The Power of Thoughts

I joke that I like gloomy and cloudy days because they are thought provoking days. It’s funny because it’s true. As the days in Shanghai are becoming increasingly more cloudy and cold, I find myself making more time to create through art, writing, photography and my yoga practice.ย One of the main reasons I love yoga and meditation so much is that it has helped me learn to not think and find clarity in my thoughts that like anyone can look like a Picasso painting exploded.

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December

On the eve of the beginning of December, I am reflecting on the past few months of this chapter of my life. The middle of December marks fourth months of living in Shanghai! I was talking to a friend yesterday over Facetime and trying to describe how “right” my life feels at the moment. I feel to the core of me that I am exactly where I am meant to be and doing what I am meant to do in this chapter of my life. To me, Shanghai is pretty magical. My friends have always nicely teased me when I use words like “magical.” How I feel right now is as close to real life magic that I have ever left. I feel so settled in myself, passionate and excited about teaching, curious about everyday happenings and have consciously surrounded myself with some really phenomenal human beings.

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A Canadian in Shanghai: Interview with Andranik .A

One quality that I really appreciate in a person is the ability to unapolagetically be yourself. And that is exactly what and who Andranik is. I first met Andranik four months ago when I moved to Shanghai and he is a colleague and someone I am happy to now call a friend. Besides fully and always being himself, he is a great conversationalist, gym enthusiast and can give the blue steel look just as good as any model. We love exchanging stories about our very fabulous and hilarious students throughout the day and searching for the best salad places in Shanghai in our off time. I asked if he would want me to take some professional and fun photos for him and we turned it into a morning of laughs, lunch and of course good lighting. After our photo shoot around Shanghai, we sat down over salads and rice bowls and talked life and all things Andranik.

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Creativity: Here to Create

Part of the most beautiful thing that has come from my move to Shanghai and my own desires is that I have made time to pursue lots of my own passions. Through my daytime job as a teacher I have been able to become a student (again). I would hope that we all want to be lifelong students, but dedicating the time to learn and explore can be challenging when our lives seem like they are going a million miles an hour. Creativity has always been such a huge part of my life and something I use as an outlet for stress, place to find serenity and for pure fun too! Fun and silliness is so important.

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Health and Happiness in Shanghai

This past weekend I experienced a very scary health ordeal that put me in the hospital for over five hours and had half a dozen tests done including ultrasounds, EKG, X-ray and enzyme analysis. I was sitting in one of my favorite cafes eating a Korean lunch on the phone with family when my stomach started churning and a pain in my shoulder and chest overtook me. The few days before, I had experienced some odd sensations in my stomach but nothing that I was concerned about as they came and went fast. I took a cab home, shoved some personal items into a bag and took a cab straight to the hospital. I knew something was seriously wrong and had tears pouring down my face as I tried to breathe. Being sick in a foreign country is really scary! Plus, the level of pain I was experiencing was like nothing I had ever felt and I had to focus on taking slow and deep breathes in and out.

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Shanghai Life Lately

Happy Singles Day! Singles day is November 11th and is the biggest shopping day of the year in China with sales galore. Black Friday has nothing on China’s Singles Day. I have dived into the world of Taobao and Baopal online app shopping and there is really no going back. That being said, I still do enjoy shopping in person. Call me old-fashioned. I thought I would include a few pictures of life lately that have made me laugh, amused me or brought me a lot of happiness (the food). Life in Shanghai remains wonderful and delightful even as the weather gets colder and days get shorter.

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24.

November 1st marks my birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me! I am writing this at my yoga studio (in a journal to be typed later) before an evening class to conclude my first day being 24. It is special to celebrate in China where I was born and turned one years old. I’m in awe of the past 2.5 months in Shanghai and while a lot has of course changed, some fundamental aspects of my life have not. I still have wonderful family and friends who are so caring and kind, I am still and will always be grateful for my mental and physical health and I love ice cream. I also still would like to think that I am funny. If not hilarious.

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Connections and Connecting in Shanghai

“The quality of our lives depend on the quality of our relationships.” -Esther Perel

Lately I have been focusing on the different relationships in my lives including with myself, friends, family, colleagues, students and the new people I meet everyday in Shanghai. Esther Perel is a psychotherapist who is most known for writing about intimate relationships in her best selling novels, TED talk and podcast that I have started listening to. She is so in-tune with relationship dynamics and I continue to listen to her podcast which is groundbreaking in its approach and look into different relationships and the complex elements that life brings.

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Month One: Shanghai

A few days ago marked the completion of my first month in Shanghai. And what a month it has been! Shanghai still has an energy to it that I don’t forsee myself feeling like it’s become tarnished or old. We all get to choose our perspective and put in the daily work towards happiness and joy and I consciously make an effort to so. The overall happiness I feel is not because of one thing I did nor does it happen instantly; rather it’s a series of decisions and moments. This post is not themed, but just a fun update on life lately.

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Daily Shanghai Essentials to Take Everywhere

I decided to take a moment to do some yoga meditative poses on my nightly walk and reflect on the past few days and challenges that have come my way. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come as a person and my growth in learning to truly feel my emotions and to do my best to lead with kindness, empathy and compassion for myself and others. The past few weeks I have learned what are essential things to always have with you to make life easier and for basic survival skills. I thought my backpack I got at REI and it has been the perfect bag. It’s canvas, light, durable, has lots of room and I’m so happy I brought it. The first thing I learned was to ALWAYS bring an umbrella with you because rain or shine, the umbrella is critical to surviving the weather extremes and changes of daily life in Shanghai

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