Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Indentity

Throughout our lives, there is a myriad of events that either pass by unnoticed or leave a mark for years to come. The first category is simple – it doesn’t require any additional analysis and doesn’t cause any follow-up reactions; the second category, however, carries a different meaning. Its nature is more complex, meaningful, sentimental, and deep. When considering such second category, the first thing that comes to mind is moving to another country. The overall process itself seems pretty straight-forward: you pack your things, get on the plane, get to the new place, move in, make it a home for yourself and your family. What accompanies this simple course of events, though, is a more complex, complicated process – the process of adjustment. Specifically, when it comes to finding out a balance between how to handle the clash of culture, mentalities, beliefs and values.

I remember on my initial stages in the new country I put in a lot of effort into trying to blend in, trying to become as more ‘americanized’ as possible; I wanted to belong to this new world and be a part of this new ‘whole’. After seven years of having lived here, I can say that I do belong – I feel comfortable in this country, I like its values, I appreciate its opportunities and I strive to contribute as much as I can to the environment and people around me. I believe in my case, all this adjustment process turned out so successfully because the first few years I became completely assimilated with my new environment. For over five years I could not let myself to “go back to my roots”, I wouldn’t allow myself to engage in any activities that involved any resemblance of how it used to be; I excluded Russian music, movies and books, only focusing on the language I was trying to grasp.

Throughout all that process, I couldn’t admit that I was terribly missing every elements of my home country, as I knew that any little derailment from my determination to adjust would be a great trigger for sadness, extreme nostalgia and doubts in the choice that was made somewhat blindly. No, I could not let that happen. I was stronger than that. I blocked all such feelings and kept moving forward, achieving my goals along the way and getting closer and closer to my dreams. Whether I did it the right way or the wrong way, I cannot tell – I guess we all have our ways and methods of dealing with certain things. What I can tell though is that I think it worked for me, and seven years later, I did not become immune and ignorant to my native culture, but on the contrary I became more appreciative and grateful for it. Now, I rarely think twice before putting on a Russian CD or watching a Russian movie. I still put away reading Russian books, as I think my English is not perfect enough yet and needs more work, but I’m sure that is not for long more either.

Now the majority of hardships are caused by the question of how much is too much or is it ever too much? Now that I am generally in peace with combining the two cultures (which are actually very similar), I can’t help but wonder: Is it time to let go and obtain all new traditions (especially when it comes to holiday and family events) or have we let go of so much that it's time to pick at least a few things to hold on to? This question usually becomes especially astute around the holidays. It is always a debate of whether the choice should end up with spending the holidays in a circle of newly-gained (and wonderful) friends with new traditions or in a circle of tried-and-true (and amazingly supportive) family with a hint of our home culture. As of now, I chose the latter, because no matter where we are and no matter how much time passes we have to remember who we are and where we come from and carry these memories throughout our lives passing them on from generation to generation. In all this rush to adapt and adjust, in all this craziness to blend in and belong, I realized that it is so easy to lose what’s truly important – our identity.


I’m glad that I am finishing up this year with this newly gained confidence and realization of who I am. 



Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year of Me and You

We never know what’s ahead of us. There is no way to predict what’s coming our way. But do we really want to know? It’s funny how human mind always tries to uncover some truths, to figure out what’s right or wrong, to look for signs and symbols. Among all this decoding and interpretation, how many times do we forget to focus on the most important thing in our lives – on enjoying every day, every second, every moment. It’s never a good idea to keep guessing and planning because things rarely turn out the way we anticipate. I don’t know about you, but in my case it’s not even a 50/50 scenario – I almost never get what I plan for and always end up surprised by the life’s events. The less I try – the closer I get to what is good and right for me. Now try to explain that…

No matter how sporadic our lives are, I have noticed that life is constructed of various stages. Each stage of the way carries a new meaning, a new lesson and a new reward at the end. Even a ‘failed’ stage is completed with a gift of a new lesson learned, a key to the next stage, and what can be more rewarding than that?

I don’t know why but I want to, and do, believe that the next stage of my life – the next year – will be a year of big changes. I want to focus on the fact that something good is coming. That is my New Year’s resolution – to make this year all about myself, to enjoy each and every day and make decisions based on what I want.

I recommend you do the same. So let’s make a promise to each other – let’s promise that we will try to be happy, to feel good about ourselves and to focus on the positive in our lives. Life is short and there is no time for criticism, disapproval and negativity. Let’s enter the New Year with new determination for the comfort in our lives and love in our hearts. I wish everyone a very happy New Year!










Happy New Year 2014, Loves!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Perfect Day to Pick a Christmas Tree

The title pretty much says it all. The day we planned to go to Linvilla Orchards in Media, PA to pick a Christmas tree, it started snowing like crazy! This alone made it just the perfect winter tree-picking day.

Nothing like the holiday season to make our hearts grow fonder, our souls become more sentimental, and our minds realize that a strong family is one of the most important things one needs in life. 

Stay warm and stay close, everyone!





Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Decisions

Every day we make thousands and thousands of decisions. Every step of the way we are faced with having to make choices. Some of our choices come easily, some require additional time and thought. Sometimes our decisions make us happy, sometimes they leave us wondering “What if?” No matter what the outcome, treat every decision as the right one. Whether you get what you want, or you simply learn something new – there is always a benefit and we should be grateful for it.

Remember, there is always a choice to either focus on what’s missing in your life or to be grateful for what you have. There is always a positive counterpart for each negative thought. It is simply a matter of making the decision to focus on one or another. I know it is another one of those easy-to-say-hard-to-do things, but it is possible. At the end of the day you are the master of your decisions; so make a choice to do something that makes you happy, like I am doing now, by writing this post with my outfit from today included.



Sweater: via T.J.Maxx;  Pants: LOFT;  Top: Express;  Boots: Alfani;  Necklace: NY & Company

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Family. How can one describe this inarguably most dynamic union... There is a whole array of feelings at any given moment: we feel limitless love for each other, we feel like we need a break from each other, we depend on each other, we get mad at each other, we feel each other's pain and we try to make each other a better person. No matter what your family is like, remember that they are the people who have, do and always will love you; they are the people who will be by your side when you most need it, the people who you can count on during any situation life throws you in and the people you can trust and share your deepest, craziest secrets and ideas. At least that is how my family is and I am infinitely grateful for that!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! May your families always stay strong, united, happy and joyful! Have a beautiful holiday!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Tourist

The other day I was having a very touristy weekend. You know those things you know are in New York but you always try to avoid because the whole tourist population of NYC is usually there? At the same time, you have a longing to try those things, at least once – just so you can say: “Yep, I’ve done it.” A few weekends back I visited the Madame Tussauds museum. I have heard a lot of people complain about how the wax figures look nothing like their models in reality; however, I thought they were great! Especially when you consider the amount of work that goes into making each figure. According to the website, it takes over 800 hours of moulding, measuring, painting and sculpting to replicate each Hollywood A-Lister. Please note that the pictures do not give them justice, as the lighting and camera flashes spoil the effect; but either way, it is definitely an experience that is worth committing to! 


 







Denim Dress: Guess;  Boots: Dolce Vita via T.J.Maxx

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hey, Hollywood

Living in New York you get to ‘travel’ to various parts of the country, various geographical destinations and various times. There are restaurants and stores from all around the world, there are museums and galleries with exhibitions going back a number of decades, and the list goes on and on.
Two weekends ago I held a Halloween party at my apartment, the first party I organized in almost a year and a half of living in my apartment. My chosen theme, Hollywood Night, allowed me to immerse into the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the process of planning the event, obtaining all necessary party ‘ingredients’ and decorating the apartment was the most fun. 








Monday, October 28, 2013

Black and White

Another one of those days when your mind picks out all the things that are going wrong in your life. Instead of focusing on your accomplishments, you recall all failures, letdowns and inconveniences in your life. You realize that there is so much room for improvement. It does motivate you to do more and do better, but at some point you simply realize that you are just too tired. You are tired of pretending to be ok, of putting on a smile when on the inside you are crying, of hoping to find your own acceptance and never quite getting there. At that same time you realize that if you don’t do all those things, if you let yourself go and just stop trying, you will get yourself into the deepest and darkest rut and it will be almost impossible to get out of there. So you pick yourself up and you keep going. Don’t give up – it’s worth all the effort!



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Those Days

There are days when you wake up in the morning and realize that all the stress, all the sadness, all the negativity is something you made up, something that does not exist and is simply a device to keep us motivated in a way. Those days, you remind yourself yet again that life is good and there is so much to be grateful for. Those days make you return to your favorite activities and hobbies, make you finally dabble into something you have been considering for a while but were unable to bring yourself to actually do; those days you take a 1.5-hour ride to see your friend whom you have not seen in a very long time. You realize that there is so much within your reach to draw inspiration from. Those days you start making plans and you try to hold on to this blissful feeling. Let's make sure those days are more frequent.