Archive | October 2012

Beautifully explained

Sarah Alexander

Spiritual Intelligence is our connection to, and awareness of, the intelligence of Spirit that is within us all. This intelligence is guiding us through our inner wisdom, our gut feelings and the gentle nudges we receive guiding us on our path. It is there for us to rely on and have trust in at all times. All we have to do is be willing to act on this guidance and allow it to direct every aspect of our lives.

Spiritual Intelligence creates a clear distinction between us as a personality or ego, and us as spiritual essence. As a personality we live our daily lives, think our normal thoughts, and believe that we are the body that we inhabit with all its faults and foibles. As spiritual essence, we still go about our daily lives in the same way in the knowledge that we are not really the body that…

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Behind the scenes of the workie at the BBC

Day five at the BBC and I think I have topped my favourite place to intern at. I have had an incredible week shadowing BJ’s (broadcast journalists), editors, directors and PA’s at BBC South Today, my local regional news channel and I have a newly found love and respect for TV broadcast journalism.

Reham Khan reporting on an OB (Outside Broadcast) outside Winchester Cathedral for BBC South Today

I am excited about my final afternoon as I prepare to go out on an OB (Outside Broadcast) to Winchester with Reham Khan, our local weather girl, Pete Doherty, a rather lovely and energetic producer and the brilliant cameraman Trevor.

As we drive to location, Pete, the producer updates me on the story and the plan, which is to interview a young actor and the director of ‘the Chronicles of Light’, a colourful performance of light and sound telling the history of the Cathedral and it’s people through the ages over 15 performances.

The OB BBC South Today truck outside Winchester Cathedral

This he explains is more of a newsy feature and entertainment piece than really a hard news story. He says it has taken him 15 -20 years to get here and be able to freely shoot these features which I find a little dis-comforting but I remind myself of the realities of getting into such a competitive industry.

Most professional journalists I came into contact with this week, said that they got into radio before TV and often that this is the way to do it. Pete says it can be easier to get a gig with a radio station but much more challenging for TV.

This doesn’t put me off, as I say, “Well someone has to do it, so why can’t it be me.” I think he likes this attitude, however, I secretly think that I have to make myself stand out in this industry and that can be very challenging, but by no means impossible.

The hub where all the footage gets ingested ready for live bulletins on air

I have seen the illusion of the newsroom unfold this week as I discovered how much work goes into producing two minute packages and five minute bulletins. It is pretty crazy the amount of preparation that goes into TV, more so than print and radio.

I fancy myself a producer or perhaps even a presenter in years to come after this weeks placement. It has really given me confidence, shadowing professional presenters such as the lovely Dani Sinha and great producers like Richard Spalding to propel myself forward in the industry and become the best of what I can be and achieve.

I really appreciate good journalism and great journalists when I see them and I have marvelled at Giles Goodman’s editing skills this week and Alex Forsyth’s breaking news reports. It gives me hope that real journalism still exists thanks to the hard work of a team in a sometimes difficult industry.

See BBC South Today for more info and episodes

Heading home

After 30 days of Spanish, 10 days in Spain and 20 days in Colombia, I am reluctantly heading back to the those familiar British Isles I call home.

Leaving Bogota International airport for home

I have had one of the most amazing adventures in Colombia and I have certainly had to improve my Spanish along the way which has been an experience in itself.

Quite honestly, I am not sure where to start chronicling my journey to South America. One which I have wanted to embark on for a long time now, since I was 18 years old and went travelling for the first time.

I guess the excitement really began when I met the Colombian basketball wheelchair Paralympic  team at Heathrow, departing the 2012 London games for home. I suppose they were making the same journey I am now.

The Colombian wheelchair basketball paralympic team are at Heathrow ready to board my flight to Colombia! They are on their way home as I now am on my journey home

That feeling of reflection and wishing I had one more day here in this intriguing and colourful country, washes over me as I board my airbus back to little ol England.

My highlights begin with meeting up with my Colombian friends who I met in England and seeing their transformation from working as waitresses and bussers to hospital adminitrators, journalists and bankers. It was fascinating to see the change in their quality of life now they were back on home turf. However, my good friend Juan revealed to me that it is all relative and that whilst they may be using more professional skills here in Colombia, they are recieving lower wages for those jobs.

The interesting lifestyle choice in Colombia is to stay living with your family for as long as you can as families are massively close, important and often religious. It is not unusual for people like my lovely friend Tati who is 30 this year to still be living with her mother. For them it makes financial sense and they hold family extremely dearly that everyone just mucks in and gets on with living a warm and more properous life.

Slowly I see this patterm emerging in Europe, in Spain especially but perhaps it might spread to the UK as well as the economy slides and families decide it’s more efficient and practicle to stay living as big families under one roof. I personally think there is nothing wrong with this and would debate with sceptics who favour independence and yuppie culture to the heart of the home.

Home is where the heart is but I have played with the idea of one day possibly moving to Spain or South America. As previously mentioned, I have fallen for hispanic culture big time and a life long goal of mine has always been to learn another language fluently and as a young journalist, perhaps now is the time.

I could one day see myself living here but for now I reminicse on my incredible journey, exploring teenage pregnancy, female inequality and abortion as I documented my findings on camera.

Some of the most touching moments came out of nowhere, were not planned interviews and required a little bit of spontaneous, on the spot journalism but they were by far the best.

I remember back to meeting Julia and Vanessa on a clifftop in La Calera, overlooking the city at night.

I recall trekking up to Monserrate, a church on top of a mountain and expriencing a traditional Colombian Catholic mass.

I can’t forget my most memorable experience at one of the world’s best restaurants, Andres, that excited my senses and satisfied my pallet.

Or the beautiful baby Thomas, Tatiana’s nephew who I couldn’t stop smiling at.

What about my guide, translator and new found friend Juan Carlos, who showed me the way to Juan Felipe – the essence and heart of my story.

The rogue teacher who agreed to an interview about sex education in schools.

The human rights lawyers and stong women who were fighting for justice and womens rights in a very contraversial country.

The young mothers of my tale that were staring at uncertain but hopeful futures.

Leon, the big cuddly man who cared about women and their lives.

Dennis, the young teenage father who had only just found out at 18 he would be a dad.

Anna, the sociologist and journalist who was researching teenage pregnancy for her thesis and told of corrupt governments.

Jimena, the ex-girlfriend of my English mate and a survivor after heartbreak.

The kind and generous nature of Tatiana and her family. Her loving and funny mother who contined to talk to me in Spanish despite my mis-understanding.

And Norma, the incredibly inspirational waitress from Crepes and Waffles who be-friended us and gave me her heart neckless- the heart I brought back from Colombia.

The heart of Colombia, given to me by Norma

How to party like a Colombian

It was my last night in Bogota, Colombia and it certainly didn’t dissapoint! I was promised a good time and what I got was a lesson in Champeta, Reggaton and Salsa dance and the most amazing night with some incredible friends, old, best and new.

Matildelina- the coolest club in Bogota

Maltidelina was the club, our friend Luis Carlos kindly got us free entry to and it is rumoured to be one of the busiest and best clubs in Bogota. It was certainly very busy when we arrived and later I realised why.

They had a live 10 piece band on playing who were incredibly energetic and got everyone up dancing and singing. You couldn’t escape it and I soon found Colombian music infectious. It got underneath your skin and I found myself helplessly moving to the beats of Champeta (a local music) and Reggaton (a kind of Spanish rap that is rather erotic and apparantly has very suggested lyrics), both of which were encouraging some rather sexual dancing from the locals.

My friend Juan then proceeded to try and teach me Salsa. My Brazilian friend Weverson, had tried to teach me this previously so I had sort of the idea of the movement but Juan said I needed to relax more and move from the hips and the lower back. Goodness me, this was certainly a very seductive dance.

Interestingly, I thought back to the many teenagers I had interviewed and recalled what a couple of them had mentioned about some kinds of Colombian music influencing their sexual health choices. The music I was now listening to seemed to echo their words. I could see how some of these couples would go home tonight and feel the heat of the music between the sheets!

Next on was a Shakira-like lady who got the whole crowd singing to her Colombian ballad and a sense of patriotism came over me. Despite not being native, my friends here had made me feel so welcome, I felt I could join in. While not knowing the Spanish words, I started to sing to the tune and became wrapped up in a little bubble of lovely hispanic energy.

So it is safe to say I will really miss the incredible friends I have made here and this amazing culture. There is certainly something about the hispanic way of living that I can’t shake. It is like a love affair I cannot help and it will be long before I can get over it. And as my Colombian friends would say, ‘if you can’t get over it, get under it’ 😉

Tatiana and I having lots of fun on her birthday celebration night and my last evening in Colombia