Traveling to Cuba

My first travel post! Like I mentioned in my last post, traveling to Cuba was a spontaneous decision (spontaneous for me anyway). My school takes students on a business research trip to Cuba over the new year, so when it opened up I jumped on it. Then had second and third thoughts after submitting my application. (This was more a lack of confidence in myself rather than any hesitation about Cuba as a country.)

A couple of times I thought of emailing the professor to cancel my application (other students did, for various reasons). But somehow I worked up the courage to go on the trip and didn’t end up making a fool of myself on the assignments. And if I did, people were kind enough not to say anything.

Church in Old Havana

Church in Old Havana

Ropa Vieja Next Year in Havana

Ropa Vieja Next Year in Havana

I’m trying to read more fiction this year, and on an unrelated note, I’ve also been trying to cook more. Stove-top cooking isn’t really my thing; I much prefer the science behind baking. But when I came across Next Year in Havana, it brought back memories of my trip to Cuba. And ropa vieja.

I had never thought much about visiting Cuba until I got an email from school opening up the business research trip to first-years. I stressed about it for maybe 12 hours (that’s my MO, stressing about everything), then submitted my application before I could chicken out. Since I had no expectations (all I knew about Cuba was what was in the history books and also from I Love Lucy), it ended up being one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Finding Your Ikigai

Finding Your Ikigai

So this book is less about finding your ikigai than about living longer and happier. While a long and happy life was never on my bucket list, I won’t be mad if it ends up being a side effect of my constant soul-searching. I picked it up because I still haven’t found my ikigai, and I needed more guidance than the last book, which was all over the place.

In the picture above, I made myself a hot cocoa because I didn’t have any coffee, and the life lesson here is: NEVER SETTLE. There are no substitutes for what you really want in life.

10 Secrets for Success

Work It - 10 Secrets for Success

Now that we’ve cleared all the nonessentials and anxiety from our lives, it’s time for some motivation and inspiration! If you’re like me, and you had a lot of nonessential in your life, it must be seeming pretty empty now. And if I’m being honest, a little depressing too (like, what have I been doing with my life??). So finding Work It: Secrets for Success from the Boldest Women in Business right after all that decluttering seemed serendipitous. What better way to set the foundation for my life than with proven secrets for success?

How to Read Books Faster

I read really fast. I’m usually reading 3-5 books at a time, and I finish a book about every 2-4 days. (Anything longer than a week usually means I am having a difficult time getting into the book.) So you can say I’m hardly the person who would need a method of reading faster. But when a friend told me of a way to read books faster, I was both skeptical and intrigued.

Almost everyone I know loves audiobooks. But I’m a visual learner, and when I play audiobooks, my mind starts to wander; the audio becomes background noise. People extol the virtues of playing audiobooks or podcasts while doing other things like driving or cleaning, but I find I pay more attention to the task at hand than to the recording.

So, what’s this secret? How does one read books faster?