Just an ordinary girl's life

Tag: life goals



Happy New Year my dear friends! 🍾

I sincerely hope you’re having a wonderful festive season with time for relax, good food and, of course, language learning 🙂

Last year I shared my not-too-serious goals for 2018 and I’m going to do the same this time!

2019 goals:

  1. decide whether or not I want to take JLPT this year and, in that case, go for it!
  2. start saving for Japan travel
  3. read a 漫画 in Chinese
  4. get that second piercing (I didn’t in 2018!)
  5. go to a festival! (same)
  6. watch 8 Asian dramas
  7. Ireland trip with the plus one
  8. get myself a luxurious skincare product
  9. read 45 books

I feel positive for this 2019, the last couple of years have brought a lot of (good) changes in my life and I’m ready for more 🙂

Plans for the rest of the day: read my current sci-fi novel, treat my hair to a glorious hair mask and order Japanese on Deliveroo!



Year in Review ~ 2018

What did I do this year?

2018 has been another important year in my personal life. I’ve actively started working towards some specific goals of mine and I also brought myself to finally face some anxiety-inducing issues, which has improved greatly the quality of my life. There is still a lot of work to do and one thing to absolutely do this year is decide once and for all which career direction I intend to take and do my best to follow along until the end. But I’m very happy to say that by December 31st 2018 I’ve accomplished all the main goals I had set for myself this year, and I feel a lot more content and at ease.

I’ve been fairly good at crossing off some day-to-day goals that I set for myself last year (the lipstick and nail polish challenge having been particularly successful), which may seem silly but that, at the end of the day, makes the difference between feeling like you’re taking care of yourself or not. I also feel like I’ve been giving a sort of second chance at life, and I’m definitely going to work even harder on my health and wellbeing in 2019.


A new entry this year has been my long-longed-for iMac, which I’ve been using constantly since I got it for my birthday in May. I still have my iPhone SE and have no intention of replacing it any time soon since it still works perfectly. In 2019 I plan to replace my iPad (after many years of very good service) and to make a decision about my very old but very beloved MacBook pro. I’m debating whether or not to buy a new one, since I don’t need it for work and I definitely don’t bring my laptop with me when I’m on vacation.

In terms of apps, if in 2017 I started downsizing, in 2018 I’ve downsized even more. I’ve talked briefly here about the apps that have survived my minimalistic fervour and I will surely talk about it more in the future. Less is more is increasingly becoming my daily mantra as I’ve witnessed a tremendous improvement in my overall life quality by having less stuff (both physically and digitally) around me.


I reviewed my 2018 planning system here so I don’t think it’s appropriate to repeat myself. I’m happy to report that I managed to really use just one planner for the entire year as I vowed to do last December, and that I’ve used to experience to learn a lot about bad planning habits and vices. I’m sure 2019 is going to be even more successful in this regard.

Study (Chinese, Japanese, etc.)

I’ve learnt a lot also about learning this year. I had a rollercoaster of very high and very low moments in my language learning journey (especially for Chinese), until I finally managed to settle into a regular routine around the end of September. Focusing my study on preparing for HSK 3 has finally helped me finding a framework within which I could track my actual progresses and achieve a sense of accomplishment.

I think I’m going to start from here in 2019 and expand my self discipline in both language learning and other forms of self education that’s I have been putting off for too long. I will have to decide whether to go for the JLPT or not, since I’m giving myself a 2 year deadline for HSK4 (December 2020).


As I was mentioning before, I had a good wake up call back at the beginning of February, and this has been the right chance to step up my game even more in terms of taking care of my health and wellbeing. Being healthy with a busy life is no piece of cake, but the more I grow up (I should probably say grow old) the more I realise this is just something that can’t be put in the back burner.

My goal for 2019 in this regard is to be absolutely strict about the 5-a-day rule and to set into place a solid routine around yoga and the 10.000 daily steps.

Books, TV Series, Dramas and Music


I’m happy to report that I’ve watched much less tv this year, something that is clearly reflected in the increased amount of books I finished instead. I also watched a lot more Asian dramas compared to last year (since Netflix has finally started acknowledging their existence). Sadly, I don’t think I watched any anime in 2018 – and I haven’t read any manga either, which means this is clearly something I need to put more effort in.

For 2019 I want to go along the same lines – less and less American tv series, more Asian dramas and ideally also a lot more anime.


As of today, I’ve read 64 books in 2018 (but I may be able to finish one more between tonight and tomorrow). Needless to say, reading has been my greatest accomplishment for this year, as I’ve finally brought myself to reduce a lot of other insignificant activities while favouring the things I really enjoy doing. In 2018 I’ve read a lot of novels that I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time and never gotten to, and I’ve also stepped out of my comfort zone much more often (I even tried audio books, imagine!).

As for my best books of 2018, I have to say it’s really hard to pick just one or two. The one that left a major impression on me has been Educated by Tara Westover, and Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin has been another significant highlight. Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey is a book that I’m finding difficult to forget, as well as the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Milkman by Anna Burn, and I’ve loved the graphic novel Sabrina by Nick Drnaso.

I’ve also read a lot of interesting novels that were selected for both the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize, and I’ve particularly enjoyed the children series Nevermoor (much more than I had anticipated actually). I also started and completed two YA series, The mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and the Miss Peregrine’s series by Ransom Riggs.

In 2019? I want to keep going! Oh and more non fiction (especially Asia-related) this year!


2018 is still a synthwave / vaporwave / futurewave year, no doubt about that. I’ve taken the chance to listen to the entire discography of some of all-time my favourite artists as well as discover new, less famous bands.

I also really enjoyed watching Eurovision (for the third year in a row), and I’m slowing starting to open my mind more to Asian idols – especially EXO – for cultural and language learning purposes.


2018 has been a good year. A lot has happened in my life, but most of all, I feel like I’ve change my mindset like never before. I love my habits and routines but I can’t stand the idea of being stagnant so, even if it’s tiresome and stressful, I always welcome change. In 2019 I don’t plan on changing anything major – I just aim at keep doing the things I love, slightly better than the year before.

Planning for the last quarter of the year

[Back To School Kind of Post]

Happy 1st of September! And happy -21 day till fall and -114 day till Christmas 😛 seems like I’m really ready for the colder months to arrive.

So time to grab pen and paper and decide what I absolutely want to accomplish before December 31st.

2018 has been an important year for me, under many respects; there have been a few big external changes (like moving to Edinburgh), but mostly I think I’ve witnessed a huge evolution in myself and the way I approach things in life. The jump in the number of books I’ve managed to read this year is just one display of these changes.

It’s not always easy to quantify my goals since the majority of them are on-going projects (Chinese, books, blog etc), so one of the things I’ve really worked hard on this year has been trying to identify a few concrete benchmarks I could work towards.

The Tools

To plan for my goals (while keeping in mind the bigger picture) I use Trello; this is my second year using it for this scope and I’m going to stick to it. Every year at the end of December I create a new board called ‘2018 (or whatever year) Goals’ and then create 4 lists:

  1. yearly goals
  2. quarterly goals
  3. monthly goals
  4. motivational quotes

In each list I create multiple cards. For example, in the ‘yearly goals’ list I create a card for every area of my life I have goals for (Chinese, personal, wellness etc) and in each card I create checklists to further break down my tasks. In the last list I just collect photos and graphics form Pinterest with inspirational quotes to keep me moving throughout the year.

I then plan for my goals at the micro-level on my weekly and daily pages, which are both on paper and on Google Keep. There’s still a lot of room for improvement in my system, but overall I can say that after a lot trial and error I’ve become much better at using my daily planner to try and achieve things in the long run.

The Process

As I rule, I try to review my goals every quarter, and then every month and every week. The monthly step can sometimes be overlooked (though I would like to work more on that in 2019), but the other two for me are essential.

The weekly review is a GTD concept that I think everyone is pretty familiar with, so I don’t need to spend too much words on it. I’ve failed at doing my weekly review for a very long time, but I think the main reason was the fact that my system was too complicated and all over the place. Now that I’ve managed to make things simpler and easier, I’m able to perform my review almost every Friday afternoon without fail.

The quarterly review is also important because it keeps me grounded on what the ultimate goal is and makes me realise whether I’m setting my goals too high or too low. I think one of the main reasons why I wasn’t always able to make progresses in my Chinese studies was because I didn’t realise that I can only accomplish so much in a 4-month timespan; when you star failing at reaching your goals quarter after quarter, you definitely learn something.

Another reason why a quarterly review is essential is because goals do change. In general (= I thought I wanted to do something in January, now it’s May and I’m realising I’m not interested anymore), and also at a more specific level – I still want to learn Chinese, but maybe I want to use different resources and I don’t want to finish studying that specific textbook anymore.

Sept – Oct – Nov – Dec 2018: What I want to accomplish

🍎 Chinese

My big goal for this year is HSK3 which will be held on the 1st of December this year so it mostly overlaps with my last quarter. I usually talk about my exam preparation in separated and dedicated posts, so I won’t add anything more here.

🍎 Reading

I’ve reached my target of 25 books a while ago, so I’m much less concerned about numbers right now and more interested into finding interesting themes for my reading experience. In particular, before the end of the year I would like to

  • read most of the books shortlisted for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction
  • read most of the books shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize
  • finish 3 books I had put on hold
  • read 3 more non-fiction books
  • read a couple of classics
  • read a fantasy over Christmas

🍎 Music

Synthwave is a big passion of mine, not just as music but also as an aesthetic choice and a way of life; in this last months of 2018 I would like to read more about its origins and themes and also make sure to listen to the full discography of a few favourite bands of mine, namely

  • FM 84
  • Lost Years
  • Timecop 1983
  • Midnight
  • Tommy ’86

🍎 Wellness

I’ve fallen out of my routine of, but not of my love of yoga – so main goal in this area is to go back to a regular practice. I also have some health condition to follow up with and I want to get it done before the end of the year.

Near our home there’s a lovely public park that would be perfect to start a running routine – I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time, maybe instead of approaching it as a ‘I’ll start it next year’ kind of thing I could for once start now.

🍎 Habits

I’ve worked really hard on establishing healthy and productive habits this year, so I don’t want to push it too far; successful habits established during 2018:

  1. waking up between 6:00 and 6:30am
  2. morning yoga (to go back to, at the moment of writing)
  3. doing something related to Chinese everyday
  4. reading everyday
  5. movie night on Thursday
  6. eating reasonably healthy
  7. daily planning
  8. sharing my language learning experience on Instagram
  9. weekly review
  10. night time routine
  11. going to sleep between 10:00 and 10:30pm

Habits I would like to implement/enhance in the next 4 months

  1. spend less time on the phone while I wake up and
  2. journal instead
  3. be more strict about the 5 a day rule
  4. establish a sushi/Wagamama night with Asian dramas
  5. eat less cheese

🍎 Japanese

I don’t have specific plans for my Japanese apart from keep studying it (almost) daily on Duolingo. All my focus is on Chinese right now and I already find myself confused between the two sometimes (especially with numbers), so for now I don’t intend to increase my effort on it. I will surely give Japanese much more space in 2019.

🍎 TV

Things I absolutely want to watch before the end of the year:

  • Black (Korean drama)
  • On children (Chinese drama)
  • Fire walk with me (Twin Peaks movie)
  • Cold Case season 7
  • Boys over flowers (Korean version)
  • Reply 1994 (Korean drama)
  • Falling skies season 1
  • Mortal kombat
  • The vengeance trilogy by Park Chan-wook
  • Princess Mononoke


Closing note: the aim of this post is not to brag about how good I am at setting and accomplishing goals. First, because I’m not – and second, because I come from *years* of not knowing how to properly set and track my goals. So this is more to show the world that if I have gotten better at goals setting – well, any one can. Seriously.

Mid year review {June 2018}

[Slightly late in posting this]

With half a year already behind us it’s nice to take the time for sitting down and dedicating a few minutes to think about how things have gone so far – and even more importantly, how we want them to go in the following 6 months. Because honestly, planning for an entire year in advance is kind of optimistic. Many of the things we thought were important in January are no longer on the horizon by March, so readjusting and reevaluating is always a good practice.

I shared at the beginning of the year some of the ‘silly’ things I wanted to do in 2018, but I actually have four main areas of self growth in which I put my focus every year: language learning, health & wellness, books, and screen time (movies as well as tv shows).

I’m going to review each of them in order of increasing difficulty, meaning, from the activity that requires the least will power to the one that I almost have to force myself to do.

1. Movies, Asian Dramas, TV series

Paradoxically, this year my main goal in this sector was to watch less stuff. Last year I spent a lot of my free time with my nose glued on the iPad screen, only to feel disappointed in the end for not accomplish much in terms of Chinese and everything else (surprise surprise). Another goal of mine this year was to decrease the amount of American tv series I watch and start focusing more on Asian dramas.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been quite successful with both these goals. I now watch American tv series almost exclusively when I’m cooking / washing the dishes / ironing (I also watch them with my significant other, but not every night). I wanted to watch a minimum of 6 Asian dramas in 2018, and at the time I’m writing this I’m close to finish my 5th. I’ve also been watching more movies, something I used to do a lot in my teen years but for which I’ve kinda been lazy lately.

All in all, it’s a much welcomed change that has improved my life quality a lot, and has allowed me to find room for other more important and satisfying activities.

2. Books (novels and non fiction)

Reading is definitely the sector that has been more successful this year. In 2017 I barely managed to reach my goal of 25 books, and not because I didn’t have the time to; I was devoting my free time to the wrong activities (see above) and I wasn’t even making all that conscious choices in terms of what I wanted to read.

So I went for 25 books again in 2018, just to play it safe, and I actually reached my goal by June, 15th. Not only I have achieved it in less than half the expected time – I’m also much more satisfied by the reading choices I’m making. This year I finally read a lot of books that had been on my wish list for the longest time, I’m switching between genres and reading different things a lot more, and I’ve been keeping myself up to date with the latest trends and bookshop releases. Now every time that I go Waterstones or Blackwell’s I know the majority of titles that are on display, and I’ve often read a few of them already.

I don’t want 2018 to be a rare bird but rather to become the standard way I approach my reading time. It’s not so much about the numbers, but mostly about making intentional choices and be aware of how I spend my own free time.

3. Language learning

Here comes the sore point of this list. Despite my best efforts, I cannot honestly say that my language study routine has improved much since the lows of last year. I’m starting now to be a little more consistent with my study and to see the first serious progresses, but these first 6 months have been mostly trials and errors.

Honestly, I would have never though that self-learning would have been this hard. I was so motivated and positive when I fist decided not to go back to Chinese classes and to start the solo-journey – where has all that good energy gone? I’m still passionate about language learning but I’m struggling a lot in finding my own way. Which means that the road towards fluency is still very long.

On a more positive note, I can say that at least this year I’ve spend a lot much time studying that in 2017. It may not be extremely successful, but at least I’ve brought myself more times than not to do the work. Another good thing of 2018 is the fact that, after much toying with the idea, I finally started studying Japanese again. It’s only a 10 min daily practice on Duolingo, so definitely nothing mind-blowing, but for now it’s enough to bring me in touch with the language again.

4. Health and wellness

I like being healthy and I like the idea of being healthy, but sometimes I find it hard to keep it up to my expectations (especially when living with someone who craves junk food all the time). I’m fairly good at eating healthy [water intake, 5 a day, no refined sugars etc.] but when it comes to do physical exercise, except for walking, I have to really push myself to do it.

In January I had to investigate a potentially bad health condition which thankfully didn’t happen in the end – this was the much-needed wakeup call to finally face the physical activity issue and change my mind frame once and for all.

I can’t say that now I’m the queen of workouts and, yes, I could always do more, but since then I’ve been making a conscious effort in trying and being more active. A very important thing for me in this process has been finding the sort of activity that I actually like doing; so no gym, no I-want-to-be-slimmer workouts, not hiit – yes yoga, yes pilates, yes qi gong. I want to be able to enjoy what I’m doing, not just appreciate the results.

So how am I assessing the achievements in this sector for the first half of the year? I’d say that I can and I want to do more, but I’ve also made important progresses and I now feel a lot more engaged in my overall health and wellbeing. In the end it’s a kind of holistic practice – I can’t really be healthy if I don’t take care of my nutrition as well as physical exercise as well as self love and self care. You know the I treat my body like a temple meme? Exactly, just, for real.


Blog. I’ve been more relaxed about blogging this year, which sometimes has turned out as ‘I would like to write this on my blog but naaaah‘, but in general it’s worked better for me. I often think about giving up since I’d rather spend time actually studying than writing about studying, but for now I can’t really bring myself to do it.

Instagram. I’ve been a lot better this year. I’ve had my good share of non-active periods, but I’ve kept it up fairly well and I’ve shared a lot more compared to 2017. I love the language learning community there and it’s definitely one of my main source of inspiration for when I’m feeling down (LL-wise).

Things that I would like to implement in my routine

Photography: it’s always been a great passion of mine and I also have a super classy sassy DSLR camera waiting for me to release my inner artist (much inner), but I just seem to never find the time for it. It’s actually a bit of a controversial point, because I know that, when it come to focus and attention, less is more – but it’s also something I really really want to do, so I’ll definitely take it into consideration.

I’ve been also quite good at my simple life project this year (there will be a dedicated post on this topic), so for the rest of 2018 I hope to be able to declutter even more and to be able to streamline my routines by cutting down all the different time-wasting activities I still carry out.


2018 has been a surprisingly satisfactory year so far, and honestly I think this is the first time I feel like I’m really getting closer to where I want to be in life. I think that reflecting on how things have gone so far is extremely useful, and it’ll help a lot in making the right choices in the upcoming months.

Spring Cleaning

A few days ago I went back to Leo Babauta‘s blog and read a few posts on simple living and goal settings. It had been a while since I read something from Zen Habits and honestly I felt super rejuvenated and motivated afterwards. I immediately started craving for a simpler, less cluttered life (again).

A couple of days after that, I read this post from Inhae which hugely resonated with me and it felt a lot like the kick in the ass I just needed. I want to stop the junk from coming into my life and fogging my thoughts with its looming presence.

And I can’t deny that one of the reasons I’ve often procrastinated with my language studies in the last couple of weeks was the fact that I didn’t feel like I had a clear enough space around me to do so. Go figure.

So, it’s time for spring cleaning.

  1. Anki. I haven’t used it in a while since I started studying both C and J on Duolingo (which is a sort of SRS in its own way), but I really feel I need to go back to it. I have way too many decks and a lot of cards that I don’t use/review anymore. Time to clean things up drastically, and also to read the complete manual once and for all as by talking with Inhae I discovered I’m missing out on a lot of cool features.
  2. My stationery/Language Learning basket. I bought a rectangular white-with-black-stars stationery basket on Amazon back in February to keep my notebooks, planners, pens etc organised. It has worked fine for a while, but as it often happens it has recently evolved into a messy den in which i just dump everything I might need to use soon. Time to clean it up but also to re-evaluate what I need to use and what not, which brings me to the next point.
  3. Studying and planning workflow. I’m always on the lookput for better, quicker and simpler ways to do things, so I want to review both resources and processes and have a better system in place.
  4. Stationery boxes. I have a lot of stuff, too much really, and I definitely don’t need everything right now. I keep switching between some notepads and pens, but a lot of other stuff can honestly be just stored away.
  5. Bathroom hanging organiser. I take my skincare and shower routine very seriously, not just as a conscious effort to keep my skin clean and clear, but also as an act of kindness towards myself (it’s one of my favourite self-pampering moments). I want to re-organise the content of my pouches and declutter them from everything I see I don’t really use for a better and more satisfactory skincare experience.
  6. Closet. I’m leaving a huge clothes review and declutter session for when I’ll be in Edinburgh, since I still have to figure out how the weather is going to be there (though I doubt things will be much different from here). Still, there are a few worn-out clothes and shoes which I know I can’t keep anymore and that I definitely don’t want to pack and bring with me in my new house. So, yes. Another thing to do.

I also want to seriously start selling some of my stuff online. I have quite a few things that don’t really fit my lifestyle or that I simply don’t use anymore – but as I’m also worried and concerned about waste production and environmental issue (some of them are also pretty new), I’d rather not throw them away. Any suggestions on which platforms are best to sell stuff in the Uk would be highly appreciated 😁

I still have a huge decluttering project that I need to tackle: the review of my digital space. Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Mega, external hard disks – they’re just a huge huge huge mess and I don’t even recall what I’ve stored where exactly. This is definitely not something that I can manage in one sitting so I’ll probably leave it to a less hectic moment in the future. In the meantime, I’ve completed a big cleaning of my macbook and I’m also progressively clearing my iPhone of all photos (I prefer online storage and backup for those).

My goals setting for 2017

This is only my very personal opinion and everyone is more than welcome to disagree. The way I see it is that one year is a time-span impossible to really foresee in its major events and changes. I don’t know if it’s just me and my life but between family, significant other, work and any other business the unexpected is always behind the corner. I’m usually barely able to plan for my current month, let go of an entire year. Plus, do we really think that at the end of 2017 we still will be interested in all the same things we are now?

I mean, of course we all have some long term goals we’re working towards. But the means that prove to be good in order to get there may vary over time, even in few months. I’ve experienced this perfectly by studying Chinese: at the beginning of 2016 I made myself a long-term plan for finishing my (at that time) current grammar book – just to abandon it altogether at the end of January because I wasn’t really making good progresses with it. And during the whole of 2016 I’ve changed my study plan billions of times. Things may be different this year as all these fails and trials as surely thought me a thing or two, but my point is, it’s really nonsense for me to plan accurately for something I already know will be subject to countless changes.

[Other people may have a very different situation and be able to actually plan their entire year, so everyone should follow his/her own path.]

So my recipe for this year (and the years coming for what matters) is quite simple:
1. small number of big chunky yearly goals (very small number)
2. a set of 5/6 main steps (or milestones) for each of them, with no deadlines
3. short term plans to be reviewed every trimester

> big goal for the year – keep studying Chinese and become fluent in reading and skilled in listening
> main steps – finish studying Remembering simplified hanzi, take HSK3 tests, finish Chinese Class Absolute Beginner series
> short term plan – between January and March focus first on finishing Remembering the hanzi, then at the end of the term evaluate, re-adjust and set the next steps.

My main steps are a sort of guide for the things I would like to implement in order to work towards my big yearly goal, but they’re not to be worked on all at the same time and they have no specific deadline but rather a general idea for how I would like them to be complete. In grownups lives we don’t have all that time that can be spent doing the things we love, so plans cannot be too strict.

It would be pointless for me to make a super hyper specific plan like ‘week 1: study Lesson 23 of Remembering simplified hanzi, listen to lesson 10 and 11 of Chinese Class podcast, complete 1 grammar point of B1 level on Chinese Wiki’ and so on for 52 weeks. I tried it and it didn’t work. I would love to be able to do this, really; but I’m not. So I have to act differently.

I’d rather get to December 2017 and be able to say ‘I finished that damn hanzi book’ even if this was the only thing I was able to accomplish rather than realise I made a little of everything without making serious progresses. Focusing just on one thing for any project at any given time relieves a lot of stress and makes progresses a lot more tangible. All the other big steps I couldn’t complete by the end of 2017 will just be moved forward to 2018, no strings attached. No self-commiseration or self-flagellating attitudes.

One thing I could do differently in 2017 is to really keep my progresses monitored. I’ve always overlooked this step and it prevented me from really evaluating what I was getting done, for good or ill. In December I’ve created a board on Trello with my big chunks for 2017 and in the last couple of days I’ve been adding cards with the small steps I want to take during this first month. Let’s see how this is going to work in the long run, but after all these years I truly believe that this is the only kind of system I can work with. Let’s re-evaluate in 360 days 🙂

Life Lately / Hello November

My story with monthly goals setting and review is a long, painful one and I don’t want to be reminiscent of that now. As I’m currently on a path of self-growing and self-empowerment, I though that maybe it was time to give that another shot to see whether I could finally make myself accountable or not [this has been my main issue since the very beginning].

I’ll try for a couple of months to see if I can make this work [even though December is not the best period of the year for anything except food marathons and family gathering], if it doesn’t go well I’ll just drop it, as I did with everything else on this blog.


October review

How I spent my time

Blog 4h15m;
Chinese 3h34m [this doesn’t include listening practice done during commute time];
PhD study 2h08m;
Productivity 16h24m (!) (mostly planning time);
Wellness 4h42m.

Of course this is not 100% accurate as I don’t always have the occasion/mind to log my time, I would assume a 75% rate of accuracy for my activities this month.

How I spent my money

Well this month was Scotland time + Venice tour so my expenses were positively higher than my usual standards; whenever I land on UK soil I like to amuse myself with shopping at my target places – namely Waterstone’s, Primark [Harry Potter stuff!], Paparchase and Boots. I spent about 70£ at the first three and about 20£ at Boots [and this was even too much considering I’m still working on my beauty products disposal plan and I already have way too many bottles unopened in my wardrobe].

In Venice I spent mostly for food + a HUGE splurge at Cafoscarina, my favourite bookshop for Chinese/Japanese language and culture related stuff [more than 120€!!].

How I did with my Study

Grammar is stuck for Chinese, but honestly I lost motivation for Remebering Simplified Hanzi as well during this month; I’m still well determined to work on the book and finish it by the end of the year [though I’m starting to feel sceptical about this], so I’ll definitely go back to it during November. I also dedicated some time to what I call my PhD study [mainly materials about Japanese religions and Anthropology] but I don’t feel confident I’ll be able to dedicare time to this project during the next couple of months.


Watched quite a few movies this month; tv series of focus were Cold Case [S03+S04], That 70s Show [S01] and Gilmore Girls [S01]. Almost no Asian dramas this month.

I read 4 novels in October, and I currently feel quite obsessed by the Avalon series and the Amica Geniale series. Soundtrack of the month were Bruce Springsteen nostalgia [both Born in the USA and Born to Run], Timecop1983 and Stranger Things soundtrack.


November’s goals

  1. Go back to a regular yoga practice, as in October between overwork and Scotland I skipped an entire month of practice.
  2. Try a new way of organise project-time. I was thinking about trying to focus on one project per week rather than attempting at cramming everything in the 7 days span time just to be left disappointed at the end of every week. I don’t know if this is a stupid idea, I just feel like trying to approach things differently this month [monotony is death].
  3. Get on track with Chinese, which basically means try to get my motivation back and be consistent in my progresses.
  4. Use Pomodoro Technique for a better distribution of tasks at work. Bursts of productivity that last for 150 minutes straight followed by 1h of laziness and distraction are of no avail. I don’t have particular problems in maintaining my concentration for longer periods of time but breaking them up with short intervals would make them even more effective.

 Habit of the month : focus on my daily essentials.