Ukraine & lessons learnt

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In January I, spontaneously, booked a trip to Ukraine. Normally I wouldn’t spend money on organized traveling, I prefer to go cheap and do it myself. However, this wasn’t an ordinary trip, it had the purpose of handing out food parcels and spreading some warmth among the Ukrainian Jewish communities.

We left at the end of February to Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. After a 2 hour flight we arrived and were brought to the so-called shelter. This house is literally a shelter for people who have fled the eastern part of Ukraine where a war is taking place. The next day, after visiting the atrocious mass grave Babi Yar, we were on our way to our ‘home base’ for the week in Vinnytsia, from where we would drive each day to a new destination so serve the community.DSC_0016-2

My idea of going on this trip was to bless those who were in need of love and food, yet I found myself to be the one blessed beyond I’d imagined. It was touching and inspiring to meet people who have nothing and yet are the most grateful and happiest people I have met. We were able to spread some love, give them food to endure the winter and pray with them. I never left a home without receiving love and kind words back.

Some valuable lessons were learnt that week. If all else fails, there are 2 things we need in life: 1. friends and family – a loving environment – and 2. music. Every home we entered had instruments to be played and it seems like everyone can sing. Music is a universal language and brought us altogether despite language and cultural differences. At the end of each day it was music that connected us, and we could sing all troubles away. Children would dance for us and it was like they were not aware at all of the financial struggles their parents go through, making so many efforts to put bread on the table, or that they are refugees. It were these two components, music + people, that make life worth living for when you have nothing materialistic.

PSA: summer has arrived

 

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I’d think if you would ask a person what their favorite season is, Summer will probably be the answer (unless you live in the desert). And what is not to love about Summer? Catching up on vitamin D, getting tan, long summer nights. But also the season for camping out, traveling to foreign places and go swimming outdoors. When the first warm air hits during spring, after a long and wet winter (and fall) it’s like the world becomes a better place. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing the birds chirp, seeing the cherry blossoms light up the skym and eating my first s’more of the season.

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The next two months will consist of finishing up the semester and traveling all over Europe. Camping out under the stars surrounded by the Alps catching up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while. What are your plans for this summer?

Love, Jess

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RESOLUTIONS 2017 + how to continue

Month 6 of 2017 has arrived! How fast has this year flown by? We are midway the year and as promised in January time to reflect on my resolutions of 2017. Perhaps a good time for you as well to check how you have done and perhaps time to make some new ones?13706888_168553690232326_1928711869_n

My list consisted of 5 things that I wanted to continue with or change.

  • Travel more and more and more
  • Find myself and what I am passionate about even more
  • Go back to Finland
  • Do more things that scare me
  • Seek the Lord more

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  • travel more and more and more

It is so funny how at the beginning of 2017 I never knew where life would take me and looking back I am pleased to say that so far this resolution was successful and it will become even more successful during summer.  In January I traveled to Germany and in February + March to Ukraine. Next month I will travel to Estonia, Finland and Austria, and in August to France, yay!

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  • find myself and what I am passionate about even more

This has been quite the challenge, because I am more complex than I thought. I have been working a lot with and on myself, as to say developing and discovering who I am, parts that I feel like I need to grow in. As far as passions, this continues to be photography, yet this clashes with my perfectionism, which takes the fun part out of everything I try. I need to learn a difference exists between striving to be the best version of myself and delivering photos that are ( in my own eyes) perfect.

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  • Go back to Finland

As you read under the travel section, I will be going back to Finland next month! I just booked my tickets four days ago and am super excited to be seeing my friends and my favorite country! I wrote this down as a resolution but knew it was a long shot, since time and finances are always under pressure, and at that point I had just visited in November, so was there really a need? But it was a little dream of mine, which happens to come true!

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  • Do more things that scare me

I am not sure whether I meant that I wanted to do things that literally scared me that bring adrenaline rush or that I meant stepping out of my comfort zone, cause I really need both to grow as a person. I enjoy getting my regular shot of adrenaline, I prefer that over stepping out of my comfort zone cause that is usually connected with a social setting. I have grown as a person and developed my personality more. I have become a volunteer for the International justice mission, and I will give lectures (yikes) to students at middle schools. Let me tell you, this is way out of my comfort zone, so taking on this challenge is considered as scary.

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Seek the Lord more

This resolution was very personal, but I have definitely succeeded. I feel like I have grown closer to the Lord and gotten to know him better, as well as develop a deeper relationship. However, this is a resolution that needs to be continued because you can never not stop growing in that relationship.

How do I go from here?

Alright, the dreaded resolution will happen folks!

  • weight loss

I know right, how original. In January I didn’t need this resolution and thought it was too superficial, but 6 months later, believe me, this needs to happen! Where did I go wrong? I had a lot of moments where negative thoughts came into my brain and in order to ‘heal’ those I would eat, like a lot. At some point I became aware of this and am currently working on establishing a healthy lifestyle which means separating food from emotional well-being. If I experience negative feelings or insecurities I do not grab food to deal with those, but need to focus on the core of the problem. If you experience this as well or have tips, feel free to message or contact me!


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Love, Jess

Hola Amsterdam

On thursday morning I woke up feeling adventurous and the need to visit somewhere special. I literally went to my google maps app trying to find a spot I wanted to go. Because I did not have my hiking shoes with me I did not feel like going to a national park. I went on instagram and saw a picture of a skating rink in Amsterdam and it looked so magical that I wanted to see it with my own eyes. I looked up trains, which took over three hours to get me there but it really did not matter for me, I was excited nevertheless. I took the tram to the Rijksmuseum/museumplein where the skating rink was at, walked around but did not get on though. Too many people on the ice and doing it by yourself is not as much fun. I took a detour walking to the city centre because I wanted to take many pictures of the canals and houses. Eventually I crashed at Starbucks for some caffeine and wifi, and to top that odd they handed out free coffeeshots and croissants filled wih vanilla custard. When the sun was setting I took the train back home, looking over amsterdam during sunset might have been the best moment of the day. 

Love, Jess Insta

Weekend getaway

This past weekend I took a trip to Germany! We rented a house not too far from the border with Luxembourg in the cute town of Saarburg. During the night it snowed, which melted throughout the day but it was beautiful regardless. We stayed on top of a little mountain and on Saturday we hiked up and down to adventure out in Saarburg and visited the beautiful waterfall in the middle of the village. It was gorgeous and quiet all over. We climbed up the remainders of the castle and old city wall and sat down in a cafe to warm up and drank coffee and hot chocolate. And what is a visit in Germany without home made apfelstrudel? I highly recommended taking trips outside of school holidays, it makes it even better! 

Love, Jess Insta

RESOLUTIONS || 2016 vs. 2017

Another year has passed, and 2016 was so sweet that I don’t know how 2017 is going to be any better. A week into the new year, it is time to take a look at my resolutions of 2016 and to present my resolutions for this coming year.

2016

Northern lights: CHECK

I left to Finland exactly one year ago! Crazy how one year has already passed. Since I was eight the northern lights were on my bucket list, but I knew this would be the year I actually got to check it off!

 Traveling: CHECK

I think traveling is another one that I can check! I traveled all over Finland, went to lapland, Israel, went back to Finland for a week, Austria and Paris. 

Adventure more: CHECK

Living in Finland certainly helped to get out more. I learnt that I love to do things that give a kick and release adrenaline. Hiking, skiing, XC skiing (!), wandering around forests. That is what makes me the happiest and what makes me feel alive. I learnt to love snow and ice, skating and walking on it (not when thaw is happening tho). 


2017

  • Travel more and more and more
  • Find myself and what I am passionate about even more
  • Go back to Finland
  • Do more things that scare me
  • Seek the Lord more

I can tell these are resolutions that include the word more in it, meaning it is what I am already doing, yet want to excel in it even more. So in principle this year consists of do more of what makes you happy. A year focusing on me.

Did you make resolutions for twenty-seventeen?

Love, Jess   Insta

P.s i just found out that these are the first resolutions I have written in the past 7 years that do not include finding my s/o and losing weight. Yay me!