Reading the News Was a Lot Easier, Before I Was a Mom

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve just poured my second cup of tea. My little girl is upstairs sleeping and I finally have time to read the news. During the work week, I handle digital content for a handful of clients and after months curating content for an NGO that specializes in inter-ethnic conflict, I’m fairly up to speed with the latest news and international headlines. Prepping myself for another glimpse into the ongoing refugee crisis or the latest suicide bombing, I just didn’t see this coming.

Child Sex Scandal in Pakistan

Flashing across my news feed was the headline: “Pakistan stumbles upon its ‘biggest’ child sex scandal”, the latest post from Al-Jazeera.

India Pakistan borderAfter having a mini melt-down two nights ago after reading an article about a series of child killings in Pakistan, I was hesitant to click into the article, but old habits are hard to kick and I stand by the fact that it’s far better to be in the know. I might have been wrong. My heart sinks as I read:

“Shock and anger as police discovers 400 video recordings of more than 280 children being forced to have sex in Punjab.”

Innocent. Vulnerable. Scared. Abused. Hurt. Helpless. Poor. Suffering. Alone. These words flash through my head as the words “abuse” and “child” embed themselves in my subconscious. “How can they…? Who would…? Those poor…” My brain wants to find words to express the feeling of heaviness that has set in. Like a rock being placed at the bottom of my stomach, making it harder and hard to breathe. But I quickly realize that it’s not the usual empathy I have for vulnerable groups of people. This feeling that is beyond disgust. This desire to lash out that goes beyond revenge. This is happening because I’m a mother. Continue reading “Reading the News Was a Lot Easier, Before I Was a Mom”

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Short, Blonde, Bearded Germans Tackle the Capital One Race for Kids

Short, Blonde, Bearded Germans Tackle the Capital One Race for Kids

I may have accidentally stumbled upon what is by far the sweetest race in all Toronto. Picture the Amazing Race. The adrenaline, the checkpoints, the challenges. Now bring all that hype to Toronto and donate all the money raised to a charity whose mission it is to to “provide a safe, supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life.” Welcome to the Capital One Race for Kids.

Short, Blonde, Bearded and sort of German

Capital One Race for Kids, TorontoThe weather was perfect as we rolled into the square at Yonge and Dundas. The sun was shining and there was a light breeze sweeping over
race participants as they entered from every corner of Toronto. Most were wearing the bright red Capital One Race for Kids T-Shirts we’d been given as part of our race-kit. Others, like us, had customized their uniforms and showed up in neon jumpsuits, corporate swag and serious looking sports attire we weren’t 100% prepared for.

As 60+ teams gathered together in the square, we started to get the sense that this was a bigger deal than we’d anticipated. We’d signed up months ago at the recommendation of a friend and nearly had to back out because of injuries, babysitting trauma and other complications that would have made it way easier just to stay at home and work on our tan. Thankfully, last minute, we’d managed to get our act together and show up on time at the start line. The Short, Blonde, Bearded Germans had arrived.

After mixing and mingling with the race organizers, and posing for a few pictures for tourists, we were welcomed to the main event by a kids dance group who rocked the stage and a warm up led by a fitness guru who sent a number of the men skipping their way straight to the sidelines. Upon receiving a detailed break down of the rules, which included the ability to use public transit, and allowing the corporate fundraisers a 5 minute head-start (darn you!), we were off. Continue reading “Short, Blonde, Bearded Germans Tackle the Capital One Race for Kids”

How the Germanwings Crash Changed The Way I See Travel (and More)

How the Germanwings Crash Changed The Way I See Travel (and More)

Last week, a Germanwings flight crashed into the French Alps, killing 144 passengers and 6 crew members (read more here). An airplane crash is bad enough. But an airplane crash where the incident was facilitated deliberately by the co-pilot and where the victims included exchange students and babies? Well, that resonates pretty loudly and makes me question when it’s time to travel, and when it’s time to just stay put.

How safe is travel?

As a traveler, you put your lives in the hands of airplane pilots, train conductors, bus drivers, taxi drivers and boat helmsmen every time you set out for another adventure. An adventure filled with excitement and moments that define for you what it means to live – not to die. While the odds of being killed on an airplane are significantly less than your odds of being struck by oncoming traffic as you cross the street for ice cream, it still seems like a big deal. You are boarding a machine that will fly you into the sky, during which time you have absolutely no control over whether you land or… not.

Prior to this disastrous event (any loss of human life can be classified as such), while I trembled at turbulence and shuddered during take-off and landing, it never occurred to me that my worst fears could be made a reality due to the complete lack of respect someone had for human life. Sure, terrorism is a real threat. But there are measures put in place to filter out the crazies and keep everyone who does board, safe for the duration of the flight (needless to say, as history will show, even the most scrupulous screenings can breed exceptions). But to have the person in charge of your safety deliberately crash the plane in total disrespect for human life, is, or was, completely unimaginable. If you can’t trust the person behind the controls, where are you to turn for comfort when you get a case of the cold-wings? Continue reading “How the Germanwings Crash Changed The Way I See Travel (and More)”