‘Fearless and hopeful’: the building blocks of our new world

I was captivated today by the words of María Branyas, the 113-year-old Spanish woman who has become the oldest COVID-19 survivor. She had this to say on Twitter:

In the solitude of my room, fearless and hopeful, I don’t quite understand what’s going on in the world. But I think nothing will be the same again. And don’t think about redoing, recovering, rebuilding. It will have to be done all over again, and differently.

I love this. It’s a message we’ve heard from many people, talked about over our dinner tables and in our video chats, but it is so much more powerful coming from this unvanquished woman. Fearless and hopeful. Unable to understand, but understanding everything. It’s a massive call to the world, a throwing-down of the gauntlet.

In the Daily Boost Live today, I talked about very small things we might want to carry forward from this time. From the daily call I’ve had with my mom since the start of the crisis, to Ann’s daily visits to the ducks at Chicago’s Botany Pond, to Nicholas’s family’s baking and coffee breaks together, so many people are talking about lessons from the first phase of the crisis that we hope to take forward as the world reopens. Most of them have to do with connecting, coming closer, enjoying our families, showing love.

Worrying about leaving new habits behind is not even a concern for most people; it’s barely on the horizon in Costa Rica, where the solid government response has allowed a four-part reopening plan to be presented. But it’s still worth thinking about, and I enjoyed chatting about it with some of you in recent days.

When I made the video this morning, I was thinking in terms of what we want to hold onto as the world goes back to normal. But as I write this, I think about what doña María had to say, and realize that she’s framed it in different terms: it’s not a question of protecting something new as we return to the ways of old. It’s a question of using what joy or hope we’ve found during these fraught weeks, and using it as the foundation for the new world we hope to build.

Here’s the video. I hope you’re all doing ok.

Costa Rican ecommerce, part I: Daily Boost Live

In an unavoidably delayed, wobbly and internet-deprived Live, I showed off a few reasons why I really love Local Keeps, talked about a family-farming initiative out of Alajuela, and invited everyone to participate in Giving Tuesday Kids Costa Rica. (The alternative title of this video is: Find someone who looks at you the way I look at Caribbean Sabooor.) Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post with more links and information!

What are your grapes for 2020?

Happy New Year!

I’ve written before about the Spanish tradition of eating twelve grapes at midnight, one for each month of the year ahead, and making a wish for that month as you do so. I like to do this on New Year’s Day.

I wished on grapes for my daughter’s birth and Obama’s election (and reelection), so I can tell you it’s very effective. My terrible memory has allowed me to forget most of the failed grapes, although there’s definitely one sitting in the White House. Today I’ll be chewing away, dreaming dreams for the months that are about to glide past.

Here’s one: for February’s grape, I will be wishing for my daughter to get a first-grade teacher she loves. And for November, well, I think you can guess. What will you be wishing for?

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter).