Tag Archives: gratitude

Thank you 2019


When I was little, year 2000 seemed stellar years away. And now I say “Hello 2020!”

As I finish this year in my kitchen with crème patissière under my nails, I choose a moment of solitude to write down a few thanks to the passing year.

Thank you 2019,

for my new motherhood experiences. It is a 3D of past, present and future. Kids are unattainable teachers. We just have to open our hearts.

for a magic encounter with a new painter – Conny Famm from Sweden at his “Nordic Grace” exhibition. His “State of soul” is divine.

for my privileged and intimate friendships, which are untouched by distance. You know who are.

for my great professional relationships, which evolved into friendships. You know who you are.

for a new and growing sorority of spirits, regardless of our genders and age. We know who we are.

for many brilliant books I read this year.

for “Angel” by MyiaGi, my song of the year.

for a few small traditions I helped create, which continue to benefit those who need it most.

for my Grandmother’s traditions I sacredly follow on our special family occasions. It is my way to keep her in our hearts. Some of them fill our stomachs just fine, which she also loved doing for us, just like this cheese pie.

for the patience of my hubby when he fights his unspoken “You bought again so many!?, as he knows that I will support all forms of women’s entrepreneurship.

for new wisdoms I discovered and share with my daugthers. Here is a selection of my favourites:

  • The story you tell yourself is by far more important than the story other people tell you.
  • There is no truth in suffering.
  • Patience is a virtue few have, and those who have it gain it all.
  • What others say or do is about them. If you internalise it, you make it about you.
  • There are two basic emotions: fear and faith. The choice is yours.
  • Your behaviours demonstrate your values. Choose what you show to the world.
  • Age does not register with those who are busy with good deeds.
  • People who say that they will do it and then actually do it are rare. Be one of rare ones.

Thank you, 2019! Hello and welcome, 2020!

Thank you Bucharest, Riga and Vilnius

Thank you Bucharest, Riga and Vilnius

for showing me how different yet similar we are in living our values. We tend to use our differences to put a distance between ourselves. Sometimes, still, we learn to accept our differences as ways to complement and build each other.

In cultures where the value of big words overshadows their meaning, small gestures come to rescue to mean the world.

In places where the mind must absolutely know the exact number or budget, the storyteller will give meaning to both big and small numbers.

In cultures, which knew command and control, a creative mind will find a new way to give birth to chocolate molecules.

Preferences to do things behind the scene will meet the preacher of transparency with “just try it in the open, even if you fail, and you’ll see that it does not hurt”.

A disastrous service will end-up on a positive note, as it was met with kindness and acceptance of the fact that a waiter is also a human and who knows what she has to deal with outside her work.

Our knowledge of cultures will try to attribute the above behaviours to humans from certain countries and/or nationalities. Please do not do that. Attitudes and behaviours have no passports and do not stay confined within borders.

Next time you are in an environment your brain stereotypes about (which is normal, as the brain thinks in categories), just ask it to take a break and inhale the diversity in all its splendor. And if you absolutely must, call me naive. I do not mind.

“I am naive” Molecules Chocolate made in Lithuania, by Domantas Uzpali.

Bucharest, Catedrala Neamului/Nation’s Cathedral, seen from Marriott Hotel.

Riga, flags and church.

“I am naive” Molecules Chocolate made in Lithuania, by Domantas Uzpali.

Thank you Brussels


I was on a 4 hour train ride.

– How are you, Madam? It’s ok, not too long?, asked the conductor, as we approached our destination.

– Thank you, it is just right. And how are you? You are the one working all these hours. I am only giving a massage to the seat 🙂

– Oh, thank you very much for asking, a big smile lighting up his face. I adore it. It’s the best job in the world! When all goes well.

– I wish you that it continues to stay well, in all its ways.

– Thank you very much, Madam. A pleasure to see you again on our trains.

A one minute dialogue with a thousand riches in it. People find meaning in serving others. People are opening up when asked with autheticity how was their day/duty trip/behind-the-cashier day. A grateful customer can give meaning to someone’s work. Be kind.

Coffee mug courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott – my kind of coffee fortune telling.

Merci Paris

Merci Paris

for the blue sky and sunny weather followed by majestic sunset colours

your Marmottan Monet little wonder, an improvised and brief visit into impressionism thanks to the invitation of an art history connoisseur

coffee bathed in sunlight and served with a warm smile at Carette.

for challenging my stereotypes and opening my eyes to see beyond appearances;

for the OECD meetings and networking leading to new partners and ideas to work on;

dinner in great company at Il Conte;

and the joy of Bucuria chocolate (bucuria means joy in Romanian), sent by my dearest friend through a joint acquaintance and all the warm this gesture brought from my homeland.

Comparison-the thief of joy?


– How old is she? i was often asked about my kid while strolling and playing in the park.

– Why? i would ask. The faces of inquires would get usually very puzzled.

– Hmm, to compare her with my daughter/niece/cousin’s kid…, would be usually mumbled in response.

– Do they need your comparison? would be my usual good-buy.

At school, my best friend’s mom would use two rulers to follow the marks on her daughter and my rows in the teachers notebook. I can only imagine the talks they had at home. As a result, our friendship suffered. My now ex friend has a PhD and i hope she did it for her professional fulfillment.

Comparison leads to wanting more, consuming more, spending time and effort on others ideals. We rarely spend time and effort on comparing where we are now to where we started from and analysing how much we achieved.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” said Theodore Roosevelt. I realise we cannot escape comparison fully though. Social media and glamorizing TV  do not help with endless status updates, instagrams, tweets and alike. We see the surface and our brains make conclusions. It often does so from perceived weaknesses on our end.

I was raised in soviet union and even that “egalitarian” regime had a built-in competition. “Better”, “faster”, “more” were teachers and trainers favourites. In my grandmother’s village there was a competition for fastest growing trees. How can you make trees grow faster? They grow depending on  their roots and need for light. They do not grow to compete with the neighboring forest.

I missed many joyful moments in life because of comparison, imposed or self-imposed. I also learned that Comparison can still be a friend when applied with care and in line with own intrinsic philosophy,   values and aspirations.

I care now to make sure my kid learns to apply comparison when it benefits her growth. And it also helps me grow. The same way a tree does 🙂 

Thank you, 2015!


IMG_0200A year of many firsts. The year when I met my mindfulness. Which brought many rich harvest seasons. And had my first truffles by a World Chocolate champion.

The sinfull year of drinking Italian Asti dolce on the land of champagne.

The year of not letting the unnamed dis-ease get me down by just keeping going every morning. The year of my new gratitude mantra I repeat till it shines through and passes its light on passers by.

The year I speak four languages a day and wonder every evening when i get out of the office building which country I am in.

The year i relearned to write en coursive, the proper academic way. Useful, by the way, even in the digital era, when you want to send a proper card and make a postman happy he keeps his job.

The year i visited my most Eastern city, by European standards.

The year, goodbuys turned into thanks for new amazingly inspiring people, sun sets and sun rises of unseen before colours and shades.

The year of positive thinking and wording turning into others positive action right before my eyes.

The year I descovered reflexology and cruelty free cosmetics (sorry, little ones, for my ignorance so far).

The year of my first ginger smelling home for Christmas.

The year I realised I not need to own a house to feel at home. It also tought me to embrace minimalism and the healthy “do i realy need it?” question while shopping. I have seven pairs of trousers hanging in my closet, do i realy need to buy the eighth one? Perhaps not, unless i want to layer them to dress as a cabbage for a school play.

The year I started to practice slowing down, walking not running, speaking not shooting phrases, meditating not mind wondering. 

The year my first oil portait appeared on public display. Signed by the most talented artist, my daughter.

The year of small girly harmless complots.

The year which mocked the physical distance for the charity project close to my heart.

The year of the coolest compliment from a kid to its mom.

The year I started a book.

The year a stranger grew into calling you “one of the best moments of the passing year” and “the year’s highlight”. Aren’t we all moments which create this beautiful life?

The year my lips tasted Cusco hot chocolate the first time.

The year I met Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence. By the way, his research shows that “messages do not talk and have no tone”. I case someone tells you they did not like the tone of your message ;).

The year I made a little garden of office plants saved from neglect.

The year a Christmas tree was saved by prints of our hands on a white canvas… for new pages to be written in the coming years.


A perfect birthday


On my birth day, I opened my big smart eyes in a soviet hospital. Grey walls, grey faces…other grey stuff. I was not impressed.
This year’s birthday had it all:IMG_2533
the to-tears-joy of saying “Good Morning, Sun” for gratitude,
the “Happy Birthday” song early morning by my dearest ones for love;
the mountain view to the right, sea view to the left , both reigned by the blue sky for harmony,
fitness with a handsome Italian fitness trainer right on the beach for fun,

water games with my kid for the love of childhood,
the 60cent perfect cake from the pasticceria at the corner to blow a candle for yet another great year,
a Proseco, courtesy of the hotel, at the perfect temperature for legerity,
the hug of the warm sea and the kiss of the golden sun for nature’s love,

the totally forgotten gadgets and ignored social media for the power of mindfulness,
the intense lover’s kiss for the power of lasting attraction,
the intense afternoon rain for prosperity,
the patient dress which waited to be worn on this special day for elegance,
fireworks under the growing moon for colorfulness and life’s generosity,

numerous birthday wishes from friends to cherrish.
My greatest gift this year was the reinstated awareness and it’s best companion – the feeling of gratitude. And the swim suit which still fits 😉