Thursday, 26 May 2011

Green Houses

As the effects of climate change are felt across the world, both governments and individuals are beginning to take the task of building eco friendly houses much more seriously.  Fuelled by increased demand a new industry of eco friendly home building has grown up and a whole host of technological innovations have created an arsenal of eco friendly building materials and techniques. From wind turbines, to solar panels, to high efficiency lighting, ultra efficient insulationglazingwater conservationplumbingrecycling and much more.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Good Old Days

When I was a kid, I used to play in the streets of the small neighbourhood in Athens where I grew up. We played lots of games like hide-and-seek or thieves and policemen. These games proved to be most beneficial for us kids as they involved a lot of physical exercise. Sometimes. they turned out to be quite addictive to such a degree that our mothers would start calling us to go back home because it was getting dark.

I always obeyed mum and as soon as she called, I'd go back home. All the family gathered around the dinner table. It was a sacred time for the family. During dinner time, we were not allowed to watch TV or play. We'd exchange our news of the day, and, as a family we talked a lot over dinner. After dinner, we were allowed to watch TV for about half hour but, unlike my siblings, I preferred listening to the radio. Then by 9:30 pm we had to go to bed and mum would turn off the light and kiss us goodnight.

Those were the good old days. Nowadays, kids are on Facebook, they gulp down dinner in front of the TV or while chatting to their online friends. Families rarely spend time around the dinner table exchanging their news of the day. And many kids at the age of 9-10 have already a mobile phone or an iphone - not to mention a laptop.  Most of them would rather have fast food delivered for dinner rather than eat their mother's home cooking.

Although I believe in modern technologies such as the Internet and social media, I still miss the good old days and believe that most kids nowadays are mere victims of the Playstation or Facebook.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


I know I have been away from blogging for a long time and some of you rightly thought I had probably given up My Blog. But for the encouragement of a few good friends, I would have abandoned it - not because I had nothing to say, but because I had practically no time to spend on blogging. Anastasia, who is not only a  great contributor  but also a wonderful friend,  sent me an email the other day and said this: " If you ask me, I'd be very sad and disappointed if you gave up on your blog, But you are the owner of this blog, and the choice is yours." .Finally,  I made my choice and decided to come back.Eevery time we are challenged by opportunity, we have a choice. There is never an experience without a choice..

Along with this consistent gift of choice that we have, we also have the liberty to weigh things in special light. You could either choose the vibrant splashes of red, yellow, orange and green or the darker hues of grey or brown. The choice is amply reflected in the outcome of your actions and your persona. It is not always easy to be optimistic and see the proverbial glass "half full". However, it is also not very difficult to shed the typical mindset of observing the "half empty". The magic lies in the way you weigh the pros and cons. And these babies come along with every choice.

If you are trained to be a teacher and have to make a choice between a 2000 euros per month job in a globally acclaimed educational institution and a 700 euros per month job as a volunteer, it is easy to sit on a non-committal rostrum and choose the former. However, depending on the passion for the vocation and what you envision as "fulfilling", there will be scope to choose the latter offer too. If you do consider the first offer of 2000 euros per month, it may involve moving away from home and family or extensive working hours, while offering you a chance to connect globally and learn more. Likewise, in the 700 euros per month offer, you may have to take up additional tuitions to make the effort worth your while, while getting an opportunity to serve selflessly.

In this way, every other experience in life comes with the ability to choose and every choice is balanced with a flip side. There is never a choice without the pros and cons. But there is a mind set that can be developed to make the most of every opportunity. You could either choose to be an optimist or a pessimist. Your choice of the hues is personal and part of the fabric you are made of. You could either grouse through the experiences or smile your way through. You decide. One thing is for sure, grousing won't help. It never has and never will. Moreover, a smile always lightens your own burden and that of others.