Archive For The “The Pursuit of Happiness” Category

Thanksgiving Reflections

Thanksgiving Reflections

Many bubbles

I am thankful for everything I am and everything I’m going to be.  That I’m allowed to dream, and form my own opinions, and that I have access to so much knowledge at my fingertips.  That I have people to talk to, and new people to meet, and people who care about me.

I’m thankful sunsets inspire me, that people listen to live music, and that books are being read.

I’m thankful that good people exist in the world – the kind of people who tell you that you remind them of their daughter whom they wouldn’t want to be lost, so they give you their spare change to pay for bus fare.

I’m thankful for bus drivers who drop you off where it’s not a designated stop because it’s late and they want to bring you as close as they can to the place you need to be.

I’m thankful for the sound of rain, and old couples who still hold hands, and people who stand up for what they believe in.

I’m thankful that I have sisters, that cameras were invented, that rainbows exist; for the smell of baking wafting from the kitchen oven, for the leaves that change colour in the fall, reminding me that change is natural.

I’m thankful that art is being created, that people line up for hours to get into museums, and that I can hear the birds singing outside my window. I’m thankful for people who share their umbrella, who ask you how you’re doing and really mean it, and who find a way to help you even if they don’t speak the same language as you.

I’m thankful that even though I have the opportunity to learn multiple languages, smiles are part of the language of the universe that everyone can understand.

I’m thankful I can talk to my family even when I’m not at home. I’m thankful that my dream of living in Europe has come true – that I got to see the sun set over the Eiffel tower, that I wandered down the canals of Amsterdam, that I lay in the Alps feeling the sun warm my face. I’m thankful I have a home to go back to.

Sleeping on the floor of a train station makes me thankful for my bed. Walking, walking, and walking until my feet are so tired they feel like they are going to fall off, makes me thankful I have legs and space to run. And even though I’m having problems with my contacts and keep complaining that the sun is too bright, I’m thankful I have eyes to gaze at the world and that the sun illuminates the sky.

I recently visited some of the darkest and most chilling moments in human history – and I know that there are still dark and chilling moments occurring in the world right now – and it makes me feel so humbled to live the life I lead. To have been born into the country I was and into the family I was; at the right place at the right time.

I have more things I am thankful for than I can possibly list: that the world hasn’t been able to turn me cold, that I still believe in the goodness of people despite certain things, and that when I don’t believe in myself, other people believe in me.

Even though I can’t treat myself to a pumpkin spice latte to celebrate fall, or buy a new pair of fall boots ‘just because,’ or go see a movie in theaters (frankly, I don’t even know which movies are in theaters at the moment, except for The Martian), I’m happy that I’m experiencing so much of life, growing in ways I never imagined, and forging myself into a more compassionate and open-minded citizen of the world.

I spent Thanksgiving Day sitting in a five hour car ride back to Madrid where all I had to eat was a pastry, and I realized I don’t need a turkey and a pumpkin pie to celebrate being grateful – because I felt more thankful this Thanksgiving than all my other Thanksgivings which were complete with second helpings of mashed potatoes.  Maybe appreciating what you have is easier when you have ‘nothing,’ maybe you don’t need a lot to have a lot, maybe thankfulness simply comes from waking up and realizing that you have another day to make your dreams come true.

But if everything you value in your life were to evaporate like the sudden pop of a bubble, what would you do?  I’d find a way to blow more bubbles. And then I’d enjoy and appreciate them while they were floating beside me – especially the simple things about them. The way they glisten when they catch the sunlight at just the right angle, the way they sometimes latch onto other bubbles, the way they float peacefully…

Life is still confusing, people are still confusing, growing up is still hard, but I’m so thankful this is the life I have, and that you – whoever you are – are somehow in it. Happy late Thanksgiving.





Life, The Pursuit of Happiness

Why Do Happy Memories Make Me Sad?

Why Do Happy Memories Make Me Sad?

Polaroid Close up
It’s very strange looking through old photographs because they make me feel both happy and sad at the same time. But now I mostly just feel sad. Maybe because I was so happy back then. Does that make sense? It’s kind of ironic that happy memories are the ones that make you the most sad.  It’s not the “wah” kind of sad you feel when you’re doubled over or curled up in a ball crying your eyes out. It’s more of the tender kind of sadness you feel when your little sister looks so pretty in her boat cruise dress and you realize she’s not so little anymore or when your friend gets married and you realize people are changing.  It’s the kind of sad you feel when you see the meals your big sister makes by herself and you realize people grow up.

It’s that kind of sadness. It’s the kind of sad when you look through pictures and you realize that those are moments you can never get back and times that you can never revisit. They are just memories. Frozen moments captured in time.  I don’t know why or how to explain it. I just know that instead of making me feel happy, happy memories make me feel sad.

Family, Friends, The Pursuit of Happiness , ,

It’s Spring, Let’s Play!

It’s Spring, Let’s Play!


さくら Cherry blossom

The birds are starting to chirp, the flowers are poking their heads out of the dirt, and I’m beginning to constantly sniffle which can only mean one thing…it must be spring! (That unintentionally has a bit of a rhyme to it).  Spring has always been one of my favorite seasons because after a long (and sometimes dreary) winter, the bright colors, fresh smells and blue skies breathe new life into me.  I feel re-energized and ready to take on the world!

19 things to do and enjoy this Spring: 

1. Start a New Project
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to juggle or play the guitar. Or crochet a blanket or learn how to cook. (I can’t be the only one, right?) Whatever that goal in your back pocket is, now is the time to get a move on it! Get inspired! As the wise Leo Tolstoy once said, “Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

2. Listen to “It’s a Beautiful Day” by Michael Buble and  Go For a Walk
Technically, this is a break-up song BUT it’s also a really catchy tune that has the uncanny ability to put a huge smile on my face. Imagine walking down the street in a new spring outfit and this song playing in your ears and in your heart – I promise it will make you feel happy! ‘It’s a beautiful dayyyy and I can’t stop myself from smiling..!”

3. Have Fresh Flowers in Your Room
There’s something about the sight of tulips or daffodils sitting on your desk that can instantly turn your day around. So treat yo’self! Go to the market, pick out your favourite colors and then walk home happily holding your fresh bouquet. It’s an instant pick-me up. Not only do they smell divine, but they literally brighten your day!

4. Buy Fresh Flowers for someone!
Question: What’s better than someone surprising you with you flowers? (Not that I would really know because I’ve never been surprised with flowers, ha!) Answer: The look on people’s face when you surprise them! Give flowers to your grandma, your sister, a co-worker, your parents, a friend – anyone! They will feel good, you will feel good, everyone will feel good!

5. Wear a Bow in Your Hair (Unless you really hate bows)
I know some people hate bows – if you are one of these people, you do not have to wear a bow. But if you’re like me, wearing a bow in your hair can make you feel girly and dainty and fresh! Bows will compliment your spring outfit quite nicely.  Maybe you’ll walk with an extra bounce (or should I say…SPRING!) in your step because it of.


6. Take a Picture Under the Cherry Blossoms
To me, cherry blossoms signify that spring has finally arrived! As soon as the first ones of the season bloom, your instagram feed is likely to be flooded with pictures of them. Why not stop and snap a picture of yourself (and a friend, if you want) under the beautiful trees? Create a memory -you know you want to!

7. Listen to the Rain
I mean, really, listen. Shh…do you hear that? Drip, drip, drop, little April showers. Lie in bed at night and hear it fall on your roof. Listen to it land on the window as you commute home. Take out your ear buds and listen to it fall around you as you walk to your car.  Rain is some of Mother Nature’s finest composition.

8. Get Caught in the Rain!
Winter rain can be a nuisance  – but spring rain can be pure bliss! Relish the feeling as it touches your face and ignites your bones. Does it make you feel alive?

9. Sit outside in a cafe
Maybe you don’t live in Paris (or maybe you do?!) but regardless of where you live, you should sit outside at a cute cafe, people watch and drink an espresso, chai latte or whatever’s your cup of tea, really. Heck, maybe you’d much rather have a cup of tea! Go by yourself, go with a friend, go with your mother – just go!

10. Visit a Garden
When I was younger, my grandma used to always take me and my sisters to visit gardens. We always thought it was boring. Now that I’m older, I fully appreciate the beauty of a blooming garden. The tranquility of nature is incomparable to the bright lights of any city. Rows and rows of tulips is a sight everyone should see before they die.

field of tulips

11. Make plans with a Long, Lost Friend
Life can get pretty busy and it’s easy to lose some friends in the hustle and bustle. Call up that friend who has been looming in the back of your mind and put your plan into action. Maintaining friendships are important, remember that.

12. Write in a Journal
If you don’t currently keep a journal, I highly recommend starting one.  Write about things that scared you, excited you, touched you or inspired you.  Write about what made you laugh and what made you cry. Write about the things you love about yourself and the things you wish you could improve. Write without any agenda other than to get your thoughts onto paper. Maybe years down the road, you’ll read what you wrote and appreciate how far you’ve come.

13. Let’s Go Fly a Kite
I feel like flying kites it a thing people do in movies and not so much in real life. Let’s change that! And if you don’t have a kite, go down to a nearby park and watch other people fly kites. That’s half as fun, right?

14. Get a Haircut
Because why not! New season, new look, new you! Maybe try something different – get bangs, chop it all off,  dye it, curl it, straighten it! Be bold.

15. Make a Terrarium Plant
When someone told me they made a terrarium, I had no idea what they were talking about. So I googled it and decided that it looked pretty cool! Basically, a terrarium is a glass container filled with plants and rocks. You can put this container on your desk or night stand or wherever you choose. I’ve never had a green thumb (did I mention I somehow managed to kill a cactus?)  but apparently terrariums require little maintenance – sounds perfect!

16.  Read Jane Austen
Let’s face it, Jane Austen can and should be read all year round, but there’s something special about sitting on a park bench in the spring time and reading about love. If you’ve read her works before, it will feel like coming home. If you’re reading her books for the first time, then welcome to the wonderful world of wit, humor and (nearly) perfect men. My personal favorite: Northanger Abbey. 


17. Fall in Love
With your life, with yourself. With a boy on the bus, with that girl you always see when you buy your morning coffee. Fall in love with your husband or wife all over again.  Watch the sunrise and fall in love with the world. Fall in love with adventure and mystery and kindness. Your heart has so much capacity to love – more than you probably realize.

18.  Clean Your Room/House/Car
They don’t call it spring cleaning for nothing! Declutter your space; declutter your mind. Out with the old and in with the new! Donate things you no longer need, throw away things that are broken. You’ll feel a weight off your shoulder that you didn’t even know was there.

19. Get Active!
Now that the weather’s getting warmer, there’s no excuse to sit on your couch and be lazy. After a long winter, it’s time to get those muscles moving and that heart pumping. Bike, walk, hike, jog, swim, dance – you’ll feel good AND  you’ll look good! I’m not talking about a vigorous workout (although, you are welcome to do that if you wish). I’m talking about exploring your city and appreciating mother nature instead of being cooped up inside all day. This is spring time – spread your wings and fly!

So, what are you looking forward to this spring?

Inspiration, Life, The Pursuit of Happiness
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