Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Little Break & Holiday Giving

It is winter and so gosh darn beautiful every day here, I honestly feel like I'm in a fairy-tale.

How can one city be so constantly gorgeous in every single way??!  I am surprised on a daily basis that its beauty remains fresh to me and never grows stale, it's no wonder so many people from around the world from all walks of life end up in Paris. 

I am traveling with the Beautiful Boy for the next few weeks, at some point meeting up with his family in St. Moritz - it's my first time there and sounds breathtaking.  Apparently, it's a winter resort & top ski destination for European royals which will be interesting as I am an utter Ski-Fail...yes, that was me in my 20s, by my lone self, clutching desperately on the rope-pull.  

I am happy to spend time with his family, I admire his mom so much.  She was educated at Oxford and speaks excellent English.  I met her over the summer at their estate in Provence.  I remember we started talking about differences between Americans and the French and one point was social courtesy.  I commented on the extreme chivalry I've had the pleasure to receive in France, even from men whom I accidentally insulted (like the brasserie owner who overheard me complaining to a friend about the lack of air-conditioning in his establishment - it was 100 degree weather - who completely understood what I said and instead of lumping me in with the rest of the loud, overbearing tacky tourists, as he should have, kindly offered to put me in front of a fan and did it with such grace and simplicity I was overwhelmed with shame and left a hefty tip).

I told Beautiful Boy's mom that some American men remonstrate against the need for traditional manifestations of chivalry under the guise of "gender equality." Nonsense, she laughed, that's just an excuse for laziness.  She said, chivalry is not about gender issues, it's just good shows intelligence and good breeding.  And by good breeding, she meant a strong family upbringing. She's so cool.  I've got to make sure I pass on such awesome home training to my future son(s).

So, the plan-making for December with BB went something like this:  Beautiful Boy - "Please come, let's explore Europe in the snow, it's beautiful and there's no tourists.  And I promise I won't get squishy," ... squishy being a word he learnt from me.   I'm such a good teacher.  We are taking the Euro-Rail through the Alps to St. Moritz and I am ecstatic.  What an amazing friend...this year has been so great! Exciting surprises everywhere.

And not like I've been a prolific blogger recently, but I won't be blogging for the majority of December, it will be hard to get adequate WiFi while traveling and this time will be for myself.  

Switching tracks and considering it's the season to GIVE, can you spare $35 a month to save the life of a special needs orphan?  Yes, yes you can! I recently discovered An Orphan's Wish.  You already probably are aware of the especially high levels of abandoned babies in China due to its one child policy.  Babies born with any perceived defects have an even higher chance of being's the saddest thing ever.  An Orphan's Wish takes under its wing and provides all medical and living care to orphans with special medical needs including uncorrected clubfoot and cerebral palsy. 

An Orphans' Wish is an all volunteer foundation and their overhead costs are extremely low; about 98% of every donation received goes directly to their projects in China to support the children who are housed in their facilities.  As one who's previously provided pro bono assistance to other non-profits and seen many of their financials, An Orphan's Wish is extraordinarily efficiently run...I feel confident when sending them money.  

Here are pics of two kidlets I am sponsoring (each child needs about eight $35 sponsors per month):

Orphan's Wish, China, Orphan, Special Needs,
Alec - he has orthopedic issues with his left elbow, is missing one eye and has some developmental delays.  He arrived at An Orphan's Wish after his first birthday. 

Chester NovtextChester - anal atresia.  Not fair! Poor, poor baby.  

Saddest thing ever, right?  But don't turn away from it, don't let it make you feel like the inequities of the world are insuperable..."If you save one life, you save the world."  These tykes are so lucky that they have a wonderful organization like An Orphan's Wish to take care of them and prepare them for adoption and a whole new life.  Look how happy they are now! You too can be a new long-distance auntie/uncle in the next several minutes!

Have a fun, safe, loving, unforgettable December...see you in 2013!

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