Niagara natives search for happiness
Lindsey Middleton, of Fort Erie, and Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Cornelia Audrey (left) headed off on a 10-country adventure last November with the purpose of meeting women from different cultures to ask what inspires happiness in them. They are pictured here in Australia.
Two Niagara natives have set out on a quest to find the answer to an important question.
They wanted to know what makes women happy.
Lindsey Middleton, from Fort Erie, and Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Cornelia Audrey headed off on a ten-country adventure last November with the purpose of meeting women from different cultures to ask what inspires happiness in them.
Over the course of four months, they spoke with women of all ages from different cultures and recorded the answers using an Iphone camera. Their stops included Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand.
“Our first interviews, we were really shy about it. We didn’t know how to break the ice,” Audrey said.
They asked women about what happiness means to them, what inspires them and whether or not happiness is a choice.
“It was interesting because we were able to interview women from all walks of life. We asked people who come from poverty and we asked people who don’t come from poverty about what makes them happy. It was different.”
One woman who left a profound impression on Audrey was from Vietnam.
“Her husband had lost his leg in the war but she was so happy and thankful for the things they had; they raised a pig in the backyard, her husband was healthy and her child was in school.”
The pair agree the experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has changed the way they view life.
“We ended up talking to people we wouldn’t normally interact with. There was one lady from Singapore that affected us. She was our hostel custodian. She saw us interviewing people and she became interested in what we were doing.,” Middleton said.
“ This women had a heart-breaking life and she moved to Singapore, which is an expensive place to live, so she could help her son live his dream. It made her so happy that it brought her to tears talking about it.”
Audrey and Middleton interviewed close to 60 women and the result became an online web series called HappyHer, which is available to watch on YouTube.
The first season features 11 episodes that are 10 minutes in length. A new episode is released once a month and the next episode that will be released on Feb. 20 will feature women from across Niagara.
Through the process of travelling and filming the project, Audrey said she learned happiness is “the simple pleasures.”
“The common thread is friendship and community. For myself, if I don’t have community than I am not happy.”
Music, dancing and art are all things that also makes Audrey happy.
“Turning on the music and dancing around the house, sometimes I think there is nothing better,” she said.
Middleton is “still discovering” what makes her happy.”
“That’s why I love this project. I am constantly changing and it’s exciting to hear what other people have to say and just learn. I don’t know if I can pin point any one thing for me.”
Middleton and Audrey, who both studied theatre at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College and currently reside in Toronto, said they want to continue to explore what makes women happy during season two of HappyHer. They are raising funds to travel abroad and volunteer for an organization that has yet to be decided. All of the proceeds raised will go toward the charity Audrey and Middleton will support.
For more information about the series visit www.happyhertheseries.com