I want to start by staying “thank you.” Thank you to my dearest friends, family, clients, collaborators, Instagram family, Art of the Journey ladies, motivators and good people. Please know that I appreciate your presence in my life deeply. Without people, I couldn’t call myself a Professional People-Gatherer and genuinely don’t know what I would be doing right now. You mean everything to me.
Early this summer, I was sorting through my inbox when I came across an e-mail from a smart young lady named Maya. She expressed her interest in learning with me and helping out with events, and I couldn’t have been more excited to bring her into my one-woman shop! The prospect of having assistance was great, but I was honestly more looking forward to just sharing my knowledge with this eager college student. From planning Art of the Journey events to client work to branding, I hoped to teach her whatever I’ve picked up over the years. However, it’s funny how things work out. Looking back, it’s obvious to me that I’ve learned equally as much (or possibly more) from working with Maya, as she has from me. True story.
Until yesterday, there was a part of me that felt guilty for having so much joy. I had an amazing childhood, have parents who are still in love and have shown me what a healthy relationship is, a younger brother who’s genuinely my best friend, have wonderful friends I can tell anything to and a boyfriend who adores me. I am pretty healthy (barely even need glasses!) and have stable income. I have never had depression or crippling anxiety or suffered from abuse.
Last Friday, I had dinner with my dear friend Caroline and the conversation we had stuck with me (the signs of a great convo!). We spoke about creativity, passion, perspectives, and growth. I don’t remember if I said it aloud or thought it during our meal, but I have always felt the intense need to express myself.
While “hygge” can’t be directly translated into English, chef and food writer Signe Johansen’s book, “How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets” certainly helped me understand it’s Danish/Norwegian meaning.
With incredible skill, Johansen was able to explain what the word means through her illustrative stories of Nordic living, personal anecdotes, and historical references. Essentially, “hygge” is the idea (an idea that Nordic people have mastered) that a meaningful, happy life is achieved through balance and simplicity.
“Aysia, where do you find time in day to do all these things?!?!??!” is a question I get at least once a day, so I figured I’d write about it and put these comments to rest… for a week or so! Let’s start from the beginning. If you take away nothing else from this entire post, at least take away the lesson from the title. It’s the most important part and there are a few things about it that I’d like to point out…
It’s no secret that going out to eat is a favorite pastime of mine. If it was in the budget, I’m positive I would try a new restaurant or two every single day (but for now, our delicious Monthly Meals will suffice hehe). Many of the incredible dining experiences I’ve been lucky enough to experience were here in the States, but for this piece’s intents and purposes, I want to share with you those I’ve had in foreign countries. People gathering crosses all borders, guys! You are all intelligent folks reading this post, so I won’t bore you with a spiel about how a country’s food tells its complex history because you already know it absolutely does. I just want to tell you my top picks, what I ate and, most of all, how it made me feel.
A year and half ago, I was crying on my couch in my apartment debating whether I should break the news to my mom or my dad first. I chose Mom. She was the lowest risk choice and I figured she would advise me on how to best tell my dad that I wanted to drop out of my Masters program.
While growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, going to school and having a set schedule made making friends something I didn’t have to put work into. I met people at school and we would hang out, do nothing, and get into some harmless trouble to pass the time. It was so easy.
It’s all about women today. Feast your eyes upon these interesting bits…