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2012 at a glance: no regrets

31 Dec

mimosaIt’s a New Year Eve and I can’t hold my excitement.

That is not exactly true. I guess it’s a line that normal people would use to describe their evening while waiting for a clock to strike midnight.  I hear people describing their perfect NYE celebrations and I truly wonder: what would be a perfect NYE celebration to me? Honestly, I don’t know! I don’t even know if I care. Yes, I have to admit the pressure that comes from all those movies, where everyone screams “Happy New Year” (and then kisses one another), people I know or even from the new (impersonal) means of communication (more like social means of destruction) makes me almost feel guilty for not caring enough but I did try to celebrate like everyone else (and failed), so give me a break. It’s just not meant to be I guess. I will be celebrating at home, wearing my favourite sweat pants, eating home-made food and drinking lots of mimosas.

That being said I think it’s time to review my last year resolution (New Year Resolution 2012). It was the first (and probably the last) time I got one and frankly it doesn’t matter how many of those resolutions I achieved. Although, I did not go to Cuba or exercised more (yeah, who was I kidding with that one…), I achieved the most important goals and had a great year overall. I did not fall in love, learned new things about myself, helped others and most importantly freed my heart from hatred.

I am generally never happy with myself, my life, people I am with and lots of other things…basically, I could be categorized as an unhappy person. However, I think first time in my life I actually said (more like wrote) I had a great year and I am thankful for that. Of course, things could always be better but I spent the whole year in Canada without anyone to support me there and survived, got a great job that I truly enjoyed, made a lot of new friends, visited New York city and then celebrated my birthday and Christmas at home, which I haven’t done in a long time. These little things make me happy when I think about them. What is important to note is that I saw the opportunity and I took it. I was brave enough to step out of my comfort zone and achieve things I never dreamed of. I am happy to have become this brave, independent woman who is not scared of challenges.

I think now I am ready to see what 2013 has got to offer for me. Maybe a great love, better career opportunities or a move to a new country… I know that whatever happens to me I will be fine. And so will you. We can always find the good even in the worst situations.

My 2013 resolution is to become happier and to try let more people into my heart. That’s all! I’ve learned it’s best to keep it short and simple.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful year!

Yours,

G.

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The “twenty-something” crisis

20 Nov

Young, single, with money to blow and your whole life ahead of you – that’s how some people would describe the amazing twenties. Social awkwardness is left behind and there is a promise of great things to come. But instead of living it up, a growing number of twenty-somethings are having a little crisis and I am no exception.

The twenty-something crisis can be defined as “the state of simultaneously wishing to be old (and therefore taken seriously in steps along the career path), coupled with intermittent pangs for a quickly disappearing youth.” But that is not the only problem in the twenty-something crisis of these days. The transition to adulthood today is a much more complex, prolonged process than it was for our parents or even grandparents.

Too many expectations?

I think we are all faced with somewhat of an “expectations hangover” these days. You look at your job and it’s not even close to what you thought you would be doing, or if you are still looking for a job like many others these days (thank you, financial crisis, very much indeed!) you realize that despite your best efforts, skills obtained via a number of summer internships, language knowledge and a polished résumé you are still going to have to fight for that job with thousand of others in a more-tough-than- ever job market, and if you are lucky start at the very bottom.

You may feel anxious as well because, presumably, you are faced with a wide range of opportunities and you are unsure of how to choose from among them. Questions of ”who am I, what do I want and how do I get it?” have become a sad reality of your life. So, who are we? I think I can answer that. We are people stuck in our twenties who have come to a final realization that it is probably not going to be the way we expected. The harsh reality check…

Good-bye childhood!

A few days ago I found out that my neighbour and a childhood friend is moving out. I am not exactly sure why it really hit me since it’s not like he’s moving to the moon or another country (to be more realistic) but I suddenly realized that this is it…we all have grown up! Or at least we should have grown up by now. We are in our twenties already and silly games played on the streets should really be left behind as a childhood memory. Once I moved back from Canada to my parents’ home due to my unexpected visa situation (see previous posts), I found myself trapped in a situation where I was not sure whether I was still a child (I really thought life at home would be the same!) or an adult.

I find it hard to say good-bye to my childhood friends, memories and everything else that relates to me being an irresponsible child. After all, why should we give up on what makes us happy? Although, does it really make us happy? I am not sure anymore…it’s just nice to hold on to something: whether it’s going to be your childhood memory or a friend from the past.

Should I get serious about my relationships already?!

Here is another story of my life. Everyday when I log in to my Facebook, I see that someone just got engaged, married or even gave a birth to a baby! I have reached a point, where people have actually started getting serious about their love lives. And I mean why wouldn’t you get serious about it if you have found the one?!

On the other note it saddens me. I keep telling people I am young, single and…fabulous (a quote from the Sex & the City) but I am not going to lie – all those happy/engaged/married couples are starting to worry me! And let me be clear with you – I never ever wanted to get married in the first place (I just don’t believe in a marriage concept), but out of the sudden I have this strong desire to get settled down, not necessarily to get married per se but well…at least to be in a normal, healthy relationship, which I have not had for a while (that’s another part, I am not a relationship person either). In other words, I just want to belong to a crowd, a twenty-something crowd that is getting serious about their love lives.

You are not alone

As much as I like to complain, I have to say that we possibly still have more than 30 years or so to get that perfect job, the man or woman of your dreams and have a second childhood (they say that once you get really old you act like a child again and everyone just goes with it!). After all, we ALL are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out…

Yours,

G.

Little Christmas Bakery: Indulge Yourself!

23 Dec

Christmas is approaching and despite the fact that I am far far away from my family and friends – I can still feel the Christmas spirit in the air… It’s the most wonderful time of the year (there will be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting…) and it would not be fair to ignore it (even though, that’s exactly what I planned to do). Christmas would not be Christmas for me if I were not baking or cooking something nice for the people I care about; from cookies to chocolate barks…something what would look Christmassy & be a great treat for your belly (…everyone should leave some space there for the holiday season)!Christmas is, without doubt, a time to indulge!

I have “opened’ my Little Christmas Bakery today with an opening treat – Peppermint Chocolate Barks. It’s something  what could be easily made by a complete beginner in the kitchen yet regardless of its simplicity it tastes nice & looks even better! Don’t forget chocolate is always a safe option when it comes to a “little sweet treat” (show me a man that does not like chocolate!).

Have in mind the recipe can be adjusted to your personal likings/needs – you’re the CHEF!  So, here is the recipe:

Peppermint Chocolate Barks

Ingredients:

  • high-quality white chocolate chips
  • high-quality dark chocolate chips
  • peppermint candy canes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract (depends on how much chocolate you’re going to use, I used 270 g of each)
  • extra: nuts, sugared cranberries

Method:

  1. Break up peppermint candy into little pieces. Melt the chocolate by placing a bowl with chocolate over a pot with hot water(not boiling!). Once melted, add the peppermint extract and stir.
  2. Pour the melted chocolate out onto a cookie sheet or cookie shapes ( see picture) and  spread out  chocolate with a spatula or wooden spoon. You can firstly spread out the dark chocolate add some nuts/sugared cranberries and then add the white chocolate – that way you will get two layers (black&white)
  3. Sprinkle the peppermint candy chunks on to the chocolate and gently press them in with yours hands.
  4. Place in the freezer for 25 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces or get out of the cookie shapes.

Done! Easy, huh? You can make lots of peppermint chocolate barks and pack them into nice boxes or wrap them in a shinny paper, and then give it to someone as a little Christmas gift!

Here are the pictures of the whole peppermint chocolate barks making process….

Indulge yourself & have a sweet Christmas!

Yours,

G.

The Five Best Things about Living Abroad

17 Nov

Being an adventurous person has very much contributed to my lifestyle. During the past 4 years I’ve already lived in 4 countries, namely, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, China and now Canada. By nature, an adventurous person may have a hard time being happy anywhere…even while on an amazing adventure. It’s because the horizon always beckons you to go one step further…to climb one more mountain…to explore one more culture…to learn one more language. It’s like in one of those TV commercials, where they say: “if you try it once – you won’t be able to resist”.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Despite the demanding nature of an adventurous life while living abroad it has a lot of cool advantages. I’ve chosen to write about  5 Best things about living abroad (don’t expect to read something too serious, though!) , here we go:

1.) Always having a conversation starter

Every time you meet a new person, enter a party room or even go out for shopping you will most likely be asked: ‘so, where are you from?’ Some will put some efforts into guessing and naming a few of the countries they know. It’s always a fun experience because you have at least a few things to talk about starting from where are you from, then explaining where exactly it is ( it happens all the time to me), what brought you here and so on. The good thing about it is that you can be a Lithuanian one day and a Swedish on the other day – the more creative you are the better! (Once, I told people I was from South Africa. They bought it!)

2.) Being popular just because you’re a foreigner

They either love your accent or make fun of it but regardless of that you get all the attention!  They seem to be interested in hearing all the details about your country, people there and then again what brought you here. Most of the time it becomes a Q&A session, where people quite literally attack you with questions…but don’t you just love it? Not to mention my experience of being super popular in China just because I have a white skin and blond hair…some said I reminded them of Britney Spears, ah!

3.) Meeting amazing people

Very important part of the whole living-abroad experience is meeting new people. During my past 4 years I’ve met so many different people who had absolutely enriched my life, or in some cases, even changed it! Now, I have friends from all over the world and always have someone to talk to from different times zones (a friend for a morning conversation from Europe, a friend for an evening conversation from somewhere in Asia…). Not to mention the fact that you get a free-stay at their place if you plan to go to one of those countries! Convenient, huh?

4.) Getting a new perspective about yourself, your culture and the biases

Mark Twain once said: ‘“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” That perfectly applies to the case of living abroad. Growing up in a country where seeing a black person was equal to a miracle had given me some biases towards different people. We all  carry around biases without even realizing it. However, living abroad helps you to get rid of those biases and become, like I say,  a citizen of the Word and that is quite a packaged deal as it also enriches you with a cross-cultural mindset, which one day may be rewarded! You also find out how others view your culture and that is always interesting. Not to mention the fact that you can learn so much new about yourself while in a new environment….

5.) Having  once-in-a-life-time experience

That pretty much sums up everything I’ve written above. There is nothing like the voice(s) of experience and it works not only in terms of career. Life, in general, is a journey and every experience counts. Living abroad gives you a different type of experience every time you enter a new country that comes along with a new language and culture and you’d better appreciate those moments  of experience while you can! You never know how long you will live and how many opportunities you may have…just grab one and never look back!

For the end: “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”- Henry Miller

Yours,

G.


Three Ps

2 Nov

It’s been two months and I am still rather concerned about my decision to come here after everything I had to go through. Despite all those people constantly telling me that you can’t get a life in two months, I still find it very frustrating.

Some say: ‘There is no Failure only learning experience’. And I have to agree, coming here all by myself and starting a new life is clearly a learning experience, and it does not matter whether I will achieve my goals or not, it will still be regarded as an experience. Not a failure, even though I find it hard to believe sometimes.

I still haven’t got those 3 things everyone is looking for (see: https://pioneeringventures.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/3-things-we-all-are-looking-for/): an apartment or room in a nice, shared place, a dream job and that perfect love, which in my current life is replaced with friends (which I still don’t have).

What I’ve got though – is a faith in three Ps – patience, perseverance and prayer. And by saying prayer – it does not necessarily have to be related to some God or religion; my religion is me and science, and that’s what I am praying to. It’s all about believing in yourself, being patient and perseverant.

Remember, always have a faith in three Ps –  patience, perseverance and prayer. It will get you somewhere if you just don’t lose your faith!

Yours,

G.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud…

27 Oct

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

When I decided to write a post about loneliness I immediately thought of the poem I read long time ago, written by William Wordsworth. These days, I feel like that cloud floating on high o’er vales and hills.

Starting your life from scratch in a new country (or in general) is never easy.  You may feel like a little kid going through the school’s door for the very first time, except that the school is now called a real life. You don’t know what is waiting for you and what to expect. Teacher is not there to give you the directions, or support you when you feel rather confused as to how you should solve some algebra (i.e. life) equationand since it’s not a classroom and you’re not seven anymore, you can’t just say ‘hello’ to a total stranger sitting next to you in the same desk.

I do feel lonely most of the time but not scared. I  rather feel sort of surprised at myself for having this much courage to do things I never thought I would do. And that makes me wonder…do we actually need to be lonely sometimes to see how much courage we’ve actually got inside us? Is it easier to reach out the stars when you know the only person you could rely on is you? I am not going to lie; I’ve cried a thousand oceans and have been feeling like it’s time to give up even more times, but then I realized I have everything a human being would possibly need to have: a brave heart and friends/family who support me all the time!

After all, it does not matter where your friends and family are. It is comforting to know that the ones I love are always in my heart. And some of them, are just a plane (or two) right away!

To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me!

G.

3 Things We All Are Looking For

22 Oct

  Here, in Toronto, like in any other big city, everyone is looking for 3 things: job, apartment and love. They don’t necessarily have to come in the exactly the same order but sooner or later, everyone expects to have them all.

The question is though; can you actually have all those 3 things at the same time? I believe it depends on who you are and what kind of expectations you have for yourself and for others. It is not hard to get some average type of job, basement apartment and even ‘love’ that appeared to be just right on the corner when you were looking for someone. It may even make you happy for a while; an average person having it all. I, on the other hand, have never been one of those who could take just anything for the sake of having it all.

If you happened to be like me, you will probably end up wondering all around the world looking for special things, special people, special moments and even special love that could enrich your life with more than just average happiness.

And don’t you kid yourself thinking it would be easy. It requires a huge amount of efforts, time and patience most importantly. But aren’t the good things worth fighting and waiting for?

Sometimes, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey what makes your life worth living. And when it comes to love…there are people who refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies and I am one on those.

Yours,

G.