Cooling off in Athens

What seems have been a pattern at the beginning of my travels was having to get up super early for my, admittedly, purposefully booked to be early, flights. To get to Athens, it was 4am… Stephen very kindly drove me (Lesley happily got to sleep longer) to the airport and I started on my journey to Athens.

My connection was at CDG airport in Paris where – FYI for my girlfriends who are coming to Paris with me in October – the border guards who stamp your passports are very handsome; at least the ones who greeted me were. (I’m married but not blind! 😉 ) I also had an entire row to myself on my flight; an amazing and very rare occurrence.

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After a surprisingly easy metro trip and a short but hot walk up the hill, I arrived at the flat in Athens around 6:30pm. The first thing I did, because it was 40(!) degrees celsius out, was ask my flat mates – Danny and Carrie – to help me cool off with previously requested ice water for my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – thanks Stephen… It was damn cold but it felt amazing after that walk up the hill. And all for a good cause. 

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With social media operating at it’s finest, the Ice Bucket Challenge has become an international phenomenon; I was having dinner in the centre square on Sunday night in Rafina, having my last Greek dinner of my trip and I heard shrieks and splashes. I looked up and three tweens had just done the challenge and their parents were filming them. It was a bit of a surreal moment and reminded me how the internet has completely changed the world. 

There’s some controversy about this this particular fundraising campaign, specifically around whether it’s actually raising awareness and raising money (it is on both counts, you can look up the stats), and the idea that people are wasting water by dumping it over their heads. 

After I was nominated, I did some research on my way to Athens so that I was a bit more savvy on ALS. I decided that, as an active person who would be devastated to have my abilities to move, talk, eat, even to think, taken away from me in such a drastic way – I would want to try every procedure and cure possible – I was going to accept the “challenge” and also donate. I also support and give my time to other causes and while my donation capabilities aren’t grand, I know that what I am able to contribute goes towards a solution.

Regarding wasting water… My thought on this is to have some common sense and do what you think is right for you, where you are in the world, and your beliefs. 

My hope is that the people stirring the pot and don’t agree with the Ice Bucket Challenge can channel their negative comments into something positive by putting their money and/or energy where their mouths are. Some do-good suggestions:

  • Do the challenge in the garden, so the grass and plants are getting some benefit, too.
  • Choose to forego the challenge and instead, donate to ALS or another charity. Water Aid is a UK organization I’ve recently learned about and they have benefited immensely from this Ice Bucket Challenge.
  • A fantastic suggestion I saw posted on Facebook was to fill a bucket full of food and bring it to the local food bank. They need it.
  • If you’re in BC,  go bring our teachers some coffee and muffins; or go help out in Williams Lake.
  • Or maybe get creative like my friend Claire from Carrots for Coffee. She is passionate about ocean conservation and modified my challenge to her by sticking ice in her bikini while on a beach in Southeast Asia (it was hilarious). She has decided to donate to a charity involved with ocean conservation.
  • Do some general good in the ‘hood – there’s always something you can do.

It does take a village, and guess what? We are it. Make it count, folks! 🙂

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

– William Jones

(This post was originally meant to be about Athens, but I (obviously) got on a tangent and this turned in to a bit of a soap box. Oops.)

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