I am a very happy person. Just about everything makes me happy and when I’m happy, it’s pretty obvious. Last weekend (and I say weekend loosely because it was Friday morning to Tuesday night) I went to Miami for a Zouk Congress. (Zouk is a Brazilian partner dance and it may be one of the coolest things ever created.) It is made up of workshops during the day taught by Zouk instructors from around the world, followed by social dancing at night. And by night, I mean literally all night to the sunrise.

Poolside Zouk Party
Poolside Zouk Party

Like any other person, I began my trip with hopes and expectations, imagining the itinerary and what I wanted to get out of this trip. What I keep forgetting is that nothing is ever as it seems and spontaneity is magical. People often spend a lot of time trying to create the perfect moment and are completely oblivious to it when it surprises them. Of course, everyone’s definition of a perfect moment varies greatly but what they all have in common is the happiness of the individual. I often find myself in the perfect moment which comes from doing what I love. I know that I am very lucky; I’m a student in a program I love, surrounded by people that care about me. I’m lucky enough to have a job and enjoy baking in my free time. However, I believe that I am most privileged to be able to enjoy the little things in life. I love when the sun shines rays of light from behind a cloud, when a snowflake falls on my sleeve and I look at its complexity, the sunrise over the ocean, the sunset behind a city, the cheesecake that I managed to bake to perfection, and the smile on someone’s face when they find money in their pocket unexpectedly. It’s the little things.

Being a part of the Zouk congress made me part of an incredibly enthusiastic family, but at the same time, I got to be alone and reflect on my own life and choices. The little things that I got to experience:

– Getting off the bus. Friday afternoon. Like any broke student, I wasn’t going to pay for a cab from the airport to the hotel. I’m from a lot of places including Toronto, where public transit is basically THE way to get around. When I visited NYC, the public transit system was one of the highlights for me. I guess I just like the challenge as well as the adventure. There is also always the subtle hint of mystery and the thrill of independence. I choose where I want to go; I am responsible for myself. I am one person in a crowd all traveling together but each person is going somewhere else. It is my time to think and to observe.  I’m also the type of person that likes to have control of the situation and is super organized which can be both good and bad. It leaves little room for spontaneity but it also helps me get from point A to point B very efficiently. When I got off the bus in Miami at the hotel, I felt accomplished. It seem ridiculous that something so small as taking a bus can have so much meaning, but that’s just how I feel. I find joy in the small things.

– Walking on the beach at 6:30 am. Saturday morning. After the first night, either people were still inside dancing or were very passed out. I turned in early (2 am is very early in congress time) so that I could wake up early for the sunrise. Although it ended up being cloudy and no magical sunrise for me to see, the walk turned out to be a perfect moment. The water was calm, the air was warm, and the sand softly gave way to my feet as I walked. Each step was quickly expunged by the rise and fall of the water on the shoreline and I was happy.


– Watching the sunrise. Monday morning. Two days later I actually made it out to see the sunrise. However, this time was after an all nighter. There were more people on the beach this time and I had been spending time with a friend I had met earlier in the weekend. We sat on the beach anticipating dawn and talking. Another perfect moment. I had seen countless sunsets when I lived on the gulf coast of Florida, but I had never actually seen the sun rise over the ocean. The air around us seemed to be getting lighter with every minute as the day forced itself on the night. Another day was starting, full of possibilities and adventures.


– Standing on the pier after everyone had left. Tuesday morning. Most of the group had left Monday afternoon and the few that stuck around to fill up on a bit more sunshine were on their way out. My flight wasn’t until 8 pm so I was in no rush. The day was bright; the blue sky reflected in the turquoise water, saturated with sunshine — the stereotypical Miami weather. I walked along the pier letting the warm breeze tangle my hair with a salty mist. I knew I would miss it as soon as I got on that plane.

IMG_2122  IMG_2057

I believe that reflection is crucial to a healthy life. Each person needs a moment to catch a breath and take in the situation. For me, pausing to think is the purest form of happiness, and after that moment I’m recharged and ready to spread my newly restored energy with everyone I meet.


Newport Pier, Sunny Isles Beach, FL

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