Friday, 9 May 2014

I am happy to #LIVEBELOWTHELINE so others can #RISEABOVETHELINE.

It's Thursday night here in Paris and I'm on Day 4 of my Live Below the Line Challenge. The hard part is now over (I hope!) and even though I've already eaten Friday's breakfast allowance, I think I'll manage to get through the last day. The hunger pains, constant staring at strangers eating their biscuits, chocolate, ice creams etc and sheer exhaustion (to a point beyond 'hangry') have all come and gone in their cycles. The challenge has been harder that I thought it would be, especially being in Paris when I am constantly running around catching buses, trains and metros all day.

This morning was particularly difficult, it started with those headaches people on the challenge had been talking about. I was doing my fair share of sooking and zombie-like impersonations around the apartment until I decided to spend the morning reading up and signing petitions to Bring Back Our Girls before heading to work. 

Now, being too poor to afford education is one thing. But, being able to be in education in a place where 72% of the population has never attended primary school, then being kidnapped and sold off for "marriage" at a reported price of $12 each as a radical group in Nigeria considers Western education to be a sin is unbelievable. When should it ever be dangerous to obtain an education? Why have these 200 brightest girls in the area been denied their opportunity to study?

Needless to say, my second, third and fourth winds came rushing in. My energy levels skyrocketed to an all time high on my 1.34€ budget and I was determined more than ever to #livebelowtheline so that others could #riseabovetheline, making a small difference where I could. My headache was just going to have to take a raincheck.

I am happy to #livebelowtheline so others can #riseabovetheline.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Live Below the Line 2014 - taking part from Paris!

My food for the next five days!

If there's one thing I've learnt since moving to Paris, it's that I am really REALLY lucky. 

Growing up in Australia, I had never really faced the experience of encountering homeless people, beggars or gypsies on a daily basis. There was the odd homeless person here and there in Adelaide, maybe one or two that I'd see but they were rare, and few and far between. 

Friday, 2 May 2014

France in the Month of May

I love the month of May. I love it not just because it was the month I was born in, but because in France, the month of May represents, the month of 'ponts' - bridges. I'll tell you why ;)

This year, during the month of May there are THREE public holidays, all falling on Thursdays (Labour Day, World War II Victory Day and Ascension Day). 

This then makes May a perfect month for the French to 'faire un pont' - to take the Friday off following the public holiday on Thursday in order to 'make a bridge' to get to the weekend, basically creating a super long 4 day weekend. With many people observing this French tradition of 'making a bridge' in the month of May, you'll find things a little patchier and slower than usual as staff take turns to make their respective 'bridges'! (or all three!)

The 1st day of May is traditionally 'La Fête du Muguet' - Lily of the Valley Day. You will find sprigs of Lily of the Valley being sold all around Paris. People will walk around holding little sprigs, bouquets, pots of Lily of the Valley to offer to their loved ones as a sign of good luck and happiness, as well as to celebrate the arrival of Spring. 

This tradition started in 1516 when King Charles IX of France was presented with some Lily of the Valley flowers. He apparently liked them so much that he offered them to all the ladies of the court. Nowadays it is customary to give Lily of the Valley flowers to family members and loved ones on the 1st of May as a gesture of love and good luck.