Recently, I wrote a blog for a phenomenal children's learning & development center - Nutspace. I simply adore what they do, how they inculcate so many skills that our children need in this day and age from communication to social & emotional learning, all through activities and storytelling. What makes this endeavor even more endearing is that the dynamic founder Rohini Vij is following her passion & is good at it, so it exudes brilliance.
I shared an anecdote from our recent trip to Greece, and I'd love to share it as it appeared at the Nutspace blog.
"There are many things that just can not be taught in the constraints of a classroom, like compassion, patience and the uncanny ability to communicate with another person even though you don’t share a language. That’s not to say that you can replace what they learn at school, because I know for sure that I’m never teaching my daughter, Sayuri, differential calculus. But travel enhances and shapes us all in so many intangible ways. Of course, everyone has their own ideas on parenthood & upbringing children, and I don’t think that they should be defined by a word or questioned. For us, throwing in a lot of traveling together as a family into our year works out.
We’ve seen Sayuri learn something new and grow into a fine little girl with each and every trip we take together. She had played with a baby elephant at Khao lak, Thailand so she dauntlessly picked and fed bananas to Laxmi, the huge elephant at the temple in Hampi. Or the time when she saw ‘four rivers’ fountain and explained its intricacies to her grand-mom when she visited Rome.
This time in Greece, we had a surreal experience, which strengthened my belief that there is a bond that all of us parents share. We all hope, dream and fear the same things. And cliche as it may sound, their smiles make us content and happy.
It was a small town in the countryside of Greece called Monemvasia. We were having crepes at a small crêperie and there was a cute little Greek girl exactly Sayuri’s height. Without even sharing a word, these two hopped around from one table to the other and watched in wonder how they make crepes. Her name was Samina and we got to talking a little. Nothing out of the ordinary and we left with a polite goodbye.
Next day, we were told of an even more obscure fishing village named Gerakas and we decided to go the small unpretentious tavernas there for some good fresh fish and wine from the barrel. And as strange as it may sound, we ran into Samina and her parents once again. This time, we talked a little more and said our polite goodbyes again.
On our last night at the castle of Monemvasia, we decided to take our last stroll through the narrow cobbled allies and Sayuri & Samina met yet again. This time, we thought that this is not a coincidence, and some friendships are meant to be. Right at this moment, “Lost and Found” by Oliver Jeffers made so much sense to us. This time we said goodbyes with Sayuri getting two presents from Samina and us getting a new contact on facebook.
Next morning, we left for a place two hundred kilometres away with promises to stay in touch. At Nafplio, we couldn’t help but talk about Samina & her family. And Sayuri couldn’t help but tell all the people she spoke with about her new friend Samina and the little sling bag that her new friend Samina gave her. Everyone from the people at the gelateria, cafes, boutiques and toy stores got to hear about the very special bag. At that moment, we just sent them a message about how nice it was to meet them and how Sayuri is missing Samina. And to our surprise, they replied back that they will come and see us for dinner.
Sayuri just couldn’t hold her excitement and we spent the rest of the evening picking Samina a perfect present. When they made it after the two hour drive, we were even more overwhelmed and honored to find out that it was the day of Samina’s birthday that they decided to spend with us.
Both the little girls ran about the little town from one street performance to another, just talking in two different languages, chirpily laughing and making all four of us parents proud and happy.
"Friendship needs no language"
Friendship needs no language. There are so many things that can bind us as people. For little Samina and Sayuri, it was chasing bubbles, listening to piano & violin and needless to say – Peppa Pig. And for us as parents, we were amazed to find out that we all want to raise our children the same way, teach them the same things, we have same fears and anxieties, but by the end of the day, just a little hug from our little one makes our world running.
Yes, we’re in touch with Samina. Sayuri has asked me to design and send a chair for her friend from Parrot & Lily. Samina is sending us olives and hand made pasta from her farms. Coming to think of it, the world is such a beautiful place. Happy traveling."
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