Venezia, Italia.

Venice – Italy

“Every summer, Venice is a setting for the same scene: thousands of visitors arriving daily on cruise ships, drunk tourists diving off bridges and people peeing outside homes and exclusive hotels at 9AM. The legendary city is losing its character and gaining the nickname “Disneyland on the sea”.

Mass tourism is nothing new for Venice, but over the last few years it’s been getting out of hand. The numbers vary, but it’s said around 30 million tourists visit the small city every year. The impact of that is so damaging that the UN has threatened to put Venice on its list of endangered heritage sites if it can’t find a way to deal with the volume of tourists, particularly those coming from cruise ships.

Venetian authorities have taken measures in an attempt to reduce the nuisance for locals – like fining misbehaving tourists and limiting access to some monuments and squares. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for many locals, who are fleeing the city in large numbers. There are less than 55,000 people now living in the city, compared to 175,000 in the 1950s.

Mind you, a number of remaining Venetians are fighting back; earlier this year, 25,000 people voted to ban giant cruise ships from docking in the lagoon, though a similar effort in 2015 was ignored by the local government. A few months ago, 2,000 locals gathered on the streets to protest, in a march called “Mi no vado via” (I’m not leaving). Giampietro Gagliardi, a member of local action group Generazione ’90, told local press that there were plenty of Venetians still willing to stand up for their city. “We want to make it clear,” he said, “Venetians are here and fighting to stay. We want to re-appropriate our city, saving it from the mono-culture of tourism.”

– Leonardo Bianchi, News editor VICE Italy

Why are the wells are capped in Venice? It is because each well had its own water system underground and this was eroding the earth so the wells were capped and therefore Venice is now no longer sinking so fast, if at all.

People have been put off from going to Venice because their friends have remarked on the smell yet whilst we were there, there was no smell. Just a slight whiff upon leaving our hotel one morning.

If and when you do go, please give Venezia, my love.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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Why I Donated To ‘War Child’.

A notification popped up last week on Facebook, asking me if I had seen her post.

It was the very first post I saw that evening as I logged in, already I was smiling.

No one can resist a pair of handmade bootees… especially if they are in the style of a Converse pair.

I let it be known that I was rather tempted to order a pair by her own hands.

As I enquired how to pay for her time, materials etc, “Please donate to a charity.” she replied.

“What a wonderful woman” were my thoughts.

I felt it would be rude to choose a charity of my own, so asked her, what her preferences were.

Out of the three given by Suzanne, I picked ‘War Child.” For they had managed to stop me in my tracks and rendered me speechless.

I sadly, had not heard of them before then and wished, they could know the real reason why I had donated to them.

All due to this wonderful and generous woman, Suzanne Miller, who made these cherished booties for my baby daughter.

Thank YOU, ever so.

I do not think I have ever said this before to anyone but, God bless you Suzanne. ☺️

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Please, if you can, donate to War child for they are a fantastic charity and to quote a friend, “It’s a shame the circumstances exist for it to be necessary. 😢 ”

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Dearest Sara,

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Dearest Sara,

Having not put pen to paper for quite some time, I thought I would dedicate this perfect moment to your good self.

The way you fare in life after knocking on death’s door, will be the greatest test to overcome. Simply because, better times await you.

At first, you will not understand why you survived and feel guilty for having done so. As a result, you will appreciate and cherish life, integrity, nature’s designs but most of all, each and every waking moment even more so. At times this may hurt, all because you cannot explain or stress just how precarious life or short, time, is.

Such an experience will benefit you with more wisdom, to see through people, to expand on thinking outside the box and enable you to predict consequences. To recognise better, the evil that’s out there and the many forms it takes.

People will try their best to exploit your kindness for their own gains but you will stand tall courageously and prevail. With their disdain, they will try with all their might to turn others against you. This too, will be in vain.

Whilst life does not come with any instructions, all one can do is listen to our hearts and subsequently understand, what our elders before us, wished. Since history, tends to rhyme.

There will be times when you will feel anxious, such as your precious angels embarking on a life all of their own, anticipating the familiar faces of evil they too, will inevitably encounter. Or quite simply, due to the fact that you survived not once, not twice but three times, that something is bound to happen to you because you, technically, should not be here. Yet, you are meant to be and you will come to understand why.

There will be times when you feel such anger at ghosts of past, who chose to inflict pain and heartache upon you. Alternatively, pure frustration at people’s triviality alone. You will learn, to let it go.

There will be times when you bring sincere meaning to others with just a smile from the bottom of your heart, the kindest word or two and/or gesture – you may not always know it but this will truly make their day. You will come to realise just how vital this can be to someone else, for it’ll save you also.

Grit your teeth, sit on your hands (not too often!), remain the extremely patient, honest and considerate person you are. Who is not afraid, to kick ass either.

Take it one step, one moment, one day at a time.

Not everything is or will be as it seems. You cannot stop the (sound) waves but you can learn to surf so keep on going with the flow, for it suits you so.

Be kind to yourself yet always bear it in mind, that it is okay to say no, that it is okay to be a little bit selfish. To have some “me time”.

Trust in fate since everything and everyone that happens, is predestined. In time, the answers to your many why’s will figure, in all senses.

Don’t be discouraged, don’t be unhappy and don’t be afraid to stay true to yourself, keep the faith in who you are, why you are who you are – you will be more than fine. For you are EXCEPTIONAL, more than you will ever come to realise. You may not always feel it but people do LOVE you, your feistiness even. Those around you consider themselves honoured, lucky today to still, be graced with the pleasure of YOUR company.

With the warmest of love and best wishes, on your birthday.

Your future self,

Sara.

A Drop Of Kindness.

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My 11 year old daughter stopped me early this afternoon whilst shopping and asked me if she could give HER change to this elderly homeless man who looked quite sad, I explained that it was hers to give – I even gave her a bit more loose change. She smiled and ran up to him, handing over her change. She ran back to me, glowing and looking satisfied. I then looked to him in the distance and put up my hand to acknowledge him, also with a smile.

Walking home, she spoke of how powerful a smile can be. How he tranformed, smiling back at her and gratefully thanked her about ten times! Bless her cottons… I explained to her that she most probably made his day. She understood then, just how much my favourite saying means to me…

“Keep on smiling, for it is free and does wonders.”

It suits too. 😊

A drop of kindness goes a very long way but best of all, it does not hurt.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)