Greetings from Abroad!

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Hello from Taipei!

I know that it has been a long while since I’ve been here and you may be wondering why the complete silence. So, let me explain…

For the past 6 months, I’ve been busy preparing for my year abroad, from researching, getting paper work completed to finally packing! I feel blessed that my profession allows me to take time for myself to rest, reflect, rejuvenate and grow.

I’m really excited that I’ll be combining my love for travelling, meeting new people, and embracing new cultural experiences with my passion for learning during my sabbatical. To be precise, I’ll be learning Mandarin and getting deeper into yoga! In fact, my travel abroad adventure began in The Big Easy (New Orleans) last month already where I completed my Kids Yoga Teacher Training with an amazing Canadian trainer, Aruna Kathy Humphrys of Young Yoga Masters, and a wonderful supportive like-minded group of American classmates. Sightseeing in New Orleans and eating tons of mouth-watering Southern food has always been on my bucket list, and I’m happy I checked that off!

Fast forward to now, I’m currently living in Taipei. I flew here a week ago and am slowly getting over jetlag and settling into my new home. I’ve enrolled in a university program to learn Mandarin for foreigners at the National Taiwan University, and am looking forward to beginning class next week!

While Taipei will be my home base for the next 12 months, I also have some travel plans for New Zealand, Australia, Bali and other places that I’ve yet to decide on.

Quite a few people asked me before I left if I’m afraid to be travelling solo and not know anyone in any places I’ll be going to, and to be honest, there are moments when I doubt myself and get scared. However, for the most part I’m absolutely thrilled to embark on this adventure of a lifetime and to fulfill some of my dreams. I only think of the positives. I had a beautiful memorable time in New Orleans and met friends whom I know I’ll keep in touch for life. The beginning of my travel adventure in New Orleans was definitely a promise of yet more wonderful things to come. 🙂

One of my good friends shared this quote with me: “To travel alone is to get lost on purpose, in order to be found.” I hope this quote will inspire me to find my own true path as I travel physically, mentally and spiritually throughout some parts of the world.

I can’t wait to share my everyday travelling/learning adventures and bucket list with you and thank you for being part of my journey here!

Stay tuned!

XO, Violet

Some very thoughtful items I've received from dear colleagues and friends (THANK YOU!), or I bought on my own for my year abroad that I've packed with me. :)

Some very thoughtful items I’ve received from dear colleagues and friends (THANK YOU!), or I bought on my own for my year abroad that I’ve packed with me. 🙂

 

 

Being Thankful: Life’s a Piece of Cake!

It’s our Thanksgiving in Canada, and as always it’s time for many of us to pause, reflect, surround ourselves with loved ones and be thankful for all we have in our lives.

Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, I caught up with my vegan friend, Emma, whom I met this summer in Korea and we became really good friends in a short span of 3 weeks. We decided to meet up in my favourite Korean cafe in town since we both miss our time in Korea and wish to reminisce the good times we had this summer.

While I ordered the cake and tea combo (I think this cafe has the best red velvet cake in town, and I decided to cheat by having some gluten and dairy; after all, life is all about balance right? 😉 ), I couldn’t help but think about how simple and sweet life can be like a piece of cake! So, the quote “life’s a piece of cake” came to my mind while I was chatting with Emma. When you really think about it, life is simple, and so many wonderful things happen along the way such as the many adventures I had this summer and the promise of a lasting friendship. 🙂

You may argue, but what about the “bad” things that happen to us in life? Well, I will argue it’s all in our mindset: the way we look at and interpret events that happen to us. Don’t you think that when we over-think, our minds go in turmoil and that’s when we find our lives are complicated? Even with uncontrollable events that happen to us, we can look at it from a different lense. This lense is what I call the positive mindset.

When we cultivate a positive mindset, things in life become crystal clear and simple. Yes, we will stumble along the way with challenges and have unexpected detours, but in the end, we become stronger and find something that is beautiful and are more appreciative and happier than we can ever imagine. If we don’t experience such challenges in life, how can we realize how sweet that piece of cake is? Just take a moment and think how powerful positive thinking can be. For me, it makes me be thankful that I am alive and breathing, and can enjoy that piece of cake fully!

"Life's a piece of cake! Enjoy it to the fullest!" :)

“Life’s a piece of cake! Enjoy it to the fullest!” 🙂

In addition, I am thankful for my family, old friends I still keep in touch with and new friends I made through my life’s adventures!

What are you thankful for?

Wishing you all a bountiful, beautiful and peaceful Thanksgiving!

XO,

Violet

 

 

 

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Have you been feeling weigh down by negative thoughts, due to certain situations or environments, when you are by yourself or you feel them from people around you? Believe me, it happens to all of us, and it is up to us to make these negative feelings last either for a brief moment or for a longer period of time.

To be honest, the past year or so has been difficult as life has thrown quite a few curve balls my way, but I will reveal to you that what helped me through these negative situations was cultivating a positive mindset. I have learned that no matter what happens, I have to believe in myself and make the best out of every situation, and to try my best to bring sunshine with me wherever I go. This is the only way to live my life with joy, peace, love, hope and passion.

Last week I was introduced to Christian D. Larson’s beautiful poem called “Promise Yourself” and it describes the magic of having a positive mindset towards life, and it’s exactly what I strive to do every day. I love it so much that I would like to share with you! ❤

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing in this moment, even if you are in doubt or filled with negative thoughts, think of this promise and believe wholeheartedly in the power of positive thinking.

May this poem bring a smile to your face and be a source of strength and inspiration to you! 🙂

XO,

Violet

Promise-Yourself

 

 

Stop & Smell the Flowers

This long weekend I had the pleasure to spend some quality time with a few good friends whom I don’t see enough, due to our busy lives and schedules. Since Spring is upon us, we wanted to take advantage of the weather to go for a walk, searching for Cherry Blossoms at High Park.

Despite the fluctuation between sun and rain while we were at the park, I’m glad we were able to catch a glimpse of the remaining Cherry Blossoms and saw other beautiful flowers and plants too.

I had an opportunity to try some of my amateur photography skills. I’m excited to share with you the beauty of Spring at High Park because I think my photos did justice to what we witnessed at the park. Enjoy! 🙂

 

The famous Japanese Cherry Blossoms that return every Spring at High Park

The famous Japanese Cherry Blossoms that return every Spring at High Park

 

Gorgeous magnolias, that we mistaken for Cherry Blossoms at first when we couldn't find any. hehe

Gorgeous magnolias, that we mistaken for Cherry Blossoms at first when we couldn’t find any. hehe

 

Bright, colourful and cheerful tulips, another sign of Spring

Bright, colourful and cheerful tulips, another sign of Spring

 

I am not sure what type of flower this is, but I love the vividness of the purple, and since it's my favourite colour, I took a close up of it. ^^

I am not sure what type of flower this is, but I love the vividness of the purple, and since it’s my favourite colour, I took a close up of it. ^^

This weekend’s nature walk with my friends through the sun and rain helped me to remember that no matter how crazy busy life gets, we still need to take time to stop and smell the flowers along the way, on our own and/or with people we treasure. This thought reminded me of this beautiful quote/poem by Bruce Williamson, which I would like to leave with you as food for thought:

“Walk in the rain,
smell flowers,
stop along the way,
build sandcastles,
go on field trips,
find out how things work,
tell stories,
say the magic words,
trust the universe.”

 

Happy Spring to all of you out there! 🙂

XO,

Violet

 

Ten Easy Tips to Good Health!

Ten Easy Tips to Good Health!

Hello to all my dear readers & fellow blogger friends,

I have been away for a month or so due to low energy and sickness (I’ll explain and share with you what I learned during the time in some upcoming posts ^^) and am happy to be back here again! 🙂 I look forward to more blogging and connecting with you all once again!!

My best friend shared these awesome tips with me and I would like to share with you all here.

I love these simple tips, because it’s easy to follow on a daily basis!!

Cheers to good health to all of us this year! 😀

XO,
Violet

Living with Intention

3thingsmatter_buddhist saying

Can you believe it?  It is already the second day of 2014!  I’m sure many of you already have some goals or new year’s resolutions in mind for this year.  I also have my own list which seems to be growing longer and longer by the minute. 😛  However, the thread that holds all of my goals and dreams is aptly captured in the quote above.  I discovered this quote on New Year’s Eve through a friend of mine, and it has resonated with me for the past two days.

To start off 2014 on my blog, I would like to share with you this meaningful Buddhist quote.  As we all continue to strive towards our new goals and reach new heights this year, I think it’s also important to keep this beautiful quote in mind.  Always think about and act upon these three important things as we go through our everyday lives, working towards our goals and dreams.  It means live with intention: know our own values, hopes and deepest desires, and at the same time love and care about (and spend time with) people and things that really matter to us, treat people and things (e.g. the environment) the way we want to be treated, and learn to let go of people and things when they are not meant to be or are unhealthy for us.  I truly believe that living with intention and being mindful (in the present) will help us to be more focused and bring us pleasure, joy and fulfillment in the long run.

Hope you find this post as food for thought and will inspire you to start your year off in the right direction! 🙂

XO, Violet 

 

P.S. If you’re wondering how to live a life with intention, here’s a very good beginner’s guide: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10705/the-beginners-guide-to-living-with-intention.html

Enjoy! 🙂

Breathe In & Breathe Out = Accept & Let Go

As the year is coming to an end, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for reading, commenting, complimenting, and supporting my blog throughout the past six months.  Who knew that my little blogging exploration on my journey into healthy eating and balanced living is still going strong?  I did not anticipate that far ahead, and to know that I’m slowly but steadily gaining more wonderful readers and/or blogging friends as time goes by, is truly amazing.  I appreciate and am thankful for YOU! 🙂

Aside from connecting with loved ones and dear friends during this holiday season, something else that I appreciate and am thankful for in December is the opportunity to reflect.  Having this opportunity to reflect personally and professionally allows us to set goals and strategies to continue to grow and develop as a person of many roles (e.g. daughter, sister, friend, teacher, student etc.) for the next year.

An important lesson I learned this year, as I’m reflecting, is what my dearest wise friend Zainab shared with me at the beginning of the year while we were at a yoga conference.  She taught me a very simple meditation technique or coping mechanism when confronted with a stressful and/or difficult situation, personally or professionally.  It is simply to take a few minutes to BREATHE in a quiet space.

Here are the steps:

1. As you’re breathing in a deep breath slowly, accept what has happened in your mind.

2. As you breathe out slowly, let whatever has happened go in your mind.

3. Continue this technique as long as you want to and once you feel calm, you’ll feel peace in your heart and mind too.

I practised this meditation technique whenever I experienced the downs in my life.  It truly works and  I can honestly tell you that learning to “accept and let go” is the best medicine for my physical, mental and spiritual health this year!  Furthermore, I realized that there are some events/situations and people’s behaviour/attitude that are out of our control.  Frequently, these “out of control” situations or behaviour are what we consider  “awful, bad, or horrible” and upsets us.  Well, the only thing we can control is the way we react to and think about it.  To put it simply, we need to “accept and let go”, and not dwell in the past.  The power of positive thinking and being in the present does wonders for the body, mind and soul, and truly makes us happy from the inside out.

I wish you all happiness, love, peace, success, good health and beautiful moments for the upcoming new year! 🙂

Breathe in and breathe out, and let’s welcome 2014 with renewed energy, hope, and dreams!!

Looking at the beautifully icycle covered tree , as the sun shines on it, in my backyard after the ice storm last week reminded me that beauty exists even after the storm.  Just like breathing in and breathing out, we need to remember:  "Remain calm when a storm hits your life and remember the sun is never too far away." :)

Looking at the beautifully icicle-covered tree , as the sun shines on it, in my backyard after the ice storm last week reminded me that beauty exists even after the storm. Just like breathing in and breathing out, we need to: “Remain calm when a storm hits your life and remember the sun is never too far away.” 🙂