Moldova Day 4: We really all have the same issues

Yesterday, I spent some time at the House of Change and was able to meet the workers and girls there. We even had lunch together :) It was a meager spread of fried eggs (very popular here as they are cheap), salad with peas, salted herring, and bread…of course.

We started the session off by getting to know each other and then we launched into some fitness talk. My intern, Doina, lead the majority of it and made me very proud. One thing that stuck in my mind is how we are all different in view points and language perhaps, but we share the same issues.

Can you guess what the #1 fitness question was?

“How do you get rid of the belly?”

That was quickly followed by 2 that I hear all the time:

“Can you tell me what I should and shouldn’t eat?”

“How do you tighten hips and thighs?”

So, if you think that going out if the country to help others is just too foreign to you….think again! We all suffer from something that can be shared…for many of us it is the belly that begs for attention. :)

Physically, I am sticking to my resolution to allow my body a “time out” from hard-core training and over the top expectations (probably the first in YEARS). I do 10-30 minutes of yoga each morning, then train with Doina during the day. I also walk everywhere and take the stairs :) Accidental exercise helps! I am indulging in the local fare, feasting on breads, potatoes, salads, pizza, etc. We even had some cookies.

The interesting thing about sweets here is that they are not nearly as sweet as in the US. We should take a cue from European cooking. When you have a pastry here, you can taste more than the sugar and it doesn’t send your blood sugar spiraling uncontrollably….you simply taste a bit of sweetness carried by more natural ingredients.

Another food difference is that eating takes time. If you go to a café here, expect to wait a minimum of 30 minutes for your food to hit the table…oh, and there are no chips or bread offered for you to fill up on first. Just about everything is fresh and nothing is made before you order it. Take the pizza my daughter loves so much: the dough is rolled out and laced with goodies only AFTER you order….novel concept.

These are just a few things YOU could look forward to if you join me on a trip here :) You will never starve or go without anything for long. And, if you happen to be a medical professional we could really use some help here. Most of the do’s and don’ts are reminiscent of old wives tales and need to be put to sleep permanently.

I will take tomorrow off from the internet to spend some quality time in church here and to spend time just hanging out with Doina. I look forward to seeing you here….but even more so in Moldova.

Stay healthy!

Michelle

Touchdown in Moldova DAY 1 Commencing

Hello people!

So, yesterday was a LONG day! My daughter and I boarded an extremely packed flight from Houston to Istanbul at 7 p.m. so we could sit on the runway until our final 9 p.m. takeoff. Everybody had a baby! Seriously, it was National Bring Your Baby on Your Flight Night….and they all cried until about 5 a.m. when we had given up any chance of sleep. It’s not all bad though :) Security was awesome in the Houston Airport, as they complimented my cool haircut and were super sweet and helpful to Debbie. We were sent straight through with well wishes for our flight.

Our flight itself was full of movies and food. It was a little like a movie marathon with your bestie. Turkish Airlines hands out Turkish Delight before you ever reach cruising altitude. Though it’s not my fave treat (um, hello, chocolate!), it was fun to eat Turkish Delight on Turkish Airlines. It’s the little things in life.

Since the flight was 2 hours delayed, we had a HOME ALONE moment of running through the airport in Istanbul. The doors to our flight opened about 8 minutes before boarding our connecting flight was to begin. We rushed through at a rapid pace…to the security check point. Again, security was awesome and nice, even though Deb had to have her first pat down. Happens to me all the time, so I figure it was a good initiation to missions for her. Once through security, we got our cardio on with sprints through various groups of people and stairs at every turn. Bonus: After sitting for 15 hours the workout felt good.

Once we arrived at our gate, I was thrilled to see boarding had not yet begun. There was a group of young Moldovans in front of us, who repeatedly took selfies with us in the background….”Americans”. Debbie thought it was awkward, I told her to get used to it. We touched down in Moldova around 9:30 and made it out of the airport quite quickly. We were graciously picked up by Vlad (who runs the BOL center: check it out here www.bol.md) and whisked to our hotel where I got about 4 hours sleep.

Now, I have had breakfast and I am seemingly pointlessly telling you about my flights…why? Well, some other things happen when you fly. Most of us fall victim to it, but I am trying to help you avoid it.

First, I feel “fluffy”. You know what I’m talking about? I feel like I’ve gained 20 pounds in 2 days. Now, the science nut in me knows that this cannot happen….however, the woman in me is secretly crying and wanting more chocolate. So, what do I do to help with this issue? Check it out:

  1. Positive self talk: I remind myself that I am here to serve a purpose, not walk a runway.
  2. YOGA! I did 40 minutes of yoga, focused on integrating my core back into place (we lose it on extremely long flights) and stretching out shoulders and hips. Plus, twists will fix everything.
  3. Eat. It’s simple, what I do takes energy. That “fluffy” feeling will not go away if I try to starve myself…however the people I am helping may want me to go away.
  4. Realize the facts: I am extremely sleep deprived, overloaded on stress (did you see the connecting flight issue), and already prone to bouts of inflammation….these things happen. I pack plenty of spandex and sweat pants and I get over it.
  5. Focus on the good. Even though I am fluffy and tired, I was told I look much younger than the last time (YAY for no makeup!) and I actually feel pretty decent. So, instead of focusing on the “feeling” of my body, I focus on what it can actually do.

In a few days, I’ll be feeling back to normal in my own skin. I have promised myself that the next 2 weeks will hold a lot of yoga as my personal workouts, since boxing and fighting will be on deck for training. This will promote balance in the body instead of imbalance which spurs inflammation. Always have a plan when you travel. Travel light and travel healthy! And remember, when the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Turkish Delight on Turkish Airlines presents itself….take it :)

Michelle

 

Moldova or BUST!

Preparations have been happening for months and it is finally here! Today, my daughter and I leave for Chisinau, Moldova.

We will hop 2 international flights to get there, and hopefully get all caught up on our movie watching.

I have a bag full of clothing for the next 2 weeks and another full of training supplies. I would say we are good to go :)

What do we do while we are there?

The first week will be spent training a young lady I met during my last trip. I will basically be training her to do what I do, only I’m going to try to scale it down a little! I’ll also be attending various church functions and visiting with the staff of the Beginning of Life Center. The second week, I will join a team of people who are coming for a vision trip. During this part of the trip we will visit at risk families, local high schools, and various prevention programs.

How can you help?

Thankfully, we have met our money for the trip itself. The biggest thing we can do now is to bring awareness. I’ll be blogging almost daily about what is happening on the trip and what we are trying to accomplish. Retweet, re-post, and share with friends and family so that people will become more aware of what is happening in Moldova and around the world.

Join me in fighting sex trafficking and human enslavement. Give a voice to those who have lost theirs.

Moldova 4

The Nike Foundation, The Girl Effect, and YOU

I have recently partnered with The Nike Foundation and The Girl Effect to spur a movement. This movement has the potential to change lives, therefore affecting change across our entire globe.

 

The Girl Effect believes that our future lies in the young women across the globe. These are the same young women from our neighborhoods to our neighboring countries and beyond. These are women whose rights are bled, who suffer daily and who need hope.

 

I am a Safe Spaces Ambassador for the Nike Foundation and am on a mission to provide Safe Spaces for girls to grow, learn and find their passion and power. My first project is set to launch in Chisinau, Moldova…but we need YOUR help. Funding for these projects is a necessity. You can be a driving force of change and have a hand in abolishing modern-day slavery….if you are willing.

 

Learn more about how YOU can get involved in Safe Spaces HERE. Your donation can mean a brand new life for a young girl who just may be the next world changer.