Tuesday, December 21, 2010

... and a happy new year!


Since today it was so crazy&busy and I am not even sure I put an out-of-office, I am using this space on my blog to thank you all for such an awesome year! By hitting RANDOMIZE, the Happymaker is thankful for:
  • as usual first one goes to being healthy, sane, having my family around and being surrounded by so much love and so many dear people :-) These are the things that keep the happymaking going and spreading I would say :D
  • an awesome volunteering experience in Sri Lanka, with a great IBM team- Pedro, Hua Ni Niiiii, Brigitte, Tina, Petra, Meltem, Jenny, Anindya and Daniel and having the chance to make such lovely "machangs" like Anu and Romma! Too many things to mention here but definetely thankful for all the nice people I got to meet and things that have happened during this wonderful October.
  • my travels (wanna know how many countries have been this year? :D) and the special people I met....hang on gotta split this one
  • so, thankful for my new friends in South Africa- Dario, Tosca, Thys, Chantal, Danielle and Darryl for my first Safari!
  • to my comms ladies in Europe for joining our team building in Rome, Italy> BB, Adelka and Brigitte, miss you girls and hope you're having a peaceful Christmas!
  • to Dennis, Anita, Danica and Emmanuel for showing me around Budapest and helping me find my sweet dumplings :-)
  • for Heba, Sherif and their cute Toffy for welcoming me in their house and making me fall in love with Cairo, Sharm and Egypt! Shokran my dear friends! And waiting for you here;-)
  • Amir and Mona, for being so young, passionate and brilliant. Truly inspiring!
  • for my first Christmas gift from Bogdana- think these nuts will last until spring time :-)
  • for my Liz, Elena and Maris for giving me the chance to have this great job and work on so many cool projects
  • for finally communicating better with my brother and discovering the best ice cream shop in Rome :D
  • that I finally managed to teach mum how to swim, hope she will not forget
  • happy that I got to see my dearest friends- the orphans in Valea Plopului in Bucharest.
  • glad that somehow I connected to WorldVision Romania, my favorite NGO in the world :-)
  • proud that my friend in Germany, Cristina delivered a healthy boy :-)
  • thankful for being surrounded by IBM Social Media Ambassadors who have always inspired me @elsua, @andypiper, @karlroche and much more!
  • all the people who share my excitement and volunteer to be featured in my videos. It's always so cool to see that happening!
  • thankful that I managed to finish another painting, story and had time to play with my creative hobbies :D
  • impressed by the underwater world and my first snorkeling experience in Egypt
  • happy I got to have hot wine at a German Christmas Market again
  • my first American experience and finally getting to know the one and only @jackmason- my hero- in real flesh&blood (btw your avatars are cool also, but they can't sing Spanish). Also thanks to Jessica we kind of had a cool tour of US delivery centers.
  • delighted that I discovered the BRESAOLA :D Buona!!!!
  • having my one Saree:) and my own Unawatuna dress!
  • glad that grandma managed to settle a new personal record on litters of plums alcohol brewed :-)
  • Bubi's new job in the UK
  • riding Charlie around the pyramids
  • camping with dad
  • having the happiest Christmas tree :-)
  • discovering the hibiscus tea
  • discovering the Egyptian, Sri Lankan and South African literature...nice nice
  • no errors around cooking experiences ... trust me, this is an important one!!!
  • and of course having Bog around me for one more year :-) Still see the hears falling from the sky and can't wait for us to celebrate our 100 months anniversary in January (Yes, I am brilliant with math!) Love u, love u, love u!
Still thinking of many things to mention here but space is limited :) So thank you for all the love, the kindness, the time you spent with me, the lessons you tought, the places you took me to. Thanks for all the happymaking and I hope someday I'll be able to do the same for others. Have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The country of happymaking

Back from Sri Lanka, still under the Island effect and already missing everything about it and everyone. Is freezing cold back home and I can't remember where I put my hats :-) Finally having access to super speed internet so could upload my video.

About the things I miss already, btw that reminds me of a conversation Romesh and I had last week:
  • my papaya juice ( had to be #1)
  • my IBM Corporate Service Corps team, especially my roomie Brigitte who is still enjoying her vacation there (have some pineapple for me B!). And Ciota, and Hua Ni, and all :-)
  • my new machangs Romesh and Anurudda, so nice to find great friends when you least expect it. Love you guys!
  • the morning swim
  • the sun & the hot evenings
  • the strong waves
  • my first sunsets @Galle Face hotel and BU BA beach
  • Unawatuna beach
  • hanging out in Cololmbo's nice cafes, restaurants and why not clubs> although there is still place for improvement when it comes to clubbing :-)
  • fresh pineapple
  • me in the saree (never thought I will miss that :D)
  • the exotic plants and orchids
  • the wildlife
  • Sigirya and all about that weekend
  • the colorful buddhist and hindu shrines
  • the smiles on Sri Lankans' faces
  • road trips to Kandy and Lunugamwehera
  • riding the tuk tuk
  • Cinnamon ice cream (had to be something with Cinnamon)
  • Wednesday table quiz at Barefoot
  • my team at WorldVision
  • Karaoke> honestly, Sri Lankans can really sing. Very impressed!
This could go on forever :-) Anyway, Sri Lanka will be missed and I am sure I will go back there. At least for some selfish happymaking! Someday, somehow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Saree

Finally Anthi got a real saree :-) You may remember my beautiful outfit created by Maria Izabel (@indvstrial) for our Second Life virtual events. Bought it in Kandy, Sri Lanka, some weekends ago and finally got to wear it & have a happymaking photo session. Yey!

Real vs Virtual below :D

Monday, October 18, 2010

If you like Happy Banana go to Unawatuna

Back from Unawatuna, a beautiful, exotic and not very populated beach in Sri Lanka. And now officially a #happymaking location! Enjoyed is so much that I had to recommend it on the blog :-) And of course lots of first times again:
  • first bath in the ocean,
  • first yoga class (pretty good & very hot work out),
  • first papaya milkshake (imagine I didn't have that one yet :-)),
  • first gems shopping spree (and I promise it will be the last one :-) ),
  • first Bond picture on the beach
  • first time washing my hair on the beach (that's for our Jenny who even documented the event with pics) and some more.
It was a very nice weekend with my team, got to know each other better, learn about our cultures and experience the local one. Pretty cool and exciting. But most of it relaaaaaaxing!

Some more happymaking related remarks, since everything in Sri Lanka reflects happiness:
  • the cheese is happy, having HAPPY COW almost every morning now
  • in Unawatuna we spent the day on the HAPPY BANANA beach, ate at the Happy Banana restaurant
  • even found a name meaning "the one who smiles" = Hashani, which is for a girl :-)

Monday, October 4, 2010

In the footprints of Adam: fighting poverty

First post from Sri Lanka. The happymaker made it safe and sound :-) So:
AYUBOWAN! (=wishing you a long life as the people here greet us)

Bet you didn't know that one of the country’s points of interest is Adam’s Peak, a mountain with a large indentation in the shape of a human footprint and is a place of pilgrimage for various religions. Buddhist tradition claims the footprint to be a remnant of Buddha. Others that Adam and Eve fled to Adam’s Peak after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and that Adam left the footprint when he stood on one foot for 1,000 years as penance for his sin. Either way many things happen in this magical place and most of them happen with the help of magical people.

During my assignment here I got the chance to meet such magical people and starting tomorrow I'll be working with them, for a month. I'll get to see how World Vision supports over 1400
villages , 372600 families in about 20 Sri Lankan divisions. I'll get to learn about fund raising, about fighting bureaucracy, helping women who plan to start a business in their own villages, offer medical assistance to those in need, recovering from natural disasters, supporting the education of kids and teenagers who deserve such a better life after years of war.And more....

It is a unique experience to see and hear about so many ways of doing good in just a couple of days. And must admit I had no idea our client is doing so many things already, with such great results, at a such large scale and so well planned. I think in the end it's gonna be me who will be the one who's gonna benefit the most of this. Hope only that I'll manage to absorb as much as I can and help smaller NGOs in the future with ideas& tips around such projects.

Just to give you an example of some of their work here...hopefully we'll get to visit some of the locations and provide you with self made videos :-) Actually I can't wait for that to happen.

And as usual my friends, if you want to help, here is another opportunity for you. Verified& recommended, another place where our help is needed. Will post more updates soon!

Thank You=ISTUTI
(in sinhalese)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spinning is fun

We used to do it as kids, hold hands and spin around until we got real dizzy :-) The modern version: Kylie Minogue.

While in Rome, I decided to try it as a new video feature/effect and loved it. See output below, would just love to have it combined with some teleporting effect: spin here/ stop there.

So take a spin, may bring back nice memories, and it's #happymaking!



PS: feature in the video: my fiance/BFF and the comms girls from IBM- Bogdana, Adela and Birgit :-)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

bYe, bYe, nY

Back from NY after a 24h trip. Yey! Actually from Dubuque, Iowa as exit airport since we didn't get to go back to NY after I finished my US Socila Media Happymaking for the Norh-American IBM delivery centers. Anyway, a few thoughts and pictures from the US:

  • delighted to meet my manager& my VP for the first time plus all the communications team. Connecting virtually is great but nothing beats real world :-) Also got the chance to meet plenty of new people and see how people perceive Romania
  • that's #2 we're still no more than a country somewhere in Europe, with vampires (got asked when I went through security at the airport if I brought any vampires- NOT FUNNY), orphans and gypsies. However there was this lovely campaign @ SEPHORA and saw lots of women signing in and ready to reshape their brows by this famous lady : Anastasia Soare. Yeap, she's Romanian :-)
  • food comes BIG...actually everything is BIG: buildings and cars make no exception :-) Back to food: GLAD to be back home ;-)
  • security is not as drastic as it is in Egypt. Expected more of that but was reliefed to see I only got a ticket from TSA in my luggage saying that it has been randomly picked for inspection but all clear :-) However think that during this trip I got more questions related to my job from airport employees than I ever did from people outside my working area.
  • was in a hybrid car for the first time! All thanks to Jack! also saw plenty of taxis and buses in NY, many of them hybrid- which made me say: HEY, THAT'S GREAT! All going GREEN! But then the shock: air conditioning was ON everywhere, in hotel rooms, meeting rooms, unoccupied restaurants. No idea why they waste so much energy even if it's not hot outside/inside :-( So still lots of simple things to change around the green aspect and get SMARTER!
  • Diversity at its home- which I loved most- people from all over the world visting or working in the Big City :-)
  • Lots of Spanish channels, Spanish translations and Spanish food- which is dreamy for a Latin person :-)
  • Got to see so many places& situations shown in American movies. Which was pretty cool. However no famous actor or star...Even if I did my best (you know I don't run) and went for a run in Central Park on Sunday morning. Nobody!
  • Had the chance to travel to Colorado, Boulder and Iowa, Dubuque which are pretty small cities. Still wondering when can one see a Jackalope ;)
More thoughts but not too much space to write them. So make sure you at least pay a visit to NY. Still lots of the USA to be explored but plenty of time for that!

Many thanks to Liz, Craig, Jessica, Elyssa, Jen, Jack, Elena, Joan, Christine
and Micha for a nice trip!

Bye, Bye NY!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pensieri d'amore e tradimento

Good evening New York! Couldn't help myself from posting an entry from NY :-) especially as it will be one in Carrie Bradshaw style: about LOVE! Went to Rome last week (check some pics here) for a short vacation aka team building with the communications ladies aka celebration of our 8th anniversary. However this entry is not about the trip as I am still working on the video, but about some events that really touched me.

While happily inlove in such a romantic city I discovered a new feeling. Wish I would have never experienced it but it's too late for that: finding out that someone is being cheated! The second you find out it is either shocking or a confirmation of what you were already suspecting. In my case the second one. The next minute you ask yourself if you should do something about it...especially since I always try to fix things :-) The next half an hour you oscilate between preaching about how wrong it is to cheat on someone, letting the cheated one know about this or not doing anything about it because in the end it was really not your business. But as a witness, I must admit I really felt that I needed to do something. A couple of hours later I decided to postpone the decision since I WAS ON VACATION...but still, every now and then something reminded me of the unfortunate discovery.

I won't ask for your advice and I won't tell you what I decided but I am really wondering: WHAT DO PEOPLE EXPECT? Putting aside the fact that cheating is wrong, why can't some people keep this only for themselves? Why making your friends part of it? Not nice at all. Dimension #2: knowing you're the other one- not sure why people agree with that and date someone even if they know he/she is not single. That's not only sick but also truly, madly, deeply SAD! Is that it? There is no chance for one girl to meet a man who's single? Or viceversa? Honestly, thinking that you've found the love of your life in someone else's man or wife is an illusion. And statistically, the most cases go through the same experience later on, this time as couple.

Will not share more thoughts on this as I may give too many clues. Just one request: if you can't be faithful, have mercy: don't let your friends know- especially if you don't plan to change or listen to their advice! Keep it for yourself!

PS: found this lock on the Lovers' Hill in Rome. Once boy&girl decide to be together they buy a lock, come to the hill, write their name on it and throw the key away. This means nothing will be able to break their love...maybe my friend should have done the same :-) However, seems I got a secret fan who thinks writing my name on a lock will bring me back to Rome...ha ha, we'll see!

yours,
the Happymaker

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happymaking for the world

I had second thoughts about writing this entry today as I am still planning 2 happymaking trips to Rome and NY and I already have some ideas around how those posts would look like and be about :-) So stau tuned! BUT I got so excited about several events that I just had to post this now and not in 3 weeks when it was planned.

It's somehow work related and somehow happymaking related :-) Two years ago I applied for what I call the coolest idea a company can have. And is probably one of the most brilliant ideas IBM, my employer, ever had: a program where candidates from all over the world are being selected to work in international teams, somewhere outside their geography, for one month, for an NGO, small company or even a governmental agency. Something similar to the Peace Corps but specifically tailored to leadership development needs, cultural awareness, shaping Global Citizens and helping small communities grow. It's called the Corporate Service Corps! So for one month you still get paid to do something extraordinary, in an incredible place, with unique people. Not many companies invest in such programs and luckily about 500 IBMers have the chance to experience this every year and come back with a rich cultural experience and ready to use their newly gained skills to every day problems.

So last year I applied for this but didn't make it. This year I said, "let's try again", I still have the same dreams, I still want to save the world, I am still a Happymaker! So here I stand now, less than 20 days before going to Colombo, Sri Lanka, ready to embark in my first trip to Asia!

3 more paragraphs and I'm done for today :-)

1. So excited to meet get there- call it faith but few years ago I was reading a nice book where Ceylon was mentioned. Network was down so I got crazy finding Ceylon on the map. It was an old book so once internet was running again I discovered that the country is called today SRI LANKA. So here we met for the first time :-) "Faith" aspect number 2- I LOVE CINNAMON- so imagine that Ceylon comes from cinnamon :-) and the spice originates from this magical island at the foot of India. "Faith" aspect #3 we were having a chat with our friends and argueing what "serendipity" means...imagine is also related to Ceylon and I am looking forward to making my own discoveries there just like the princes of Serendip!

2.Together with a colleague from Portugal I have been assigned to work for World Vision Org in Colombo.I will post more about their wonderful work and how our support should help raise more awareness and trust in their presence in Sri Lanka. But if you want to know more about them you can follow them via twitter @worldvisionusa. Seems that the project will fit me like a glove! So excited about participating in anything it has to do with charity :-) And hey, even Hugh Jackman/ Wolverine did :-)



3. In less than 4 weeks I'll meet my new colleagues, the wonderful team and people from World Vision. We will get to work for a good cause but also meet local people, learn the Sinhala language hopefully and eat new things and learn new recipes ;-).

Taking my camera and laptop with me so stay tuned for some cool videos ;-)

Yours,
the happymaker

Monday, August 9, 2010

Said-making in Egypt

Ahlan dear friends :-)

Back from Cairo and Sharm-el-Sheikh with lots of happymaking ideas, experiences , pictures and tips! Egypt is a perfect place of that:
  • First surprise: do you remember Jabulani? Of course there are people who have the HAPPY name in Egypt also. Introducing: Sa‘īd (سعيد) is a male Arabic name meaning "happy". The name can also be transliterated as Said or Saeed. Didn't meet any Said or Saeed but hope you'll meet lots of them :-)
  • Food is awesome. Loved the lamb dishes, the super fresh sea food and much much more. Since I am fasting now I will refrain myself from thinking of it :-) First times: tried crabs, sugar cane juice- delicious, mango ice cream, mastica ice creams (an ice cream containing plenty of arabic gum, yummy), fried pigeon, discovered the various mango types (the smaller the more tasty), ate fresh dates (not the dried ones), fresh guava, tameya...and more.
  • I got to meet my dear camel Charlie Brown again :-). But this time I allowed Mr to ride him. So I ended up with Mickey Mouse...good boy also! Lovely tour around the Pyramids!
  • Had so much fun with Sherif, Heba and little Tofi! Lovely friends and we spent lots of time in their arabeya shababeya (modern car), tried on their galabeya (arabic outfit) but didn't eat the molocheya :-) Shokran Shokran Shokran!

  • Red Sea is P-A-R-A-D-I-S-E! The beauty on Sharm is totally inside the salty waters of the Red Sea! So don't go there if you only want to spend time outside the water. The treasure are really under the sea :-) Incredible fishes, corals and much more. A beautiful world and things I had never imagined I will ever get to see. And despite the fact that I was the lamest snorkeler in our team I still loved it and am very thankful for what I managed to see- next time I'll be better equipped. Perfect happymaking place for divers I bet!
Video souvenir for you:



I feel like I could really write a book now :-) Amaized by Egypt and happy that I got to spend 10 days with my best Egyptian friends, have fun with them, learn more about their culture, see places I didn't get to see during my first trip there and of course learn some Arabic. Mr. and I will continue learning.


Tahya Masr :-) (Viva Egypt)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Friends & Facebook

Next month I am turning 27. Or not (never good at figuring this out- born in 83 so you do the math). Not that this post is related to my bday but now you'll have enough time to ship your presents even if you're overseas :-) For security reasons address won't be posted here.

Now the July post is about FRIENDSHIP and FACEBOOK. And because we have talked about it in many times, what intrigued me this time is that some people think that having 300 friends in Facebook makes you look shallow. But I would love to ask them: are FB friends their real friends?
  • First we use Facebook for business. A lot. So we connect with colleagues, people who apply for jobs with our employers, people who work in the same social project, who belong to the same Cook4Fun community and more. You got the picture: FB is to CONNECT people, not only to keep in touch with friends.
  • Second: I am a Christian. I am a friend for all the people. Unless they don't want me to :-) So whoever wants to talk to me, needs help or advice, I am there, no matter if "Friend" or not, Facebook or elsewhere.
  • I think that someday the "FRIENDS" in Facebook will be called "Connections". Exactly for the reason above. So what are you going to say then? :-) Suddenly being "connected" to 300 people won't make you look shallow anymore.
  • I also consider that you can't manage more than 500-600 connections in Facebook- I delete and add new ones on a regular basis. Except if you're a star and have a fan page :-) - that would be understandable. But if not, it doesn't really make sense
  • Ironically the people I think of as my closest friends (not many anyway) are not in Facebook or not online at all. So going on FB to keep in touch with friends won't be the most brilliant idea one can have :-) We do it for other reasons also: eg curiosity, wanting to stay updated, etc.
  • Just being on FB and having an account won't make any of my real friends any comment worthy. Is all about sharing: news from your life, going out tips, interesting things, etc. If all you want to achieve with using FB is to permanently get access to my email account you don't even have to join FB- it's all in the public profile :-)
Not sure I structured this post ok but however main points were that FB is not for connecting friends only and that it really makes connecting friends easier&great, if done properly. I mean really, I just love to see when friends from Amsterdam or Sweden are going hiking or see someone's kid growing under my daily status updates :-)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Making B-cities happy

Over the past 3 weeks I had the chance to leave my B city- Bucharest and head it to other 3 B-cities in Europe: Budapest, Bratislava and Brno. Three different countries, languages, cultures, food but with similar rainy weather and sometimes (notice I didn't say ALL the time) nasty food :-) (eg meat with sweet whipped cream).
Was a real happymaking time. You cannot image how many people I met, talked to, worked with and of course had fun with :-) Think I got a couple of new good friends now and I am already looking forward to meeting them again!

Some #happymaking tips for the tourist in you:
  • Hungarian dumplings with sour cream and strawberry jam,
  • delicious Slovakian dumplings with vanilla sauce and poppy,
  • the Blue Church in Bratislava,
  • and view from the castle and a walk along the Danube in Budapest,
  • the Pegas restaurant and pivo-beer in Brno (don't drink beer but everyone seemed to love it)
  • Hungarian wooden souvenirs for your kitchen...beautifully painted
Many thanks to Anita, Danica, Dennis, Adela, Maris, Rick, Jessica, Birgit, Emmanuel for some lovely days and fun nights. Hope to see you again!

And an advice: make the best out of your trips- work related or not. The people we meet are touching our lives in unknown ways. Make sure you try to make them happymaking experiences :-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

La prova del cuoco

How should I translate happymaking in Italian? Cause that's what this post is about:cooking, Italy and fashion :-) Mum just returned from Rome, Italy and brought me the most happymaking gifts she could- u can see she knows me well :-)
So I got the most beautiful mix of pasta in the world (colored with tomato, spinach- green ones, beetroot, paprika, curcuma and sepia -dark ones) and two lovely aprons to enjoy my cooking even more.

I decided to wear the Italian flag-like one as I am such a cheesy/formaggi person :-) and whoever will cook with me will get the dark blue one (which is a manly color anyway). Will try them tomorrow with dad as we are doing Malaga ice cream (yes I am a traitor but we love Spain also :-))

That was it so far. You can read more on what makes women happy- cooking in a previous post :D

CIAO, CIAO, Bacini
The Happymaker


Sunday, May 2, 2010

happy birthdayS :)

Because I am the Happymaking Fairy and because he's the most precious one in my life plus because he'll only be around for 3 more days I decided to use my super powers and celebrate his 27th anniversary fairy tale -like:
  • for 3 days and 3 nights
  • with a dreamy birthday cake (see pic below-made with fresh strawberries cream, zabaione a la Silvia- meaning with rum, soft meringue, almonds and some drops of blue curacao to make it look more exotic- yummy yummy )
  • with lots of flowers (yeah boys should get flowers also!)
  • with a bit of anime as he is such a fan (made us Toradora matching t-shirts - me Taiga :-))
  • lots of love and happiness
  • and a Jazz concerts which will happen tomorrow (so don't tell him yet :-) )- Darius Brubeck will be playing in Bucharest and believe it or not he's a friend of someone in IBM US and so we'll meet :-)
  • a relaxing picnic/lunch with his family
  • wrote him a short story :-) - I like writing them/ he likes reading them :)
  • and some more activities which will follow...shhh still surprises :-)
3 days may sound strange to you but I feel we are doing this all the time anyway and we do celebrate each day like it is a unique anniversary. And it actually is: we celebrate the time we spend together, the fact that we have each other, the love, they joy, the happiness (can't stop smiling right now :-)) and the excitement of having a long life ahead of us - full of lovely events, surprises, new places to see and new experiences to encounter... all together.


My happymaking advice: don't wait for his or her bday to come- celebrate it now :-) and every single day! Good things must happen more than once a year ;-)

Love, xoxo
The Happymaker

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hallo

I say "Hallo" and never "hello" :-) Did you notice? And no it's not because I can't write hello, although a few tried to correct this, but because I always say it in GERMAN :-) Yes, Germans say hello also. Of course I also do that cause it's pretty funny to see if someone notices it and answers back in German. When I am pretty sure nobody is aware of German I just say "hi", but otherwise testing ground with HALLO.

Now in order to prove that German is not as difficult as you may think and a pretty Happy Language (trust me Japanes HURTS more^..^) here is a short video I made while in Frankfurt. You can see the words are pretty ok and at after watching this you should be able to say more than Guten Tag, Wurst and Bier!

I'll go back to Frankfurt this month so if you want me to cover any special areas let me know. Maybe football? Could try getting some locals teaching you some nice football songs :-)

#Happymaker's post 105

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Easter, Flowers, Spring and Art

Finally sunny and warm and spring :-) No need to write too much about this as these 3 combined should give you enough reasons for happymaking. Just wanting to encourage you to enjoy spring, step outside and bring the new season in your homes. Give flowers to the dear ones, take your mums for long walks, start planning the Easter holidays and think about how this spring will make everything different!

Share joy, spread love, laugh, create, live and dream. Everything is possible in spring, and the Happymaker knows it best ;-)

You'll probably won't hear from me until after Easter so remember to celebrate more than the colored eggs and the family coming together. Think and prepare yourself for this lovely holly day!

Wishing you all a happy spring and dedicating my new painting to happymaking :-) Yeap, after all creativity is pretty high during sunny days, statistically :-) take care

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goodbye Africa

my small tribute to South Africa, my new friends @IBM, the city of Johannesburg and the warm weather I enjoyed in the last weeks :-) And of course to Jabulani!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jabulani

I call it faith you may call it happymaking obsession but believe it or not I found some great signs of happymaking while in South Africa. Won't talk about the food (cause the closest I got from the African cuisine was a springbok sausage ^..^),the lovely weather, the green Joburg or the inspiring people I met, but about how wherever I go happymaking is my sole travel companion. And if you'll read further you'll also see that the chances of me finding out about this were pretty low...

So every morning I went for a swim and hurried downstairs just to stay longer in the sun (my driver has also contributed to this as he was late most of the time). Everyday the same nice person entertained me for about 20 mins, told me about Africa, asked me if I am doing fine and introduced me to Afrikaans (in case you were wondering how I knew about Sawubona ^..^). Was a pleasure to meet him and ...kind of... I was always looking forward to it.
As this blog post also happens thanks to him, here is the pic of me and Thamsanqa @Hilton in Sandton- a lovely guy and dedicated father.

And now you are probably wondering what Thamsanqa thaught me about happymaking :-) With my natural curiosity I was asking him about popular names in Africa (like we have Maria, Ana...). Learned some cool African names but also some very nice ones like Beauty or Innocent (actually the receptionist's name was Beauty). And I learned that the most popular name is JABULANI, which guess what, is related to happymaking :-)
Jabulani is a common name for both boys and girls (like most African names) and means "happy" for boys and "happiness" for girls. Thamsanqa told me it's a very positive, creative and lovely name and that also we could write pages and pages and pages about it. Unfortunately I can't show you the passion he was pronouncing Jabulani with and how excited was about it.

And also the ball for the World Football Cup in ZA this year is called Jabulani (and the mascot Zakumi= little lion). So pretty cool ;-) Actually Thamsanqa thinks anything can happen during the games and that any newcomer can win with the help of Jabulani, the playful and incredible ball.

Hope it was #happymaking like, for me it was for sure, still smiling now. If you're name your kid Jabulani let me know, would send Thamsanqa an email (yes I got his email ^..^) and tell him about it.

Thanks Thamsanqa and keep making visitors like me @home in Johannesburg!

the Happymaker

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Vacations Affect Your Happiness


A nice post in the NYTimes :-) And funny done in...the Netherlands :-)) reg the previous A'dam post!

The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.

After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people. How much stress or relaxation a traveler experienced on the trip appeared to influence post-vacation happiness. There was no post-trip happiness benefit for travelers who said the vacation was “neutral” or stressful.”

Surprisingly, even those travelers who described the trip as “relaxing” showed no additional jump in happiness after the trip. “They were no happier than people who had not been on holiday,” said the lead author, Jeroen Nawijn, tourism research lecturer at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

The only vacationers who experienced an increase in happiness after the trip were those who reported feeling “very relaxed” on their vacation. Among those people, the vacation happiness effect lasted for just two weeks after the trip before returning to baseline levels.

And of course main reason for not being happy after the vacation: going back to work :-)

PS: that doesn't mean that resigning from your job before leaving for vacation will make you happier when you'll come back :-)

the Happymaker

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winter in Amsterdam

Although I'm preparing for my trip to South Africa and dream about the 30 degrees Celsius that I'll enjoy there :-) , found some time to take you on a boat tour around Amsterdam, a vibrant and young city I really enjoyed and hoping to see it again.

Loved the streets, the water, the food, the bus drivers (especially those who sing), the tulips ( bought like 100 and will plant soon :-0), the buildings and the souvenirs. Must say they have an impressive palette of souvenirs :-) So now I even recommend it as #happymaking place! Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

That's NOT Happymaking

So Coca-Cola decided to use happymaking strategies in order to get you by launching the Open Happiness Platform! Watch out: it doesn't keep you slim, it's no sugar but full of crap (sorry for the language) and CO2 hurts your heart...That's the mischievous platform:
Stay healthy and happy my friends!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Happymaker goes to Amsterdam


today I finished planning my business trip to Amsterdam so I decided to check if I can make any happymaking out of it :-) So googling for "Happy Amsterdam" I discovered this cool project: I am Happy Project. org.

This should run in A'dam in February, you can find the location, details here.

But back to the project, they say it makes one person happy, at a time. From this video (with no embedding options :-)) you should understand how you could join. Anyway any happymaking idea is a good one so I suppose thy are ok also.

Back to Amsterdam, as I'll have about an afternoon to visit the city I am surely planning to:
1. Buy cheese
2. Buy diet chocolate for dad
3. Check some souvenirs
4. Drink a hot chocolate
5. Take a long walk around the city

Yes no museums as there is no time for them :-) And hope to learn some cool stuff about IBM so that I can make other happy afterward :-)

Will post some pics and don't ask me to bring you "funny" smoking material :-) Cause I won't!

Monday, January 11, 2010