9 March 2013

On Turning 20 and the Importance of Giving + Birthday Giveaway!

This is the day that I turn twenty. I have been in this world for two decades. As of today, I am no longer a teenager. It feels incredibly weird to say that, unreal even. I know that my life is not going to change dramatically just because the number that defines my age now starts with a 2. Yet, it feels significant, and I think it is significant. 

In the last ten years I have turned from a child into an adolescent. I have moved on to secondary school, gone abroad on my own, returned home and gone away again, this time as a university student. I have met people that I now call my friends, and I have left friends behind and don't really know them anymore. I have travelled and met people from all over the world. I have made decisions that I am incredibly proud of, and some that I wish I had not made. I have dreamed and I have despaired, I have loved and sometimes despised, I have laughed and cried - obviously - after all seven of the last ten years I spent as a teenage girl. Most importantly, however, I have learnt. 

What is to come in the next ten years, no one can tell. The whos, whats, wheres, whens, and hows of my twenties are unknown and unpredictable, which makes them exciting, yes, but also slightly scary. Mostly exciting, though. 

On your birthday you, and those who love you, celebrate your existence. People congratulate you, they bake you cakes and give you gifts. At least where I am from, your birthday is a day on which you receive. While receiving, of course, is great, maybe one of the most important things I have learned in the past twenty years is how great it is to give.

All my life I have had everything I needed and much more. I never once needed to worry about not going to have something to eat. Clean drinking water has always been a given, and so have clothes, and education. I have always had a roof over my head, and I have never had to fear a serious illness.

In the last years I have travelled to a part of the world, where people can take none of these things for granted. In rural Namibia, you can't be sure that there is going to be enough for you to eat. You rely on the river for drinking water, there are no sanitary facilities. Your home is only going to stand until the next flood, and who knows if your family is going to have the money to send you to school next month. HIV, AIDS, and other severe illnesses are not likely to have spared your family.

Some of the most important realizations that have come out of my working with the people of the village Mayana in Namibia, are that your wealth does not determine your happiness, that the world is unfair, yes, but that change is possible, and that everybody has something to give that someone else can benefit from. The beauty is, that giving is always also receiving. When you give something to someone - your knowledge, your time, your love, your caring - you will be richer than you were before.

To cut a long story short, volunteering for the organization Make Change Possible e.V., and thus getting to travel to Namibia and to meet the people I have met, has given me much more than I can put into words in (what was meant to be) a short post. This organization is very close to my heart, I am so glad to be part of it, and it would mean the world to me if you could check out our website and Facebook page (plus, this also earns you 5 entries into my giveaway).

In short, I want to give something away for my birthday. Since this is (or is supposed to be) a book blog, I thought it would be fun to give away books. I realize, that 20 dollars is not much, and this post and giveaway are certainly not supposed to be a self-adulation of any kind. All I want to do, is share something that I love, books, with those of you that take the time to read my blogs. I truly appreciate you, and this is my way of showing it.

Giveaway Details

Since I am turning 20, I am giving away $20 dollars (Canadian dollars) worth of books from The Book Depository. If you win, I will contact you and you can either tell me which book(s) you would like to receive, or you can ask me to pick for you. What is great about The Book Depository is that it offers worldwide free shipping, so this is an international giveaway, open to anyone in the world. However, before you enter make sure to check that they deliver to your country here.

Winners will be chosen randomly through rafflecopter. The only requirement to enter the giveaway is that you be subscribed to my blog. The other options are not mandatory, but can earn you additional entries into the raffle. That is, you can get up to 20 entries! If you are under age, please make sure you have your parents' consent, as I will have to get your mailing address from you, if you win.

This giveaway starts on the March 9 at 12 a.m. PST, and will end exactly a week from there, on March 16 at 12 a.m. PST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. lovely, touching post! and great idea. - will have to do this at some point too!

    I can totally share you're experience, as I am working in a camphill similar community where giving means recieving and every day means learning more!

    entered your giveaway, lets see who will be the happy one ;)

    and hey, happy birthday :)

    1. Thanks so much, Jasmin. :) I would love to read about your experience. You have a blog right? I'm pretty sure I'm follwing you.

      Keep your fingers crossed!