Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. (Shannon L. Alder)
I want to tell you a little more about my trip to Belgium and my current trip to Zurich. Long story short, I met both of my hosts on the Internet.
Laura from Belgium contacted me first, when I was still in Japan, asking if I knew of a cheap place she could stay during her travels there. Though I was skeptical and nervous, I offered my humble flat to her. I don’t have a spare bed I said, but I do have a mattress. She agreed, time passed, she visited and we had the most wonderful time together. We went for walks, ate soba and talked and joked plenty. Flash-forward half a year and I found myself in Europe. But now you must come and visit ME she said. So I ended up in Belgium. There, Laura’s mother volunteered herself as my personal taxi driver and Laura’s father took me to the supermarket where he offered to purchase whatever health-foods my heart desired. I bought one avocado. I was given my own room, toiletries and much love and comfort. As a consequence, I felt at home in an instant.
As for Laura herself, my goodness, she was (still is) an absolute gem. I was so humbled by her generosity and compassion. For each day we were together, Laura had planned a visit to a different city in Belgium. And on each trip, she accompanied me to numerous clothing stores, health food shops and vegetarian restaurants with much love and patience. Though our interests couldn’t be more different, Laura made sure I got to explore Belgium my way. If we had differing opinions about something, Laura patiently listened to my side then kindly explained hers. At every moment, her top priority was my comfort. I was truly humbled by her character. My only wish is to manifest such beautiful qualities myself.
The next person I’d like to tell you about is Lavanya. She too was one of my blog’s active followers. A yogi, an artist (of all sorts) and a complete jewel (very fitting as her home is adorned with crystals). Lavnaya emailed me when she read I was stationed near Switzerland. She asked if I’d like to meet and invited me to her home in Zurich. I knew of her blog, I loved her drawings but I hadn’t seen a picture of her. I asked if she’d send me one and she gladly did. She sent two. One of her and one of her and her partner. She was so beautiful, so radiant. They both were. I just had to meet them. I thought OK, maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m pushing my luck here but something called me to Zurich.
Wow Lavanya, where do I even start with this woman! My goodness. She is so compassionate. So selfless. So TALENTED. Before I say anything more I beg you to go and check out her blog HERE. Hey, welcome back! Did you love it? Right?! I knew it! So, Lavanya is obviously a talented artist but she’s also an amazing chef! Healthy, vegan and organic. Did I hit the jackpot or did I hit the jackpot?! She is everything I have always wanted to be. Oh man do I look up to her. Intelligent, mindful, spiritual, selfless. She and her partner have paid for everything on this trip (food, tickets, etc), cooked me the highest-quality food, given me an extensive tour of Zurich and last but not least, bags full of goodies for tomorrow’s trip including spiced cashews, vegan cookies, a vegan cookbook and bottled water.
If you were wondering, I’m not just writing this blogpost to brag about my new friends (OK maybe a little bit) but also to inform you that good exists! In a world of war, adversary and pain, there is still unconditional love. Unconditional love, faith and trust in complete strangers, that the mainstream news does not cover. Now I am speechless. But I can safely say both Laura and Lavanya are carved on my heart forever.