Do you see these cute, innocent looking booties? They’re quite popular. Every elegant, effortlessly chic woman owns a pair. Well, I’ve always aspired to be an elegant, chic woman myself, so when I saw these next to a huge sale sign it felt like destiny. Suddenly I had to have them. I could already picture my new life wearing them everywhere and how they go everything.
So I bought them.
Picture this: my mom, aunt and I hop on a bus headed to Paris in the middle of the night. It’s a very last minute decision and we’re beyond excited. We’re expected to arrive early in the morning, but in the wee hours, somewhere in Belgium, we find ourselves stuck on the side of a road. Hours go by and it’s very clear we’re not going anywhere. Our German driver looks confused; at this point he’s tried everything to fix the problem but without success. The Frenchman sitting next to us is by no means happy about the situation and jumps out of the bus. We all look at each other and wonder quietly, will we ever get to Paris?
Talking to friends I’ve been noticing a pattern.
Aren’t we all confused about love these days? Mass media feeds us unrealistic ideas of romance and we grow up expecting that at one point in our lives we’ll meet a perfect person and everything will be easy and that’ll be real love. In the meantime you convince yourself that it’s okay to live in a hookup culture, where everyone keeps things shallow so that they don’t get hurt. People avoid intimacy and vulnerability, because being casual is a way of protecting your heart. It’s become so natural to separate emotions from the physical. Young people are getting cynical, selfish and everyone is replaceable. Everyone tries so hard not to care, it’s exhausting.
But couldn’t it be love if we were bold enough to give it a chance? And risk putting our hearts on the line?
Truth is it’s terrifying to realize when that happens to you and how powerless it makes you feel. So shutting that down is so much easier than dealing with the full complexity of a relationship. Or worse, being rejected. Getting attached is the ultimate weakness.
Falling in love and developing an emotional connection with someone is so complicated and messy. It’s involuntary and abrupt. And then it takes hard work and continual effort. Why put yourself through that when there are so many options out there, at your fingertips?
We have these ideas of how men and women are supposed to behave, but now it’s all a blur, no one can really make a move and everyone seems to be afraid and unsatisfied. We’re closer and freer than ever, but we’ve never been so isolated and distant.
But it’s alright. We’re good at pretending it didn’t mean anything.
Have you ever listened to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast? It’s so full of wisdom and interesting discussions. It works like therapy for me, specially if I have it on when I go for a walk. I feel inspired and intrigued and calm after listening. It’s great for the mind and spirit. I constantly find myself writing down snippets of wisdom they share.
Oprah talks to Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The four agreements on one episode – I haven’t read the book yet but I’d love to. And here’s four beautiful statements he shares that I always think about and try to live by:
Be impeccable with your words.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
A simple and honest mantra to live by, isn’t it?
The capital of the Netherlands is so charming, it might be one of the prettiest cities in Europe. A small fishing village in the 12th century, today it’s one of the top financial centers in Europe and is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. Home to seven of the world’s 500 largest companies and many other technology companies, it’s also the cultural capital of the Netherlands and has been ranked one of the best cities to live.
Its 17th century canals are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the oldest in the world, and its many museums, red light district and cannabis coffee shops draw more than 5 million visitors every year.
…you need to watch Chef’s Table on Netflix.
I love cooking shows, but no, that’s not the reason why I’m telling you to watch Chef’s Table. Every episode is so beautifully done, the soundtrack fits so perfectly to the tone of each one and every single chef’s story is so fascinating.
We are invited into the minds and life stories of ordinary people who have become extraordinary. They each had to face their own struggles and limitations, but their ambitions and ability to overcome challenges and be the masters of their own destiny have led them to achieve remarkable success. Regardless of where they came from. It’s truly beautiful and inspirational.
I don’t think I can pick a favorite, but I’d suggest you watch the episode on Ivan Orkin – his story is so fantastic; he’s reinvented himself countless times, isn’t afraid to take risks, has overcome some very difficult times and most importantly: he’s an authority on ramen. And who can resist ramen?
Whenever I read a Bill Bryson book I feel like I’m in great company. He travels the globe and doesn’t take himself too seriously, so his writings about his adventures are always funny, sarcastic and a delight to read.
In Neither here nor there he tells us about his travels around Europe while also reminiscing about his first time in the continent years before, and how things have changed or how they’ve stayed the same. He makes observations about everything and so many parts of the books are hilarious and lighthearted. I could relate so much whenever he talked about the amazing feeling of arriving in a new city everyday, taking long train rides, sitting at a cafe on a Tuesday afternoon and watch people go about their lives, while you’re absorbing it all in a wonderful state of pure bliss. Traveling to a different country requires us to be aware of little daily rituals we don’t even pay attention to anymore. It’s like learning how to live all over again. How do people cross the street? Am I smiling to much? How do I say thank you? And these little struggles are all too exciting to ever become a real concern.
But apart from that, Bryson also does a lot of whining and complaining throughout the book, specially coming from an experienced traveler like himself. Anyone who’s traveled around a bit knows that it’s not always easy. You have to be patient and adaptable. You have to be open and wiling to compromise on a few things. Sometimes the weather is gonna be awful, the hotel won’t be cozy, the trains might be late, it can be hard to find a place to exchange money, but it’s all part of the experience and you just have to embrace it. And then there’s the people, and the cultural differences. I know he’s just being funny, but sometimes he just falls into stereotypes and spends a lot of time going on and on about train connections and hotel bookings. The book is from 1991 and it’s crazy to think how much the technicalities of traveling have changed. He spends half the time standing in line at tourist information offices waiting for an assistant to book hotels for him. That’s insane! And the poor guy was hungry half the time because he could never find a place to eat.
Anyway, the book is funny so if you want an easy, entertaining take on Europe you’ll enjoy it. Now, if you want to actually learn about the history and culture of those countries you’re better off picking another book. And if you want to read a real funny Bryson book, go for I’m a stranger here myself. That one is hilarious.