortunately, it’s not fun for the flight crews either, who deal with the same issues as the passengers except they’re supposed to go through it with a smile plastered on their faces. The day-to-day issues flight attendants have are increasing. They won’t tell you about them, but I will. And after reading about some of the things they go through, maybe you’ll decide we need to give them a break instead of a hard time. Continue reading

The Problem With African Hunting

31 Jul

 

African Lions

 
Cecil

Many of us are mourning Cecil the Lion today and I’m one of them. I’m not angry like some people. Mostly I’m just sad. 

Being from Texas, I’ve heard the reasons hunting can be beneficial – culling the herd, for example. But this wasn’t culling. This was poaching. 

African Poaching

Unfortunately, Cecil’s killing isn’t an isolated event. Poaching in Africa is a serious problem. From elephants to rhinos, and lions – all of these animals are being hunted – for profit. 

Conservationists Are Losing The Battle

There are only four Northern White rhinos left in the world. Their extinction is pretty much a done deal. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are then sent to Asia and used for medicinal purposes.

 I don’t get it. Rhino horn consists of the same material as human fingernails. I’m not sure what kind of medicinal benefit anyone can get from nails, but I’d be more than happy to send my fingernail clippings to Asia – if only that would help. 

When we visited Uganda recently, we stopped at a rhino sanctuary. The animals are so threatened that armed guards stay with them twenty-four hours a day. Any unguarded rhino is in danger – even ones in sanctuaries. 

 

Endangered African Rhinos

 
The Reason For Poaching 

As long as poaching is lucrative, and as long as African people are desperate for money and don’t have resources to earn it legitimately, poaching will continue. I’ve read sources that say one rhino horn can garner as much as $35,000! Even “licensed” hunts won’t stop because lots of money is involved. I don’t know how this problem will end. I just hope it does before there are no animals left in the wild. 

Important Note to Self 

20 Jul

When your gorilla trekking guide yells at you to “Go! Go! Go!”, I recommend you run for your life. Because when the Rwandan silverback gorilla, who has just beat his chest like bongos, decides to pull an entire tree down on your head, it will probably hurt. Fortunately, all it did was knock some sense into us. And no, I don’t have a photo. I was too busy hauling ass to get one. 

I’m Back

17 Jul

   
 Hi Everyone- It’s been a while. I’ve missed y’all! We’ve been going strong and have visited more than thirty countries since my last post.  And yes, the jet lag we’ve experienced has been crazy bad!!  And no, the photo of the gorilla is NOT one of me after a really bad flight! 

Over the last couple of years, some of our trips have been great – trekking with the gorillas in Rwanda! Some have been terrifying – being mobbed and robbed in Tunisia. And some of it has been heartbreaking – seeing the destruction of the recent earthquakes in Nepal. I hope to share it all with you. Talk to you soon-  

 

What I Learned in a Sikh Temple

11 Aug
Sikh Temple-Red Eye Family

Sikh Temple in New Delhi

If Wade Michael Page, the white supremacist who murdered six people last weekend at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, had felt compassion, would he have committed the murders?

I don’t think so.

How do you get to the point where you feel no compassion? I’m not sure. But, I think it must start very early in life.

As I’ve said in other posts, I feel a huge burden to teach my kids certain life lessons. Compassion for others is one of those.

If you’re like me, I don’t come in contact with any Sikhs at home. But in April, we visited a Sikh temple in India.  And here’s what we found. Continue reading

Parenting the Living Goddess: Am I Creating a Monster?

8 May
Parentling

House of the Living Goddess

Parenting a toddler can be so difficult. This week we attended a birthday party for a four-year-old friend. Everything was going well until it was time to leave. It was at that moment, Feisty Spice, my two year old daughter, decided to scream NO! and hole-up in a bouncy house. I finally had to crawl in and drag her out, kicking and screaming. (Her not me) She didn’t want to go.

Embarrassing as this was, I fought the urge to make excuses. She’s jet-lagged.  She didn’t have a nap. She doesn’t usually do this. She….fill in the blank.  And the reason I didn’t make an excuse was because I’d just visited the home of a little girl called the Living Goddess in Kathmandu.

Continue reading

A Nepalese Funeral, A Public Cremation, and Sharing a Stranger’s Grief

1 May

Kathmandu  Outdoor CremationIn our culture, even in this era of extreme openness, there are still some things that we keep private. Last year when my father died, I remember asking my mother if she wanted an open casket at the funeral. And while she wanted it open, there is a feeling of vulnerability when your loved one is laid out for people to see, even if those people are friends and family.

So when you see a culture that performs its funeral rituals with complete openness, it is sobering as well as shocking. I wasn’t prepared for it and that made it more unbelievable. As it stands, I’ve thought about this funeral many times since we returned from Nepal two weeks ago.

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