Emergency preparedness for travel, Planning to Travel, Travel, Travel tips for Paris, Wisdom

12 Ways to Prepare for Emergencies when Traveling

Although I’ve been blessed to be able to travel to France for a month I have been lacking in adequate preparation. How serendipitous, for me, that the Traveling Latina placed this on her blog the other day. 

In my travels, and through trial and error, I became well acquainted with seven of these 10 items. 

I’m debating on “Emergency Cab Fare.” It’s not about having cab fare but I don’t know about putting 20 Euros in my sock. I rarely wear socks. How about my bra instead?

“Make use of Hotel Safe.” Well, that one’s debatable. I’ve read yes, then no, and back and forth. I use the safe and never had a problem. 

One of the most handy, which I hope I will not need, is designating an “Emergency Meeting Spot.” 

That would have been very helpful at the Louvre a few years ago. My mom slipped by my sister and went her own way. We spent 5 hours there, when we had allotted 3 hours to see the highlights. 

Because she’s over 79, with limited eyesight, and diabetes, we were worried. We had to send security staff to find her 10 minutes to closing. 

When she strolled out she insisted she was not lost, she was enjoying. She has the right attitude, but the rest of us missed getting to the Musee d’ Orsay before it closed.

I’d venture to say that the “Emergency Meeting Spot” should not be a crowded area-leaves out Eiffel and Champs Elysees. How about just meeting back at the apartment or hotel. 

“Information About Your Accounts & Will.” Oh, dang, now I have to tell the kids where the living trust is and my account access numbers. 

I’m sure they’ll read my Will and see what’s in store for them, before I pass on to the last great travel site. 

And, I do not plan to “Purchase Evacuation Insurance” for a remote location because as third World as I have traveled is tent camping. But I do think this is excellent advice. 

My friend and traveling sister is Amada, my writing group leader, award winning childrens book author, and traveler extraordinaire. She has a tip too:

#11: Write down emergency phone numbers, passport/visa number, medications, health insurance providers, and any serious allergies on an index card. Trade with your travel partner.

This info can go on the back of this free card. 

#12: And lastly, from a site I cannot remember, but it’s not my idea to claim, is carry a business card from the hotel where you are staying. If you get turned around, dazed, confused, or just plain tired of walking you can hand the card to a taxi cab driver. He/she can zip you back to your temporary home. 

And don’t forget that you have the equivalent of $20 in your shoe or bra for the trip back. 

Let me know if you have any emergency tips for traveling. The more the better. 

Chingonas, Dignity, Grace, Kardisians, Rielle Hunter, Robin Roberts, Strength, Strong Women, Suze Orman, Wisdom

4 Qualities of a Strong Woman

Last week I posted on the subjective topic of ‘strong women.” It has nothing to do with physical strength or the exterior. It’s an inside job. No one gets to be called a strong woman without  facing and overcoming a few falls, detours, and obstacles in their path. 

And that’s not all it takes. 

After stumbling, learning, and getting up to face another day, a strong woman is willing to share her wisdom. She does this without bragging, drama, or asking for anything in return. 

Grace was the first quality I suggested as evidence of a strong woman. I mentioned Robin Roberts’s current health battle and MDS story as an example, which reflects a woman who exudes grace.

Some other qualities attributed to strong women are:

v  Women who inspire and support

v  Women who respect themselves

v  Women who carry themselves with dignity

There are several other qualities but let’s stick to these and see which women- who’ve made the news this past week- illustrate these qualities. 

If I posted a few photos of ‘celebrity’ women, I’m sure most people could pick out the strong women amongst them. Under whose photo would you check the box “Strong Woman”? 

Easy one, I know, but it’s just to make a point. 

I’d also like to point out that it wasn’t easy to find a strong woman that was in the news for the past week. There were plenty of examples of who is not a SW. But I guess those are the ones, in our media culture, who get the attention. 

The lack of ‘celebrity’ status for strong women is a bad situation for our girls.

The more focus we put on selfish, wanton, gossipy, (name that negative) girls and women the harder it is for our girls to develop the internal strength to become strong women. It is up to us as mothers, sisters, aunts, godmothers, grandmothers, and others to model SW behavior and qualities. 

We can begin modeling SW behavior to our toddlers and children and it’s never too late for teens. So give it some thought. 

How can you inspire others to be strong women? 

Americas Voice, Department of Homeland Security, Deportation, DREAM Act, Dreamers, Education, Immigration, Wisdom

The Almost Dream Act: New Opportunities, New Dreams

“Relief for DREAMers.” The unexpected headline appearing in two emails I received on June 15, 2012 brought a smile to my face. 

“TODAY, President Obama is finally granting DREAMers relief from deportation. DREAM Act youth ages 15-30 will be able to apply for protection from deportation and work permits, which will grant DREAMers a way to contribute to the country they call home. This is a HUGE milestone for DREAMers, who have been fighting for years for the chance to lead successful and prosperous lives here in America.” (America’s Voice & Presente).

In reality, this new U.S. Homeland Security policy is the ‘Almost’ Dream Act.  

The DREAM Act (The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minor’s Act) first introduced in 2001 has undergone several changes and has been voted on several occasions, the last time in 2011. Congress has not passed the act. This change in Immigration policy is not an Executive Order and is not the approval of the DREAM Act.

This announcement came one day after the controversial TIME Magazine cover story of how undocumented immigrants, youth in particular, are coming out about their status. The article written by Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer award-winning writer who founded Define American after he came out in the New York Times last year includes Gaby Pacheco, one of the walkers of the Trail of DREAMs 2010, who walked 1500 miles from Miami to DC to highlight the plight of DREAMers.

A Pulizter award winning writer, architects, engineers, medical doctors, nurses, teachers, entrepenuers, and other law abiding students and graduates can stop looking over their shoulder.

The relief from deportation came one day after DREAMers  Verónica Gómez and Javier Hernández, ended their 134-hour sit-in and hunger strike at the Colorado Headquarters of the Obama Campaign. And after hundreds of more Dreamers sat in Obama’s campaign offices in Colorado, Michigan and Ohio asking President Obama to issue an executive order stopping the deportation of all DREAM Act eligible youth.

Here’s the big “HOWEVER.” 

Unlike the DREAM Act, the policy announced on June 15th will not open a path to citizenship. Eligible immigrants are eligible to apply for work authorization, although there is no guarantee they will receive work permits, and they will have to apply to renew their status every two years.

Within minutes of this announcement online newspaper headlines across the nation used titles such as “Immunity to be offered to certain immigrants.” The GOP and several Republicans came out with strong opposing statements.

While President Obama made the policy change announcement in the White House rose garden, a heckling online journalist interrupted him by yelling at him during his statements. The President repeated, after chastising the journalist, that this policy “…makes it more fair, efficient, and just…It is the right thing to do for the American people.”

“This grant of deferred action is not immunity. It is not amnesty,” Janet Napolitano (Secretary of Homeland Security) said. “It is an exercise of discretion so these young people are not in the removal system. It will help us continue to streamline immigration enforcement and ensure resources are not spent” unwisely.

This new policy could affect as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants. That number is unclear in part because immigrants will need to come forward and submit documentation to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Adjudicators will decide whether to grant work permits on a case-by-case basis. Qualifications for deferred action can be found on USDHS site.

Justino Mora and dozens of Dream Act advocates heard about the Obama administration’s decision to grant relief to young illegal immigrants while they were preparing to attend a rally today to push the administration for just such a change. Mora, 22, an undocumented student who attends UCLA, said he was skeptical at first.

“At the beginning I sort of didn’t believe it,” he said, “but then almost immediately I was overwhelmed by a sense of joy. It gives me hope; it motivates me to continue fighting for my family, for my community. Ricardo Muniz, 24, was en route to the rally when he got the news. “I can breathe,” he said. 

Mr. Muniz and thousands of others will remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard they are free from deportation and free to pursue their education, jobs, and dreams.
A Soul Beyond Eclipse, difficult times, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Frank de Acosta, poetry, Wisdom

A Soul Beyond Eclipse

Getty Images

This morning I felt like this photograph and it’s accompanying poem:

                                                        A Soul Beyond Eclipse 

Sometimes I feel weary in mind, heart, and spirit. 
Yet I breathe, opening my eyes of failing sight; 
somehow finding strength to carry on in faith. 
Despite a beaming sun and lucent sky,
the shadow of the moon chills me 
bone & marrow. 
The eclipse of my soul obscures the illumination of hope, only the stinging scars of youth and frailties of today I see. 
Suddenly a face I see as in a dream: 
a nameless muse who with but one touch animates new life.
A song wells up within me & aspiration fills my wings; 
melodic words become a circle of fire breaching the dark. 
Light of dusk fills me with a prayer of healing & creation;
I offer my burdens at the altar and slumber, becoming as ceremony smoke. 
Renewed I rise with dawn, filled with songs, poems, & prayers; 
the circle of fire becomes my arc of resurrection… 
En Lak Etch… 

Frank de Jesus Acosta

Amid the fast paced weekend of visiting with friends certain themes came up in conversation. Several people in my life are facing much stress and heavy emotional burdens lately.They or their family members are facing terminal illness, drug addiction, struggles with children, and other issues. 

It is so hard for those undergoing these burdens and the one listening  feels so helpless. 

What can one offer to their friend who is going through these times except a listening ear, some words of support? Sometimes there is that fine line, what can one say that won’t be trite or misconstrued? 

When I went through my own difficult times, I didn’t feel any better when someone said, “Everything will be okay.” 
 I wanted to blurt out, “how do you know?” 

In fact that phrase got me angry, because what was happening to me really sucked.
Could someone just say, “That sucks big time?” 
Actually, I did overhear that, from a young teenager saying that to one of my kids, who nodded his head gravely. I think he felt understood. 

I know people don’t say “Everything will be okay,”  to be unkind, so it begs the question,
what can someone say when we want to let friends know we feel badly for them?

So I listened to my friends, nodded my head, offered my opinion only if they asked, and tried to show support with a hug or whisper. I know I said “that sucks,” at least twice. 

I don’t think there are any ‘rules,’ on how to support someone who’s going through a rough time, except not to start off with “Everything will be okay,” 
or at least put that sentence at the very end. 

So, it was a great comfort when I came across this poem by Frank de Acosta. I read it a few times. I felt he understood. The words offered hope. I felt, this is something that has to be shared, so I posted it on my Facebook and then wrote about it here. 

Although I don’t have the answers to life’s burden’s, I just thought I’d share his poem because I felt he understood and that hopefully sooner, than later, that 
everything will be okay.