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