Turnabout is Fair Play

Hi Folks:

When we were out hugging for CarFree YYJ, a young woman named CĂ©line 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 CĂ©line

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 CĂ©line 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 →

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

 

Sawatsky Sign-Off: Good News

Hi Folks: If you’ve read our posts you know that this is our 9th year of hugging tourists and locals down at Victoria’s inner harbour, and that so far we’ve hugged ambassadors from at least 77 countries. Outside of that, however, we lead pretty quiet lives … so we were both shocked and delighted to receive a phone call a week ago from Adam Sawatsky, who works with CTV News, Vancouver Island. At the end of their news broadcasts they feature short segments of good news and uplifting people, giving their viewers an opportunity to head into their evenings with a positive outlook. These segments are collectively known as the Sawatsky Sign-Off.

Continue Reading →

Names That Remain

Hi Folks:

So far this summer we’ve been keeping a pretty regular schedule going out hugging on Sunday afternoons. We’ve now hugged Ambassadors from 77 countries (that we know of); 55 countries this year alone! As we’ve mentioned, we’ve hugged people in sadness and we’ve hugged people in joy and everywhere in between. While we were out again yesterday, the previous Sunday (August 5) brought several things together for us.

The first was a blog post written by author Robert Fulghum, entitled “Names That Remain” (yes, we stole his title for this post). You can read it for yourself; we’ll wait. Continue Reading →

Nine Years of Hugging…

Hi Folks:

When we took our first foray down to Victoria’s Inner Harbour in June, 2010 to try sharing hugs with strangers, we had no idea where our adventure would lead us. We were terrified at first, but nine years later, we’re still going strong! In fact we’ve held more free hugs sessions this year than ever before! In 2017 we had 20 sessions; our first was on April 1 (it seemed appropriate) and our last was on December 12. So far this year we’ve held 14 sessions; our first was on March 10 and we’re planning to continue for as long as we can!

In 9 years we’ve shared hugs, stories, smiles, tears, high-fives, waves and so much more with thousands of people from 75 countries (of which we are aware). They are: Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Eritrea, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Suriname, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, US and Zimbabwe. We’ve hugged people from 52 of those countries so far this year, and we’re always adding new ones to our list!

With few exceptions, we’ve held all of our hugging sessions at the Homecoming Memorial on Wharf Street. It’s a good location for us, and the biggest indicator of time passing has been the growth of the little pine tree behind us. Our tree has been watching over us for a long time, even when it was too short to do so…

Nine Years of Hugging

Same hat, same jacket, same smile and no, the fence hasn’t shrunk any.

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

Hugs,
M&M

Free Hugs, 2018!!

Hi Folks:

Last year we were feeling pretty avant garde in having our first Free Hugs session on April 1. We did our last 2017 session on December 10, completing 19 rounds of hugging! Well, Easter is on April 1 this year (which really has us wondering what the Easter Bunny is going to get up to this year, but that’s another topic). Anyway, last weekend was so warm and beautiful we did our first 2018 hugging session on March 10! Continue Reading →