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Posted by on Nov 30, 2015 in Life Reimagined, Vietnam | 0 comments

Looking for a Life Changing Opportunity?

A few months ago I happened to catch a segment from Rainmakers TV about MovingWorlds. I was very inspired while listening to co-founder Mark Horoszowski talk about this organization.  Now that I am living internationally it is becoming even more important to me to encourage others to try to take some time to see what life is like in developing countries – even if it is for a short time. Mark was kind enough to sit down with me on my last visit to Seattle to discuss MovingWorlds and the work that they do.

It seems to me that there are many of us who are retired, or almost retired and looking to do something where we can make a difference. For those of us who are really lucky, an opportunity might come along if you are looking for one. For others we create that change through hard work and sometimes a financial investment so we can start our own organization where we can live out our passion.

Moving Worlds gathers “Experteers” who are hoping to gain some practical experience, make a difference or both, Experteers dedicate a certain amount of time, usually more than one week and up to 3, 6 or 12 months to work with an organization who is creating social impact. This can be a non-profit, school or social enterprise. For a small (and I mean very small fee, starting at $150) MovingWorlds will match up a candidates experience to an organization that is looking for help, usually in a developing country.

I know you might be thinking, “Why do I have to pay $150 to look for a volunteer position?” What I have found is that it isn’t always cheap to volunteer. Most organizations will have you pay your way and charge you room and board. I am not knocking that – developing countries need all the help they can get and charging you for your room and board is OK as long as you are able to support their work. A volunteer vacation can often cost $2000 – $5000 for 1 to 2 weeks.

With MovingWorlds there are sometimes opportunities that will help you get to where you are going and even help you with your room and board while working for them.   Of course this depends on your experience and what is needed at the time. To me this seems like such an awesome opportunity for someone  in their mid-fifties to seventies that is up for an adventure. If you are like John and me and have aging parents, children and (yippee!) grandchildren it is hard to get away, but it isn’t forever.

If you have been thinking about taking your experience and using it to make a difference try watching this video from Rainmakers TV.

Be sure and check out the web page – You can sort opportunities by skill, location or cause. Happy searching!

They also have a great Facebook Page that highlights opportunities.

Here are a few of the opportunities listed from around the world: Sales Professional, Online Marketing Strategist, Teachers Assistant, Retail Expert and Online Fundraiser

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Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Life Reimagined, Vietnam | 0 comments

Belief Embraces All Differences

Belief embraces all differences was stolen from my meditation this morning but very timely, don’t you think?

I am sure when Oprah and Deepak put together this meditation series they had no idea that another series of terrorists attacks would rock Europe and the debate would open up across the world about how to best protect ourselves from these attacks.

I can’t help but being drawn into this debate as I am sure most of the world also is. No matter how we personally feel there is a reason to be afraid and the desire to protect our families. I let myself be pulled into a Facebook debate yesterday. Luckily I didn’t comment, but I did “like” several comments that agreed with my point of view. What I reflected on for the rest of evening and when I awoke this morning is how angry we are at each other for our different beliefs.  What I am fairly certain of is that there isn’t a “right” way. Only history will tell us if those decisions and judgements we make now are the right ones.

Anyway – back to the meditation and the timeliness of it; Oprah opened by saying, “This is what I know for sure, we are all more alike than different.” Isn’t that the truth? No matter how different our beliefs are we are still alike in that fact that we love our families, we work hard and we care about those around us.  I wish we could focus on that and not on our fear.  Deepak followed up with “Humanity is one family. We can’t be us vs. them.”  The lesson and what we were asked to reflect on is to not focus on our differences, but how alike we really are.

What I know for sure is that we aren’t going to change anyone’s mind by debating these issues over FB, but we need to have face to face conversations with those who believe differently and be respectful when listening to their answers.  I tested that on my visit to the US this summer having many conversations with a family member whose beliefs were very different than mine. I can honestly say that these conversations didn’t change my views, but it opened up a new way to view them. I found myself having a much deeper and greater respect for my family member, and an understanding for his views.

Unfortunately Oprah didn’t pay me to promote the meditation series but if you are looking for a way to learn to meditate by focusing on how to make positive changes in your life, I recommend giving the meditations a try. We are just finishing up our second series which is called, Become What You Believe. The focus is on setting goals and believing that they will happen. It is actually much deeper but it is my mini explanation.

We started our meditation by doing many YouTube guided meditations and happened upon Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude, a series which changed my life. This one is about forgiveness, and if you have been harboring anger towards anyone or just want to be more grateful, I can highly recommend this one.

As you go through your day today try to take the time to listen and remember that we all came from the same place and have the same basic needs.  Our legacy will be how we  manage our differences.

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Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Life Reimagined, Vietnam | 4 comments

We’re Back

Back in Hai Phong.

After months of travel, seeing family and friends and then welcoming groups of people to see some of “our” Viet Nam, we are now back into the routine of living life as an expat.

It was a little surreal getting on my bicycle, riding to the market and trying once again to barter my way into a good vegetable price. Ôi trời ơi, can we handle this for another year?

I felt really strong leaving the USA knowing that our time here is halfway done and we will start the process of moving back sometime next year. It was easy to feel good about being on the other side, (of the world) while surrounded by friends and family, but now it is just us once again. Reality is setting in. My good intentions about diving back into English classes, volunteering my time and trying to deepen my connections to the wonderful people I have met here are limping along slowly as I look at the photos of my granddaughters from my visit with them and the weekly photo updates from my daughter showing off her beautiful belly as she grows my grandson.

Oh – well, things move on. I came home to see the new house which is being built right across the little alley that runs to our home. The alley is only about 5 feet wide, just barely room for the motorbike to pass. That being said I do sometimes see one the of small taxis going down to the cul-du-sac (if you can call it that) which is the end of our street in our new home. I was only in this house about one month before I returned to Seattle, so it is still pretty new to me.

hai phong cons

Our house on the right, new construction on the left.

We had our first guests to our new house right after we returned. It was much different then the spacious apartment I was able to let them use before. This time we borrowed mattresses which were placed on the floor. The cooler temperatures heated up so my brother-in-law and his wife had to move their mattress into the air conditioned living room floor for the 2 nights they slept here.  I wanted them to get a real feel of what life is like for us in Viet Nam – and they did. The second morning of their visit the construction started at 5 am, with lots of banging and heavy equipment as well as the voices of the 20 or so workers that started that day.  Luckily for them they headed off of Saigon, while my husband and I sat around and watched the construction for most of the day.

When I finally opened the drapes to look outside, this is what I saw.

When I finally opened the drapes to look outside, this is what I saw.

My motto is “things are different here” which they are. It is much easier to just accept the differences and try not to change things. This is not my country, nor is it up to me to try to enforce my values and beliefs. I had the hardest lesson of all this week.

I have heard that accidents are the number one cause of death in Viet Nam. Not too surprising when you see the motorbikes, bicycles, cars and trucks all trying to squeeze onto the too small roads. Motorbikes are the hardest hit. We recently saw a young woman lying on the side walk, unconscious. A victim of a hit and run, a driver swerved into her knocking her bike over and her head hit the pavement hard. Yesterday was the hardest though. I was biking through the most dangerous roundabout in Hai Phong during lunch time. The same time as all of the children are heading home from school for lunch. The roundabout is dangerous because it is the main arterial for the trucks. Few stop when the light is red, so the onslaught of bicycles and motorbikes have to “swim” their way through the truck traffic. One motorcycle driver was not lucky. He must of been sideswiped by another motorbike or car and fell over in front of truck. It is a sight I will never forget, and one I hope to never see again.

I have seen accidents in the US before that are really bad and you know that there had been a loss of life. What is different here is that they didn’t cover the body, and this poor young man was there for everyone, including the many school children, to view. As I was stopped at the accident I could see the police bringing up a woman to the body, my heart fell as I realized this was most likely his mother, or perhaps a family member to ID him.

Life is different here. Today I am thankful for the respect we give to the deceased  and the respect we give to the many motorists that are passing by when we cover the body. Those poor children who rode by and were stopped at the scene as I was, must of shared my nightmares. Since this happened on Veterans Day I couldn’t help but think of all of our service men and women who have seen too many similar sights.   You have to cope, but it sure isn’t easy.

Drive slowly my friends and children. Getting there a few moments earlier isn’t worth the risk. Save money and forget that second drink.  Value what you have.

Peace and love from Hai Phong, Viet Nam.


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