I recently had a conversation with some friends visiting from the United States. One of their overwhelming experiences from travelling in Australia was the genuine and trusting nature of Australians who, they observed: “were interested to help in any way and also to know us as individuals. There is an openness and trust that is noticeably different and refreshing,” they commented.
Well, I can now attest to the fact that this is not unique to Australia. As we prepare for our year in Spain and Europe (only 4 months to go!!!), I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness people everywhere have shown us – many of whom we have never met and yet their care from afar is extraordinary.
I have always believed that people are inherently well meaning and that the small percentage of people who do harm to others are not “bad people” but have been injured themselves in some way. This is a belief I am hoping to impart on my children, as I do not want them to live a life fearing “others”. That is why I allow my children to walk the four blocks to school alone. Granted, we are lucky to live in a country like Australia where there are few real dangers (other than those from nature or climate change but that’s another blog post!!). Ultimately I believe that living without fear allows generosity of spirit to be fostered.
While we are away I hope we will have the opportunity to give back as generously as those who have shown us incredible kindness so we can continue the good kharma.
Here is a summary of some the generosity people have shown us already:
- Our future landlords in the Albayzin, Granada have connected us to other families in the area to help us enroll our children into the local school, find a violin teacher and a tennis centre for our children etc…
- One of the lovely parents at the school our children will attend has been liaising with the school principal on our behalf and has offered to complete the paperwork for us to enroll our children before we arrive
- A family in Burgundy, France who we do not know but who are friends of my French colleague here in Sydney, has invited us to stay with them and proudly show us their beautiful town and countryside.
- My wonderful Swiss school friends whom I have not seen since my exchange year 22 years ago are hosting a “welcome back” party in our honour and another has offered us her apartment in Geneva for the duration of our stay.
- My husband’s family friend in Helsinki, Finland who is like a godmother to him has given us her apartment in Helsinki as she will be staying at her summer cottage. This is despite not having seen each other since our wedding 10 years ago
- Another beautiful French friend has offered us her holiday house in the South of France to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary.
- Other expat families who are already living in Spain and have read my blog, have offered us help and advice
- My parents’ friends in Hungary have bombarded us with offers of places to stay and things they want to show us
And the list goes on…
Such pride and joy people have in their homes and countries that they generously seek to share with others. If this is not incentive enough to take a risk and travel overseas or to welcome others to your home or country, I don’t know what is!