My Korean learning journey

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On my blog I write about various things I like and try, and one of the things I really like to write about is related to language learning.

While I haven’t found my Ikigai in life yet, I know for sure that I like to learn languages. Actually, one of my biggest goals in life is to learn many languages and talk to different people in their mother tongue.

I once refered to learning Korean as my own little forest. It was the first time I followed my dream, no matter how scared I was, and that decision will always be my guiding light.

I remember that following my dream felt unreal and uncertain at the beginning. I knew from the start it was going to be difficult, and I wasn’t quite sure I would make it, but I wanted to try anyway. I am forever greatful to that scared old me who did it anyway.

If you ask me why I chose to study Korean academically instead of learning on my own, I would answear that at that point learning Korean was my dream and going to the university was something that I had to do in order to have better chances as an adult in Romania. So I found a way to do both.

I must say I was lucky. Sometimes hard work will also need a pinch of luck to have successful results. For me it was my hard work, a pinch of luck, God’s love for me and my parents’ support I am always thankful for.

I was 14 when I heard Korean spoken for the first time. It was love at first “hearing”. The strange sounds I heard for the first time were like music to my ears. There was a new series diffused on national television, a Korean historical drama (also known as sageuk in romanized Korean) and that encounter was the beginning of my journey.

Soon enough I was hooked by the content of Korean dramas. I didn’t have Internet at home, so I was waiting like children wait for Santa Claus everyday to only watch one episode per day (minus the weekends). The old me would be so jealous to see me bingewatching series now.

In high-school my only contact with Korean language was through K-pop (Korean pop music) and Korean dramas. I tried to learn some vocabulary, but it was useless because it was used hundreds of years ago (they were broadcasting only historical dramas on national television).

It only started to get serious in college. I chose Korean language as my major, though everybody was concerned or reluctant. But I knew what I wanted to do.

In the beginning I did a lot of learning mistakes:

  • not reading enough
  • romanizing Korean words which made my brain lazy
  • forcing my brain to memorize thousands of words without context or examples

All these mistakes made my progress very slow, and after I found my own learning style, I progressed better studying my own way.

This is how I used to write Korean words in my first semester

After graduation, because there was no Korean Master program in Romania, I decided to enroll in any Master program I could find somehow attractive and I tried to continue studying Korean in my spare time.

My progress in Korean was always slow because I either studied the wrong way or I didn’t have enough time to study because of both my Master degree and my full-time job.

However, studying must be done in a fun way. Even today, I continue to improve my Korean whenever I have the time, without stress and deadlines. This is how Korean remains my little forest, even after many years.

This is it, this was my story about my Korean learning journey. I hope you had fun while reading.

Do you have any passions that became your little forest too? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading.

On books I’ve read this year and reading tips

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I have to admit. I like to read but, last year I only read four books. I am only talking about books, not articles, manga and so on. Since last year, I started to keep a list with the books read during the year so I can have a better image of how much I read. When I started to act towards a more minimalist lifestyle I didn’t intend to be a minimalist in terms of reading, but somehow I got there.

I tried to think of methods of how to increase my reading time, but first I had to find the problem behind. In my case procrastination and many activities that I can’t give up on ( like practicing my languages and learning Japanese, doing various courses and starting to learn about financial education, plus spending more time to get out for walks in the park).

One of my goals for 2022 was to increase the number of books I read, because let’s face it, reading is food for the brain and soul. I started with analyzing my lifestyle, and now that I live in a new place I had to adapt to these changes as well. I made goal lists and activities lists that I wanted to make into habits. For example, reading and learning Japanese are my goals for the year and for the years to come, so they are also on my activities list.

On my activities list there are all the things I want to improve or learn further. I have 13 activities on this list that I do one by one and they are related to journaling ( I had to put it on the list in order to be more intentional and more organized), learning and practicing languages (listening, writing, grammar activities), blogging and reading.

This list is great because I get to do everything that is written down, which is actually what helps me achieve my goals. Reading became an important goal for me this year and until now I have read double the number of books I had read last year. It’s already better and it’s going to be even better. I decided to do so.

As tips or methods to increase my readings I found that it helps to:

  • put reading on your to do list (if you work well with to do lists, of course);
  • read whenever you can, even if you only read 2 pages (I try to read when I go to the park, while I dry my hair, while I do my skin routine etc);
  • read more books in parallel ( I now have 3 books that I started reading and I read based on how I feel at that moment);
  • listen to audio books if you like to listen rather than to read (my sister is the perfect example, she listened more than 30 books while I only read 8 until now this year);
  • create a comfortable space and turn on that asmr;
  • read the books that attract you and if you feel like not finishing the book after starting to read it, feel comfortable to put that book on hold or even to give up on it. There are so many good books to read in the world and not that much time to actually do it, so feel free to choose your books.
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This article is about books and reading, but it is also a way of keeping records on my progress so far. I am going to list the books that I have read so far, and maybe you’ll be inspired to read some of them too:

1. The art of simple living by Shunmyo Masuno
This year I was super into books on simple living, minimalism, Zen philosophy, and I read more Japanese authors than before. Not only that I started learning Japanese, but I feel like I learn and relax in the same time when I read this kind of books.

2. Everyday life in Joseon era Korea edited by Michael D. Shin
This was a great book on how people used to live a few centuries ago. I was always interested in this subject and fortunately I found a book that helped me find out what people from different backgrounds used to do, what they ate, how they worked, how they had fun and how they lived at that time.

3. Joseon’s Royal Heritage 500 years of splendor – Korea Foundation
Another book with historical theme. This book talks about the cultural heritage of Korea through royal palaces, royal tombs and the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (records of the dynasty that still exist today and they can be also found online).

4. 생의 모든 순간을 사랑하라 by William Hablitzel
The second book I finished in only Korean and it made me extremely proud and motivated to keep reading in Korean even if takes longer, even if I don’t understand everything. In translation, the title means Love all the moments of your life, and it shows what you can learn even from the most difficult moments in life: illness or death. (The version in English of this book is Dying was the best thing that ever happened to me: stories of healing and wisdom along life’s journey).

5. Ikigai. The Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
One of my favorites. It made me realize so many things and I learned another way of observing life in general. It really depends on how we take life, it can be good or bad depending on our perspective. One of the books I warmly recommend if you need a change in perspective or only positivity and motivation in life.

6. A little book of Japanese contentments by Erin Niimi Longhurst
Another great one that I would recommend. It is somehow similar to the preceding one because they talk about similar concept or even the same ones, like ikigai (finding purpose), but it has the warmth and style of a blog. At least this is how I felt it, not to mention that the author has her own blog.

7. It’s ok to feel things deeply by Carissa Potter
Very short, but super warm and light. Healing through visual content and short phrases that feel like a talk with your friend.

8. Zen Wisdom for the anxious by Shinsuke Hosokawa
Again, another Japanese book, a book on how to take life, a book that calms not only through content, but also from a structural aspect.

Books that I am currently reading:

  1. A Buddhist monk’s guide to a clean house and mind by Keisuke Matsumoto (I am reading it for the second time)
  2. 엄마를 부탁해 by Shin Kyung Sook (Trans. Please look after mom)
  3. The comfort book by Matt Haig

As you can see, for now I am interested in finding about new perspectives, but also in learning how to be grateful and live better. Also, i like to read books that make me feel better, books that carry the power of healing.

Books won’t necessarily make you richer and you won’t become smarter after reading a few books, but you will become richer in terms of spirituality, new perspectives, vocabulary, and you will get in contact with people who lived centuries ago, in a totally different context. Reading is another word for traveling.

This is it from my part. I hope you like my list of books and tips for reading. And because we’re talking about reading, share with me your favorites, maybe your list will inspire my next choices.

Thank you for reading by the way.

I’m so in love with autumn

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For me the 1st of September means that it is already autumn. There are no red leaves yet, but I already feel autumn is here. I am not talking only about the rainy days that are more frequent nowadays. It is in the air, or there is something wrong with my nose. I don’t care. I can’t hide my excitement.

Ever since I was a child, autumn was more special to me than Christmas itself. Maybe we are more drawn to the season we were born in or maybe autumn really has something special. For me autumn is so cozy: the air is pleasant, the autumn clothes are the most comfortable, the colors make me think I am in another realm.

Everything is so beautiful. Nothing about autumn makes me feel depressed or sad. I like all the seasons because this is how I want to be, to appreciate everything the way it is. I don’t like the cold, but I like winter because it’s part of my life and because there is beauty even in the cold days. I don’t like the heat waves, but summer is so beautiful and green and it makes me feel so motivated.

Autumn in the countryside is one of the most beautiful things one can see and experience. The colors, the crops, the abundance, the satisfaction of hard work, the coziness… everything is there to make you the happiest person on Earth. This year I will experience another autumn, but in the city. It is the first time to experience autumn in this town that became my new home. I am trying to enjoy every moment of this new season, with gratitude, hope and joy. I take walks and I try to observe how things change everyday, how they transform into something else.

Autumn always makes me think about change. Autumn makes me positive about change, it makes me better at accepting and embracing change, because even if uncomfortable, change can be so beneficial and beautiful. Autumn is beautiful even as a metaphor.

I welcome you autumn with all my heart. The coziest season of all is here again and I am ready to have the best autumn. With a positive mind and a heart full of hope and joy, I wish we could all have a happy autumn, one full of happy experiences, growth and healthy habbits.

As always, thank you for reading.

A traveler in my new town

The red sunset that I love…

Ever since I moved in this town, I promised myself to get outside more, to see more sunsets, to walk more and to simply observe from the side how the world transforms.

The weather is hot, but thanks to it, I learned to better organize myself. In the morning I work or run errands, in the evening I take walks, I exercise or I cook.

The town I live in at the moment is not new to me. But is not familiar either. Maybe this is why, moving here felt like a real change. I like small towns, so this was the most suitable place for me at the moment.

Even before moving, I said to myself not to get attached this time, as attachment brings expectations, thus disappointments. This time I would like to try more of a traveler mindset. I won’t be ashamed to ask the locals, I will watch the sunset like I wouldn’t see it again from the same place, I will take my time and discover new places like I would do if everything was totally unknown.

A traveler is also curious, so I will be curious and learn so many new things, find new spots, new restaurants, new green spaces.

Yesterday I went to a place where I have never been before. I’ve been many times in the town, but I never went to this place, even if I wished to go someday. I guess yesterday was that day. From afar, it seems to be a small island very close to the park I am writing this blog post right now. However, when you pass the bridge you find a hidden paradise, another park with lots of sculptures and sunny alleys. I felt like a child who discovered a secret garden and I looked closely at the sculptures like I would if I traveled some place new. Because in fact it really was new, fresh and exciting.

Night ambiance by the river

This traveler mindset that I am experimenting right now motivates me and inspires me. I also know that it won’t last forever, but rather than being anxious about the unknown that inevitably comes our way, embracing the new with a positive and excited mindset is the best choice we can make.

I hope you see the place you live in with different eyes everyday and be excited about the place you live in.

Thank you for reading 🙂

A new journey begins

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It’s been two years since my last move, and after two years spent in my hometown I decided to start a new journey. My new goal for the rest of the year is to make this year the best year.

June and July were super busy as I looked for apartments in a city close to my parents’ house. I didn’t intentionally choose this city because it was close to my parents’ house, but because I always had a hard time moving and getting out my comfort zone, so the solution I could think of was to make a change that wouldn’t feel so big.

As an introvert, I always loved my comfort zone and I was resistant to change (I still am, but it is work in progress). Whenever I made changes or when something changed, I had a hard time accepting and adapting. I remember that I cried so hard while working when I was announced that my manager will go to another department and that I will have a new manager. (I really liked my manager, but I like my current manager too, so nothing bad happened). Since that moment, I started to work on my mindset.

I wanted so much to change my perspective on change, to become more flexible and to accept change as an opportunity to grow, as a new start and a way to get to know myself better. I read books and articles on accepting and embracing change, on getting out of my comfort zone. I started to involve more in projects at work and I decided to give myself opportunities to fail, thus to learn.

I decided to change my environment. I felt the need to experience something new, and this time I felt scared, but also very excited. I decided to let my fear come along, as this is a natural behavior and a reaction to something unknown. I was always scared by the unknown, by what I couldn’t control. This time, I decided to embrace my fear, but go ahead anyway.

I found an apartment in a nice area and I started moving my belongings. At first, everything felt unfamiliar and strange. My sister who will live with me felt depressed too. But soon, when we finished moving our belongings and started to give this place our personal touch, it got better. We told ourselves it will be the best year and that we will make it so.

I have never stayed alone in a place for more than a day or two, but I got to experience that too for a longer period of time because my sister had to go to another town for personal reasons. I was afraid that my social anxiety would stop me from going outside and enjoy the summer or simply run my errands, but with a lot of patience and nice words said to myself, I could enjoy living alone more than I could ever imagined.

Sometimes, the things that we are scared of are opportunities in disguise. The way we look at things becomes our reality. I learned so much about myself in the last two years, and even more in the last two months. Even if it was difficult and I still feel tired after all the things that happened so quickly, I am proud and happy with my decision and I am excited about what comes next.

I hope you are doing what’s best for you, even if it scares you at first. And remember, sometimes small changes take you to the highest places.

Good habits I picked in my mid-twenties

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My perspective on work and studying was for a long time wrong and even self-destructive. That toxic perspective wasn’t only self-built, but also induced by my parents. Without meaning harm, they made it look like no matter how much I studied or worked, there was still place for better and more.

In time, I had built so many bad habits in so many activities I would do, that I got so burned out a little too soon, if that makes sense. Studying until late in the morning, trying to volunteer for as many activities as possible (there is always a societal pressure and competition that makes students so insecure in regards to their future and that they should built experience even before starting to work if they want a good job), doing your best in school and, if possible, find also a part-time job, all these will take the life out of you.

Looking back, I have realized that I worked harder, not smarter. Doing too many things just to fill that resume and look better than your competition, getting to feel what burnout is in your college years (this period is supposed to be the best of one’s life), didn’t make me have necessarily better jobs offers or a better salary. And when I am telling you about all the hard work I’ve done, it’s not because I try to boast, it’s because I realized how wrong it was and I tried my best to change my ways.

Trying to change your own toxicity is very difficult. One day you might become enlightened and finally accept that you’ve been doing things the wrong way. You would start talking about change, but how you do that is the most difficult part.

What helped me the most was finding the problem and establishing a goal that I would like to reach. Let’s say that I realised that I lost so many good sleep hours because I was indulging myself in watching Kdramas until late in the morning and than going to school or work. I tried different methods like setting an alarm with 15 minutes before the hour I wanted to go to bed at, or even stopping the show I was watching in the middle (the episodes usually end with the most intriguing part and it would be a pity not to check the next episode, right? :))

Now, because I have talked about my bad habits and a poor perspective when handling different activities, let me dive deep into the part where you can see what I have changed into good habits and how I did it.

1. No more wasting sleeping hours
As already mentioned, I used to do this a lot. Watching Kdramas was my kind of clubbing. The majority of students loved clubbing, I loved bingewatching Kdramas. When I felt stucked or tired because of studying or when I stressed too much about what I would do later in life, I would watch Kdramas and my worries would enter into a sleeping phase. It was some sort of a break from worrying or studying.

However, this tired me even more, because if you want to study a lot and also bingewatch Kdramas, all in the same day, you need to sacrifice something. And in my case, that was sleeping hours. I think I am still tired after all those years of sleeping so bad.

The good part is that I stopped doing it and trying to care more about my sleeping habits. At first I would set alarms, but after a month, I got tired of them and continue to do my thing. Then I would stop in the middle of the episode and go to sleep. This method still works.

At some point I imposed myself to stop watching Kdramas for a week to check if I was addicted. That worked too. I also started reading books before going to bed, but that’s a bit difficult for me, because I can’t seem to concentrate on books when I am tired. After beginning my health care plan, I started prioritizing sleeping hours and somehow it became natural to go to sleep at reasonable hours.

2. Resist the urge to check my phone before the bed.
Somehow, this is related to number one. I used to do it very often, but again, after I started to prioritize my sleeping hours, this habit felt so bad that with patience and practice I could control and even give up on it. Also, the fact that I would feel tired during the day was a big motivation to stop tiring my eyes and my mind before sleep.

3. Resist the urge to do shopping by impulse
I bought too many useless things on inpulse. In most of the cases, I bought things that I thought I needed. After watching multiple times how my money go to the trash, and also after trying a more minimalist lifestyle, I started to work on finding what I really need and also prioritize my needs.

Now I work with list that I plan in advance. I prioritize my needs and I also list the things I want. Most often I take them off of the list because I don’t actually need them. It works best planning in advance, because it help you to save money and time and to shop in an organized manner. Prioritizing also works when you want to stay on budget.

4. No more promises on impulse
I used to promise on impulse, not thinking about the consequences or that I might not be able to keep that promise. All I could think of was to make that person feel good at that time or maybe even make myself feel good. Not anymore. I think twice before making a promise so I won’t disappoint anyone.

5. Prioritize my health
Though this is the most important, I left it on purpose at the end, because I feel I am still not doing it right. I have changed a lot my perspective concerning health problems, but I feel I still have a long way to get where I want. I am however grateful to myself that I make efforts to improve my ways and to take care of myself more and better.

These are the most important habits I picked in the last years with a lot of discipline and after trying all kinds of methods and routines. How about you? What good habits you picked that you are proud of?

I am reading my old diaries (pt.1)

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I always thought that it would be nice to read my old diaries after some time had passed. Reading what I had written years ago would be like meeting my old self and watching how much I have grown. Sometimes I wish I started to write a journal earlier and also keep it.

One day I thought of reading my first diary. I didn’t really remember the exact year, but I knew that I started journaling in my last year of college.

I don’t know why I wanted to go through it, but somehow I got curious about myself at that time. Was I more daring? Or maybe less confident than now? What did I like at that time? And what I used to think about? Thankfully, there are notes of what I used to do and worry about in my diary. And these days, I am going back to it like I would do with old archives.

My first diary that still exists today dates from January 14th, 2017. When I think about it, it’s quite a long time. I wrote it in Korean in an attempt to improve my Korean writing skills, but also because it felt the most secure language as I was living in a room of five at that time.

The first thing I could observe were my language skills. My Korean at that time was quite poor, and therefore my ideas were formulated in a short structure with basic grammar and vocabulary. I am sure I could have written a lot better and more complex about my life at that time if I wrote in English, for example, but this also shows the efforts I made and the worries I had about advancing in Korean.

I started writing this diary in my last year of college, when I also had to write my research paper. There was a lot of stress and I can remember how stressed I was even without reading my diary. It’s somehow strange that I rediscover myself as a student, a younger version of myself for whom studying was the biggest priority.

Some things didn’t change even if 5 years passed. I read a page where I was talking about how much music and Kdramas helped me to cope with all the stress and kept me motivated. It is the same even after 5 years.

While reading my diary I remembered about certain people I lived with, sometimes I described the atmosphere in the room, I remembered the people I became strangers with because of the time spent apart and different lifestyles. I talked about friends who are still my friends today and we became closer after all these years.

When I read about interesting or new things I did some days, it was so nice to visualize and remember the emotions, the places and the people I enjoyed spending my time with, I visualized the events that were left somewhere behind all the day to day worries.

As a conclusion, I think keeping a diary is a great way to keep a track of one’s progress and I find it also healing, helping to relieve stress and cope with anxieties. However, I think that going back to reading it it’s the best way to see if it helps, to check for improvements or even to get in touch with old memories. It is all written in “the book”.

Thank you for reading and happy journaling.

One month of speaking French everyday

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Another month is gone. I don’t know about you, but these days I feel like time is running away from me. It could be because I try to do too many things, or because I do a lot of unnecessary things. One thing is clear: April is gone way to fast.

If you read my previous articles, you may already know that I made a habit of picking a new goal/challenge every month, something that I would focus on for the whole month. The goal I chose for the month of April was speaking French everyday for the whole month.

The main purpose of choosing a goal and focusing on it for one whole month is not only related to improving that activity or skill in itself, but also a way of educating myself to become more disciplined, more consistent, more intentional, and, the most important aspect, to keep the promises I make to myself.

Working to achieve a monthly goal brings a lot of benefits. Practicing this daily brings a lot of satisfaction and when you see the results, you know that your work paid it off. Also, the fact that I write about my goals and I share them with you on my blog makes it also a promise to the people who read my blog. This is actually one of the reasons I write about my goals: it makes the promise harder to break. Writing about my goals and my results is also a nice method of tracing my progress and keeping my motivation to start new projects. But back to my April goal.

The reason I chose this goal was mainly because my French got a bit rusty since I didn’t have too many occasions to use it. The importance of speaking the language you want to learn or to improve is tremendous. Trying to learn more languages, but not making a habit of practicing regularly will only make you feel tired because of a pointless effort and demotivated. I actually felt a bit demotivated when trying to polish my French because I can’t seem to find original content that I like and that would make me want to advance my French. However, I like to talk a lot in other languages, so I started from there.

One month of speaking a language daily even for 10 minutes can help by a lot to improve your level. Keep in mind that we are talking mostly about intermediate and even advanced learners whose language got rusty because of a lack of practice for a while. In my case it was more than a year. However, only one month of practicing your language won’t do wonders, not if you only practice for 10 minutes a day. There were days when 10 minutes became 15 or 20 minutes, but that was rare because I tend to get bored. Talking to a language partner is a lot more interesting and more challenging.

After one month of speaking French daily I regained my confidence of speaking the language which means that the words flow more naturally and I don’t have to think too much to find my words, my accent softened a bit more and observed some aspects that I need to working more like vocabulary and grammar.

As a conclusion, speaking French for one whole month was the perfect workout for my brain that took a long break from practicing French in particular and gave me the idea for a new goal. This month I will focus on practicing Japanese daily. Nothing too difficult; I will try to keep up with the writing systems and practicing with reading activities. I can’t wait to see the results.

Thank you for reading and I will see you around.

The good things that come with journaling

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Everything is good, but it’s better when you try it yourself. Journaling has its benefits, as meditation, yoga, working out, painting have their benefits as well. There are so many good things that you can try or learn for your personal development, but only after trying doing it, you will actually see if it works for you or not.

Today I want to talk about journaling and the benefits I could see since journaling consistently for more than 2 years.

Consistency
As I am the type who likes to learn and try so many things/activities, I try to stay consistent in the activities that I like the most. If I wouldn’t do so, I would be very disorganized and I wouldn’t benefit from my work. It has been more than 2 years since I have started keeping a journal and I think that I have been doing great writing on a regular basis in both my Korean and English journals. Consistency can be seen in time, and doing something for a longer period of time can also teach us new things about ourselves.

Becoming more sincere with myself

This is one of the things that I am most grateful for. Before writing my thoughts in a journal, I had a big problem with accepting my mistakes and my feelings. Actually, at first I didn’t know how to write and I tried to write things that might sound cool, ignoring my true feelings. When I tried reading again after a while, I couldn’t recognize that person, because I wasn’t sincere with myself, I wasn’t writing about myself. I thought that even writing a journal is not that easy as it sounds, but with practice and patience I could become more sincere with myself and accept more of my parts that are not that cool and that I tried to hide even from myself.

Clearer mind
At some point, journaling became more of a confession. As I tried writing about my feelings as they were, my heart lightened and my mind became clearer. Journaling about one’s feelings should not be seen as dumping the trash, but rather as becoming aware of what we actually feel, be it sadness, anger, envy or happiness. People often think that talking about how they really feel makes them vulnerable, and it is actually true. However, not talking about them and not knowing the name of what they feel might become a poison.

Improving my languages
I don’t know why, but it is difficult for me to write in my mother tongue. I used to write a lot in Romanian, but at some point, I started writing only in other languages. It might be because I wanted to improve my languages or maybe because I was afraid other people would find my diaries. I don’t remember when it started and why, but I know one thing: my writing in English particularly got a lot better, and even my Korean writing is a lot more advanced than it was before.

Express myself better
I feel like I can write about anything more clearly and more easily. This is related to what I have aforementioned, writing my thoughts on paper got better. On one side it is because I became friends with the language I write in, but on the other side I think I became friends with writing as well. Writing is also something that can get better with practice. Writing is like talking with no voice, and to be honest, after writing my thoughts on paper, I feel I can hear my inner voice a lot better. For me, journaling is like learning to talk to myself and about myself.

Accomplishing more goals
In my journal I often make promises. The hardest promise to keep is the one that you make to yourself. When I write my promises on paper, the chances to keep those promises increase. That is because when I visualize it, my brain stores the words and starts finding ways to make it happen. A written promise it is also more powerful because there are traces of it. When you speak of it, it is easy to forget it, but when you write it, you can see it whenever you go back on your writings.

Journaling is beautiful and it has many benefits. I only mentioned the ones that are the most important to me and according to my own experience. What I find even more beautiful is that according to your own experience, you might find different benefits and different ways to make journaling something of your own. Journaling should be like that.

Thank you for reading.

I almost forgot why I started this blog

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When I decided to move back to my hometown I was so drained that even the decision to move back was extremely difficult to make. I was emotionally exhausted and all I could think of was running away and hiding until I got better. Sometimes I think that I ran away, but I don’t regret my decision. Rather than running with no purpose only because you don’t want to hurt your pride and give up, I think it’s better to know when it’s the time to take a step back and watch the whole situation from a distance.

I remember that it was so difficult to decide to move back here that I couldn’t sleep for the whole month prior to my moving. I was extremely stressed because it was the first time I was giving up. It felt so strange and new. Sometimes I felt like a coward. I was ashamed of running away. I was ashamed that I needed a break at the age where I was suppossed to move mountains and conquer the world with youth and boldness. I was taught that this is what young people are supposed to do.

When I arrived home, it was summer. The green grass, the flowers were everywhere and the beautiful trees surrounding our house, it was like everything was calling me here, to come and rest for as much as I needed. I felt so much peace like I never felt before. Drinking coffee on the bacony with the most rural and beautiful view, cooking outside with the most delicious vegetables, watching the night sky where you can actually see the stars. Everything was so perfect and calm. But it lasted for about 3 months.

Soon the summer was about to end and I felt again restless. I wanted to rest more, but at the same time I felt like I was going to be left behind. Also, I realized that I had missed so much the countryside that I got to romanticize it in the first months. Then reality hit me again and I knew that living in the countryside doesn’t always equate to watching beautiful flowers, laying on the grass in the garden or smelling the nice air after a good summer rain. No, countryside is also about weeding the garden, watering the plants, and other hard works that your parents do and you can’t simply watch.

Soon enough I started to do both my full-time job and help my parents outside as much as time allowed me. Doing only those things, I started to think that I neglected my personal development. The pressure was always there. The pressure that you must not stay behind. The society is extremely competitive and hardworking people can be found everywhere. I thought that I must rethink my methods and start a plan to develop myself as much as I could. I started journaling, blogging, reading more, losing weight, learning a new language, involve in extra activities at work. I tried to do my best in any situation.

Here I am again. Not as exhausted as before, but somehow tired of trying too much. When I was thinking about this, ironically, I remembered the name of my blog and my original intention of living at a slower pace in a world that encourages competitiveness and a fast rhythm. I almost forgot about the way I wanted to live.

However, I learned that even if my intention is clear, my road will not be always straight, without little stones that might make me trip. The road could be full of obstacles, big or small, thus I have to be prepared to adjust my ways to fit to any situation.

Today, with a clear intention, I take a step back and try to slow down. Today I choose to do one thing at a time and listen to my body. Today I choose to be productive in stillness.

I hope you know when to take a step back and take care of yourselves.