The Day of Love and Friendship

It has been said that “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” We see what others have on Facebook and we long for the same things. As we get caught up in thinking about what we don’t have, we never stop to think that maybe someone might be looking at our life that way. Have you ever thought that you could have something that everyone else wants? Instead of looking at other people’s lawns, we should work on watering our grass, taking care of what we have. Do you have a close relationship with your sibling? A grandparent? A parent? A pet? Do you have a group of friends that are there to support you, or even a best friend that you know you can trust with everything? Some people don’t have any of that. However, if there is one thing I know, there is always something to be thankful for, no matter how small.

Many people have strong feelings about today. It can be seen in the many ways that people refer to it: Singles Awareness Day, Valentine’s Day, GALentine’s Day, etc. Recently, I was trying to put together a lesson plan that included Valentine’s Day vocabulary in Spanish. When I was researching about the holiday, one interesting phrase that I kept seeing pop up was “El día del amor y la amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship). It made me really think. You can have a significant other and still not do anything for Valentine’s Day. You can be single and still celebrate the day.

When I was younger, my parents would take our family out to a restaurant every year. We celebrated a day of love, but a different kind of love. As I got older, I started celebrating the day with my friends. Currently I am in a relationship, but I have yet to spend the day with my significant other. Two years ago, we weren’t able to celebrate together, so my friends and I put together a delicious potluck dinner in our apartment at school, celebrating a day of friendship. Last year, I was abroad in France while my boyfriend remained in the United States. I couldn’t be with him, and we still talked on Skype, but I went to the movies with two of my good girl friends and then we went out to a restaurant. Both of those days were special days, even if they were not spent in the way that the holiday gets commercialized.

Your special someone does not have to be your significant other. You do not have to have romantic feelings for someone to make today special. If you have a significant other, then great! Celebrate the day with that person and remember to love them every day. If you don’t have a significant other, then spend the day with whoever your special someone is. Celebrate the other kinds of love that exist, and remember to love that person every day as well. Valentine’s Day is a lot like Thanksgiving. We tend to get caught up in life and forget to be thankful and love others daily. Don’t limit love to one day.

Don’t Miss the Moment

So many people are living yesterday or dreaming about tomorrow that they miss the now. They’re thinking about going abroad or when they went abroad. They’re both wonderful things but don’t miss the here and now because what was got you to this moment and what is now will get you to that future moment that you’re dreaming about, so embrace the here and now and live it to its fullest.

Whenever people ask me if I miss being abroad, I tell them that I do, but only a little bit. The joy I receive from spending time with my loved ones and being in a familiar place outweighs that negative feeling of missing the life I lived a year ago. I looked forward to being abroad in anticipation of what was going to be. Now that I’ve done it, I have fantastic memories. However I also have my life at this moment (friends, classes). The life that you live is going on. Remember that the life you’re living now is preparation for what will be. Enjoy the moment, including the painful ones because they are lessons. 

While I was away, I missed home very much. I missed my family, my friends, my school, and especially my significant other. Homesickness is real and I don’t like when people try to make those who feel homesick bad for feeling that way. Despite feeling homesick, I did not let that paralyze me to the point of not having fun and making Skype calls home every day for hours on end. I counted myself as fortunate to be able to travel around Europe and live the dream I had been wanting to live for years. I took advantage of my opportunity. It was worth it and I would never take that experience back. What I normally tell people when they ask me how I feel is, “I was happy in Europe and I am happy at home. I am happy wherever I am.” The last thing I want people to think is that I was unhappy going abroad.

Be happy wherever you are. Live the life you want to live with what you have around you. Count the blessings in your life. If times are tough, remember that they are just lessons for you to learn and without them, you would not be the person you are today. Without the good and bad moments in life, you would not have gotten to this point. Most importantly, do not spend your life wishing away the present moment for something you are excited for in the future. Embrace now. Live now.

Do What You Love

Last month, while sitting in church, I had told the congregation that I was going to be taking the GRE. I said that I was worried about the test, but even more importantly, about my future because I do not know exactly what I want to do after college. The man standing at the pulpit, who was somewhere in his 60s, responded, “I’m 60 and I still don’t know what I want to do either.”

Why is it so hard to decide what career path we are going to choose? There are two kinds of people: those who tell us to follow our heart and do what we love in order to get fulfillment and others who put pressure on us to get a job that we may not love but will keep us financially stable.

Being a senior in college, I have only had a very small taste of the real world. However, there is something I have realized in the past year when I went abroad. You can already start to do what you love without it being your career.

I love writing and I enjoy helping others. I started this blog as a means to keep friends and family updated on my travels while I studied in Europe. After having returned to the United States, I still keep up with this blog for the purpose of helping those who will be going abroad themselves. I write about content that I wish I knew before going abroad, being the worrier that I am. I also have a YouTube channel that goes by the same name as this blog. There, I documented all my trips using foreign languages, and now I dedicate it to helping others learn languages.

What you love does not have to be successful for you to enjoy it. In a world where anyone can create a blog or make YouTube videos, getting subscribers is difficult and very competitive. Currently, I have a small following on both my blog and my YouTube channel compared to those who have thousands of followers, but that has not stopped me from creating content for the purpose of helping others. My goal is to help someone. If my blog or channel goes viral one day because of that, then so be it. If not, I am still happy that I am helping the small group of people subscribed to me.

It is important to live a life you enjoy. Being a college student can be both monotonous and overwhelming. I hear that the real world is worse. If you do not give yourself time to do what you love, whether it is volunteering, playing a sport, or making crafts, you will get burnt out and bored with life.

Winston Churchill once said, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” I am already doing what I want to do. I get fulfillment out of seeing how happy people get when they understand a difficult grammar concept in Spanish or French, or when they get excited rather than worry about traveling.

You too can start doing what you love.