The Power of Positive Thinking and Avoiding the Actors’ Scenario

I twirled my fingers over each other, shifted right foot to left, paced nervously. Another night at the stresstaurant and all I could think about was a new job I applied for, how badly I want it, and how nervous I am waiting to hear back.

One of my fellow waiters was staring at me and I could tell he sensed my anxiety.

“Yo’ what’s your deal?” he asked.

“I just … this job I am applying for means everything to me. Seriously. And I feel really nervous because I have to have it.”

“Listen,” he said. “As an actor, I will tell you this. Forget about. You can’t waste your life hoping things will happen. You try and then you move on to the next thing telling your self ‘oh well, I probably didn’t get it anyway.’ So, if you do get it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

I was looking for positive reinforcement from a source who deals with regular rejection. The actors’ scenario. While ambitious, talented, and good looking, actors get it handed to them on a daily basis. They don’t have the right look or the right voice or their head shots don’t convey the right expression or it’s simply “no” for no reason. So, I could understand how he developed this practice as a means to cope. And that evening another actor at the stresstaurant told me the exact same thing. Perhaps it’s the nature of the acting industry that cultivates this behavior, I personally will never understand because I don’t act. I have a hard enough time pretending to be myself day to day.

Either way, I refuse to give up. I believe a lot more in the power of positive thinking and focusing energy on a single performance to produce results. I.e. instead of applying for multiple jobs and saying to myself “I probably won’t get hired anyway,” I have applied for only the one I really want and I tell myself “you can do this.” Call me naive because I am putting all my eggs in one basket. Call me crazy as well, but I will always encourage people to keep their dreams alive.

So even if you are an actor, writer, chemical engineer, or airplane stewardess keep dreaming. If we give ourselves over to defeat before the things we want to happen have even had a chance to come to fruition then we are underestimating our ability to create the lives we imagine for ourselves. You are fantastic. You are valuable. You are unique and indisposible and can never be traded out by anyone else to play any other role but your own. Own your life, your dreams, and your accomplishments. Stay focused on what you want. Visualize it happening. Talk to others as if it has already happened. And remember to be thankful for where you already are and what you already have created.

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How to Appreciate the Small Things and Why I’m Thankful for My Bed

Eight-thirty a.m. and I’m running around the stresstaurant naked and upset that I can’t carry a tray because my arms are concealing my breasts. Suddenly, from some distant, otherworldly portal I hear a foreboding chime, one that sounds like the countdown to a bomb explosion. I open my eyes and realize: it’s my alarm clock.

Where is it? Where’s my phone? I threw it into bed with me last night and now I can’t find it, though I hear it crying out in just as offensive a tone as the baby that screams all the time next door. All … the … time. I crawl from one edge of the bed to the other tossing pillows to the ground, untangling and shaking the sheets, straightening out the blankets, and then finally reaching inside of my duvet cover to find the crying phone tucked inside. How the heck did it get in there? I guess my subconscious moved it while I tossed and turned playing out a fictitious worse case scenario in my sleep.
And so after such a chaotic waking up, I proceed to roll over and then roll over and then roll over and then roll over and then roll over to reach the other side of my Texas-sized bed. Such luxury! I bought this mattress when I moved to New York to enhance my big dreams in the big city, treating myself to a lavish experience I haven’t had in years; the last time I actually owned larger than a twin-sized mattress was about eight years ago. And this one is so gargantuan that it’s stretchy queen sheets look stressed out all the time, pulling over the bed’s curves like the taut skin on Jane River’s face. How rare an opportunity to have a behemoth of a bed for one small person. Sometimes I feel guilty when I remember I’m fortunate enough even to have a place to sleep and that the money I make can buy me this.

But I am most thankful for my bed because I know that I can live without it. I can sleep anywhere, though perhaps not as comfortably: on airport floors, in bus stations, at tables with my face on top of my bag, in frigid trailers without heaters during snowstorms, on straw ticks. My mom and I often recall her first days of making it on her own when she slept for many nights in a beanbag chair and we laugh about my first days in New York when I slept with my jacket over my head because I couldn’t afford to buy blankets. But we’re both so proud because these times remind us of freedom. Independence. Sometimes having fewer things can make you feel wealthier.
So when I wake up in the morning hearing my muffled alarm clock call me back to reality I still at first feel disgruntled but then I realize I am alive another day and I feel so lucky. Lucky to live somewhere that I feel free. Lucky to be surrounded by people I love who also love me. They are the ones that remind me when I feel guilty for owning a big bed that I deserve it and when I become boastful for owning a big bed that I shouldn’t take anything for granted.

Don’t wait until your arm is broken to have faith in the function of your hands. Don’t wait until you are living without running water in northern Peru to be thankful for showers. Let us over joy in the simple things we grant ourselves everyday, whether they be tangible objects or something impalpable.

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Bumblebee Ladies and Purple Cows: Seth Godin on the Art of Getting Noticed

Most days during my perfunctory commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan, all I can think about is the destination: where I am going, how I’m going to get there, how long it will take me, how infuriated I am if we pause due to train traffic ahead, how someone else is doing the driving, how someone else is in control of my getting my where I want to be. I crowd into the subway with other commuters in their puffer coats, and though we are so close we say nothing to each other. Everyone in winter shades of dark blue, black, and brown. Everyone looking down, looking away. One day, on the uptown 2 local train, the Bumble Bee Lady takes a seat. This woman is living life out loud and can’t be ignored, her hair pixie cut then color treated to look like a canary floundering in a tar pit: deep black streaks smeared over every-which-way yellow feathers lost to and fro in a sticky amalgam of cheap hair spray. And it was not the yellow of under processed bleach or smokers’ teeth, it was the yellow of bananas, of taxi cabs, of Oz brick roads.

While Tim Gunn would quickly quip her aberration from fashion norms, I surreptitiously cheered her on. That hairstyle was wicked. And the most important thing: good or bad reception, she gets noticed!

Seth Godin — marketing guru and author of numerous amazing international best sellers — would refer to the Bumble Bee Lady as a Purple Cow: something phenomenal, counterintuitive, exciting, or remarkable. Something that has something about it that can’t be ignored. In a pasture full of brown cows, how could you ignore the one purple cow? In a train car filled with plain-vanilla passengers, how could you ignore the woman with the Steelers fan black and yellow hairstyle?

So, I started thinking, perhaps in my entrepreneurial idea paralysis, my problem has not necessarily been that I can not choose the right idea, but that none of my ideas have been that remarkable. Furthermore, the ideas I have generated are for the “everyone” kind of crowd, not a particular niche market, a move both Ferriss and Godin have claimed to be self-destructive. Find a market then create a product for them. Be the Bumblebee Lady, be the Purple Cow. Just don’t expect me, personally, to change my hairstyle anytime soon; I kind of like my ordinary haircut … even though I am actually considering going red.

 

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How to Start a 4-Hour Workweek Business; Phase 1: Idea Generation

*I want to be real here and document what I am going through to make this happen. I’ve seen the other end and there is definitely a pot of gold, but I haven’t witnessed the storm that caused the rainbow that led to riches (that was probably the cheesiest metaphor, ever).


People in New York, where I have lived since August 2010, LOVE to ask what you do. It’s often the second question in conversation subsequent to “what’s your name?” This city and I make a great match because I LOVE to befuddle people. Their eyebrows furrow or lift when I say,”I’m working toward owning a business that runs itself so I work less.” This response has actually been a conversation deterrent. While some people become extremely intrigued, others become uncomfortable. So, I usually opt for response option B: I shrug my shoulders, state whatever activity I am doing at that moment, then turn the question on them … “I drink beer; I do yoga; I pay panhandlers on subway trains. What do you do?”

As stated in one of my previous posts, I am starting an automated cash flow business according to Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek model. My objective is to create wealth, and by wealth I don’t just mean monetary assets. I mean, in part, value, making money to fund dreams, create more time, freedom, and excitement. Some may characterize my plight as unreasonable or unrealistic, but that to me is good news. I want to be misunderstood; I want to be different. The minute that I am on the same track as anyone else, life becomes for me too original.

Preliminary Steps to Takeoff

Supporting Myself … the Stressrant Way

By the time the 8 p.m. rush struck with merciless vengeance (customers lined up out the door and crowded around the bar), forks and knives rained from my hands, glasses of cote du rhone and viognier poured liberally into glasses, dessert menus flew into place. And much to my chagrin, a list of uncompleted tasks still plagued my frantic mind: greet table 60, ask if they want bottled or tap water, if bottled, flat or sparkling; put ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard into ramekins for table 61’s burger; tell table 53 about the artisanal cheese plate, the beef shank ravioli, and the milk braised pork shoulder specials; sneak to the bathroom and breathe into a paper bag. Working at a restaurant can be far from “restful,”which is why I have termed it the stressrant. At the pinnacle of it’s patron hour, my heart pounds with the anxiety to please all 20 people I could be waiting on at a time, each with their own needs. And the other night, just as I was running from table to table, I body slam a new customer who was seating himself in my section. When I turned around to apologize for hockey checking him in the chest I see it’s … Robert Redford. But he, of course, was very kind and understanding of my unruly elbows.

While many are quick to criticize the serving industry, I keep coming up with reasons to love it and be thankful for what it provides me. I by now have not only garnered mad multitasking skills but also crazy napkin folding abilities that could win me a lot of money were there some state-wide competition. Additionally, working in the service industry pays my bills and gives me superfluous free time to work on my business. I, for now, feel well supported going after what I want … and what exactly would that be?

Defining What I Want Through Dreamlining

It’s a creative time line; it’s practical; it’s … hard! The most difficult thing about dreamlining for me is being okay with my dreams. I’ve had to take a deep breath, look at what I planned out for myself in the next six months to a year, and just deal with the overwhelming fact that these things, these crazy things, are about to become real. And as I take the steps to achieve them, I feel I am living them already. The basic process is simple: ask yourself, what does having/being imply doing? And the worksheets can all be found here:

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/lifestyle-costing/. Read through the page, download the Dreamline worksheet, fill it out, then put it on your wall.

Where I am Now … Finding the Muse

So, this is where I am … admittedly, stuck. According to Tim, the goal is to come up with a product that can’t require more than one day of management a week… to own a business and spend no time on it. At this point, my paralysis is not caused by a lack of ability to come up with an idea, it’s that I’ve come up with TOO many ideas. I have generated a list of over 30 ideas, some of them feasible, some of them not, and am now in the process of scaling that list down. Some of these ideas I came up with just by observing people at the restaurant or at airports or on the subway (creepy I know), others occur to me at random, many of them I derived from Tim’s strategy in the 4-hour Workweek:

First, identify which niche markets you belong to; what skills, talents, or habits do you have? What are you hobbies? What social groups do you belong to and understand? When you find your market, find/develop a product that suits their needs.

Remember this is brainstorming, so literally anything goes. Here’s my market list, feels like you’re about to know a lot about me:

1. Techie traveler

2. Yoga/general fitness practitioner

3. Writer/journalist

4. Photographer

5. Coffee drinker

6. Female shopper

7. Waitress

8. Former college student

9. Organic foods eater

10. New music junkie

11. Slow traveler; person who spends significant time living in one country instead of visiting several

Well, I have in fact reduced my list to ten ideas, but none of them is the “perfect model,” and I am wondering if there is one. But here’s what’s holding me up:

1. One of my product ideas is already patented and would require a licensing agreement to go forward with. I know absolutely nothing about that, and it seems it would be complicated. Even if it were complicated, would it be worth it?

2. Another product could really work, but Tim suggests testing the product sales online (I’ll explain later) to see if you have something that’s even going to sell before you move to development stage. Problem: it’s a seasonal product that would best sell during summer time. It’s winter. If I product tested now, would the statistics be good sales indicators if now is not necessarily time when consumers purchase this product? Do I even want to go with a seasonal product? I guess I could market it in Australia and the US so it would sell year-round.

3. If the product is a website, how do you know that people would even be interested without investing in setting it up?

AHHH!!!

Goal to resolve these issues: Talk to entrepreneurs, at least 20, to understand how to get beyond this point. I will be reporting their advice here, at RealWorldMeetsGirl.com.

*All information stated as fact pertaining to cash flow businesses, muses etc. is derived from Tim’s ideas in the 4-Hour Workweek and on his blog. I am merely the inexperienced sitar player plucking the notes on the pages.


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Pedaling Inspiration Highway: A Man, A Bike, A Mission

Twenty four year-old Teddy Herrera crosses America to preach good health habits, all on his own two wheels.

At 5:30 a.m., as the sun rose along the Loneliest Road in America, which crosses the state of Nevada, Teddy Herrera stepped out of his roadside tent to bathe himself in the light and optimism of daybreak seeing the road ahead, the point where it distantly disappeared, and then, his recently purchased bicycle. It lay inanimate by his side, waiting for him to put it into action. While Herrera began his cycling journey around the U.S. pedaling unaccompanied along the desolate Highway 50 — which is sparsely punctuated by a few ghost towns with large stretches of nothingness in between — he has now found himself in front of audiences nation-wide, and at other times, in the company of the quirky people and the fellow vagabonds he meets along the road.

On June 5, 2010, twenty-four year old Herrera departed his hometown, Elk Grove, California, via bicycle on a yearlong 11,000-mile trek around the U.S. to promote a self-initiated campaign he calls “Across America for Childhood Obesity.” His goal is to educate youth about healthy living and the importance of exercise. On his blog, Herrera said he strives to “motivate the youth to become a more active generation than ones before, giving them the confidence to create their own championship moment in any arena of life they choose.”

According to 2008 statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control, 16.9 percent of American children and adolescents ages two to nineteen are obese. The CDC also claims that childhood obesity puts youth at risk for developing cardiovascular disease due to high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as other adulthood health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and osteoarthritis.

While Herrera describes himself as being “the chunky kid who was always into sports,” he now boasts a pair of legs so muscular he jokingly refers to them as “tree trunks.” But beyond his witticisms and boyish Teddy smile lies a man who, in his life, has reached both the peak of mountains and the base of canyons, and just keeps going.

“My father passed away in 2007 of cardiac arrest while I was performing CPR on him,” Herrera said. “He was a very slender guy, but he didn’t have proper eating habits. From then on he showed me that obesity is not an unhealthy size, but an unhealthy lifestyle.”

After the loss of his father, Herrera said he was furthermore encouraged to set a positive example for his eleven year-old cousins, who also inspired him to create the Across America for Childhood Obesity campaign.

“I went over to my grandmother’s house [one day] to see if my cousins wanted to play outside,” Herrera said. “They had been playing video games in doors all day. And I stormed out of the house … I was angered that they would want to waste such a beautiful day!”

So, he set off  with his Captain-Planet-reminiscent jersey, a small backpack, and thirty six dollars in his bank account. Although he spent several months planning the tour, he said he did not physically train for cycling beforehand, and didn’t have any prior experience with the sport. “People say I am courageous embarking on this journey, but I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Herrera said. “Now it’s a piece of cake. I can do a 100 miles a day without even thinking about it because I was thrown into it 100 percent.”

Now, Herrera said, the same cousins ride their bikes everyday.

“They track how many hours-ride a day they complete, and compare one hour to ten mile’s distance,” Herrera said. “They have a big map of the U.S. and they are charting how far they go kind of following my route. Now they are saying, ‘wow I can ride my bike across America too.’ It’s incredible.”

Part way through the journey, Herrera decided to name his bike Sun after an incident during a ride that reminded him of his late father.

“I was going up the Sierra Nevada Mountains and was struggling,” Herrera said. “But I heard [my father’s] voice saying ‘you can do it son!’ I started to say it out loud and it felt like I was talking to my bike. So I named it Sun to keep positivity during cloudy days.”

And he keeps the optimism rolling. So far, Herrera and Sun have climbed up and over the Rocky Mountains, crossed the Continental Divide, cycled through the great plains of Kentucky during tornado-looming weather, made their way along the coasts of Florida, and passed through such major cities as Denver, New York, Atlanta, and Dallas. Already Herrera has covered some 8,500 miles all on his own two wheels, biking at least 100 miles a day depending on what speaking engagements he has planned.

Along with this all-or-nothing attitude he has also brought his mantra, “get out, get dirty, give back, be a hero,” to several schools, children’s hospitals, churches, and health-based non-profit organizations such as My City Kitchen, which teaches young people how to prepare healthy meals for themselves; Columbus Fitclique, a social and fitness networking club that provides wellness resources; the YMCA, and many more venues.

And even though he has by now seen his share of both overcast and sunny days, what really keeps Teddy going, he said, is the possibility to affect social change.

“When we give ourselves choices we often choose the path of least resistance,” Herrera said. “I wake up and I don’t have that choice. I say, ‘I’m going to ride 100 miles.’ It’s just something I have to do and it gets done. If I quit and stop and don’t reach the next kid then who knows what could have become from that engagement?”

For more information, please visit:

http://acrossamericaforchildhoodobesity.wordpress.com/

*All photos courtesy of Teddy Herrera

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Argentina, The Truth is I Never Left You…

One frigid winter morning on the funny farm I had a sudden epiphany. I was drinking my maté while watching the gauchos hustle the horses back to the corral when I realized something: I was ready to leave. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to be there; I could have stayed forever and been content chasing wild stallions through tobacco fields and dancing the chacarera. But I had these ideas adrift in my mind that began to possess my thoughts and dreams. Goals I guess I should call them. I had already spent a year exploring another country and it was time for me to traverse these other things that kept pestering me and figure out what they were.

So, I made a bold decision. I would move to New York. In Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert says that each world city emanates a particular word. To me, New York City’s word would be work … and that’s exactly what I set out to do.

On the the hottest August day, I stood on the curb at a red light with my only belongings, a suitcase and a backpack, and my parents who had agreed to meet me in the city for vacation. Like patient, cool-tempered Californians, we stood around waiting for the light to change. But suddenly, a man in a suit barges into the intersection without even looking as he distractedly munched away at a colossal, gooey pretzel in his right hand and swung his briefcase in his left. Then, wheels screeched, brakes slammed, a taxi driver nearly bopped his forehead on the dash trying to stop for this jay walking hooligan. Hands were raised, curse words were yelled, but Mr. Invincible in his Armani suit did nothing but nonchalantly chuck his cheese-covered pretzel over his shoulder at the cab where it splattered and ran down the windshield. The man kept on walking without even a glance in the opposite direction. And that was my first impression of New York.

In the Big Apple, there’s always someone who tries to run you down or get in your way, but you keep on moving no matter how frustrating those steps may be.

So, on we go with the dream. Here’s mine.

Years ago, I read Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek, which in part is about starting your own automated cash flow business. But when I bought it, I interpreted it as also being about self-ownership and what he calls lifestyle design. While thoughts about starting my own business have been ping-ponging around in my head since I picked it up, there were other things in my life I had to accomplish first that Tim inspired me to do. This included learning to be a trouble maker and instead of waiting for people to tell me what to do, taking action, doing the things I knew I couldn’t live another day without doing and dealing with the consequences later. I learned that when you become the superior decision maker in your life, the people around you respond out of fear of the unknown at first, but as long as you stay strong and dedicated to what you think is right for you, they will eventually follow and support you. We can daydream all we want about the things we want and make excuses as to why we haven’t achieved them yet, but really the only thing that stands in our way is our choosing to say no.

Fast forward to now, January 2011. I’ve moved away from a creativity-stifling environment to one where almost everyone is motivated to create, ended unhealthy relationships, invested more in healthy ones, learned to speak Spanish fluently then worked as a translator, traveled, and learned to go boldly after the things I want.

Now, I am definitely at a place where I am ready to begin one of Tim’s model businesses. I have already begun taking the steps I need to get this thing rolling and will be updating my blog regularly to hold myself accountable for making this happen and also invite the stories of others going through the same thing.

Love, Megan

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Just Keep on Tangoing … Tina Ferrari on Being an International Nomad

Self-described world nomad Tina Ferrari: tango dance instructor, DJ, English-Italian translator, citizen of the world. She has created for herself a lifestyle that suits her peripatetic soul just right — living in Italy, as well as other countries, and covering just as many miles as her popularized racecar last name, though she actually bears no relation Enzo Ferrari. Except, perhaps, a desire to be on the road. And the fruition of all these great things took only one bold decision: to just go… and then in the end, feeling at home in the world and with herself.

By Tina Ferrari

All my life I wanted to be one of those people who lived abroad. When my father and I watched movies filmed elsewhere in the world, he would get out the globe and we would find the city or country where the film was set. I guess you could say I got an early start in understanding that the world is small enough to navigate. As I grew up, the occasional friend would return from a year in France or Italy, and I would be so envious. I finally decided to stop being envious, create an opportunity for myself, and just go. Now, I’ve lived in Switzerland working as an au pair, Italy twice, as well as Argentina.

I can imagine people will wonder what kind of life I live. I’ve had people say interesting things to me on the subject, particularly, “Oh, must be nice!  Do you come from money?” And it couldn’t be farther from the truth. For most people, at least those I know, being an expat involves stressing out about money approximately 90% of the time. We are compelled to live elsewhere for so many reasons that have nothing to do with money. Me, I’m just a natural nomad, and I would be so sad if I couldn’t allow myself to do this.  But am I rich? No way, at least not economically.

I’m a 33 year-old citizen of the world currently living in Italy in the beautiful region of Puglia, Italy where I split my time between cities Lecce and Bari. If you look at the boot-shaped map of Italy, I’m in the heel. I’m a tango dancer, teacher, DJ, and a freelance translator.

I left Seattle “for good” in 2006 to study in Perugia, Italy. Eventually, I became an Italian citizen due to a direct bloodline (my great-grandfather came to the States, never renounced his citizenship, and it was thus passed down to my grandfather and my father, and then to me.) At this time, I was still waiting for my Italian citizenship to go through, so initially I went on a study visa. I had visited Italy so many times before, including a short stint when I studied in Siena, and I knew I just had to live there. I already spoke Italian after having been exposed to it through my family and studying it extensively, but I wanted to improve, and I dreamed of becoming a translator. So, I enrolled in a program at the University for Foreigners of Perugia that involved linguistics and translation. I wound up staying there only six months because I felt a sudden, profound longing to be in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I went for a month or so with a boyfriend before heading back to Seattle, where I stayed for eight months and finally took the leap into the world of full-time freelance translation, so I could maintain my nomadic life without quitting jobs all the time.

After an initial visit to Argentina, I ended up going back to live there for about a year and a half. Buenos Aires is one of those cities that just takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. It’s hard to put into words what my experience in Buenos Aires entailed, though you can imagine there was a lot of tango! I had already been dancing tango since 2003. But while living in Buenos Aires, I took lessons here and there, danced a couple of times a week, and in the afternoon helped out a milonguero named Pedro Sanchez with his students. I did more than just dance tango of course, but it played an important role in my experience. I loved it so much that I felt at home. I remember sitting at my computer one day and looking out the window at the sunny sky and saying, “this is my home. I’m here now. I’m immigrating. This is it. This is really it.” Famous last words?

Unfortunately, with the global economic crisis, my translation work slowed down to a very sad halt. Not to mention the apartment I was sharing with others began to fall apart: my bedroom door fell off, there wasn’t gas in the apartment for 21 days, our faucet ran even when off, and the apartment manager didn’t have the funds to fix anything. In addition to some other personal matters I won’t mention, life suddenly turned not-so-pretty in every way. Except for one thing: while all of this was going on, my Italian citizenship came through! As much as the decision killed me, I had to leave Argentina to tie up loose ends in America and finally move to Italy. At this juncture, it made sense to be in Italy and reestablish my career as a translator as all my clients were there. While I would have preferred to stay in Argentina, I had to think about my survival.

Those transitional six months I passed in Seattle were horrible. I felt so sad – like a failure. Here I was, the fabulous nomad who was supposed to be conquering the world and had nothing to show for it. I wound up broken hearted and without a penny in my pocket. People around me at least had homes, jobs, spouses. Me, I had nothing. Just a newly obtained Italian passport and hope that I could turn things around. It was a bad time. Not having any money is not a nice feeling – and I’m saying that I couldn’t even afford a cup of coffee. I know there are probably a lot of people who have felt similar in recent years; it’s not an easy time for the world.

Since I had been teaching tango with Pedro in Buenos Aires, I decided that I would continue teaching tango in Seattle and Italy, and get more into DJing at milongas, or tango dance salons. I loved it so much, and I must say it really did save me while my translation business healed. Tango in itself is therapeutic because it is based on a loving embrace. The income it brought me, while not a lot, enabled me to eat and live.

I continued giving tango dance lessons after I moved to Italy and tried to resuscitate my translation business. I wound up living in Lecce and teaching with a partner, who has since left. I’m now traveling quite a bit to DJ at milongas around Italy, and now my translation work is coming in almost too quickly, one after the other. I’m a very, very busy girl with little free time!

Sometimes I have to remember to stop for a few minutes and look back at all that has happened. I’m thankful that things have turned out for the better, and thankful that I can go back to Buenos Aires when I want. My quality of life in Italy is high, and I’m healthy. I have finally accomplished my dream of living internationally and doing work that I love. And, I can save up.

Looking back, I must confess that I sometimes miss that transition period in Seattle. It was hard and depressing, but the growth I went through was incredible. I struggled every day, looking forward with the simple goal of being happy. I learned a lot during that time and deepened some very important friendships.

The lesson I have learned from all of this: there is no straightforward path to your dreams. And that’s not a bad thing. We get so impatient sometimes and forget to consider the journey; I know I have in the past. But just when you think it’s all going wrong, just when you think it’s hopeless and you feel like giving up, that’s precisely the moment in which you should take a deep breath, and just relax and wait. Either the situation will take a turn for the better or you’ll suddenly have the idea of the century on what to do next! And that is a beautiful moment.

You can read more about Tina on her blog, or if you speak Italian, you can also visit her tango site at www.tinaferraritango.com.

Think you might be eligible for Italian citizenship? Tina recommends www.expatsinitaly.com as a helpful resource to learn more.

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