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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Through the Pane Actress Pauline Egan Builds Wells in Africa to Help End Pain


It's my birthday and on my special day I get to write about things that make me happy or in this case people that make me happy and great give me joy.

Quiz time.....can you name me brunette actress that does amazing work on screen but also spends time doing humanitarian work? If you guessed Angelina Jolie you are WRONG.  The amazing actress I'm making reference to may not have won an Oscar but won my heart, Pauline Egan. 

I met Pauline at the after party of an indie film premiere called "Focus". As you know at a party there are people that you talk to and you know you'll never see again and you had nothing more than a nice chat. Then there are the people that you get a feeling about and you ask to take their number because you never know that that one connection may lead to. Pauline was the latter. After a brief conversation with he where we bonded over talk about Argentine tango, I knew we had to exchange numbers.

There was something about this actress that left an impression on my mind. Long story short through the magic of social media I found out that not only is she an actress she's a registered nurse who during the summer of 2015 took a break from auditions, shoots, and casting directors to build wells in Africa.  On her first 4 month trip they built 6 wells.

As of this writing there are still 74 communities in need of access to fresh water. So if you weren't around the first time for her adventure to Mozambique, fear not....for every good movie there is a sequel and it won't be long before Pauline will be grabbing her passport again and heading back with Water Underground. And what's even better is that you can be part of her next adventure abroad by clicking this link and donating to Water Underground.  I don't know about you but I really want to one day hear the joyous announcement that all 80 communities now have access to fresh clean water.

Every great movie has interesting plot points, things the characters don't know that are about to happen or things about each other. The nite I met Pauline I had no idea that she was scheduled to go to Africa. That never came up in our conversation. And what she didn't know about me was that I'm abit of a travel guru. I help people who are travelling, going abroad, or thinking about going abroad giving them advice and support.  We didn't learn these things about each other until much later on. So there you had two people laughing and chatting together, one of them about to travel to africa and the other whos gifted in helping travellers. Neither of them had any clue that a match made in heaven was about to happen. The plot thickens.....

Out of all the amazing creatures that inhabit our beautiful planet, if there was one animal I would compare Pauline to it would be to a lionness.  A lionness doesn't have to sit on a hill all day long roaring to prove who she is. She's just calm, solid and dependable, fiercely loyal and protective. Every animal on the african plain would never dare touch her cubs or anything that is dear to her if they want to live to see another gorgeous african sunset.

The spirit of a lionness roars within Pauline. She's one who has a calm solid energy, is dependable, watchful, nurturing, and protective to the ones that she feels are meant to be in her life. In the same way a lionness roams through the plains emanating beauty, power, and majesty, Pauline roams through her life with a deep lionness strength that flows through her veins and an ethereal presence.

I'll never forget when Pauline made an unbreakable vow to me that if I ever go down during the zombie apocalypse, as any true friend would she'll smash my skull to keep me from reanimating as a walker.

"I love you so much I would crush your skull" her exact words to me on twitter. In that moment I knew I had a lifelong friend. I don't know about you but when the zombie virus hits I'm 100% on team Egan all the way. After all,  we know that true friends are the ones that don't let the people that they love roam the earth undead :P

Pauline Egan Blue Mountain State - Trapgame from Pauline Egan on Vimeo.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Defying the Laws of Physics and Gravity with the Wheel of Death.

Working for Cirque Du Soleil one of the amazing perks is getting one complimentary ticket to the show as a visitor. Even though I'm quite familiar with all the acts from also seeing the show through large monitors while working, there is however one act that never ceases to make my heart stop or my mouth run dry every single time I see it. It is an act that takes place in the 2nd part of the show and truth be told, this one act alone is worth the price of the entire ticket. It is an act called "The Wheel of Death" and it has earned its name rightly so. I've a posted a video of the act here on this blog. You may be tempted to bypass it seeing as the video quality is a little less than what we're used to. But I guarantee you that within 2-3 mins of watching it you'll forget where you are, what you are doing, with your eyes glued to this video with your jaw dropped open. The Wheel of Death is the closest thing you'll ever come to seeing human beings defy the laws of gravity and physics.....

Monday, November 09, 2015

Untangling the Mysterious Meaning Behind My Tattoo: SELAH

Due to the nature of life being mostly online, most of you out there will never meet me in person. And therefore remain unaware that on my left arm I have some magnificent hebrew words permanently inked into me. For those of you that don't know, Hebrew is read right to left, opposite from how we would read a book.

I may have only one tattoo but it is one that generates alot of conversation especially among Jewish people. In Argentina there is a huge community of Argentines of Jewish descent and I would have people come up to me on the street and say "OMG, you have a hebrew tattoo." They would then identify themselves as Jewish.

At times out in public I'd have people glance at my tattoo and read out the words. The moment that they do that I know for a fact they are Jewish. Once while I was using the hotspring at the hotel at Colca Canyon a family happened to be using it the same time as me and they began staring hard at my tattoo and buzzing about it. Eventually I found out that they are from Israel and were in Peru for a vacation. We got talking and they were very impressed by my knowledge of the Jewish culture, customs, traditions, and festivities.

You don't need to be able to read hebrew in order to know what my tattoo says because I included it in the title of the blogpost......SELAH. OK, so reading is one thing but what does it mean? This word isn't used in modern day hebrew in daily life or conversations so to understand it we have to go to ancient hebrew. Scolars have come to the conclusion that they believe selah (pronunced see-lah) to mean "pause and wait"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Running Away to Join Cirque Du Soleil Kooza: The Not-So-Secret-World of Becoming a Cirquador

KOOZA = An adrenaline rush of acrobatics in a zany kingdom 

I just can't hold in any longer......I'M RUNNING AWAY TO JOIN THE CIRCUS. That's right, beginning oct 29 until dec 27, Cirque du Soleil Kooza is having its vancouver run and I've been hired as one of the contract staff to welcome people and ensure that visitors are 100% immersed in the magic of Cirque Du Soleil. Disney calls their employees "Cast Members", Cirque du Soleil calls their workers "Cirquadors"

Magic doesn't happen on its own and in productions like Cirque or places like Disneyland, the stakes are high for the company and making magic is a fairly serious affair. The crazy high standard and work ethic that Cirque demands of the performers is also the same standard it expects of every Cirquador whether they'd be in box office, usher, merchandise etc.

In fact, when I showed up for the interview to begin my application I was told my appt is at 2pm but I was told to come at 1:45 because they wanted me practicing and getting into the habit of doing things the way its done when the time comes. When showing up to a shift I was told that I have to be on time and if I'm not, they've got people standing by and i'll be replaced for that shift and not be able to work that day. In their words "In the world of Cirque, if you aren't are late".

Originally I was hired on to be an usher but after I got hired I was informed that there was another position that was created, that they felt I'd be perfect for. And that is to be a merchandise hawker selling souvenirs books and small merchandise so people can take a piece of the magic home with them.

If you didn't know already, Cirque began when a group of 20 performers from montreal began doing acrobatics on the street. The movement picked up and gained popularity into the worldwide phenomenon we know today as Cirque du soleil. Since then there have been many versions of performances all the way from light hearted and funny to dark, violent, and even sexual nuances. However Kooza goes back to the roots of Cirque du Soleil with its main themes being clown and acrobats, things that pop into ones mind when the circus comes to mind.

Here in Vancouver the big top has been raised and the greatest show on earth is about to begin. This is your personal invitation to get your passports stamped and become citizens of a kingdom where clown and acrobats are king.  See you under the big top....

Interview: A talk with Cirque du Soleil's Gordon White of KOOZA

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

An Amazing Article I Wrote for My Life Being Born into a Game of Thrones World

Just wanted to drop you a note with an exciting update.  A little while ago I woke up to an email of the editor of She had stumbled across my work and was incredibly impressed and asked me to write articles on relationships for their website. I was incredibly flattered and there was no way I could turn them down. So I dug deep within me into the deepest, most painful and delicate parts and poured my heart soul and mind into an article for them. As of today the article is now live on their website.  This is just one of many articles I'll be doing in the future for this website. Here is the link to the article where I talk about what it is like to be born into a Game of Thrones World.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

A Marvellous Magnificent Moment When Words Brought Love Liberation and Life

My head is still swirling at an unexpected moment that happened tonight at church where unknowingly my words brought life love and liberation to someones life. But first let's back up abit and let me explain. I am part of a church called More than 12.  You can throw all your ideas away about what your impressions of going to church means because we are far from conventional. At our church we have DJ's spinning, rap artist rapping during the song and worship time. And we like to throw some flashing lights and fancy media stuff. At more than 12 we are gifted in areas of media. But more than just the exterior, our community is made up of people who don't fit the traditional ideals of church.

Even the structure of our service is different. We meet out at the pastors house in Surrey, we'll have our worship time and songs. Then pastor will give a talk. After the talk there is a time that is like a round circle time where anyone can give their thoughts, feelings and impressions. The idea is to offer up something that builds and strengthens the community. After that we take communion and then EAT. My favorite part of the service haha. But the idea is that we do a potluck and everyone brings something so that we eat and bond with each other and any leftovers we give to those who are low on food and struggling.

I had taken a break from going to church for the summer but I assure everyone that I'm not on a downward spiral of any kind and I'll be back. And when I got up this morning I felt like I should go so that's what I did. It amazes me that my first time back after a long while, someone would have an encounter with me that would rock their world.

We had gotten to the portion of the service where it was the round circle time and pastor was opening up the floor for people to share things to build the community. I asked for the mic and shared what had popped into my head not knowing the impact it was going to have on someone's life.

Many of us know the story of Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, the story that when the disciples came back and saw him talking to her they were in shock. However alot of people don't know the backstory from the jewish cultural side to why they were so floored. So I this is what i explained....

I explained at that time jews didn't talk to samaritans. Men didn't talk to women. And this particular woman had been around the block with 7 husbands so she was considered the lowest level of society. So let's put it all together, by talking to her Jesus was talking to a woman (cultural taboo), a samaritan (another taboo), who had a sleazy reputation (BIG TABOO).

Saturday, September 05, 2015

A Heart Shattering and Eye Opening Afternoon in Vancouver: The Memorial for Rehanna, Ghalib, and Alan Kurdi

Timah lighting candles

As a prayer in Arabic was being uttered my eyes fell on the shrine set up with pics of two smiling boys, Alan and Ghalib with their Dad Abdullah. The room was filled with press,  media personnel and most importantly Vancouverites who had felt for this family's plight and had come to stand beside the aunt Timah.  It was her nephew that we saw the picture of on the beach and has now become a symbol of the refugee crisis in Syria.

Timah had the assistance of her close family and friends who on short notice put together this memorial that would change my life and the life of every single person who was willing to walk through those doors. If seeing a pic of a toddler on the beach over and over again had any way caused desensitization, this memorial did the opposite, it humanized them.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Nelson the Seagull: Avocado on Toast, House-made Almond Milk Lattes and Suspended Coffee

If I were to hand out a prize for having the most unusual name for a cafe, Nelson the Seagull would be a clear winner. If I were to hand out another prize for being situated in the most unlikely spot, Nelson the Seagull would be taking another award. Located at 315 Carrall St (almost at the border of the drug and prostitution area near east hastings), is tucked away this hidden gem. Although its name may be interesting but what's even more interesting is the history behind the name and the cafes beginnings.

Nelson the Seagull was started by two siblings from South Africa. They wanted to create a cafe that paid hommage to Mandela without cashing in on his name. During the era of apartheid any song about Mandela was banned while he was in prison. However there was one song that secretly was an ode to Mandela but wasn't banned because it never referred to him.  The name of the song was called "The Seagulls name was Nelson" The south african siblings used this as inspiration for the name of their cafe.

Behind the counter is a pic of Nelson Mandela boxing. And there are various subtle hints of homage being paid to this great man. Like the wifi password containing the word MANDIBA. This hippie/hipster joint is very clever indeed. After one bite and one sip I'm utterly convinced that the avocado on toast and house made almond milk latte should go at the top of every persons bucket list.

As delicious as those were, there is only one more thing in that cafe that rivals the deliciousness of avocado on toast and an almond milk latte.....suspended coffee. Suspended coffee? Never heard of it you say? Suspended coffee is the most delicious of all because it contains the taste of kindness. It is a system the cafe has that you can pay in advance for a free cup of coffee for a homeless people downtown. So they can stumble into the cafe, ask for a suspended coffee and get just a little taste of respite from this painful cruel world.

On my visit there, I added a suspended coffee to my bill for $2.60. The girl looked at me with utter gratitude and said that they had only one suspended coffee left for one more person so when I paid for another it was a huge help because alot of people come into the cafe at the end of the day for a coffee.

But my visit to the cafe gets even better than that and I got to witness firsthand how their suspended coffee system truly makes a difference. I was digging into my heavenly avocado and toast and savoring my latte when a homeless person stumbled in and asked for a suspended coffee. Within a few minutes they cafe set them up with a coffee in a to-go cup and they went merrily on their way.

And I realized that if I hadn't given anything, that person would be the last person they would have been able to help. But because of the $2.60 I added to my bill they'll be able to help out at least one more person. I don't know why but there was something about witnessing that whole scene that suddenly made my avocado on toast taste more rich and delicious and my almond milk latte all the more sweeter....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Daring to be Different at Deafined

Tucked away on an inconspicious location on a sidewalk full of pretentious restaurants in Kitsilano is one of Vancouver's best hidden gems....Deafined.  Deafined is dining experience for those who dare to be different and open their hearts to the world of the hearing impaired. The restaurant is set up to make communication as smooth as possible between customers and staff.  The menus have the item, price, and symbol you'll need to sign with your hand to indicate what you want to order.

In addition to that there are placards giving you basic lessons in sign language on how to say "please" "thank you" "eat" "drink" or ask for your bill. At each table there is a pen and paper in case the customers need to communicate and write down special dietary requests to the waiter. And the waiters themselves are trained to communicate with the customers. Our waitress was actually able to communicate with her hands to us asking us if we wanted seperate bills or put on one bill just like any other staff at a regular restaurant. Impressive....

There were also some elements of the restaurant that were touching. In the main foyer there is a huge vase with a pen and paper so that happy customers can write kudos, thanks, and encouragment to the staff. At Deafined being hearing impaired certainly doesn't stop love and positivity from spreading.

As for the food, I took one bite and spent all nite debating which was more beautiful....the food or the spirit of the people that made the food and are serving it? The debate still rages on inside of me and I don't think I'll ever really be able to decide.  All I know is that every time I look back on this experience, gratitude wells up within my soul and I find the tips of my fingers touching my lips as my hand moves away from my mouth.....sign language for THANK YOU.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Libby's Not in Kansas Anymore.....LITERALLY

"Friendship is a single soul dwelling in 2 bodies"
 - Aristotle 

Anxiously I glanced down at the clock on my phone.  10:40 am it read.  Where was she? Already a flood of passengers had come out of the arrival area of the Victoria Clipper but none of them were a tall brown haired girl from Kansas I had come to know and love over these past 3 yrs.  On my way to clipper terminal to wait for Libby, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the clipper pulling in knowing that she was on that boat and I was just a few moments away from meeting her in person after 3 yrs of endless messaging via online and whatsapp.

But now my heart and my imagination were racing for another reason....why was she not out yet? My fears were well founded. You see, coming from the Westboro Baptist Church many of its members have been banned or flagged from crossing the Canadian border.  One of her aunts have been banned from ever entering the UK.  Some other of her cousins who had left the church and were scheduled to speak at a conference in Montreal had also been stopped at the border and not let through until they were able to give the proper proof to the immigration authorities that indeed they were no longer part of the church and we're only crossing through to do the conference. But would marriage and a new passport give Libby a new lease on life or would her past come back to haunt her?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Ruling and Reigning on the Iron Throne

The moment that we've been waiting for is almost here. In anticipation of the 5 season of GOT I thought it appropriate to post pics of my visit to the GOT exhibit that came to the PNE in Vancouver last August. This indeed is the famous exhibition that had been touring the world and came to Vancouver for the very 1st time last summer. I gotta say that in terms of summer memories, nothing quite beats having the bragging rights that you got to sit on the iron throne (even if it's just a plastic replica of there real one that would be impossible to tour around the world with due to the fact that it is metal and weighs tons and tons).  This exhibit definitely whet my appetite for all things GOT.  One day soon the travel bug might hit me again and I might find myself on a plane to Ireland to visit "Winterfell"



"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."

The Night's Watch oath

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Sneaky Sudden Sense of Saudade

"Saudade" is one of the most interesting words in the linguistic world.  Linguist and scolars have written blogs and articles about this portuguese word saying that it is unique and untranslatable.  I don't have the time or energy to write a detailed essay on all the marvels of this word but you can certainly google it for yourself and do your research and see what you come up with.  But at a very basic level, "Saudade" might be translated as to yearn for or miss someone or something.  A closer definition of "saudade" means to feel longing for a place, person that you once had but will never return to you again.

If I were to pick one whole word in the world today that sums up my feelings about my relationship with Argentina it would be this very word "saudade", especially being that today is the 1 yr anniversary to which I ended life abroad and landed back in Canada.  Yes indeed, it has already been a year. Jan 15, 2014 my plane touched down in Vancouver International Airport and one chapter of my life closed and another began.

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas