Meet A World Mom: Sophia Neghesti-Johnson

Meet A World Mom: Sophia Neghesti-Johnson

Continuing our trip around the world chatting with World Moms, today we are proud to profile Sophia Neghesti-Johnson, who was born in Tanzania. She spent her youth between Italy and Tanzania, finally settling in the United States of America. Like many of our World Moms, Sophia is multilingual, she speaks English, Kiswahili and Italian.

Sophia currently has a hand in two distinct phases of parenting: her first child, aged 19, is embarking on adulthood. Her other two children, aged 7 and 8, are at that wonderfully explorative stage of childhood. In 2013, fellow Tanzanian World Mom, Nancy Sumari, introduced Sophia to World Moms Network. Since joining us, she has written many insightful, thoughtful posts about her identity and her life as a parent.

We caught up with Sophia to find out what she’s up to now. Read on to get to know her better:

How has your life changed since you joined World Moms Network?

Well, I feel that I am a part of a sisterhood in which, even if we don’t all talk all the time, and even if some of us haven’t really talked much, we know what we are about at our core. To know that there are other mothers out there who believe in something that I also believe in, is very reassuring to me. Especially in a time when there are so many unsettling things happening. Through World Moms Network also introduced me to Heartfulness Meditation, which has proven life-altering (for me) in the most positive way. 

How do you spend your days?

I homeschool our two younger children, so I spend the majority of my time with them. Otherwise, I work from home as a virtual assistant of sorts. Also, I write, sometimes with the intention of publishing my stories. Recently, I started writing songs and joined an artistic group with whom I create some fun and funky things that we then perform in-front of live audiences. Sometimes, I try to work on my photography and painting skills. When I get on social media to check what’s going on, I try to stay away from falling down the rabbit hole.

What are the top 5 places on your travel wish list?

Eritrea, Ireland for sure. The other three I am not sure of yet; it depends how things are going in the world.

Is there a book, movie or show you recommend?

Great read: The Courage to Be Disliked. Great movie: The Never-Ending Story.

What is your favorite memory with your children?

I remember when they were small enough to hold and keep safe on my chest; bundled up and smelling like what I imagine is heavenly. Now there are too many memories to pick one. I enjoy laughs the most, or their excitement in the small things. 

What is your best motherhood advice?

To enjoy the children’s age at whatever age they are. Be careful with making jokes of, “I wish you were older” and, “I can’t wait until you can do this and that”, because that time comes faster than you know, and each moment is truly special and unique. Also, it’s essential you find a way to express your emotions as a parent and a mother. Do not feel guilty for taking time for yourself; it’s essential for your well-being and that of your family. 

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?

This is a tough one, as every place I have visited offers something different. Also, I know I’m biased, but I love living in Tanzania. The Netherlands was beautiful too. 

What is one random thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?

I’ve heard that the fact I have recorded and released a couple of songs surprised some people.

What places are listed on your weather app?

Dar es Salaam, Chennai, Hyderabad, Columbia, Amsterdam. Whatever City I am In.

How did you get through COVID-19 quarantine/lockdown?

I walked a 1000 miles, I experimented with a lot of foods, I prayed and hoped for the best.

What brings you joy?

Simple things. You know that moment when something touches your heart and it brings you tears of joy? Or that inexplicable feeling that you can only assign to joy? I love those moments and they can come from anywhere. 

What UN Sustainable Development Goal are you most passionate about? 

Sustainable cities & communities.

To learn more about Sophia and her thoughts about her identity—bridging Tanzania with Italy and now the USA—check out these two amazing posts that she wrote, here and here.

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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GUEST POST: New Territory [Albania]

GUEST POST: New Territory [Albania]

Today’s post comes to World Moms Network by Lura Elezi of Albania. Lura is an activist, mother, writer and thinker. The piece below first appeared on Lura’s personal blog, Lara, Lara! in April 2020. It is a reflection of a similar time in a different place when a young Lura Elezi was also fleeing from pending war. She dedicates this post to all women and girls facing similar challenges today.

As an Eastern European, I relate to the Ukrainian people in so many ways. But that is not as relevant as the most important fact that we are first and foremost human and we should lock all wars in history books, as they have no more place in the present world.

As I sit hoping every minute that this war will not become even one month old, I would also like to point out that on top of various donations, my home is open to any Ukrainians reaching for my city: Tirana, Albania.

— Lura Elezi, March 15, 2022

Fleeing from Danger

Like many fellow Albanians during the 1997 quasi-civil war* of Albania, after several adventurous attempts, my family and I managed to flee the country. 

My sisters and I were clueless. My parents told us to pack some of our valuables because we were leaving the city for the village—we were less likely to be hit by a stray bullet there. On the way to the airport, their story changed.

I was a young girl going through puberty and all the unrest that comes with it. Having seen and collected stray bullets on our balcony, I decided to channel all my unease by worrying about our cat Lara. We had left her with our downstairs neighbors, whose daughters were our friends. What if they fled too? What about Lara?

To Lands Unknown

Four flights later we had reached my uncle’s home…in Beijing, China.

No more stray bullets indeed but we were not here as tourists either. The culture and language was strange and very different from ours. We would only leave the premises about once a week; we had no clue whether our apartment back home was still intact; and we could barely get in touch through landlines with our friends and family left behind. I remained worried about Lara.

My parents were glued to the news. They were probably suppressing deep depression, of which my sisters and I were oblivious. 

Changes

I spent my time reading, playing Super Mario or out in the yard—an inner courtyard surrounded by high walls—when the weather allowed it. After one sweaty session of play, I ran inside straight to the bathtub only to see that… 

The communists had arrived!

Or as some say, “auntie paid a visit.”

Or to be more clear—something society did not seem too fond of doing at the time—I got my first period. 

I felt the panic creeping in, so I acted accordingly. My need to hide it from my older sister and my mother was intense. I started throwing away my underpants, concealing them well so no one would see them in the garbage. 

I left Albania as a child but now—according to tales passed down through generations—I was a woman.

What did that even mean? One thing I was sure, I was not ready for it!

Things Got Worse

Two or three days went by, and panic got worse. 

I felt like excitement about everything was coming to an end. 

That maybe they wouldn’t let me play outside anymore. 

That vaginal blood was something to be ashamed of and it was foreshadowing a world less amusing than the one I was in. 

Now I would have to act like a grownup. And what grownup girls did, is whisper about your biology maybe in the kitchen corners. Leave all fun behind, as those are privileges reserved for men and children only. 

Eventually I started running out of underwear to throw away and I was exhausted. So I told my sister first, and then my mother. They congratulated me—my mom even laughed at my worries—and they gave me hygienic pads to wear. 

The next day I rode the bike in the courtyard and no one seemed to care that I had a pad glued to my underwear, and it was turning redder by the hour. 

Looking Back

For years I pondered why I had so much dread surrounding this biological event.

I do not recall my family telling me fearful tales; but certainly everyone else had managed to taunt me as a little girl:

About the fateful day when my period would find me. 

That girls cannot do what they please after a certain point.

That girls are the sacrifice to the society, so it moves forward. 

The Tale of Rozafa

Just like unfortunate Rozafa, a local legend that still turns my stomach, but which many seemed to find so meaningful.

Rozafa was the new wife of a third brother and she had just given birth to their first child. The brothers were building a vital wall and after a few futile endeavors, the wall required a blood sacrifice to be able to stand. So the brothers put Rozafa in it alive, and left her eye, breast and hand outside the wall, so she could take care of the baby in the crib. 

Hundreds of similar horrid legends, where women are so dispensable, are passed down around the world. 

Fear of Growing Up

I did not want to turn into a woman. As I thought about how boys play: they have fun; grow up to be businessmen and politicians; are told legends where they are heroes; continue to play video games; can be bosses; get to sit with legs spread out all their lives

“boys will remain boys!”

While girls have to: cast their eyes mostly downwards; never sit with spread legs; stand a lot; AND the moment your nipples start growing and you get your period…then the kitchen becomes your new hangout area. With other women, some much older, and with very unpleasant stories.

And if later, as an adult, a girl pursues her ambitions, she is called a b!tch and she better thank god several times a week for finding a husband who wants to bear children with her.

At least this is how it is for many.

Across much of the planet. 

Resolution

Two-and-a-half months later, we returned to Albania from our exile and waited patiently for the country to restore. I learned to buy pads myself and the sales clerk would wrap them with newspapers.

Lara the Cat lived 15 wonderful years with us. 


* A few years into a young democracy that followed one of the harshest dictatorships the planet has known, in January 1997—after being deceived by fraudulent pyramid schemes that took loans from individuals and returned it at 150-300% interest rate—Albanians rioted. Eventually, all these schemes collapsed, and common people, who lost a great deal, broke in the ammunition warehouses across the country and a civil war almost took off. A few months later, things were calmer but it took Albania about a decade to recover from the financial losses —totaling about $1.2 billion. 

The image used in this post is the author in 1997. It is used with her permission.

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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World Mom: Simona Rinfreschi of Spain

World Mom: Simona Rinfreschi of Spain

Mama Simona has been a World Moms Contributor for more than a decade and has written many posts for us over the years. She first started contributing from South Africa but left that world behind in 2021 when she moved to Spain with her husband. You may know her from her posts or be one of the many World Mom friends she’s made over the years. For this month’s Meet A World Mom, WMN sat down with Simona, in Spain, to to find out what makes her a World Mom.

What country do you live in?

It used to be South Africa but I moved to Spain in 2021

What country are you from? 

I was born in Italy but lived in South Africa from the age of eight until last year.

What language(s) do you speak?

I speak English, Italian and Afrikaans fluently and am currently studying Spanish, German and French

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have a son and a daughter. My son  turned 29 in January and my daughter will be 26 in May

How did you connect with World Moms Network?

I responded to a request for mom writers who didn’t live in the USA back when our founder, Jen Burden, first started this group as World Moms Blog

How long have you been a part of World Moms Network?

Almost from the beginning, which was in 2011.

How has your life changed since you joined World Moms Network?

Honestly, most of my life I felt like the Ugly Duckling did. I didn’t have any true friends and just didn’t “fit in.”  Since joining WMN, I have found many kindred spirits and the true friends I always longed to have. I was very fortunate to meet up, in-person with Senior Editor, Kirsten Doyle, when she visited South Africa, and I have had a one-on-one video chat with Chief Strategist, Purnima.

Now that I’m in Europe I hope to be able to meet more World Moms (as soon as COVID lets up enough to make getting around the EU easier). Even though I haven’t met anyone else in person, I consider my other friendships just as real. Jennifer Burden also went above and beyond to help out my daughter when she got sick in the USA and I was unable to help from South Africa. That’s the definition of true friendship in my book.

How do you spend your days? (work, life, etc.) 

Before emigrating to Spain, I completed a Level 5 TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course, as well as How to Teach Business English and Teaching One-on-One and Online. I work as a freelance ESL teacher.  I don’t have a lot of students yet, but luckily my husband’s income is sufficient for us to live comfortably here.  Since I don’t work every day, I usually take care of household chores in the morning then spend my afternoons studying Spanish, German and French.

What are the top 5 places on your travel wish list? 

I would definitely love to visit the USA to meet up with a lot of my online friends. Disney World and Disneyland are also on my US wish-list, because it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. And I want to go back to Italy because it has so many beautiful things that I haven’t had the chance to see yet. I also hope to get the chance to explore the rest of Europe and the world once COVID restrictions lighten up.

Is there a book, movie or show you recommend?

One Day at the Time (series on Netflix) – A very clever comedy similar to Jane the Virgin (which isn’t what you’d expect and is also a very good comedy on Netflix). 

What is your favorite memory with your children? 

Hard to pick just one! Strangely enough, the first thing that came to mind were the middle of the night/early morning feeds. There was something very special about that intimate time when the world was sleeping and I was able to give my baby my undivided attention, free from the inevitable daytime distractions.

What is your best motherhood advice? 

Never forget that every child is an individual and what works for one child won’t necessarily work for the next one. Comparing children is the most counterproductive thing that you could possibly do. Also, forget about being the “perfect” mom, because nobody is that. Trust me, some of the parenting mistakes I used to beat myself up for, my kids (now in their 20s) don’t even remember! Take advice as well-meant, but then trust your own instincts / knowledge when it comes to your children.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to? 

Thanda Safari Game Reserve in South Africa. It’s smaller than the Kruger National Park, and as a result the odds of you being able to spot most (if not all) of the “Big 5” is much greater.

What is your favorite family travel destination? 

Warner Brothers Theme Park near Madrid in Spain. It’s open from noon to midnight. Despite having to wear masks at all times, my family and I thoroughly enjoyed our day there – although one day only isn’t enough to take in the entire park.

What is one random thing that most people would be surprised to know about you? 

I am unable to strike a match or use a “flint type” lighter. I have suffered from pyrophobia since I was a little girl, even though I love a fire in a fireplace or BBQ (just as long as I am far enough away from the actual flames myself). Ironically I allowed my children to use matches and lighters from a very early age, because I didn’t want to pass on my fear to them. I only revealed to them, when they were adults, that the reason I allowed them to light their own birthday candles was because I couldn’t do it myself!

How did you get through quarantine/lockdown (2020/21)? 

I know lockdown was hard for many people, but I didn’t suffer at all—except for the inconvenience caused by the shortages of some goods. I was very fortunate because in South Africa (where we still lived in 2020), I lived in a large house with a large garden and was able to work from home. My husband and I were perfectly happy on our own. Our children had already moved overseas prior to 2020, so video calling was nothing new for us.  We miss the garden now that we live in a flat in Spain, but here we’re in a very small town and (apart from having to wear masks) we can do whatever we want. I am extremely grateful every day for my life.

What brings you joy?

Hearing a child laugh – there’s nothing better in the world than that.

If you had the power to change one thing about the world, what would it be? 

I would love to be able to make EVERYONE understand that the health and welfare of every creature in the world is more important than money.  There would be enough resources for everyone if they were equitably distributed. John Lennon said it so well in his song IMAGINE (you can fid the lyrics here: LyricFind)

What UN sustainable development goal are you most passionate about? 

United Nations SDG poster

Although all the goals are important and worthy,  as someone who lives with several auto-immune disorders, number 3 –  Good Health and Well-Being – is the one I’m most passionate about.  My grandfather was a doctor and he always used to say that good health is “the one (1) that gives value to all the zeros (0) of the world” – In other words if you have education but no health you have 0, but if you are educated and healthy then you have 10. If you’re educated and wealthy you have 00 but if you’re educated, wealthy and healthy you have 100 etc. 

The fact that your income determines whether you can access the medicine you need, just so pharmaceutical companies can make exorbitant profits is abhorrent to me. It’s the same all over the world, even places where “free” medical care is provided (because the “free” care isn’t of the same calibre as private care).

SDG 3: Health & Well-being

In South Africa, my aunt’s domestic worker (I’ll call her Miss X) was ill. My aunt took her to the free, government hospital. They kept Miss X overnight and discharged her the next morning with some paracetamol. My aunt then took her to her own (private) physician (whom my aunt had to pay) and he discovered that Miss X was HIV positive and had an active case of Tuberculosis!

Armed with these results (which had to be paid for) my aunt took Miss X back to the hospital and refused to leave until she ensured that this time Miss X was going to be treated appropriately. This time they gave her antiretrovirals and other medicines but they didn’t take the time to explain what the medication was for and when to take them! My aunt took her home and not only explained everything to her, but also used a pill divider so that Miss X would remember which pill to take when.  If it wasn’t for my Aunt’s involvement, Miss X would have died years ago instead of having an undetectable viral load and be fully recovered from TB. Lack of money should never be the reason for someone’s death!

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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World Mom: Tes Silverman of USA

World Mom: Tes Silverman of USA

This month’s Meet a World Mom features a treasured member of our senior editing team, who celebrates a very special birthday today. Get to know all about Tes Silverman, how she came to World Moms Network and what she does outside of her role with us. Happy Birthday Tes!!

WMN: What country do you live in?

Tes: I live in the USA.

What country are you from?

I was born in Manila, Philippines but have lived in the United States since I was 10 years old.

What language(s) do you speak?

My primary language is English but I also know some conversational French and Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines.

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have one daughter, Shaina, who is 22 years old. She is currently doing a post-baccalaureate on her way to medical school.

How did you connect with World Moms Network?

I was attending Moms+Social Summit and started a conversation with then Managing Editor, Elizabeth Atalay. I had my own blog but I wanted to connect with other women through my blog. Back then, they weren’t accepting new writers from the United States, but I was really interested in getting involved with World Moms Network. After talking with Elizabeth, I started submitting a post to World Moms Network and the rest is history.

How long have you been a part of World Moms Network?

I have been lucky enough to be part of World Moms Network for 5 years!

How do you spend your days? (work, life, etc.) 

I live in Virginia Beach, VA and spend most of my days looking for ideas to write about for World Moms Network, traveling pre-Covid with my husband for his speaking engagements and taking care of our 4 year old lab mix and 3 year old pitbull when we are home.

What are the top 5 places on your travel wish list?

I love to travel and have traveled to quite a few countries like France, Spain, Iceland, Israel, Canada, Thailand, Luxembourg and Belgium.  If and when everything starts opening up, my travel wish list consists of: Portugal, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Greece and Turkey. 

What is your best motherhood advice?

The best motherhood advice I can give is to make sure to take care of yourself. The example that I still remember dates back to when my husband and I brought our daughter home for the first time at my in-laws’ home. We were staying with them because I had a difficult pregnancy(I was on bedrest for 4 months) and since they were both medically experienced, it was advised that we stay with them until I gave birth to Shaina. Our first night with our daughter consisted of lots of her crying, unable to comfort her, until my mother-in-law took her from us for the rest of the night so we could sleep. Her words were, “I’ve got her, get some rest and I’ll see you in the morning.” I didn’t realize until much later how much that one gesture would impact the way I took care of my daughter. Caring for your child is important, but caring for yourself is just as crucial.

What is one random thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?

I am a big foodie and love to look for great places to eat whenever I travel. 

How did you get through quarantine/lockdown (2020/21)?

I started a podcast titled r(E)volutionary Woman in November 2019 as a result of wanting to connect with other women from different countries. It was my way of creating deeper conversations with women about what’s going on in their lives and what they’re doing for their communities.

I connected with family and friends via Zoom calls. I went to a few family birthday parties via Zoom which was chaotic but fun.

What’s your favorite social media platform, if any?

Facebook, because it has made it easy for me to connect with family, friends and possible guests for my podcast.

What brings you joy?

I love going for high tea, a walk on the beach, road trips with my husband and playing with our dogs, Dobby and Miso.

What UN sustainable development goal are you most passionate about?

I am very passionate about SDG #5 – Gender Equality. I believe that educating girls, having  their voices heard and advocating for their rights are just some ways to achieve this goal. There is so much work to do to get there but I am hopeful that we can achieve this if we keep using our voices and speak out against any inequality.

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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World Mom: Kyla P’an of Portugal

World Mom: Kyla P’an of Portugal

In addition to WMN Founder, Jennifer Burden, many of our Senior Editors have been with World Moms since almost its inception. Our Managing Editor, Kyla P’an was among our first World Moms. She joined in 2011. Here’s her story and what makes her a World Mom:

Where do you live?

I live in the lovely coastal town of Parede, Portugal almost halfway between Lisbon and Cascais. We’ve been living here since August 2019 and we were lucky enough to be “stuck” here during COVID too. Living in Portugal was supposed to be just a 2-year, expat assignment but we all love it here so much we plan to stay.

Where are you from?

I was born in the Philadelphia suburbs but spent much more of my life in New England. Before moving to Portugal in 2019, I lived outside of Boston, Massachusetts for the past two decades and before that, Japan for a few years.

What languages do you speak?

I speak English and pretty basic Japanese and Portuguese at this point. I used to speak Japanese pretty fluently but when I moved back to the US from Japan in 1998, met and married a Chinese-American and forced two kids to attend Sunday Chinese School for 10 years, my Japanese got pretty rusty.

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have two ‘Muses,” Ella, 15, and Parker, 12. They were my inspiration for getting into the blogosphere in 2010 with Growing Muses and also for my involvement with the amazing, global-minded and multi-cultural company, Barefoot Books.

In 2020, during the Summer of COVID, I taught my teenage daughter how to build a basic blog and we documented our road trip from Portugal to Paris from a mother/daughter perspective, resulting in our joint blog: Muses Where We Go. Aside from parenting, blogging with my child was one of the most full-circle activities I have done.

How did you connect with World Moms Network?

In 2011, Jennifer Burden did a search on global blogs and parenting and came across my blog post about Barefoot Books. I quickly got involved with World Moms Blog and before I knew it, Jennifer took a three-month maternity leave and asked me to step in as Managing Editor. She handed me this “baby” so she could be more present for her own.

World Mom, Kyla P’an and one of her Muses in front of Mont-St-Michel, France

How many years have you been a part of World Moms Network?

I joined in 2011 and worked as Managing Editor until I stepped down in 2016 to homeschool my daughter. I didn’t get back in the saddle again until the Pandemic, when Jennifer Burden reached out to World Moms around the globe and got us reunited and re-engaged; so six, non-consecutive years. I’m honored and thrilled to be back in my original role as Managing Editor. I love the team of editors and contributors I have the pleasure of working with and knowing.

How has your life changed since you joined World Moms Network?

Oh boy, how has my life changed? Well, for one, I live in Europe now and am raising my kids in a foreign culture. I also no longer do as much freelance writing as I used to but I think that’s about to change. In the parenting world, a lot changes in a decade. My kids have gone from being young kids to teenagers. I have a lot more gray hair but also a lot more amazing memories.

What is your occupation?

I’m a journalist and copy editor. I did a lot of projects with the Smithsonian Institution and other museums and academic institutions before moving to Portugal. Now that we have decided to settle here permanently, I plan to dust off my keyboard and do more of what I love most…traveling and writing about it.

What did you want to be as a kid?

Truthfully? The President of the United States. But now that I’m older and wiser, and see how complicated and inauthentic the job is, I’m glad I didn’t pursue that dream. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a diplomat. Now I am a mom and raising my own Global Citizens. Living abroad, I get to connect and coordinate with other international moms on a daily basis. So, I guess, to some degree, I am living out my diplomacy dream.

What are your top 5 places on your travel wish list? 

  1. Malta
  2. Camino de Santiago (by bike)
  3. Morroco
  4. Machu Picchu (by foot)
  5. Denmark

Book, Movie or Show you recommend?

Book: The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown (also author of The Boys in the Boat). Not only is this a true and remarkable tale of the mysterious outcome of a group of Pioneers traveling west in late-1800 America, it also reminds me to be deeply humbled and thankful for the comforts and ease of modern day travel. It puts into perspective how minor all of the COVID swabs and complications I had to put up with in order to travel during the pandemic were in comparison with the trials and hardships the Donner Party endured.

What brings you joy?

Open-air food markets wherever I go. I love seeing what the locals eat, how they shop and interact with one another and the vibrance of smells and colors. If I can’t find an open-air market, I will happily default to a grocery store. Even in my home country I can get lost in a good grocery store. I find the aisles full fo choices and ingredients so hopeful and inspiring. When I see new and unfamiliar products, sometimes I’ll wait to see someone buy it and then try to ask them, or the shop owner, how they cook with it.

Here in Portugal, they do an amazing amount of things with three main ingredients: laurel, garlic and olive oil. And most Portuguese deserts also consist of three main ingredients: egg yolks, sugar and cream. It reminds me how important having good building blocks are and the value of 3.

This is an original writer’s interview for World Moms Network with our Managing Editor and Editor of the European Region, Kyla P’an in Portugal. The photographs used in this post are credited to her.

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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