This Is India 2017-Part Five

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February 17th – 20th, 2017 – Bangalore, India

So far my flights were on time no problems, until now.  I was in Cochin airport which is 100% solar powered and for some reason, many flights were being delayed that night.  I didn’t have any plans until the next day so it was ok but I wanted to get to Bangalore soon.  Finally, the plane took off and I was in the air again! 😀

Bangalore is known as the IT capital of India, therefore a great place to work if you’re an engineer.  Many of my friends are engineers and I was about to meet one of them again…Darshith!  🙂  As it turns out, it’s Darshith’s birthday so a very big Happy Birthday to you Darshith, I hope you have a really fun and inspiring day that is full of gifts, cake, and love ❤

When I arrived at my hotel which was an hour cab ride from the airport, it was really late and I was tired so I didn’t do anything except text my friends, that I arrived and went to sleep.  The next day I had plans to meet Rafat, Darshith and Pratik, another friend of Darshith’s, who is a very nice guy too.  Unfortunately, Rafat wasn’t feeling well so she couldn’t join us, so the 3 of us set out to Cubbon Park in Bangalore and there was so much to see there!  First, we went to eat which was great because all 3 of us were hungry already!  We had dosa, salad, noodles, everything was so good, I’m getting hungry again!  Then it was time to go to a museum in the park.  We took lots of pictures, saw many things including a 3D film on bugs which was very good!  We even took turns to go on TV to tell the weather to all of India!  It was fun being silly and feeling like a kid again in the museum, we had such a blast!  We later went for a walk in the area and Bangalore has some really nice green spaces and the weather there is awesome.  I took some more pictures and then we were all hungry again!  Time for supper!  We had so much to eat, I don’t remember what we had but I do know it was great and really fun.  The day went so fast, but I was glad we still had Sunday to roam around.  Darshith was so nice he gave me 2 books and some sweets that his lovely family had made for me which were so delicious, I ate them at the hotel and throughout my trip!  A very big thank you to you and your family Darshith for taking great care of me!  It was really great to meet you too Pratik, thanks for a fun Saturday!

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On Sunday, I met Darshith again and we set out for the day.  First, we ate lunch at an amazing buffet!  If there’s one thing about Darshith and me, we love to eat and we are always hungry!  We definitely worked up a good appetite trying to cross the street in Bangalore in their traffic because it’s like taking your life in your hands and tossing it up in the air!  What would normally take about 20 seconds to cross a street here, it took us 10 minutes to inch ourselves across the street while standing in the traffic in the middle of the road while cars circled around us, honking, not stopping!  I held on for dear life and we finally made it.  This is India.

Darshith was so sweet and bought us tickets to see a speaker named Dirish do an inspirational talk called A Take On Life.  The topic was on Connections and it was one of my favorite things to talk about and listen to so it was perfect.  The talk was held in a bookstore and people of all ages gathered to not only hear what Dirish had to say, but to participate too.  I have to say, this was a great activity that inspired everyone and once again, I was the only foreigner in the room so when I spoke, I had lots of fun!  Please check out the page A Take On Life on Facebook and see what it’s all about or attend a session if you’re in Bangalore.

When A Take On Life was over, we met another blogger friend of ours, Noorain, who is a professional food blogger in Bangalore!  What a perfect night out for all of us!  Noorain and her husband picked us up and we were heading out to a great restaurant called NH8 that Noorain knew was awesome and with all her moutwatering pictures on Instagram, everything she posts is amazing so we were in GREAT hands!  NH8 was so good, they served Rajasthan style food and so many dishes were on one big plate!  I was stuffed way too early, I wish I had that plate again now!  Noorain you have such a bubbly personality that is very fun to be around, I hope to see you again soon!  Thank you so much for a great time Darshith and Noorain and for the gifts, you both gave me as well.

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The weekend flew by so fast but I was still in Bangalore for the day on Monday and another blogger/published author and friend of mine was coming all the way from Tamil Nadu to see me for the day!  Miss Deepika Kumaaraguru!  This inspiring young lady is in her early 20’s, she wrote her first book at 17, published it, wrote a second one recently and published it, now she’s working on a 5-part series that is due to come out this year.  I’ve never met anyone like this and she’s one of the biggest commenters on my blog with multiple emoticons which I love 🙂 ❤  I was very excited to meet her and on Monday morning, she arrived with her mom and grandma at my hotel.  We hugged so tight and I talked with her mom and grandma so much. They are all very sweet and lovely and I felt like they adopted me on the spot!  Later, Deepika and I stayed at the hotel while her mom and grandma went to visit Cubbon Park for a few hours.  We talked so much over lunch, it was great to meet this wonderful friend of mine that I only knew from the comment section of my blog and her writings as well.  Deepika was so sweet, she gave me a copy of her book Etheral and I am very honored to read and review it.  I believe there are still copies of it on Amazon for you to purchase.  Thank you very much, Deepika for taking the train from your home with your family and meeting me in Bangalore!!  I have such great memories of our meet up and talks! Lots of love to you ❤

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That night I was flying back to Cochin because I had plans to stay at a nice hotel with an awesome pool and just relax and do nothing for a few days on my own before gearing up for the next bloggers meet up and wedding!  Stay tuned for more stories of This Is India

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

This Is India 2017-Part Three

 

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February 11th – 13th, 2017-Pune, India

Why does 3 a.m. come up so fast?  My alarm went off telling me it was time to wake up and get to the Hyderabad airport so I could fly to Pune, India and see my friend Neerja.  We had planned to meet at the airport and go back to her place in time for breakfast which is exactly what we did.  When I saw Neerja at the airport, we gave big hugs to each other and started chatting immediately!  It’s just in our nature ❤

After catching a cab and arriving at Neerja’s place, I felt very relaxed, it felt so good to be in someone’s home and it was familiar to me since I was there last year.  I saw Dinesh, Neerja’s husband again and all three of us enjoyed chatting, laughing, and eating together.  I can’t even describe the feeling of happiness I felt and still have when I think about being with them because we all get along so well.  For breakfast, Neerja made Paneer sandwiches with coffee and it was soooooo good!! 🙂

My energy reserves were running low by noon and I couldn’t believe I had to take another nap!  I felt like a cat that was never recovering from jet lag because of all the excitement happening.  When I woke up it was time for lunch and I was spoiled again with some amazing rajma and rice, made my MasterChef Neerja!  We all took it easy that day and spent time visiting which was really amazing and just what we needed.  I was very happy we didn’t have to go anywhere big that day, but we did take a walk outside near Neerja’s place and sat in a nice park while some kids played in the playground.  After that, we came inside to relax and eat some more!  For supper, we had stuffed green eggplant with chapatis.  I have never had such amazing vegetarian food before and I regret not taking pictures of these creations but I think I was too tired and hungry to think about my phone.

Speaking of my phone, I was searching for a SIM card this time and the rules had changed which made it harder for anyone to buy one unless you could prove your residency there because of the demonetization with the Indian rupee.  Luckily, Dinesh had an extra SIM card that I could use and it worked on my phone!  Hallelujah!!!  Now I could finally use the Ola app to book cabs everyone was talking about! 😛

On Sunday, we woke up and had poha for breakfast which was new to me and delicious.  Later on, we had dal fry and rice for lunch.  That day, we had planned a bloggers meet up at a nearby Starbucks.  Prior to me arriving, we arranged for this to happen with anyone who lived in Pune to meet us there at 3 pm.  Nitin and Vipul came to meet us and we all had coffee, chatted and got to know each other in person since we knew each other from blogging.  It’s a really amazing experience to meet people in person that you only know from the online world.  We managed to get a picture of all 4 of us even though it’s so dark!  The lighting in Starbucks needs some adjusting.  Either that or I need a new phone which is highly possible! 😛

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After having some great conversations, it was time to head home and this time, I rode on the back of Neerja’s motorcycle which was really fun!!  What a nice change from the cabs! ❤  You look awesome NJ! 😀

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After arriving back home, we stayed in the garden area of Neerja’s place and took some pictures of us together.  It was a very nice setting and we had so much fun taking them.  After the photos, Neerja was back to work in her kitchen and I took notes on everything she had made that weekend.  I wanted to make so many things for my kids when I got home because they love Indian food too.  For supper, all 3 of us had matar paneer and chapatis which were so great!  Also, during the weekend, I was able to have Neerja’s famous Chai her entire family raves about, so once again I was spoiled!   I’m getting hungry just writing about everything!

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The weekend went by so fast and on Monday it was already time for me to head back to Mumbai and catch the train to Alleppey!

Thank you so much Neerja and Dinesh for an amazing weekend of great conversations, laughter, food and fun, you are both outstanding friends, and I loved spending time with you guys! 😀

Much Love ❤

Jen

This Is India 2017-Part Two

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February  9th– 11th, 2017-Hyderabad, India

After landing in Hyderabad, I felt the heat in the air more than in Mumbai.  It felt really great since Canada was so cold at that time of year and I was enjoying the high temperatures very much 😀

Karthik and I caught a cab that was pre-arranged by our friend Pratyusha who was getting married very soon.  I think Pratyusha is the most organized bride I’ve ever known and seen!!  We had time to go to the hotel and meet our other blogging friends and when I saw them I was so excited and gave them all the biggest hugs!  I hadn’t seen Darshith since last year and this time I met KP, Rupali, and Rafat which was so amazing, I felt like I knew them forever 🙂 It’s always fun to meet people in person and feel their energy that you already connect with through their writing.

We all arrived at the ceremony which was taking place all day and night.  One of Pratyusha’s friends asked if the girls wanted to do a ritual with them called Mangal Sanam which involves pouring water over the bride’s head as a symbol to wash away any bad omens and everyone gives good wishes and blessings.  It was the first time I was doing this and also the first time I was meeting Pratyusha!  It was such a nice moment and I couldn’t believe all the beautiful and colors everywhere, not to mention the gorgeous outfits all the women were wearing!  I met Pratyusha’s family who are so warm and welcoming, they made me feel like family immediately.

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We all sat down for lunch and I was impressed yet again with the presentation of food.  There was a banana leaf instead of a plate and on it was vegetarian food served by many people.  Not only was it interesting to look at but it was so delicious too.

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We all left to go back to the hotel again and change into our next outfit.  It is customary for people to perform a song or dance for the bride and groom if they wish and since I was the only foreigner at the wedding, I decided to do this!  I did a salsa dance to the song Bailando by Enrique Iglesias and faced my fear of being in front of a crowd!  It’s easier to do something like this in a room full of people you don’t know that much!  A very big thanks to Darshith for filming it 😉 one day I’ll be brave enough to post it..Haha 😛

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After the 24 performances by people of all ages, it was time for everyone to get really dressed up for the big wedding ceremony which was happening at 1:49 am on Feb 10th.  Pratyusha and her family arranged to have a saree ready for me to change into and off I went to get wrapped in this beautiful outfit for the first time in my life.  Pratyusha’s make-up lady was so good at folding and wrapping it around me and after I was all dressed, I went outside the room to find the wedding photographers waiting for Pratyusha.  Since she was still getting ready, they asked me to do some photos while they waited which was really nice and fun!  Thanks to Muninder for the impromptu photo shoot 😀

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It was such an amazing moment to feel so part of something and look so different.  Everyone was extremely kind with me and I had many pictures taken again with my friends and Pratyusha’s family there.  The real star of the show, though, was Pratyusha in all of her outfits and she looked absolutely gorgeous, this is one of my favorite pictures of her!  The next picture is of the bride and groom looking amazing, it was really interesting to see the wedding ceremony at that time of night and all the rituals that happened afterward until about 6 a.m.  The supper was to die for and I loved everything about it ❤

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My friends and I slept at the hotel for a few hours and then woke up to check out.  We all went our own ways at that point but I knew I would be seeing some of them again soon.  I was so tired I ended up sleeping the entire day away, which I never do!  By night I was feeling better but was also really hungry and when in Hyderabad, you have to try the famous Hyderabad Biriyani which is exactly what I did with Pratyusha’s brother Praveen 🙂  We went to the famous Bawarchi for supper and it was so good to eat this food and get to know Praveen outside of the wedding.  The only thing missing was a picture, I think both of us were so tired, we forgot to take one, but I guess that just means I’ll have to come back again and visit!  Everything was arranged by Pratyusha’s family to take care of me and they did it so well.  Many thanks to everyone for all your care, generosity, and help, I really appreciate everything you did for me, I had the time of my life ❤

Despite sleeping all day, I was able to sleep at night which was good because I had to leave by 3 a.m. to catch my next flight to Pune and visit my other blogging friend and master chef Neerja.  We met last year and she insisted I visit again for a fun weekend of cooking and eating at her place 😀

To Be Continued…

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

This Is India 2017-Part One

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Saturday, February 4th, 2017 – Ottawa-London-Mumbai, India

I am finally writing my blog about my trip to India, it’s been a crazy month of March with a new job, finalizing my book, and getting back to normal from the jet lag.  Thank you for your patience.  So let’s begin!

Feb. 4th at 7 pm, my great friend Helene drove me to the Ottawa airport and my kids came with me to give me a loving send off.  I was traveling solo again because of the time of year and the kids had exams to write but I wanted to make sure they would be with me when I left so we could have the maximum amount of time together.  They are so amazing, understanding and loving towards me, all they want is for me to be happy and I am.  Next time I go to India, they are coming with me for sure.  I was also happy to have Helene with me because she always lightens the mood if it gets emotional and she was there not only for me but also for my kids.  Thank you so much, Helene!! XO

I boarded the flight and slept most of the way to London, Heathrow.  Once I arrived I texted the kids to let them know I was safe and en route, then I texted my friends in India.   Heathrow is such a nice airport I wandered around during my layover and then boarded the next flight to Mumbai.  I sat beside the most adorable couple who were in their late 70’s and they were big jazz fans and lovers of Mercedes cars!  We talked the entire flight and had so much fun, I felt like I knew them for so long.

It was 4 a.m. IST on Monday, February 6th, when I landed in Mumbai, India and all I could do was grab a cab, go to the hotel and sleep!  I arrived at the Sheraton Vashi, slept for 5 hours, ate breakfast, slept for another 6 hours, ate supper then relaxed for the night.  My blogging friend Vineet arrived to welcome me to India and we had a good time chatting about many things and made plans for the next day.

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I stayed in Mumbai for two more days and I spent my time at the hotel pool, touring Mumbai with Vineet by foot, cab, and train while eating in many great places.  We had so much fun going around and I can’t believe how big a city it is!  We went to South Mumbai and ate at Leopold Café which was really fun 🙂  I always felt like a celebrity whenever I went to a restaurant, the wait staff are always men and they are not afraid to ask me questions as to why I am visiting.  I explain “to visit friends, attend 2 weddings and relax.”  They found that so interesting because I was solo and I enjoyed answering their questions just to see their response.  Marine Drive is a nice place to see at night because the lights resemble a pearl necklace that lines the curved edge of the bay.  We ended up talking there for hours.

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One time while Vineet and I were going to eat supper at the hotel, the wait staff said the restaurant was closed for a private function and suggested we attend a free whiskey tasting event in the hotel and they would be serving free food there!  So off we went even though I don’t like whiskey, and sure enough, we walked in and sat down at a table in a room full of people who were sampling 6 types of whiskey.  I recognized a few bottles and then the host did a contest asking if anyone knew what type of dogs were on the Black and White label whiskey and I threw up my hand with the answer!  “Scottish Terriers,” I said and I won a 40 oz bottle of whiskey!  I couldn’t stop laughing because I was the last person in the room who probably wanted it so I gave it to Vineet since he is a big fan and he was super happy 😉 We ate lots of food and it turned out to be really fun and unexpected which is what life is all about sometimes.  Going with the flow and not planning too tight so you can remain flexible.

I wanted to spend my time relaxing in Mumbai before the first big event which was the wedding for my lovely blogging friend Pratyusha!  Karthik, who is another blogging friend from Mumbai was going to be attending Pratyusha’s wedding too so we planned to meet at the Mumbai airport on Thursday, February 9th and go to Hyderabad together and we would meet even more blogging friends at the wedding!  I finally met Karthik at the airport after my phone gave me wifi trouble and that’s when I realized I needed a new SIM card.  Ugh.  Not a simple task this time around.

If you’re familiar with my This Is India 2016 posts, you’ll remember my excess baggage charges and my giant water bottle going through security no problem!  Well, the same things happened again this time, where I had to pay extra for my bags even though I packed lighter this time and my water bottle still managed to sail on through security on the moving belt.  Amazing!  Karthik and I boarded the flight and we were on our way to Hyderabad, excited to see everyone there!

To be continued…..

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

 

India Travels: My Journey,Meditation and Dedication

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As I embarked on this healing journey, I had intentions to deal with my own DUKKHA-the gnawing sense of dissatisfaction and heartbreak in my life-and to free myself from the shackles of fear, anger, sadness, attachment and aversion for my own benefit and the benefit for all sentient beings-and that is the highest aspiration, BODHICHITTA.

And as I travel, I breathe and focus on the journey-and that is the singled pointed concentration, SAMATHA.

And as I journey to see my blogging friends, we open the windows of our five senses and that of our mind.

We hear the babble of water, the roar of engines, the chirping of birds and our inner silence-and that is SOUND

We see the towns and the beaches, the brightness of sun and the darkness of starry nights-and that is SIGHT

We breathe in the aroma of spices in the markets, the fragrance of incense in temples and the stench of exhaust-and that is SMELL

As I journey to see each and every one of you, we hug one another with total happiness and excitement for being able to meet in person for the very first time-and that is TOUCH

As we eat, we taste the texture of Paneer and spiciness of Golgappa, deliciousness of Chapatis and sweet comfort of Chai-and that is TASTE

As I fly from city to city over rivers and mountains, I watch my mental state, emotions and thoughts come and go-and that is MIND

I become aware of sound, sight, smell, touch and taste and bear witness to my wandering mind-and that is insight-VIPASSANA

As I travel, I see that my outer landscapes are ever changing and so are my inner landscapes; my thoughts, as well as my mental and emotional states; they rise and fall and go through cycles-and that is impermanence, ANICCA

The traveller is one with the path, the friends are one with the traveller, we are all part of the journey and the journey becomes a part of us.  We travel as one, we share joy and pain and as we do, the sense of our separate impermeable selves erodes and diffuses, and whether we are men or women or Canadian or Indian, we breathe as one and feel as one-and that is no separate self-ANATTA

As I go deeper in my compassionate silence at night, I realize that all the things surrounding me, lack their own independent existence-and that is great emptiness-SUNYATA

As we share our emotions without reservations, we do so with compassion and without judgment toward ourselves and each other-and that is loving-kindness, METTA

And through it all I experience the deep, mystical intuitive wisdom of the heart, not the wisdom of knowledge or trying to figure things out-and that is perfection of wisdom PRAJNA PARAMITA

And so my outer journey through time and space becomes one with my inner journey into the arms of forgiveness and healing heart and the discovery of who I really am-and that is MEDITATION

And underlying this entire journey to India and to myself, is an overwhelming sense of gratitude:  to the country of India, to the spiritual healing I came searching for and found and most of all I am grateful for my lifelong friendships with all of you and look forward to many more times being spent together in person-and that is MY JOURNEY, MEDITATION AND DEDICATION TO YOU

I hope to see you again and all my new friends in India soon

 

Dhanyavaad ❤

 

Jenny
xo

 

 

 

Love More By Caring Less. Huh?

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I love my friends they are my rocks in life.  We lean on each other in times of trouble and in times of laughter so much to the point where we offer each other advice on everything.  It doesn’t always mean we take the advice from each other but it is very comforting knowing we’re all in this together with big open hearts and love.

Friends often give each other advice even when we don’t ask for it.  It’s because we care so much and don’t like to see our friends suffering so we try to brainstorm a solution for them right there on the spot, I know I am also guilty of trying to fix a situation. This can be interpreted in two different ways, one that it is being done out of love and protectiveness or two, they are controlling, judging and criticizing everything you do.

I can understand why someone might think about it in the second example because it may come across like an attack and they aren’t accepting you as you are.  “You need to change.”  Change is scary and when we’re scared, we get defensive.

Now imagine if I said to you “Well *friend* I just love you.  I don’t care what happens to you.”

Huh???

Does this statement make you feel more relaxed, less anxious?  To some, it may come across as something cold but if I were to translate it to mean, “I really don’t care what happens to you, no matter what you do, I won’t love you any less.”  Real love comes from people who are both totally committed to helping—and able to emotionally detach.

Try this example; think of someone you love but causes you to feel angry, sad or anxious.  Now write “If ________ would only ____________ then I could feel ______________.”  Now scratch out the first part of that sentence so only this remains; “I could feel _______________.”

Yes, your lovely friends’ cooperation would be lovely, but you don’t absolutely need it to experience any given emotional state. This is incredibly hard to accept—it would be so easy to feel good if others would just do what we want, right? Nevertheless, you can feel sane even if your crazy-making friend stays crazy.  This is the key step to loving without caring.

We need to find our own ways to be happy and not depend so much on other people, especially the undependable ones!  Even if all your lovely friends remain insane forever, it’s still possible you’ll find opportunities to thrive and joys to embrace.   The bottom line is that we are powerless over other people and when we can accept that hard fact, that’s when we start creating our own happiness.  There are days when it feels like a non-stop cha-cha where it’s one step forward and two steps back but you have to trust yourself and your friends.  It’s all in the power of letting go of control and loving more.

One day it would be nice to hear “Friend, I love you unconditionally—I don’t care what happens to you.”  This is the kind of loving and uncaring friend we should all have in our lives.  The one who lets us be who we really are, to be free to do and choose what we want.  Live and let live, love and let love.  And in the end they will love us till the day we die no matter what.  As you support your friends this way, maybe they will mirror the same support back to you.  Either way you can be happy so what do you care?

At the same time, if you disagree then I lovingly and respectfully do not care 😛

To all my loving friends out there ❤

 

So much love to you all,

 

Jen 🙂
xoxo

 

 

 

 

To The Daughter I Never Had

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~ This post goes out to those who have suffered a miscarriage, or knows someone who has.  Often times when this happens, it’s the child that gives birth to the mother.  Thank you for reading…

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Welcome beautiful little Georgia to your new world of Divine Love
I promise to support, guide, mentor and motivate you
Appreciate, protect and respect you for who you are

I’ll give you the inside scoop of what I know about guys, love and heartbreak
But with a positive perspective of course
Boys and men can be hard to understand and sometimes shy
Give them a chance they can also be sweet, loving and inspiring
We’re all fighting some type of internal dragon, be patient

Strive to belong instead of fitting in with the crowd
Be proud of your body image, perfection doesn’t exist
Our imperfections make us beautiful, remember this always
Wear sunscreen to look forever young
Eat whatever you want but remember to exercise
This way you will never need to diet and that’s a very good thing

Love yourself first and enough to walk away from people or situations that hurt you
Learn how to practice self-compassion and self-appreciation
When the world withholds these two things, trust me it will sometimes
You need to learn how to fill in the blanks yourself
Daily gratitude creates perspective and joy

Be daring, courageous and awesome like your mom…LOL
Don’t be a princess, be a Queen and let someone treat you like one
Being a Queen has its perks
Have a sense of humor but remember to laugh at yourself too

Find your passion in creativity and let it flow
Maybe you will like writing as much as I do
Find your groove, I support you all the way

Listen to your female intuition because it’s right
Don’t be a doormat for people to walk all over you
Give unconditional love while setting personal boundaries
People will compete with you so get yourself ready for that

Music and books are a great way to feed your soul
I hope you take it all in because you are going to love them
Learning a musical instrument is a beautiful thing
Inspiration can be found all around you so keep one eye and ear open at all times

You need to travel beyond your own backyard, the world is waiting for you
Travel with friends, family and solo like I did
Solo travel is a great way to discover new places and yourself

School is very important, try your best at all times
Respect your teachers, they are there to help; not give you a hard time
Peer pressure can be tough to deal with, please come and talk to me about this
We will work through it together

Friends will come and go and you will learn who is true during tough times
They will stay by your side no matter what
Take the high road whenever possible
I want you to know you’re so worth it

Money is important but it isn’t everything so use it wisely
Don’t be a slave to it
Hire a career coach when you are young to help in choosing your right path
Strive for happiness first and success will follow you
Know what your values are and live by them accordingly

Your Mr. Right should not be selfish with you, find a conversationalist
They are interesting and funny which makes life grand
Make sure you are his priority and that he keeps his word
Quality time and communication are what counts
Whether you have children or not, I’m with you

Feel all your emotions
If you are anything like me, that won’t be much of a problem
It’s okay to cry; you will feel much better afterwards
Dealing with disappointment is a tough one, I’m still learning how myself
Try to find the silver lining in tough situations, this is a gift if you can

Life is a journey and a roller coaster at times
I hope you can enjoy the ride either way
So dance in the rain, sing in the car and love with your whole heart
To the daughter I never had…
You’re amazing and I love you ❤

 

**This blog was inspired by the song Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles when I was sitting in a restaurant during my trip in Bhubaneswar, India recently and I am including the version by Jamie Foxx who played Ray in the movie.  Enjoy…

Much Love,

Jen
xo

This Is India 2016-Part 1

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India has always been on my list of places to travel to but I never dreamed I would be going there so soon and for the reasons I did.

Last year was bittersweet for me and in a way, a blessing in disguise.  I became single and heartbroken in one realm and an emotional writer in the other.  I discovered when your heart cracks open that’s when the light gets in and compassion can easily flow through your veins and arteries.  I began to blog about my experience and the things I was dealing with in my life.  As it turned out, many others around the world connected with my thoughts and feelings.  My biggest fan base are from beautiful India and so wise in their words, thoughts and feelings.   I felt drawn to them and our hearts instantly connected.

When I felt better I made the decision to give the gift of travel to myself for everything I had been through in 2015 and connect even more with my blogging friends from WordPress in India and in person.  I made a reservation at a spa retreat there and booked the flights to see my friends in January 2016, as a solo traveler.

Welcome to This Is India 2016.

January 1st, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. EST – Canada

My friends Marie-Claude and Sam came to pick me and my 3 suitcases up and drove me to the airport for my 6 p.m. flight from Ottawa to Toronto to Delhi, India.  We had just received 30 cm of snow here and it was cold, -15 C and all I could think about were palm trees!  The flight from Ottawa to Toronto was uneventful and then I had to mentally prepare myself for the 14 hour flight from Toronto to Delhi.  I had many things to help me survive like books, music, in flight movies, my eye mask, and of course the food on the plane which consisted of 3 meals and snacks!

January 2nd, 2016 at 8:55 p.m. Delhi, India GMT

After 11, 965 km, I finally landed in Delhi and I was tired but so excited!  I was hoping my luggage made it which it did.  Wheeww!!!  I had arranged a hotel shuttle service to pick me up and luckily they didn’t forget about me.  I bought an India SIM card for my cell phone at the airport and switched it immediately so I could be on that plan and connect with everyone right away.  I love technology!  After clearing customs and security I went outside and found my driver to the hotel holding a sign with my name on it.  Driving in India is a blog in itself.  Let’s just say I thought New York City cabs were scary, this was something totally different that I will explain as I go along.  Just to give you an idea, there is a middle line down the road but after that, there are no lanes and horns never stop honking.  For some reason though, accidents rarely happen and traffic seems to self-align in every case.  I was amazed to say the least and then I thought hey this is India.  After checking into the Holiday Inn near the airport I went to my room and crashed on the bed.  I was grateful for making it here by myself and navigating to my hotel in one piece.  Then I slept for 10 hours!

January 3rd – 6th – Delhi, India

One thing I noticed since my arrival is that almost everyone working in the hotel is male.  I know this might seem like an odd observation and comment but it’s because in Canada it’s a real mix.  The hostess at the restaurant was the only girl I saw.  Even the housekeeping staff were men!  The second day I was there I heard a doorbell at my hotel room???  Outside my door was a young boy who worked at the hotel asking if I had any laundry to be done.  I was amazed at this adorable gesture and my thoughts again were hey, this is India.

After recovering from jet lag it was time to get outside and explore the city so I took a cab to Connaught Place and met my first blogging friend Piyusha!!  We clicked right away, laughed and talked a lot while drinking coffee in a Starbucks!  Shambhavi met up with us after and all three of us were great friends immediately.  Time to do some shopping!  I have to say Piyusha is definitely the Queen of shopping, especially when it comes to bargaining with the merchants!  She will not accept any bad deal and I was eternally grateful to be shopping with her being a foreigner and all!  I never laughed so much and it was so great to see her in action.  Shambhavi is a very good shopper too and knows a lot about the history of Indian traditions and festivals and I learned so much as we toured around Delhi.  We all piled into an auto-rickshaw and it was time to get some awesome street food at Dilli Haat!  We ate Aloo Ki Tikki, Gol Gappas with aloo channa masala, sweet chutney and spicy water, Chicken Manchurian with noodles.  YUM!  We exchanged cards, gifts, hugs at the end and we felt so good about our meetup.  Just as a side note, everyone calls me Jenny in India…so cute 🙂

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I met another fellow blogger and friend Chandrajit and we had supper while talking about life and blogs.  He is a very caring person who has a big heart reserved for a special person and it’s great to be able to help support him in this.  Many bloggers write about life, love, loss, gain or whatever thoughts cross their mind which is the beauty in blogging.  He remembered my birthday from December and bought me a cake which was really nice of him.

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I had hoped to meet up with Kriti and Darshith in Delhi but the timing didn’t work out unfortunately.  I had plans to meet Darshith next so that was okay after all, not to worry 😉  I wish I could have met you Kriti!!

Delhi was a vibrant city to explore the temperature was around +19 C.  Great for a Canadian girl in January!  Some days it’s hard to see because of the smog and that’s because of the population.  The new driving rule in Delhi is the odd/even schedule so depending on what number your licence plate ends with is the day you are allowed to drive your car.  Again, this is India.

So far so good seeing Delhi these first few days.  I was treated like a celebrity in the hotel restaurant because being a female solo traveler people are chatty and ask a lot of questions.  Some brought me free food and things to try without me even asking for it which was very nice of them.  People in India have the biggest hearts and I love it.  Now I’m off to the Delhi airport again to make my next tour on the East Coast in Bhubaneswar!  The staff at the airport will get to know me well with all my future connections!  Maybe they will be saying “there’s that Canadian girl again..”

Stay tuned and to be continued….

Much Love,

Jenny 😉

 

 

It’s Finally Over

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Her view was mostly of his back
He was far too busy to notice, especially her
When  pointed out, he walked away from her
Communication was his weakest link
The emotional abandonment was suffocating and humiliating for her
Being ignored was the worst empty feeling of all
She felt alone and excluded,  yet she was with him
The sting of emotional betrayal was overwhelming and nauseating
How could this be happening after everything she gave him
Gone was her independence and confidence during those years
Sadly her efforts to impress went unnoticed
Yet somehow he still benefited from the results
Her head hurt from banging it against the wall
Begging for his attention
She felt she didn’t exist and unimportant, at least with him
Schedules, impressions, ego were his priorities
Invitations elsewhere were taken with pleasure
Decided and enjoyed, leaving her behind
She felt she didn’t have a choice which took away her voice

Until one day a job opportunity came for her in a faraway land
An opportunity not just for her but for the family
To be treated like a queen and highly rewarded for all her hard work
He encouraged her to pursue this adventure
The spotlight had shifted from him to her
It was finally her turn to do more, have more
The law of divine compensation was at play
However, seething jealousy swept in
Robbed her of this happiness, this chance of a lifetime
What did he do?
He backed out, refusing this opportunity for himself
Advised her to go alone
His world was far too important to leave behind and support her in this quest
These foolish games were killing her and them
She was so tired of feeling alone
Betrayal came in many forms and shattered her heart one crack at a time
His jealousy and control were building daily over her

That’s when everything changed…
She realized this was not about her but all about him
Like all the other times he abandoned her

And then…. it happened, the day after Valentine’s

A hurling punch of ultimate betrayal slapped her across the face with brute force
Causing physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual harm to her body and soul
He took away Everything from her world
Her cracked heart was broken, bleeding and wailing
The invisible crown she wore fell, and crashed into a wall
Jewels she collected over the years shattered into a million pieces
Lifelessly falling to the floor,  she tried to pick them one by one
Screaming, reaching and crying a river of tears
Every act of control on his part felt like she was being strangled tighter and tighter
He was kicking her while she was down; the pain was excruciating
She was unable to get off this emotional roller coaster ride
And it was sucking the life out of her
Her world was rapidly spinning out of control into a downward tornado spiral
She knew this was the end but failed to realize
It was also her new beginning…

Gradually, she picked herself off the floor
Had no idea she was in the driver’s seat
She could finally break free and live her life the way it was intended
With people who care and make time for her in their busy schedule
And don’t take advantage of her good nature
Friends and family gathered round, carried her when she couldn’t walk
Resisted sleep all night until sunrise; stayed and talked with her
Buried the darkness when she needed the light
Spoke for her when she couldn’t speak
Listened when she finally found her voice and the words
Dried her tears when they wouldn’t stop flowing
Made her laugh and smile to cut through the pain
Encouraged her to shake and pound it out through exercise
Books, quotes and songs repaired her soul one phrase at a time
Hugs and virtual hugs meant everything to her
Friends and family became her strength, her lifeline, her everything
Standing by her side through every mind controlling appointment and conversation
Taking her shopping and moving her into her new palace
Helping to re-attach the shining jewels to her invisible crown
And wearing it like a boss knowing she’s worth it, dammit
While carrying on courageously and not missing a beat in her life
Rising strong like a hero and not a poor victim
Pouring out her emotions and detoxifying her soul through writing
Connecting with more friends around the world that inspire and support her
Skype, Hangouts, texts and social media bring friends who are far, close to her heart
She doesn’t feel alone or ignored anymore, she is smiling
Her heart and mind are open, she can breathe again

Finally she disembarks this wild emotional roller coaster ride
Thanking her guardian angels for riding along side with her
This girl is on fire now and has her strength back and more
She walks into the appointment with her pen in hand
Signs the document that changes her life forever and for the better
Her inked signature says it all loud and clear
It’s finally over.
And this time…
She walks away with her back to him for the very first time
And rocks it

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** A special thanks to Darshith for letting me borrow his awesome idea of adding music to my blog 😉 **Thank you** 🙂 Since this post has a before and after, I chose two songs; Foolish Games by Jewel and Brand New Me by Alicia Keys.  Thank you for reading and listening, I know it was long but I just had to get it all out, turn my back, close the door, walk away and move on.  Enjoy the music…Life is beautiful.  We’re all human.

Love, Thanks and Hugs to You,

Jennifer
xo

Love and Cardiac Complications

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The similarities between love and cardiac complications are endless and mind-boggling.  I think we can all recognize some of these crush and love moments whether they were brief or long; they existed or perhaps still exist for some.  I just hope you don’t recognize any of the cardiac complications!  Either way, whatever you do recognize, the important thing is that you survived.

Love vs. Cardiac Complications

You’re walking around feeling good, living your life = Normal Sinus Rhythm, good arrhythmia!

You meet someone, fall in love, heart is chaotic and skips a beat = Atrial Fibrillation, administer Esmolol

Passion = Ventricular Tachycardia, rapid heart rate over 100 beats per minute, administer Amiodarone.  If you are able to safely live in this zone then you are one of the lucky ones out there.

Love is lost, abandoned, betrayal.  Heart cracks and breaks open, total absence of electrical activity.  HELP! = Cardiac arrest, Asystole.  Like in the movies; “flat line.”  Administer Epinephrine STAT!

Scared, denial, chest pain, can’t breathe, shock….

Take some deep breaths = Administer Oxygen

Friends support system is called in they take care of you, give you comfort, food, love, support = Call 911, perform CPR and ACLS.  Administer Epinephrine again STAT!

Cardiac Defibrillation – “All Clear” shock the heart to help restart it = Clear some space for yourself while you push the “refresh” button on your life and start over

When we think about cardiac surgery we usually think about the mechanics, the anatomy and physiology aspects which are very important when trying to save a life.  What about the other roles the heart plays?  The invisible, emotional, spiritual roles that can only be felt, that can change the heart rate and electrical activity by a single word, song, story or any of the 5 senses?

I’m talking about love and passion.   This is something you never see during surgery but I’ve always wondered what people go through in their love life and how they survived that type of invisible but real heartbreak.  From the outside looking in, everything looks normal, but it’s not.  People often refer to heartbreak as invisible scars, holes, or cracks in their heart.  How did they stitch themselves back together again and carry on?   Did they really heal?  Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle it?

Coping mechanisms for healing:  reading inspirational blogs, quotes, creative writing, music, movies, books, support and encouragement from friends and family, feeling grateful, finding the silver lining, learning the hidden life lessons, hugs, laughter, getting outside in nature, Zumba = these examples are the sutures that can help stitch the heart back together again.  It’s how I cope anyway…

Real friends:  Non-Absorbable Sutures – since the heart is the strongest rhythmic muscle in the body, non-absorbable sutures give the heart extra time to heal because they are in there for life, the long haul, they are flexible and strong.  These are your real friends.  If absorbable sutures were used on the heart, they would not hold it together and it would keep breaking, leading to death.  Not only that, there would be a medical malpractice case…

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Takers:  Absorbable sutures – the one who dissolved and left after all the work was done, temporary relationship.  In any case, never use these with the precious heart

Stainless steel wires close the sternum acting like a new shield of armor to protect the heart and give it extra strength.  Now you’re a warrior made of steel.

Recovery period:  sleep, get your strength back, start out slowly, exercise, eat healthy, take care of yourself, be kind, patient, don’t smoke!  Normal sinus rhythm again.  Smile!  🙂

Similarity:  you survived a cardiac complication because you were well taken care of by a team of caring people and you also took care of yourself.  The heart can function properly now and your broken heart has been mended and reinforced.  It didn’t kill you; it made you stronger. Are you ready to give another try at love, atrial fibrillation, passion and ventricular tachycardia?

Love can be complicated like the cardiovascular system.  We need to follow our hearts and what we’re passionate about to live our life to the fullest.  Eventually, we can return to Love and Normal Sinus Rhythm.

Take good care of yourself and the ones you love,

Much love,

~ Jennifer

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