As I’m sitting down to write this month’s post I honestly can’t believe that so much has transpired in just 31 days! As you may recall from last month’s coffee and catch-up post I was away for a little over a week in Paris, France living it up in the city of lights. I have a zillion things to share from my trip but everything is all still all a bit fresh so need to collect my thoughts (as well as edit the zillion photo’s I took) before I write about my experiences.
I thought I would centre this month’s post around the kindness of strangers, which co-incidentally ties in really well with Nelson Mandela day that South Africa celebrates every year on the 18th of July. The motivation for this topic came from the many kind and generous souls that I came across during my trip. To the lady in particular who found a panic stricken South African standing in the middle of Gare du Nord station, wondering where the heck the metro line two was and took pity on her, helping a stranger find their way: to you madame I say THANK YOU! Not only did this wonderful woman assist me in finding the correct directions to get to my destination (the ones I had from my host were incorrect), but she also took it upon herself to walk me to the line so that I didn’t get lost again.
On reflection all it really cost her was the time it took to help me, but what she may or may not have realised was the huge gift that she had given a perfect stranger. If it wasn’t for her taking the time to help me I would probably still be lost in that station – it’s huge!! Ok, in reality I probably would have called an Uber taxi to come and collect me (which would have cost a pretty penny), and I would have found my way home but in the end she saved me time and taught me about the knock on affect that one small act of kindness can have to another person. Tying this back to Nelson Mandela Day I think that’s exactly what the spirit of the day is all about: taking the time to help the stranger lost in the train station, the beggar on the side of the road, the animals in distress or the lady who’s shopping cart ran away from her spilling all of her groceries all over the floor and making this a part of our daily life and it takes so little to extend a hand and help.
The message behind Mandela Day is simple – each individual has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better. If each one of us heeded the call to simply do good every day, we would be living Nelson Mandela’s legacy and helping to build a country of our dreams. The baton of leadership has been handed over to us. It is in our hands now to make a positive difference. In that spirit we can’t just take 67 minutes once a year to do good, we need to make it a habit to act when we see a need. This year I didn’t get the chance to dedicate 67 minutes for Mandela day but rather I’ve made the decision to act when I see a need, not to make excuses like “I’m late, I don’t have time” but rather to take the extra few minutes to help a stranger find their way, or give a few Rand to the lady standing at the parking pay station with a screaming toddler on her arm who doesn’t have enough change in her purse. In turn I hope if you are the recipient of any of these acts of good will that you will pay it forward and keep the circle going.
Getting out this month: Other than my trip to Paris there wasn’t much else that was interesting I got out and about to do this month, there wasn’t much time in between rushing around to prepare for the trip and then actually being away for two weekends of the month. I have been trying to find a nice photo walk around the city of Jozi to go on, I missed the one run by Fuji on the 5th of July and I can’t wait for them to organize the next one. Do you know of any that meet regularly you would recommend?
Movies from this month: We went out to see Ant Man last week and it was just as good as the reviews say. I enjoy Marvel comic movies and while many of them are a little dark this one is a feel good movie I would recommend to anyone. We have also been watching re-runs of Parks and Recreation and as always Ron Swanson (a character in the series) is hilarious.. one of my favourite quotes from him “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying – Skimmed milk, which is water lying about being milk” (I agree Ron!).
On my bookshelf: I have been reading two very endearing books inspired by Paris. I didn’t get to finish either of them yet but I plan on doing so shortly. The first one is by a food blogger that moved to Paris several years ago by the name of David Lebovitz and outlines his move to the city as well as many hilarious anecdotes on Parisian life. The book is called The Sweet Life in Paris and I would recommend it to any foodie planning on travelling to Paris anytime soon. The second book is one I picked up on a few Instagram feeds called How to be a Parisian Wherever you are I didn’t actually know what to expect from the book but it’s a light read that’s perfect if you want to fit in a few pages before going to bed. If you do happen to read it while walking the streets of Paris you will be intrigued by the books description of the Parisian woman’s demeanour as you get the chance to observe it first-hand (it’s also great if you want to adopt a few of the character flaws yourself while in Paris so that you feel as if you blend right in!).