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Today, I bring you a giveaway from SouleMama Sponsor The Little Travelers. In Angelina's own words:
"The Little Travelers produces children's DVDs that give a little insight to the life of a child in foreign countries. From birthday parties in Japan to going to a mosque with young sisters in Iran, we love to delve into other cultures and explore them from inside the neighborhood, rather than from a hotel."
You can follow along with the Little Travelers blog, too!
SouleMama: Tell us about your background. What path led you to the work you do today?
Angelina: Both of my parents are immigrants to this country, so perhaps wanderlust is in my blood. Since the time that I was in high school I worked during the year so I could travel in the summer. Back-packing through Europe at 16, 19 and 21, a summer job in Jamaica at 20- it was part of my lifestyle. Two weeks after graduating from college I was on a plane to Japan where I worked as an English teacher for three years and met the girls' dad. After returning to the States, I went to grad school and then had a few children, which had me state-side for a lifetime record of nearly a decade. I was itching to get traveling again but knew I wanted to wait until my youngest was three, at which point diapers, strollers and baby paraphernalia are a thing of the past and there is a bit more flexibility in nap schedules and such. So, when the girls were three and five, we headed to Japan for a three month stay in Kyoto. Just about a week before leaving I had the idea to document the trip for other kids and families, who would likely never visit Japan. Statistically speaking, most Americans will not visit Japan in their lifetimes. So, I quickly immersed myself into Apple Camp for adults, bought the necessary equipment and that was our beginning. My schooling is in Child Development and Psychology and I knew I wanted to focus more on the human interactions rather than the physical places in each country because that is where my own personal interests lie. Had I been a History major, the DVDs would be entirely different.
SouleMama: What inspires you?
Angelina: Well, the short answer is, everything. Right now the sun is rising outside my window turning the sky shades or orange to purple and I can hardly focus on writing this. I want to get out my camera (ok, cameras...the old poloroid, the holga...), my pastels, my paints (but which ones? water, oil, acrylic...), put on my walking shoes and go for a walk- all of it! If I watch a movie and it shows someone running, I feel inspired to start a new running program, etc, etc. Then there's politics, big food, health issues and don't get me started on schooling! I have Chronic Inspiration ADD (CIADD). With all the labeling going on these days, why not add another?
But in relation to the DVDs I produce, the human being is what fascinates and inspires me. Stories. I love people's stories and being challenged to think differently. Like when we were in Iran and I had just met a young mother of a toddler. Her English was minimal and when her husband invited the girls and I for dinner to their home she just quietly smiled. The minute we walked in the door of her home, she whipped off her hejab with one fell swoop and said, "F*cking hejab! I hate it!" Then she plopped herself down on the couch and her toddler pulled up her shirt and began nursing. There was not the slightest bit of discomfort on her side, nor an attempt to cover herself in any way. Moments like this send my head spinning. I finally managed to say, "So, is it common for Iranian women to nurse their babies a long time?" And she replied, "The government says we must until age two." Now, I'm a super natural, homebirthing, extended nursing mom who is a huge advocate for such behavior, but I am wildly passionate about freedom. But there is that ruler part of me that would just LOVE to have the power to make people do the right thing. And that's the power of a Theocracy. They want the strongest army and the smartest population so they mandate breast feeding until age two. When I get caught in these moments of mental challenge where for a few nights I cannot sleep because I can't figure out what I think about a certain subject that has suddenly presented itself to me and have to live with that ambiguity- well, that's when I feel completely inspired. Maybe because I have both Jewish and German blood in me, I feel most alive when chewing on internal conflict- who knows? But I absolutely love the feeling of having my belief system stretched, opened up and expanded.
SouleMama: Tell us about your customers.
Angelina: I love my customers. They are the best. Whenever I'm having a rough day, I pull out some old emails from customers who have poured their heart out to me. It's funny how a DVD on travel can bring up so much for many people. Some write just saying that they hadn't considered going to a certain country before with their own children and feel like a whole new world has opened up for them. Others are quite clear that they never intend to travel to a certain destination, but are so happy that their family now feels like the people in the DVDs are personal friends. I love the emails from women saying they found their husband finishing the DVD after the kids went to bed because he just couldn't turn it off. But the most meaningful to me are at times like the recent tsunami in Japan, or when the riots broke out in Iran, and I received letters of concern for the people in the DVDs. Customers felt like they had a connection to them and cared about their well-being. This means, the psychologist in me has done her job. My biggest, grandest hope for the DVDs is that they would change the world, of course. But even one family feeling changed by them is a win for me. For the next generation to grow up feeling connected to people on the other side of the world rather than separate from them is my greatest hope. The simple realization that humanity is a family greater than any national border could dictate. Our children already understand this- that our safety lies in our ability to care for each other, not blow blow each other up.
A note from Angelina: The DVDs are very child focused and are depictions of a child's perspective of each country. There are no political, social or other adult subjects addressed. Since my day job is that of a Waldorf-inspired preschool teacher, I am very sensitive to the protection of childhood and keeping the innocence of that period alive. I share my responses with you above as adults having a conversation. My experience is entirely different than my children, but the DVDs are about the children's experiences, not mine.
For today's giveaway, The Little Travelers is generously offering the following package to ONE winner:
In addition, The Little Travelers is donating 20% of all proceeds from the Japan DVDs to tsunami relief. Also, when you buy 4 DVDs, the 5th is free.
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Thank you to The Little Travelers!
To enter, please leave a comment in today's post (one entry per person, please). Comments will close on Sunday by 8am EST. Winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced here in this post by Monday evening.
Comments closed! The winner is...
Oh! We'd LOVE this one! Thank you!
Posted by: Carrie @Rhubarb Sky