What would I tell the 21 years old me. Advice from the vault.

A couple of weeks ago, I started working in a Brazilian steakhouse, close to my house. I went there for lunch and they offered me a job. The manager told me they needed another manager and with my experience in restaurants, I could do the job. He called me the next day and offered me the hostess position. According to him “You will need to know the other employees first, so they don’t get frustrated with the new manager.” I accepted the hostess position. They just hired a new manager. 

Was I tripping? No, because we had the interview in Portuguese, so I can’t even use the excuse of being lost in translation. They just allured me into getting a job, to get a better position later, that won’t probably happen. So here I’m, 36 years old, working again as a hostess. 

For little to no money. It’s all good. I’m working with some 20 something years old, and I feel like I have a lot to teach and share my wisdom *insert sarcasm*. I think I do have some life experience that’s worth sharing, and the best part is, they listen to me. At least I think they do. 

So here is some of what I’ve been telling them. Some things which I would love that someone would have told me when I was 21. 

Arraial do Cabo – Rio de Janeiro – Sorry about the 2008 Camera Resolution.

Don’t jump into College so fast.

I started college when I was 19, almost 20, and I still drag thinking about what could I have done differently, if I had waited just a little longer. Tourism and Hospitality Management is a vague degree, that you normally don’t need to work in hotels and restaurants. I had friends who took journalism, New Media classes and went to Culinary schools, who don’t work with that anymore, in their 30’s. They all followed their heart at some point and decided to do what made them happy, instead of what society expected from them. 

It’s ok if you don’t have money.

Don’t get 70 hour work weeks and be exhausted to enjoy the time of your life, because you need to catch up with all the bills. Be broke, accept some help if someone offers. Help comes in different forms.

Maybe the help is staying in an apartment for free, when they don’t live there, like a housekeeper. Or some food donations from friends, when you have zero money. Make sure to befriend a chef, they are the ones who can feed you, because they always cook too much. It’s ok to struggle in your 20’s. I’m not talking about the kids whose parents are rich and yet they pretend to suffer when the only suffering is to check their bank account for allowance. 

I’m talking about the chicken noodle ramen folks. You know who you are.  

He/She might not be the love of your life, and it’s ok to admit it. 

Life will move on and so does you. They need to feel loved and validated is real and at some point, we all feel like we are going to die if the person doesn’t reciprocate the love. It’s a dead-end zone. Don’t give someone exclusive attention, if the feeling is not mutual.

It’s almost guaranteed you are going to crash at some point. Some people just do that to feed their ego and you are their unlimited amount of coins. You just have to hit your head on the brick a few times, and they get the coins.

Some people just like to allure you into their world, like nothing else matters, only to make themselves feel validated. Make plenty of mistakes, learn from them and move on. Or be like Taylor Swift who wrote a 10-minute song and profit from heartbreak. Something gotta give. 

Don’t let people dictate how you should behave. 

“Oh, look how crazy she is.” I’ve heard that plenty of times when I was just being as happy as I could be. I didn’t need anyone’s validation and tagging me like the crazy one was their easiest way to bring me down. As you start taming yourself because your loud mouth is not accepted by some members of society. People are usually led by church believes. Bless your heart, honey. Be loud, be crazy, laugh, and make memories. Those shameful folks are always going to judge you, no matter how you behave, so might as well have fun. 

First time seeing snow in 2007- North Carolina

Travel. As much as you can and as far as you can. 

I remember being in my early 20’s, visiting different places and staying at hostels. Hostels are shared accommodation, very popular in Europe, where the type of hotel was originated. You have CoEd rooms or Male and Female dorms, usually with bunkbeds. It gives you a sense of respect and freedom, and if you are traveling alone like was my case most of the time, you can make friends and meet people from all over the world.

In most of the hostels, you have a communal kitchen, a shared living room, and sometimes a bar, as they had at the one I stayed in Perth, Australia. They offered breakfast in the morning and became a bar at night. 

While young and broke, visiting coastal cities in Rio, I had the chance to figure out what I love doing. Photography and travel to new and not-so-popular places. One of my biggest dreams at that time was to backpack around Europe. 

I even bought the guide and the backpack itself, but I couldn’t afford to go. I wish someone would have told me to take a risk and go anyway. That’s why I say, if you are broke, go broke. Sleep in a hostel, have one meal a deal, make friends, check out less touristic places, eat like a local. Make memories. Work abroad. 

The only time I visited NYC, in 2007. Stayed in a hostel, had 1 meal a deal, +coffee. I was utterly alone in the city. Asking for strangers to take pictures. Other tourists, cause new yorkers don’t stop for you.

If money is a real problem, work abroad. 

If I remember correctly, Europe has a type of visa called a Holiday Visa, which allows European citizens to work and travel around Australia for up to two years. And that’s how most of the people I met from Europe were doing in Australia. For some other people, you have to get a working visa and pay some agency fees, but you can get it back with your work in that country. You need that first investment though, but after that, you can make it. It’s all about taking chances. I did. 

Before becoming a permanent resident in the States, I came over two times on a J1 type of visa, that allowed me to work for a few months at a time, like in Ski Resorts and restaurants, during the winter season. I also went to Australia, on the same type of visa, to work for a year. Remember you can always volunteer, research what type of temporary visa the country you are interested in has and explore all the options. Not saying this is only a 20’s something thing to do, it’s because it’s much easier when you are younger. 

When you have some baggage, you are not as free as you were at some point. You are more cautious. 

I have this conversation with my coworkers and I feel like I’m their Mr. Myagi. Go ahead Hostess-San, be wise and live your life. Take chances. Giving some advice to the novice makes me want to stay in that place just for that purpose. My ego. 

See you next week, weather permitting.

XXX

JS

 

What is your comfort zone and how to get out of it. Or at least try to.

Why does everyone looks so cool and savvy online when I’m 36, feeling inadequate like I’m constantly having an out-of-body experience. My soul flying, like a kite, shaking and moving without steadiness. Feels like I’m not going anywhere, I’m just there wiggling on the wind.

Where does this feeling of inadequacy come from?

I guarantee I’m not the only one and it is not because I’m an immigrant either. I have friends from all over the place that feels the same way. We all feel like a hamster in the wheel, running to get nowhere, making money for someone else. Putting all of our passions aside because we first have to make a living, and we can’t afford to drop everything to invest in whatever we want to do.

@JSPhotography

For most of us, what we really like to do, we tend to keep a hobby. Either because we don’t think we are going to make any money with it, or in my case, I feel like I would destroy the only thing that makes me truly happy. I’ve been passionate about photography for over 17 years now. I never had the courage to make it into a career.

I’m too scared to be criticized for something I’m so devoted to. It’s like my writing.

I love writing, but instead of trying to pursue something with it, I’m still keeping it to myself because I’m too scared about what others are going to think of my stories, or if my character’s arc is according to the industry standards among other things. So I stay in my comfort zone. Writing on this blog.

What is your comfort zone?

Mine is working in hotels and restaurants. I’ve been doing it for so long, that it’s just a matter of days to be familiar with the new place and then I’m bored again. I feel compelled to try something else, but I always end up in the same spot over and over.

@JSphotography

I know that kind of job will give me the most secure of all because it’s something I dominate and like a robot, you just program it and let it do its stuff. The security comes from not needing to learn anything new, and with that avoid criticism of being a newbie.

It shouldn’t be like that, but we are all humans and we tend to not want to make drastic changes unless we need to.

Taking risks is not for everyone.

The biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my life was moving to America to take English classes and not coming back to my home country. I had it all planned, but the way it unfolded still shocks me to my core. Actually moving to America was not too risky, what was really risky was moving to Georgia.Without having proper documentation.

me and my Kodak camera in 2007

I guess that’s why I’m in my comfort zone now, because all the happened over there, made me not want to take any other risk in my life. Like zero new adventures.

Living those 4 years in Georgia, made me create a cocoon. The reverse butterfly effect, where the butterfly grows out of the cocoon, I got back in. Have you ever had such a traumatic experience that shake your entire core and made you the most skeptical person to the day?

Mine was a series of things happening, in my restaurant career and my personal life, that made me see the worst in people, for way too long.

My comfort zone makes me look like I’m not doing enough to be wherever I aim to be.

It always feels like I’m not working enough, networking enough, sharing enough. I keep questioning myself on how can I do it better, or what would I have to do to not be so passive with my life anymore.

Can I have an exciting life, where I can showcase my travels, my achievements, my new career development? The comfort zone is keeping me where I need it to be, for right now.

I want to take a step further, but also, life is not a competition.

I’m not here to compete with anybody. Even though it seems like that’s all we are doing at this time and date.

Westminster Train Station
@JSPhotography

I guarantee you that you also have something you’d like to showcase, as something that you are really proud of, that something is holding you back. That’s where it lays your comfort zone, my friend.

A place where you know all your coworkers, all your friends are the same friends you have always seen, the same places you go to. There is nothing new to try. You are to accommodate to take a step further. The unknown is scary and who you might find there too.

This blog is an example of me stepping out of my comfort zone of working in hotels and restaurants. I come over here, every other week, to write a post about something that I’m feeling, and would like to share my experience about navigating life as an immigrant.

I don’t care if I have a lot of views or even if my blog hit the stats that I hope for. I write because it’s something that I feel like I need to do, in order to feel accomplished.

It’s my personal share of success.

That’s the only thing that makes me navigate life without feeling like a robot owned by a corporation, who pays me a little bit over a minimum wage and drowns my hopes and dreams. I need my comfort zone to be where I enjoy also to be.

What works for me is been taking small steps and making reasonable lists that I can accomplish. Out of my comfort zone. I’m also working on the depths of why I’m stuck in this position and how can I venture outside.

Does the comfort zone also have some to deal with anxiety?

I read an Instagram post about it the other day and it made me reflect on why my comfort zone is attached to my anxiety and ability to get my projects to move forward? If any psychologists are reading this, let me know if I’m thinking correctly.

Please let me know in the comments what is your comfort zone and what’s keeping you there? Are you afraid of trying, fearing something might derail you from what you are used to, or the unexpected reaction of complete strangers online?

Maybe both.

Stay healthy, stay well.

All I know so far. How P!nk remains a power house after 22 years, while embracing all the misfits.

 

 

 

 

I watched the new P!nk documentary on Amazon Prime “All I know so Far”. Is easy to see how she remained a powerhouse for the past 22 years. It’s ok to be different, you don’t have to fit in a box.

Yesterday I watched the new P!nk documentary on Amazon Prime “All I know so Far” and even though this is not a review, I’m going to say what it felt like for me, seeing a person that I have followed for the past 20 years, in her deepest fragility and strength P!nk is a powerhouse.

What makes her so great, I think, is the fact she sings for the raging souls, for the mischievous, the outcasts as she embraces everyone, making everyone feel like they are being heard.

The documentary shows her touring stadiums around all over the globe, while taking care of her family, also the relationship with the kids and husband, while managing to play in full arenas. I was awake almost at 1 AM, watching it without blinking. Again, P!nk is such an inspiration and her kids are adorable!

Love the documentary, love the album, love everything!

One of the most emotional moments, spoiler alert, was when she reads a letter from a UK fan, telling P!nk how important her music was and how she saved her life, during the most difficult moments. How her music and her attitude were always inspirational.

The girl also told in the letter she was being bullied at school and the only happy moments were when she arrived back home and put the VHS to watch something on MTV about P!nk. That’s when I started crying and thinking about my teenage years.

I want to be somebody else.

My teenage years were at the beginning of the 2000s. At the time, for role models we had Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, singing about a boy who drives them crazy for whatever reasons or singing “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” in a gorgeous setting, with perfect hair, makeup, and body. In low-rise jeans. I wanted to be like them, so bad. I used to straighten my hair to the point of getting a headache in the morning. I thought that to be accepted, you had to be beautiful.

Living in Rio also burns you into being patronized. You must-have highlights, long hair, nails done, a big butt, and nice clothing. You have to look like the girls on TV. I had nothing of that. So when I was rejected by schoolmates, bullied over my hair or because I wore glasses, or because I was considered too chatty or “too crazy” for their standards, listening to Britney and Christina singing about boys, didn’t make me feel any good. That’s when I found out M!zunderstood, P!nk’s second album.

I’m not that complicated, I’m just misunderstood.

Even though I didn’t understand the lyrics just by listening at that point, I loved the melody and the waves of anger. P!nk was rock and roll, progressive, and ahead of her time from those other girls. She sang about the reality of most of us. She embraced all of us and sang about our broken pieces and our disappointments with life in general.

One particular song of that album, still ingrained in me, on to the deepest levels. If I listen to the first accords, I start crying. “Don’t let me get me” was a reflection of all my teenage years. I was a reject, an outsider, a stranger to myself. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. Nobody did. One particular night, on Valentine’s day, when my 13 years old cousin got a gift from a boy she had a crush on, I fell apart listening to this song. Why could nobody like me?

I was already 16 and nobody cared about me, much worse, there was absolutely nothing I could do to make someone like me. What was wrong with me? So I put on my boom box, turned off the living room lights, and stared outside my window. Cars passed and the songs of M!zunderstood cut me deep. So I realize P!nk would be the singer that would bring rough honesty to my life, singing about real problems we all go through and not some made-up shit about being pretty and boys making them wait.

Where I could run, as fast as I can, to the middle of nowhere

When she sang “Just like a pill” I felt like it would be great to run away from all my problems. At that point in my life, my mom was raising me, all by herself, in Rio, with 3 jobs. I used to talk to my dad on the phone every Sunday. Some Sundays he disappeared. He had depression and a drinking problem.

That forced me to grow up much faster than any of my friends, I had to be mature enough to understand why he was never there for me. He was living in a different state and 2002, communication was scattered, we didn’t have cell phones or internet.

Being bullied at school, talking to my dad every other Sunday, and having no perspective of the future, all I had was music and stories I’d write to escape from my reality. Fortunately, the time has passed, my face and my hair fell into line, but my attitude never changed. My essence is still the same. In 2012, when I met my now-husband, P!nk released a song that it felt was written based on my life, again.

No one else can break my heart like you

“True Love”, talks about the turbulences of being with someone you love, at the same time the person annoys the hell out of you. I told Josh, at that time, that this was going to be one of our songs. He didn’t understand, because the song has very sharp words towards a loved one. If he only saw me when I was a teenager, he would get it. Crying in the window while listening to P!nk, made me who I’m today. I’m so thankful for that.

If you are one of my seven readers and something doesn’t feel right in your life, please be patient. The universe always turns everything around. I never thought that when I was gonna have anyone special in my life, heck I never thought I’d have anything at all in my life, at some point.

That’s all I know so far

In my teens, I felt underappreciated and ugly. As time passed and everything got better. My mom says “There is nothing like one day, after another” or “The darkness of the night is here, so we can appreciate when the sunlight arrives”.

I don’t like toxic positivity, where everyone keeps telling you all will be alright if you just get over it, or work hard. I know it sucks but hang in there. It sucks for everyone, they just lie compulsively on social media for likes. P!nk told me that it was ok to be a chaotic mess in my most fragile moments.

I moved on. I’m happily married, to someone that loves me with all my quirkiness and loves my natural hair.

Do you have anyone in your life, like a singer or a writer, someone that inspires you, or help you get by? Please let me know in the comments who is this person in your life. As you can see, I rely heavily on creatives to help me to get over my issues.

XXXJS

Things I started paying attention after the pandemic

Can we stop talking about the trainwreck 2020 was? No? Ok. Can we also stop trying to improve other people’s lives with useless tips? Yes, please. Alright, so let’s talk about things I started paying attention to after the pandemic. I promise this isn’t ” You should try it yourself” type of post or “I did much better than you during the pandemic.”

Not at all. I’m constantly writing my struggle to connect with people who are living through the same energy.

That’s why I write this blog.

Life was always busy, running around, planning, executing (sometimes, let’s be honest) trying to hustle and bustle. It seems that the roaring ’20s was about to start and I was ready to step on the gas and let amazing things happen to me. I lived January and February of 2020 with intensity and planning for the rest of the year.

In March, as we all know the hourglass got clogged and stopped, as we were all left wondering what was next, for God only knew how long. We didn’t know when life was going to go back to the normal, matter of fact, I don’t think it ever will. Vaccinations or not, the Pandemic changed everyone’s life. For better or for worse, we all are going to have stories to tell about those months the entire planet was stuck at home, cooking bread.

My stress levels 

I listened to hours and hours of podcasts, about the pandemic and whatnots, meditate, and got myself an apple watch. Even though I think the watch harasses me, telling me what to do, like “breath” “walk more” “get you bums of the couch, lazy bitch, you’ve been in the same position for 3 hours”.

I decided to tag along and just listen to what I think matters, not the passive-aggressive notifications I receive all day long. One good feature of this watch is that it can measure your heartbeats, so if you think you are struggling to control your nerves, you can calm yourself, with breathing techniques.

I learned that your stress levels are entirely up to you. If your mind is spinning out of control, and you feel like passing out, try to manage how you are breathing. You are the only person who can do that, and no one, not a boss, not a friend, not a significant other can do it for you.

My food – Trying to eat healthier

Discovering new ways on how to eat better, without sacrificing my love for chocolate. It’s not the chocolate that makes you sick. It’s all combined. The chocolate, the pizza, the frozen lasagna, the fried chicken.

I’m not an expert on anything, but I decided to give it a try and see how my body feels. I understand that most of the time we don’t have time to eat all the food from the pyramids, green, yellow, orange, red, and so on.

It’s too hard to follow a super healthy diet, so I do what I can. Walking around TJ Maxx, I found some Superfood Green Powder that you can make smoothies with and bought some fruits. Felt like a winner immediately!

 

The alcohol consumption 

Working in restaurants, I had to try different types of drinks and beers constantly, to be able to sell them to my table. I enjoyed it, I learned a lot, but I stopped working in restaurants in December of 2018. As I kept trying to make drinks at home, putting to practice how to mix different liquors, the pandemic hit, and what was a hobby, almost became a problem.

I come from a long line of alcoholics. My grandpa, my dad, my uncle, and some other family members that don’t assume they are, but it’s very clear for the rest of us. If they are happy, they drink, if they are sad, they drink, if it’s hot outside, they drink beer to cool it off, if it’s cold outside, they drink wine to keep warm. As I said, it becomes a problem when it’s constant.

The only stores opened during the pandemic in Austin, were, guess what? The liquor stores. It’s weird for me that a mom-and-pop food truck couldn’t be open, but a large retail alcohol store could. Anyway, so every Friday, I walked myself to the liquor store to get a different liquor to mix the drinks.

I also had some wine.

As we all lost track of what day of the week it was, it becomes more and more normal to drink wines on Monday, Cocktails on Tuesday, beers on Wednesday. After two weeks, I talked to a friend about how all this alcohol intake was coming and we decided together to stop and only drink on Fridays. It worked well until I started working again last month, in a hotel, which debunked everything I have been working towards last year.

Give me a break, I’m trying here.

Be more active

Long walks without destinations are my gem. In Chicago, I used to walk for hours and that kept me active. Living in a city where you are car dependable, makes it harder. Denver has a lot of parks, but to get to the park, you need a car.

There are days when I still walk to Walmart and around the park close to home. I only do that so I can close my exercise ring, on the apple watch. Once again, the watch harasses me if it thinks I’m not doing it enough. It is my day off watch, leave me alone.

Be thankful ( paying attention to small victories)

I learned how to count small blessings during my day and pay attention to what is working. If my remote control works without me having to it against something, it’s a beautiful day. If I can be outside, in a coffee shop, while watching people pass by, something that didn’t happen last year, I’m thankful.

Happiness is made of a fraction of moments. Victories, accomplishments, learning new things, meeting new people. What people get wrong is because they were taught that we have to be happy 100% of the time, if we are not, something is off.

Don’t take sunny days for granted

Photo by Rampal Singh on Unsplash

We live in Colorado. Winters are long, and there is a possibility it might snow in May. Don’t put the snow boots away yet. Wait another week. I was born and raised in Brasil, where we take sunny days for granted.

We don’t have cold seasons. In the United States, I learned that seasons exist and some of them are longer than others. So enjoy the sunny days, wherever you are.

Meditate and learn how to control my emotions 

 

Listening to podcasts like Mindful for beginners or Headspace helped me to center whatever chaos was happening during the Pandemic. I needed to hear myself breathe and make sure I was alive.

I was getting angry with everyone and mad that I couldn’t live my life the way I intended. The internet super-achievers were also not helping. I guess getting away for a few minutes from social media, to reconnect myself, it’s a habit I want to keep forever.

Understanding that other people are struggling too, I don’t reign on the struggle.

Struggle with mental instability is not a privilege of a few. We all got derailed at some point of this lockdown, wanted to leave to a different place, start over, and all these emotions that come when you are removed from your normal daily routine.

Into to the Unknown

The Unknown is scary, unpredictable, and leaves us wondering what is next, it’s not a good feeling. For some people, this is the epicenter of craziness. How dare you act like this with me? Well, we are facing the same type of issues, some on a different level than others.

Some people like to say “we are all in the same boat”. Yes, Kylie Jenner, but your boat has 5 floors and I’m fighting the tide in a little canoe and a broken paddle.

Normal people, not the Hollywood crowd, are struggling to keep their mental health in check. What we have to do now, is have some compassion. Take a deep breath, and remember we are all trying our best. Ok, some more than others. Some people are just mean because they want to be and no pandemic will change that.

All I know is that being stuck at home for over a year, gave me the ability to reinvent myself and do whatever was missing in my life, during the busy days.

I baked, I meditated, I put on 5lbs, I started eating better and paying attention to my mind, body, and emotions. I delayed all my career plans for my writing, I’m doing what I can. One day at a time.

So, what did you change in your life during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments if you got a new hobby or restarted a new old one, you had to put it aside. How are you taking care of your body and mind after this mess?

What makes you feel alive?

Coming out of the situation we were all put in last year, a few of these habits had the power to make me feel alive. Especially on those days, you had nothing to look for or any idea how long this situation would last for.

How long are we going to be in lockdown? How long are we only going to visit the supermarket and drugstore for fun? Thoughts like “will my life become entirely digital, without any other human contact, smile, or even facial recognition because we are all be wearing masks for the rest of our lives?”

There were so many questions I couldn’t find the answer at that time, and the only way out was to find things that made me feel alive. Felling alive and blessed for having a healthy strong system, enough to keep me safe during the pandemic, while a lot of people struggle, was a plus.

That led me to think and evaluate the true thing that keeps me alive and happy. Whatever brings a smile to my face or a giggle while walking around.

What makes you feel alive? Here are a few things that make me dance around.

The bright sun in the sky

At this point in my life in the United States, I’m somehow used to long winters. I lived in Chicago two different times and I know how dragging arctic winters can mess up with your mood, leading to seasonal depression.

I’m so thankful I was in Texas when the pandemic started because just imagining being cooped up in a tiny apartment for months, drops my mood to the ground.

I grew up in Brazil and we have the sun almost all year round, so when I had to deal with drag, short days, getting dark at 4 PM, that was it for me. Living in Colorado is also cold, but they have a lot of sunny days here, and that helps me to smile more. I love opening my window and see the light shining bright, it pushes me forward to keep moving.

Everyone looks happier when the spring and the summer start.

Dogs

Dogs are my kryptonite. I love dogs and I just want to be around them. I had two dogs before of my own, one we adopted and another one we foster at the beginning of quarantine. There is no greater love than the love of a dog, they want nothing in exchange, they just want love and treats, and that I have an abundance of. My parents adopted a stray dog, while I was visiting them in Brazil, last March.

Baby Kiara, the stray dog who won my heart <3

Baby Kiara is about three months old and she was found at the veterinarian clinic by the vet. She is the most adorable thing, but she is in trouble, because she looks like a little rat, running around the house, and sometimes we trip on her. She also bit the walls, everyone’s feet and she barks at an empty bottle filled with rice grains my mom gave to her. This time was especially hard to come back home because I got used to her. I hope she remembers me when I go back next year.

Walking around without a destination.

Usually, I put on my favorite playlist, something from the late ’90s or early 2000s, like Nsync or Britney Spears, and march away. Sometimes I walked so far, I had to take the bus back. That used to happen in Chicago a lot.

I used to live in Lakeview East, close to the Wrigley Field Stadium. Summertime comes around and I walked to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Had to take the bus back. On one of these random walks, I was listening to Beyonce and almost got hit by a car, because I was distracted and didn’t pay attention while crossing the street.

Listen to my favorite song.

Having a very peculiar taste in music, so depends on the day, I can go from Katy Perry to David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac in an instant. I traveled through decades and my playlist is adaptable. If I want to be happy in an instant, I will listen to Mariah Carey. I recently bought a karaoke mic and I’m driving my neighbors up a wall while singing “Emotions”. At least they stopped stomping in my head at 6 AM.

Food ( either cooking or eating it)

I get hanger. I don’t know how to deal with the feeling of being hungry. It puts me on a spiral of emotions and drama, I overreact to simple things, and have I mentioned drama? I love food. That’s a given and I also love cooking. I’m constantly checking for recipes and trying new ways to improve my meals. We don’t allow mac’n’cheese or frozen lasagna in this house. The joy of serving other people also makes me feel alive. For me, the act of cooking for someone else shows great compassion and caring for others. Food is energy and if you have good energy, it should be shared.

Observe the nature around me

Great things happen when you are not being distracted by your phone. A walk in the park can be refreshing and you can observe different scenarios every time you are out. Living in Colorado, I can see the front range mountains and it looks like a painting on the wall. Hiking gives you another sense of adventure and you can listen to nature and relaxing with the quietness, even though most of the time Mariah is singing her jams rent-free in my head.

Visiting my family in Brazil.

That’s the one thing that brings me the most peace and keeps me centered. Living in the United States, makes me feel I’m losing my identity, little by little. I know who I’m, but my life fluctuates between two different cultures.

My past and my present collide, sometimes I question my choices. When I’m in Brazil, I have all the love from my family, my food, my music, my tv shows. When I’m in America I have financial stability, some sense of security, and all the makeup Mac can make, that back home would cost me an eye and a leg. Life choices, am I right?

That’s how I see myself living in America.

I don’t regret living here, but I would like to go back to visit more often. My parents are getting old and I haven’t been there enough. Do you know that “missing hug people” you felt the entire last year? I have been in this situation for years

Find whatever makes you happy.

I read once that happiness is a feeling and not a constant state. That made a lot of difference in how I pursue things in my life. Gratitude and the simple things I can achieve helps me to move forward in life, without being so hard on myself.

That’s my list of what makes me feel alive. What’s on your list? Dogs, cats? Ice cream, traveling? Let me know in the comments!

XXX

J.Snelly