Welcoming 2017

Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you have woken up from your drunken state and have dealt with the hungover state well. Energize with lots of fluids, cut down on greasy breakfast and coffee which will only make you dehydrated. Also, sleeping it off helps. It’s a been there, done that kind of advise. Lol.
I’ve mentioned before that New Years’ day always goes in reminiscing; also thinking about what I did achieve this past year, my immediate future goals and what I plan to conquer this year.
I must say 2016 surely breezed through but I did manage to learn a thing or two. I wanted to share those smaller victories that have made me more confident and allowed me to be a bit wiser this year.
I definitely learned how to live alone in an apartment and fight the little fears all by myself. I am terrified of insects. Any kind of tiny creatures really get me worked up. I surely had to deal with them myself. I think its safe to say that I’ve crossed this obstacle with flying colors.
Secondly, I can sleep all alone with the lights turned off. I know a lot of people who need a night lamp to be able to fall asleep peacefully. This definitely is a big victory for me. I know this was one of the most difficult things I had to deal with when I came to the US. You don’t realize how dependent you are on your roommate or friends when you live with them. You take these little things for granted only to realize that you did not know how to sleep without the lights. Or did not know how to make food from scratch. You always had a lot of help.
My friends always tell me that I am quite judgemental about people. This year has undoubtedly taught me otherwise. I am much more patient with people and have learned to give everyone the benefit of doubt they deserve. This has helped me to look at the positive much before the negative steps in. It makes the experience of meeting new people much better and fulfilling. At the end of the day, you want to like and be liked, right?
This year was also a little weird as it was mother’s 10th death anniversary. I guess it has been long enough to be okay. I do miss her a lot but i am at a happy place where I can talk about it and feel grateful to have spent the time I did with her. I am the person today because of her and my dad. I have realized our family needs us as much as we need them and we need to be there for them.

I have been keeping a one day at a time attitude. I accomplish smaller goals which helps me to draw a bigger picture. I know that I want 2017 to be even better in terms of personal and professional growth. Don’t be afraid to try new things and embrace change. It will only make you more awesome and different from the crowd. I plan to try a new thing every month next year and see where it takes me. I am optimistic about the future and about me!

Sending some love and motivation your way. Let’s fall in love. Let’s thank our parents for their love and support. Let’s be healthy and start afresh. Let’s conquer 2017!


What is success

I have been very lucky to be surrounded by very inspirational individuals. It is really important that people help you grow and motivate you to be better, to be more than what you are. My friends and I always play this “question” game where we have hypothetical situations and we have to understand where we are and what we are capable of. It is such great way to break the ice or just understand the people who are closest to you.

I always think about the definition of success for me. It is so hard to define success.Everyone has some kind of definition. I think it has to do with the unachievable. I think for some people it’s buying a high end car, or owning a 4 bk apartment in San Francisco. Why not? I think. When you dream big, you reach half way, right?

I admitted to adopt a child some day and so did my friend. Or may be own a restaurant. I always tell my friends that I want to be a waitress in my own restaurant. Wouldn’t that be awosome? I think it’s important to understand what success means to you. Whether it is money, mending relationships or even not knowing what to do next after achieving set goals. I think, for me, it will be the day I am satisfied and I feel that it is going to be never. At 27, I feel I cannot define it. But, someone once told me that success to them is looking forward to a new goal, something more than what they have and want. Today, I think I am happy but not satisfied. So should I feel that I will never experience success? Should I think that I will never be satisfied?

I get up everyday thinking about something that I want more. That there is more to look forward to. What is your definition of success? I know that this is too early but do you know what it is?

10 Ways to be positive and happy

I have been recently brawling with being positive and looking at the “brighter” side of things. I am sure most of us struggle with this every day. And if you don’t you are very lucky my friend or you might be living in denial. So I thought I could share a few things I do to make myself feel better through the somber times.

  1. Take a good nap: Sleep is really important to induce positive thoughts and rejuvenate your mind. I won’t go into the science of things but I try to sleep for 7-8 hours daily.
  2. Enjoy a drink/ Listen to music: Whenever I am alone over the weekend or during the week I like to turn on some music I enjoy or videos I like to watch. I do this with a glass of cold juice or wine for weekends.
  3. Read something motivational: I know not many of us like to read but there are some motivational books that are perfect for pick me ups during the day or read motivational quotes online.
  4. Make a list of short term goals: I love making to-do lists!! This helps me to be focused on my current tasks and also make short term achievable goals. This is important to understand your own capabilities and strengths.
  5. Love yourself: I know a lot of people who find flaws in themselves and forget to embrace who they are. It is really important to accept your true self to move forward without being hung up on what is wrong. It is always good to know your weaknesses so you can work towards mitigating them.
  6. Take up a hobby/ exercise: I cannot stress enough on the importance of having a hobby. This will help to keep your mind active no matter how old you are. Another important key to being positive is exercising. The blood flow in your body will help you clean out your thoughts and help you sleep well at night.
  7. Worry less: Everyday I remind myself to not worry about the things that are out of my control and just concentrate on my priorities. This can be really difficult but it does get easier once you make a conscious effort to do so. Just take a deep breathe and move forward!
  8. Eat healthy: Ayurveda describes beautifully how the food you eat affects the formation of your thoughts. Some foods can make you lethargic or even stressed out. Learning more about what you consume and making conscious decisions can go a long way. You need to be fit mentally and physically to have a healthy and happy life. It’s not to late to start today.
  9. Smile: Every time you smile your mind will automatically take you to your happy place and make you feel better. It doesn’t take much to smile at a stranger at a store or even your colleagues on a hard day’s work. It definitely will get you through a tough day.
  10. Give your 100%/ This is your life: You worry less, give your 100% from the time you get up and things will always move in a positive direction. This is your life so don’t worry about making mistakes and enjoying every second of it. You only live once!

Starting Afresh

So I guess it’s been a while since I saw my own website. I have been swamped with work! Oh, but first let me tell you that I have finally found a permanent job at a renowned cosmetic contract manufacturing. My interview went really well and I was hoping to nail this one. And I did! It has been two months here and I have been learning quite a bit. I really wanted to switch jobs, get recognized for what I am doing. And I guess this is a stepping stone towards that. There have been so many changes in my life right now.

I moved closer to my new job that is in New York. No! not New York city, just New York state. Its a beautiful drive I take every morning. It was horrible in the snow but I made it. I moved all my stuff in the storm too! It’s like the storm wants to be my best buddy. Also, I am the only Indian in my workplace. Breather from New Jersey/ Indian land. Not like I hated it, I still do love New Jersey. But this is different. May be good different; I haven’t decided yet. Its too early.

I was kinda thrown into the middle of our innovation collection at work. It was like mad house a month ago. I really don’t know how I survived it. The job is teaching me the dynamics of a manufacturing unit I had never seen before. It is so different from the previous companies I worked for. I’m definitely learning though. I guess, sometimes, you just have to take one day at a time. And then all goes well. Its not the best place to build your career but I feel like I made a good start. In this day and age it’s so important to have a good relationship with all your colleagues for various reasons. One being your own sanity. The minute things go south, stress increases. I am definitely learning to ignore the things that irk me.

Living alone has been difficult, more like overwhelming. I handle my own bills now, clean the apartment and do the dishes by myself 😦 Not to mention all the cooking. Its tough to keep your mind occupied all the time in an empty apartment but I guess I have been doing okay. Its as if I have been given all this time to plan my life ahead. Plan about the more important things.

When I left home four years ago, I thought I had taken the biggest step of my life. I was wrong. That’s because I landed a fantastic group of friends and roommates here. I realize now living alone has been the toughest thing I’ve had to do.

I know I do have a long way to go. Build a career first, save some money to support a family. The future looks bright and I hope I can be positive and determined through this learning curve of my life.

For all you people out there who are considering living alone (moving out from your parents house or not living with roommates anymore); I think you should think twice before doing this. Its a lot of responsibility, its expensive and you have to pretty much take care of yourself. Having said that, sometimes its amazing to unwind by yourself, doing things you like- be it watching your favorite show or just reading a book or playing an instrument. It feels like it is going to be okay. And then a new day begins. I would recommend every person to live alone at least once in their life. See and experience the bigger picture.

Things I learned from 2014

I know I haven’t blogged for a while now. But it’s been a crazy couple of weeks; getting back to routine, trying to prioritize important things. I have dedicated this year to Career and Fitness. I know it sounds lame but I am going to do it anyway. As an International student here, getting a job, a work visa is very challenging and I do see a big chunk of people struggle everyday with this issue. But, we stay strong and get through it.

So last year, I dedicated myself to learning how much ever I could at work; enough to apply for jobs out there. Of course learning is a daily decision, so I try to imbibe how much ever I can. I have been frustrated with the job hunt. Though it has only made me more confident to know what I really want and what I really deserve. In my opinion, giving interviews is a great experience.

All my friends tell me that I look way better than I did a couple of years ago, where I was skinny and looked a little malnourished. The truth is, I stopped my bad habits and started eating more. More, obviously didn’t mean it was healthy. I gained my appetite back but it wasn’t in a good way. So I think this year needs to be about my health and earning some money (more like saving some money).

I see so many of my classmates from undergrad, tying the knot. I guess everyone is finding “the one” to be doing that. I don’t see myself getting married for a few years from now. There is so much to be done before that. Marriage needs dedication and hard work. Its not like I can’t do both but its just not the right time for me. Luckily, I don’t feel the pressure looking at other people going on this journey.

After a long time I feel happy and satisfied with myself. I don’t generally feel stressed anymore (big achievement for me considering I used to be the stress queen). 2014 taught me how worrying about unimportant things and people isn’t worth it. People who don’t matter left anyway. People who stayed always mattered. I feel proud to say that I just have a handful of ‘real’ friends who don’t pretend like the ‘fake’ ones did.

I realized I was surrounded by people who pulled me down. They were a negative impact on my life which was already complicated. Its important to understand that at some point you need to leave them behind and move forward. Of course you need your folks around you, that doesn’t mean you put up with their crap. I learned to let go! A very big lesson for me.

This is year I will learn to forgive and hopefully learn to forget. I have a lot to learn, lot to achieve this year. I hope you guys are dreaming big too. Because I know 2015 is going to be amazing! At least way better than 2014.

Dream Big and Achieve Bigger!

Bringing in the New Year

2014 just flew by. Can’t believe it’s 2015 already. I’m pretty sure I feel this way every year. I had a great, long break from work and my other stressful stuff. In this one week, I traveled, ate good food, saw dolphins among other things. I did not drink much, considering most of my other new years have gone by wasted. It’s been wonderful having these experiences with no alcohol. Life feels so much better! I enjoyed a few TV shows (that was me taking a break from being in the car and cold).

I visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The 4D experience in their movie theater is awesome! If you have young children, should definitely take them. The different types of fish I saw there, just made me ecstatic. There were sharks, shrimps, crabs, swordfish and there was a huge leopard print sting ray! And of course the dolphins were there and beautiful jellyfish. This definitely is a must-go place. TIP: Try a weekday; weekends and holidays are way too crowded.

I also had brunch at this famous place called Miss Shirley’s cafe. If you Yelp it, you will find great reviews and amazing pictures of the food. I had the shrimp and grits with the fried green tomatoes, very flavorful. Another must- have desert is the Monkey bread. Just go try it; I don’t really have words to describe it. Its that good! Miss Shirley’s was a great experience.

Another great place for desert is “The Bent Spoon”. I really enjoy this place when I crave for my dose of ice cream. I drive all the way down to Princeton for this one. This is the only place I’ve tried, that has different flavors every week! Can you believe that? They do have their usual dark chocolate, vanilla etc. But they also experiment with their bold choice of flavors. For example they had ‘Tree” flavored ice cream. Can you imagine? It was just I like imagined how a tree would taste. They incorporated it beautifully into the ice cream. I love their ice cream because its flavorful obviously; but its also so light. The after effect is not lethargy. TIP: Their sorbets are splendid and if you like hazelnut, their ice cream is to die for. I also like the sea salt caramel (its seasonal 😦 ).

For Christmas, I went to the Christmas village in Philadelphia, PA which happens every year. They have great food, lot of handicraft items, handmade goods etc. Had a waffle with strawberry bits at the waffle counter. So let me tell you this, no matter what I eat in Philly, it never seems to disappoint me. There are great places to hangout with friends, eat food, watch movies and plays. Philly has it all. And it isn’t even as crowded as New York city.

Today, when I start my new ‘work’ year, I feel well rested and ready to get on with work. To top up the motivation, I got a hair cut! A hair cut is a great confidence booster. I do want this year to be better than the last. Achieve my set goals, one at a time. I feel stronger this year and have decided to begin this year with a lot of self motivation and confidence. There is no time for set backs and mistakes!

The New Year always brings some resolutions with it. Though, this year, I have just decided to take one day at a time. Enjoy it and do everything to make it an awesome one. Every year I decide to be healthier than the previous one (doesn’t mean I exercise). I have got my appetite back that I lost in 2013. No complains there. Just that now I need to lose the hearty weight I have gained. Good thing is, I bid farewell to my addictions from 2013. I have been clean for a while now! Something that everyone should consider doing. Its totally worth the effort. I feel so much better. You won’t know how it feels until to try it. Give it a shot!

And for all those who feel the way I do- ALL THE VERY BEST! 2015 is going to be great!

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

At Miss Shirley's Cafe, Baltimore, MD

At Miss Shirley’s Cafe, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Oh, you little thing, you inspire me..

As a part of growing up, I liked the little things to inspire me in a way that the vital ones didn’t. A kind act by someone (not necessarily for me) or even someone sharing an article they read. It makes you believe that people do think about you in the day and that you did make a difference to them. I am quite self motivated and usually don’t get dispirited. I take delight in bringing energy among a group of people I am a part of. I appreciate every deed a person has done for me. Although I do want to learn how to be less critical of a person or a situation and see the light behind it.

I really enjoy my ride to work. There is something about early mornings, the fresh air even if its so damn cold! I like seeing the roads, shops by the side, slowly getting busy. I enjoy seeing little children being dropped off to the school bus by their parents. Something about the mornings also inspires me to do better, do much  more than I can. Sipping a warm cup of coffee, listening to music; I mentally make a to-do list for myself. I feel like the coffee helps register things better.

My recent inspiration has been travelling and being on the road. It has given me time for myself and also helped me enjoy food of different styles and people of different kinds. Good food and good conversations are my fuel for life. Whenever I feel down, I read. I enjoy playing with my never ending collection of stationary. So I write back home to my family and friends. It makes a difference to me and to them. My friends from India have told me that my posts have reached them at the correct time or when they were least expecting it. It makes me so happy.

The most trivial things help you to make so much sense of every situation. I bask in the joy of somehow knowing it all (at least I feel I do). Doesn’t everyone want to feel that way? I suggest you give importance to the less valued things, emotions and gestures. It makes life simpler and gives you an edge. Then you start noticing that people around do appreciate you for it.

Someday I want to be a person who is strong emotionally and who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I want to make a difference in multiple lives. Motivate them when they need me the most. I want to move forward and take all my loved ones with me.

Have you made a difference today or changed anyone’s life?

Struggles of an outsider

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I spent the first twenty years of my life in my home in Mumbai, India. For as long as I can remember, the earthy seating and quaint surroundings was what made my home unique. The familiar lizard that seemed to grow older along with me and my sister, the pink and purple walls and welcoming kitchen were staple elements of my home that I cannot forget. The bunk bed on which me and my sister slept has attached to it many memories of adolescence and teenage years. After my mother’s passing away, when I was seventeen, the home didn’t seem to have the appealing and warm feeling it did before. This was the moment that I realized a “home” is not so much a physical surrounding. Instead, it is a place where family is together.

When I left India, I never really thought of any place in the US as home to me. I was miles away from the people I really cared about and it was this distance that fortified in my mind their value and importance. New York City was my biggest inspiration to come to the United States. There was something about the glamour and liveliness of New York that drew me to this place. The value attached to higher education in the US was another important factor that determined my move here. In the midst of these varied thoughts I hadn’t realized how difficult life is for an immigrant moving across the globe.

My first few months here were difficult without a job and an outlook of converting the dollar to Indian rupee. Surrounded by people with varied ethnicity and backgrounds, I was initially intimidated. One of my early mistakes was moving in with a person I disliked; that made the process of living away from family excessively challenging. One year later, I found myself battling depression and addiction. This was the time I decided I needed to return home once again. I spent a good two months in my comfort zone, rejuvenating, building my self-confidence and self-esteem, being loved and taken care of. This was an extremely motivating time for me and I owe it entirely to my family and friends back home.

I decided to come back with a bang!! I found 2 jobs for myself that occupied me for almost 50 hours a week. I managed to pay for my education and living for almost a year which made me realize that I still had it in me. Time passed by and in the last semester of my course I found family away from family; People who accept me for all of my idiosyncrasies, Motivate me, Help me figure my way through life’s various challenges. Friends who cooked me a four course meal for my birthday! They never deny me of anything. My friends helped me move into my new house, and more importantly helped make it a home. Two of them are now my roommates which makes living here an absolute delight. I have finished my course and am currently employed with Johnson & Johnson. I drive to and fro from work, almost two hours a day. Life is hectic but it hasn’t ever been more fulfilling than this. I can finally say I’m happy!

From this point onward, I hope to grow professionally and see myself at a better place than I am today. In the long run, I wish to expose my family to the life I have here. I don’t enjoy Skype but I love writing so I post letters to my sister and friends every now and then. She writes back to me and helps keep me sane.

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