The other day, my parents (who live in Vancouver) received a letter from the government that was an ideal example of the differences between living in Peru and Canada. Here’s how the letter went:
Water shortage is common in Peru and often due to problems with water tanks. The struggle unites the community.
Dear: Homeowner or Occupant,
Your neighbour’s water service has been turned off due to problems with their water service. A temporary water supply has been set up to your neighbour through a jumper hose running from your house.
The jumper hose is connected to your outside tap. Note that if you remove the jumper hose or turn off the tap supplying it, this will cut off the water supply to your neighbour.
We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your co-operation in supplying your neighbour with water.
Waterworks Operations Branch
City of Vancouver
It had me thinking about Eisenstein’s gift economy: the idea that exchanging gifts or favors creates bonds. As waterless days are common in Peru, I couldn’t help but reflect on how differently this situation would have panned out.
The neighbors in Vancouver didn’t have a need to approach my parents and this may partly explain why we don’t know our neighbors very well in Canada. On the contrary, a problem such as water shortage forces the community together in Peru. We’re motivated to help each other because we know that we’ll probably need our neighbor’s help in the future. The common struggle further unites us in that it’s a shared experience that we can all relate to and look back on.
How have you seen the community come together where you live?
“There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.” — Charles Dickens
Struggles are often the source of many life lessons and Sandy Hubbard has had more than her fair share of both as she balances life priorities including family, work and school. Co-owner of Luxurious Pet Supplies, Sandy shares about her mom, Linda, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Please send some encouraging words and love to Linda if you get the chance.
Linda shared words of wisdom that Sandy lives by to this day.
Growing up, my mom always worked 2-3 jobs at a time. My parents had divorced, and she was desperately trying to save the house she, my sister, and I lived in. She missed school functions and didn’t always know what we were up to at night. We never held a grudge. We knew she was doing what she had to — for us. But to this day, my mom constantly apologizes for missing so much of our pre-teen/teen years. In one of these apologies, she gave me the best career advice I have ever received. “Don’t ever forget what you’re working for. You work for a living, you don’t live for work.”
As important as your career is, your family and life are much more important. Don’t let your job overwhelm you, and take away from family time. When you leave the office, leave the job behind. Focus on your family, relax and enjoy every minute.
Are you finding work-life balance? Why or why not?
Have you ever had one of those amazing days that you still reminisce about, even though you can’t figure out what exactly was so great about the day? I just had a day like that in February on my most recent trip to Lima. It turned out to be a day that encompassed a lot of what I love about living in Peru.
Spending time with my niece always makes me smile.
We arrived at an uncle’s house at 5 in the morning after a bumpy, sleepless overnight ride from Huancayo. I thought I was going to be in a bad mood, but the frown couldn’t stay long when faced with smiling, welcoming relatives and a sunshiny day.
The little things I loved about the day:
- Seeing old photos and hearing the stories each conjures up.
- Visiting and remembering relatives I’ve never met at two beautiful cemeteries where many other families were also spending time with their loved ones past.
- Packing up to 8 of us in taxis to get from one place to another.
- Having raspadillas (a shaved ice dessert) after being out all day in the sun.
- Being a part of over 40 relatives spanning 4 generations and coming from all over Lima.
- Mingling inside and outside of the house with aunts gossiping, uncles having a beer on the sidewalk, cousins playing video games, neighbors throwing water balloons in the street, and music blasting to encourage spontaneous dancing throughout.
- Looking for dogs around the block with my 2-year-old niece from Quebec who speaks in mixed French and Spanish.
- Making funny faces to see my 8-month-old godchild and niece smile and laugh.
- Munching on homemade picarones (doughnut-like snacks) in the evening at a makeshift stand in front of the house where an aunt sold picarones to neighbors walking by as she chatted with us.
It wasn’t a particularly eventful day, but that didn’t seem to make it any less perfect.
Tell me about an amazing day that you still reminisce about!
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
When it comes to role models, Rebecca Bangayan Ting has grown up with her fair share. Now that she’s a successful businesswoman, she reflects on how she observed different family members living with gusto and the lessons she learned from those elders.
Some key family members were important role models for Rebecca as she grew up.
It has been said that modeling has a greater impact than mere talk. We live above a textile store and I grew up watching my papa constantly teaching and admonishing his proteges. Sadly though, my papa had a stroke when I was in college. He was paralyzed and couldn’t speak. However, I’d say that although advice was not directly given to me, I gathered my first career wisdom from Papa’s “teachings.” He not only taught, but he “walked his talk”; that is, to be honest in all your dealings with people in all aspects. This establishes your trustworthiness as a person.
The first career wisdom that was actually imparted to me directly was from my brother Ruben. He saw it fit to “preach” me with “the ethics of being true to your word” since papa wasn’t in the physical condition to do so and he being the big brother and all. Having a “palabra de honor” (word of honor) as they call it is also part and parcel of being honest and establishing your trustworthiness.
Although both pieces of career wisdom from my papa and my brother Ruben were meant to be applied to all aspects of my life, they have translated into my work ethic and have impacted my life a great deal. I am very thankful to my family for equipping me well. It has helped me avoid a lot of pitfalls in my career.
What important values did you pick up from role models in your childhood?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance. I’ve also always known that I’m not very good at dancing. I’m clumsy and forgetful, which are the two qualities that work against learning choreography.
Roy and I just got back from surveying the Peru hip hop scene in Lima where Henry Link taught a 2-day workshop.
Considering how Roy’s a dancer, I had silent lofty dreams of being in his dance group and doing shows with him, but they never panned out. The positive side is that I’ve probably danced more over these last few years than I have in the rest of my life. Unfortunately, during those various times that I’ve tried to dance, I only gave myself more reason to cement the fact that I can’t really dance well at all. I’ve danced less and less, and have settled into living vicariously through Roy’s dance escapades instead.
Our most recent adventure involved the Peru hip hop scene in Lima. Roy attended a 2-day hip hop workshop in Lima led by Henry Link of the Elite Force Crew who is considered one of the founders of freestyle hip hop. I was lucky enough to be able sit in and even ask a question the second evening:
Do you think someone can learn how to dance hip hop even if they don’t have the rhythm and attitude?
Link’s answer was a resounding and eloquent “Yes.” To summarize, he believes that rhythm can be learned through practice, and attitude is expressed through understanding how music is meant to make others feel. In response to another question, he went to explain that once you learn a dance move, it’s yours. It’s not about perfect imitation because he’ll look around the dance room and even admire how others do his move in a slightly different way.
So I’m back to my lofty dreams. I liked it here in the clouds anyway.
When was the last time someone encouraged you to keep on dreaming and how’d they do it?