4 year anniversary … see you next year! :-)

It’s been just 4 years, but I feel like it’s been 10. It has been so eventful!! We have had and have a lot of happy moments and times when some effort is needed to get over a fight. We don’t really have serious fights, since we cannot really stay mad at each other for more than a day…aham…I mean me 😀 as Fernando is always more forgiving and nicer than I am. He is a blessing to me and I’m thankful to God for bringing us together!

Now, let’s get back to the practical items. These are a few things I have learnt this past year:

  • constantly fall in love and remind yourself and your partner why you love them and what you admire about them.
  • always keep in mind that you are in “this” together.
  • make plans together, not separately.
  • having the same principles will make your life together so much easier and smoother!
  • if you fail or succeed as a couple it’s something you both to share the blame for.
  • your happinness is not your partner’s responsability and vice versa.
  • communication and trust are vital!!!
  • it’s not just mine, or just his, it’s ours.
  • you will change with time and as long as you change together and walk in the same direction, that’s great!
  • make sure you share your thoughts, feelings, dreams and disappointments with your partner first, not with someone else, whoever that might be.
  • make your partner your priority; not your friends, your hobby or your career! Because you share your life with a person, not an activity or a job.
  • go for walks and reminisce on the good and hard times and be happy on how far you’ve got 🙂
  • understand and accept that you have lows and highs and it’s important you treat them accordingly; don’t ponder too much on the lows and enjoy at most the highs.
  • make sure you share a common activity, but don’t forget that you are your own person and you don’t have to do everything together.
  • having alone time is needed and healthy and it’s not a sign that you love your partner less.
  • love is expressed In different ways; learn which is the one your partner uses and appreciate it and encourage it. Is it words, is it acts of kindness, is it physical, etc.

I could go on for hours, but one thing that is for sure is that your relationship is a journey, not a destination!

Last, it’s something that I say every year, but I am certain we’re a match made in heaven.

Love you, baby and I’m loving our journey together!

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#HappyBeyondTimeZones

The world is a much smaller place than it was 10 years ago. Flights are cheaper, I have access to technology to help me keep in touch on multiple platforms with all my friends and family, anytime, anywhere. I know, nothing compares to the real deal, but you do what you can 🙂

Since it’s much tougher to see my dear ones from Japan, I’ll stick to the internet. Being at the other side of the world makes live communication a bit difficult, but I still want to know what’s going on and be part of the life of my loved ones.

So, the other day I was talking with my Romanian, Belgium-based bestie about what can we do to keep the communication flow going, since I’m sleeping when she can talk and in return she’s at work when I can talk. We can no longer have our dinners, long phone calls, week-end trips or sleepovers when we talk about everything, paint our nails and play with James (her handsome cat).

Our idea was to come up with our own tag on Facebook #HappyBeyondTimeZones, to share with each other every day for 100 days our happy moments, our spontaneous moments, the new people and activities, emotions, etc… no matter the time 🙂 After all, if your bestie doesn’t get you, who will.

Nico

———————

Here’s her side of the story 🙂

When your bestie moves across the globe, its tougher than you would expect…too many stories you want to tell her at the most inconvenient moments…

Call her in the morning from the car, send her a pic of that guy you just met right before you go to sleep…But wait, she’s like a million time zones ahead of you now.

Sometimes you just need to say an inappropriate swear word in Romanian…darn timezones, you can’t anymore.

So many little things you are happy about every day, that you’re thankful or angry about that get lost into unread whatsapp received during the night or sent too early in the morning.

And when I say bestie, yes you know it – it’s that Romanian that married a Panamanian that she met in Belgium, with whom she’s now living in Japan….Nico Tristan

Adriana

Today, we roll out our 100 days of #HappyBeyondTimeZones from bestie to bestie, trying to connect time zones 🙂 nico&adri

It’s been 3 years of marriage…feeling blessed

Time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been 3 year since I got married and I believe more than ever that there’s no better husband than Fernando.  Every day I am more certain that I’ve made the right choice.

Being married is no kid’s game and the older I get the more I understand how important it is not to rush in such a commitment. But I also understand how important it is to be with the right person.

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Every year I learn new things and get to grow as a person and in our marriage. I looked at what I wrote after our second year and to be honest I thought I cracked it. Turns out, you never stop learning 🙂 So, here’s what I have learned from this last year:

  • Your love for each other matures. If it doesn’t you’ve got  a problem!
  • You have to communicate, no matter how much work it requires.
  • Don’t stop surprising each other, preferably with things that your partner likes 🙂
  • Never let unresolved issues settle in! Work together to solve them, even if this requires outside help.
  • When one of you has a problem, you both do. Don’t abandon your partner.
  • Respect each other’s passions,  don’t overwhelm with yours.  Join your partner every now and then.
  • Allow yourself to have separate activities, but make quality time spent together a priority.
  • Compromise, go the extra mile.
  • FORGIVE and FORGET. We all make mistakes. Make sure that when you forgive you also let go. Keeping a grudge never helps.
  • Be each others lovers, partners, best friends, life companion; never be each others parents 🙂
  • Believe in your partner and always encourage them! Be their biggest fan! If not, someone else will.
  • Build dreams together! Make plans for the your future together, not just for yourself.

I understand that there’s the happiness that comes from just being together, but there’s also the part where you also have to work on it. No relationship evolves without some effort. The moment you leave it on auto-run, don’t expect it to go somewhere. So, choose today to make your relationship a priority, love your partner, respect them and do your best to put your relationship’s happiness first!

Do not organize your own wedding!

Whether you are a control freak or not, take my word for it, don’t try to organize your own wedding by yourself. This may be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. Especially if organizing is not your thing, this whole event will simply overwhelm you.

As I was living in Belgium, but most of my family is in Romania, we decided to have it there. Needless to say that organizing the wedding remotely was nerve racking. I just went once before the wedding to choose the location, which I did in half of an afternoon and then the rest was done from Belgium. Of course I had my mom on site to give me a hand and friends who kicked in the week before the wedding, but that was not enough.

Avoid getting stressed and becoming a bridezilla. Source: http://bit.ly/ZxNJ1G

Avoid getting stressed and becoming a bridezilla. Source: http://bit.ly/ZxNJ1G

There are so many details to look at: organize the menu, decorations, get a band or a DJ, make sure all the invitations are sent on time and RSV and so on. So, my advice is to get a professional to do it, if you can afford it. If you can’t, then choose a few friends and family members and delegate specific tasks to them. If that doesn’t work either, then I am sure that one of your close friends (if not your future spouse) is a great event organizer or project manager and can delegate for you.

Make sure you ask for help! This is the utmost important thing you can do when organizing a wedding! It’s not worth the stress and the few details that you will forget about, will surely go unnoticed. In the end, if you can’t enjoy your day, it’s sad and almost in vain for your memories of the day. I wasn’t able to enjoy our wedding, because I got stressed out of mind, but I am very thankful for the support I got from my friends and family.

P.S. A while ago I wrote a blog: “It’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage” explaining why not having a perfect wedding is OK.

What’s great about being an expat?

Last week I wrote a post about expats complaints. Today, I want to focus on the things that makes being an expats great. After all, moving to another country is not that bad. So, looking at my almost 6 years of living in Belgium I came up with a list of things that I believe makes being an expat purely uplifting or at least worthwhile.

  • Immersion in a new culture. This one here is priceless. I think there’s no other way one can experience and learn about a new culture, other than living in it. You can read and discuss about it all you want, but living in a new culture gives a precious insight.
  • Possibility to reinvent yourself!! Enough said!!
  • Getting to know new people (and many times different) Depending on the type of person you are, this will make you happy or stress you. There is the type of person who get energized by people and there are the ones who love being a hermit. Either way, I think this also teaches you more about the world we live in.
  • Make new friends. I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. It’s funny when I see that whether you want it or not, the same rules don’t apply. These new people will not react as your old friends and so, you have to adapt the way you manage your new relationships.

    Seen Paris so many times, I don't even take my camera with me anymore. Source: Emily Williams

    Seen Paris so many times, I don’t even take my camera with me anymore. Source: Emily Williams

  • Travelling. Being in a different side of the globe will immediately expose you to new territories. So, you can travel to a new set of countries. And who doesn’t like travelling?! (I know, such people exist, but they are not a majority 🙂
  • New type of cuisine (also veggies, fruits, etc.) If you love food, you’re going to enjoy this one a lot. For example  I grew up in a part of Romania where seafood is not very present, nor popular. So, now I have a new found flavor pallet to explore.
  • Learn about humanity. People react differently to certain situations due to their upbringing, culture, type of person and traditions. Living in new places will expose you to how people are built and learn that although biologically we are the same, the way we turn out as adults is very much determined by our surroundings.
  • New adventures. It is quite rare that you are not faced with new adventures. Be it paperwork, people’s attitudes, surviving incidents, etc.
  • Learn about yourself. It so happens that if out in a new situation, place and circumstance, you wouldn’t be able to discover parts about yourself. Before moving to Belgium I had no idea how much stress I can take, that it can take me months to learn how to drive, but a second to actually decide to drive when pressured. Discovered that I’m good when someone’s in a crisis, but barely able to deal with mine 🙂
  • Learn new skills. From cooking, swimming or skying and anything else that you were not exposed at home. 

Probably the list can go on, but this is my summary! I think the most important thing is that you stay open minded and enjoy what you can, as much as you can. So, what makes it great for you being an expat?