Keeping Warm

I headed back to Nelson as a “home base” to figure out my next steps in my journey. As usual I went to Cottonwood Falls to see who was there… see if there was any familiar faces. I stumbled across a few friends and decided to hang out with them for a while. As the day went on the weather started to take a turn and it started to rain. I was going to hitchhike in the rain for sympathy points to get picked up sooner, but that would have been at the cost of wet clothes… needless to say I decided to spend another night in Nelson.

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Some new faces showed up in town and as always everyone welcomed them in and we all started to do some song singing and there’s always a guitar or two strummin’ away. One of the new people who arrived happened to be a guy I had picked up hitchhiking a few months prior and we actually had the same destination (Motion Notion)! I convinced him to wait out another day until the rain stopped and we could travel together. I had yet to travel with a partner during this trip… long distances anyway and I figured it would be nice to have some company, other than myself and my harmonica I ended up finding after returning from StarBelly.

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The next day a bunch of us went to the Salvation Army to get some breakfast, locals were always first of course. The breakfast was pretty good it was french toast with some scrambled eggs… my french toast is waaaay yummier but it was free so I’m very thankful :).

After breakfast we did some brainstorming on routes and where to go, I really wanted to hit up the hot springs… it was a must for my trip this summer. We ended up choosing to head to St. Leone’s Hot Springs in Nakusp and headed out just before noon… we wanted to make it before sun down. We packed up and off we went, I was a little drained and my co-hiker seemed to be filled with energy and nabbed a van for us right on the highway barely any wait time! Next we were at a cross roads for a little while, but it gave me time to practice my harmonica. My goal was to have Piano Man down by the end of my trip. After about an hour we snagged another ride up to some obscure town but it was pretty straight forward to Nakusp from there.

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The town we were sitting in… wasn’t really a town it was more of a gas station and some shops attached to the highway. I had two-way radio’s and passed one off to buddy while I explored the organic shops… I wasn’t even in there for 5 minutes when I got the call ‘Hey man I already got us a ride!’. I ran out and got picked up by a super awesome dude from Nakusp, an ex special forces who has just discovered the joys of nature and how to appreciate the special things. It was a great ride to say the least. He actually suggested we change our destination to Halfway Hot Springs, which we decided we would take the locals advice. We were dropped off at a gas station about 3-5 km away from the entrance (Mind you I did start the trip walking 12 Km but I was way too tired for that).

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After waiting a few hours in the hot sun with no luck my buddy and I decided to split up and see if going by singles was easier. I got picked up by a guy and his girlfriend that told me they had seen us standing there for a while, and if they came back and we were still there they’d bring us up… I guess they knew we were going to the awesome hot springs. He was kind enough to grab both of us but had advised us his tired was little low and wasn’t sure he could make it up with all of us. By the time we got to the entrance (bottom of an 11.5 km hill) he decided that he wasn’t going to make us walk up because it was treacherous… no exaggeration.

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After getting to the top of the hill 45 minutes later… yeah that’s how crazy bad the road it 11 km took 45 mins. We set up camp and headed down to explore the hot springs. There was a storm coming so I hurriedly put my swim trunks on and jump into the spring hot tub. As I settled in you could hear thunder and then massive raindrops poured down. The hot and cold contrast while a storm exploding above was such an amazing feeling <3. There were many pools to explore ranging from cold to super hot. There was so much decomposition in the forest around the hot springs that everything was soft and mooshie, which was great for ground (walking around bare feet).

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I was supposed to leave Halfway on the Thursday to make it to MoNo by the afternoon at the latest but it was raining. I decided that if I was going to be wet I might as well be warm and wet… so I spent the day at the hot springs. Road trip buddy decided to head out to Motion Notion that day which was fine with me. The couple I was staying with decided they wanted to hunt for some more springs so I tagged along after a yummy breakfast. I took a good 20 minute walk down some rocky river bed and found a small pool that could barely fit two people. We began excavating and made a nice secondary pool nothing too special. We carried on down the river until we hit a gully that wasn’t passable since the river was rushing down it… and it was freezing cold. We didn’t end up empty-handed… we actually found one of the best springs around with 3 attached pools up against the rock face. There was the Steaming hot one, the freezing one next to the river (would have been great for a hot day) and there was the just right one. the Three of us spent the next couple of hours making it even better and spent most of the day relaxing. Our day ended with “Gourmet” camping pasta and some fun with a laser pointer and a big warm bonfire.

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The Friday morning I had headed off to MoNo ready to hike down the big hill in which we saw a cougar a two days prior… pretty majestic :). I had walked about 2 kilometers before I gave up, the roads were crap and it was hot out and my bag was super heavy. I waited around for about 30 minutes when some cute Quebec girls came and picked me up in their Honda Civic. It was funny because their car looked like it was going to fall apart… at one point the window dropped halfway and spun around. There was laughter and then they expressed that… it wasn’t actually uncommon and that they barely paid anything for it, yet it had gotten them quite far despite it’s “rugged” looks.

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After exchanging some info I was dropped off at the highway and we parted ways. I waited a good hour and half before someone came by in a pickup, I threw my bags in the back where there was probably 10 cases of empties. The guy who picked me up was a little strange but very kind, he expressed that he didn’t expect anyone to pick me up to go to the ferry as I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. He was nice enough to bring me all the way despite not actually needing to go to the ferry… Even if someone is weird it doesn’t mean they don’t have a great heart; Thank you stranger!

You’ll have to hear the rest of the story next post… until next time!

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Normal is boring… Just be YOU!

7 days in…. And I’m feeling it.

A good friend of mine Liz is fasting to raise money to visit and aid children in Haiti. This isn’t her first trip or fast she’s done and I’m sure it’s not going to be her last. She’s powering through 4 weeks of fasting and plans on keeping everyone up to date. Here’s one of her posts.

My Blog

Today is day 7 of my Fasting to Feed. Initially, despite the hunger, being ‘hangry’ (hungry + cranky), and tired I was still feeling pretty good. I still had energy, and was able to continue with my day as if I was eating normally.

Lately however, I am not feeling that way. Since Wednesday I have been tired, not having the energy to go about my day regularly. One night I slept for 12 hours and still didn’t feel like it was enough. The headaches began on Tuesday and have continued. Mix that with the dizziness and it is not a good feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining whatsoever. It is SO exciting knowing that I have made it though a week of fasting, and only have 3 weeks to go. It also is a wonderful reminder of how blessed we truly are in Canada. If I…

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Steady Visit

I don’t expect this blog post to be too long… but that’s what I usually expect.

I’ve being doing pretty well getting back to “normal” life back in Canada, I’m not going to lie though I still feel like I’m visiting. I’m starting to make future plans on what I’m going to do down the road, of course going back to Haiti is in the plans and I think it always will be but not immediately.

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I’ve come to realize my next adventure won’t be for a while, I’m still looking for work and have had a few hopeful situations but they wouldn’t start until later in the summer and may require travel… hmm did I just say travel I think I like that word! Anyway I’ll indulge you into some of my future plans and this is all in the works no concrete plans; I find if you set specific dates… this is for most people not all, but if you set specific dates for life goals you tend to bring yourself down and stress out too much when the time comes closer and closer so I’m being very liberal and understanding that it will take a few years to get my jet off the ground… unless I land it rich or someone wants to give me lots and lots of money… I prefer the latter :P.

My original plan was to save up for a visit to ex-Siam… Thailand :), I’ve always been fascinated by their culture and their way of life and I’d want to be visiting none touristy area’s. After doing much research and talking to many people who’ve been there it is rather cheap to live there day by day close to $14 USD for full meals and lodging. As most of my plans are like a living being it’s ever evolving, originally I had decided after Thailand I would purchase a house and rent it out. Now I’m planning on getting a house first then travelling to Thailand once I get the landlord thing down and eventually breaking even or even making a bit of a profit. The idea for this is if I start travelling more I don’t want to come home and have to work for 2 years then go travel and work for 2 year again… it seems like such a waste, I’d rather take the extra time to secure myself and then live “freely” before I settle down.

I finally got my iMac back up and running but ran into an issue when I went to Bootcamp it to run Windows now it will only run that… guess I have to bring it in for another fixin’ but at least I know everything is backed up!

I’ve been thinking lately about changing the name of my blog since I won’t be working specifically on Haiti especially in my blogs, more so about my life and travels. I’ll still have my Facebook Page for Haiti but I feel like I need a name change on the blog and was wondering what everyone else thought? I may start-up a poll with some names, if you guys have any idea’s feel free to comment new names or email me at Justinparkinson@hotmail.com

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Recently I went to DEMF which this year was named Movement Electronic Music Festival… MEMF not as easy to say as the old name but change is bound to happen! It was fun despite all the rain and cold, but I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the Urban Festivals, it draws a lot of “not fun” crowds. I much prefer Big fests like Electric Forest or Feel Good, Waka etc… it’s more of a family/ Hippie group, everyone loves one another and will take care of you if you need it… even being a stranger.

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Anyway I just wanted to shoot this off real quick to update everyone yes I’m still in Canada I didn’t jet off to Haiti again… Yet haha just kidding. I’ve got to get back to writing my  book. Don’t forget to think of names for my blog and make suggestions!


 

“Changes happens roll with it”

Adjustments

It’s been about a month since my last blog, it’s been a crazy month and bare with me as I try and remember it all.

The last week of April The Boom Booms were in Haiti doing stuff like planting tree’s and playing a few shows, and I managed to tag along with the Canadian group and help where I could. They guys were a blast to be around really down to earth and generally all around nice guys, a thanks goes out to Alex Genis who helped coordinate and bring them to Haiti.

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Along with hanging out with The Boom Booms I got to know some people from Haiti Communitere (formerly Grassroots utd.). The last week I spent in Haiti was a pretty busy one, running from meetings to people for a last time before I go. There really didn’t seem  like there was enough time in a day.

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April 23rd was my birthday and yes I spent it in Haiti and the Jazz lounge we went to let The Boom Booms play a bit… they were once again amazing, it kind of made my birthday, actually hanging out with awesome people and great music.

I’m sure most of you have figured it out by now from reading if you hadn’t already heard it from word of mouth I’m back in Canada. It’s been a slow transition and yes there were a lot of things to get used to… one thing was, getting used to seeing so many white people, and forgetting I can speak solely English and most people will understand. There were other minor things like putting on a seat belt I needed to get used to.

The first week I was back I got extremely ill, honestly I think it was a combination of catching something in Haiti as well as getting used to the preservative packed foods. It lasted for a little more than a week thankfully I’m all better now :)!

It’s nice to have my car back now and able to travel from place to place when and where I want, although now I have to pay for my own gas which I guess is the big switch over. I’m still looking for work at the moment I have a few hopefuls but still nothing.

I’ve been trying to get more in touch with friends instead of being stuck inside all the time, I’ve recently gotten into longboarding and I find it rather relaxing.

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It’s tough to pick and choose which friends you want to spend time with and finding ones that want to commute the time to hang out, but it’s helpful in seeing who’s really interested in hanging out with me. Haiti has really put a separation between me and a lot of people and it’s sort of neat to see who’s willing to make that stretch to re-connect.

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I picked up Emily from the airport  the other day and she stayed in Chatham for a day or 2 then surprised her mother for mother’s day which was a fun treat!

I wanted to post a lot of pictures onto the Facebook Page but as most people know my computer crashed and is in the shop for the next few weeks… I guess you’ll have to wait.

Stay posted for my crazy life to slowly unravel back in Canada see how my Haitian experiences have changed me for the first world.

“Time doesn’t separate people, people separate people.”

Heated

The past few weeks and the next few to come have been and will be Heated, not just from the warming sun and humidity but emotions as well… for example I just wrote this whole blog and it closed on me and didn’t save at all!

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Emily and I have been really cracking down on getting things in order from paper work to the kids doing their duties. I think we’re both starting to get a little wound because we’re both taking off soon and leaving (temporarily) behind a place we love with all our hearts. Knowing that I have return date to  Canada makes things harder for me and I think that’s adding to why I’m feeling more upset when the kids don’t respect the rules and I feel disrespected. This morning I went around picking up all the toys left around the yard, and when the kids came home from school I brought them over and dumped it out in front of them. I gave them their final warning as Emily has already given them a heads up ‘If your toys are left out they will be given to kids who want them and respect them’. They had a bit of a shocked and ashamed look. Next I pulled out a bag of garbage (no I didn’t dump in out). I told them they need to start picking up the garbage when they see it and that respecting the house is of utmost importance. Needless to say they will be spending the next few hours doing clean up. Everything from the kids, government politic, to staff issues seems to have multiplied ten fold over night.529339_10152729453410022_1151837900_n

Not all things have been “bad” Emily and I did get to go Scuba diving, which I’ve really missed since I was in the Cayman Islands… and even in the cold Sarnia, Ontario waters. I managed to get pretty deep as far as my current license “allows” me and I saw some really neat rainbow fish and coral! The deeper I went the cooler it got (no pun intended).

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I have mixed emotions going home because I love it here despite all the craziness  but at the same time I’m excited to head home to catch up with friends (Don’t let Em fool you when she says I have no friends :P). I am also super excited for Electric Forest Festival 2013! I’ve worked EF for the past few years and this will be the first year I’m not part of the Work Exchange. Everyone there is like family 30,000+ people as one big family… I’ve met some of the best people there. I started making bracelets for myself and friends, picking up a new hobby for EF 2013 maybe make a buck or two selling some “bling” :). I’ve made so many I started to get blisters!

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The other day I managed to go visit a friend who runs Respire Haiti, we’d been trying to connect since I first got to Haiti approx 6 months ago… we finally got together and I had the chance to see the amazing place she’s built up.

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The days are flying by now that I have a confirmed return date. Once that day comes the job hunt begins and I start saving for my next adventure “across the pond

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Until next time: Keep your head up, push one foot forward and you’ve already begun your next journey

Don’t forget to Smile!

Flight

I’m finally back on the blogs… sorry for taking so long to post another, things have been hectic between power, accidents and kids haha. I don’t even know where I really last left off so I’ll start where I can remember.

A while back Emily and I decided to try out some Paragliding we were both really excited and couldn’t wait. The day finally came we got out to the mountain all saddled up… well Emily was, she was up first. They begun to take off and the conditions weren’t exactly favourable once they had begun to take off and the launch failed. Em went down and because the pilot was attached to her he landed on top of her and some bad gashes ensued. She was pretty shaken up and had some pretty nasty cuts and a hurting hip, we proceeded to bring her to the hospital, got her cleaned up and stable. In the end nothing too crazy was wrong, some bad cuts and a very sore hip. Emily spent the next few days in a Hotel to rest up to avoid the kids poking and prodding her. I made a trip the hotel to watch over her as she couldn’t walk, and spent a night or 2 as well… the food was pretty good I’ve got to admit. Emily came home a few days later and I was her personal assistant while she couldn’t leave her bed.

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At this point she’s walking with no crutches (just some aches) which is awesome! Now I don’t think I have to play countless games of Crazy 8’s anymore… it was actually kind of fun though. We also watched a whole bunch of “Lie to Me” a pretty awesome TV series… it reminds me of when I to investigation in college; I miss it.

I guess the past week or two has been kinda of event-less other than taking care of Em… although there was a night we went to Karaoke, oh what a blast that was… no alcohol was even needed.

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“Les Craazie Blancs” singing Barbie Girl

There’s a lot more in’s and outs while I was taking care of Em, like Lilly sleeping in my bed, calling me Papa and moto rides at night to go take care of Emily since no one was there to help her go  to the bathroom at night (I walked her in and closed the door).

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Recently the kids and I have been flying “Caps” (kites), I’ve seen them here and there travelling through Haiti but since the kids and I have started doing it, it seems all the kids around the house have started flying them… there’s at least 15-10 a day going up around the neighbourhood.  I guess we stimulated the Kite business in Haiti haha! When I think back I’ve never really flown kite’s before I mean I’ve handled them but never really got to fly them. This whole experience was such a blast because I got learn how to fly them well and how to make Haitian Kites!

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The other day I put the kids on the roof and we got the kites to a new distance something even I was really giddy about, I managed at one point to get one of them about 400 feet out… crazy right! Every few days the kids would run up to me and be super excited because someones kite got stuck in one of our tree’s and wanted me to get it down. Yesterday we went up to the roof and flew this awesome Cap we found in the backyard, well there was another guy behind us maybe 200 feet or so on top of another house flying his kite. When I found ours there was a razor blade on the end of the tales and I was wondering ‘why would someone put a blade on a kite? Well the guy that was flying his kite crossed our lines and the kids and all neighbours were all hollering and going wild… why? Because I had just entered into a kite battle! I finally figured out what the blades were for; you cross the lines raise you kite and cut the enemies string and the kite is yours… neet right? I guess this is very common in Haiti so I let the guy start to pull my kite towards him, getting him to think he was winning but I had the kite size and roof high advantage, he started getting excited then BAM, I went to war; tugged and mounted my kite eventually both kites came down and I had won. His string snapped and we had just earned ourselves a free kite… what a day.

Today’s Easter and Em n’ I made some bags with candy in them and the kid’s names on them, then hid em’ around the house while they were at church and made them go a huntin’ once they got home. The kids all scurried around the house and had a blast  finding the bags as well enjoyed the candy… Lilly was even kind enough to share her candy with the twins <3.

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The days are starting to count down I’ll be purchasing my ticket to go home soon and I’ll be leaving Haiti in May… I’m really going to miss the family I’ve grown to love but I will be back. I still have adventures to plan and things to do and Haiti will always be one of them. I hope everyone has/had a great Easter and just be thankful for the people around you and the things you have.

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I’ve got to go for now there’s some banana bread waiting to be tended too… eating.

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“The world is big but your troubles don’t have to be; enjoy what you’ve got, live in love and love will live in you.”

Heartfelt

The past week has been an interesting one. Emily’s friends came by to help out around the yard as previously promised and it was a great day! All of us worked together to clear out the back yard of most of the garbage… there’s still around 3 feet burried. The group got rid of most of the rubbish, the kids even helped as well. After the big clean-up one of the guys who was dubbed “the wood guy” put together some swings off a tree in the back yard, some soccer posts and a see-saw. Big thanks to everyone that came out to help and for the continued support!
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The same night after all the work we did, Emily and “the family” had a chat; we went over sanitation, respect for others and helping out around the house. Emily strives to have a childrens house not an orphanage… although an orphanage is what it is, she’d rather it have a warming connotation to it. The disccussion seemed to go well… we’ll see how the next few weeks go. Early in the month we had two volunteers from Eastern Canada who had spent a few days with us then headed off to another orphanage in Montrouis, a few days ago they returned and we’re now back to almost a full house. On Saturday we all headed back to Medishare to check on the baby we brought in from Montrouis… good news he’s pulling through despite the odds, keep him in your prayers please. After Medishare the group of us went to Munchies which is a great place for lunch… or dinner… or any meal haha. Emily, Maddi and I had gone there the day before and ordered Pizza, so after Medishare we got the Cheeseburger combo instead of pizza which is one of the best choices there. Munchies was a nice break to the day and we all almost ate too much.
The same day all of us went to Mother Theresa’s Home for the Sick and Dying. I had been there a few times already with Emily, and it’s always emotional but I’m usually able to walk away and be fine after we leave and go on with my day… this time it was really different. We all started off in the first section of babies (younger ones), as usual we got tasked to feed them AK100, it’s acutally tasty I’ve had it back at our place before. Once the staff were done mopping the second section with the slightly older kids we wandered over, Emily and I poked a few kids getting some chuckles out of them then we got to the back of the room where there was two kids a boy (5) and a girl (8). The boy was very talkative and energetic, I teased him about me eating his food and he gobbled it right up. Emily grabbed the bowl of AK100 in the 8 year olds crib and started to feed her since she was somewhat lathargic and very malnourished; the girl actually look like an old lady, her skin was dried out and looked very aged… she looked like a minature 80 year old not eight. Em went off after to talk to some other kids and I started to play with despite aged look, the most precious and beautiful Hatians I’ve seen yet. We shared some laughes playing peek-a-boo and tickling. I went off for a bit and came back as Emily was taking her out of her bed to take her outside to play along with the five year old we had been playing with. As I was walking over I asked if she needed help carrying them she said ‘sure’ and begun to hand over the boy as I got closer my new friend reached out to me with her frail arms. Needless to say I took the little princess outside with me. The kids we brought out with us all went crazy on the swings and slides, they were so happy to be out and playing; I asked my companion if she wanted to go on the swings or slides but she kept saying no… she just had no interest, I picked her up and she whispered to me in Creole ‘I just want to sit in the shade with you’. We found a nice spot that was in the shade I sat her down and then I sat myself, as I sat down she came over and sat in my lap wrapped her arms around me and placed her head into my chest; I looked down at her and her eyes were shut as if there was nothing more peacful than being embraced, having human contact and hearing the beat of another’s heart. At that moment I had made a connection that I hadn’t really felt yet in Haiti… let alone most of my life. It was time to go and she walked off to her crib, everyone was leaving and I had to go and say one last goodbye. Watching her climbing into her bed was a tough sight, it looked like a usual chore for her, someone leaving and she’s just going back to her “home“. I scurried on over and helped her into her bed, gave her a hug and said my last goodbye; Turning back looking at her there was no more smiles, no more laughs just a plain face, she wasn’t frowning but it was in her eyes that she was sad that, I was going and may not see her again. This past visit to Mother Theresa’s really made an impact on me, there’s been a lot in Haiti that has changed me and made me think, but nothing like this. I came back to the house and was almost at a loss for words, this little girl had reached my heart in places that I almost forgot existed. I had lost motivation to do much afterwards I just layed in bed listening to music and thinking about this angel and wondering what’s in store for her life.
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I fell asleep with a tear in my eye, drained emotionally but with a warmed heart that I could bring a smile to a fragile soul. Later that night after I woke up from my three hour nap all the volunteers, Em and I played some cards blew off some steam and called each other names; all in good fun of course!
As much as I really don’t want to go back to Canada I’m still raising money to return to the home Country, I still have a month and a bit left on my Visa though.
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– “Life is precious, enjoy the finer momments in life… even the harder ones it makes us who we are.”