Category Archives: happiness

Stressed? Take a walk!

I do not have much stress anymore – I have learned over the years to cope very well and have reduced my stress levels to almost nothing.  Stress cannot be avoided completely and there is good stress and bad stress.  But the bad stress days I had in the past are virtually gone – and I owe a lot of that to my love of walking.

 

Walking in unknown countries, walking around the areas I have lived – all of it has kept me in relatively good shape (I could stand to lose some weight and tone up but that will come in time).  We have been very lucky here in Southern Ontario the past few days weather-wise – we have been enjoying unusually warm and sunny days for the end of February!  Alas, they are coming to an end, albeit temporarily, as spring is just around the corner.  I have been out and enjoying the beautiful weather that has been given to us and these are some pictures I have taken.  I have brought out my camera once again, and am excited to start using it more!

 

Enjoy!!

 

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The Perfect Picnic

It’s cold and wintery out – so what better time to think about your perfect picnic!!

My perfect picnic would be:

The sun is bright and the sky is blue.  There is a slight breeze and it is not too hot out.  It is mid-August.  The bees are buzzing and the birds are singing.  There is a feeling of Autumn just around the corner.

 

I head to a lovely green hill, with trees softly blowing in the wind around me.  I have a lovely view of the town from the hill.  I spread my blanket out on the grass and sit down to take in the view and peacefulness.

 

As I reach for my basket, I gently wave away a bee flying by.  From in my picnic basket, I pull out a fresh baguette, purchased from the local bakery.  Then comes some delicious aromatic cheeses from the deli.  Juicy red and green grapes accompany the cheese and bread.  To wash this all down is a bottle of the best sparkling water, with a twist of lemon added to it.  As I slowly eat my feast before me, I relish in the quietness of the day and the warmth of the sun.

 

After I have nourished myself, I bring out the book I have brought, lay down and read for a while.  Perhaps I will have a journal with me so I can write my thoughts of the beautiful day I am enjoying.  Or perhaps I will just lay down on my back, watching the clouds float by, trying to see what the clouds are showing me.  Are they shaped like an animal?  Perhaps a balloon?  Only my imagination will know!

 

As an extra treat, I have brought with me some decadent dark chocolate to enjoy as I hear the children in the town playing at the local swimming pool and at the park.

 

This is the perfect picnic for me.

 

So what is your perfect picnic?  What will you bring with you?  Are you by yourself or with someone?

 

Boycotting stores – who does it help?

I have been working at Tim Horton’s, an iconic Canadian coffee shop, for the past three months.  I love it there – the people I work with are so much fun and while there are off days when one or most of us are grumpy, I wake up every day excited to go to work.

 

At the beginning of this year, the province I live in, Ontario, increased the minimum wage from $11.60 an hour to $14 an hour.  Because of that, some of the franchise owners have made some newsworthy decisions, such as taking away the paid breaks that were provided before and no longer paying for benefits.  To make this clear, the franchise owners I was hired by DID NOT DO THIS!!  However, we are seeing the brunt of these other franchise owners.  People have been talking about (and actually doing this) boycotting Tim Horton’s in general.  We have many people in the store and going through the drive-thru telling us that they will no longer be coming here in protest of what the owners are doing.  I patiently explain that the store I work in is NOT affected by this.   Some people still insist in not coming anymore (yet they are in the drive-thru or in the store, buying a coffee… go figure.

 

I have explained my thoughts on this to many people – boycotting stores are NOT going to help the employees.  By boycotting any business because of unfair treatment of their staff, you are hurting the very people who you claim you are helping.  By boycotting Tim Horton’s, since this is the store I am talking about, sales will go down.  When sales go down, fewer employees are needed to work because of the lack of business.   So less employees means more savings for the company and the employees have LESS WAGES to live on.

 

I know not everyone agrees with my thinking, however, it makes sense.  Fewer customers, less sales, fewer people needed to work.  It is that simple.  So rather than boycotting the company you are angry at, write letters to the head office.  Complain to the head office.  It is NOT the employees who need to be hearing this – we cannot do anything about what the head office or franchise owners are doing.

 

And if you are inclined to continue patronizing Tim Horton’s (and I thank all those who are!), be understanding to the staff.  We are occasionally understaffed and we try our best to give you the fastest service possible.

 

I always treat the customers with a smile and a thank you – I would like to be treated the same way back.  I think that is just general common courtesy –  and how all people should treat each other!

What brings you happiness?

What brings you happiness?  Is it seeing someone special in your life every day?  A smile from a crush?  The light that shines in a child’s eyes when they see you after a long day at work?  Or does the end of the day, getting in your car and heading home bring you happiness?

 

For some people, getting up to go to work brings them happiness and a joy in their life.  I have been very fortunate in my life to have jobs/careers that have brought me much happiness.  Working at some of the law firms that I did definitely brought me happiness.  I know – it’s hard to believe but when I was working at some of the law firms, I actually got up and looked forward to going in to work!  Waking up and knowing I could go and teach brought me a lot of happiness.  Even now, working at Tim Horton’s, which I am sure some people don’t understand, brings me happiness.  It is a simple job that does not require much thinking, but I have such a great rapport with my fellow workers that makes it such a fun and happy place, most days.

 

What else brings me happiness?  Hearing from my kids.  Knowing that everything is good with them, and that they are thinking of me, just like I think of them every single day.  Knowing that even though we don’t talk every day, they know that I love them and think of them.

 

Being in Welland and with my parents has brought me much happiness this year.  It’s the first Christmas since 2010 that I have been in Welland and I am very fortunate to still have my parents around at my age, and I am incredibly grateful and happy for that.

 

Happiness is possible for everyone.  It’s how we react and think.  Every job can bring you happiness – you just have to have the right attitude.

 

What brings me happiness?  My family, my jobs, my friends all over the world, and life.

 

So what brings you happiness?

Keeping a positive attitude

I was not always a positive person – I was depressed, full of worry over money, my kids  and just life in general.  I hated feeling that way, and was at a loss of what to do.  My kids fed off of my attitude and became the same way.  It took me moving away from Ontario to become the positive person I am now.  Between moving to Calgary and then moving to Prague, I realized that the environment I exposed myself to back then definitely affected my attitude.

 

Now that I have returned to live in Ontario after being away since 2011, I have become very aware of the negativity in my life.  I remain a positive person, but the people I am exposed to are incredibly negative people.

 

There comes a time in every woman’s life that the change happens – yes menopause.  I am going through it right now and hot flashes are NOT fun.  I don’t seem to be experiencing mood swings but there are people at work going through this right now.  In particular, one woman.  She is the most negative, miserable person I have ever met in my life who has the biggest mood swings I have ever seen.  And her mood has almost made me succumb back to my negative thinking.  One day last week, she had me in such a state, I was glad to have my break.  During my break, I sat down, closed my eyes and meditated.  I realized that it was not me in particular that she is angry at (well maybe it’s me a bit but I don’t know why and that’s not my problem).  After deep breathing and then listening to some music, I came back, put a smile on my face and have not let her bother me since.

 

I refuse to let anyone ever again affect me and my positive attitude.  The customers enjoy talking to me, my other fellow employees and I  have a lot of fun working together and I love this job.  It is not teaching – one day it will be my career again but right now is not that time.

 

I know I do not need to move away to find peace in my mind and enjoy my time back in my hometown.  As I have discovered, there is so much to do in  life and so much to see and enjoy, and I won’t let little things bring me down like I did years ago.

 

​Discovering Chile ~ and myself

When I decided to travel through Chile, I did the basic research of the country, read information about each city I would see and looked at pictures.  I made myself a list of must~sees, but really I just wanted to discover what Chile was about. The people, the food, the way of life. What I didn’t expect was to discover so much about me.

Chile is a very long and narrow country.  The country has such a diverse nature to it.  From the glaciers in the south to the desert in the north, and the Andes creating a border with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru ~ there are so many unique qualities to this country it is staggering.  The natural beauty of this country is overwhelming. It has taken my breath away on more than one occasion.
There is also a great variety of food to be found. From Peruvian to sushi, from pizza to Chinese, you can find almost any kind of food here.  And the pastries!!  Its a good thing I walk at least three hours a day here!  I have yet to try Chilean wine or Pisco Sour but I will.
The people here struggle with English but are still anxious to help. They want to teach me Spanish and I have been trying ~ it is getting better.  I have met incredibly lovely people on my travels, and all ask where I am from, why am I in their city, have I tried Empanadas or the pescado, have I enjoyed a Pisco sour and, my favourite question ~ where is my husband? The older ladies seem genuinely concerned that I have no husband and am traveling solo! Their reaction amuses me.
The lifestyle here is similar to Europe ~ relaxed, easy going and very family oriented.  Siesta time is fascinating ~ stores close, families gather at a park, and they play, eat and rest. Such a difference from China where the children are so busy all the time that they are tired and not relaxed at all.
The thing that has struck me most is what I have discovered about myself.  I no longer care about materialistic things, I have all that I need.  I have discovered how strong I am, both physically and mentally. I have also discovered my limitations (Macchu Picchu is off my list).  But most of all, I have discovered that, regardless of what others think about me, I am very proud of what I have accomplished and how far I have come.
They say travel changes you. I don’t think it’s changed me. I think it has awakened me in how I view the world.  I have a different attitude now. I am more accepting. And I have said this many times but it bears repeating ~ I am so grateful for this amazing journey I am on.  I am grateful for the opportunities that have been give. And I know its not over ~ I have many years left.
So I am just going to keep on trekking and exploring!

Antofagasta

I have been in Antofagasta now for a few days, and while I spent the first few days in a hostel in the north end of town, it was just a temporary place.  I am now in the place I wanted to be in, close to the city centre and walking to the pier.  This hostel is pretty awesome – huge common room with a TV.  They serve breakfast in the morning.  And they clean your rooms on a daily basis!!  Not a normal thing for hostels – so a nice pleasant surprise.  Oh – and they have a laundry service here too (thank goodness – I desperately needed to wash my clothes!)

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My initial opinion of Antofagasta was a wary one.  I was quite far from the city centre at first, almost an hour’s walk away.  It was a nice walk but to get there, look around, and then have to walk back (I could have figured out the bus I am sure but never bothered), it made for sore legs and long days.  I am not one for being out at night alone in strange countries, so I made sure I was back in plenty of daylight.  The new place is in a busy area and I don’t mind being out later than I normally would be (like 8pm haha).

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loved this hat!!

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part of a family park beside the ocean

I have chosen to stay for 10 days in Antofagasta – the longest time I’ll be in any city in South America.  If I had known that I would have loved La Serena as much as I did, I would have stayed longer there.  However, I can’t change it now.  I like the vibe of Antofagasta, and I love being down by the pier.  So much to see – the boats, sometimes you can see the head of a sea-lion playing in the ocean, the food stands, the families all going down there to buy fresh fish (but a reminder – they do not fish on Mondays so no fresh fish – don’t buy fish on Mondays!).  It’s a lovely feel to this town and I really like it.

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a rocky day at sea!

The street art and graffiti seen in South America is fascinating and Antofagasta is no different.  They have paintings on the walls that are life-like.  The graffiti is interesting.  And I feel quite safe here, despite the reputation that some port towns here have.

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life-like paintings (and real statues)

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more life-like paintings

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tiled mosaics

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tiled mosaics

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tiled mosaics

I am taking it easy this week, leisurely wandering around, and I will make it out to see the Portada (but must take a cab there, there is no bus and too far to walk!).  There are restaurants I want to try.  I am enjoying the relaxing week I have here.  After this, my time will be shorter in each place I go – so I am taking advantage of the rest.