Welcome to the world of corners ...

On the 5th day of every month you will come across a new corner and a new story around ...
To make this journey a bit more challenging an extra corner will be occasionally thrown in as a surprise.
Any footprints from your travelling experience left in the comment box will be always appreciated.
If you find my corners enjoyable, please share them with your friends.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

“Christmas joy in a cup of hot chocolate”

I would like to share with you a particular unforgettable moment from my first trip to Peru in the hope that it may inspire your heart in time for this coming Christmas.

19th December 2004

Equipped with over forty rolls of film I was ready to capture my 18 day journey from Lima to Cusco in as much detail as possible.

23rd December 2004

Before leaving Arequipa for Yonque where we would spent Christmas, our leader Jonathan shared with us a beautiful idea which was embraced by all without a moment of hesitation.


Rather than having a traditional Kris Kringle gift exchange he suggested we share a cup of hot chocolate with all the children living within this small community.
I hope you can imagine our excitement at the possibility of participating in such a heart (and body) warming experience.

So now it was all on Jonathan's shoulders ... including a large amount of chocolate blocks and spices that needed to be pre-purchased in Arequipa.

Entrusting in our leader's charm, we were very optimistic that our hotel in Yonque would not let us down.

24th December 2004


Shortly after our arrival in Yonque, Jonathan set out on the
“hot chocolate” mission.

Supported by the invisible army of our positive thoughts while wearing an armour of chocolate blocks studded with spices he was well assured of his victorious return, and so it was.

Yes! We are going to make the best cup of hot chocolate in the world.” ... were his words.
We were all thrilled to hear that our hotel embraced Jonathan's idea as much as we did and were ready to pull out their biggest pots for this special occasion.

Since the number of small children living in this community was close to two hundred, we were definitely in need of those big pots to accommodate nearly 100 litres of fresh milk to be sourced from the local farmers.

The town's office was also very helpful by offering to announce our event through their megaphone. I would have loved to see the reaction of local people and especially children on hearing something along these lines ...

All children up to the age of ... please come to the “Collahua“ hotel at so so time with your mug to receive some free hot chocolate.”

The Christmas spirit was definitely felt or rather heard in the air.

25th December 2004


We were on our way back from an early morning trip to Colca Canyon to watch condors when my camera gave up. The shutter jammed and that was it.

No, it can't be it! Not now!” ... I screamed silently with a sadness in my heart,
 while some of my colleagues perceived this as blessing.

A blessing ...?!”

                                                         . . . . . . . . . . .


The time to share the joy of Christmas had finally arrived as the children started to gather at the front of our hotel and the spicy smell of hot chocolate could no longer be ignored.

The children kept on arriving from all directions and before too long their number was bigger than expected.


I was pretty much heartbroken upon seeing so many beautiful faces and being unable to capture them on film.
Their eyes, their smiles ...

When the first two pots were brought outside, a separate queue of boys and the other of girls had already formed and waiting patiently to be served.

I have to say that the girls behaved much better than the boys who used a touch of elbow to get ahead or tried to sneak back to the line for a second cup.

With every mug filled, the joy of giving was amplified by the joy of receiving and as the time went on the intensity of excitement soared higher and higher into the sky just like a condor.

By now, I could hardly wait for my turn to take over the “ladle” and when it finally came ...

... seeing those little hands reaching out towards me with an empty cup and the eyes full of gratitude moved me so much that I could barely hold back my tears.


Among them was this one little boy about 3 years of age
with a very small cup. Trying to fill his mug as close to
the brim as possible, my generosity made it slightly too full
and I was a bit concerned about his ability to carry it.

I will never forget seeing him walk away so very slowly
with his eyes fully focused on the cup as he wasn't prepare
to loose a single drop of this precious treat.


With plenty left for top ups a temptation to try our own brew was hard to resist and though we jumped at the unexpected opportunity, we did not jump a queue.

So there I was ... cup in hand, waiting patiently in line to the amusement of the little ones.

Who would have thought that such a little thing like a cup of hot chocolate could create so much joy for all of us.

                                                        . . . . . . . . . . .

      ... and a blessing it was!


Rather than being preoccupied with photo taking, I was able to immerse myself in this joyous experience on a much deeper level while preserving it on my heart's memory card.

As the download of this story from my heart
to yours has come to an end, may its essence fuel the joys of the upcoming festive season and beyond.

Photos of children taken by Sue and Nick with his wife.
Illustration of a little boy created by Jane Corrigan.

Monday, 5 November 2012

"A heart warming moment in the least expected place."


For most of us a public toilet is a place where we go to do our “private business”, and personally I like it to be an “in and out” experience.

Thanks to technological advances nothing stays the same and simplicity seems to be a thing of the past, so a visit to a public toilet can be at times interesting, challenging or surprising.
I am sure (or at least I hope) that I am not the only one who at their first encounter with a flush that knew when you were done, felt a bit spooked out.
Over the past years I had a privilege to see many of us (including myself) impersonating Mr. Bean, when after pulling and pressing the obvious we still cannot get our hands on the soap or rather the soap on our hands. Getting a tap running can be even more challenging and fun, especially if we were successful with getting some soap first.
In situations like this, we are often left at the mercy of another visitor who hopefully kept pace with technological inventions.
My last personal challenge was with a very strange looking hand dryer at the Milson's Point train station, that felt a bit too aggressive for my likening. I am happy to say that we are now friends.

I wonder if the “no where to be seen” instructions for use have also undergone a technical face lift and are now available for download on a smart phone.

I have also noticed a rising number of people expanding on the original “private business” activities associated with this public amenity by mistaking a toilet cubicle for an old fashion telephone booth. One can not help, but feel sorry for the recipient of this no longer private conversation enriched by a symphony of unique sounds hovering in the background.

I wouldn't be surprised if by now, some of you have started to question the title of my story.

What about this heart warming moment? Surely, she can't be serious about having one in a place like this.”- I hear you think.
         Well, serious or not serious here it comes ...

About 10 years ago, I had a rare opportunity to be the only occupant of a public toilet within a shopping centre. The silence of the place felt unusually noticeable before being interrupted by a mother with her little boy, who sounded about 3 years old.
As he entered a cubicle, the palpable silence returned once again to serve as a background for something unexpected and very special.

         “Mummy ...”


         “I love you.”

         “I love you too.”

I was just about to flush, but on hearing this I decided to honour this beautiful and innocent declaration of love by allowing the silent background to linger a touch longer.

I have to admit that a part of me was waiting for one more line, something like ...

Mummy, can you buy me a ...”

But no, there were no strings attached to this declaration.
His feelings had genuinely arisen from the depth of his heart and their purity was emphasised by a touch of seriousness in his otherwise soft sounding voice.

I was so lucky for this moment to be blessed by the lack of an automatic flush, phone conversationalist or any other visitor that would have prevented me from witnessing something as special as this.

My advise ...
Be always on standby to enjoy the unexpected wherever you might be.

(photos: "Two hearts with candy" by Neil Mey, "Boy with red cap" by Judy Ben Joud)

Friday, 12 October 2012

"One thing leads to another."



This is a follow up on ...
"If you want some magic, look with your heart."


Do you know why though ...
Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” (Confucius)

It is because ...
The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but with seeing with new eyes” (Marcel Proust)

and that ...
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” (Henry David Thoreau)

and ...
What we see depends mainly on what we are looking for.” (John Lubbock)

as well as that the ...
Sight is a faculty; seeing is an art.” (George Perkins Marsh)

and this is why ...
No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” (Oscar Wilde)

so ...
There is nothing insignificant in the world. It all depends on how one looks at it.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

                                           To summarise ...

"The response to what we see is strongly influenced by our inner feelings and the uniqueness of the moment at the time.
This is why we respond differently at different times and differently from each other, and with this understanding we can minimise unnecessary disappointments when others may not mirror our perception.” (Olga Kulanowska)

(photo "Stones" by Clarita)

Friday, 5 October 2012

"If you want some magic, look with your heart"

July 2012

This has been my tenth trip to Chiang Mai (Thailand).

During the first few visits I explored most of the streets and lanes within the old city surrounded by the moat. Afterwards I was happy to “settle down” as the main focus of my holidays took on the theme of a “full body service”. This translates to healthy food, massage, reflexology and catching up on reading. I await the day when I will grab the last unread book from my home library. French champagne definitely!
                      Going back to the story ...
During my recent holiday, instead of taking my usual route to the printer I slightly deviated and stumbled on something very special.


 It was a shop set up under the canopy of green canvas with matching walls, filled with a variety of colourful little knick-knacks and intermingling sounds from many different wind chimes.


As I got closer, I could sense this welcoming and playful energy calling me in. Then suddenly, I felt like a little child full of excitement as if someone has cast a spell on me!
Now, all I could see was a treasure cave. A secret place.

Upon entering, I was greeted by the girl with a lovely smile. She was wearing a head band decorated with two red apples of reasonable size, which looked great with her long wavy hair. Her free spirited energy felt familiar, but I could not put my finger on it until much later.

She asked me to wait while she brought me a drink, and before I could say anything she disappeared into the adjoining house.

A moment later she reappeared with a cup of cold drink in one hand and a piece of lime in the other. In a story telling way she said to me that if I squeeze some lime into my drink its colour will change. I followed her instructions expecting to see my light blue drink turning green, but to my surprise it became a beautiful indigo. Wow!  
When I asked about the secret ingredient my drink was made of, she pointed to the bell shaped indigo blue flowers on the vine next to us.

While sipping my mystery drink and twirling around the shop with eyes wide open, a young couple stepped in unaware of the upcoming magic. I decided to get a little bit closer to share their excitement. Unlike me, they were a bit unsure about the drink, but following my reassurance the lime got squeezed and the indigo colour appeared in its full glory once again.


The “Classic Summer House” shop is not that big, but because it has so many little things it takes a bit of time to see it all. In the centre, there is a smaller square area (with its own silk canopy) where you will find shelves filled with little figurines, tea pots and tea cups as well as other tiny treasures. The eclectic content of the shop definitely adds to its uniqueness.

As I was equipped only with my film camera at the time, I decided to revisit the treasure cave a couple of days later with a recently gifted to me digital technology.
My feeling about the place had not changed, but my drink had! This time it was a non alcoholic banana “Baileys Cream” on ice.

In a “happy hour” mood I started taking some photos and as I got closer to the indigo flower vine to capture a secret ingredient of the magical drink, I couldn't see any left. They were all gone.

On hearing my disappointment, my lovely hostess took me to the vine closer to the house to show me the last flower. As she gently lifted a leave, she pointed to the indigo bud while saying: “But it is still asleep.” Ooo ... so sweet!

As I finished taking the photos and a video clip with permission for the blog story, a couple in their late 20's walked in. They seemed even more unsure about the drink than the couple on my first visit. To my surprise, their level of excitement about the place was rather low compared with mine, so I may have appeared to them a little bit on a crazy side especially at my age.

At this point I realised that they did not see and feel what I did.

Looking through my inner child's eyes, I have transformed the “Classic Summer House” to a treasure cave and my lovely hostess to a ... (can you guess?) Fairy God Mother!

I don't know where my 49 year old self was at the time, but my 4 year old was definitely having a great time. A time of care free joy!

Thanks to a generous support of August winds, the sound of the wind chime that was wrapped with greatest care for safe travelling frequently remind me of this special encounter.

          Something to ponder on ...

The way we perceive the outer world is strongly influenced by our inner feelings and the uniqueness of the moment at the time.
Though we may have little influence over the uniqueness of the moment, the same does not apply to the garden of our feelings.

As a gardener we have freedom to create a beautiful space as long as we are prepared to do some regular weeding. This can definitely be very challenging at times as some roots can be very deep or generously spread out. To clear all the weeds in one life time is pretty much impossible. However, this should not hold us back from attempting to release at least some of the feelings that prevent us from seeing something special in every moment of our lives.

With each weed removed we create more space for the seeds of loving energy to sprout, followed by the blooms of happy moments.


                                                                                                      (photo by Dan Tataru)

"Behind the scenes" (how it all happened)

"What's around the corner ..."

If you didn't like brussel sprouts or fairy cabbages (as one parent markets them to her children) you wouldn't buy them for your dinner, would you?

So my question is ...

If I hate deadlines, why would I even consider starting a blog?”
and the answer ... “I have no idea!”

All I know is that some invisible force has planted a “blog seed” within my aura and used one of my friends to make me aware of this with her encouraging suggestion.

After voicing a vague possibility of starting a blog, an instantly created fan club has totally ignored the word “possibility” by replacing it with a question about the launching date.
On hearing “launching date”, all I could see was a word “deadlines” flashing red in front of my eyes. I love writing, but deadlines are my enemies. So no stories, no blog and no deadlines was my mind's quick decision. Phew!

While my mind was ready to move on, my heart was still experiencing an inner battle ... love of writing versa fear of deadlines.
Every time love has scored a goal, fear matched it up, but as the time went on (and on ...) the invisible force decided to interfere once again by slowly tilting a scale in favour of my newly formed fan club.

A decision to start a blog was just around the corner, but the launching date nowhere to be seen or too many corners away.

In order to cement a release date something else had to happened, and so it did.

One day, I decided to see a psychic with hope of clarifying this as well as few other issues on hand.
One of the strongest messages received during this reading was about my new career path. To be honest, it was presented to me more like an order rather than a suggestion and it even contained a 48 hours deadline.

While giving it serious consideration I became aware of this uncomfortable feeling arising inside my body. The more I researched, the more uncomfortable I felt about the whole thing.
As much as I had a heartfelt connection to the essence of this potential career path, I could not see myself being limited by its outer layers of puppet strings that would sooner rather than later suffocate my free spirit.

You need to decide” ... I heard someone's voice.
Am I at the end of my 48 hours deadline?” ... I asked.
You can either follow up on the reader's message or ... you can launch a blog” ... was the reply.

Since when are they teaching selling techniques in heaven?
Who said that I have to choose between a round or a square container, when what I really want is an ice cream.” ... were my afterthoughts.

However, at the time of hearing this unusual request something prevented me from questioning it and without a moment of hesitation my heart as well as my mind have unanimously decided on the blog, as deadlines (though scary) felt enormously less threatening to the existence of my free spirit.

After a few days of pondering, I have nominated 5th of October 2012 as the official birth day of “What's around the corner?” to be followed by a private naming ceremony with my editor and my immediate motivational support group as the proud Guardians.

This news was received with great joy by one of my clients on the “blog release” waiting list. As I was accompanying her to the door, she said ...

Last time I saw you, your feelings about the blog were very different. What happened in the past four weeks that made you change your mind?”

After a moment of reflection, I became aware (this time on the conscious level) that my visit to the psychic and the message regarding my new career were the ones to initiate this change.

As I was telling her about it, a Jewish tale read a very long time ago popped out from my memory bank. The similarity of this particular tale and my visit to the psychic made me realise how fortunate I was to pick up on “Rabbi's” message without bringing home a goat, a cow and all the chickens.



 Here is the link to this very wise tale ...

A traditional Jewish story, as told by Aaron Zerah, about being content with what you have - Beliefnet.com