Stories by balou (26 matches)

My Conversation With a Homeless Person

There is an older homeless (or at least very poor) woman who sometimes is sitting near where I am living, begging for money. Unfortunately, the 'inner city places' are often being 'strongly requested' by younger men and women who take over the space. Whenever I see her, I make sure to give her something, and if I am out of money at least talk to her for a few seconds. When younger people are around, I often make sure to drop a few coins into her cup while passing her a note without anybody seeing it in hopes that they will leave her alone. Today she surprised me. I was passing her again, giving her some money, and asked her how she was. She surprised me by saying that she wanted to thank me. Not for the money. Well, for that too, but for always taking the time to talk to her. She ... Read Full Story >>

2317 Reads


I just have received a good reminder how important reduction of waste is: Living in an apartment building as just one of several tenants, our waste bins are usually quite full (not only because several other tenants are not interested in reducing or preventing waste but as they seem to be incapable of even cutting a cereals box down, much less other more sturdy packages ...) Last week - for whatever reason - our waste was not collected as it usually is, so the little room where we have our bins is overflowing with waste ... a pity that in most cases it just elicited complaints of other tenants why the waste had not been collected ... no reflection on their own waste-generation and just blank stares when I suggested to be more mindful in this area .... (found these tips on the internet, maybe I just translate & print them and ... Read Full Story >>

2016 Reads

In The Aisles ...

I just had a beautiful experience today: While shopping I met a woman, and offered to help her get something off the shelves as she was sitting in a wheelchair. We stood there in the aisle for, I have no idea how long ... certainly at least half an hour. I suggested that we just finish our shopping and go to a Café to continue talking. Today was a beautiful day with a lot of sunshine, so I thought this might be nicer than standing/ sitting in the basement of a drug store hindering other people to reach the shelves. We found a Café with chairs outside and continued talking. I think after approximately 2 hours we, finally ;-)) exchanged our names. Yes, we had been just talking and talking. After approximately 4 hours, we finally excused ourselves as we both still had some more tasks on our to-do-lists for today. We exchanged ... Read Full Story >>

1849 Reads


While my neighbour and his girlfriend were on vacation I watered the flowers and looked after his flat (and post). Knowing he would be back yesterday, I placed some muffins (chocolate-chili-plum :-}) as a welcome gift on his table.

He just came up, he and his girlfriend were very happy about this gesture, which made me very happy as well after I had a a little bit "drab" day. :-) Kindness coming back directly to me :-) LOL

1452 Reads

Spreading An Infection?

I've made it a habit to smile at people as often as possible and - given the right situation as I am living in a big city with many, many people - to say a kind word, hello, thank you, have a nice day. Whatever fits. I'm doing this for quite a while now, so I've seen all kinds of reactions-from people feeling threatened by a friendly word, reacting angry or even aggressive, to people whose faces lit up with a huge smile and gave me the impression that I've made this moment good (again) for them. Today something happened what I hadn't yet experienced: Two people - complete strangers to me and independently of each other, one in the morning, one in the afternoon - whom I passed on the street - without smiling at them, but with a friendly face nevertheless - looked up from their inner focus, looked at me, ... Read Full Story >>

1284 Reads

Opening A Door

While being in town today I saw across the street a 50ish business woman leaving a bank building. She seemed to be in a hurry ... but she realized that an elderly woman who was using a cane wanted to enter the bank as well. She turned back after some steps, opened the door and held it open for the lady. As soon as the elderly lady was inside she rushed away ... :-)

Awareness and Kindness :-) Not only for the elderly lady but for me as well (although she certainly didn't see me smiling, but I'm certain she felt the good vibes :-)).

966 Reads

A Thank You Note

The trainers in my gym are mainly students, working alongside their studies at the local sport and health university, so most of them are fairly young. Being one of their 'older' customers 😉👵🏻😅 I often offered an open ear especially when I sensed that some of them were uncertain about something, 'coaching' a couple of them, when they had to make decisions or had problems with work etc. Usually I don't hear back if it worked. But today my trainer told me that he had a note for me from another trainer who recently stopped working at the gym. She had quite a long commute and we debated about her staying, leaving, another job, how to explain it to her current boss etc. (the owner of the gym can be pretty resentful and made up quite a lot of stuff about another employee who left, smearing his reputation). So today I learned that she ... Read Full Story >>

889 Reads

Zest For Life

My aunt's 80th Birthday is coming up and she will have to spend it in the hospital. Fortunately, just a small procedure this time, and she doesn't mind as she does not want many 'official' visitors. But she has had several stays in the hospital during the last months and - while she's usually fairly positive - had to fight very hard to stay positive this time. Even though I know that her daughter and son with their families will call her and welcome her back home two days later I want to make sure she has a nice day and knows that she is loved so very much. So today I packed her Birthday parcel and wrote a card for her. I had a faint memory of a poem I once read which I wanted to include and fortunately found it online. I want to share it with you as ... Read Full Story >>

854 Reads


I just received this beautiful little poinsettia, a neighbour left it in front of my door, rang the bell and went away.

She and her mother have been living in this house since long before I rented my apartement and her mother just recently passed away. Both, mother and daughter, always were (are) quite standoffish, but I always make sure to greet them, to be friendly to them, even though they often would not return the greetings. When the mother died I wrote a letter to the daughter expressing my condolences.

So imagine my surprise to find this little beauty with a thank you card from the daughter at my doorstep! Makes me smile! I will have to make sure to see her as often as possible in the staircase. I imagine she now feels quite lonely.

795 Reads

Thank You For Helping Me In Getting More Patient

In the middle of this heat our landlord has ordered the renovation of our balconies (tiny as they are). The workers, though kind and willing, are not really organised though, hopping from one balcony to the next. Right now four balconies out of six are being worked on at the same time. To be honest, I had to 'talk' to myself several times aleady not to complain about this, and today one of my neighbours, an 80 year old lady, started complaining - first to me, then to one of the workers. I am glad I was able to listen to her without starting to complain myself or belitteling her problems. At the beginning I thought, well, she usually is at home all the time, while I have to juggle appointments and reschedule them. But fortunately I could understand that the uncertainty for her seems to be almost overwhelming, her quiet day is ... Read Full Story >>

752 Reads

Kindness Results In A Good Laugh

This morning I tended to my little 'tree-garden' when a construction worker from a house nearby came over to ask if I might have a band-aid and some tape for a wound in his finger. His colleagues had left and their first aid kit was in their car. I went up to my apartment on the 3rd floor and got him some iodine ointment to ensure he did not get an infection with the work he was doing, gave him a band-aid and helped wrap everything with strong tape to keep dirt out. A couple of minutes later he came back, looking sheepish, and told me that he had given me the wrong finger. It turns out two fingers were bruised and the skin broken, and he had had me wrap the finger with the smaller wound. No problem, as I still had everything downstairs I tended to his ring finger ... Read Full Story >>

733 Reads

Shoe Laces And Aging

On my way back home today I saw an elderly man on the walkway, sitting down on a bench to re-bind his shoelace. He had problems reaching the laces on his shoe, so I went towards him and aked if I could help him - just this moment he caught his laces and was able to bind his shoes (fortunately I did not startle him into losing hold of the laces again ).

We talked for a short while and he thanked me for noticing his problems and offering to help, especially, when he saw that I was having problems moving around myself. We agreed that aging isn't for the faint hearted and both went laughing our ways with smiles on our faces ... a true win for both of us!

701 Reads

Smile Brings Happiness

Every time I am in 'my' supermarket I make sure to talk to the cashiers, smile at them, wish them a good day, etc. Today one of them looked stressed so I made sure to give her an extra bright smile and her reaction shocked me: She started smiling herself and told me that she always is happy to see me, as I would be one of only a few people who would see her as a human being and not as some sort of cashier robot.

I mean, it is a huge supermarket in the middle of the city, they have lots of customers! And obviously, most of them ignore her as a person. I didn't do anything special, yet it was special to her. While I feel touched and honored by her praise, I am also a bit sad that such basic contact is obviously such a rare commodity for her.

652 Reads

A Simple Gesture And A Grateful Neighbour

Our regular mail carriers know that if I am at home, I am happy to accept parcels for others in our house. This is a small task for me and means my neighbours do not have to go to the post office to collect them.

Yesterday I accepted a parcel for a new neighbour that I have not much contact with yet. We have exchanged greetings and pleasantries but was all so far.

When she came to my door to get her parcel she almost cried with appreciation and told me her days are so busy and crazy that it would have been very difficult for her to go to the post office.

It really was no big deal for me but obviously was important to her. I reassured her that it is no problem and would gladly do this again in the future. It was a reminder to me of another example of how small acts of kindness can make a difference to others. And yes, of course, the parcel was graced with a peace dove ðŸ˜‰ðŸ•Š

637 Reads

That friend who needed a walk

I planned on staying at home today.

Today is the start of the carnival season, but all festivities were canceled due to covid19. I had already heard that many, especially young, people were planning to ignore it and planning to take over the streets (with lots of alcohol involved). So my original plan was: stay at home, stay out of the way of the police who will have the challenge to keep everything quiet.

But a friend of mine contacted me, she's having a bad day and needs some company, so I decided to visit her, to go for a walk with her, to talk with her. It'll be good for me as well.

I just hope my travel to and from there will be peaceful without alcohol saturated youths trying to defeat the police.

Wishing all of you a wonderful day! 🤗

632 Reads

Compassion For Self And Others

I had a long conversation yesterday with an acquaintance who is currently having a difficult time and whom I tried to support amongst others by pointing out her achievements so far, her (inner and outer) beauty, reminding her of situations where she had made a difference in so many others.

This morning I received a "Thank you" message which mentioned - "how come you are always so positive about everything and work on lifting others up?" 😳

The answer is easy: I am not! But helping others to see the good in themselves makes me focus on the positive interactions, the beauty of life and thereby helps me out of my own darker hours as well. (At least as long as the other person is not inherently negative 😉)

Accepting ourselves for what we are, helps us to be more compassionate with ourselves and with others, that we interact with.

608 Reads

When Would Be Convenient?

I had to pick up something from a doctor today, so on the phone, I asked the nurse when the most convenient time would be for them.  There was a moment of silence, then she said everything except between 12 and 2 would be OK.

When I got there at 11:30 am and told my name to the receptionist, she beamed at me.

"People rarely ask which time is convenient for us. They usually only expect us to meet at a time convenient to them. Thank you!" 

554 Reads

Healing Nature

On my way yesterday an acquaintance of mine was feeling a bit low as her day had been a bit challenging. But when we walked to the location of our concert we passed by trees with beautiful fall colours and the sun was shining.

When I pointed that out to her, her mood started to change quickly and she enjoyed the colours, clicked pictures, and was all smiles for the time being.

This is a good reminder that nature is always there to comfort us or shift our perspective. 

528 Reads

Cards For Spring

On the website of an NGO I found these great postcards. The writing translates:

Card in.
Buffet for insects out.

The cards consist of easily composted material with seeds of bee-friendly flowers embedded. You just have to put the card on the ground, cover it lightly with soil and water it, then the flowers should soon grow.

This makes writing real cards to others even more fun! I sent several out to friends and family. I am looking forward to receiving the first photos of the seeds growing.

510 Reads

Responding to a Request for Help

Today I was stopped by a lady who asked me if I could help her find her mobile phone, which she had lost. She later told me that she had turned 80 this year. I did my best, searching in and around her car, her bags, and checking with the cafe where she visited earlier. I also tried calling her phone. Unfortunately, we could not find it. I kept her company until she calmed down and let her use my phone to call a friend. I helped her put her walking frame into her car and offered made a few suggestions for a further search including calling the cafe again to check if the  phone has turned up and contacting the phone provider who might be able to locate the phone.  I felt a bit like I let her down, but I hope I was able to provide a little comfort and company during her stressful ... Read Full Story >>

509 Reads

Tiny Miracles of Nature

Yesterday I stopped at a small scrub and watched the ants 'milking' the aphids / plant louses.   An elderly lady approached the street crossing near which I stood and was struggling with her bags, so I asked her if she needed help. She refused but stopped for a moment to vent -- her day had been difficult so far and she did not feel well. I listened and when she asked me what I was doing and where I was going, I told her that I had been distracted from my own tasks by watching the ants. She was fascinated, looked for them herself and we stood there for another couple of minutes focused on the ants. She told me that as a child she used to be fascinated by all critters but stopped watching them when growing up. When we parted she was far more relaxed, thanked me again for connecting her to ... Read Full Story >>

454 Reads

Gift Of Qigong

Usually, each semester I take a QiGong course via our adult education centre. Our teacher is a wonderful person, explains a lot but mainly practices with us and always gives only positive feedback. Yes, of course, I can practice myself. And I often do so, but practicing with the other women and my teacher is just better.

For the last year the course was canceled due to the virus, but last week she sent us an email and invited us today to meet in a public park (privately). She practiced with us for 1.5 hours expecting no payment (of course we collected it and provided it for her, she is self-employed and needs it).

A beautiful gift for us!

433 Reads

Chocolate Surprise

When I had a neighbour over for breakfast a while ago, while his dog underwent surgery, he especially enjoyed a vegan chocolate
spread I served.

As I saw him today (he is my haircutter and it was about time .... 😉) I made sure to buy a jar of this spread and gave it to him.

I know he will probably never buy it himself as he does not have that much money. Just seeing his smiling eyes over the mask made my day!

418 Reads

A Friend's Gift of Time

A friend of mine made time for me. She is leaving the day after tomorrow for her camper at the sea and still has lots to do but took the time to meet with me. We went for a long walk as she is living on the outskirts of the city and near a forest. Enjoyed a good time with her and brought her some gourmet coffee beans as she loves her coffee.

Here is a poppy we saw along our way.

411 Reads

Opening Up

An acquaintance of mine, who is quite ill and has been withdrawing quite a lot during the last 9 months (not only towards me but towards all of her friends and acquaintances), finally responded to my messages.
We agreed to meet again, so now please cross your fingers that she won't again cancel at the last minute. I keep my fingers crossed. 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

226 Reads


When my neighbour is on vacation I usually care for his flowers.
While he was supposed to be on a 3 week vacation with his partner i received a message yesterday evening, that he has testedpositive and was returning that night.

Although his partner is still testing negative both are self-quarantining, so this morning i bought groceries for them. So far he has just a mild case, like a cold.

I hope it'll remain like this, and that his partner will stay negative.... fortunately for them he has quite a big terrace, so they'll be able to get out of their apartment without endangering anybody.

191 Reads

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