Fill Your Heart

In today’s post, I want to share some thoughts with you. I’ve been really preoccupied with the things and situations in my life that I’m not totally happy and content with lately, and I’ve realized that it sometimes is important to learn to embrace everything you have and be more thankful for the great people you have in your life, because there are just so many that have nothing, that suffer from terrible tragedies and stand alone, without anyone reaching out to them.

Last Sunday, the Mister and I went to the World Press Photo exhibition at WestLicht in Vienna’s seventh district. Naturally, the Mister wanted to go as he is a photographer himself, and I was happy to join him, especially since I haven’t been to any exhibition in quite some time. And I can only recommend it, it was fantastic!! So interesting and intense! For example, the American photographer Darcy Padilla won first prize in the category „long-term projects“ for her 21-year-long documentary of the story of Julie Baird, an HIV positive drug addict. Padilla met Baird when she was just 18, holding her newborn baby in the lobby of a hotel in San Francisco, barefoot (see more about the project here). When you look at the story of Baird’s life, she didn’t have much chance to end up a happy and successful person, just as so many, many other people who have a rough start to life and grow up without any emotional support or love. Not all, but a lot of the pictures in the exhibition show human fates. The devastation of a man whose house was destroyed when the victim of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash fell directly into his living room in the eastern Ukraine. Exhausted helpers that were looking for the victims of said crash in a field. A man burying a dead baby in China. The baby was abandoned by its family because it was born handicapped. A gay couple in a room in St. Petersburg, Russia, who can’t live their sexuality openly because they have to fear social discrimination and violence. Iranian mothers, who have been waiting for their sons dead bodies to be found and brought home to them for more than 20 years.

Most of these situations are far beyond our imagination, nonetheless they are real. After the exhibition, the Mister and I took a walk and ended up at the Naschmarkt. We snapped some pictures, got really cold and decided to go to Café Amacord for something to eat. Sitting in the warmth, we were really aware of how lucky we are to be able to have a nice lunch and a hot cup of tea to get out of the cold (actually, we’ve been outside for barely an hour, both clad in warm coats and scarves, so not really a big deal but…). Most other days, I wouldn’t really have thought about going somewhere to grab lunch as being something great, but after seeing so many intense pictures and reading about people’s stories, it got to me just how spoiled we are because we take everything we have for granted and always aim for more, because we are hardly ever fully satisfied and compare ourselves to others that – seemingly – are doing much better than we do.

There definitely are so so many that are doing much worse. One of my best friends told me about „Weihnachten im Schuhkarton„, an initiative of Geschenke der Hoffnung, based in Germany and Austria. It’s super easy to make a child’s day by giving them a christmas present this year. You need to get a shoe box and decorate it (lid and box separately). You decide whom you want to pack the box for, boy or girl and which age group, then you pack the box with presents (there is information on the site which items you can/should pack here). Don’t forget to include a personal note and picture of yourself, then close the box with a rubber band and take it to the next receiving office. You can hand the boxes in until November 15th, also note to bring 6 Euros with every box as a donation.

The Mister and I sure are going to pack one box for a girl and one for a boy, and I hope some of you will join, too. It’s not much for you and me, but it can mean the world to these kids!

Have a good Sunday loves,

xx Verena

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