Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

I met Belen at the Hope XXL Conference at The Hague in May, and she’s such a gorgeous, inspirational lady! I’m super proud of her, we were chatting a few days ago and she’s just gotten a scholarship to study for a Masters’ Degree in Spain! Super proud of you babe, and I’m definitely coming to visit!

Belu sent me a piece before, but to further confirm I need to shut every Yahoo account I own, I didn’t get it! By the time I reached out to her to ask, she’d written another one! Advance warning for y’all, I loved both pieces so don’t be surprised if she’s featured  twice. Enjoy!

My name is Belen, I am from Argentina and I work on government international cooperation.

This year has been quite intense. I have grown professionally, travelled a lot, and now Argentina is one step of away from winning the football world cup, which for us it is the greatest national glory.

Throughout this year I have tried to be close to people and experiences that inspire and challenge me in new and different ways. In particular, I want to share a trip that really made me think about the future. In May I travelled to The Hague for an international youth conference to debate on the major global current issues, and I was lucky to meet some extraordinary young people from all over the world. I met amazing activist and academics involved in politics, environment protection, poverty reduction, education, among many other issues.

While I was at the conference, I was inspired and I kept thinking that eventually I would find a way to help others and make a social –and even global- contribution. But I also thought that I am still too young to be making major local or global revolutions. I had the idea that I should “focus on building myself now to be able to focus on the world later”. Yet, by the end of the week I had met plenty of young bright people, and even younger than me, making tremendous impacts in every corner of the globe.  I didn’t notice at the time, it even took me a couple of weeks to realize the power laying in each one of them.

So this made me think about the ability to create change. If everyone in the world would support the same idea, wouldn’t it be true? No matter how crazy or out there it might be? Each one of us would then be a key factor of global change because we form part of the consensus built around it. Then it would necessarily have to become true, and change will be the new constant. So my biggest lesson was to consider myself a part – rather than an observer- of the changing forces around me. And my biggest challenge for the future would be to take this new perspective into action.

I am grateful for many things, but if I had to pick only a few, the most important one is the amazing people around me, specially my large and loving family. The second is the high quality education opportunities I was given, including full scholarships to undertake graduate and postgraduate studies in four different countries. And what I value most about scholarships is the responsibility to pay it forward that comes with them.

What I am looking forward for this half part of the year is to meet empowered and bright new people (like  you!) to join me in the transformation of future visions and ideas into concrete actions.

foto belu

While Argentina didn’t win the World Cup, I’m totally on board with change being the new constant! Eddie alluded to it a few days ago and it really says something that we’re hearing it again. What are you doing to improve yourself? Think about it!

Thank you Belu!

To start with, can I just say that I’m so sorry that this is up today instead of yesterday?

It’s not my fault o, blame WordPress! I woke up this morning, and everything I’m admin for that is WordPress or even self-hosted, didn’t work. I tweeted them, emailed the techy guys in our company, nothing. 😦 And so that’s why I was silent. But we’re up today!

Eddie emailed this morning to ask if I received his email, and coincidentally I’d readied this for this morning (so I decided to put this sentence in even though it doesn’t really add anything to the entire post). Lol! That was a mouthful. People, enjoy Eddie’s article please, and have a super-productive day!

No one born of a woman could have predicted the result of today’s game; I dare to say even the late Paul the octopus would have lost seven legs on this one. But, and only, the football magician, Jay Jay Okocha, foresaw the unthinkable defeat of the Spaniards in the hands of the Dutch team. He even predicted a 6-1 loss (I have always suspected he fell from the sky).

“What do you think went wrong?” I asked Obi, my colleague, and a die-hard lover of the Spanish game. “Tiki-Taka is dead,” he replied; attributing the defeat to the now predictable style of play of the Spaniards. “The world has finally found an antidote to Tiki-Taka,” he said.

The Spaniards had dominated everything in the world of football in the last seven years. They had won the last world cup and carted away the last two European cups. And the two biggest clubs in Spain, the core of the national team, had also won everything there was for football clubs in recent times.

They had a style of play that not only dominated their opponents but dished out humiliation that bore holes in the national flags of their opponents. They were so good one would be forgiven if he mistook their games for a workout session between men and mannequins.

The Dutch team must really have concocted an antidote as they had answers for all the advances made by the Spaniards. On this very occasion the Dutch team was the headmaster and the Spaniards the pupil. What an interesting game it was.

Like many other sudden and surprising life events there were take home morals. And as I made my way home, more than just thoughts of the game, I pondered on the lessons therein for me.

I had barely driven out of the parking lot when the law of diminishing returns crossed my mind; failure to change or progress beyond a success.

Living in the inertia of an everyday routine; basking in the glories of yesterday – a tested recipe for failure.

How would I feel eating the same delicious groundnut soup every day? That delicious soup would soon turn sour to my taste buds.

A wise man once said: “less is more.”

The Spaniards, they never saw any reason to change or modify their style of play; as the pundits would say: “you don’t change a winning team.” Belive me pundits are wrong most of time.

In stagnancy, age, fatigue, demotivation, predictability and the rest of the world caught up with them. Like Obi said, the world found an antidote. It was only a matter of time.

The Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes talked about seasons and times – it talked about change. The world around us is changing. And if you don’t embrace and make provision for change, sooner than you know it you will go extinct like the dinosaurs.

So what should I do so I don’t find myself at the wrong side of the curve? I guess the answer is to abandon the curve. Abandon the curve and keep reinventing myself.

Stop plucking those “low-hanging fruits.” Embrace change and set new stretchy targets. I ought not to get too comfortable with the successes of yesterday like the Spaniards. My good can get better and better can be best. And at best, I should find another good. There is always a better way.

My thoughts were interrupted by the police and I had to show my ID: I am Eddie Jimete , marketing executive and  business development consultant.




Yes Sir!! I absolutely loved this! Change is everything! Thank you Eddie!


From Nigeria we head off to the Philippines and one of my most recent friends, Lyssah! I met Lyssah in The Hague in May, during the Hope XXL conference, and she is simply amazing! For one, she shares my love for travel (more like she totally dwarfs me in that area, she’s been to SO MANY countries)!

Lyssah is also a very free spirit – always has a smile on, always wants to learn something new, and was one of my favorite people during our stay in the Netherlands! We also share a love and pride for our countries, and I still remember the talk she gave about tattoos being a long-time tradition in her place.

Here’s Lysssah, try to keep up with all the places she’s been to in this post!

My name is Lyssah and I just finished my scholarship grant in Spain and come back to the Philippines, my home country.

For the first half of 2014 I was trainspotting in the South of France, couchsurfing in Belgium, stargazing on the yellow stretch of the Sahara desert, getting lost in the medinas of Morocco, hitchhiking to a concentration camp in the Netherlands, getting my tummy happy in Italy, wine tasting in Bordeaux, falling in love with the words of Fernando Pessoa in Portugal, celebrating the ‘semana santa’ in the South of Spain and basically doing a lot of learning outside the classroom.

But all of these adventures really started with a dream, the literal one, the one when you’re adrift at night and suddenly fill your subconscious with countless moving images of undefined places, unnamed faces and simply unexplainable things. I kicked off the year following that dream. A year ago I dreamt that I was in a train in Europe and as I looked outside the window, I saw an image of a lady whom my subconscious made me believe that it was The Lady who made an apparition in Lourdes, France to a young girl named Bernadette in 1858 who would later be beatified as a saint. I made sure I was in Lourdes on the exact date of her apparition to Bernadette. That was the first time that I travelled alone in my 21 years of existence. It was a sort of pact that I made with myself that if I had the chance to be in Europe, I would do everything to visit the apparition site of The Lady to express my gratitude in fulfilling my dream. I rode a train from San Sebastian, Spain to Lourdes, France. During that time, I was still living in Oviedo, a subtle and tranquil little town in the north of Spain. After graduating from my first degree last April 28, 2013, I received an email stating that I was awarded with an Erasmus Mundus scholarship grant in English Studies for nine months in Spain.

I never saw that coming, Spain wasn’t even in my bucket list and studying English Studies in Spain is really an irony. I come from the Philippines, a former colony of Spain and there I was in our former colonizer’s land, seeking their tutelage.

When I was in a train in France, I realized I was like the irony of the trees outside my window. Their leaves were being stripped off from their bodies leaving them naked in the cold during winter and in the summer, their leaves clothe them under the scorching sun. But maybe it was really supposed to be that way, things are better the way they are; the same way as how I just suddenly found myself in Spain living with all the ironies that I could think of. I have come to realize that you have to accept things as they are without expectations and just cut all the baggage after all you can’t fill a cup that’s already full.

I remember having a hard time leaving Spain when my scholarship grant finished just a few weeks ago. The people who were once strangers but who have become friends and some even more as families, were the hardest to leave. More than the places that I have visited in Europe and in Africa, it’s the people that really mattered most and the bonds that I have formed with them that I will really treasure for the rest of my life. We can actually form a United Nations with the diversity of nationalities in our circle of friends. Leo Bormans, the author of the World Book of Happiness defined happiness in only two words: other people. And I agree with him.


Lyssah takes a photo with this pose for every new place she visits! She’s incredible!