The Canadian end of winter has been acting up. On our recent journey, we ended up booking a hotel in Montreal just to spend the night. The ordeal wasn’t planned, yet it turned out fun. We enjoyed what the bar and cuisine had to offer, along with my complementary Starbucks fix. Nothing better to paint a smile on my face upon wake up.
I’ve really been mindful of cultivating a positive attitude towards the weather, among other things. I can’t change nor shorten the Canadian winter. So I will simply accept it, work around it. I’ve been roasting veggies – mmm, the yummy smell spreading across my place as I’m writing this – and just enjoying the freezing air walks. Happiness radiates from within. It has very little to do with the temps. But finding your sparkle is the hardest.
I’ve been sick with the flu for four days now, plus outside the weather is gray and icy rainy, so it felt like a good idea to post out my last pics of Florida. These sunny shots give me the vitamin boost I need. They remind me that the sun will again be out in my life, too. When you’re sick, it forces you to build character. I hate having to cancel lessons. I take my work very seriously in the sense that I love what I do, I am truly grateful for each and every student – I take no one for granted – and I just feel my best when being an active part of this adventure called life. But when your head is turning and every joint and muscle you have aches, you cannot do what you were meant to do. So I’ve had to accept that and take each day as it comes.
I realize that the spring is a tough time for me stamina wise. That’s when viruses seem to get the best of me. Recently, I’ve really gotten into healthy eating. I’ve tried some new cooking experiments like roasting veggies in the oven or making things with beans. Eating a more plant-based way should load me up on vitamins. It does feel good to know that what you’re putting into your body is actually good for you. I find a lot of inspiration from Instagram pics. I just kind of get the gist of the dish, and then try to throw together something similar. I’ve even Instagrammed some of my creations. It feels fun to experiment with different types of images, although I think that fashion will always stay my number one.
Since I’ve had more time, well less energy to really do much, I’ve also done some soul-searching. I just feel that the more I get excited about a plan, the sweeter life will feel. I’ve wondered about the purpose of my life. What’s my goal? What do I work towards with enthusiasm? I think it is centered around encouraging, boosting and inspiring. Whether it be my job as an entrepreneur English teacher or as a writer of this blog, or even the one that gathers English-speakers together here in Quebec City, I long to bring positivity, new openings and new exciting ideas around me. There’s always something good. We just have to see it.
The beach is my happy place. I love seeing the vast mass of water. There’s hope and dreams and opportunity in all that. I encourage you to find “your beach”. You may not have access to a veritable waterfront, but there are places everywhere where you can retreat for a moment. Connect with yourself, and a higher power, if that’s how you roll. Find that time – and you’ll feel more centered.
A good life is really made of simple things. This week mine has been about working, doing sports and connecting with my husband. Choosing to invest time in people that you value – and doing it generously – pays off. You’ll feel more supported. Someone’s got your back.
My goal for today is to live every passing moment with enthusiasm. I called my mom today. (She’s a faithful reader of this blog, so I know she’ll be reading this.) That conversation was a path of life lived together. It was nothing special yet it was very special. We were open and honest, just sharing life as we had experienced it. No need to sugarcoat or overdo. These kind of moments make the day worthwhile.
We can all invite meaningful moments into our days. By reaching out to others, the ones that our heart is leading us to, we go from a thought to actual action. Who is it that you’ve been meaning to call for a while now?
This is my beach. This is where I used to hang out. The sand is so fine and powdery. Okay, so there are many gorgeous beaches in Florida. I just happen to have a special relationship with the one in Fort Myers.
Memories are precious. They are like jewels stored in a hideaway box. Yet, what really matters, in the long run in our days, is here and now. Visiting my old beach was fun. I did also realize that since the way back when times, I have discovered other magnificent places as well. I live in Canada now. I can’t get to the beach as often as I used to. I’ve adapted to the new reality. I take joy in other things. When I do get to hang out on the sandy shores, I truly appreciate every moment.
Being joyful really is a question of attitude. Each day brings us things that are nice, and then the ones that aren’t so much so. The way I handle what comes really sets the tone. Life is also about alternation. There’s time to relax, and time to work towards paying for that time to relax. It’s my job to make every step a happy task.
Today I want to talk to you about something really special to my heart. I got to have an exquisite dinner offered by my dear friend Raquel whom I hadn’t seen in way too long. Raquel and her Sicilian-born husband Vince own a restaurant in Cape Coral, Southwestern Florida. Their place is called Gusto Cucina Italiana. Vince is the chef and Raquel welcomes you at the door with the kindest smile ever.
To start with, I savored some garlic bread with a glass Sicilian red wine. I’m somewhat of a wine connoisseur by now, you know my life in Paris and all – and that red was just awesome. After that we enjoyed the perfect size Ceasar salads, followed by the main course which for me was chicken marsala and for Sebastien linguini pescatori, in other words a generous plate of seafood pasta.
The time that I’ve spent watching Food Network has taught me that you know a high quality chef by their sauces. Vince subjugated my taste buds with the marsala sauce that came with my chicken. I had sliced potatoes and sautéed mushrooms along with my chicken. Sebastien finished off his dinner with a crème brulée. The Frenchie knows his desserts. He told me that he likes to finalize a yummy meal with that treat since it is rather light and almost like ice cream.
If you are in the area of Cape Coral, Fort Myers or Naples, I suggest you offer yourself a treat at Raquel and Vince’s little piece of food heaven. I know that I love my friend to the moon and back, but even with that, the food is authentic, real and just lovingly Sicilian.
Vince promised to make Sebastien some cheesecake – so we will definitely be back. Or maybe I’ll get to have them over at our place in Canada.
A new year is always a new, exciting beginning. I’m thankful for each year that rolls along. I’m grateful for little things that line up, one after the other. That’s where true happiness is found.
I went on a journey to find more relaxedness in my life last year. This year the same quest will continue. I long to counter the luring feelings of anxiety that sometimes try to pollute my otherwise happy outlook on life. We each have our challenges – and I know that mine is dealing with the restless thoughts that could hinder me did I not pay attention on dealing with them.
These pics are from the Intercoastal Waterway between Lantana and Lantana Beach, a hop up from Miami. Water is such a powerful element. I need it in my life. I was born in a city by water. I love gazing into the ocean horizon. It lets my dreams fly.
As the new year dawns, dreaming is important as well. Goals and plans push us forward and give us wings. I dream of vacations in the USA – home sweet home with so much to discover – but also important conversations around coffee with friends. I long to learn to appreciate every passing moment be it at work or at play.
Thank you my dear reader! Thank you for all these years of blogging since 2007. Thank you for appreciating what I create. Sharing it with you is what blogging is all about.
Hugs from Florida!