Travel Map

Monday, February 22, 2010

Steps to Happiness

1. Be grateful Some study participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness – over weeks and even months – after implementing the habit. What's even more surprising: Sending the letter is not necessary. Even when people wrote letters but never delivered them to the addressee, they still reported feeling better afterwards.

2. Be optimistic – Another practice that seems to help is optimistic thinking. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future – for example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling – and describe the image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people too reported increased feelings of well-being.

3. Count your blessings – People who practice writing down three good things that have happened to them every week show significant boosts in happiness, studies have found. It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.

4. Use your strengths – Another study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then to try to use these strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends. This habit, too, seems to heighten happiness.

5. Commit acts of kindness – It turns out helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness. 

So here are my 5…


1. I’m grateful that I have great parents that are supportive, each in their own way, and loving.

2. Here’s  my current idea of my ideal future:

I’m living in Cairo, over culture shock.  I’m completing my Masters while being courted by the State Department and the World Health Organization.  I’ve met a ton of really great people and am constantly busy with clubs and volunteering for refugees.  My thesis is coming out great and I’m emerging as a professional in my field.  There’s no snow!

3. I got paid. Chelsea is going to take me to the opera for my birthday!  I got a snow day from work.

4. Gonna work on this one….

5. I’m going to the community center twice this week and am going to find a way to connect more with the kids.

Try it, I think it’s working already :)

Tired of Waiting!


I still have about 3 weeks left before I find out anything about Egypt but as my 27th birthday dawns I feel I should be in a different place than I am now.  I can’t help feeling like a kid, still thinking of others as “adults.”  Shouldn’t I already be working on my career?  Or at least my Masters?  I would like to be finished with my Masters by the time I’m 30, but that depends on when I get accepted and actually start my classes.

I do believe in fate, in a way.  I believe the end result is something that is supposed to happen but there are many different ways of getting there.  For instance, what are the chances that I would register for the FSOT and the opening would be on my birthday?  I do know that the date happens more than once :) but it just seems like a good omen.  Who knows, maybe that’s the day I’ll decide on a different career path.  I would like to get into diplomacy eventually, I could skip the process and jump right in.

Bah. Waiting is difficult.  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wating Game

So I did submit my application to both the Arabic Language Institute summer session and the Masters program for fall....I submitted in January and wont find out the admission decision until at least March 15th for the ALI. Waiting is the toughest.
I started worrying that I have no contingency plan if i don't get accepted to the programs. After a week of mourning I'll need to do something, as much as I enjoy using my two bachelors degrees to serve coffee I think I want more in life lol. So...since I'm not a patient person I submitted my application to register for the Foreign Services Officer Test for the State Dept. It seems like a really great job, something that would be a good use of my skills and education. They accepted my application and I now registered to take the test- in two weeks. That's a very short time to prepare but since I'm a major procrastinator it might work out for the better for me anyway. I'm not really thinking I'll pass but it gives me something to do lol.
I also need to get started on my paper for the conference which is in a month. Its funny how with a lot of free time I do less than when I had no time at all.
Waiting.....waiting....keeping my sanity by learning things....
Oh! My Arabic is going great! Although my professor moved and I cant take classes here anymore, I found a great website: that has been a great learning tool. I was actually reading greetings and deciphering sentences. Not bad for 4 months of intermittent learning lol.