IMTAC Issue No. 05

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ISSUE 05

INSIDE

CROWNED EMPOWERMENT feat. DILAY AND LIZZY WHAT'S IT LIKE TO BE PREGNANT COPING WITH RED DAYS, DEALING WITH BLUE DAYS

FOUR WOMEN VS ONE OCEAN THE TENACITY AND ENDURANCE OF THE ONE OCEAN CREW


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Our Purpose To be the voice for and from girls and young women, to: •

Create a safe space for girls and young women.

Hear from other girls and women on their journeys.

Understand how to deal with the pressures placed on them by peers, adults, the fashion and personal care industries

Learn how to navigate a male-dominated society

Talk about subjects they feel too embarrassed or ashamed to raise.

Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels

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I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGA ZINE

strength, beauty, and brains Well! Summer has been and gone, so have the Olympics. It hasn’t been an easy one for us in the IMTAC trenches as we deal with family issues, school starts and a ramped up Hong Kong… but here we are with our 5th issue! We celebrate 4 women of Olympian courage as they take on the ocean for sustainability; we gaze in wonder at the photography of a single subject; and we learn that actuarial science and artistry can be two sides of the same coin. Then, read on to hear from one mom’s pregnancy journey, nutrition advice when you have your period and so much more! As an aside and shameless plug, I released a new single #gettingtome on 28th August. Listen to it here and tell us what you think! Remember to seize opportunities to build your inner strength and confidence!

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Q Gonzales

PARTNER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Kimberley Kleczka

PARTNER, EDITOR, STYLIST & JOURNALIST

Loulou Von Spiel

features

FOUNDER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

IN THIS

ISSUE 5

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IMTAC TEAM

Deborah Mannas

ISSUE 05 KIM

EDITOR, WRITER & ILLUSTRATOR

Actuarial Artistry

CONTRIBUTORS:

Luana Thomas Jenny Chang Cecilia Ao Denise Patel Jeannie Chan KELY Support Group

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PUBLISHED AND PRODUCED BY

Regeneration Media Ltd.

A-C 25/F Seabright Plaza 9-23 Shell St. North Point, Hong Kong

DILAY & LIZZY

Crowned Empowerment

JANETTE, JEN, EMILY & ERIN

On Our Cover

One Ocean Crew

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Four women of olympian grit row non-stop for days to save the oceans!

YOU!

CHRISTINA

The Not-So-Uniform Life

JULIE

Live Your Dream

articles

We want to hear from

If you have any questions, ideas, stories you want to share, people you want us to feature, or photos of your joy send them all to info@morethanacover.com

30 dealing with blue days

09 Crowned Empowerment

33 me, myself, and eye

16 what's it like to be pregnant

38 the not-so-uniform life of christina matula

by kimberley Kleczka

by jeannie chan, kely support group by loulou von spiel

by Jenny chang

24 one ocean crew

sections

by kimberley kleczka

03 43 20

4

43

Actuarial artistry 05 by deborah mannas

by luana thomas

We’ll collect all of them and have them published in the coming issues of IMTAC! So keep sending in your questions, stories, and photos!

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editorial by deborah mannas

strength, beauty, and brains

what's your style by kimberley kleczka

live your dream

Health, nutrition and you by denise patel

50 52 54 56

ask ceci creativity corner find your joy in the next issue

coping with red days

DISCLAIMER | The views expressed in "IMTAC | I’m More Than A Cover Magazine" are not necessarily those of the editor or contributors. The publisher and editor cannot be held responsible for differences of opinion or statements published in good faith. The publisher, contributors, their employees and partners are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors, or omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication and expressly disclaim all and any liability for any such action of any person. The mention of specific companies or products in articles or advertisements does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by this magazine or its publisher in preference to others of a similar nature which are not mentioned or advertised. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without expressed permission from the IMTAC team.


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by Deborah Mannas

M

eet Kim Yeoh, new CFO of Sun Life Asia, passionate DE&I

advocate, and artist, as she

talks about the actuarial profession, her leadership, her values and her art. Kim, you’re one of the very few women actuaries who heads a regional actuarial team. And now you’ve just been promoted to regional CFO, another very rare posting for a woman. I think what’s important to note here is that I’m not the first. There have been a number of women actuaries in very senior roles in the insurance industry in Asia. I’ve been fortunate to count some of them as friends and mentors.

And more importantly, I want to make sure I don’t remain one of a few and more women see this path as accessible to them too. Tell us what drew you to the actuarial profession? I loved mathematics in school and wanted to study it in university. Actuarial Science seemed like a great opportunity to apply

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is very structured and well-defined – there are

the environment you’re in.

go through – it’s challenging

Sometimes, communication

but can be achieved with

can be a challenge as one

hard work, perseverance

needs to be mindful about

and determination, that also

communicating technical

made it appealing to me.

issues to non-technical people.

And what’s the best thing for you about being an actuary?

in a business context. Once I understood more about actuarial science and particularly its applications in the insurance industry, I was committed. In insurance, we help households ensure financial security and contribute to resilience in society as a whole. Also, the path to becoming a qualified actuary

Actuaries use mathematics to solve business problems, most often we would quantify and value uncertain future events and risks. For example, actuaries would be involved in pricing the premiums for an insurance policy and for setting up the appropriate liabilities on the insurance company’s books. We look at

challenging, but the flip side of that is that it is the same for everyone: hard work and merit are rewarded. You don’t get to become an actuary by knowing someone or calling in favours – it’s quite egalitarian in that sense. What preconceived perceptions did you encounter as you rose in the profession and how did you overcome them? There is a real sense of

occurring at some point in the

community in the actuarial

future and determine what the

profession, possibly fostered

equivalent value of that is today.

by the qualification process.

The thing I like most about able to use mathematics and logic to better understand what’s going on in the business and then using that understanding to explain the story and solve problems. I find it immensely rewarding. What’s the most challenging thing about being an actuary? I don’t know that there are specific challenges about being an actuary, it really

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Becoming an actuary can be

the probability of these events

being an actuary is being

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Think about where you can and want to make an impact, then do it. Be proactive and contribute. Be curious. And always be ready to learn.

role or job you have and

a series of examinations to

What does an actuary do?

mathematics

depends on the particular

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered preconceived perceptions within the profession – colleagues saw me as a peer and an actuary before anything else. Where I have encountered assumptions are in the wider business world like many other women. Luckily I often had very strong support from my male colleagues and bosses throughout my career. You are one of the strongest role models for DE&I that I know of. What made you so passionate about it?


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Fairness is one of my core personal values and I get very very incensed by injustice. Very often it just doesn’t make sense and it simply offends my sense of logic and rationality! Why should women or a particular minority group be treated “less than”? A more equitable and just world is a more prosperous (and rational!) world and we should all be passionate about making that happen. What are some of the things girls should be aware of if they want to “make it” in the profession?

opportunity to learn and to contribute. I started my career in Canada with a company called Mutual Life of Canada, which was later acquired by Sun Life, the company I’m

There is an element of getting in the door of

with now. I then moved for roles in the United

this profession, ie the qualification process I

States, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Indonesia

referred to earlier. To make it through that, it

and now I’m in Hong Kong. Each move was to

is mostly putting in the work, time and effort.

quite different roles but built on a foundation

Having early awareness of the profession

of technical skills and business acumen that

and an interest in mathematics is key here

I developed throughout. As my roles got

as well. I used to do professional outreach to

progressively more senior I realised that success

high school and university students about the

and achievement only happens as a team. It’s

profession to encourage a more diverse intake.

truly important to value the people you work

Once you’re through that door, “making it” is

with and understand how you can

similar to making it in business. You need to

work best together.

have drive and ambition. Have confidence and persevere. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Think about where you can and want to make an impact, then do it. Be proactive and contribute. Be curious. And always be ready to learn.

I had left Sun Life when I left Canada but rejoined the company when I moved to Hong

Can you describe your journey

Kong. It feels like

to your leadership roles?

coming full circle.

I have been very fortunate in my career with

What gets you

supportive mentors and colleagues who

truly excited

encouraged me to go for opportunities that

about your job?

presented themselves. I have worked in six different countries and I think that has really enriched my career. I saw each move as an

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I love it when I can see that I have made

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a positive impact. It can

drop out of the workforce

We expect that advancement

be in many different ways –

later in life, especially

should go to the individuals

sometimes it’s in the business

as they rise through the

who’ve expressed the most

results, sometimes it’s in

ranks. What advice would

desire for it but often that may

feedback from colleagues and

you give girls to help

cost us our best talent. We

team members where they take

them stay the course?

need to encourage qualified

on board something I’ve said.

Have confidence and don’t limit

Were you always confident

yourself. Be open to different

about your career path?

opportunities and different

In a way yes, because I have always loved what I do. I can’t say that I mapped it out like this – luck and circumstance has played a big part in how things turned out. But as long as I’ve enjoyed the work I do and enjoyed working with the people I work with, I’ve been really happy and I haven’t doubted myself. I’m really gateful for the opportunities that have come my way. Research shows that girls often do better than boys in school and university, but

paths. There isn’t just one model of leadership. If women are dropping out because they can’t see themselves in those leadership positions, I’d ask them to articulate what

and apply to rise through the ranks and we need to make it easy for them to do so. I wouldn’t encourage ambition for advancement for the sake of advancement, but I’d like to see ambition to do a great job and to have a bigger impact.

leadership looks like to them.

You have two daughters

I would also tell girls and

(is that right?) Do they talk

women that if they do have

about issues they face

to drop out of the workforce,

as girls? Would you be

don’t beat themselves up, it’s

comfortable sharing your

not their fault. I’m sad when

words of wisdom to them?

women drop out but I don’t blame them. As a society we collectively need to make it easier for women to stay in the workforce, to advance and contribute. We’ll all be the richer for it. Too often, our expectation of ambition, drive and hunger is a masculine one.

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candidates to have confidence

Yes, I have two lovely daughters. I tell them they can do whatever they set their minds to. And whatever they decide to do and be, above all, be kind. Follow you Kimfor onthe Instagram: Thank opportunity to share my thoughts! | @ky_water_colours


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Style Spotlight Kimberley Chats with

Dilay and Lizzie Photographer | Wop Van Eis Hair | Hikmet Kuskal - Indola Makeup | Saida Chekouri

by Kimberley Kleczka

W

hen one thinks of beauty pageants, perhaps the movie Miss Congeniality comes to mind. A comedic film starring Sandra Bullock, it's about an FBI agent who goes undercover as a contestant and gets trained to be a pageant winner. This may be a fun point of view, but in reality, competing in a pageant is a tough journey. Beauty pageants may not be an obvious platform for young female empowerment, yet I hope to challenge the biases by introducing two inspiring young Dutch women who have given their all to compete within their country and on the up-coming international stage. It takes determination, mental

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toughness, competitiveness, lots of hard work and perseverance to get there and be crowned a winner! The tiny European country of the Netherlands introduced the Miss World pageant in 1951. The Dutch know it as Miss Nederland. Once the winner is crowned, she is then prepared to compete at the international Miss World Pageant event, which is held in a different country every year. This year will be the 70th anniversary of

Miss World. The event is scheduled to be held in December in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Miss World organisation has raised millions of Pounds for charities that help underprivileged and disabled children around the world. As a former pageant judge and international talent coach for Miss Netherlands World, Miss Netherlands Universe and the Miss America program, I have a deep understanding of what it takes for young women to compete internationally. For more than a decade, I have worked with hundreds of self-disciplined, smart, confident, and talented women pursuing their dreams of becoming the next Miss World, Miss Universe or Miss America. I will always treasure my memories of the endless hours we spent together, preparing for each competition. There are many responsibilities that come with the title of Miss Netherlands. She must devote and commit herself to perfecting her talent. She needs to be stage ready, refining her English (as a non-native English speaker) and preparing herself for the interview portion of the competition. In addition to all of this preparation, she is keeping fit, conducting public speaking engagements and representing her country

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as an empowering ambassador. In June of this year Dilay Williemstein won the Miss World Netherlands title, and Lizzy Dobbe was named first runner up. After a year of COVID shutdowns, The Miss World event was rescheduled for December 2021. Miss Netherlands, v provided some insight into her up and coming event. Dilay, how do you have to present yourself as an ambassador for your country? Dilay: I want to be a role model for the

younger generation, support and show them that we can all help each other. It is important to use your own personal experiences to help other people. Do you have to portray a certain image as Miss Netherlands? D: Yes, you do. For me, it is about

being a strong, empowering woman who speaks up for her own beliefs. What brings you personal joy as Miss Netherlands? D: Being around my Miss Netherlands family,

perfecting my singing, dance routine and helping others is what makes me happy. Tell me about your scholarship? D: I won a one-year academic scholarship in

Neuromarketing and Behaviour Psychology. Hein Heijen, a specialist and expert of Neuromarketing presented the scholarship to me at the Miss Netherlands pageant. Your next step is competing in the Miss

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World event, what sort of preparation are you doing? D: I’m getting lots of help

from all of my coaches. I will be working on my sports, talent, interview skills and English language. What talent will you be performing at Miss World? D: I will be singing and

dancing to a song that I have personally written. Every year more than 140 country representatives, have a specific task, they must complete, prior to The Miss World event. This platform is called Beauty with a Purpose. The contestants can set up their own charities or work with specific charities that help their communities and countries. What is your platform for Beauty with a Purpose?

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D: I created my own

campaign to raise awareness about mental health. I will be interviewing and documenting other people’s stories in a non-judgmental and safe platform.

I also had the pleasure of speaking with Lizzy Dobbe (first runner-up) and Dilay about their perspective on sustainability and style.

How important are colours to you? And do you have a favourite? Lizzy: I think colours are very

important. You can evoke a certain feeling in someone with a colour. For example,

red conveys a sense of warmth and enthusiasm, and black conveys a sense of elegance and authority. If you want to convey a message, you can make it even more powerful by wearing an appropriate colour. My favourite colour is white because it represents hope, peace, and tranquility. What is your personality style? L: Classic and elegant

because I think you should always look my best as a Miss. I also think a classic and elegant look radiates strength and confidence. What does sustainability mean to you both? D: Sustainability


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improves the quality of our lives, protects our ecosystem, and preserves natural resources for future generations. Some examples of this are wind energy, solar energy, crop rotation, water efficient fixtures and green spaces. L: For me, sustainability means taking good care

of our planet and thinking about the future. I am a big nature lover. I become calm when I have a lot of green around me. I really enjoy a walk in the woods or in the park. To maintain this natural beauty, it is important to think about sustainability. I try to make my personal contributions through simple adjustments in my life. Examples of this are buying second-hand stuff and clothes, separating rubbish for recycling, not wasting food and cycling or walking instead of taking the car. What outfit would you both wear on a typical day? D: On a typical day I wear a dress or a nice

suit. During summertime, I wear happier colours like pink, yellow, blue and in wintertime I like to wear a lot of pastel colours. L: A classic dress with heels is very typical for me. Do each one of you have a favourite piece of clothing? D: I have a beautiful long dress, red with

special figures and long sleeves. L: My favourite is a long golden prom dress, in

which my mother was married to my father. My parents are great examples for me. They have been together since a young age and are still in love with each other after all these years. What brings you the greatest joy? D: Being with the people I love and practicing

my singing, dancing and developing my creativity makes me very happy. L: I feel joy by helping others and making a

difference. As a social worker I have found that if I can help people, I get a positive feeling. I

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believe that being kind to each other is one of the most important things in life. What also brings me happiness is being surrounded by the people I love. My family is everything to me.

shop and a long white, wide blouse that you can wear with a belt as a summer dress.

Where do you both love to shop and what were the last two items you purchased?

of pearls; I love it!

D: I bought a brown 2-piece set from Na-kd.

The pants are flare pants, and the top is with one arm closed and one arm open. Zara

and Na-kd, are my favourite places to shop! L: I really enjoy shopping in second-hand

stores because I think it is important to think about sustainability. You will also find one-ofa-kind items in second-hand stores that no one else has. When I go on holiday, I always check out vintage stores. I find the most beautiful clothes. I recently acquired a white vintage dress that I bought in a 2nd hand

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Do you have a fun accessory that you guys really like? D: I have a purse made entirely

L: I have an old pair of sunglasses that

belonged to my grandfather. They are very old pilot sunglasses. I have not worn

them yet; they are very precious and sentimental to me. So, I keep them safe. The IMTAC family wishes you both all the best of luck with your amazing journeys ahead. Miss Netherlands, do you have a special message you would like to share with our young readers? D: Thank you for interviewing me, Kimberley.

Being part of the Miss World Netherlands


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has always been my dream, and I gave it 100%. My belief is, if you really want something in life, you should go for it with determination and work hard. You can do and be everything that you strive for. Always believe in your dreams, you can make them into a reality. |

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I

was looking away from it. After what felt like the longest three minutes of my entire life. When I looked back at it, the ClearBlue pregnancy test read: Pregnant, 1-2 weeks. This is how it was like for me, from that moment on.

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO BE

PREGNANT? by Luana D'Elias Thomas

Photo by Janko Ferlic from Unsplash 16

1st Trimester Week 1 and 2 So even before the test, I noticed spots on my forehead. I felt super thirsty and had to pee more. Then something unusual happened, a craving for olives, which I had never liked. My suspicions that I might be pregnant began then.


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Weeks 3 and 4 Before I had my baby, I thought pregnancy would be the easiest part of motherhood. You don’t need to have your period for nine months, what else is there to it?

blown away. Fully formed and about the size of a lemon, it wriggled so much! Those movements were fixed in my mind. (No wonder it took so much out of me, the main parts of my tiny little human were done.) I finally decided to share the news. Breasts were still sore, even the bra hurt over them.

Week 5 I noticed my sense of smell had heightened: the instinct that some smells weren’t good for the baby had already kicked in. I also had some mild cramps and was physically exhausted.

2nd Trimester

Week 6 and 7 I felt drained of energy. Nausea had started, the feeling that I was going to be sick just didn’t go away. I did a lot of retching but didn’t actually vomit. I also had some serious fatigue. Week 8 to 10 Nausea was in full swing. I was thinking “This is really really hard, how did my mother do this twice?”. I had flashbacks of my teenage years, when I had treated my mum badly, lacking any sort of appreciation. In that moment, carrying my own baby, I felt so awful, knowing she had gone through the same thing while carrying me safely inside her. I deeply apologised and she reassured me this phase would pass. Then I became incredibly emotional. I was easily irritated, or I could be laughing and suddenly crying within seconds. My hormones were in overdrive and my body didn’t know if it was coming or going. My breasts started to feel sore too. Week 11 and 12 The spots on my forehead cleared. I started to feel less weak but still nauseous. I saw the baby at the 12 week scan and was

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Week 13 I was told by then (12 weeks/3 months) that nausea would go away. Well, it didn’t. I was very disappointed. My gums bled a bit when brushing my teeth. Week 14 to 17 (4 months) Nausea finally eased away. Basically the placenta fully formed could now sustain the baby without taking too much out of me. A bump was beginning to show and as it grew, began to be itchy. With this rapid growth spurt, I felt this sharp pain in the ligaments of my uterus. I had pelvic pain, lower back pain, bum muscle pain. I felt like my internal organs were shifting. Then... some flutters. The flutters turned into bubblings. Blubblings turned into tickles. It was my baby moving! Week 18 to 20 Once, I sneezed and pee came out. I felt so humiliated, as I was out when it happened. That’s when I realised I had not done any pelvic floor exercises. After that, I did them everyday. It helped a lot. The ligament pain was getting more intense. I began to notice skin tags around my neck. I became more forgetful, also known as “baby brain”. The baby tickles were getting stronger everyday. I loved feeling my

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baby move and kick. No, it doesn’t hurt. It’s by far my favourite part of pregnancy. Week 21 to 24 I would wake up in the middle of the night because of pins and needles in my hands, sometimes dizzy too if I was lying on my back. So I had to sleep on my side. The baby tickles had turned to flicks. I could feel the baby moving loads and it became visible. Alas this can happen anytime, and you suffer from sleep deprivation. Constipation kicked in. Ligament pain, pelvic pain, lower back pain, internal organs shifting-feel continued. A temporary period-like cramps gave me a fright, and I worried about the baby arriving too early. I knew getting to 26 weeks was important, more viable for the baby to survive. Mood swings continued. Week 25 to 27 (7 months) My body would stiffen up if I was in one position for too long. At that point, my bump was much heavier. I continued to exercise but my yoga classes were getting harder, I had to get used to my balance changing, and how to accommodate my growing bump. Bouncing on a yoga ball

helped with a lot of the aches previously mentioned. I finally saw a faint black line appear on my bump, called linea nigra (black line). It’s very common. Insomnia, heartburn and a bit of breathlessness started.

3rd Trimester Week 28 to 30 weeks : I was up by 5am, baby moving much more forcefully waking me up. Sometimes the baby pushed or moved position and my bump would change shape. Some felt uncomfortable but I loved watching my bump acrobatics. Then a rhythmic tapping inside started: the baby having hiccups.

A heavier bump, heartburn and growth aches sustained and my nails were growing faster than usual. Mood swings were back, laughing to crying in the blink of an eye. Also a nose bleed and waking up once with swollen feet occured. Then at 30 weeks I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and I was devastated. Basically my body couldn't cope with all

the hormone levels and if untreated the baby can grow disproportionally. I found out that my baby did not like me distressed. I apologised to the bump once and the baby responded with a kick. It was magical to feel the bond with this tiny human I was yet to meet. I felt like the baby had said “it’s gonna be ok mum”. Week 31 to 34 : My legs were tiring easily and stiffening up if I sat extensively yet I'd get backache if standing for too long . Basically, you can’t win! At one point I was closely monitored as my baby was deemed “too small”. Had another scan and loved how the baby was drinking the amniotic fluid. It was mesmerising to see the gulps. Eventually the baby went back to “normal” on its own. That was when I realised you already worry so much about your child. Sometimes you see the baby slide inside. It makes the bump look like jelly. You notice the elbows or feet poking out too. My belly button popped out. Nesting instincts really kicked in, the urge to get the house clean, tidy and wanting the baby’s room to be ready.

Photos by Charles Deluvio (left) and Jonathan Borba (opposite page) from Unsplash 18


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Week 35 to 37 : This phase is physically harder. Your bump is so much heavier and you struggle just to get up in the morning. Since sleeping sideways meant the whole weight was to one side, I had to wait for it to re-adjust so I could move without losing my balance. I could no longer see my feet, moved at a slower pace and needed more breaks.

The responsibility of it all is immense. So take your time, don’t rush into something so big too soon. Enjoy your freedom as much as possible, because it will be scarce once you have a baby. |

Sore hips and knee joints, and the other pains carried on. I could feel little feet and joints pushing out of my bump. The baby changing positions (to breech, the right way round rather than upside down)was extremely uncomfortable. And after all my antenatal classes and much practice, I was ready. Initially I was scared about birth, but learning how my body worked gave me confidence. I was looking forward to it. I couldn’t wait to meet my child. At 37 weeks you are officially full term, and your baby can arrive any moment between then and 42 weeks.

This text is to illustrate what it was like for me, the good, the bad and the ugly side of it, but every pregnancy is different (even to the same person). Pregnancy is not easy. Most of the things you go through are hidden lessons for what’s to come, for motherhood. From the insomnia preparing you for the sleepless nights, to the estimated due date teaching you about patience, to labour and birth showing you endurance and stamina. If you can cope with that, then you can cope with the chaos of the first three months of your baby’s life.

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Luana D'Elias Thomas is the founder of a platform www.getoffmyback.co.uk to help mums-to-be reduce anxieties and fears about birth. To work towards the positive birth experience that all women deserve. She loves all things pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood. For more conversations follow: @getoffmyback.co.uk

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HEALTH, NUTRITION, AND YOU

by Denise Patel, Clinical Nutritionist

H

ow does your body cope with your menstruation? Why we need to engage with menstruation rather than disengage from it!

Menstruation is a unique occurrence, while some breeze through it without even the slightest headache or belly bloat, some of us are scrambling up the wall for respite. The easiest way to cope with your period is to accept that your body is different to any other. Once you accept that you can start managing your cycle. Even though I experienced “premenstrual syndrome” as a teenager, no one ever advised me on what to expect and how to manage it. I was actually well into my twenties when I went out of my way to read about it. “Premenstrual syndrome” can include abdominal and lower back pain, belly bloat, lethargy, anxiety, inability to focus on school and college work. Heavy periods can sometimes impact on our social life. If not addressed, extreme symptoms can lead to further health problems, so speak to someone who will offer support. We are aware that periods or menstruation occurs naturally between the age of 11 to 13, menarche is the onset of menstruation, your

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first period. It’s important that you make a note of this date as health practitioners always add this to the timeline of illness related to women’s reproductive health. The breakdown of the uterus lining is what results in your period, in the absence of pregnancy. The loss of blood during our period if heavier than normal (scant to light to medium flow would classify as normal) can lead to Iron deficiency anaemia, and therefore deplete us of our iron stores. A GP can arrange a blood test to determine your iron levels. So if you are feeling tired after your period, this could be the reason. Note excess Calcium can interfere with Iron absorption so also can tannins in coffee and tea, grapes, red and purple rice and red wine (if you are legally allowed to drink). Dysmenorrhea is painful periods, the nerve endings in the lower abdominal and back area are sensitised due to the onset of your period. Period pain is manageable for some, scary for some and intolerable for some. Remember each of us has a unique response to our period and if it’s like clockwork, every 28 days, then our bodies are in tune with the process. During these days of painful periods we turn to conventional medicine for relief, with


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paracetamol or prescribed pain medication. Paracetamol capsules are safe and effective to take when required as per product/ pharmacy instructions, consult with your GP. Pain relief tips: lying down with a hot water bottle, drinking warm milk with a teaspoon or turmeric and honey (a traditional Indian remedy) to encourage the flow of blood and relieve muscle tension. Exercise also works for some, a walk, yoga stretches, meditation. Avoid hot soups or drinks at this time as they tend to enhance blood loss. Use your meditation app, stress can reduce pain tolerance. See the nutrients listed below. Amenorrhea is the absence of a period during the reproductive years, a missed period should be investigated to rule out pregnancy. The National institute of health suggests asking for medical advice if menstruation has not commenced by 16 years old. Continued missed periods could also indicate underlying disease such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS, accompanied symptoms of excess weight gain, acne and facial hair). Your GP may do further investigations to determine PCOS.

Nutrients to consider •

B vitamins – energy nutrients found in a variety of foods such as fruit, vegetables, animal products. A B complex is ideal to give you that additional mental and physical boost during these period dreary days. Your friends will ask you what your secret is! Thiamine, Vitamin B1 has been used for pain relief along with fish oil capsules (bioceuticals.com.au, 2018).

Vitamin C – a powerful anti-oxidant helps strengthen your body’s natural immune defences and a wound healer, found in fruit such as oranges, kiwi fruit and berries and vegetables such as capsicum, chillies and tomatoes (healthline.com/nutrition highlights the impressive benefits of Vitamin C)

Zinc – taken with vitamin C is a match made in heaven, boosting immunity and supporting reproductive health. 50mg of Zinc sulphate has been proven to ease pain symptoms (bioceuticals.com.au for information).

Iron – found in meats, mussels, fortified milks, spinach, and kale. Think of green smoothie on those tiring days and add some blue berries for sweetness and added anti-oxidant benefit.

Green tea – fabulous anti-oxidant, drink it warm or at room temperature too, it helps with liver detoxification too.

Ginger – has an anti-inflammatory effect, steep fresh grated ginger in hot water then drink when tepid, or add to juices or warm desserts, dice and add to stir fries. Pickled ginger is tasty with an added probiotic effect on the gut. The warming effect of ginger can ease symptoms of pain, bloating and nausea (medicalnewstoday.com highlights the benefits of ginger, reviewed by qualified medical practitioners).

Magnesium – has been trialled in clinical studies proven to be helpful in relieving mood swings and cramping along with vitamin B6.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Copyright © 2021. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Supplement dosage should be administered under the guidance of a qualified naturopath or nutritionist, other medications and medical conditions must be considered. Nutrients from food sources first is my best policy!

Work with your body, not against it! •

Periods are not a punishment, though we women often feel that way, they are the body’s natural response to absence of pregnancy.

Keep a journal, record your symptoms, duration and cravings, this will help you later on when you want to practise natural contraception with hormone controlling contraceptive pills or considering pregnancy.

Exercise accordingly, on the days you feel tired do yoga, ocean swimming, Pilates and walking with light hand weights. On the days you feel more energised, include more strenuous exercise such as weight training, boxing, jogging or lap swimming.

Maintain hygiene levels during your period, change frequently and use fragrance free body washes. This prevents irritation and infection in the genital area.

Take a nap, rest and recovery is essential to your wellbeing.

Speak to your GP or qualified health practitioner if you feel continuously feel tired or depressed, out of the ordinary. Support from loved ones during the early years of puberty are essential to how you manage your menstruation.

Till next time, be kind to yourself, seek support, ask your GP questions.

What would you like me to discuss in our next issue? Please post to the IMTAC team, till then happy mindful eating! |

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An event where change happens Meet people who inspire you to follow your passion And take action to create your impact in Hong Kong.

在這個帶來改變的活動中,你會遇⾒激勵你跟隨熱情的⼈, 並⼀起採取⾏動在⾹港帶來影響。 TICKETS AND INFO

購票及資訊

https://powered-by-youth-forum2021.eventbee.com


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Photo by Ammar Sabaa

by Kimberley Kleczka

I

n the spirit of embracing challenge, four empowering, tenacious, badass women are getting ready to (r)oar into a journey of a lifetime, confronting the ever-changing and crushing 3,000mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean - in an eco-rowing boat. Our oceans are connected and affect the life of people around the world, from climate change, rising tides, and the everchanging ocean ecosystem. Each day will be different as they deal with the scorching sun, rough storms, no proper amenities, salt sores, dried tasteless food, hard work, sleep deprivation and no “me” time. Yet they brush this off with a smile, a sense of adventure and a gleam of determination in their eyes. They are ready to take on the ultimate test of mind, body and endurance.

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One Ocean Crew is the name of this impressive four-woman-team. They represent the steely strength and determination of friends battling the world together. Between them, they have already sailed halfway around the world, trekked to Mount Everest Base Camp, rowed in the women’s Henley Regatta, circumnavigated Menorca in a Kayak, walked the UK’s three peaks in 24 hours, climbed Mont Blanc and paddled across the Aegean Sea.

One Ocean Crew are getting ready to embrace their challenge.

Janette Potgieter is a corporate investigator from South Africa. Emily Woodason, a landscape architect from London. Erin Bastian is a kayak coach and wilderness guide from Cornwell; and Jen Cullom is a Team Great Britain physio from Oxfordshire. Our fearless four are enterprising as they take on The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Ocean Race challenge in December. They will have the only eco-friendly rowing boat in the entire fleet of 35 boats. Her name is Vacquita, named after the endangered porpoise found in the sea of Cortez, off the Gulf of Mexico. “Our ocean is critical for all life on earth, so we really want to raise awareness about its beauty and the wonders of the ocean and how we can protect it” says Emily. Their amazing adventure begins in San Sebastian, La Gomera, Canary Islands. It will take roughly 30 to 90 days

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to get to the finish line in the sovereign island country of Antigua. I had the chance to chat with these four incredible women about their journey leading up to the race of a lifetime in December 2021. Where did you meet each other? JP: We met through the post that Emily put up on facebook. A friend of mine sent it my way. We all met online. Jen: I came across a post a couple of years ago, of someone who was looking for teammates to row the Pacific. It didn’t work, as the time of the Pacific race overlapped with my Olympic hockey team responsibilities, so it was not something I was able to commit to. However, I managed to persuade work to let me change to a different ocean, since it was after the Olympics. That is when I reached out to Emily. Emily: We all met online during the first lock down last year in the UK. We could not meet up in person, so we got to know each other through zoom. It was a pretty nervewracking meeting in person the first time. But we had a great time, really connected as friends, went kayaking, ate fish and chips, and chatted about our epic adventure. Erin: One of my clients spotted Emily’s post looking for a teammate

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to row the Atlantic Ocean, so I sent Emily an email, being like, pick me, pick me!

How do you alternate your seating, so the boat does not capsize?

Tell us about your recycled eco-boat?

Jen: It is really hard, that is something we are still trying to master. The boat is so twitchy, as soon as you go slightly off centre, it unbalances the boat. You have to time it, so you all move at the same time. For the majority of the time, we will probably row in pairs, so someone can cook, and someone can do the navigation.

Emily: We think she is beautiful; she is absolutely wonderful. She is called Vacquita. We decided to buy an eco-boat to fit in with part of our campaign “support ocean protection.” The eco-boat is 8 metres long and has two little cabins at each end where we sleep-in two-hour rest period shifts. Vacquita has three rowing seats in the middle and no other facilities. We will have two buckets, one for showering and the other to do our business. She is a sustainable, made of recycled plastic bottles and manufactured using renewable energy. What provisions do you have to take with you? Jen: We have to be fully self-sufficient from the beginning of the race through to Antigua. We cannot get any external help or re-supply. We will wear minimal outfits and have maximum food. Most of our nourishment will be made up of dehydrated ration packs that we add water to and a load of dry snacks. We will need to consume about 4,500 calories a day. We have a water maker on board, that will take in the sea water and desalinate it, as well as a first aid kit, tools and safety kit. JP: On this very small boat, we also have a life raft, throw line, and grab bag in case of any emergency. All of Jen’s chocolate and Erin's special snacks are going to be hidden. We may bring a pillow, other than that it is bare minimum. The heavier the boat, the harder it is to pull ourselves across the ocean. Who is going to be doing your social media posts for you? Jen: We will have a land team who will help with that. They will keep our supporters and followers updated as we go.

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JP: It’s like a one, two, three, oh no stop, I forgot my water bottle. You must think and plan ahead before you do anything. Emily: We are all harnessed on the boat, so you must make sure you do not get tangled up in each other's lines as well. What type of training are you doing in preparation? Jen: Training is multifaceted. We are doing individual gym programs to build strength and endurance, lots of hours on the rowing machine as well as erg tests. We are spending as many hours as we can on the water before our boat gets shipped out. Our goal is to get strong, to tolerate the movement of repetitive rowing and prevent injuries. We are trying to get used to rowing at night, navigation, two hours on and two hours off as well as living on this small vessel. We are also looking at taking some performance psychology courses as well, because one of the biggest challenges we will face on this adventure is the mental challenge. How do you help each other out mentally? Jen: JP has just bought us a waterproof speaker for the boat and we have a crew playlist that we are adding songs to. If we need a pick me up, we can whack our playlist on. We are all big fans of singing, which is a nice way to lift our spirits and get us going. JP: There is a lot to be said in terms of our food and snacks. We do little things to entertain each other, like trying to feed each other while we are


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rowing or just telling stories or jokes, not to mention the friendly banter. Finding what makes each other chuckle will be part of the whole adventure. Do you have a special diet now? JP: It is important to get the right balance of proteins and carbs that your body needs. Emily is our nutritional lead. She has the pleasure of knowing how much we weigh, and how much we need to eat.

Top: Time to taste test the dehydrated ration packs, yummy. Middle: Rowing together makes you strong and gives you a special family Bottom: Mapping out the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Emily: It is key now to plan all the food we are eating to be in line with our training regimen. We all record on our apps what we are eating every day, to hit certain targets. Obviously when we go out on the race, there is a whole nutritional balance plan. What is the competition about? Erin: There are approximately 35 boats racing this year. It varies between five person teams, four person teams, three’s twos and some crazy solos. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Ocean Race is known as the world's toughest rowing race. It is super long (approximately 3,000 miles) and we are hoping to do it in 43 days. The fastest it has ever been done is 29 days. It all depends on the weather and the mercy of the ocean. The race is becoming well known, there is a thing called dart watching at the yellow brick app, where people can

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watch their teams as they progress across the Atlantic. Will there be any support vessels? JP: They’ve got two sailing boats that go out with you. You may see them once or twice as they take photographs. If there is a problem, it could be a day or two before they get to you, so you must be selfsufficient. If anything goes wrong, you must sort yourself out. If you take anything from the support boats or surrender to them, you will be disqualified. What do you feel like emotionally when you are in the middle of the ocean? JP: It’s freedom, it’s silence, its madness, you cannot explain. You feel so small, you also feel so big, because you are close to what is so raw. It is real beauty, the sunrise, the sunsets. It opens your eyes and brings a new perspective. Emily: The most amazing part of being out in the middle of the ocean is that all your attention is focussed on the now. When we are out there, it will be a huge sense of relief after the build-up, and a huge sense of accomplishment. What charity are you supporting? Emily: We are raising money for the Sea Rangers Service. They are a social enterprise based in The Netherlands. Incredible organization, they

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“Rowing is a sport for dreamers. As long as you put in the work, you can own the dream. When the work stops, the dream disappears.” JIM DIETZ

“Glory is in the team not the individual.” S E A N S U L L I VA N

are bringing in naval veterans to train younger people in their maritime careers. Youngsters are put through a rigorous training program like a military boot camp. Then for the first couple of years they work in the sea ranger service. They support the conservation and the protection of marine life, across all waters. They are also involved in other environmental practices. What does ocean sustainability mean to you? Erin: The ocean is my office as well as my playground. About 10 years ago, I would land on beaches in my Kayak, and I was seeing vast quantities of plastics and waste. It got to the point where it seemed ridiculous not to be doing anything about it. At lunchtime with my kayaking clients, I try to do a beach clean-up and remove plastics from the shore that will fit in our boats. The ocean means everything to me, and it seems mad that we are not doing more to protect it.

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Emily: I work in an industry where I look at different ways where I can try and reconnect people with nature. This includes everything from the air we breathe, to the food we eat. Everything relies on a well-functioning environment, an ecosystem around us, and a key part of that is the ocean. I think a message that is important to me is that all the water around the world is connected in some way. It is very important that we protect our ocean environment. That will help lead our future generations to live in a more balanced nature, Jen: I think for everyone it's just important to understand what connects you. For me personally, I have always loved being by the ocean. It is a stress reliever, for mental health and relaxation. It is nourishing for the soul. The ocean is vital for life, it is vital for everything. Whether it is the economy or people’s livelihood, protecting the ocean is key to survival and sustainability for mankind.

JP: The reality is, if you meet somebody who has not been in the ocean or close to it, you feel like they are missing something. One thing I have realised is there is so much to say about educating people and informing them about what is right and what is wrong. There is a big focus these days on companies to have this on their agenda, which is amazing. There is still a lot to be done, but we are making good progress. Every single person must take on a personal responsibility. Like recycling, supporting companies that are sustainable, is some of the little things you can do. What do you want to get out of this journey? Erin: Experience the ocean in a way like I have never seen. I want to see all of its moods. I want to see it at dawn at dusk. Want to see it in the deep of night. I want to really feel like I am part of it. Emily: I am keen to see what my body and mind are capable


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Who said urging wasn't fun? We've got this!

of. This is an epic endurance feat, physically and mentally. I have never done anything like this in my life and I want to prove to myself, I can do it. Jen: I want to experience what it is like being surrounded by the ocean, understanding the force of the ocean, the mental challenge, seeing what I can achieve. I believe when we are challenged in life we grow. This journey will give me the confidence to do that. JP: It’s about just pushing through, being true to yourself, bringing your strength to the team, complimenting each other and getting across the Atlantic ocean together. How we think and how we adapt as a team will be critical to our success. The finish line is going to be the ultimate achievement for me. What words of wisdom can you share? Erin - Plucking up the courage to take that first step towards your dream, has got to be the hardest bit. As soon as you meet other women who are sharing your dreams, it then becomes a whole lot easier. It is encouraging to find other amazing women doing something you never thought you would be able to do. JP: Take a chance, be curious and kind of push your own limits. I think too many people are scared of failure, and everyone is scared of that failing word. If you fall, get up and walk forward. If something has gone wrong, get back up and do it again. We always regret the things we

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haven’t done, just try it, whatever it is. Because you are a woman, people think you cannot do it. That is so old school. It is not realistic anymore. Stop thinking that way and just do it. Erin: It does not matter what you want to do, it took me until I was 30 to do something like row on an ocean. It could be anything, it does not have to be something big, it is about taking that first step. Challenging yourself opens other doors and makes you curious about other things. Then you go on this journey of exploration and start to experience lots of exciting things in life. Emily: It is so easy to think, oh, I ‘ve got this going on. I’ll do it next year and then it leads into the following year. Before you know it, that opportunity is gone. Seize the day, take it now, go for it and bring your friends and family with you. Having the support of my friends and family has been a huge part of this so far. We have already experienced some tough times trying to do our fundraising, pulling this campaign together online, but together, we will succeed! |

If you would like to support our journey, we would be most appreciative. Together, we can conquer The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Ocean Race. Click here to support team Vacquita. https://www.oneoceancrew.org/ Your kindness will help us conquer our dreams!

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I

feel hopeless, I don’t know what to do” These words have come out of the mouths of many young people in Hong Kong and it is a troubling issue. This is so crucial in Hong Kong as studies show that around 39% of all primary and secondary students are affected by mental health issues (Save The Children, 2020). This statistic is well above the world average and it is still rising.

Moreover this is more prevalent in the current climate due the COVID-19 pandemic pausing face to face learning in schools and other social activities within the youths life. This means young people cannot release stress like they normally would with sports or meeting friends. Stress has impacted the youth of Hong Kong massively since the past year, with 35% of children

by Jeannie Chan, KELY Support Group Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

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describing their home working life as very stressful and tense (Save The Children, 2020). Therefore we all need to educate ourselves on stress and how to cope with it. Is stress good or bad?

Many young people do not actually realise they are stressed due to the fact that they face it so much that they feel it is a normal state for people. Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. A high level of stress can lead to anxiety and impair our mental wellbeing further. Untreated stress can be a catalyst to even greater problems, which is when some youth might even take drastic actions. Although a lot of stress can be extremely troublesome, a little bit of stress can actually be beneficial. Stress in small doses can help people be more efficient, this is due to it putting your brain in an optimal state to do tasks such as homework. Furthermore, stress can also boost your memory. When under stress your brain wants to remember and store information as it considers it worth remembering. Overall short term stress can be beneficial, but in the long run stress can be extremely detrimental to your health.

physical symptoms, such as - Chest pains, insomnia, aches and pains or even just an upset stomach. Overall Stress is not just a mental health issue as it can cause some physical problems as well and therefore the quicker you identify it, the easier it is to help. How to help someone or get help when dealing with stress

If you notice any of these symptoms above in someone you know whether it is a family member or friend, try to talk to them in a non confrontational manner and be supportive. Offer your help and tell them you’re there to listen. Offer reassurance, stress can cause people to feel overwhelmed and alone and feel like they’re not able to find their way out. Assist them in finding support from professionals and help them also identify their triggers. Triggers are things that can produce negative thoughts in people, if you identify someone's triggers you can help them to avoid them or even overcome them. Therefore helping some out and just being there for them can really change someone's life and help them out of the deep hole called stress. The same goes when dealing with stress. Although it may be difficult to admit or find help it is crucial as the longer you go without assistance the worse it can get. |

How to identify stress

Now that we know uncontrolled stress can be a big negative force, we need to know how to identify it whether it is affecting someone else or affecting you. Many emotional symptoms such as feelings can be hard to notice as they can be suppressed.

Learn more about KELY Support group here.

Some byproducts of high stress include - being very moody and getting irritated very easily, feeling like you are not in control of your life, having low self esteem and decrease in socialising. There are also some

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2021 marks KELY Support Group's 30th anniversary! KELY's mental health and wellbeing programmes ensure young people have the tools and support needed to be mentally healthy. As they look back on three decades of impact KELY staff, volunteers, and supporters have had on several generations of young people in Hong Kong, we hope you'll join us in celebrating with them!

W W W. KE LY.O RG


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ulo by Lo

u Von

Spiel

I Wish There Was Popcorn (2019)

K

ayee C is no ordinary photographer. Born, raised and educated in HK, after acquiring her bachelor degree, she moved to Europe a few years ago where she still lives. A fluent French speaker, she lives in Paris, and works in an office during the day. Nothing in that description would ever indicate she would end up a prolific artist with a unique vision. Once, when asked what kind of pictures she did, she responded “I take selfies.”

And that truly captures both her sense of humour and the subjects of her work, for she has one

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Above: I Love Team Building 3 (2021)

exclusive model featured in her photography: herself. She is an accidental photographer, her interest in the medium prompted in her early 30’s by her brother offering her his While old camera. She diligently proudly learned to use it and selfpursuing a The Taking of All of Us - 1 trained in Photoshop using corporate career, she (always YouTube tutorials to create creates after hours, whenever trying to the composite style she inspiration strikes. Unlike “figure things out” favours today. As for herself many artists, she is content and benefitting from being her only muse, it did with her “other” professional therapy), and isolation not arise from narcissistic life and welcomes the (she is deaf in one ear and tendencies but out of “forced social interaction,” as working on ways to deal practicality: she can achieve much as the financial peace with social anxiety) sprinkled the poses and expressions of mind it provides which with a wicked sense of she wants without having to enables her creativity and explain them, thus having the offers many topics to dissect. humour. Identity and duality also feature heavily. She freedom to work at her own Her photographic work can navigates her traumas pace, anytime, anywhere. be encapsulated by some of to reach her own form of She describes it as a luxury storytelling, and the process “It allows you to go very deep. the key concepts in her life: simplicity (she appreciates is as fascinating as the result: One has a lot of questions, looking at the finished work.” minimalism), introspection “I have images that come to

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me, and I write them down. I like to work within frameworks of classical paintings, Caravaggio in particular. Ideas go back and forth, and I let stories cross over before I put them together. I question why those images come to me…I will discard anything I feel doesn’t belong to me. It is a filtering process”. The photos themselves only come after she has sufficiently questioned her intentions. Very often her ideas do end up being transformed into artworks. I ask whether she is concerned by others’ interpretation of such personal and controlled work , but she is aware the public will always highjack any artist’s intentions and therefore embraces the process. Her photographs are drenched in Catholic imagery although she doesn’t see herself as religious, despite having a Christian education in HK. She refers me to a series of pictures

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when people talk about God,they often talk about themselves. Humans are very limited, and that’s one of my work topics.

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she did called “God confined”, where she imagined a creator God of no particular affiliation, dealing with lockdown, having given up on humanity. While the photos are playful, they are poignant in equal measure, “when people talk about God, they often talk about themselves. Humans are very limited, and that’s one of my work topics.” Personal insights are also closely intertwined with her work. Recalling her upbringing conjures up painful memories of emotional denial within the family unit, unable to express her inner feelings, in particular the guilt related to the death of her twin brother at birth. She finally laid it all to rest through hypnotherapy, and using photography to channel her emotions has proven cathartic. Her favourite own photo is inspired by Caravaggio ‘s painting ‘Salome with the Head of John the Baptist”. After researching the 2 versions of it, she came up with her own, and felt it fitted a narrative about transgenerational abuse. Triggered by a friend’s story of family abuse which seeped into all of his Above: God confined 2 (2020) Right: God confined 9 (2020)

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current close relationships, Kayee found inspiration for a series of photos. That cycle of emotional dysfunction resonated with her own experiences.

Family Resemblance 2 (2020)

“When you are in an abusive relationship, people ask why don’t u leave? As if it was easy…Abusers don’t want to abuse dumb people, they want the capable and intelligent ones! I wanted this very important story to have a pictorial impact and be a concentration of what I have learned. It is ironically called “Family resemblance” because, we are all the same group of people doing harm to each other.” When I first approached her, she was very enthusiastic about IMTAC’s purpose and said she would have


I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGA ZINE Sisters 9 (2020)

in relationships”, described as a departure from her current style, a “tale, a little surreal.” As for her ambitions, she remains totally open: “I have an audience following the stories I tell and I want to grow with that community, that’s my wish I guess… but I don’t think too much about it”. She finds people’s focus on one’s career definition rather bizarre. "Are you an artist or do you 'still' hold a day job? Well, I am so many things!”. Indeed.

loved to come across such content when she was 14, adding that reading it was somewhat therapeutic to the damaged teen she was once. “As I get older, I feel a responsibility towards young women, especially as my work is all about manipulating images!” Hence a recurring theme in a work being “the peer pressure women give each other, about looking a certain way, which is not very feminist because we teach each other to please the male gaze, and it’s agreeing to female oppression…” She sees it at play too often, “feminist or not, we have to get together as women…You don’t choose to be a feminist, the world pushes you to be one!”

Kayee seems to have found the right balance between two worlds we always try to polarize. By making both of them part of who she is, she demonstrates how arbitrary and restrictive our visions of artists can be, and we should celebrate her for that! |

Check out more of her original photos and portfolio at www.ckayee.com or on IG, @ckayee.photographer

Her artistic career is burgeoning at an impressive rate, but she finds having a career strategy impossible as a creative: with the achieved milestone of a recent fundraiser sale at Art Basel HK and a prominent HK gallery taking her on, she hopes for more collectors of her limited prints to come forth. Future subjects include a long standing series on “the inequality of power End of the party 6 (2020)

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by Jenny H. Chang

Photo by Kylie Knott

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As an accomplished woman, there is nothing uniform about Christina Matula.

Christina lounging on the sofa as a toddler

Sure you can put many traditional labels on her - wife, mother, daughter, sister - but it’s the nontraditional ones I find the most interesting. How does a biochemist living in Canada end up in Hong Kong on the brink of publishing her first Middle Grade novel? Like her protagonist, Holly-Mei Jones (more on that later), it involves a lot of what Christina would call “impulsiveness” (and I would call courage), persistence and grit.

Born in Montreal to a Hungarian father and Taiwanese mother, Christina grew up in an idyllic suburb of Ottawa (down the street from Sandra Oh!). Her weekends were not unlike many immigrant families. Sleepovers with her Taiwanese-Canadian cousins in the basement as her mother and aunts wrapped Taiwanese dumplings. Together with her younger sister, Christina was raised by well-educated practical immigrants (PhD for dad, Masters for mom) who

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encouraged her to “study science, go to grad school and get a civil service job for life.” Stability was the goal (unsurprising for immigrants who had anything but) and the arts was definitely not a path to that. Unsurprising, little Christina, with no other references or models to look up to, wanted to be a forensic scientist. It’s hard to believe but ‘writer’ was not in the consideration set given her artistic career today. As with many good Asian daughters, Christina fulfilled

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her parents’ wishes, studying biochemistry in college. Despite enjoying high school science, she did not love spending four years deep diving into biochemistry. Nor did she love the civil service job she landed post college. Thankfully, Christina broke away from the well laid tracks her parents had planned for her. At the age of 26 her curiosity overrode her parents’ wishes and she set off on her own path, enrolling in McGill University for business school. And as we know, once you take one brave step forward, others are sure to follow. A semester abroad in England fed her wanderlust for travel and adventure. That taste abroad gave her the courage to move to London for a career in Marketing after her MBA graduation. After a few years in London, she and her husband jumped at the chance to move to Hong Kong for “one year.” One year turned into a 14 year love affair with Hong Kong. Her love for Hong Kong inspired her to write her first children’s book, The Shadow in the Moon, after she was unable to find an English book explaining the Moon Festival to her young kids. A friend had created a chamber music concert for children based on her story and thought Christina should have the book available for guests. So instead of waiting to be published, Christina found a local Hong Kong illustrator named Pearl Law and self-published it to meet the short timeline. She gave the book to a fellow writer, who passed it to her agent. That agent became her agent and sold the book to Charlesbridge, who republished it with additional illustrations and expanded storyline. Ultimately the book would go on to win a 2019 CALA (Chinese American Librarians Association) Best Book Award. With proven traction, Christina invested in

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Christina and her sister

Above: Christina's middle school photo Inset: Photo by William Furniss

herself and pursued her MFA in Creative Writing at HKU (graduating with distinction no less!). She credits her MFA with teaching her how to read critically, thereby improving her writing. Months into her MFA, she had signed a three-book deal for a Middle Grade series featuring Holly-Mei Jones, a mixed-race Canadian tween who moves to Hong Kong. Like her favorite female character, Anne of Green Gables, Christina got there by believing in herself, staying curious, learning from her mistakes and not limiting herself to what others expected of her. In hindsight, the road to becoming a published author may sound smooth, but it belies the diligence and tenacity required. Initially Christina was daunted by the idea of finishing a

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novel. Children’s picture books are usually under 1000 words so the idea of writing 60,000 words felt like “running a marathon.” Despite the mental block, Christina refused to let her lack of experience slow her down. She viewed it similarly to completing 5km at a time rather than 42km+ all at once. After researching and outlining the story, It took six months of diligently “chipping away” at her “first draft” until the exhilarating moment when she typed “The End” and The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei Jones was born! The novel’s protagonist Holly-Mei Jones is a tween whose seventh grade life is suddenly rocked when she’s taken away from her everything she knows, including her beloved AhMa, for her mother’s new job in Hong Kong. Like many

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A young Christina and her parents in Canada

third-culture kids, Holly-Mei “quickly discovers there are new rules to follow and expectations to meet.” This series is Christina’s love letter to all the third-culture kids living in Hong Kong. At the core, it's a fun story about kids tackling adolescent things who just happen to be Asian. The novel is filled with characters who are happy and confident in who they are, unencumbered by racial tension or immigrant struggles. Christina believes everyone can see a reflection of themselves in this book, even if you don’t live in Hong Kong. She hopes readers take away that “it’s okay to be happy with who you are, that your heritage doesn’t define you. Instead, it should enrich you and be a source of pride.” Indeed! |

The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei will be out from Inkyard Press in April 2022. Eager readers can pre-order a copy on your favorite book platform now! Looking for a not-so-uniform life too? Christina has some advice for you: 1. Impulsiveness isn’t all bad.

Be ready when life presents opportunities! 2. Don’t let others define you. Be proud of all of your layers. 3. Set a goal and go for it. Obstacles are no match for hard work and perspiration!

IMTAC contributor, Jenny H. Chang is a former management consultant, venture capitalist, and brand marketer turned professional storyteller and writer. In 2019, she walked away from a 25+ corporate career to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing. A reformed good girl, Jenny is passionate about telling stories featuring women who break all the rules.

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by Kimberley Kleczka Photos by Cassandra Coldeboeuf Create yourself in your own sui generis way. Julie is wearing a Freedom hair artie by Kimberley Kleczka Designs.

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Modelling takes style, expression and boldness.

M

Wings of Love by KK scrunchies and headband are fun to wear together.

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odelling captures a story and an idea through magazines, catalogues, billboards, television, online, international events and fashion shows. It has been around as far back as ancient Greece, where artists would use the human form as expressiveness for their lifelike pieces of artwork. The ever changing fashion world continued to evolve as did modelling. In the 1800’s Charles Frederick Worth, the “father of haute couture,” who influenced Parisian fashion, worked with his wife Marie Venet, she modelled the clothes he designed. House models were described with this type of modelling. Venet was considered to be one of the first fashion models.


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Show the real you through the eye of the camera.

Today there are many types of modelling, from editorial-high fashion magazines, runway-walking on the catwalk, commercial print promoting a wide range of products through print and commercials to parts modelling with one's arms, feet, legs and hands, just to name a few. There are seven fashion capitals of the world, Paris, New York, Berlin, Milan, London, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

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Models come and participate in these shows from all over the world to showcase designers upcoming trends and looks.

Look for your special magic in every pose. Julie is fashioning the Peace artie as a belt (above ) and The Leopard lady artie as a wrist accessory (below).

Julie Hersh is sitting at a café on the mainline in Philadelphia, when we chat about her recent experience in France. In the distance you can hear the buzz of the café’s atmosphere as it adds to our conversation. Julie is a young inspirational woman that balances her life as a model, student and entrepreneur. She recently got back from Paris, the city of lights, which is known for its iconic fashion houses like Christian Dior, Hermes, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Christian Louboutin as well as its high-profile models. She was invited to attend the European Model Showcase through Main Line Models & Talent Agency in Philadelphia. Julie had a great experience meeting and networking with European and Asian agents. “I was in a room with over 77 models, they were from all around the world, which was amazing. Each one had a completely different look, and that was very important to see. Modelling is not about the prettiest girl in the room. It all depends on the seasons, clients or what agents are looking for. You can have an eccentric look, a very typical look, an exotic look, an athletic look and many others. I have learned that each agent is always looking for something unique.” Julie has always had a passion for fashion, she feels that modelling is an important part of her business. “I wanted to model because I feel good doing it and I love the world of fashion and seeing it through a modeling lens.” She is passionate about keeping on top of her trade by scrolling through magazines, Instagram, and various social media outlets. She loves to watch commercials on TV. “I want to be that person on TV, inspiring others with their style and confidence. That is why we want to buy what they are selling to us. I always thought that side of modelling was interesting.”

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How did you get into modelling?

I spoke to a photographer while I was on a trip with my parents, and she told me that I photographed well. I kind of jokingly said to her, well you know I have always wanted to get into modelling, she looked at me and was like, well I work with an agency and I would love to introduce you to them. Are there any types of modeling you wish to avoid?

Not any in mind, but I plan to stick with my morals and only do what I’m comfortable with. What is a modelling agency?

A modeling agency has many different clients that they work with. They represent you and help you get work as well as making sure the work you are taking on is credible and safe. Who is your favorite model?

I love Olivia Culpo. I think she is transparent through her social media and shows more of her life beyond modeling. I think that is important because modeling is just a blip in anyone’s life and it is important to have other interests and hobbies. As a model, how do you organize your daily schedule?

I maintain a balance between school, fitness, friends, work, and modeling. Throughout the pandemic it has been fairly easy. With a good plan the day prior, I usually stay on track! How do you prepare for a new photo shoot?

I make sure my nails are done, my hair is clean, and I am a fresh palette for the client to embellish. It is also important to be mentally prepared for the upcoming shoot, as it can be very stressful. Do you have a favorite photo in your portfolio?

Either my shot from Coco Rocha modeling camp or my newest portfolio shot with Shanyn Fiske. I loved how they created the emotions with the editorial feel. Do you have a favourite designer?

My favourite designer is probably Daniel Lee, the designer for Bottega Veneta. I appreciate that the brand offers class and simplicity. There is no visible logo, it just takes on a beautiful, chic and understated look. What sort of clothing do you model?

Modelling became a profession in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "Father of Haute Couture", when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet, to model the clothes he had created.

Whatever I am put in! You

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Feel comfortable in your body and set your own trends.

can go from a casual comfy look to a grunge style in one day. The wardrobe is mostly provided by the client you are modelling for. What are your hobbies?

I LOVE to cook!! Creating new recipes is always fun for me. I also love working out and tennis. Spending time with my friends is my favourite thing to do and I also really enjoy anything related to fashion. Julie, what are you going to be studying at The University of Miami?

Business, more specifically entrepreneurship to continue on with a dream of being in the fashion world. Tell us what you got up too during Covid-19?

I started a small company via social media called Wrapped Apparel. I sold sweatshirt and sweatpant sets that I bleached to make them tie dye. I donated a portion of the proceeds to local food banks as people

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were struggling during the pandemic. I sold sets all around the country and marketed my product really well. It was an amazing learning experience and I hope to do something in the future even bigger! What are your long-term goals?

To use my knowledge of both the fashion industry and business to find a niche in the marketplace and create a product or company that I am passionate about. Do you have any pointers for other young women that want to get into modelling?

There are so many different avenues of modelling that you can pursue. Try them out and see what works best for you. Don’t give up and remember, everyone is beautiful! |


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Dress to express yourself. Julie is modelling the Zebra Lady artie by Kimberley Kleczka Designs.

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perspective. First, assure

bring them out, sometimes

yourself that everything

at the expense of hurting

in your life happens for a reason. If perceived

Dear Ceci,

think I complain a lot and

properly, it will enrich your life

I am not grateful at all. Of

experience and prepare you

course I want to be in good

for a better future. Second,

terms with them, but I am not

while you may not have control

ready to remain silent when I

I do not want to be harsh, but I

over what happens around

see something wrong going

literally hate my friend for what

you, you have all the power

on. What should I do?

she has done to me. When

to control how you react

I had so much faith in our

towards the incident. Hatred

friendship, she just trampled

and forgiveness is entirely up

on my feelings with her act

to you, and forgiveness does

of betrayal. At this moment,

not justify wrong behavior,

I don't even want to see her

it does not disregard justice

face or hear her voice. I do not

either, you can still hold the

want to forget what she has

person accountable for what

done either, yet the memory

he/she has done. Forgiveness

hurts me. What should I do?

just means freeing yourself

I Feel Betrayed

from anger and hatred so you will not feel the pain any more when you recall the incident in

Dear I Feel Betrayed, Allow me to give you a virtual hug. It must be tough for you, when you have so much faith in your friend. I

the future. For now, try to think of the people and things that make you grateful and happy whenever the pain strikes. As you try to adjust, everything will get better in no time. Ceci

to simply discard what you have experienced, and you

Troubled Perfectionist

Dear Troubled Perfectionist, There is nothing wrong with being a perfectionist, your unique quality is to spot a fault immediately and have it fixed, so everything will be in good shape. When your family and friends think you complain a lot and are not grateful, I am sure they do not mean to label you, but to convey their need of being appreciated. So, instead of remaining silent whenever you see something wrong, what you need to pay attention to is how you deliver suggestions so others do

understand it is difficult

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my family and friends. They

not feel bad about them. Dear Ceci,

My advice is to first acknowledge the

do not have to do this. What

I admit I am a perfectionist.

effort people

you need at the moment is to

Whenever something is not

have put in

be kind to yourself by viewing

done precisely, I cannot

the matter

the incident from a different

help but see the faults and

through


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words and action, then

what

raise your

you

suggestion

want

in the form of a

from this

request to see if it can be attended to. After that, leave the decision-making to the one in charge and respect his/her choice. Hopefully, by doing so, you could contribute with your unique quality while balancing your relationship

friendship and how it could be achieved. Like you said, you may feel drained when someone is too demanding and does not know your boundaries. In this case, it will be beneficial to

with family and friends.

tell your friend directly about

Ceci

needs for privacy in a nice

your limits and share your way. If you are worried about how she will take your words,

Dear Ceci,

sandwich your needs and requests in between words of

I have a very demanding friend

appreciation and kindness.

who always wants me by her

Try to find an opportunity to

side. In the beginning, I saw it

have an open conversation

as her way to appreciate my

with her and see if a new way

company, but this is going a

of spending time together will

bit too far because I feel that

work for both of you. If she

she is trying to manipulate

agrees to your suggestion, it

my schedule so I will be with

is a good sign to carry on with

her all the time. I feel drained

the friendship. Nevertheless,

but do not know how to

if she cannot adapt to your

respond. What should I do?

needs, you may have to think

Drained Soul

twice about where you want this friendship to go and continue to explore other possibilities.

Dear Drained Soul,

Ceci

You may need some private time of your own, think about

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Do you have questions that you’re too embarrassed to ask? Is there a topic or story that you want to share but find it awkward to talk to others about? Ceci is here to discuss and try to answer all your questions about life, friendship, family, relationships, and growing up. She is the big sister that you can always ask questions to!

Cecilia Ao is a lifelong learner who enjoys exploring life through the lens of Psychology, History and Philosophy. She welcomes the silence of a starry night to write in her journal. She is always ready to listen, share stories, and offer her wise counsel to all comers! |

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Birds

by Bianca Judith Rodrigues 12, Dubai

Listen close as the nightingale sings. Watch how the eagle spreads its wings. A rooster crows early every day. Parrots repeat almost everything you say. Flamingos stand up so tall. Sparrows fly around so small. Peacocks spread its colorful feathers so wide. Doves are so elegant, small and white. Look at the colorful beak of the Toucan. Look at the large throat pouch if the Pelican.

by Bianca Judith Rodrigues 12, Dubai

Fears In The Night

The monster from below. He's there every night.

Coming from all around.

To fill you with fright.

There's someone in the chair.

You hear him under your bed.

But its just a clothes heap. You try your best to fall asleep.

Cover from your toes to your head.

You wait for the morning

You may be by yourself,

when the sun has risen.

But what about the creepy

Until then you stay hidden.

doll in your shelf.

But what if its all just

You hear scary sounds.

in your head. And there's nothing under your bed.

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International Women's Peace Group (IWPG) is implementing the “Plant Peace” project around the world to cease global war and to realize world peace for the future generations. As part of this project, the International Loving-Peace Art Competition is an art contest to spread a culture of peace. It will plant seeds of peace within the hearts of children so that they can grow with the heart of peace. We chose these three winners to feature in the magazine: Adekanbi, Birnel, and Angela.

Peace, let's be friends

Adekanbi Temsanre J, 11 Nigeria

peace puzzle Birnel Panganiban, 15 Mindoro, Philippines

Peace and healing of mankind Karen Angela

Jakarta, Indonesia

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Find your

painting very rewarding I read and I paint. I find watercolour g a lot of botanical and relaxing. Lately I have been doin painting of a flower or painting. I like reproducing a realistic arly like confounding a plant in watercolours and I particul someone who works people who have a perception that ng artistic bent! - Kim with maths and logic also has a stro

I love to be with my friends and fam ily. I live with my best frien d and together we like to be creative. We love making videos! Dancing and singing makes m e very happy. My cam paign: my name is.. gives me a lot of energy becaus e I can help people with this. I also help animal s. I work in the animal sh elter and work with animal s that have no owner. - Dilay

o venture! s about ad g te in a rn n a io le s pas boat, re g a in s u w f ro o r ou rings All four ocean in allenge b e h th c n c o ti t n u a being o face, the g our Atl and facin n on your new skills joy. Feeling the su alt on your tongue at taste of s skies us all gre ir and the and blue a s h a r e u s o e y but blu wind in all love. g nothing e that we c n e ri e p and seein x dible e s is an incre also bring r, as a team e r tt e e th b e r g e h oth ing to c e a b e y tl w n o a n g k in ort to get to h and be Most imp g the time e each other laug in ally v re a h a : y is us jo ma k other n to a s y e a n o w w ith an Crew finding ne our experience w One Oce re . a re h s tu n to e adv able art of our special p

54

JOY! We asked our friends how they find their joy, and here are their answers

What brings me joy is when I se e other people happy. It is my pa ssion to help pe ople. I believe in doing good, and I think this is ve ry important. I try to make a di fference in the w orld and teach people to be kind to each other. Love, sincerity and eq uality are therefor e important values ​​for me. W ith my bullying pr oject and my work as a so cial worker I try to be a role model and insp ire others to do good. - Lizzy

Taking the time to learn new things. It can be anything that piques my interest at the moment. I can be reading something als about the Neanderth to on g pin before jum t a documentary abou It . ina Ch railway in is cool to enjoy the process of curiosity ch regardless of how mu rn lea n ca I knowledge by heart! - Kayee


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