When enough is enough

Regarding the money: we will not send you any money. If you are looking for economic help you need to find someone else.

Usually I prefer to be polite and nice when writing letters, but today I had enough and went for the very clear line above.

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We payed for this roof repair

Since leaving Sri Lanka we have kept an e-mail conversation going between us and “our” Sri Lankan family. They asked us for money (€500) to celebrate their New Year in April, and last week we recieved another e-mail where they asked for money to buy a three-wheeler/tuktuk.

Living in the Western world, under circumstances not  possible to compare to how the locals in Weligama live, it was very hard for us in the beginning not to give money every day when we were there. But bit by bit, we learned about the culture, their habits and thought a lot about what actually would help in the long run.
And sorry to say; giving money is most likely not a long-term solution for people in a developing country.

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Some fishing boats are owned by Europeans

When speaking to help-organizations and finding out how they work, it’s seldom money but education that helps over time.
For us, it seemed like teaching English to  locals was a good thing – when they speak better English, it’s easier for them to go into the tourism industry that’s about to boom.

Another thing would be to talk about saving money, to have a small amount at hand when something unpredictable happens (or when the rain period comes, as it does every year). Many people in the villages live from day to day. Regarding teaching people about economy, we got stuck in language difficulties. As we did when having ideas of different ways to make money.
So it seemed to always come back to the language.

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Food market in Sri Lanka

Anyways, today I decided to be very clear about our view of sending money. Usually Anders and I discuss this before sending, but today I just had enough and wrote an answer directly.

We are now realizing why some people asked us in the beginning if these family members were taking such good care of us just because they wanted our money. Many Westerners have had experiences like ours, and ended up giving, giving, giving. And I would prefer to actually help the development in some way, maybe by finding some good material for learning English that we could send them. Perhaps something on DVD so they not only read but also can hear the language.

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The English memory game I made for practice with village girls

Today I practice saying ‘no’ when enough is enough.
//Wivan

World citizens asking for help

Right now is a great time to practice the beautiful art of asking for help, as well as receiving help. To us this is sometimes a challenge, and now is the time to take this to the next level, considering what we’re up to with our future travels.

– from our blog in November last year –

Last summer we asked for help, and got to stay for free in a summer house for 10 days

Last summer we asked for help, and got to stay for free in a summer house for 10 days

Today Anders bought a new motorcycle. In Sweden. It’s amazing what’s possible to do over the Internet and with some help from friends and family!

So, here’s the deal: We’re going to Sweden this summer. Anders is gonna work at his old job, covering up for vacations etc. And we asked for help from friends and family to find a place to stay nearby. What happened? We got several proposals, and a friend of the family offered us to stay for free in a spare room with shower and WC that they have above of their shop!

Picture from the ad on Blocket.se, Anders bought his third Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom

Picture from the ad on Blocket.se, Anders bought his third Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom


Knowing this, we also realized we will need more than just the car to be able to get around. So Anders started to look for a motorcycle. And, with a lot of help from a good friend, he’s now bought one, and the same friend has already picked it up and will keep it in a nice garage until Anders gets home late May to pick it up.

It is fantastic to be able to sit here on Flores in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, talk to Sweden via Skype, transfer money and get all things done in seconds.

And just a few weeks ago, Anders was able to sort out the situation regarding his work this summer, making plans with good collegues, his boss and whatever needed to be arranged in order for us to be in Sweden over June, July, August and September.

Picture: hashslush.com. In september Wivan's going surfin' in Portugal

Picture: hashslush.com. In september Wivan’s going surfin’ in Portugal


Now we’re happy to have Internet and seeing work ads online, since Wivan is looking for a job over the summer in Sweden. She’s been able to look up some places and to send the applications online instead of on paper or calling. And for interviews, they will be done over Skype too. We have payed to have some credits to call regular phones in order to stay in touch with those who aren’t already using Skype.

A beautiful flower to all of our wonderful friends and family members who help out and send us so much love

A beautiful flower to all of our wonderful friends and family members who help out and send us so much love

An important thing to mention here, when it comes to asking for help, and to recieve help, is that we have wonderful ground service, provided by Wivan’s mom and dad. Wivan’s mom is taking care of all the post we still recive in Sweden, and Wivan’s dad is giving advice on some of the money issues and paperwork we need to do.

Picture from cardiffunison.co.uk

Picture from cardiffunison.co.uk

So, it’s a combination of asking for help, recieving and also having wonderful, helpful people around us. We are so, so grateful, words can’t really explain it. And, we already know, we won’t be able to pay it back. Ever. And that’s fine too. Because we know the mathematics of life: You give, and you recieve. Never knowing if it’s going to be in the same currency or to/from the same person or place. That’s just how it is. If we’re helpful and giving, sometime, somewhere it will come back, just don’t try and count on it or calculate, ‘cos that’s not how it works. It just is.

Love, gratefulness and joy!
// Anders & Wivan

The luxury of locals

In Egypt last December we had a very clear example of what good connections with locals can do for us as foreigners and travellers in a new place. We got to have an amazing experience of the pyramids thanks to our very nice taxi driver Hassan who did as much as he ever could for us to have a good time.

Anders, Hassan and Wivan

Anders, Hassan and Wivan

And in France we’ve been invited to many dinners, lunches, excursions and trips to markets thanks to newly found friends who’ve taken great care of us.

Here in the Azores we get lots and lots of help from a neighbor. We get to use her car, so we can make small trips, go to the store or whatever. The other day we borrowed her scooter for a little drive in the sunshine. She comes over to ask if everything is ok, if we need anything or if she can help in any way and it’s very nice and comforting. We’ve also gotten maps of the island and been invited to volleyball practice with her, to come and listen and see her and her group practice folklore music and dancing.

Sightseeing in Flores thanks to our neighbor

Sightseeing in Flores thanks to our neighbor

Folk music and dancing practice in Lajes das Flores

Folk music and dancing practice in Lajes das Flores

Since the island of Flores has less than 4000 inhabitants, it’s very clear who is a local and who is not… most people know each other, at least in each village. So, we are trying our best to say hello and thanks in Portuguese and just see what we see and whom we will meet when we’re out. What we have learned this far, after travelling Europe for about six months, is that you can never predict what opportunity awaits around the corner, and to have some locals to help out or just show the way is very nice.

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Scooter ride in the sun - awfully cold wind on the top of the hill

In the store the other day we met a French guy who we spoke to for a little bit. And guess what?! After our encounter with the Frenchman, he’s now invited us for dinner with his family and our neighbor! We hope to schedule that soon.

// Anders and Wivan, hoping to make some new friends in Flores

Homeless, at one of Malmö’s finest addresses…

Yesterday we moved the last things out of our house, and today a cleaning company is there to get it ready for the new owner.

Collecting the last things in the kitchen

We are now “homeless”, yet staying at one of the fanciest addresses in Malmö! Thanks to wonderful family and friends we are taken care of these last few days before leaving for France on Wednesday.

On our way in to our temporary home in Malmö

The area we stay in is called the Western Harbour and is the area where Kockums used to build large ships. Nowadays it’s a really cool living area with focus on the environment and smart solutions for taking care of waste water, heating and cooling of the buildings as well as beautiful architecture.

Just outside where we stay is the famous Turning Torso, a landmark well known in the Öresund region.

Turning Torso

Turning Torso

Right now is a great time to practice the beautiful art of asking for help, as well as receiving help. To us this is sometimes a challenge, and now is the time to take this to the next level, considering what we’re up to with our future travels.

We have also practiced the art of giving for many years, and will continue to do so even if our resources will be more limited going forward. Since we understand the principle of giving and receiving (the law of attraction) we are sure we will be provided with all the help and guidance we need. Our only task is to gratefully recieve.

The storage, loaded from the floor and up

The storage, loaded from the floor and up

Wivans packing

Wivans packing

 

Our 'pantry' in, two large backpacks, blankets and pillows

Our ‘pantry’, two large backpacks, blankets and pillows

We get all we need

There are so many people wanting to help out and do small and big things in order to make our move easier.

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Mom at our place sorting out papers

Ok, we knew that the members of our family are great and that our friends are more than generous. But to really hear, see, meet with and also accept the gifts and helpful hands fills our hearts to the brim with gratitude.

The past few days Wivan’s mom has been visiting, helping out with paperwork, the garden and sharing her wisdom and knowledge in our conversations.

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Anders got a count-down calendar

We also have lots of help from a brother in the US who gives plenty of advice on economics, and an accountant (dad) who listens, gives great feedback and widens our thinking in so many ways.

This is just part of it, and a way to show a small part of all the help we get.

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Oh, Yes! The place is a mess!

Friends of ours keep asking if there’s anything we need, and offers a place to stay if we need it. And maybe most unvaluable are all the pep talks, high-fives and warming hugs, messages and phone calls we get.