Forget-me-Not's Posts (151)

Brussels - Belgium

Here are some photos I took in Brussels - Belgium, the capital of my country but also of the European Union. The "Grand Place" (big square) is said to be the one of the most beautiful square of the world. I don't know if it is true, but whenever I go there, I am breathless in front of those amazing gothic style buildings. Since 1998, it is a UNESCO World heritage site. If you look closely to these photos, you will see that those wonderful buildings were made with stone lace.

Büyükada island Turkey - Another continent, another country, another architecture. 

Büyükada, (which means "Big island) in Turkey, is situated in the Marmara sea among the Prince Islands. It's the biggest of the nine islands and the most touristic one. Here, as on the eights others motorized vehicles are forbidden. Horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the best way to go around this 5,36 km2 paradise.Those splendid houses are made of wood, mostly painted in white. The style is completely different but as beautiful as in Brussels.

 

San Gimignano a small Italian medieval town

This little walled village is famous for its Medieval architecture. Situated in North-central Italy, near the well known city of Sienna, San Gimignano can be considered as paradise in winter and hell in summer. Fortunately, I was there in November and, to my great pleasure, the village was empty of tourists. Though the Medieval style of the tower houses (very narrow and very high) can not be considered as flamboyant as the Gothic style but, it is as beautiful in its simplicity. UNESCO World 
heritage site. 

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Happy women"s day to each one of you.

Dear friends, 

I wish you all a very happy women's day. Though I know there are still much things to do to improve women's life conditions in many countries, I wish you all  to have reasons to smile and to feel love around.

Big big hug to each one of you.

Manuela

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights" Gloria Steinem

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During the coming year, may you have

Enough happiness to keep you sweet,

Enough trials to keep you strong,

Enough sorrow to keep you human,

Enough hope to keep you happy,

Enough failure to keep you humble,

Enough success to keep you eager,

Enough friends to give you support,

Enough wealth to meet your needs,

Enough determination to make

each day better than the day before

and, last but not least,

Enough love to keep your heart warm.

My best wishes to all of you,


Manuela

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Dear friends,

I have made a change in this post as, though I had downloaded the link to the website where I found it, I could not pass here the text as it was written there, I should have written it with MY own words. So, as I believe this post is important, I have decided to record it here and I hope you will understand my "so so" english. I guess that is not forbidden by google.
You may think that, maybe, I should have "rewritten" the post but, nowadays, I can't doing it due to a lack of concentration. Thanks for you understanding.

 A friend of mine sent me this quote of Brenda Ueland, I found it so nice that I googled the word listening and found the very interesting article "Listening" that I wanted to share it with you. I hope you will find it attractive too. 

The quote.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force…When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life…When we listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other…and it is this little creative fountain inside us that begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected laughter and wisdom. …Well, it is when people really listen to us, with quiet fascinated attention, that the little fountain begins to work again, to accelerate in the most surprising way.”
Brenda Ueland

The art of listening

1. Actively listen and give individual attention

2. Avoid interrupting

3. Ignore the distractions

4. Listening is not a debate

5. pay attention to nonverbal messages

6. Be open minded

7. Ask questions

8. Look for hidden meanings 

9. Learn to effectively elicit information

And I will add a 10th : open your heart to the one who is talking to you and repress emotional answers


Record music with Vocaroo >>

If you want to know more about this, check this link  :http://randomthoughtsonlifeblog.com/ is an amazing website.

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Dear friends and teacher,

Years ago I wrote this text in my diary; of course I wrote it in French which is my mother tongue. I decided to translate it into English so I could take part to this fun writing challenge Tara gave us. It was not easy at all and my biggest challenge was to use the right tenses. Written in red my new vocabulary.

Wandering around Istanbul.

It has been one month and one week since I dropped off my suitcases in Istanbul, it was the month of May ... the best to get lost in the city that was once Constantinople.

'I spent three weeks at my friend Gönuls and two in Cukurcuma with my couchsurfing friends.

I have successfully completed Level 1 in Turkish. At school, I studied in the company of Arifan, Indonesian, Ahmed, Somali, of Recail, Macedonian, and of Melike Kataryna, Ukrainian and two funny Japanese whose names I have forgotten. In the corridors between classes, I became friend with Mohammed, a Syrian and a funny Kossovar who is a fanatical supporter of Galatasaray football club.

This did not let me a second to flip through the paper guide «du Routard ». But I have visited the Aya Sophia and Blue Mosque on my own during a sunny day but my touristic peregrinations stopped there. I was at this point when my sister Chantal wrote me she just wanted to spend a few days in Istanbul to discover the city through the eyes of a 
'local'.

Chantal and I are twins but as different as black and white. She lives a quiet and tidy life as I'm still wandering on the roads of the world. She always thought I'm a little crazy but admires my independence life and I am filled with admiration for her for leading a life that I would qualify, according to my criteria, monotonous. In her mail, Chantal wrote me that she would greatly appreciate it if I could share my love of indépendance and travel with her.

So, together we got lost in the Galata district, full of designer boutiques, enjoyed freshly caught fish grilled on the Golden Horn, stroll the spice market in Eminonu, took a mini-cruise on the Bosphorus, from sea Marmara visited the island of Büyükada, rode a bicycle through the island where motors are not allowed, and slept on the boat on our way back to the Asian side of Istanbul.

We also visited the trendy district of Beyoglu .There, we met Ibrahim, my Turkish teacher who invited us to follow him. At the sunset, we are embedded in the little back streets littered with booksellers. Among shelves full of books, between a German novel and a Turkish tale, Ibrahim finally found that rare gem: a bilingual dictionary French-Turkish for only 3 Lira.

When leaving the bookseller, he asked me if we were tempted to wander into other parts of Istanbul. He took us to Cicek Pasaji, formerly the City of Pera. Nowadays, it is rather a series of wine bars and restaurants with strolling musicians directly leading on another passage, Balık Pasaji, where fishmongers proudly sale their fresh catch of the day.

Then, Ibrahim took us to Nevizade sokak, a busy street where touts are fighting to have you on their meze table. There, raki, the loca aniseed alcohol flows. It's not over. My teacher bypassed the famous Galatasaray High School and we dived into Fransiz sokak, French street formerly called the 'Street of Algeria'.There is a succession of romantic and colorful little restaurants, lighted with candles where couples, with stars in their eyes, are sitted at white tables. But the peak of my wonder is a few yards away when we arrived in Cukurcuma, the antiques district. It looks like a postcard: a green mosque, junk dealers, art galleries and, as every where else in Istanbul, cats sleeping in every corner.

Istanbul got us !

After a few days, on May 2007, Chantal flew back to Belgium her mind full of Istanbul's wonders. She came back a few other times and we both enjoyed different parts of Turkey. Five years later, I have come a long way, I am now a Turkish resident spending my time showing around to French speaking tourists.

A new life has started.

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HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY

To each one of you my female friends,

I hope that, wherever is the place where you live you can enjoy your life in peace, in freedom and in justice. 
There are still many injustices between men and women, however, never forget that we are their equal and, gradually, we have the power to change things and through internet to support each other.

I wish you a happy and peaceful women's day.

Big hug,

Manuela

 

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Just a little note for all my EC friends.

My dear friends,

I apologize for not answering the messages you sent me or not being active here anymore. I have some health problems and, at this time, I don't have enough energy or concentration to be able to write, here, something decent. Be sure you are in my thoughts and that I will come back as soon as I can. Wishing you all a happy holiday season.

God bless you all. Your friend,

Manuela

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Libya’s transitional government forces took control of Sirte, Gaddafi’s last stronghold, as the former leader of Libya was captured and killed. Young fighters reportedly found the wounded dictator hiding in a drainage pipe in his hometown. Evidence suggests Gaddafi was wounded by an airstrike and then executed by his captors before being placed on public view in a cold storage facility. The bodies of at least 150 Gaddafi supporters were found in Sirte, including 53 at an abandoned hotel. Many at the hotel were bound at the wrists and had bullet wounds to the head. While Libya’s interim government declared Sunday as “Liberation Day”, human rights groups began looking into the mass killings. Amnesty International is interested in learning more about the final hours before Gadaffi’s death.

Discussion Question:

While some say the death of Gaddafi represents the end of dictatorships, others say it is only the end of the beginning. What do you think

Well, that's not an easy question to answer, I believe that the situation in Lybia could be worst after Kaddafi's dead because, up to now and for so many years, he was the ONLY leader and everybody there had to follow him without any other choices. Don't missunderstand me, I am not saying that it was a good plan as this dictatorship as all the others was ugly, hard and unfair. But at least peace reigned in the country.

Now I agree that it could be « the end of the begining » of hope for a better life and for democracy.There are so many different tribes in Lybia that many of them will fight for power. Economical interests are huge with petrol and everyone will want to have a part of that big cake. My fears are that Lybia now will have to face a civcil war. I hope I am wrong but History showed us that where money flows, sharks kills each other.

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A heartbreaking movie : Hotel Rwanda

A few days ago I decided to watch a movie I heard about a while ago. Something I knew that would touch me deeply. So it took me a long time before deciding that it was time for me to see it. I put the dvd in my computer and was taken away from reality for more than one hour. While watching that film, as a belgian, I didn't feel confortable at all as I believe that, the United Nations troups and among them Belgians could have done more to save Tutsi. But as always, it's all a matter of politics...

At the beginning of April 1994, Rwanda entered the most tragic episode in its history. In the hundred days that followed the attack against President Habyarimana (and his dead), the Rwandan government and Hutu extremists killed three-quarters of the Tutsi population of Rwanda. Using firearms, machetes, Hutu militias, soldiers and ordinary citizens were killed probably close to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

 

Here is the summary of this heartbreaking movie.

 

From the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, early April 1994, the Tutsi in Kigali, men, women and children, pursued by hordes of Hutu murderers, have been desperately looking for shelter and hiding places.

More than a thousand of them rushed to one of the largest hotels of the capital, the « Hotel des Mille Collines », owned by Sabena (our belgian national airline), which was secured by the forces of UNAMIR (UN Mission United in Rwanda).

What did those unfortunate people found in this place? Safety, food, care and they were saved by the heroism of the hotel manager, as in it shown in this film "Hotel Rwanda", based on a true story that has deeply moved the public.

 

 

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Hello my friends, 

Today a friend of mine sent me this article, asking me to pass it to as many people as possible. He is right because, if once you have to face this severe medical incident that is  a blood stroke, after reading this article, you might be able to save someone's life. So please read this carefully, keep it your mind and pass it on around to your friends. The more people will know what they can do, the more lives will be saved.

 

Remember the 1st Three Letters..... S. T. R.. 

STROKE

 

IDENTIFICATION: 



During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ......she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. 


They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.
Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.
It only takes a minute to read this.

 

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

RECOGNIZING A STROKE  : Remember the '3' steps, STR.

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify.. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. 
Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

 

S * 
Ask the individual to SMILE. 


T * 
Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) 
 (i.e. It is sunny out today.) 
 


R * 
Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

 

Another 'sign' of a stroke is this:

Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

 

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. 


A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

 

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A strange Hitchhiker.The Lautaret's inhabitants are telling a strange story about a lady dressed all in white who sometimes appears at the Lautaret pass,(in the French Alpes) between Briançon and Grenoble, but only when weather conditions are bad. She hitchhiks along the isolated mountain road. It is said to be the ghost of a young woman who died there in a car accident in 1980If taken on board, she has the reputation to protect the car and its occupants. But if you refuse to take her, anything can happen, say the regulars of this rough passage.An apparition that save lifesIt was 2 am, four young people, two boys and two girls, were coming back from a party are returning home by car .On their way back, they stopped to give a ride to an old lady who was hitchhiking. She sat between the two girls on the back seat of the vehicle.As they had just left the highway, the hitchhiker shouted, "be care ful, there is a turning point » !The driver braked suddenly and looked to the back seat when he heard the two girls shouting. The old lady had vanished and on the seat at her place was just laying an identity card with the picture corresponding to the hitchhiker.Terrified, they went strait to the police to tell them their story.Using the identity card, police found out that this woman had died 15 years of a car accident just around the place where the 4 youths had stopped to give her a lift.Tara created this new challenge for us,so, please join us at the following link and tell us a spooky story that you have heard in your country. I can't wait to read them :))http://my.englishclub.com/group/audiospeakinggroup/forum/topic/show?id=2524315%3ATopic%3A2268504&xg_source=msg
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https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/2346308914?profile=original"><img class="align-full" width="188" src="https://api.ning.com/files/PM3vll49CzwCLM6bRHt36xSbYKuXyxLEMtSq6pC3nrgZJk-zRA0bzC3*zcEvPXaLKmW9yRjBTBkNVTcJz89hO3SmKf6vY3o5/dameblanche01.jpg"/></a>I didn't look for a spooky story but I wish to share one that I have heard a few years ago. It's told by the inhabitants living in a little village on the slopes of the Lautaret  (Alpes) in France. Is it a legend or a reality ? So here it is.</p> <p align="left"><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3">A strange Hitchhiker.</font></font></font></p> <p><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3">The Lautaret's inhabitants are telling a strange story about a lady dressed all in white who sometimes appears at the Lautaret pass, between Briançon and Grenoble, but only when weather conditions are bad. She hitchhiks along the isolated mountain road. It is said to be the ghost of a young woman who died there in a car accident in 1980</font></font></font></p> <p align="left"><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3">If taken on board, she has the reputation to protect the car and its occupants. But if you refuse to take her, anything can happen, say the regulars of this rough passage.</font></font></font></p> <p align="left"><font color="#000000"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3"><b>An apparition that save lifes</b></font></font></font></p> <p align="left"><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3"><span>It was 2 am, four young people, two boys and two girls, were coming back from a party are returning home by car .</span>On their way back, they stopped to give a ride to an old lady who was hitchhiking. She sat between the two girls on the back seat of the vehicle.</font></font></font></p> <p align="left"><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3">As they had just left the highway, the hitchhiker shouted, "be care ful, there is a turning point » !</font></font></font></p> <p align="left"><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3">The driver braked suddenly and looked to the back seat when he heard the two girls shouting. The old lady had vanished and on the seat at her place was just laying an identity card with the picture corresponding to the hitchhiker.</font></font></font></p> <p align="left"> </p> <p align="left"><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3">Terrified, they went strait to the police to tell them their story.</font></font></font></p> <p align="left"><font color="#262626"><font face="Comic Sans MS, fantasy"><font size="3">Using the identity card, police found out that this woman had died 15 years of a car accident just around the place where the 4 youths had stopped to give her a lift.</font></font></font></p> <p align="left"><br/><br/></p> <p align="left"><br/><br/></p> <p>. </p>">

A strange Hitchhiker.

The Lautaret's inhabitants ( Alpes in France) are telling a strange story about a lady dressed all in white who sometimes appears at the Lautaret pass, between Briançon and Grenoble, but only when weather conditions are bad. She hitchhiks along the isolated mountain road. It is said to be the ghost of a young woman who died there in a car accident in 1980

If taken on board, she has the reputation to protect the car and its occupants. But if you refuse to take her, anything can happen, say the regulars of this rough passage.

An apparition that save lifes

It was 2 am, four young people, two boys and two girls, were coming back from a party are returning home by car .On their way back, they stopped to give a ride to an old lady who was hitchhiking. She sat between the two girls on the back seat of the vehicle.

As they had just left the highway, the hitchhiker shouted, "be care ful, there is a turning point » !

The driver braked suddenly and looked to the back seat when he heard the two girls shouting. The old lady had vanished and on the seat at her place was just laying an identity card with the picture corresponding to the hitchhiker.

 

Terrified, they went strait to the police to tell them their story.

Using the identity card, police found out that this woman had died 15 years of a car accident just around the place where the 4 youths had stopped to give her a lift.



Tara created a new challenge, it's called a "spooky story" . Please join us there and share with us your strange stories or legends. Here is the link where you can share it.

http://my.englishclub.com/group/audiospeakinggroup/forum/topic/show?id=2524315%3ATopic%3A2268504&xg_source=msg

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As i am now part of the group "green fingers" i decided to write something about how to create a flowered space on little balconies. You will tell me that there are many tips i could have added but it already took me a few hours to write this article, so i may come back on this topic as soon as i feel like it. I hope it will be useful for some of you. Enjoy.

In recent years, the balcony becomes a living space of its own. Where to spend a moment of happiness. In other words, the balcony can be converted into a comfortable place or a place of relaxation. With skill and great creativity, it can become a true place of escape.

Above all, the development of the balcony goes through the establishment of a touch of greenery. The installation of the garden on the balcony first requires a choice of plants to make a perfect mariage with the characteristics of the balcony. There are a multitude of species. First, we must consider the disposal of the balcony and its orientation. In fact, the choice of the composition of the vegetation must be based on the orientation of balconies. Otherwise, it may be disappointing. Because of the particularity of each balcony, we can adopt either the plants of light, or plant of shade or partial shade. For a sunny balcony, the choice is easier to do because there is a wide variety of flowers that like the light.

On the other hand, balcony receiving only very little light can only accommodate plants partial shade or shade. These species can perfectly grow with very little light. They are composed of bidens, azaleas, poppies and hellebores. Then there are the daffodils and euphorbia, and fushias. Don't forget that hellebores as many other fowers are perfectly adapted to cold weather.

Use accessories that enhance your balcony

There is a choice between three different containers ; planters, pots and hanging baskets. The preference for one or the other must be based on two criteria: comfort of the plants and aesthetics. A hanging baskets full of fushias or bidens is wonderful as it will give you a cascade of flowers. Personally, I like pots because they can also be used as decoration on their own. In other words, they can be enhanced with planters and specific paintings.

Don't forget creepers, place a colorful arbour ( as on the photo) against the wall and plant a honeysuckle, jasmin or glycerin, clematis, red vine....

Flowers are not everything, we can also use specific items of ornamentation. Select them on their colors and on their motifs, they will give a unique style to your balcony. Finally, install the furniture on which you will spend happy moments on your balcony. The choice of furniture will depend on the style of the entire balcony. Why not to add a little water fountain, the noise of the falling water is so relaxing... and a lantern with candle that will give you a soft light at night :))



Ohh  ! I forgot something, if you wish to hide yourself from your neighbors' eyes, you can plant bamboo in a pot,  they grow very easily, the only trouble for you, will be to pick up all the leaves that will fall off.

And last but not least, a little pot of 'forget-me-not' will look very nice in the middle of your balcony table :))

Now, enjoy the result :))

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1. Don't judge people on the way they look

 As we were kids, my mother always told us not to trust people's appearance. And to help us to understand what she was meaning, she told us the story of an old man she knew who looked and lived as a tramp but in whose house his family found millions after his death.

2. Never wast food

My mother was quite strict and when my 5 brothers and sisters and I were sitting around the table for the meal, we had some rules to follow. one of them was to empty our plate as it was forbidden to throw food away.

3. Don't try to change people, it's an impossible task.

If you try to change people you are losing your time, they will change for a while but, soon or later, their natural temper will come back.

4. Show interest in other

My mother was very open to other and she always explained us that indifference was the worst feeling in the world. With time, i fully understood what she meant.

5. Be ambitious for your futur and work hard to succeed

Many times, she gave us the exemple of people who didn't want to study because they prefered to spend time having fun, and, once older, they didn't have a good job and had to work hard for their living while the ones who had studied could spend more time having fun.

6. Never stop learning.

As a teacher, my mother gave us the love for books, our house was full of them and as far as I remember, amoung other little toys, we always had books for Christmas and we all had a subscription to the library of the village.

7. Open yourself to other cultures.

We ( I have a twin) were barely 6 years old that mom was taking us to the theater to see documentaries about other countries, and our television was mostly turned on the ARTE channel.

8. Don't forget your duties

One of her slogan was :  ' you have rights, but never forget about your duties'! Nowadays, it seems that, more and more people know about their rights but forget about the rules that are important to live in our society.

9. Create your own path

She was often talking about people who follow other without thinking on their own.. She used to tell us that we should not behave as sheeps who goes with the flock but instead, we had to have our own ideas and follow our own way.

10. Don't be afraid of the unknow.

My twin sister and I were only 7 years old when my mother sent us one whole month on the other side of the country, in a flemish family to learn dutch. It was heartbreaking for us but we did it a few years in a raw and we survived !

 

After reading back all those points my mother instilled in us, I am surprise to see that I do not recall anything about love. As I wrote up here, she was a teacher but, thought i know that she loved us dearly, she raised us more like a troup in the army, with more duties than rights.

I have the feeling she succeeded in making of my brothers, sisters and I, educated and well behaved people, but on the other hand, I think that, to feel more loved and to talk more about it would have been more benefits for each of us.

My mother died of a cancer when she was 45, maybe, up to that time, she was probably too busy with her job and her big family to show us some love. It's a huge regret I have now but it taught me something important, it is that, I shouldn't do the same mistake with my children and i don't :)

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