Month: April 2019

Life in Costa Rica

Life in Costa Rica

Easter is a huge deal here in Costa Rica. So much so most of the government shuts down for a week. As a teacher, I had off for two weeks. It was a great two weeks. I got a lot of stuff done for the website, went on a mini vacation with friends, and got my CR driver’s license. It was two weeks full of adventure and growth.

Getting a CR License

Getting my driver’s license was probably the easiest thing I have done with the Costa Rican government. (getting things done here is hard, keep reading). Since I had my US driver’s license, I didn’t need to take any tests. I simply went to the office with my paperwork and got my new license. It was easy for the most part.

First, I had my US driver’s license translated into English with the local official translator. I did this ahead of time so all I had to do was pick it up and pay for it. ($20)

Second, I had to get a medical health check done. I did this directly across the street from the Cosevi (driver’s license building). As soon as they opened, I walked in. She asked me for all my personal information and any health issues current and past. The doctor gave me a quick eye exam, a reflex test (you know the one where they hit your knee with the little hammer), listened to my breathing and asked me a few mental questions. This was the most interesting part. The doctor asked me to repeat 3 words: casa, manzana, and gato. Then I needed to spell the word “Mundo” backward. Lastly, I needed to repeat the same 3 words again: casa, manzana, and gato. I almost forgot the words!! I paid around 27.000 colones for the exam.

Lastly, I took the medical report, translated driver’s license, my Costa Rican credula work permit card, and my original driver’s license to Cosevi. They looked over all my stuff, put it in the system, and took my photo. I walked out of the building with my CR license in hand.

No craziness, no returning, and no issues. Simple, straightforward, and done!

Motorcycle Impound

Before I met Jonathan, he lost the plate to his motorcycle. We tried to get a new one a few months back, and they told us he needed a paper from a lawyer. Since we were in Liberia (an hour away by motorcycle), we tried to get a lawyer there to do the document for us. All the lawyers in Liberia wanted over $50. The lawyer in Brasilito close to our house wanted $25. We decided to wait. Since I was getting my driver’s license in Liberia, we got the paper from the lawyer so we could get it all done and over with. That ended up a nightmare.

We got my License and were headed to get the new plate for his motorcycle when the traffic police stopped us. Jonathan had the paper from the lawyer and a sticker on the back with the correct plate number. His plates were up to date, he just didn’t have the plate. The police took the motorcycle and gave us a ticket. He pleaded with them to let us keep it. They didn’t care. We got the new plates, got on the bus and headed home.

We tried to pay the ticket three days later. The system wouldn’t allow us to do it because it was a Saturday. Monday morning Jonathan went to Liberia to pay the fine and get the motorcycle. They told him since it was Semana Santa they couldn’t release the bike as there was no one there to do it, but allowed him to pay the fine. They also told him that they are charging him 4.000 colones (about $7) a day for the bike being in storage.

Fast forward to this past a week later, he goes back to Liberia and they tell him they don’t know where the bike is and he needs to make an appointment online.

We thought “okay cool, let’s make the appointment, pay the storage fee, and listo.”

NOPE!!

I was UNABLE to make the appointment because the motorcycle ISN’T IN THE SYSTEM. I tried for three days and kept getting the same error.

We called our lawyer to see if they could help. They could for $20, but Jonathan wanted to go in person one last time.

He goes this morning and FINALLY, he was ABLE to get the motorcycle. But before paying 70.000 colones which is $116.

SO a word of advice…. Don’t get your car or motorcycle taken away by the police in Costa Rica. It is a pain to get out of impound.

Mini Vacation

I wanted to go to Limon, on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. It was too expensive for my budget to do it alone so I asked a friend and her three friends. Since most of the inexpensive places were unavailable or didn’t allow pets, we decided to go to the Osa Peninsula, which is south near the Panama border.

I found this amazing little hostel in the jungle. It was $11 a night. We rented a little Toyota Corolla from Alamo for $37 a person (we split the total cost 5 ways) and off we went. It is about an 8-hour drive including stops for food and gas from Liberia. We had no plans or expectations, other than to have a good time.

Nina came with us which was such an amazing experience. She was overwhelmed a little bit since it was all new for her. Nina had never been in a car for that long and never experienced the jungle as we did.

After the long drive, we arrived at our hostel. It was pretty much a camping experience. The toilet was a bucket with a manmade wooden box around it to sit on. After we went to the bathroom we had to put sawdust on it to keep the smell down.

The rooms had bunk beds in them with a nice mosquito net around them. The “walls” were made of green see-through material (see photos). The only place with light and electricity was the kitchen so we had to use flashlights once it got dark. We had banana trees and other green and beautiful plants all around us. Just past the bathrooms, was a river that was great for swimming in.

Nina had plenty of room to explore and run. She was in heaven. Since there was no fence she free access to the whole place. At night, I put a headlamp around her neck so I could find her easily.

The first day we went grocery, found dinner, reserved a tour for the next day and relaxed in the kitchen playing cards. We didn’t have much time to do anything else as we arrived there mid-afternoon and it gets dark around 5:30 pm.

We wanted to go into Corcovado National Park to an amazing waterfall I read about online. We found out four things. One we need a guide to enter the park and since it was Semana Santa we couldn’t do so. Second, a guide was around $75- $90 a person. Third, the waterfall I wanted to go to was closed to the public as it was used for drug purposes a while back. And lastly, Nina can’t enter the National Parks here in Costa Rica. Which means she would be in her cage for most of the day. (Not good for her)

Since Corcovado Park was not going to happen, we decided to do a kayak tour to see bioluminescence in the evening and hike the river by our hostel in the morning. The kayak tour was $35 a person for 3 hours and the river hike was free.

The river hike was a sight to see. We simply directly walked the river. Nina was able to come with us. She absolutely LOVED IT! The hike led to a small waterfall off to the side. Not huge and you couldn’t swim at the bottom, but it was worth it to see. Once you walked a little past the waterfall there were pools of water perfect for relaxing and swimming.

Nina was such a protector because every person we passed, she barked. We met some gold miners as that river has some gold. She didn’t go far and she came back every time I called her name. We did this for most of the morning and afternoon. By the time, we needed to leave for the kayak tour, Nina was knocked out. She slept the entire time we were gone.

The kayak tour was worth it. We weren’t sure if we would see the bioluminescence because of the full moon. When the moon is full, it’s too bright to see the lights in the water. Bioluminescence is plankton in the water that glows when moved. We got lucky that the thunderstorm had such dark clouds that covered the moonlight. They were like stars in the ocean. It is a must see!

On our last full day, we went to a beach called, Playa Pan Dulce and another waterfall. That was an adventure for sure, we got lost. The man said the waterfall was to the right after the second bridge. We walked over the bridge and kept walking looking for the right to turn. We walked this HUGE MOUNTAIN!! I was so slow and Nina was right by my side the entire time, barking at anyone that passed.

Finally, we decided we had enough and asked a taxi that was driving by. We passed the turn a long time ago. We turned around and spent some time on the beach first. Nina and I were exhausted so we skipped the waterfall for a nap in the car. The others went to the waterfall.

I was able to hang out with some amazing woman. Nina got exercise and showed me how perfect of a dog she is for me. We all got to see a beautiful, lush, and tranquil place.

Website Work and Taxes

I had my first coaching call with Evan. He is such an amazing coach. In one session, I learned so many new things. I learned my post to the Death Row inmate is at the top of the second page on google. I know how to look at my website privately without messing with the stats. We got a game plan for the theme. Did some small changes to help my google legitimacy better.

I am working on two different items to sell on the blog. I am super excited to share them with you when they are ready! I have been putting good energy into making them happen!

Since I am still technically a resident of Maryland and I am still a citizen of the US, I need to pay taxes if I make over $12,000. I made $12,220 last year. SOOOO…. I paid $21 to the US government and a whopping $552 to the state of Maryland!!!! It is ridiculous. And there is no way out of it until I become a permanent resident of Costa Rica. Then I will qualify to an exception.

There are only 4 ways to become a permanent resident of Costa Rica .

  1. Marry a Tico or someone with a residency here
  2. Have a baby
  3. Own a business
  4. Buy land or a house that is worth over $150k

None of those options work for me so I will be paying taxes to the US government every year.

Life in Costa Rica is fascinating, ever-changing, and beautiful. It is stressful and crazy, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I am in love. Would you want to live in a place like Costa Rica?

Recipes to Make Life Easier

Recently, I have been wanting to make my life a little easier. One of the ways I have been doing this is by planning my meals ahead of time. Sometimes I cook and freeze a bunch of meals on Sunday. And other times, I put my meal plan on the refrigerator. Either way, it saves me time thinking about what to cook for dinner. Allowing me to focus my energy on other tasks.

I wanted to share my favorite recipes to inspire you to simplify your life by planning and/or cooking ahead. Here is a list of my goto recipes for a quick meal.

Baked Oatmeal

This is my go-to for breakfast because it’s so simple. You mix all the ingredients, pop it in the oven, and wait.  May cook this on a Sunday and eat it until Tuesday or Wednesday. This recipes normally lasts me (one person) about 3-4 days. Baked Oatmeal is so tasty and delicious. It is healthy and filling as well. Click here for the recipe

Arroz Con Atun

This is a recipe I have started using since I moved to Costa Rica. It is a one pot deal. Quick and easy. Less than 15 minutes depending on how long the rice takes to cook. Unfortunately, all the recipes I found online are in Spanish and none where exactly how I make it. This recipe makes enough for dinner and lunch for me. I eat this with potato chips. You can always double the recipe for more people or more meals. (This recipe may be a little hard for people in the US to make as two of the ingredients may not be available)

  1. Add rice, oil, and salt to a rice cooker (can be done on the stove according to directions on package). While the rice is cooking heat frozen vegetables in a pan or microwave.
  2. Once the rice is cooked, add tuna, vegetables, ketchup, and seasoning. Mix until well combined. (You can add more ketchup on top if you want for extra flavor)
  3. Serve with potato chips or toast.

One Pot Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli

A simple and easy recipe. I love it because it’s healthy. It does take an hour or so to cook. With that said, I think that it could be an option for the slow cooker (not tested). There isn’t much mess to clean up because it is all in one pot. It is useful to have leftovers for lunch the next day. I haven’t tried freezing it, so I am not sure if freezing is an option. Click for recipe here.

Make Ahead Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

This recipe is super easy. You make them ahead of time, put them in the microwave, and eat. It is better than the store bought ones because you have control over the type of ingredients you use.  You can use bacon, ham, or both. If your vegetarian, you can add vegan meat, or veggies to your sandwich. IT’S COMPLETELY CUSTOM! Click here for the recipe.

Cold Pasta Salad with Tuna

This is a recipe I make when I am short on time and I have nothing planned. It’s simple, easy, quick, and tasty. I normally eat this with potato chips. This recipe lasts me for lunch and dinner.

  • 1 small can of tuna
  • ½ bag of pasta shells or macaroni
  • ½ small onion diced
  • 1 small cucumber chopped
  • 1 small carrot shredded or diced (optional)
  • 1 cup of mayo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package. Cut onion, cucumber, and carrots while the pasta is cooking. Once pasta is ready, wash with cold water.
  2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Put into the fridge for 15 or more minutes to chill.
  3. Serve with potato chips and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. Leave a comment below with your favorite recipe. I would LOVE to hear what your go to dishes are!!

How to stay TRUE to YOUSELF

Staying true to yourself is the most important and loving thing you can do. It isn’t easy because we can forget ourselves in the activities that we do. I know that I am one to forget myself. Over the past few years I am staying true to myself more and more. It can take many forms, some harder than others. The harder the task the more deeply I grow within myself. It is a beautiful, peaceful, and rewarding event to do.

Someone close to me has been having a hard time staying true to himself (or listening to himself). He has become sad and angry because he was scared to do what he needed to do for fear of losing me. I wanted to share with you the ways I have learned to listen to myself.

1. Say NO!

Saying no is a huge deal. When someone says “no” it can upset other people. If I don’t want to kiss on the first date, I will say no. Saying “no” gives you POWER. It also can show you about the other person. When someone hears “no”, they can either respect that or push you. If a person can’t handle hearing no isn’t your place to give in and do what they want. You lose respect for yourself.

DON’T GO AGAINST YOURSELF TO PLEASE SOMEONE ELSE! Say NO and MEAN IT

2. Set Boundaries and Stick to them

Know what your limits are and don’t break them. If I don’t like sleeping in the same bed with someone, I need to set that boundary with my partner and keep the wall up. This does two things. It lets me know that I AM IMPORTANT and WORTHY of my personal space and needs. Second, it let’s the other person know how they need to RESPECT ME. If I am constantly breaking my own boundaries, it will shows others that I am weak and will cater to them. PEOPLE WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE!

3. Know what you want and why

One of the only ways to stick to NO and your boundaries is to know what you want and why. I know that I can’t sleep in the same bed with someone for more than 4 days because it causes me to lose my energy and strength. I become irritable and lazy. Since I do not want to feel that way I set these limits and I say NO. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND WHY YOU (truly) WANT IT! This is such an important factor in being able to do the first two points. You LOSE YOURSELF every time you don’t know what you want and why.

The why is just as important as the want. Knowing why gives you strength during those times you need to say no. Knowing why creates a strong bond within yourself because there is complete clarity.

4. Never lose yourself for someone else

This is probably one of the hardest to do. It creeps up slowly. You do this by giving in to tiny things over and over again through time. If you love to volunteer and your partner doesn’t, you may find yourself slowly finding excuses to not do the charity work you always did. Going to see his parents one Tuesday night instead of volunteering at the local soup kitchen, turns in to canceling three or four times to never going again. THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! If you love dancing around the house when you feel an energy flow, but are too afraid of what your partner will think (if they live with you), DON’T STOP! You want to keep this part of you because it is the part of you that loves and breathes. It is who you are at the core. Yes, it is true people can help you find yourself. If you are doing it because you know deep inside it’s better than who you were before.

5. You don’t need to care about the same things are your partner or friends

It is okay to have different interests. Why would you want to spend all your time doing stuff together? I used to do EVERYTHING with my ex’s and friends. I never did things I liked to do because it was easier to go along with the ride. I learned over time that having different interests kept distance in the relationship. Distance isn’t a bad thing. It can create desire and a chance to miss the person you love. Jonathan rarely does things without me. This caused a great deal of tension in the relationship because he wouldn’t put his needs first. Instead of going to basketball every Wednesday, he would watch movies with me all night. I know he wants to get the exercise and hang out with friends, but he was afriad to leave my side. (I never wanted to go because I am not a big fan of basketball.)

It is PERFECTLY FINE to not like or care about everything your partner does.

6. Walk Away when needed

If something doesn’t suit you any more for whatever reason, WALK AWAY! Do not stay in a relationship because you are afraid to lose love, money or attention. Only be in a relationship if you feel it is what you need to do for you. If someone is disrepecting you constantly, leave them. If you know you need to move out the house because you need space to think. DO IT! Staying in a relationship that doesn’t serve you on a deeper level is more damaging to your soul than leaving. Leaving when you feel trapped is freeing and can open your mind to something bigger.

Take it from someone who spent 5 years with someone not following every bullet mentioned in this article. When the marriage ended, I HAD NO IDEA WHO I WAS! I cried. I felt lost and confused. It took me years to build myself up again. It was the best thing that happened to me. I wouldn’t let it happen again. It’s terrifying not knowing who you are because everything you thought you knew about you was gone. Gone because the one you gave it too was no longer around. STAY TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE! It is not worth losing.

(These can be used in intiment realtionships, friendships, or even the jobs we have)

Top 5 TedTalks

I have come to love TedTalks. The stories and information is transforming and inspiring. There is so much to learn and understand about the world and TedTalks allow us to have access to that information easily. I have five of my favorite talks listed below. I struggled with giving you an overview of what each talks about with our giving away too much information. I hope you enjoy. If there is a TedTalk you want to share with me, write it in the comments. I would love to watch your favorites.

This TedTalk talks about the link between desire and sex. How do we keep desire and sex alive in long term committed relationships? Esther Perel does just that in this fantastic TedTalk. She answers questions about why sex fades over time in most relationships. I am in awe of what she suggests and states in this talk. It is perfect and exactly what most people need to understand about relationships and how to keep them alive. Check it out and see what you learn. (about 20 minutes)

An amazing TedTalk by Dan Pallota that I did not expect. The title is “The Dream we haven’t Dared to Dream.” I was thinking it was going to talk about dreams we want to do that haven’t done yet. It was surprising about doing the extraordinary by living in two dimensions. Going deep and loving the world in a way you never have before. An inspiring and surprising talk. Watch the speech and see what greatness can be if we live our deepest dreams. (about 12 minutes)

Alyssa Monks talks about how she can find the beauty in the unexpected, sad, or unknown. From personal experience, I know what she is talking about. After moving abroad, I learned to embrace and love the unexpected, crazy, and unpredictable. It makes life more worth living. It makes life more alive. Listen to her TedTalk and find inspiration in the story she tells about her experience with her mom’s death. (about 13 minutes)

Brene Brown has an amazing Ted Talk about vulnerability. Her life’s work has been researching and finding what vulnerability is and how it affects us. She talks about what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Connecting or the ability to feel connected is important and linked to purpose. It is a really amazing talk about the different aspects of vulnerability and connection. I would recommend this Ted Talk if you struggle with being vulnerable. Amazing and eye opening. Click Here to watch. (about 20 minutes)

An amazing Ted Talk about the difference between happiness and meaning. She goes into why chasing happiness doesn’t make us happy. We all want happiness but what creates a lasting happiness? Emily gives another perspective on happiness and how meaning is more important for you to find your happiness. Her pillars are the main four. Here is a brief overview of the pillars. To learn more listen to her Ted Talk by clicking here. (about 15 minute)

4 Pillars

  • 1 Belonging- comes from being in relationships that you are valued for who you are and you value others. Leading a life with LOVE!
  • 2 Purpose- Purpose is more about what you give and not what you have.
  • 3 Transcendence- Transcendence is stepping beyond yourself. The moments you feel connected to a higher reality.
  • 4 Story Telling- We are the storytellers of our lives. We can choose how we tell our story. People who tell their stories with a positive and changed attitude. Bad is redeemed by the good.

Reasons NOT to Compare your success to someone else’s

It is so easy to compare ourselves to other people. As I go through this journey with my blog, I find myself comparing my blog to others. This person has made a lot of money with their blog. That person has better content. That person spent so many hours working on their blog, do I need to do the same? Can I really be as successful as _____?

It’s normal to compare to see where you are. People do it all the time. But just because people do it all the time doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do. It makes it really hard to stay on track sometimes. Our journey’s won’t ever look the same. What I do and achieve with my blog will be completely different than what Jay Shetty or anyone else does. We may have similar goals we want to achieve and at the same time, how we achieve them will never be the same. I can’t compare what he (or anyone else) does to what I do for a few reasons.

  1. Length of Time: We all start our goals at different times. Some started six or seven years ago, others one or two months ago. This gives each person a different perspective because they are on a different part of their journey. It takes time to gain follwers and build content. If I started 2 months ago, I won’t have all the content and knowledge that someone has that started 5 years ago.
  2. Experiences: In our lives, our past shapes us in many ways. My past will give me a perspective that you may not understand because you didn’t experience that. Using Jay Shetty as an example (because I love his work). Jay spent a few years in his twenties traveling around India and Europe living as a monk. This experience shaped his life. He uses the things he learned to support others with their lives. I have never been a monk so my perspective is a little different. So keep in mind our experiences shape us differently.
  3. Perspective: Since our experiences are different, our perspective won’t be the same either. I can understand where other people are coming from, but I still process that understanding from the lens I have from my childhood. We can all say the same things in a unique way. So many of my favorite personal development idols use different words and ways of being and doing as I do. Take Anthony Robbins, he has a more intense and in your face way of supporting peoples growth. Jay Shetty, on the other hand, has a more mild and free letting people know the truth. Both are effective, and both are from a different perspective.

It isn’t productive to compare yourself to someone else. Of course, you can analyze what they do to get a game plan for where you want to be or want to do. You can use them to inspire you to be the best you can be. You can even use their knowledge to give you direction. There is nothing wrong with that. DO YOU AND FIND YOUR OWN PATH! Create your own success and use what you know and learn. The universe will provide if you do what you need.

Victim to Victor: The Choice is Yours

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about identifying victim mentality. Here is the second part… Victim to Victor!

We all have a choice on how we want to live our lives. We learn how to be victims or victors from our parents and close family when we are young. If you are around people who play the victim, you will play the victim yourself. Same goes for being the victor.

Even if we learned something as a child we can…

WE CAN choose HOW WE WANT TO LIVE!

The first step is choosing to live a different life. To go from victim to victor, we need to work and learn a new way of being.  It takes time and patience. It took me years to get to the victor mentality I now have. Don’t give up.

Here are a few ways to turn your life into one of a victor.

  1. Motivating yourself and others

Motivation is a huge positive mindset adjustment for people who play the victim. Motivating yourself and others is a positive and encouraging things to do. It requires a certain mindset to authentically motivate others. There are so many people that have a negative aspect when motivating others to achieve their goals or live the life they want. When you learn to positively motivate others it changes how you see life.

My way of motivating people now is completely different than it was 2 months ago or even 6 years ago. I am constantly learning new ways to motivate people in the best possible way. As I look back on how it has changed, I see how I play the victim less and less.

  1. Being impeccable with our values and promises

Being impeccable with our values and promises, we begn to distance ourselves from the victim mentality to the victor mentality. This happens because, in order to be impeccable with our values and promises, we have to own the mistakes me make. For me, being honest is a value that is important to me. If I find myself not being honest, I own up to that and not blame others, moving from victim to victor. I take control of my actions. Same with goes for breaking rules. If I break rules at my job, it is no one’s fault but mine. So when I become impeccable with myself, I own myself. There is no room to blame others.

It is difficult to do. It is worth doing being you gain so many other valuable traits that make the difficult well worth the effort. If you want more on this reading “The four agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz is perfect for you!

  1. Overcoming fears and obstacles with a positive and grateful mindset

Some look at fears with a negative mindset. This negativity creates a breeding ground for the victim mentality. When one is grateful for all obstacles they are able to see the greatness within themselves as well as others.  Allowing you to be the victor in many ways. I found this the quickest way to overcome the victim mentality. If these suggestions are difficult and daunting to you, this one is my favorite and most life-changing tool.

In the last 2 years, I have learned how being grateful and positive even in hard times can change my way of thinking in drastic ways. I am loving the energy and feelings when placed in certain situations now.  Try this for 3 months and see the transformation!

  1. Gaining new knowledge

Reading books, Ted Talks, or attending personal development events is a great way to open your mind to another way of being. Using what we learn in the books, Ted Talks, and events give us access to tools we can use to learn. Learning from our experiences and being open to a new way of living or seeing life can allow us to put ourselves in other’s shoes. Thus opening our minds to the victor mentality rather than staying the victim.

Search for books, Ted Talks, and events that are for personal development for the next 6 months. Practice the tools they give you and see the changes in your life.

Guest Post: Kindness

By: Naomi

When I was little, my mum used to give away boxes of biscuits and chocolates that we had been given for Christmas to people that were less fortunate than us. I never understood why, they were gifts for us.

I understand now.

I understand now how important it is to be kind. To give even the smallest of gifts to people. We didn’t need more biscuits, more chocolates… we had all we needed, in fact probably more than we needed. But those people had nothing, or at least very little. The giving of sweet treats wasn’t even about the physical act of giving, it was my mum’s way of saying ‘you are worthy of kindness’, the chocolates and biscuits were just the tip of the iceberg compared to what my parents did for some of those people…

A little bit of background may be good here… when I was growing up, we lived in quite a rough neighbourhood. My parents were (and still are) part of a local church and for a long time, we lived within the church building. It wasn’t your typical ‘church’ – people came to worship, of course, but it was also a community centre with groups and meeting rooms. A lot happened in that building, from a playgroup to an over 60’s keep fit class – and everything in between.

But, back to kindness. My parents helped a lot of people but the one that will always stand out was Bill. Bill was an alcoholic from Scotland, out of the Navy and onto some pretty rough streets in my hometown. He’d turn up, a night here and a night there and my mum would bathe him and dress him in some of my dad’s clothes. She’d give him a hot meal and a bed for the night and then he would be off again, to return a week, a month later…

One night, my mum gave him an ultimatum. My brother and I had grown to know Bill and we knew that he would never do us harm – but nevertheless, we were still two pretty young kids and it was at the time my dad was going away for a week here or there on volunteer work. She told him he could stay and get help, or he had to go.

He stayed.

We had a few happy years with Bill. He slept in a room in the church for a little while and would spend most of his days in our flat within the building. My parents fed him, they got him a new wardrobe, got him signed up for the benefits he was entitled to and in the end found him a bedsit where he would sit at the bay window and watch the birds. We visited him still a few days a week, my dad took him to do his shopping and my mum washed his clothes and had him back to the flat for lunch or dinner or just some company… He became another grandpa.

When he died, we felt as if we had lost a family member. An hour before he passed he asked my dad if I could come to him in the hospice which I did and I laid next to him as he stroked my hair and slipped away.

We loved him. What my parents did could be looked at as kindness, but if you said that to them, they would just say they were doing the only thing they knew. It wasn’t out of some religious zeal, they aren’t like that at all, if was just an outstretched hand, a voice in the darkness saying ’It’s ok, we’ve got you’

And I have grown up not knowing any different. The need to provide for others, to give others what they need can be overwhelming at times. It doesn’t even need to be a physical thing (although present buying is one of my favourite things), it can be just listening to someone, hearing them without judging them, letting them know ’It’s ok, I’ve got you… ‘

Because isn’t that what we all need? To know that even in the darkest times, even when we feel like there is no hope, no possible way out or like the sun will never shine again… don’t we just need no-strings-attached, good, honest kindness?

I think we all do.

Written by Naomi – meditativeowl.wordpress.com

Language Barriers don’t equal perfect relationships.

Everyone tells me you have the perfect relationship because you can’t argue or fight with a language barrier. It gets kind of annoying. Just because there is a language barrier, doesn’t mean we can’t argue or disagree with each other. It still happens. And sometimes it gets to the point where the other person stops trying to be the best person they can be and you leave.

Working on yourself is not an easy task. It’s not easy to look at yourself and be brutely honest. It takes courage, strength, and a lot of self love to stand up for what you need. We can all do, some people only do this to a point. When things get too real or too rough we stop working on ourselves unless we have a bigger fight within us to not stop.

It’s not easy to say I have problems because of my mom and I won’t take that out on you. Saying you need space and to walk away from what doesn’t serve you is hard to do too. I am learning that you can do those things when you have respect for yourself. If you don’t respect yourself how can you walk away from someone that doesn’t treat you the way you need?

This all happens even if there is a language barrier. A language barrier doesn’t stop you from treating someone right. A language barrier doesn’t stop you from feeling emotions and energies from the other person. Sometimes by not being able to speak in the same language, you notice the more important things. You notice when someone stops fighting for themselves or you more noticeable because their words don’t get in the way. They can’t tell you “Oh I am sorry, I love you, it won’t happen again. You are the best in the world. I will show you I mean it.” You have to watch what they do to see how they feel and what they think because the words aren’t understood.

There is more to life than words. There are actions and energies that can tell you more than words can ever say. For all of you out there in a relationship, whether you can communicate or not, know that actions and energies speak louder than words. Respect yourself when those actions are not in line with what you truly need for yourself. No relationship is worth losing yourself over, no matter how great the person is. This goes for men and for women. Men lose themselves to love just like woman do.