Let’s Talk About It – Domestic Violence

 

Domestic Violence in a family has a major influence on a persons life. It is never good to experience and most of us who have parents who have been through it, have a lot of work to go through. It is also most difficult to understand why and how it happens because it seems to be something that not many people are keen to talk about openly. For example, women might be easy to forgive and conjure up an excuse for their partner, telling friends and doctors that the bruises are from an accident. A man may omit sharing any experiences of humiliation and psychological abuse from his partner out of fear or embarrassment. Why does this happen? Why don’t these people just leave the person? It doesn’t make any sense! Well, it could be any reason from financial dependency to fear that they won’t have the support that they need to keep the abuser away after they leave. Sometimes people live in fear long after they have left the unhealthy relationship.

Some of the most frustrating times of my life have been spent trying to get someone to understand that possessiveness, codependency, and intimidation does not equal love. Was I successful? Not really. Did it affect me as a child? Of course, it did. Did I make it through? The answer is a big fat yes. It was not easy, but I took full responsibility for my life and how it turned out and I am grateful.

So, how did I make it through life this far without letting my past and my mother’s example of love pin me down into a life sentence of feelings of unworthiness and pity?

The answer: Time, education and inviting quality people into my life. The first thing I had to do was stop letting my past control me. I had to stop thinking I can rescue someone who does not want to be rescued, and understand that I am worthy of all of the things in life I have always wanted, a loving partner, good friends and unforgettable life experiences. It was time to stop playing the victim and take control of the wheel. After I did this, then everything changed.  I was free.

The point of this post is not to talk about how to get over this experience, that will be another time. The point is just to talk about it. Not everyone has the resources and the opportunities to get out of the situation they are in, that is why there is a lot of work to be done. The more we talk about it and let it be known that it is not normal and that we do not have to go through these things alone, the more men and women feel like they will have a voice and are able to steal their lives back and start living fully.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 6.21.19 PM

Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Co-Dependency is not always physical

Taking money from the other person whenever they get paid and not letting them have any personal say in how they spend it, controlling every aspect of finances.

Requiring a partner to accompany them everywhere, making them feel rude or unfaithful because they choose not to.

Degrading her or him or making fun of the others personal hobbies, to the point that they neglect their own interests.

Limiting access to the partners education.

Asking the partner who he or she is trying to impress or calling them names when they attempt to put on make-up or dress up nice, leading to the point where they begin to wear nothing but unisex and baggier clothes that does not show off any of her form.

Any form of hitting or physical violence, for any reason.

Pressure to do drugs or drink then putting the other person down for getting hooked on substances.

Having sex or sexual contact with the other partner while asleep or without permission, no matter how long you have been together or if you are in a serious relationship.

Any form of manipulation or intimidation

Not giving a partner privacy and stalking them at work

Not giving them privacy at home for personal care or family matters

Not letting the other partner have their own non-mutual friends or accusing them of cheating every time they make any.

All of these are tactics that break down a person to make them things that they are not capable of having a loving partner who treats them with respect.

At this point, the partner forgives easily because he or she does not understand the level of respect that he or she is entitled to or deserves. When a child sees this, this is what they are taught. They will expect nothing more than this from their own relationships. This shows the children that they use force to get what they want, and not their words.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 5.45.57 PMDomestic Violence Does Not Only Happen to Women

Men can be abused. Men can be abused by women. It is common for a man to let a woman abuse him and not do anything to protect himself out of fear of abusing her. Men can be also psychologically abused just as much as a woman. Partners can do so many things to hurt the other without raising a hand, such as using a child against one another and taking advantage of custody rights or withholding child support.

Abuse Can Continue After the Relationship is Over

Sometimes partners can use money as a leverage to get their way, making their ex feel like they have no power and will lose any court case or fight. Partners can use tactics such as talking bad about the other parent to the child to get the child to favour them. Other tactics include constantly being late on child support payments, not honouring agreements with custody and shared responsibilities as well as blackmail to name a few.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 6.20.37 PM

How can you help someone who is in this situation?

The answer is simple, let them know that you are there for them when they are ready to handle it. Give them resources. Give them resources to education.  Give them resources to counsellors, to domestic violence shelters, to anonymous hotlines.

Sometimes the person will not be able to get away from the abuser and even deny that there is anything wrong. At this point, all you can do is give them the resources and let them know that you are truly there for them and are willing to help in any way you can.

TALK ABOUT IT, even if you are not being abused. Awareness helps people understand the problem and identify it as well. When a man or a woman being abused feels like there is a major support group to go to for help, they are more likely to think about it as a realistic alternative.

CONCLUSION

There is no perfectly normal family, and these challenges can help us grow and empower us to make a big difference in the lives of others. We can take responsibility for our place here on earth and pass down the knowledge to others who are in similar situations and to prevent them from happening.

Below are a list of resources for people who feel like they may know someone who is being abused or is being abused themselves. Nobody should have to feel alone. Spreading the awareness helps educate potential abusers as well and may save a life.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 6.23.58 PM

http://www.beckysfund.org/story/my-testimony/  - Becky’s Fund strives to address domestic violence in all sectors of our community, establish prevention-based educational programs to counter domestic violence, and collaborate with others in the community to find ways to change the behavior and thinking behind issues that cause and perpetuate domestic violence.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline 

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

www.ndvh.org

National Dating Abuse Helpline 

1-866-331-9474

www.loveisrespect.org

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center 

International Toll-Free (24/7) 

1-866-USWOMEN (879-6636)

www.866uswomen.org

National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp 

1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

www.childhelp.org

National Sexual Assault Hotline 

1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)

www.rainn.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

National Center for Victims of Crime 

1-202-467-8700

www.victimsofcrime.org

National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project 

Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733)

www.polarisproject.org

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 

1-510-465-1984

www.nnirr.org

National Coalition for the Homeless 

1-202-737-6444

www.nationalhomeless.org

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 

1-800-537-2238

www.nrcdv.org and www.vawnet.org

Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 

1-888-792-2873

www.futureswithoutviolence.org

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011

www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org

CHILDREN

Childhelp USA/National Child Abuse Hotline 

1-800-422-4453

www.childhelpusa.org

Children’s Defense Fund 

202-628-8787

www.childrensdefense.org

Child Welfare League of America 

202-638-2952

www.cwla.org

National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges 

Child Protection and Custody/Resource Center on Domestic Violence

1-800-527-3233

www.ncjfcj.org

Center for Judicial Excellence 

info@centerforjudicialexcellence.org 

www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org

TEENS

Love is respect 

Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

www.loveisrespect.org

Break the Cycle 

202-824-0707

www.breakthecycle.org

DIFFERENTLY ABLED

Domestic Violence Initiative 

(303) 839-5510/ (877) 839-5510

www.dviforwomen.org

Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN) 

Email: Hotline@deafdawn.org 

VP: 202-559-5366

www.deafdawn.org

WOMEN OF COLOR

Women of Color Network 

1-800-537-2238

www.wocninc.org

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence 

incite.natl@gmail.com 

www.incite-national.org

LATINA/LATINO

Alianza 

1-505-753-3334 

www.dvalianza.org

Casa de Esperanza 

Linea de crisis 24-horas/24-hour crisis line 

1-651-772-1611

www.casadeesperanza.org

National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities

1-651-646-5553

www.nationallatinonetwork.org

IMMIGRANT

The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project

(202) 274-4457

http://www.niwap.org/

INDIGENOUS WOMEN

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center 

855-649-7299

www.niwrc.org

Indigenous Women’s Network 

1-512-258-3880

www.indigenouswomen.org

ASIAN/PACIFIC ISLANDER

Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence 

1-415-954-9988

www.apiidv.org

Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) 

1-212- 473-6485

www.caaav.org

Manavi 

1-732-435-1414

www.manavi.org

AFRICAN-AMERICAN

Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community 

1-877-643-8222

www.dvinstitute.org

The Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute 

1-770-909-0715

www.bcdvi.org

LESBIAN, BI-SEXUAL, GAY, TRANSGENDER, GENDER NON-CONFORMING

The Audre Lorde Project 

1-178-596-0342

www.alp.org

LAMBDA GLBT Community Services 

1-206-350-4283

http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/orgs/avproject/main.htm

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 

1-212-714-1184

www.ncavp.org

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 

1-202-393-5177

www.ngltf.org

Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse 

1-206-568-7777

www.nwnetwork.org

ABUSE IN LATER LIFE

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life 

1-608-255-0539

www.ncall.us

National Center for Elder Abuse 

1-855-500-3537

http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/

MEN

National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) 

1-720-466-3882

www.nomas.org

A Call to Men 

1-917-922-6738

www.acalltomen.org

Men Can Stop Rape 

1-202-265-6530

www.mencanstoprape.org

Men Stopping Violence

1-866-717-9317

www.menstoppingviolence.org

LEGAL

American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence 

1-202-662-1000

www.abanet.org/domviol

Battered Women’s Justice Project 

1-800-903-0111

www.bwjp.org

Legal Momentum 

1-212-925-6635

www.legalmomentum.org

Womenslaw.org 

www.womenslaw.org

National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women 

1-800-903-0111 x 3

www.ncdbw.org

EUROPE 

AMCV- Associação de Mulheres Contra a Violência

http://mulher.sapo.pt/J92/276923.html

APAV- Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima

http://www.apav.pt/home.html

CIDM- Comissão Para a Igualdade e para os Direitos das Mulheres

http://www.cidm.pt

Comissão para a Igualdade e para os Direitos das Mulheres

http://www.cidm.pt

Cooperativa Sociale - Italy

http://www.gaf.pt

Escola C+S de Almeida Garrett

http://www.malhatlantica.pt

GAF- Gabinete de Atendimento à Família

http://www.promosud.it

UMAR- União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta

http://www.terravista.pt

National Human Trafficking Hotline - 1-888-373-7888

help@humantraffickinghotline.org  |  www.humantraffickinghotline.org

International Directory of Domestic Violence - http://www.hotpeachpages.net/europe/

AUSTRIA

IBF - Intervention Centre for Victims of Trafficking in Women + 43 1-796 92 98

BELGIUM

PAG-ASA + 32 2 511 64 64

Payoke +32 3 201 16 90

Sürya +32 4 232 40 30

Multilingual brochure for victims of human trafficking

BULGARIA

National Hotline for Victims of Violence(operated by Foundation “Animus Association”): 0800 186 76

National Hotline for Children (operated by the State Agency for Child Protection and Foundation “Animus Association”): 116 111

National Human Trafficking Resource Line: (operated by A21 Bulgaria): 0800 20 100

CZECH REPUBLIC

La Strada SOS Hotline +420 222 71 71 71

DENMARK

 - 

ESTONIA

Human Trafficking Prevention and Victim Help Hotline +372 6607 320 

FINLAND

System for victim assistance +358 71 876 3170

FRANCE

National Coordination for protection of victims of human trafficking hotline (Ac.Sé): 0 825 009 907

GREECE

Human Trafficking Resource Line (operated by Α21 Campaign): 1109 (for international calls please call 0030-2310-525149)

HUNGARY

Hotline telephone number for victims of domestic violence or Trafficking (Available 24/7)

In Hungary: 06-80/20-55-20 – Crisis Management and Information Hotline.

Abroad: 0036 80/20-55-20

IRELAND

Hotline for the confidential reporting of suspicions of trafficking:1800 25 00 25

ITALY

National hotline against trafficking 800 290 290

LATVIA

Hotline against trafficking (in Latvian) 80002012

LITHUANIA

Klaipedasocial and psychological services centre 8 800 66366

Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau mailbox for providing information in connection with human trafficking.

LUXEMBOURG

Luxembourgnational contact for expertise in the field combating and preventing of trafficking in Human Beings (Police Grand-Ducale) +352 4997 6210

Out of hours contact: Centre d'Intervention National: +352 4997 2341

MALTA

Vice and Economic Crime, Police General Headquarters, contact for victims of human trafficking or reporting a crime in relation to human trafficking +356 2294 2000

NETHERLANDS

CoMensha (in Dutch) +31 33 4481186

POLAND

National Intervention and Consultation Centre for Victims of Trafficking +48 22 628 01 20

PORTUGAL

Hotline against trafficking 800 202 148

SOS Imigrante, hotline for all migrant situations 808 257 257

ROMANIA

Hotline against trafficking 0800 800 678

SLOVAKIA 

Slovak Crisis Center DOTYK + 421 903 704 784

SLOVENIA 

KLJUČ KEY- Society, Centre for the fight against trafficking in persons: 080 17 22

SPAIN

Institut de la Femme 900 191 010, 900 152 152

SWEDEN

National Support line, a national telephone support line for women who have been subjected to threats and violence: 020 50 50 50

Terrafem, a non-profit organisation that runs a national helpline for immigrant women: 020 52 10 10

Report child trafficking (in Swedish)

For more information please visit website of the National organisation for Women’s and Girls’ Shelters in Sweden.

UNITED KINGDOM

CRIMESTOPPERS, for victims of human trafficking or people having information that will help lead to the identification and recovery of victims in the UK: 0800 555 111
Advertisements

My surprise trip to Rome at 5am

IMG_3977

My visit to Rome was guided by a native Italian, my boyfriend, who had been to Rome many times before and knew that I had always wanted to see it ever since I told him I had reoccurring dreams of being in front of the Colosseum. One morning while I was visiting him in Torino, he rushed me on a train at 5 am and didn’t tell me where I was going. A few hours in he looked at me and said “Don’t you want to know where we are going? We are going to Rome.” My mind nor my imagination had nearly been prepared for what I would do if I went to Rome.I stared out the window grasping on to the idea. He had everything prepared for us. All I needed to do was get ready to walk and be mesmerized.

I had been familiar with the architecture in Italy already, but arriving in city limits, I hoped to catch a glimpse of any ancient ruins visible that would tell me I was there. As I stepped onto the streets, It felt like a lucid dream. I looked everywhere for the images I had seen in pictures, books and movies, but still, there was nothing familiar in sight.

Italians are very creative with parking spaces I know this, but the first thing I noticed in Rome was to them parking was a masterful skill in the creative art department. I saw cars parked in crosswalks, sidewalks and in intersections.Walking into Piazza del Popolo we would notice the people saying “Bella Ma!” or “Bella Zi!”  and use endearing terms such as “Caro” often instead of the regular “Ciao Bella!” we were used to hearing in the North. My boyfriend would nudge me and say, “Do you hear the Roman accent?”.

I had expected everyone we passed by to have a look of wonderment on their face like I did.  Of course, people were carrying on with their usual business just like they do in San Francisco, I admit that it surprised me still. As we began walking through the stone streets of Via Del Corso, I was surprised at how many beautiful and ancient dwellings along the street were stuffed with Armani and Burberry shops. The street performance artists in front were much more peculiar than those I had seen in LA or New York.  I had dreamed of a naked Rome, free of modern commercialism, but still, the street artists were quite amusing. We strolled at our own pace through the sprinkling rain to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. A kiss was made under our umbrellas at every corner. I had seen so many things already and still nothing yet. I caught myself looking around wherever we went to see if I could catch a glimpse of the Colosseum. I didn’t realize that Rome is far more vast than I prepared for and there was no way I would see the Colosseum unless I took a subway ride. 

On the next day the most unexpected view awaited me as I climbed the stairs to daylight out of the conventional looking subway tunnel. The Colosseum, low and behold, was just as I had pictured it. Massive in its white and silver outlines, it’s dark eye sockets peered around  in front of a dismal sky. Many people were standing in line just in front, waiting to get in and sharing the view with their friends and family with the aid of their selfie sticks. Everywhere brown men were waving them in the air for a quick sale. Hour after hour after strolling through Ancient Rome, sitting on the stairs built by Michelangelo, I used my imagination to picture what was going on where I stood during the days of Augustus. By this time, I had toured my way to exhaustion and was almost too heavy to take a peek into the Colosseum. I thought about some Gelato and a nap back at our apartment but Matteo wouldn’t let me miss out. I settled for a nap in the Colosseum on some worn steps overlooking the center of the stadium. Instantly I dreamed. I deemed it the most peculiar nap I have ever taken.IMG_2722

The sight of graffiti and tiny pieces of trash strewn about in places along here and there in some of these sacred spots reminded me that the eternal city that resides in todays time, also suffers the difficulties of today’s time. It is still a city very much alive that will be alive for the passing of many generations, withstanding momentous periods in world history to come.

 

At last we arrived at the Vatican. Here I began to humble myself with what I had known about the world of sculpture and renaissance art.  I touched and passed by many of the most famous works in the world from Van Gogh and Raphael, to Michelangelo and Salvador Dali.  I felt as though it would have taken me at least 3 days to know the Vatican properly. I found myself filtering through pieces and giving glance overs to some of the most ancient and beautiful paintings  I had the privilege of seeing in real life. I had reached my peak of art viewing in the Sistine Chapel, where I was grudgingly disheartened at the people who were taking pictures even though it was forbidden. I was a little tired and hungry at this point so I was less patient with the public world around me. When I reached St. Peters Basilica, the larger than life atmosphere made me forget my petty concern for human behavior. Our size was reduced to field mice in a mansion. I walked through the papal tombs in silence and wonder, under the massive dome in presence of Bernini and Michelangelo. My eyes attempted to burn to memory every last detail offered, accompanied by an eldritch atmosphere of historical figures that used to occupy these spaces. Half of the day had passed, and I sighed in relief as I discovered outside under the Columns, a line of eager humans at least a quarter of a mile long waiting for their turn to have the same magical experience. The trick was to get tickets in advance, I thought.

Leaving the Vatican, the attempt to go into another church seemed meager and unsatisfying. The only thing I needed now was food buon pranzo and my love sitting across from me. Without going further into food, that is how I remember my Rome.

The California Bear has a name, it’s Monarch

http://www.monarchbear.org/monarch/
Monarch’s image is the image adopted by the California State Flag in 1911.

After the Spanish settlers came to San Francisco in the 1800’s,  they essentially wiped out most of the wild and more exotic animal population including the Grizzly Bear from the Bay Area. One of the ways humans managed to achieve this was by fighting Grizzly bears with wild pigs for entertainment.  William Hearst, who is the founder of the San Francisco Examiner, wanted to bring the Grizzly bear back to San Francisco for a publicity stunt, so he hired one of his Journalists to scout for one. The Journalist ended up with a successful catch in Northern California after months of searching. Hurst initially asked Golden Gate Park if they would be willing to house this massive bear, unsurprisingly they refused. Hurst ended up finding a home for it in a place called Woodward Gardens, a small park and petting zoo off of 14th and Mission Street in San Francisco. Some people may know this area today as The Armory. The bear was proudly named Monarch by the organization who housed it. Monarch went on display and spectators came to marvel at him for a small fare. Monarch eventually became so popular amongst the crowds that Golden Gate Park ended up receiving him after all. There, officials introduced a female bear and they created a family together of three cubs. In 1911 Monarch died. His image became the model in the new state flag that would be adopted that same year.  Monarch is now stuffed and on display at the California Academy of Sciences where spectators used to be able to walk by and rub his nose for good luck. Now, he is on display in a glass case to protect his nose and keep him intact from the ongoing spectators. The last Grizzly Bear in California was seen in 1929 in the Sierras. For more information on Monarch the Bear, visit http://www.monarchbear.org/monarch/.

A San Francisco Wordsearch

Get a visual of one of San Francisco's oldest most controversial neighborhoods. The Mission was the first place of settlement in the Discovery of San Francisco. Here, the Mission Dolores was built by Father Junípero Serra of the Catholic church. Junípero Serra, with much controversy later, attempted to convert the Native American Ohlone to Christianity. During this time many natives were killed and died due to the stresses of the change. Today, some people might compare the tech boom to one that is repeating history in pushing out the natives to make the mission a place for the people of money and status to reside, as the city gets more popular and crowded and the tech industry becomes the main source of employment for San Franciscans.
One of San Francisco’s oldest most controversial neighborhoods, the Mission was the first place of settlement in the discovery of San Francisco. Here, the Mission Dolores was built by Father Junípero Serra of the Catholic church. Junípero Serra, with much controversy later, attempted to convert the Native American Ohlone to Christianity. During this time many natives were killed and died due to the stresses of the change. Today, some people might compare the tech boom to one that is repeating history in pushing out the natives to make the mission a place for the people of money and status to reside, as the city gets more popular and crowded and the tech industry becomes the main source of employment for San Franciscans.

The Happiness that is Costa Rica

Pura Vida or Pure life is a saying that I had hardly heard of before I began considering traveling to Costa Rica to see what the surfing was like. I was looking for a great place to surf with warm water that hopefully wasn’t a tourist trap. Costa Rica has some of the most outstanding surf spots in the world along with the most diverse ecosystem in the western hemisphere. Monkeys, crocodiles, scorpions, parrots, dogs and dolphins all live here.

I traveled to Costa Rica alone for my birthday in order to escape the city life and to surf. I did not know anyone else who had been there, and my family thought it could be dangerous to travel to Central America alone but this was something I needed to do. It is one of the things I think all women need to do once in their lives, travel alone. Dominical, the place I chose, is a small dirt road village of about 200 people. Home of the Costa Rican national surf competitions. Many surfers around the world frequent here as well as the music and yoga culture to make the beach a dance floor during the Envision festival.

My first experience as I got off the plane was being greeted by my driver, a laid-back bleach blonde Costa Rican native, let’s call him Toad. He greeted me to a van that made me a little weary at first, but I decided to trust in the Universe… and the girl on the phone at the hotel who sent him. By one hour in the drive we were both singing Red Hot Chilli Peppers songs cruising down the highway and he asked me to move to Costa Rica to be in his band. I wasn’t going to do that but a lot of girls did move to Costa Rica after the first time they visited. I soon found this out. After all of the singing in the car I made it safely to Dominical and Toad was alright in my book.

I experience so much here that enriched me. I had an iguana who hung out on my front porch. I came home to a group of crabs dancing outside my door. I had a scorpion crawl above my table at lunch. We caught our own fish, swam in crocodile infested rivers and surfed amazing waves.

The locals never really went inside their homes unless it was to sleep, there was really no need to. All of the restaurants were outdoors and the sunsets were the most beautiful I had ever seen, the water was water was a constant 82 degrees.

Here live the happiest dogs in the world. The dogs here do not have owners, but rather the community takes care of them the same. Leaving food out in different places and letting them sleep, well, wherever.

Blankets and hand woven tropical articles of clothing hang from lines connected to palm trees in a maze to give tourists something to spend their money on.

There are many places in the world where we could go and realize that people are so much happier than us with so much less. Most unnecessarily, we go against the grain, stress ourselves out and destroy our bodies to achieve what we think success might be. We end up with bodies that we don’t feel good about, poor health, in a nice car and a big house to show everyone.We are told that this is the definition of successful. We know deep down inside what we love, but we are scared of doing it. Many times we are afraid of going after our calling because it seems unconventional, or it might make less money. That takes away our sense of self and our unique identity?

We can easily fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others, which unfortunately is easy to do now with social media. We compare ourselves with our friends and colleagues’ personal marketing campaigns for their identities.  It resembles a secret competition to check in with each other and see where normal people are supposed to be in life. The humor is, others are going through the same struggle.

What I have learned from those people who live in Costa Rica, who don’t have big houses and give surfing lessons for a living, live in small cottages and have no masters degree is that they are happier than most people I have met with access to all of those things because they have friends that they see every day, they get exercise and they eat good food. Let us not forget that they have dogs running around everywhere. They are surrounded with an appreciation for natures forces and embrace all other people who come from around the world that want to spend time with them. There was no exclusion in this community. These are the things that matter. This is why I beleive that Costa Ricans are so happy.

Why Torino is my Favorite City in Italy

Visiting a different country it is truly the most enriching valuable experience. Growing is about gaining new perspectives, and we have to take ourselves out of our comfort zones and go to places we have never been before in order to truly gain that new perspective. Many people wait until they are old enough and have saved enough money to travel safely, unfortunately, by then they cannot do the things that they want to do because of life circumstances or it is not as enjoyable because they cannot use their bodies as well anymore, not having the energy or the curiosity of seeing a new part of this beautiful world we live in.

I am not into seeing huge tourist attractions but rather parts of the world that inspire help me learn more about myself and other cultures. I wanted to show a little bit of a place that touches my heart because of the interesting people and history that it has. This place is Torino, Italy, a city in the Northern Piemonte region. Of all of the other cities in Italy that get attention, I figured that this places deserves just as much.

The culture runs thick in Torino. It’s roots derive from native inhabitants (Taurini) in the 3rd century BC, but it was the Romans that provided the name, Augusta Taurinorum, and it’s peculiar streets with a grid pattern still visible now are found in Rome as well, as they are based on the roman camping (castrum – The latin term used for an original Roman fortress in the earlier periods of history).Torino was the first capital of Italy before it was moved to Florence and then Rome. This region is now the home of Italian names such as Fiat, Ferrero (makers of Nutella) and Lavazza. Torino was the home of and hosted such legends as Primo Levi, Alexandre Dumas, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Friedrich Nietzsche. In 2006, Torino was endowed as the home of the Winter Olympics, deeming Torino the Sport Capital of Italy. Adding to its depth of history, the Holy Shroud, an artifact that many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, resides in the Cathedral of Turin.

If there ever was a place to transform you into a food and wine snob and make you go off of your sworn-in Paleo Diet then this is the place. It’s amazing what won’t kill you if you eat it in Europe. Italy will raise your standards in men, food, wine, history and lifestyle…and not in a lavish way, but with an appreciation for genuine on many different levels.

FEEDING YOUR SOUL

In Italy, you can go to any hole-in-the-wall and it’s still going to be high quality. Because Italy has a ban on GMO’s, everyone gets to live better knowing or not knowing that their food isn’t full of things they don’t need. In Torino, it’s really easy to find animal products coming from the Alps, which means that they breath fresh air and they get to roam free in luscious and mineral rich land. There is no worry that the animals have been mistreated or the food isn’t good enough. Down to the honey with its rich mineral earthy taste, everything has substance.

Negroni sbagliato – An amazing cocktail with absinth, aperol and vermouth. This is not your normal negroni and it was only 5 Euros.
Colomba pasquale A typical italian sweet dish prepared during Easter, made of flour, eggs,butter, sugar, candied orange and an almond frosting on top.
Colazione italiana– Honey and pastries from the mountains, fresh coffee… this is how Italians do breakfast. They also have large lattes only in the morning and do not down obscene amounts of coffee during the day. If they would like a pick me up later on, it’s usually just an espresso.

P A S S I O N

 L I V E S      

 H E R E ……

There is no lack of chivalry here. Torino is full of lovers of all ages. It could be the romantic setting for the lucky ones who have found this treasure of a city to spend with their significant other. Personal experience has shown me that it is easy to see the happiness found in life from the simple things here, and from each other.

Best Gelato I think I have had in my life. #ruined
Best Gelato I think I have had in my life. #ruined

There is also a lot of passion for futbol here because there exists strong emotion and culture wrapped up in the history of these rivalries.

Juventus and Torino FC are the big futbol rivals in Torino. In the 1940’s Torino FC was believed to be the best soccer team in the world. In 1949, they tragically crashed their plane against the Basilica di Superga walls in the hills of Torino because of limited visibility, killing the entire team. Pictured below people are crowding the streets to celebrate the first time Torino FC beat Juventus in 20 years.

Picture taken in the middle of Via Roma, the most important street in the center of Turin. A couple kisses with people walking by.
Picture taken in the middle of Via Roma, the most important street in the center
of Turin. A couple kisses with people walking by
After 20 years, finally Torino FC manages to beat Juventus FC, prompting fans to get in the streets and celebrate. An old FIAT 500 stops in the middle of the road and gets surrounded by chanting fans.
After 20 years, finally Torino FC manages to beat Juventus FC, prompting fans to
get in the streets and celebrate. An old FIAT 500 stops in the middle of the road and gets surrounded by chanting fans.

B  E  A  U  T  Y 

     Being from San Francisco, I have seen many eccentric and creative things, but walking through Torino, I found Golden Gate Park’s European twin. Life is abundant in Parco del Valentino. Outdoor cafes, picnicking, sunbathing, riding bikes, young love and families.  There is a free outdoor fitness center for everyone to use. Yes, free. People do not have to pay to get healthy and there are initiatives to create a rich and healthy environment for everyone here. Even if there are plenty of gyms in Torino, it is not uncommon to find free fitness centers outdoors in the parks. Extra bonus for Torino, a lot of walking plus free outdoor fitness centers! There are also hikes just fifteen minutes away in the hills that have stunning views of the Alps overlooking the city and will definitely get your heart pumping.

These guys have been hogging the bench all day.
These guys have been hogging the bench all day.
IMG_3188
Parco del Valentino – This is the brother to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. People lounge, read, love and sunbath. Italians love their sexy tan skin!
The Alps are always visible from the city if the sky is clear and they are amazingly huge. It will take your breath away.
The Alps are always visible from the city if the sky is clear. Overlooking Torino on a sunny day, the sheer massiveness adds an energy to the air and coaxes you into the world of winter sports, reminding you that you are in Northern Italy.

Old arcades and docks became a nest for the city “movida” (party) on the River Po, with several clubs and bars, heavily popular during the hot season.

H I S T O R Y

Torino has much to offer, from it’s origins dated more than 2,300 years ago to more recent days, especially with World War II history. From a bunker on display where residents would go to hide during German bombings, to the original King and Queen of Italy’s castle, almost everywhere you turn it’s a time capsule of events that have shaped our world today.

Parco della rimembranza - A huge public garden situated in the hills surrounding Torino. It hosts more than 21.000 trees and has walkways, trees and commemorative poles to honour and remember (“Rimembranza”) all soldiers who died fighting for Italy.
Parco della Rimembranza – A huge public garden situated in the hills surrounding Torino. It hosts more than 21.000 trees and has walkways, trees and commemorative poles to honour and remember (“Rimembranza”) all soldiers who died fighting for Italy.
Faro della Vittoria - Built in 1928 for the 10th anniversary of World War I victory and all soldiers who died to achieve it. The statue hosts a lighthouse and stands tall on the hills of Torino, facing the city. Underneath it, walkways, trees and commemorative poles create the Parco della Rimembranza.
Faro della Vittoria – Built in 1928 for the 10th anniversary of World War I victory and all soldiers who died to achieve it. The statue hosts a lighthouse and stands tall on the hills of Torino, facing the city. Underneath it, walkways, trees and commemorative poles create the Parco della Rimembranza.
Fontana del Frejus - This fountain was built to mourn all the workers perished while building the Frejus tunnel at the end of the 19th century, a strategic infrastructure that connects Piedmont with southern France running under the Alps. Ancient locals believe it represents the black heart ( a dark and mystifying place) of the city for several reasons: it's position is adverse towards the sunset, this square used to be the place for public executions, the angel on top probably represents Lucifer and underneath the statue there is a door leading to the entire sewer city network, believed to be the gateway to hell.
Fontana del Frejus – This fountain was built to mourn all the workers perished while building the Frejus tunnel at the end of the 19th century, a strategic infrastructure that connects Piedmont with southern France running under the Alps. Esoteric believe it represents the black heart of the city for several reasons: its position is adverse towards the sunset, this square used to be the place for public executions, the angel on top probably represents Lucifer and underneath the statue there is a door leading to the entire sewer city network, believed to be the gateway to hell.
Notes to the future about what we have learned from the past at the Museo della resistenza. This museum, created in 2003, guides the visitor in a journey from 1938 and the racial laws and promulgations to the bombings in Torino and, in particular, to the Resistance (“Resistenza”) which managed to fight the germans and free Torino and the entire country from the now-enemies in war.
Notes to the future about what we have learned from the past at the Museo della Resistenza. This museum, created in 2003, guides the visitor in a journey from 1938 and the racial laws and promulgations to the bombings in Torino and, in particular, to the Resistance (“Resistenza”) which managed to fight the germans and free Torino and the entire country from the now-enemies in war.
Museo Egizio di Torino - The second most importan Egyptian museum in the world after Il Cairo in terms of number (3,300 showcased, more than 26,000 stored) and quality of the finest egyptian artwork. A time journey running back as far as the Predynastic Period of Ancient Egypt (prior to 3100 BC), including statues, stones, clothing, jewelery, papyrus, mummies and much more.
Museo Egizio di Torino – The second most important Egyptian museum in the world after Il Cairo in terms of number (3,300 showcased, more than 26,000 stored) and quality of the finest
egyptian artwork. A time journey running back as far as the Predynastic Period of Ancient Egypt (prior to 3100 BC), including statues, stones, clothing, jewelery, papyrus, mummies and much more.
The Cathedral of Turin - The Holy Shroud, an artifact that many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Cathedral of Turin contains The Holy Shroud, an artifact that many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. Many police officers and armed guards protect the church during it’s display and people are lined up for blocks to view it.

The Salt of The Earth – A documentary that takes you across the world evoking emotion and inspiring change

Nothing is more valuable or worth our time than moments that change our prospective on the world and inspire us to grow. Whether it be quality time with  friends or taking the initiative to educate ourselves  on a subject we didn’t know about before. It is something to think about how our world would be if we strived to be the best version of ourselves for the progress of the human race. We are capable of love, compassion, growth and things we might think impossible. We can have the life we want, as soon as we stop thinking only about ourselves.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 10.59.34 AM

Sebastião Selgado is photographer and photo journalist that is known for his intense and captivating photos of the human condition all over the world. His photos can take us back to the beginning of time with his ability to find places in this world today that have been untouched. Salgado would spend decades at a  time in places with no contact with the outside world, immersing himself in environments overcome with starvation, genocides, war violence and famine. Traveling to over 100 countries,  Salgado has been able to rediscover tribes of indigenous peoples and live amongst those who have no records of existence since the Bible. Salgado is the founder of the Institute De Terra in Brasil where he and his wife had replanted an entire rainforest in the Valley of The River Doce as a project after much of the land in the area was devastated by a drought. You can click on the link here and see what has managed to be done within in 15 years with this project.http://www.institutoterra.org

Salgado’s last project Genesis, was devoted to inspiring those to see how important it is to protect the world we live in.

This is a documentary that is inspiring, moving and may inspire one to look at the world through different lenses. The link to the trailer is below.

We can take a picture that communicates, one where we can see the problems and the people from around the world. We show the people of Bangladesh to others so they can understand them. I have tried to bring about better communication between people. I believe that humanitarian photography is like economics. Economy is a kind of sociology, as is documentary photography. – Sebastiao Salgad

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.07.19 AM

Serra Pelada Mine Worker in Brasil 1986 

Mine Workers- Sebstião Salgado

Zo’é Women in the Amazon Brasil

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.16.37 AM

Sebastião Salgado, Fallen worker: A fire fighter from the Safety Boss team knocked unconscious by a blast of gas from the wellhead, Kuwait, 1991

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.22.29 AM

Giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands

Blinded by Sandstorms and infections, this woman waits for food distribution, Mali 1985.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.22.01 AM

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.04.18 AM

Refugees in Korem Camp, Ethiopia

Sources: http://www.icp.org/exhibitions/sebastião-salgado-genesis