August & September highlights.

It’s been a hot minute since my last blog post of monthly highlights but l have been struggling to find time to dedicate to this platform. Anyways, I am now here to share my August and September highlights! These two months were – with any doubts – life changing and  I decided to combine the highlights of both in one post since some of the things that happened in August led to others that happened in September.

I don’t know about you guys but I personally love to list everything significant that happens in every month. I think that doing this “monthly check-in”/review encourages self-reflection, increases my self-awareness and offers me the chance to track my progress. Plus, I also see it as an excellent way for acknowledging our small wins and milestones and find empowerment in all the things that are sent our way. Anyhoo, as I was saying, a lot has happened and I feel like my life did a 360 degrees turn within just a couple of months. Change has been a constant (like never before really) and I guess that it will some time for everything to really sink in and become the “new normal”. In the meantime, all I can say is:

I am grateful for where I am at and excited for where I am going.

I will stop digressing now and just get to onto my August and September 2019 highlights. Here they are:

August

  • I renewed my passport in preparation for my big 2019 trip that took place in September!
  • I went to the 2019 Pride Parade in Amsterdam. Even though it was my third time there, it was actually the first time I went with my boyfriend! We had so much fun watching the parade whilst drinking some nice prosecco!
  • I travelled to Germany in order to spend a girls weekend with the best friend in the whole wide world. I missed her so much and was so looking forward to spending 2 entire days with her! We talked for hours and hours, went out to party, had a wonderful homemade dinner and brunch in the next day, had some proper girls time taking care of our skin, spoiled each other with gifts, relaxed and went out to a really nice brunch place! I also had the chance of catching up with another close of friend of mine who is currently living in Dusselfdorf and it could not have been better.
  • I participated in a Basketball competition at work and, surprisingly, I did quite well! I’d describe myself as someone who is outdoorsy and sporty but basketball was never jam. However, I guess, that this just went to show how silly are some of the pre-conceived ideas we have about ourselves.
  • I finally bought myself a pink Fujifim Instax mini camera! I bought it especially for my trip to New York because I want to make a travel scrapbook with all the polaroids! I think that analog photography is quite special because you can’t delete the photos or apply a filter, which we do so automatically nowadays. I love the idea of the polaroids being a pure and raw reflection of the moment that we can keep forever.
  • I came to the realisation earlier this year that I was ready for a new professional challenge. I was not finding my job trully fullfiling or challenging anymore and, hence, I decided to explore the possibility of getting a new job. I am of the opinion that you should find joy in the work you do. Oherwise what is point of dedicating so many hours of your life to it? That being said, around mid-August I was unexpectedly contacted by two companies that are very different from each other (business sector- and work approach-wise). One of them is an Australian Digital marketing and Social media company and the other one is an American outdoor clothing company (that I wanted to work for ages!!). Both are big companies with their headquarters in Amsterdam and both were offering very interesting job positions and career prospects. I went to several rounds of interviews and ended by receiving a final job offer from both.
  • I happily accepted the job offer from the American company because it is a company that I look up to not only for its vision and ethics but also for its outstanding work when it comes to environmental and social activism.  I truly believe that you will always find more meaning (and inspiration) in your job when you work for a company whose values and principles are the ones you stand by. I am still so happy and deeply grateful for having had this job opportunity!
  • Following the above highlight, I resigned from the job I had for nearly 2.5 years. I handed out my letter of resignation to my manager and shortly after, I called a meeting with my team to communicate my decision. I felt a mix of nervousness and excitement but it all went well.
  • I finished the book: The good wife strikes back by Elizabeth Buchan. Finishing a good book is something I consider a highlight. I love the power that a simple book has to pull you back to the present moment and transport to other realms. It does not matter how much stress or countless issues you are dealing with, it all just seems to slip away when you lose yourself in a good or entertaining story. Even though this is not one of the best novels I have read because I could not feel very connected to the characters, it was still an entertaining and good enough read.

September

  • Due to my NY trip approaching, I decided to watch the movies “You’ve got mail” and “When Harry met Sally”. Yup, this was another highlight because I really enjoyed my time watching these movies that so lonvingly emboded NY city’s Upper West Side neighborhood. These are just two of those all-time classic movies that you need to watch, regardless of whether you are a fan of cheesy romantic comedies or not.
  • I received free tickets to watch my first football match in The Netherlands, in which AJAX (considered as one of the best Dutch teams) is going to play!
  • Finding an unshared flat to live in the biggest Dutch cities is a real challenge in itself (let alone at a reasonable price). There is considerably more demand than offer.. However, it seems like – after 2 rounds of applications – I was allocated an apartment at a building, whose end of construction is due in December! It t is going to be a brand new flat in a super central location and it is going to have a balcony (something I never had ever since I moved to The Netherlands)! The keys handover is planned to take place in December and I cannot wait to move in! It still does not feel quite real to me.
  • Got to spend my 26th birthday in NY with my boyfriend. It was not only my very first time in the Big Apple but also and the first birthday that I got to share with my partner (from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep). He really made me feel like one very special and lucky girl. ♥
  • My granny passed away on my birthday and this was undoubtedly one of the greatest losses I have ever experienced (and still am experiencing).
  • I did a Yoga Vinyasa class at Central Park. It was amazing to feel the Earth right beneath me and connect within whilst being surrounded by so much greenery.
  • I bought my sister 2 tickets to watch the musical “Book of Mormom” in London for her 30th birthday. She will soon move out of the city and I knew that this is one of the few great musicals she had not watched it yet. It feels so good to be able to afford gifting your beloved ones with an experience they’ll hopefully enjoy and remember for a long time.
  • Three days later after coming back from NY (gladly did not suffer from jet lag), I flew to my homecountry in order to spend a week with my family. We had some proper quality time together and went on a 3-day mini holiday to El Grove, Vigo and Cies Islands (Galicia,Spain). I think we all needed some relaxing and bonding time in family.
  • During my holiday in Portugal, I went for a full-body massage and treated my mum to one too.
  • In honour of Fall’s arrival, I have baked my very first pumpkin spice loaf bread. and it turned super tasty. Yup, that is right guys. This is indeed a big highlight for me. I baked it when I went home for a week vacation and mum and dad loved it. It was vegan and I sorted came up with the recipe based on two that I had looked up online. I was quite surprised with how tasty it actually turned out!
  • On the last day of September (just 1 day after coming back from Portugal), I had the farewell from my previous company. This was a new experience for me because I got this job when I was a just a 22-year-old girl coming straight out of Universtity. It was my first real job and for that reason the farewell felt specail. My team took me out for a last lunch at a very nice restaurant just by a lake. It made me very happy to see the entire team (including the two people who are based in Germany) all around the table for my farewell.
  • I received lots of meaningful gifts, which made me realise how thoughtful my ex-colleagues were (and how well some of them knew me). However, getting a big card with the best wishes of 55 people was the most special gift of all. Many of these people also congratulated me for having the “courage” of following my dreams and that really spoke to my heart.
  • I got to travel to 4 different countries within juts 6 weeks: Germany, U.S., Portugal and Spain.
  • These 2 months showed me that going through the best and worst times in our life really reveals who our true friends are. This was also a highlight in itself. I received extra love and unexpected heartfelt messages and phone calls from my closest friends all throughout these months, which added additional meaning to what I went through.

These were two months of lots of emotions. I still find myself trying to wrap my head around of everything that happened (and it is still happening). If I think too much about all these recent events I can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed by them all… But I feel deeply grateful too. Each one of them taught me a lot about myself and these are the main takeaways I’d like to end this post with:

  1. Even though change is a positive thing and is needed, it can make us feel rather overwhelmed. Thus, just know that you can welcome change into your life and still take it day by day.
  2. Life happens and sometimes all at once but one thing is for sure: we are all worth of new beginnings.

Okaaaay this post turned out to be longer than I had expected!… but hopefully you found it a bit interesting, rathen than insanely boring?!

Please let me know in the comment section below if you too are someone who finds pleasure in writing down the monthly highlights! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

My month of January in review

Well. January just flew by like a fastball. It is crazy how the first month of the new year is already done. Time seems to be speeding up as I grow older and older… Or is it just me? Anyway, as February is already here, I thought I would share with you some of my last month’s highlights. I always like to take time to reflect on the previous month as it improves my self-awareness and provides perspective.

Personal highlight of the month:

After being in a long-distance relationship for nearly 5 years, my boyfriend has left his home country – England – and moved in with me. It was about time! Now we will be both living and working in The Netherlands. We are both so darn happy and grateful for this huge change in our lives and relationship. This really goes to show that great things take time. ♥

Most exciting purchase:

Flights to London. My sister is having her graduation ceremony in May and I finally got to buy the plane tickets so I can be there to congratulate her in person. She finished her PhD from Imperial London College and I could not be more proud of her. Seriously.

Favourite ethical purchase:

Freezer bags made of silicone grade food, another small step towards using less plastic in my day-to-day life. I am so pleased with this purchase! Because the material is odourless and non-toxic (free of bpa, latex, lead and phthalates), it is a more sustainable and safer plastic alternative both for the planet and our health. Other characteristics of these bags that I am very pleased about are their self-sealing convenience, transparency of the material (i.e. you can easily see what is stored in them), light weight (i.e. easy to transport). They also don’t take much space at all, which is great given the fact that my freezer is not very big. Plus, as they are sturdy and resistant to extreme temperatures, you can just reuse them with no issues whatsoever. For those wondering, I got these silicone freezer bags from Amazon and totally recommend.

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Favourite book:

The Undutchables: An Observation of the Netherlands, Its Culture and Its Inhabitants by Colin White and Laurie Boucke. As an expat living in The Netherlands, I find this book to be unbelievably humorous and entertaining! I think that it is the kind of book that someone who is interested in learning more about the Dutch culture would find very interesting and insightful to read. It captures many of the funny quirks of the Dutchies at the same that presents them in a very funny and authentic way.

 

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Favourite song:

Mumford and sons – Guiding Light.

I know, I know. It is not exactly a new tune but it is so lovely and pleasing to the ear.

Favourite movie:

“Johny English strikes again”. Any comedy movie with Rowan Atkinson is a must-watch for me! I watched it right on the first day of the year and it made me start 2019 on a “positive” note if you know what I mean. My boyfriend and I had a really great laugh. Is it not laughter the best medicine and therapy one can have?

Favourite homemade dinner:

BBQ pulled jackfruit tacos. Yes, oh yes.

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Jackfruit is one of my favourite meat replacements and I had been wanting to make this recipe for a loooong looong time. I am so glad and happy with how tasty it turned out. The boyfriend, who is a meat-eater, said that they were freakin’ delicious and he actually also said that both the texture and flavour resemble chicken meat! What a win in the kitchen! 🙂

Favourite memory:

One of my good friends from my home country came visit me with her boyfriend. She came exactly when we had the first real snowfall of the year and she got so thrilled haha! ..and oh well, in all honesty, so did I. I feel like it does not matter how long I live in The Netherlands for, I still get excited every single time I see snow. It is just oh so pretty and magic and peaceful.  Anyhoo, focus focus. As I was saying, my friend came visit and I made a reservation in one of my fave restaurants in town. We delighted ourselves in some lovely vegan Vietnamese food, shared some funny stories and laughed a lot! Both our partners came along and it was lovely to see how they just clicked and got on well with each other. It was a really great night and we got to build some new beautiful memories together to add to our 20 years of friendship.

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The first real snowfall of this Winter.

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All in all, a great start to the year 2019! 🙂

How did January treat you? What were some of your January highlights? Please let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful