A Royal Arrival

On May 2, 2015 the world welcomed another heir to the English throne. After nine months of anticipation The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a daughter. The power this 8lbs 3oz baby holds, as a one day old, is astounding. The arrival of the royal baby has created crowds in the streets of London, new merchandise for vendors, and overall happiness for the all.

The formal royal announcement outside of Kensington Palace.

The formal royal announcement outside of Kensington Palace.

It was an exciting day for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate.  The royal announcement was posted outside of the palace that a royal baby was on the way.  The Duchess of Cambridge went in to labor before arriving at St. Mary’s Hospital in west London. This is the very spot their first child, Prince George, was born twenty-one months before. Many people, who were waiting outside the hospital for weeks waiting the moment when the fourth heir to the throne would be born, greeted them. Once it was announced that the royal couple had a healthy baby girl the crowds grew immensely. William brought his son, George, to St. Mary’s Hospital to meet his new baby sister. This was the first public outing for George since his birth debut.

William brings George to meet his new baby sister.

William brings George to meet his new baby sister.

Kate and Will left the hospital later that day for Kensington Palace. They greeted the crowds with smiles and waves of gratitude for the support. People have been camping out since the predicted due date. Since the Duchess was a couple weeks late, the crowds, decked out in red white and blue, remained longer than expected.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greet the crowds with their new baby girl.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greet the crowds with their new baby girl.

According to BBC, the couple said, “Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank all staff at the hospital for the care and treatment they have all received…They would also like to thank everyone for their warm wishes.” The couple was happy to bring home a healthy baby girl to add to the royal family. They returned to Kensington Palace to consult with the Queen before naming the child. Queen Elizabeth II must approve any royal baby’s name and plays a major part in the choice of the name. Which they have now announced that the princess will be named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.  These names are all in reference to important family royal members.  Charlotte is the female of Charles, Elizabeth is after the Queen, and Diana is to honor William’s late mother.
The position of British Monarchy has changed throughout the years. The royals, as we all know, used to have the power fully rule. Now the British Monarch is considered a constitutional monarchy. This means that they do not have the right to pass legislation like members of Parliament whom were elected. They are still considered the ‘Head of Nation’, however the position of the monarchy is now more a symbol for unity. The position in the public eye through voluntary services to Britain is that of a celebrity to the public. The Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy has been followed closely since the beginning. Preceding that, there was heavy speculation of a baby bump from the hopeful community.

Royal family fans decked out in their celebratory apparel.

Royal family fans decked out in their celebratory apparel.

This obsession over a newborn held by the royal family fans has a predicted contribution to the economy as well as the upcoming election. According to The Wee The Dow Jones rose by an average of 2.4 per cent in the week following the births of Princesses Anne and Margaret and Queen Elizabeth”.  In addition, Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, says: “Births in the royal family have been cause for celebration around the world. This can spill over into the stock markets as well.” The royal baby merchandise made in celebration has been flying off the shelves. The economic increase hasn’t been obvious yet, but in the coming couple days the impact will be seen. Reports have said that, “ [A royal baby] gives the country a feel-good boost so close to polling day is usually regarded as a plus for whoever is in power.” The birth should be favorable for the Conservatives in the upcoming election.

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana  on her birthday.

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana on her birthday.

Overall the arrival of this royal baby girl has the opportunity to create a thriving economy, bring entertainment to the world, and happiness to the expecting family. It’s been an exciting day for all those in Britain and those with access to E News. We all are happy to hear about the new adorable and healthy addition to our world. Royals, we’ll see you next time.

Coping in Bhutan

While sitting in my room, sick as can be, facetiously thinking, “I feel like I’m dying” I started contemplating death. Death, in general, is an uneasy topic for most. It brings up sad memories or is associated with the fear of the unknown. However, this is one aspect all people, regardless of their beliefs, have in common. We all will die. Most of us go through life without thinking of our demise from day to day. The thought of our death is usually only upon tragic incidents. While it may seem distorted to talk of how we will die or what we would like to happen after we leave this life, in Bhutan this is the norm. Ironically life in Bhutan has a lot of focus on death.  Addressing their death produces happiness, less stress, and a fuller spiritual path.

Arial view of Bhutan's capital, Thimphu.

Aerial view of Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu.

The Bhutanese people’s ‘secret to happiness’ is to incorporate the meditation of death into each day. CNN’s Eric Weiner spoke to many people on his recent visit to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, and found death was not an unspoken fear to any of them. While opening up to a stranger during his travels he mentioned his panic attacks he’d experienced, despite the fact that his life was going particularly well. The kind stranger, Ura, replied with “You need to think about death for five minutes every day… It will cure you.” This statement left Weiner both stunned and intrigued. Ura continued with his advice, “It is this thing, this fear of death, this fear of dying before we have accomplished what we want or seen our children grow. This is what is troubling you”.  This task of thinking about death each day would seem to send most into a downward depressing spiral, but Ura explains that in Bhutanese culture the thought of death goes hand in hand with happiness and the attainment of a full life.

These prayers flags are found all over Bhutan to represent the lives that have been lost.

These prayers flags are found all over Bhutan to represent the lives that have been lost.

Their acceptance and comfortable nature with death allows them to live a less nerve-racking and fearful life. While expected to think of death five different times a day, the Bhutanese people work on the their acceptance and readiness for death. A University of Kentucky study in 2007 found that, “death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts”. This reaffirms Ura’s message that the recognition of death is a necessary part of having the ability to live a whole life.

The psychological cost of not expressing things we fear can take atoll on the satisfaction we have within our lives. The teaching of thinking about your fears so much until they no longer are a fear is a process that differs from our western lifestyle. Western civilization centers on success as a key to happiness. This success typically pertains to one’s career and the strides they take to rise up.

Massive Buddha Dordenma statue found in Thimphu, Bhutan.

Massive Buddha Dordenma statue found in Thimphu, Bhutan.

In eastern cultures it has been observed that success is rooted in spirituality, personal happiness, and mental wholeness of the person. This is evident in Buddhism, which is a prevalent religion in Bhutan, where death is not the end of the spiritual life of the person, but it is the end of the body. This belief gives comfort to Buddhists who lose loved ones or are near death themselves.

In recent news a tragic earthquake has struck Bhutan’s neighboring country, Nepal, has produced a large death toll.  This earthquake was a 7.8 on the Richter scale resulting in casualty count surpassing 4,800 .

Map showing Nepal and it's proximity to Bhutan.

A map showing Nepal and it’s proximity to Bhutan.

Their lifetime of meditation practices helps them prepare for unexpected sorrow like this.  The belief in an afterlife provides an explanation of death and also a meaning to life. Meditation every single day makes passing on seem less devastating.

Life in Bhutan and in other eastern cultures’ daily meditation leads to very happy lives for its locals. This practice could teach westerners that the mere thought of our departure can make the anticipation involve less fright and leave room for more joy.

Loving Venice to Death

When we think of Venice we think of riding down the Grand Canal atop a gondola while sipping wine and listening to a gondolier sing. Though this experience is still plausible, the cherished gem of Italy, with its rich history, exquisite art, and many attractions, is sinking. This city has been on the top of many travelers’ list of where to touch down abroad. Due to the rising sea level Venice is a wonder that is slowly slipping out of our hands, and therefore the rising interest to see the city before its too late is alluring to most.  Venetians are slowly leaving their homes due to the fact that what they once called home has changed so much.  Granted time will tell as to when the city submerges, Venice continues to take a beating with high tide and a growing tourism scene.

An arial view of Venice, Italy.

An aerial view of Venice, Italy.

The city is sinking approximately 0.08 inches each year and because of the progressive sinking, Project Mose was put into play.  Starting back in 1982, after the massive flood of 1966, the plans and implementation have been drawn out. Consorzio Venezia Nuova (CVN), Venice’s best-known construction company took on the job.

Gates will be built at each entrance to the lagoon.

The gates will be built at each sea entrance to the lagoon.

This project is a multi-billion underwater floodgate system installed to keep Venice afloat for as long as possible. The gates create a barrier that will help with the annual flooding by blocking the Adriatic Sea from entering the lagoon.  With the help of a pressure system the gates will rise to block the high sea level from flooding Venice.  This ambitious construction will cost upwards of $7 billion dollars and should be completed by 2016.

There was a skeptical halt to funding for the project to save Venice in June 2014.  Mayor, Giorgio Orsoni was arrested for accepting money for his personal political campaign from CVN. Corruption and money laundering made donors hesitant to help the submerged city. “It is a tragedy of epic proportions” expressed by the former chairwoman of Venice in Peril, a donating charity to Project Mose. Project Mose will continue, though it’s controversial and heart breaking that people would do that to their own city.  The high tide has driven some Venetians out of the city, but most stay because it’s been home for so long. This contraption should aide to the citizens’ protection and the survival of their properties. Venice is slipping away more than just physically, but culturally.

The crowds of tourists in Venice, Italy.

The crowds of tourists in Venice, Italy.

Another form of aide that is needed in order for Venetians to stay in their city and that is tourism control.  Tourist season in most vacation spots is dreadful to locals, but it is beneficial for the economy and the merchants. This increase in tourism would seem valuable for Venice’s citizens by creating a boom in the spending in the city.  The current typical tourists usually take day trips, and after the day is out they board back on the cruise ship. Even though they don’t stay long, when the cruise ships unload, the tourists engulf the city.  The tourism scene certainly brings in money, but it has taken over residential areas. Venetians are slowly leaving the city because their former streets of unique artisan shops are now filled with products geared toward the visitors.  Merchants change their product to appeal to the customer, which happens to be a mainly visitors.  According to Travel, “Since 2002, the number of Venetian properties dedicated to tourist lodging has increased by 450 percent.”  This rise in tourist lodging causes the price of residential properties to soar driving Venetians to the main land.  The residents are outnumbered by the tourist population

Venice is disappearing from what it once was. Venice being the top of the list for many travelers has sent the city into a downward spiral of change. The tide is rising along with the tourist count leading this cultural change to take the charm of Venice out of Venice.