I filled a jar with words

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They say that words carry power. Compliments are words, promises are words, criticism is mainly done through words. Words get the fastest to our heart and brain and we tend to believe what other people tell us.


Some days we might not find the right words to say how we feel, and other days we might use the wrong words and say things by impulse without meaning it. We rely on words more than on actions to tell them how we feel, and then we feel disappointed they don’t see our actions anymore, but they only pay attention to our words.

When using the right words, you can inspire, encourage and even change someone’s direction in life. If you tell them they will become successful, good people, they will believe you, and their actions will lead them there.

The same thing can be done towards ourselves. Why say mean things to ourselves, why criticize or look down on us, when we can give power to words to take us where we dream to arrive. Similar to visualization, this technique of convincing ourselves that we are wonderful and that we can achieve anything works wonders.

A few weeks ago I started to write words on pieces of paper and put them all together into a jar. I remembered how my university roommate received as a present a big jar filled with beautifully colored notes from her friends. The notes had written on them beautiful words or phrases that would inspire my roommate and put a smile on her face. And it worked. I saw her face brighten whenever she took out one of those colored notes. I thought it was unique and inspiring. After many years, it inspired me to fill my own jar with words that would help me grow and feel good.

The rules are simple. You take a jar and you fill it with pieces of paper on which you write whatever may inspire you to grow in the areas that interest you (health, self-development, self-care, new hobby etc), or nice words or quotes that can make you feel better or more positive. Then you take out one note everyday and try to follow that specific advice.

As I had a hard time lately seeing the little nice things that happen everyday, this technique became my top priority. I chose words and phrases like: smile, slow down, hope, take a walk, meditation, self-care, patience etc. By doing this I started to act more consciously, to be more grateful for what I have, to make more efforts for what I want to achieve, to be more positive, to feel better with myself and even to exercise more.

If I think about it more carefully, I actually wrote values and the things I want to learn and to practice more. I want to be more patient, to never lose hope, to love myself, and yes, I need to remind myself these things everyday. I need to practice everyday in order to make them a habit. And while it might look too technical for some, remember that words carry magical powers. Feed yourself with positive and nice words and you will become what you consume.

Thank you for listening my story today as well and I will see you around.

Rome wasn’t built in a day

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I think I should tell myself more often that achievements, self-development and positive changes might need more time than I can appreciate in order to see that dream finalized. Dreams are not easy to follow and that’s why not many people get to achieve their dreams.

I think that the most important thing I learnt these two last years is patience. My heart was distressed so many times, and my mind rushed for more than a thousand times, making plans and trying to adapt to the repeatedly changing situation. Rationally speaking, I knew there were so many things out of my control, but my heart longed for peace, certainty and freedom. But do we ever have certainty? Are we a hundred percent at peace or truly free? Even before I couldn’t feel like I really have all of them. However, after two chaotic years I am more aware of who I am, of my fears and my power. I accept changes more easily, not because I gave up, but because I know I can’t control everything, and I shouldn’t even try to. I have more patience and I trust that there is a time for everything.

The thing is that lost my way so many times, not knowing if what I was doing was the right thing, but I still chose something because there is no other way to keep going, grow and learn. I lost my way so many times and I still feel lost sometimes. But maybe not having all the answers is the right answer. In times of uncertainty and fear, maybe the best way to find our way again is to simply let go and keep walking forward anyway.

Do you remember the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Hermione, Ron and Harry are caught by the Devil’s Snare and they start struggling to get out of the deadly embrace? Then Hermione says they should relax and only then they would live. So put your mind at ease, be patient and soon you will be freed from fear, uncertainty and any change that might ruin your plans. With patience and perseverence, you will build your own Rome.

Stay safe everyone and happy days.

My thoughts on Italki

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I think it’s my first time doing a review on whatever I used until now, but I decided to talk about my experience with Italki because it really became my new way of learning and connecting with people.

For those of you who might not be acquainted with Italki, let me tell you what they do. Italki is one of the biggest and most famous platforms for learning languages. It is mostly used for talking to natives and learning through the most natural way: conversation. However, you can still find teachers who will teach you the basics like the alphabet if you learn a language that uses a different writing system, grammar and some even have lessons that will help you prepare for international exams.

What I really like about Italki is the plethora of languages they cover, and the fact that you can find a great number of native speakers to start practicing the language you want to learn or improve your skills in.

At Italki, there are two types of teachers. There are professional teachers who have a teaching certificate and have a lot of experience (they usually have bigger prices, but this is not a general rule), and there are the community tutors, the ones I started working with, and who don’t have a teaching certificate, but they might have a lot of experience in teaching (they usually have smaller prices, but again, this is not a rule). The reason I chose a community tutor is because I really want to learn in a very informal way, and to also benefit from speaking to people I don’t know, a skill I personally wanted to develop. I discovered that I remember vocabulary easier when having informal and random conversations because I am genuinely interested in the subject and it is easier to learn when I enjoy it.

Every teacher on Italki has to upload a video containing a self-introduction part and some details about how they’re going to organize their classes in order for you to have a better idea on the teaching style and the person you are going to work with. You can also check the schedule of your teacher (every teacher has the right to choose their schedule as they see fit), and choose a person who has a schedule that might be suitable for you. For example, as I have more free time during the weekends, I look for teachers who work during the weekends.

As a student, you have 3 trial lessons which means that you can try at a lower price 3 lessons from 3 different teachers in order to decide which one is the most suitable to your learning style. Also, as a student, you will pay a small commission to Italki, a fee that will be calculated at checkout, after booking the lesson you want.

I love the fact that you can book each lesson separately for a specific day and hour that are suitable to you. Rather than booking a whole course or module, you can book one lesson at a time, a feature that give students freedom to book lessons according to their own schedule.

Italki has its own teaching platform, Italki classroom, but teachers are free to use other platforms like Zoom for example.

I started using Italki as a challenge to improve my speaking in other languages and I already fell in love with this platform. Currently, I only use Italki for improving my Korean, as Korean is the language I lack the most in ( in Japanese I am still a beginner and I am still in the first phase, that of learning the alphabet and reading simple texts). I have completed 5 lessons in Korean from the end of August until now, and I tried working with two tutors.

I still need to figure out how to organize my time better in order to benefit 100% from these lessons, because it is very important to review the vocabulary learnt in classes on your own as well. By the way, if you are interested in more articles about Korean, you might want to also check out My Little Forest is learning Korean or this one which will provide you with some great sources of inspiration.

As a conclusion, Italki is for me a great tool for improving my language skills and my conversation skills too, because personally, I find that Italki is also a great place to connect with beautiful and intelligent people and have very interesting and meaningful conversations.

I hope that you found this article interesting and thank you for always coming back here and reading my stories. Have a great weekend and warm days ahead.

September stories for when I forget what is happiness

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And then it was once again September
No matter how hard I think about it, September is my favorite month. A feeling of coziness and gratefulness embraces my heart and mind, and I start thinking about all the nice moments, about the things that I have, about the people in my life. I feel grateful to everything and everyone. I feel so creative that I end up procrastinating and only doing a small part of all the things that I want to do. And it is okay to do so, because now I know that I have to take things slowly sometimes, that productivity is not the norm and that self care is the most important.

The mornings are colder, but the warmth of the day makes me appreciate these days even more, and thus they become perfect to me. The work hours are long and sometimes boring, but when I finish I know what to do with my time. You learn to spend time wisely and you enjoy it at the fullest when you have less time for what you really want to do. I spend more time preparing breakfast because it became the most important meal and a healing time.

There are frequent power outages during work hours, but I learnt to turn these moments into opportunities. While it affects my schedule, it is in my power to decide what to do with that time so it won’t be wasted. I go for a long breakfast, meditation or yoga, and I prepare my mind for stressful moments that are never too late to appear. My birthday in September teaches me that I am not only older, but also wiser.

I was told I would make a good jam maker
I love making jam and I was told I would make a good jam maker. Isn’t that funny? I’ll tell you something funnier. Keep reading.

Jam maker… Is there such a job out there? I don’t know about that, but I think making jam is my newest hobby. Picking the fruits, washing and cutting them, adding the right amount of sugar (I still need to learn what is the right amount), waiting for syrup to form and then boiling the mix is like a ritual. It is a healing and cathartic time. And it feeds you when you need it.

I was told that I would make a good jam maker. But guess who told me that… my sister! That’s the funniest part. How can she say that when she built strong arms trying to take out of the jar this year’s last raspberry jam? Is she only about the taste or is she that much into sports? What I am trying to say here is that you cannot be right without being wrong and there is no success without a few or more failures. Embrace failure like I did with that jam that has at least a good taste. So what if it’s hard to take it out of the jar? I can imagine that I am eating lollipops.

1 year of blogging
Somehow time passed and I managed to stay around and to say pass to those thoughts about giving up blogging. It is thanks to my friends, to fellow bloggers who’s blogging journey and advice encouraged me to continue, and of course to me. I feel the need to thank myself for not giving up, and for trying one more time, even when I wasn’t sure what I was doing anymore.

And I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my stories and leave comments. Thanks to you readers, I felt more like becoming a writer. And I felt happy when you shared your thoughts with me, a person you don’t know in real life. I hope 1 year to become many more.

Thank you for reading and have a beautiful autumn.

Easier said than done

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Easier said than done is an universal fact. Maybe that’s why we often say it too. We Romanians often say Usor de zis, greu de facut or Teoria ca teoria, dar practica te omoara, both of them meaning that is easy saying you will do something than actually doing it.

Today’s article is inspired by a passage I read in Haemin Sunim‘s book Love for imperfect things: “The hardest thing in the world is putting what you know into practice, and making sure your actions do not contradict your words.”

I felt enlightened after reading this small passage, and I started thinking about my situation. I always felt this gap, but somehow I didn’t name it like Haemin Sunim does on this book, and I didn’t know what it was exactly. It stayed with me since that day and it will continue to remain something to think about everyday for a very long time. This is because I realized this is one of my biggest shortcomings and the one that makes change and growth so difficult for me.

Easier said than done, but not impossible to do. The only way to become better at making our actions align with our words is to keep doing it everyday. By getting our actions closer to the words we say, we will reduce the gap between the two, and we will be closer to our goals.

I believe that this practice is helpful in many other ways too, like getting to know ourselves better and becoming true to ourselves. Our confidence will grow because we will know that if we say we will do something, we will do everything to make it come true. And this is also applicable in our relationships with others. If we promised to do something, than we should make sure to keep that promise. If we said we would keep a secret, than we should do so, and so on. It will only get us closer to that better version of ourselves.

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining brightly and the air feels fresh. It is a great day to start aligning our actions to our words. Easier said than done could only stay as a saying.

Wish you a great day, and thank you for stopping by.

Small challenges, big steps

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I didn’t want to admit, but I know so well that growth consists in change. Small changes, big changes, they all lead to growth if you think that way. Life is like that. Life is unpredictable and always changing. Us people, the only way of making things work is to adjust to change. But this is not always easy to do. It might be easier for some us, but for others, me included, adapting to change could be a lot more difficult. It takes a lot of effort and discipline to become more acceptant to change. So I started training myself.

Living with my parents in the countryside is living a life that has not so many challenges. It’s simpler than it would be if I lived alone. You split the responsibilities and life is sometimes simpler. Not necessarily easier, but simpler. I like that, but I started to feel afraid. What if I won’t be able to get out of my comfort zone? What if I fail to grow because I become complacent? There were so many what ifs that sometimes it felt like there were so many people inside my head each trying to make his opinion be heard.

It is said that the best way of getting accustomed to something is to expose yourself to that specific something. I didn’t want to admit because it was so scary. I remember when I first did this exposure thing consciously. It was when I was searching for my first job. I was still a student so I had not experience with jobs. I was offered to work in a call center, and even if I become anxious every time I have to make a phone call, I thought that maybe if I exposed myself to something I was afraid of, I would become accustomed and get over my anxiety. But it wasn’t like that. I resigned in less than 3 months because talking on the phone with clients was extremely stressful. The exposure strategy didn’t work. However my desire to grow is so big that I decided to become accustomed to change. In order to do that, I realized that I needed to create my own rules, and that I should start with small changes that will make my brain believe that change is good.

First you need to convince yourself that change is good and that you don’t have to by afraid of change. So wisely choose your first challenges. As I am the type of person who does important things with small, but consistent steps, I decided to start with small challenges/changes. This is how I came up with a new project for my self-development: one new challenge per week. At first I tried to do it daily, but I started to get super tired and stressed because of it in less than 2 weeks and this was not my intention. So I reduced it at one challenge per week. But I admit that this is not always successful. I don’t consider it a failure, but an adaptation to each week’s circumstances. I don’t want another to do thing on my list, but rather the opportunity to enjoy the process of growing. Thus I might have weeks where I don’t really have any idea of what I should challenge myself with. These are rare, but I am aware that I am still not comfortable with change. It is ok, I try not to stress myself by overthinking it. All the good things and projects I did until now were formed in time and finalized in many steps and with continuous efforts. You might not realize, but small steps can still lead you to your dreams. So keep doing what you think it is important to you, keep doing what makes you happy, keep doing what makes you learn and grow.

The challenge I had for last week and that I decided to extend for this week as well is no spending week challenge. My intention was for me to stop spending money on whatever might be for a week, and then I decided to extend it until my pay day. It was not very easy, even when living in the countryside. Now, having what you need or want at your door is simpler and faster than ever before. In my efforts of becoming a minimalist, I try to become aware that wanting something and needing it are two different things. And because happiness doesn’t come with possessing things, I try to buy the things that I need more than the things that I want. I also question whether my needs are really needs or maybe subconscious ideas of wanting something. I do this in order to keep a balance and to use my money wisely, and I don’t feel this process of analysis as burdening or stressful. Deciding to have a break from spending was great. I pat my head and I enjoy the result. I feel I got to know one more thing about me. I could take a break from this system because I wanted. I realized that spending money can become a new addiction. I realized that there were things that I didn’t really want and I didn’t even need them, so this 2 weeks period was also some sort of purification. I didn’t mention another very important aspect, but I think you might have guessed. This challenge is perfect for my finances.

This is it for today. Thank you for joining me and for reading my story and I hope to see you around next time as well.

Stay safe and no matter the small steps you take, keep walking.

How Journaling helps me as a Blogger

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My eyes are closed. I feel the fresh air of night and I listen to the soothing sounds of wind chimes, the crickets singing, I can hear some dogs barking. It feels great to be here and to have such peaceful moments in my life. I loved staying outside and admiring the night’s beauty since I was a kid. You see… I feel especially inspired to write during nighttime. I don’t know why, but this is the moment I feel the most creative. Should I tell you about the cheesy poetry I used to write as a teenager? Hmm, maybe not :))

I loved writing since I was very young. I tried writing fiction for the first time when I was 11. The problem was that I was always chaotic. I never had the patience to start with the beginning. I never had the patience to finish my ideas. I see myself as a creative person. I felt creative whenever I wrote or sang. It’s in me. The problem is my lack of patience and consistency.

I dreamt of creating my own blog for a long time now. It seamed to be the perfect place for me to start writing more seriously. But I was afraid. Afraid of being judged, afraid that people won’t read or like my writing. However, I wanted to do it at least once in my life, to become courageous and just write the way I feel. I doubled the challenge when I decided to write in English which is not my mother tongue. Writing still feels like a passion. It will probably stay like this forever. And I hope it will.

My blogging journey started in September last year. I wanted to change the way I lived, to take it easier and to live better. It’s work in progress, I didn’t discover America and I am still far from being close to my objective. However, I get closer with every responsible decision I make and I love the journey more than the destination. When I started blogging, I already had a journaling routine and I was starting to discover myself more and more. I was trying to discover what I really like and what makes me happy. Putting my thoughts on paper started to feel easier and easier. And I was doing it out of pleasure. It was fun and healing at the same time.

In time, I realized that journaling could be one of my super powers. It wasn’t because I was good at it, but because I felt so liberated, organized and relaxed. Yes, journaling helps me clear my mind. It is also a moment to become creative. Many of the ideas for my blog posts were inspired by my journaling activity. When I felt I had nothing to say I either took a break or I wrote in my journal. Then I would feel like having stories to tell again. Like now. Today’s article is inspired by my latest diary update and it is also fueled by this magical and peaceful night. What a better way to end my day than living in the now and writing about it?

This is it for today, dear readers.

Thank you for reading and have a peaceful night as well.

My Little Forest is learning Korean

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I talked in a previous article about Little Forest, about how important it is to find a space where to feel secure, peaceful and loved. I believe we are always in search for such a place . Some find it faster than others, but every journey is different. I hope you can all find your own Little Forest and be happy.

I think I found my Little Forest. I think I found it a while ago, but I did just not know it. My Little Forest is in all the little things that make me happy and peaceful. Actually today’s article was not even planned, but I had this sudden thought while studying Korean that I was in my Little Forest and I felt happy, my mind was at peace. I felt I was doing my best for my growth and that I was following my dream.

I love learning languages, this is one of my biggest passions, and it is my long term project, but the connection I have with Korean is different. I spend more time learning Korean that I spend learning any other language . Korean is a part of me, and it became my safe place, a place I feel happy and free to be me, my Little Forest.

As frustrating as it can get because I am still lacking, I enjoy the process and I appreciate my evolution and the effort I put into becoming better every day. Studying Korean does not feel like something I must do. Though I have some objectives and to do lists even for studying and I take time in organizing my time for study and reading, it never feels like a task. This is because I love any activity that involves Korean and I don’t put pressure on myself. I don’t have a destination. I just know that I want to keep travelling. I just focus on the process and the happiness that comes with every experience.

I am grateful that I still love Korean even after many hard times, I am grateful for my Korean friends who had the patience and kindness to teach me and correct me when I needed. I am grateful for being lucky enough to have access to education and facilities that made my journey possible and made me into who I am today. I am grateful to have met beautiful people and experienced a new and fascinating culture, a culture that speaks to me and keeps me wanting to learn more and more. I am grateful to have found something that I can love this much, this passion being my motivation, the reason I work harder and harder.

My Little Forest is learning Korean and about Korean things, it is something I love. One’s Little Forest can be a physical place, one’s room, one’s family, one’s special person, one’s career , one’s passion or activity they love without reason. You got the idea, whatever makes you feel the sparkle. Have you found your Little Forest yet? If not, keep searching, you will definitely find it.

This is my story for today. Thank you for reading, I am always grateful to you, the people I don’t know and the people who don’t know me but take their time to read my thoughts. I hope you are safe and happy. Sunny days! 🙂

(Re)focusing. (Re)finding balance.

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It has been a while since I’ve last written any word on my blog. I’ve also been quite absent on WordPress, but it was something I needed to do. I felt I lost my balance and I needed a break to reconsider my priorities. I had some health problems and this was the main cause of my distress. For me, health is the most important aspect, and my health being affected naturally lead to losing my balance. I stopped doing yoga and meditation and I rarely wrote in my journal. I mostly tried to escape from this through music and Korean dramas. Because I hurt my leg I couldn’t exercise anymore which stressed me out, and I started to eat more due to stress which lead to gaining weight. This again stressed the hell out of me. These last two months were filled with worries, anxiety and stress. But this is enough.

I finally started to get out of my mood. I did what I could to solve the problem and I started to look at the bigger picture. I try to refocus, to find balance again. It takes time and a lot of effort and determination. If my leg doesn’t get better, than I can go to another doctor and ask for a second opinion. I can walk just fine, so my health is not immediately affected. Let’s be rational and stop stressing about every this and that. Health shouldn’t be taken for granted, and now I will just have to be more careful. But this does not mean that you should worry about every pain. It can make you anxious and unable to think rationally.

As I am currently trying to find my balance again, I realized I had stopped doing many of the activities that used to make me feel better. Something is missing and I feel the need to start over again, to recover my balance and peace of mind. Therefore, I will spend the next period on refocusing myself. I plan to start yoga again, at least the poses that I feel comfortable doing, to start doing meditation again, to lose weight slowly and healthily, to spend more me time, to journal more often, to read more. I will do the things that I like without putting pressure on myself. I will rediscover what I like and learn new things so that I continue growing. I will take care of my health in every possible way and I will rest as much as possible. Step by step, paciently and steadily, I will find my path again.

I hope you are doing great and I wish you a lovely summer.
Stay safe and I will see you around
🙂

Oh, my G(ardening)!

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It’s funny that as much as I like gardening now, I used to hate it that much when I was a child. It was a hellish activity not only because I really didn’t enjoy it at that time, but because I was told to do it. You see, everything you do that doesn’t come from inside and from your own will might become the thing that you hate doing the most. In my case, that thing was gardening. My parents needed help and of course they didn’t understand why we said we didn’t like it. For them, who were raised in other political circumstances, working the land was something that you needed, it wasn’t about liking it or not. Maybe if they didn’t told us to do it so often, we could have enjoyed it. Maybe if the approach was different, we could have understood why is it important and how you can work without feeling you are working.

After many years and more diverse experiences, after becoming an adult and getting to learn more about life, when I came back to the house where I grew up, gardening and chores didn’t seem so much of a burden. They weren’t hellish also. I had changed and so did my way of thinking. Instead of feeling annoyed and bothered when I went gardening, I felt I can actually do something for the environment. I felt I can give back a small portion of what I receive, and I felt as a part of something bigger than I ever knew before. I became healthier and I gave up on some of the bad habits that were replaced with nice and relaxing activities that also helped me growing as a person.

Gardening is my happy time. You know why? Because when I work in the garden, I don’t really think, I don’t analyze, I don’t overthink. You know how important it is to have silence inside your head as an overthinker? It is absolute bliss! Even if I think, I organize my thoughts, or I imagine things. This is something I can’t really control and I don’t even try to. I let my mind do whatever it wants. I want to let it be free at least in these moments. From what I have seen, I was never stressed when I did gardening work. My mind is at ease and my heart is at peace.

A funny thing I observed in the last weeks since gardening has become the main activity after work is that I found myself smiling while weeding and do my thing in the vegetable garden. No wonder gardening is used as therapy for depression or Alzheimer. Nature has its own unique power of healing us, humans who are busy working against it. I feel sorry for Mother Nature every time I see stupid people destroying it and not caring about it. I wish we could all see how harmful is human greed, indifference and selfishness for the environment. And I wish we could all become active in making small efforts to be a real part of this big place called Earth.

This is all for today. I hope you all have peaceful and sunny days.
Thanks for reading!