“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Undoubtedly, 2016 was a hard year in quite a lot of aspects. But while I was standing on the Charles Bridge in Prague at midnight, I had a 2-minute discussion with myself (as a distraction from the fireworks!) What came to my mind during this discussion was not how unusually bad my health was during the year, or how much I struggled with university stuff, or how many sleepless nights I had. On the contrary – I was standing there, in utter satisfaction, drinking champagne and counting my blessings.
I find it quite difficult now to put my emotions into words. I made a promise to myself at the beginning of 2016, which I didn’t write down or shared with anyone. It was more like a secret wish I whispered to myself. And it wasn’t until recently when I noticed how far I have come in chasing that goal of mine.
This post exists precisely because of how much I’ve changed during this year.
I no longer find place for negativity in my life. I would most certainly complain sometimes but I make a choice every single day and this choice is to focus on the positive. In a situation, in people around me, in the words I put out there and in thoughts I allow to cross my mind.
I no longer make assumptions about other people’s lives, motives and thoughts. I prefer to ask about these instead.
I no longer justify myself to people who prefer throwing an accusation to my face instead of asking a question or sharing their thoughts in a respectful way. And this is a huge change for me. I genuinely want to be liked and I hate when there is a misunderstanding. But nowadays I very much react accordingly to the way this misunderstanding was expressed.
I notice how strong my reaction to negativity is. I literally can’t stand being around people who hate on others, who put others in a box, who use bad language to describe others. The last one is quite funny, considering that I curse sometimes, but I feel there is a major difference between using the F word and calling names.
I think I may need to write a separate post on it, but boy, trust me when I say this – explaining one’s attitude to life is quite challenging.
I was incredibly lucky to travel a lot in the last year (for a normal person, let’s put it that way). I didn’t expect that considering that we moved to a new (and bigger) place and this is costs quite a lot. But… priorities, right?
So basically, our place still looks as if we moved in 2 weeks ago, we have barely bought anything. BUT we were able travel a lot, and this is not even counting our visits to my boyfriend’s parents. I always appreciate those – they live in another city and in a beautiful, very green neighbourhood. We are always able to recharge our batteries there.
My birthday in Rome
This year we got to spend my birthday in Rome, which has been a travel goal of my man for many months. We had an amazing time there, we visited a lot, ate a lot and my God, once you go Italian, there is no way back. I mean coffee, of course. On departure day we needed to get up in the middle of the night and we didn’t sleep because we were so excited. We landed in Rome at 9 o’clock in the morning, the weather was amazing and we weren’t going to waste any time sleeping and we had so much fun despite going 40 hours without sleep. Btw, I can really recommend the place we chose for our stay, the location is perfect and our hosts were very welcoming without being too pushy. Check them out here.
Let me know if you are planning a trip to Rome and I can somehow help you with that!
Prague in summer
Trip No. 2 was a spontaneous visit to Prague, I was invited by my man’s mum as their family wanted to celebrate her birthday there. I spent my Erasmus semester there so I know my way around the city and really enjoyed being there again. Everyone fell inlove with Prague and there is a reason for that. There is no way you could be disappointed, there is always something you’d like – be it architecture, history or good food. There is something cozy about that city that really makes you feel home.
Finally – boyfriend visits my hometown
Trip No. 3 was booked literally less than a hour after our flight from Rome back to Germany. I remember having a coffee on the airport waiting for the bus to pick us up and decided to check the flights to Bulgaria. At that point I was almost sure we weren’t going to make it this year and was feeling very sad and disappointed, because I wanted a chance to introduce my home town to my boyfriend. He has only been once in Bulgaria during summer holiday. But then I almost screamed when seeing the prices and the rest is history haha!
The time in Bulgaria was incredible. It was a very active rest, as they say. My parents went out of their way to make our visit incredible – we even attended a wine tasting event. How fancy! Having my other half walk down the streets of my hometown felt almost surreal. We travelled a lot – we managed to get some tan and had the most amazing seafood, we visited my grandma and my cousins where my boyfriend’s masculinity was tested. Meaning his ability to drink. I was very thankful he is not German at this moment haha (no bad feelings towards my German friends, but I can’t think of a one who could pass this test!). Then we went to the mountains with my sister and my best friend who goes hiking quite often. It took me a day to realize that he was taking us far away from the usual tourist paths and it was quite challenging at times. It was amazing, I never thought I would like it that much.
9 hour bus drive to Berlin or visiting my soulsister
Trip No. 4 was a long delayed visit to Berlin, where my best girlfriend lives currently. I was lucky enough to meet my soulsister during my Erasmus semester and we have been making plans to visit each other ever since. It was awesome to spend some time together again, it reminded me of how well it felt back in the days and it felt exactly the same way this time.
My ex also happens to live in Berlin so we all got together with his friends and had fun and great conversations until the middle of the night. Another thing I really appreciated in the past year was building and sustaining friendships. I am really lucky to be able to call him a friend, he is one of the people who most certainly had influence on my life and we can be genuinely happy for each other. I’ll give myself a pat on the back now.
New Year Trip
Trip No.5 was Prague. Yes, again! We wanted to spend New Year’s Eve somewhere else and Prague happens to be convenient. Besides, I already knew it is beautiful in the winter time, so why not? I can’t even begin to tell you how many things around the preparation for this trip went wrong. By the time we got in the car I was already praying that nothing bad happens on the way. It didn’t and our small group of 5 people had fun despite our major differences, as my boyfriend’s sister nicely put it, haha!
I guess this takes us back to the beginning of the post. drinking champagne and counting blessings, remember? What were you grateful for in 2016?