More Firsts…

Hi Folks:

This is our 10th year of hugging Victoria residents and tourists alike, and even though October’s weather has become a little drizzly, this has been our busiest year ever! We’ve had so many amazing moments during our hugging sessions – many already recorded in various posts, but we still have new ones all the time. Thought we should gather a few together and share them with you:

  1. Whenever a tour bus or one of Victoria’s Hop-On, Hop-Off buses go by, we make a point of waving to the drivers and the passengers. Many times they’ll wave back, but this summer a bus stopped for a red light while right in front of us. The next thing we knew, the door opened and a woman was coming down the stairs, exclaiming, “I want a hug!!” What could we do but oblige? 🙂 Fortunately we had time to rush over and share hugs before she returned to her seat and the light turned green again!
  2. We shared hugs with our first Chinese lion (at the end of the Dragon Boat races)
  3. In the past we once had a conga line of four pedi-cabs all stop in unison so we could share hugs with the drivers and passengers. Earlier this year we had a group of eight people on rental scooters pull over, share hugs with us and zoom off again!
  4. We shared hugs with our first Victoria Police Officer!
  5. We also shared hugs with two Military Police from CFB Esquimalt!
  6. We’ve shared many honks, smiles, waves and air hugs with people in vehicles, but we had one young woman (also stopped for a red light) climb halfway out of the passenger window and shout, “You two are so cute! If I wasn’t in a car I would hug you!”
  7. We share our space at the Homecoming Memorial with a variety of people on different occasions, but there are four others who are there consistently. Three of them are the sculpture of the naval officer coming home to his daughter (and her dog), Homecoming Memorial but over in the northwest corner of the memorial there’s another sculpture of Captain John Mason, sitting on one of the benches. It’s interesting that there are 11 benches spaced around the memorial, but more often than not someone will be sitting with old John rather than anyone else. Earlier this year, however, we watched a young girl having a prolonged and very heartfelt chat with John, and after she was done she leaned over and gave him a kiss on his bronze cheek! His blush was not imagined.
  8. We’ve been sharing hugs for 10 years. However for only 5 of those years have we kept track of  our Hugging Ambassadors home countries. In those 5 years we’ve shared hugs with people from (at least) 88 countries. Nine of those countries are new this year: Egypt, Jordan, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Slovakia, St. Lucia, Trinidad. We’ve also consistently shared hugs with people from 16 countries every year for the past five years: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, England, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Ukraine, US.
  9. At our last hugging session we had two boys on scooters zoom past us. The second one yelled out, “I want a hug but I don’t have time!” The woman standing beside us replied, “Eventually you’ll come to see that differently.”
  10. We have some repeat hugging folks, from locals who share hugs every time they see us, to those who hugged us on their visit last year, but we recently shared hugs with someone who hugged us 8 years ago!!

Okay, that’s it for now. Remember to hug someone you love today! Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!

Hugs,
M&M

Free Hugs Poem

Hi Folks:

A wonderful gift from our friend Glennis. We are both awed and honoured!

Free Hugs
_________

Free hugs…
by the edge of the Harbour
on a Summery Sunday.
Open arms
that have
crossed oceans and continents.

Arms that…
have cradled infants,
fought wars,
prayed
and driven cars.

Arms that…
have held ice cream cones,
have stolen
and given
and written letters of love.

Arms that…
are strong,
tanned…
frail arms.

Arms that…
swim in warm lakes,
held books,
planted crops
and picked flowers.

Arms that…
have loved,
felt hate,
rested
and toiled.

Arms reaching out
for a free hug
by the edge of the Harbour.

Free hugs…
imprinted on the soul,
carried home
to
every corner of the world.

How beautiful.

Glennis Taylor, 2019

Hugs back!!
M&M

Turnabout is Fair Play

Hi Folks:

When we were out hugging for CarFree YYJ, a young woman named Céline saw us standing there with our posters as she passed by. Last Saturday when we were out at our usual location by the Homecoming Memorial, we were lucky enough to run into her again, and she stopped to share a hug with us! And… she mentioned that she and her friend were going to be offering Free Hugs the next day!! How could we refuse such an offer? Of course, we couldn’t. And didn’t. 🙂

Linda, Marcia and Céline

We didn’t want to monopolize their time (or deprive others of their hugging opportunities) but we did have a couple of minutes to chat with them and their friend Alan. As with us they were originally uncertain, and, as with us, those feelings quickly gave way to a range of emotions: that people would thank them for what they were offering, that they would feel appreciation, joy, and love. We live in a society where something as simple as human touch is denied to so many. We did warn them, though – offering Free Hugs can become addictive!

Many thanks to Céline and Linda and Alan for sharing a little bit of their world with us, and for making our world a little better place.

Grouphug!!

M&M

It’s Tomorrow!!

Hi Folks:

As we’re sure you’re all aware, tomorrow is International Free Hugs Day! Grab your markers, find a piece of cardboard and go out and hug someone!! As for us, we’ll be at our usual spot at the Homecoming Memorial by Ship Point tomorrow afternoon at some point. If you’re in the neighbourhood, stop by for a hug!

Hugs,
M&M

10 Years of Hugging

10 Years of Hugging

Anniversaries!!

Hi Folks:

Yesterday we celebrated three anniversaries important to us, two of which are personal. On a larger scale, yesterday marked the 11th Anniversary of UN World Oceans Day! Our front door is about 300m from the ocean, and as such we’re aware of her various moods and cycles – at least on a small scale. While we subdivide and demarcate the world’s oceans, the truth is that there’s only one global ocean and that the ocean is the biggest single driver of the health of the planet. As the saying goes, “Love your Mother. Good planets are hard to find!”

Much closer to home, yesterday marked the the 17th Anniversary of Marcia’s proposal. We say “Yes!!” to each other every day. 💗

And third, yesterday marked the 9th Anniversary of our first Free Hugs session down at Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Our first session was chronicled here: Marcia’s Meanderings – Ladybugs and FREE HUGS! We both remember that day very well … first of all because we were absolutely terrified. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, and our very first Free Hug ever came from a little girl who saw our posters and came running over to us. That broke the ice for us, and who knows where we’d be without her courage and generosity?!?! We went out hugging again yesterday (our 11th session of 2019 🙂 ) so we’re now officially into our 10th year. When Adam Sawatsky and Wells Gaetz of CTV News VI did a profile on us last year they estimated we’ve shared hugs with 40,000 people. That number is beyond our comprehension, and even a quarter of that is staggering for us to consider. We do know two things: one is that we’ve shared hugs with Ambassadors from (at least) 84 countries; the second is that each hug is unique and special to us. For example, yesterday we shared hugs with Ambassadors from (to name a few) Brazil, Canada, Columbia, England, Germany, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico and the US within a two-hour period. We had the opportunity to celebrate one person’s 50th birthday, and when one gentleman indicated he couldn’t understand our posters we gave him a demonstration by hugging each other – then shared hugs with him and his family! Over the years we’ve shared hugs with many different people, a number of dogs, two bearded dragons, a hitchhiking robot, a Storm Trooper, a velociraptor and a Frost Princess… so far! Kindness is a simple gift that we can all share with each other. It costs nothing and doubles with each sharing. Remember to hug someone you love today. Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!!

Hugs,
M&M

9th Anniversary of Free Hugs

Sharing Kindness for Mother’s Day

Hi Folks:

As last Sunday was Mother’s Day, after a wonderful brunch with family we went out hugging (of course). It continues to amaze us that in one day we can meet and share hugs with people from as close as Victoria and as far as Australia, France, Iran, Italy and Uruguay (to name a few). We’ve already shared hugs with Ambassadors from 22 countries this year (at least 83 countries in total, so far) and we’re only just getting started! We also hugged our very first Frost Princess!! (She gives wonderfully warm hugs).

Continue Reading →

The Five Love Languages

Hi Folks:

At one of our hugging sessions last summer, one person who stopped to speak with us asked if we were familiar with the five love languages. We weren’t, but we were thinking French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish … However, that’s not to what he was referring. Instead, he was referencing the book written by Gary Chapman, “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts“.

In essence the five love languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

Hugging ticks several of those boxes. 🙂 If you’re interested in learning more about what Gary has to offer, check out the link above!

Hugs,
M&M

Bogey and Pretty Eyes

It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week!!

Hi Folks:

Yesterday marked the beginning of Random Acts of Kindness week, so of course we went out hugging!! The credit for the saying goes to Anne Herbert, who in 1985 suggested committing “random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” in her book, “Compassion 101.” Since then the idea has taken on a life of its own, but it needs all of us to keep it alive! It need not be difficult or complicated. Kindness is always a good idea! However, if you’re looking for some ideas, be sure to check out the Random Acts of Kindness.org site and their sister site, PassitOn.com. Great stories and resources, including kindness kits for teachers, can also be found at the Ripple Kindness Project site.

Take the opportunity to be kind today! And tomorrow. And… you might just find it growing on you. As for our continuing hugging adventures, so far this year we’ve shared hugs with Ambassadors from 12 countries (this is our 10th year; so far we’ve hugged people from at least 82 countries in total) and yesterday we shared our first hugs with visitors from Canada’s Nunavut territory! They didn’t seem to mind the absence of -50°C temperatures. 🙂

Hugs,
M&M

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Hugging 2019… Tempus Fugit!!

Hi Folks:

Hugging 2019

Believe it or not, we started this post over a month ago, and it’s already February 3rd. So much for our “Welcoming 2019” title! Ah well… Continue Reading →

Three Seconds of Connection

When we’re out hugging, that’s the very least you’ll get from us. We’ll look you in the eye, smile, wave and offer you a wish for a wonderful day. What happens next is entirely up to you. You can ignore and walk on by, smile and/or wave back, return our greeting… Or you can engage us and come in for a hug (or two). We really appreciate it when you do. ☺️

Hugs,
M&M

Marcia and Nathalie

Marcia and Nathalie