Friday, August 15, 2014

Robin Williams, We will miss you...

Four days ago, I joined the world in mourning the death of Robin Williams, one of my favourite actors of all time. He was so funny on screen, so full of life, so natural and had perfect timing, and now he was gone. I was lost for words, I felt numb and empty. How can someone you've ever met, you've never talked to, mean so much to you?
I was instantly replaying all my favourite movies of his in my head: Dead Poets Society, Hook, Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji,  Hamlet, Good Will Hunting, Flubber, Robots and the Butler. Yeah I grew up watching Robin Williams, he made me laugh more than anyone else to date. He always seemed so happy on camera...
He always had such a jolly demeanour, a happy face, that brought a smile to millions of people around the world. But behind that smile was a man battling server depression. Depression is like a war, you win or you die trying...
Robin talked about his depression  in interviews, using quotations that will forever stick in my head: "I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone." , "You are only given one spark of madness. You mustn't lose it" and "You can judge how heavy a persons burdens are until thye put them down and the whole floor shakes"
The afternoon of his death I was given the unbelievably hard task of telling my 7 year-old cousin that his favourite actor from his favourite film (Hook) had died and gone to live in Heaven with the Angels. His answer was "But Granny is older than him and she still lives, so why did he die?" I knew I couldn't tell him the whole truth, he was too young to learn about suicide, so I took a different approach "He was sick Hadyn" "Oh...okay" and off he went. half hour or so later I went to check on him and I found him glued to the Television, he had found his Hook DVD and put it on; I stood there silent watching Robin Williams play Peter Pan. Hadyn who had only just noticed me whispered  "I wanted to say Goodbye..." I peeled my eyes away from the television, I studied my cousins face, eyes full of sadness, pale cheeks and a pouty bottom lip. I sat down on the carpet and pulled him onto my lap: "That's okay little man. You can watch him as much as you want" it was the most heart-breaking thing I've ever had to do...


Dear Robin Williams,
On behalf on millions of kids and adults, Thank you. Thank you for making us laugh hours on end. For bringing comedy into our houses. For talking about depression and making people aware.
We will miss your laugh, your personality and your silly smile.
Sleep tight, fly far and wide.
Xx





Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Job, New Lessons

For the month of June I am working as a live in au pair for a family who live in Colònia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca. I'm looking after two children: a girl Antònia María who is 11 and a boy Tomeu who is 9, but these aren't just ordinary kids, they have Attention deficit Hyperactivity disorder  (ADHD) so everyday tasks are that little bit harder and take a little longer. Don't get me wrong they are great kids, full of positive energy, they are caring and loving but they have their Oh dear moments.

I've only been with the family for a week, before that I'd only spent an hour with the kids a week, and so far this job has taught me that I don't have as much patients as I thought, but's it's also teaching me to accept every single person for who he/she is, to adapt to the life around me and to try not to stress out over little things.

The days are challenging and long, timetables go out of the window, you have a list of tasks to do that day and if you have time left over you can do whatever you want. The first task of the day is breakfast, something that should only take 15 minutes takes nearly an hour, once task number is one done it's time to move on to task two: getting dressed. Oh hell, that's the most challenging task of the day, "Tomeu, please can you go and get dressed?"  his answer is a "yes" with a huge smile, of he goes. An hour passes and he still hasn't returned, so I go and check on him, there he is either still in his Pyjamas, no clothes on at all or only managed to put underwear on, but he's got completely distracted and is now playing with a Lego boat...

Even though both kids have ADHD they are completely different, Antònia can control herself more she just struggles academically where as Tomeu has a photographic memory  and is highly intelligent, with an IQ higher than most adults but doesn't have the self discipline to apply it, you have to sit with him and help him concentrate on the task ahead.

But despite the everyday challenges they face, they are the happiest kids I've met, respectful of every single person they meet, apologetic after a meltdown, love to play games, swim and draw, like the average kid. They are massively misunderstood. People think that just because they have ADHD they are going to be a handful, but that couldn't be further from the truth, you just need to know how to talk to them and get them engaged in the task in hand.

To Antònia Marñia and Tomeu, Thank you for helping me understand :)








Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jenson Button

My favourite guy races cars for a living,
Racing round and round he never stops giving.
He's tall and slender with bright blue eyes,
No matter what race, his best he always tries.

The car of glistening silver shines in the light,To get on the podium is a difficult fight.

When he crashes or retires it makes me sad,
But to see him walk away unhurt makes me glad.

Screeching tyres as pits pit stops are made,
A good stop mean the race could be saved.
Make on mistake and the whole team pays,
The race engineer, an important role he plays.

Jenson's racing skills make him a master of rain,
At the starting grid, so much to lose, so much to gain.
The Monaco Grand Prix of 2009 he did win,
That season "We are the Champions" he did sing.

For the next victory I might have to wait a while,
I don't mind as long as he continues to smile.
JB is the one I follow with all my heart,
I've followed him right from the start.




Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter weekend

What a gorgeous weekend!! My Aunt and Uncle came over for the weekend and the weather has been spectacular, it's been so hot and sunny, we spent the whole weekend in shorts and t-shirts getting tanned and in Uncle Paul's and my brothers case sunburnt.

The weekend actually started before they arrived! On the Friday evening we went into town for a few drinks with a couple of neighbours. In the town they had an Easter procession, there were huge statues of Jesus and the Virgin Marie being carried around on peoples shoulders, each statue weighs just over a ton and is carried around the town by a group of 20 men or 28 women. Each float was followed by, what the Spanish call, "Carapuches", which are hooded figures. It was actually quite scary.

Saturday morning I felt sick with excitement, I hadn't seen Uncle Paul or Auntie Vanessa in over two years, as they went travelling around the world for a year, so it felt special to see them again, I was like a kid at Christmas. I woke up early, watched Quali, what a disappointment... didn't go the way I wanted it to. After that I went off to the airport with dad to pick them up, I had butterflies. As soon as I saw them I ran as fast as I could straight into Uncle Paul's open arms, my butterflies went away immediately. On the way back home I got to have a girly chat with Vanessa, it was amazing to catch up! We spent the whole afternoon outside just chatting in the sun, there were some hilarious stories that came out,  it was BLISS! We went out for dinner just to a local restaurant, it was nice just to chill and catch up.

Sunday morning, race day, what a shockingly bad race for McLaren and Massa, that put me in a bad mood, Uncle Paul winded me up something rotten, but it was hard to be mad at him, he's just so funny.  So again just another day of chatting in the sun while eating and talking. Oh and of course, like every time we get together, Dad and Uncle Paul jammed on the guitars for a while, needless to say Uncle Paul was miles better than Dad! But he still insisted on showing Dad how to play songs Uncle Pauls band plays, it was funny. The evening just got better,  after a night time walk, we played Articulate, We've never laughed so much in our lives. Mum burst out into song mid-clue which had us in stitches and then Keiran had to describe Nigel Lawson, but not knowing who he was Keiran's clue was "His first name is a bit of a funny name" So Uncle Paul responded "Dick" my brother cracks up instantly and answers back "Not that funny"... Oh my days, we all ended up crying with laughter.

Which brings me to today, Monday, we all got up quite late, so we decided to go out for a walk in a village up the road and have a snack and a walk. We walked all around Sineu then found a little bar to have lunch in, we all had typical Spanish food called "Pa amb Oli" It was so nice. So again we started chatting, the topic turned to Uncle Pauls job, he's an undertaker, its amazing how many funny stories can come from working in a funeral home. after lunch we drove back home  and lounged around a bit before they had to pack. And before I knew it the weekend was over and Uncle Paul and Auntie Vanessa were saying Goodbye. I felt sad saying Goodbye, as I've got older it's started to hit me that every Goodbye could be the last.

Easter is over, there were horrible parts to the weekend but on a whole it was also really special and amazing. Just can't wait to see them again now.








Monday, February 17, 2014

A Poem for Will

I had a dream that was so real,
Will it was you I could almost feel.
I thought you were really here,
Then I woke to see you disappear.

Tears started running down my face,
And my heart began to race.
Will, I felt you all so near,
Your voice is the one I hear.

You tell me to stay strong,
But everything feel so wrong.
Deep inside I feel so bad,
I constantly feel cold and sad.

You whisper in my ear "All shall be okay",
Because tomorrow will be better than today.
I wish so much you wouldn't leave,
Because I don't want to continue to grieve.

All those days spent at the beach in the sun,
Now are precious memories, we had such fun.
No you're an Eagle who is free to fly,
All day long high in the sky.

At night you are a bright shinning star,
But you being far away has left a scar.
Deep in my heart forever it will stay,
It's been there since you went away.

Will, we all miss you lots,
In my throat I have a huge knot.
You are forever in my heart,
Even though we are far apart.

Love ya man. Xxxx

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jessica Dubroff: A seven year old who lived by her own rules.



A few days ago I was looking into getting started for my pilot licence, something I’ve wanted since I was 18, when I stumbled across and article about a seven year old little girl called Jessica Dubroff. To be perfectly honest I had never heard of her before, but I became hooked on her story. She lived her own dreams not caring what people said about her and I’d like to share her story with you guys:

She was born in Massachusetts on the 5th of May 1988, to Lisa Blair Hathaway and Lloyd Dubroff and moved to California when she was four with her older brother Joshua and her younger sister Jasmine. She began taking flight lessons from flight instructor Joe Reid on her sixth birthday, and became enthusiastic about flying. Her father, who was separated from her mother by this time, suggested the idea of a coast-to-coast flight, which Jessica readily accepted, and Reid agreed to provide flight instruction and his four seated single engine aircraft for the endeavour. They decided to name their flight "Sea to Shining Sea".

Jessica would sit in the front left seat, Reid in the front right, and Lloyd in the back. It was agreed that Reid would be paid for his services at normal flight instruction rates, plus compensation for the layover time. Reid reportedly told his wife that he considered the flight a "non-event for aviation," simply "flying cross country with a 7-year-old sitting next to you and the parents paying for it.”

Nevertheless, Jessica became an instant media celebrity, having already logged 33 hours of flight time in such a short time. ABC News gave Lloyd a video camera and blank cassettes to tape the flight; once the journey began, it was vigorously followed by supporters, media outlets, and others who monitored its progress, reporting each time Dubroff landed or took off- Jessica had to be assisted by Reid in one of the landings due to high winds.

Dubroff, her father, and her flight instructor arrived in Cheyenne and after some media interviews they got a ride to their hotel in the car of a local radio station program director, who recalled them discussing the forecast weather conditions for the next day. Composite radar image  was showing precipitation intensity around Cheyenne airport at time of departure.

The weather in the morning of the flight, the north and west of Cheyenne was hit by torrential rain but weather conditions were much better to the east, where the flight was headed. Since it began to rain at the airport and the weather seemed to be deteriorating, the program director invited her to stay in Cheyenne, but Dubroff's father declined, explaining that they wanted to "beat the storm" which was approaching.

 Reid decided to take off despite the worsening conditions at the airport, and to try to escape the poor weather by turning immediately eastward. Just before take off Jessica called her mum from the plane phone “Can you hear the rain? Can you hear the rain” The last words Jessica spoke before they were cut off.

As the aircraft began taxiing to the departure runway, it was raining and visibility at the airport fell below the three mile minimum required for VFR flight. Cheyenne's control tower advised the Cessna about the reduced visibility and that the "field is IFR." Reid then requested and received from the control tower a special VFR clearance to allow him to exit the airport's control zone visually, despite the reduced visibility.

At 8:24 AM MST, Dubroff's aircraft began its take off roll from Cheyenne's runway 30 to the northwest, in rain, strong gusty crosswinds and turbulence. According to witnesses, the plane lifted off and climbed slowly, with its nose high and its wings wobbling. It began a gradual right turn, and after reaching an altitude of a few hundred feet, the plane rolled out of its turn, then descended rapidly, crashing at a near-vertical angle into a street in a residential neighbourhood.

The 7-year-old student pilot, Her father, Lloyd Dubroff, 57, and her flight instructor, Joe Reid, died when the plane nose-dived into the driveway of a single-story brick home in a residential area about one mile north of the airport. At the airport now lays a sign : "A little girl and her big dream died here Thursday morning."
Jessica Dubroff (1988-1996)

“Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?”

 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Mandela; A Hero, An Inspiration.

I remember February 2000, I was six year old, sitting in the classroom staring at a tall man from South Africa, he had come in to talk to us about Nelson Mandela, it had been ten year since he's release form prison.

I listened as he spoke, inspired, hanging on to every word, I was hooked and finally I had found something I had been searching for: A Hero.

From that day every library session we had, while my friends hunted down E.B. White and A.A. Mill, I searched for books about Mandela. The more I read, the more I liked him, his achievements were inspiring. First black president of South Africa was something special, I had only ever heard of white presidents until then.



But what struck me the most was his imprisonment, how can someone be put in jail for encouraging his own people to fight for their rights, it sounded barbaric to me at six years old. I was obsessed with Robben Island, Mandela remained there for 20 years, locked in a cell of 2.4 x 2.1 meters with nothing but a straw mat to sleep on; by day he broke rocks into gravel and at night he worked on his LLB degree.

After Robben Island he was moved to Pollsmoor Prison, which allowed him to have communication, through letters, with the outside world and also permitted him to read voraciously. It was here he would be appointed Patron of the Multi-Racial United Democracy Front. There he remained until his 70th Birthday in 1988.

Recovering from Tuberculosis he was moved to Victor Verster prison, housed in comfortable conditions which allowed him to complete his LLB degree.

He was released on February 11th 1990, standing with his wife at his side he gave his first public speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority. The speech worked, in 1994 he became president of South Africa, a big step forward for the country and in 1996 he was appointed Chairman of the Southern African Development  Community and installed negotiations to put an end to the first Congo war. In 1997 he stepped down as ANS president and gave his final farewell speech on the 29th of March 1999 after which he retired.

But that wasn't the last of Mandela, still hugely important to his country he made several public appearances. In 2001 he was treated for prostate cancer and in 2008 he celebrated his 90th birthday along side his third wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I had a heavy heart after his death, I lost a hero, an inspiration and South Africa lost their father, their voice.

He was a fighter, he had been all his life, he spread a message of never giving up and fighting for what you believe. He was a voice for people who didn't have one. He taught us that education was important to change the world, that we must use our time wisely and it's never too late to do things right. He fought for the freedom of his people which left him fighting for his own freedom, but South Africa stood by him, he was the voice they needed.

RIP Nelson Mandela.
18th July 1918 - 5th of December 2013
Spread your wings, fly high and free. Lost but never forgotten, a hero that will truly be missed.


"Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement."- Nelson Mandela