YOUR VINA-APPROVED OCTOBER FUN LIST!

It’s officially 🍂fall🍁, which means this month is filled with Halloween costume planning, apple pie making and of course, everything pumpkin spice! For some vinas, this is the highlight of their year—for more than one reason. Sure, the days get shorter, but the sleeves get longer, the sweaters get warmer and the fun gets going. As a vina who personally loves fall, I always have a ‘Fall Bucket List’ of activities that I can only do this time of the year without any shame at all!

PUMPKIN SPICE, SO NICE

I know. . . it’s a total cliche, but who cares?! It seems like the whole world is engulfed in pumpkin spice this time of year which is so right! So bring out the pumpkin-scented candles, brew some pumpkin spice coffee, and make some delicious pumpkin pie! Embrace everything-PS that comes with this new season.

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FALL CLEANING

The beginning of fall has vinas opening windows and letting the cool, crisp air in. There is nothing better than getting your pad comfy and cozy with some clean space. Welcome in the fall with some new curtains or a fall-inspired duvet set. While you’re at it, it’s a great time to purge all those summertime dresses that you will never wear again. This is the perfect opportunity to refresh your closet and get fall attire!

MAKE SCARECROWS

Remember how we just purged our wardrobe? Well, let’s get creative! Buy some hay from the local market or check out a craft store and make a scarecrow. Host your own plans in the VINA app in the plans page and get local DYI-loving vinas together to make a group of scarecrows that look like yourselves. Dress them up in clothes, hats, and accessories, then put them up to decorate your house or apartment!

FALL FESTIVITIES

The weather is so pleasant this time of year and people are still looking to get out and have fun. Check out local festivals or find the nearest Oktoberfest. You’ll be spending a day enjoying the outdoors, sipping on beer or hot apple cider, and tasting some of the season’s best foods and desserts. Invite your vinas and have a blast!

JUST ENJOY!

The best way to spend fall–or any season–is by being present and staying in the moment. All too often the leaves change colors, fall to the ground, and become a crispy remembrance. Look at the leaves and notice the orange, red, and yellow colors. Appreciate the gift of a new season and enjoy what is around you. Take advantage of the time and make sure your fall season is packed with activities, crafts, and a little pumpkin spice!

Looking for some vinas to enjoy this fall with? Get the Hey! VINA app now and start swiping!

 

WHY YOU NEED TO MAKE MONTHLY INTENTIONS A MUST IN YOUR LIFE

You know what happens when you go to the supermarket without a shopping list? You begin buying everything down every aisle. Sure there are some things that you need, but there are also a lot of things that you don’t. That’s how you can think of each month. Set a monthly goal of what you want so that you don’t enter the month putting random things put in your basket, so to speak.

My favorite intention goes like this: “It’s Going to Be a Good Month.” I am declaring that I will only have a good month. I am affirming that I am accepting nothing less, and that I want nothing less from the universe. When you put those words out into the universe, you are letting the positive energy flow out and then back to you. Like attracts like, so sending positive vibes is essential.

WHAT IS AN INTENTION?

The biggest question I get is, “what is an intention?” and “what is a positive intention?” An intention is a something that is planned, directed or aimed with purpose. An intention can be anything that is declared out loud or in our heads. This is the reason that we need to be very mindful when setting intentions. Using the incorrect word can set your intentions south. A positive intention is full of positive verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. It is something that is given a lot of thought and is full of purpose. It is a creation of what you truly desire in your heart and soul.

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HOW TO CREATE A MONTHLY INTENTION

Creating a monthly intention does not have to be special or elaborate. In fact, creating your monthly intention slowly and deliberately is more meaningful. Taking the time to plan out how you would like to set your intention can be a beautiful and meditative action.

To get the ball rolling, decide what you want your intention to be. Start by thinking BIG! Money! Now after you have decided what you want to manifest with your intention, you can take bite-size pieces to break it down. How do you want to get your money? Work? Loan? Inheritance from a rich uncle you never met? By being specific in the smaller step, you can allow the universe to hear your intention specifically.

So, once you have your intention specified, close your eyes and imagine it happening. Next write it on a piece of paper using your favorite pen. Take your time while visualizing your intention. Add whatever you feel called to add, a kiss, perfume, glitter, anything at all. Find a place that you would like to place your intention and as you go to put it there take a deep breath and give one final thought of your intention coming true and leave it alone.

Every vina has the power to manifest the month that she desires. Choosing your intention will get your month off to the start that you deserve. Beautiful things happen when you intentionally make an intention.

Have an intention to make more life-long vinas? Well, the universe is on your side and so is Hey! VINA. Get the app now and start swiping!

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO LIVE WITH POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS for short, is a disease that affects 1 in 10 women. It is a genetic trait due to a hormonal imbalance that is lifelong, and as there is no cure, the only thing that can be done is to reduce the symptoms of the disease. Since it is PCOS Awareness Month, I figured I would share what my experience of living with PCOS has been like.

Growing up, I always felt like there was something wrong. When I first got my period in middle school, it was always very irregular. I got it before any of my other friends and the time of the month it would come was never consistent. Some months it would be early, some months it would be late, some months I would have 2 periods, some I would have none. Some were extremely painful and lasted up to 7 days, while some were 2 days and painless. From middle school until I got to high school, my mom and my doctors told me that it was typical because some bodies just take a few years to adjust to having a monthly visit from Aunt Flo. Not typical, however, was how often I missed school or sports practices or choir and theatre rehearsals because of the pain that came with my period. Most women experience period cramps at some point in their life, but the scale in which the pain comes varies from woman to woman from month to month. Mine was, on a scale of 1 to 10, typically a 7, but some months, it would be a 9 or a 10. I took pain medications constantly and even laying in my bed was painful. I used heating pads and took all kinds of medications, but even that wasn’t enough.

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Throughout this time, I also had a lot of metabolism problems. My weight would fluctuate in great amounts from year to year. I would lose 20 pounds in a month, then gain it all back plus more. Sometimes I would lose a lot of weight with little effort and other times I would go to the gym with a trainer, count calories, and eat better and still would not lose weight. My mom and doctors didn’t understand what was happening because I had always lived a healthy lifestyle.

I had taken tons of blood tests over the years for all kinds of medical issues to see if some reason would come up as to why I had so much trouble losing weight and keeping it off no matter what I did, but every test came back completely normal. It wasn’t until the summer after my senior year of high school when my doctors finally figured out what was wrong with me. I was going on vacation with my family and my period was 3 months late (I know, crazy, right?) and I knew I was NOT pregnant, so I went to the doctor before my trip to find out what was wrong. After talking to a doctor about my period’s 3-month hiatus as well as my fluctuation in weight, I took more tests and they finally determined that I had PCOS and that it was due to a hormonal imbalance in my body. I also then found out that it’s not only genetic in that it’s an imbalance I have, but it’s also a hereditary issue that my mom and aunt both have as well, and is most likely where it came from. At 18 years old, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

SO WHAT IS PCOS?

PCOS is exactly what its name entails, and more. It essentially means that the carrier of the disease could develop cysts on their ovaries due to what the disease does to their body. Typically these cysts are non-cancerous, however, if they do develop and are cancerous, (which is more typical in older women) they then would have and be treated for Ovarian Cancer. Another aspect of PCOS is that due to hormone imbalance, you can have more acne issues or more body and facial hair than the usual person without PCOS. What PCOS also means (and what it means in my case) is that when your hormones are imbalanced, it affects your reproductive system and your metabolism. Because my hormones are not at level, it means that I could potentially have trouble having kids in the future, which happened with both my mom and my aunt. I would then have to seek medical assistance from a fertility doctor with either hormone treatments or other options when it is time for me to have kids. Living with PCOS means that at 20 years old, I have to start thinking about having children and what it would take for me to even have kids as well as how much it would cost for me to if I have fertility issues. With the reproductive system, that is why I had such a long break in between periods, or multiple periods a month, because when your hormones are going crazy, and you don’t have anything to regulate it, your cycle can be all over the place, and the irregularity causes pain. As for your metabolism, your metabolism is how your body breaks down and burns fat but with a hormonal imbalance, your body is more likely to store fat instead of burning it which can lead to weight gain and obesity. That’s why no matter how much I exercised or how little unhealthy foods I ate, I wasn’t enough to lose weight normally and keep it off over long periods of time.

SO HOW DO YOU TREAT PCOS?

It may not be curable, but at least it is treatable. Eating right and exercising is very important for people living with PCOS or people who have a family history of POSC to hopefully avoid or reduce the signs and symptoms that come with the disease. Another important part of treatment that helps to subside the reproductive system issues is the use of birth control. I had never thought about going on the pill before, but my doctor recommended it when she diagnosed me with PCOS. Now, what does the pill have to do with PCOS? Answer: Everything. Birth control is a mode of getting extra hormones in to the body and those hormones are what fight against unwanted pregnancy, but they also make up for a lack of estrogen in the body. If your hormones are imbalanced, which typically means that the testosterone in your body is actually higher than your estrogen levels, the added estrogen in the pill levels out in your body and helps to make sure you know approximately when you period is coming. Since going on the pill, my monthly period is more or less around the same time every month and the pain is virtually nonexistent. Since being on the pill, I have been able to lose weight and keep my weight relatively the same, and even a little bit lower, for the past year now. 

As far as diseases go, PCOS is something that affects many women every day and is a lifelong disease, but it is something that does not have to put your life on hold. As long as you eat healthy, exercise, monitor your health, and talk to your doctor about medication for PCOS, you should be able to live a normal life. Of course, your doctor will tell you what your specific course of action to take is when you get diagnosed, but living a typical, healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your symptoms minimal and stay as healthy as possible.

Need a #girlgang to help you live your best life? Get the Hey! VINA app now and start swiping.

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DONATE YOUR EGGS: EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WONDERED

Honestly, I have thought about it. I thought about the money aspect (mostly to recover myself from my student loans), but something always held me back. Maybe it was going through a process that I knew so little about or the fear that I was giving away a part of myself that I wouldn’t necessarily get back again. Already being an emotional female and dealing with even more hormonal emotions, could I handle it? Is it painful? Will it be anonymous? Could I back out last minute?

If you can relate to some of these questions, let’s take a journey through the egg donation process and get answers to the questions we’ve wondered about.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: WHAT IS EGG DONATION?

There may be vinas out there who never heard of the term. Personally speaking, I don’t remember learning about this subject while attending school. Of course, I learned about reproduction, but the teachings were never in depth with topics like infertility amongst many trialing issues that could arise. I was researching job postings on Craigslist and came across, “Egg Donors in Demand!! Earn Thousands of $$$ While Helping Others!” The large sum of money interested me right away. At the age of 18, with my parents talking finances: college loans, loan interests, getting a job, saving money, and moving out. As you can expect, I wanted to make money fast so I began educating myself about egg donation.

DEFINING IT CORRECTLY

According to the London Egg Bank, egg donation is “a form of fertility treatment in which a donor anonymously gives her eggs to an infertile patient in order to help her become a parent. Once donated, the eggs are fertilized with the recipient partner’s sperm (or donor sperm if required) as in conventional IVF, and then transferred to the recipient for pregnancy. Egg donation, therefore, unlike adoption, means that the recipient couple still has a strong genetic link with the child.”

WHO NEEDS AN EGG DONOR?

Some women may be infertile, pre-menopausal, had a history of pregnancy failure or hold a risk of transmitting a genetic disease to the child. Gay couples are also considered when thinking of people who seek out egg donors.

WHO QUALIFIES?

Before applying and creating a profile for consideration, make sure you meet the following requirements:
• Age Requirements: 21 to 29 years old (there are some areas that accept 18-32 based on your health and maturity)
• Healthy, with a healthy family history – Does breast cancer run in your family? How is your mental health? Do you make health and wellness a priority in your life?
• Well educated
• Mature and prepared to help a couple have a child – you must be reliable and responsible
• Non-smoker/No drug use

THE PROCESS

If you meet the criteria, you can then move forward in the medical screening process! You will need to meet with a Fertility Specialist who will perform a pelvic ultrasound scan of your womb and ovaries and set you up for a medical screening (HIV, hepatitis) along with a genetic screening (inherited diseases). The specialist will also go over your concerns, discuss your availability (which you are being compensated for), and your ultrasound findings. Your availability is very important as you will be needed to visit your primary doctor at least once a week for the first few weeks to make sure your medical injections are doing well.

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MEDICAL CONCERNS

Once you are given the green light, you will then be required to visit a Fertility Center counselor. If depression, have ADHD, or schizophrenia runs in your family, chances are your eggs can inherit those mental disorders too. Your mental health is important during this process. Women can cling to their eggs, the thought of one of your eggs growing to become an adult and then the injected hormones can make it much more difficult to deal with. It is vital to be honest with your counselor before backing out last minute.

THE WAITING. . .

Once you submit your profile it can take weeks, months, possibly longer for your profile to be chosen but if you’re serious about it, stick it out- the right family will come eventually!

LEGAL TERMS

After your profile is chosen (congrats!) you will then meet with a Reproduction Attorney who will draft and review contracts and the agreement to be anonymous between both parties. For first-time donors, compensation is usually $6,000 to $6,500 and will increase about $1,000 for every time you successfully donate.

MEDICAL CYLCE BEGINS

Even though this entire process can be a 3-4 month ordeal for first time donors, the medical cycle only lasts 10-12 days, if all goes well. For 10 days, you will be administrating hormonal injections in your thighs or stomach. There is a chance if you are prone to PMS you may feel mild side effects during this time which may include allergic sensitivity, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headaches and/or mood swings. You may even gain a few pounds, which will only be a temporary weight gain as it is during your usual menstrual cycle. The Egg Retrieval procedure itself is only 30-45 minutes long. You may woozy after undergoing anesthesia, but the anti-pain and anti-nausea meds the clinic gives you before/during the procedure should help. You also may feel bloated which is completely normal and expected after the procedure.

RECOVERY

This is important—allow yourself a good week or two to heal after this process. Drink plenty of fluids, eat well and acknowledge the emotions and the things that may change in your body. But no matter what, remind yourself that you did a wonderful thing to help a family accomplish a goal of their dreams.

Ladies, we applaud you!

Need some vinas to talk to about donating your eggs? Start swiping today!

 

 

FEARLESS FEMME FRIDAYS: 5 BADASS WOMEN IN THE NEWS

Hey vinas! Welcome to our new series, Fearless Femme Fridays. Each week, we’ll be rounding up a list of badass women who gave us major inspo. We’re giving a huge 🙌 to these amazing females. Meet them below!

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SERENE WANG

Meet Hey! VINA user and CEO and Founder of EliteLink Education (TOEFL), Serene Wang. A NYU alumni with a killer #bossbabe style, Serene was just awarded the Most Influential Online Instructor in China for the month of August!

“Being an entrepreneur and an educator partnered with over 50 institutions and companies around the world, one thing is very clear to me: I never had high expectations of others, I would only expect the best out of myself,” she said in an interview with Sinovison English Channel.

Serene’s TOEFL Teaching Textbooks are coming out this January–WOO!

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JAHANA HAYES

The 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes just won the primary race for US Congress, representing Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District—moving her one step closer to becoming Connecticut’s first Black Democrat in US Congress! Coming from a family of drug abuse, giving birth to her first daughter at the age of 17 and even considered dropping out of high school, Jahana is proof that hard work pays off.

On Wednesday, she told the Washington Post, “I built my teaching career by telling my students you don’t get to complain here. If you see a problem in your community, you go and fix it.” She empathizes with others, and since she comes from a low-to-middle class neighborhood, she understands the struggles of the real world. On Tuesday night, Jahana proved that no matter where you come from, you should never give up. Your struggles can lead to your purpose.

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JACINDA ARDERN

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, is the youngest female Head of State ever at 38 years old. But that’s not all! Jacinda has a list of #bossvina achievements, including being the first New Zealand Prime Minister to march in a Gay Pride Parade and being the only second leader in modern history to give birth in office (first ever to take maternity leave!). Jacinda is paving the way for empowered vinas across the globe.

“I refuse to be held up as some kind of superwoman, because in my mind, the superwomen are the ones who do it on their own,” Jacinda told Marie Claire in this interview. “I don’t want there to be an assumption that women should do everything. This whole notion that women can have it all and do it all—maybe they can, but should we expect that of them? There’s something to be said for being more mindful of everyone being able to make the choice that’s best for them.”

We don’t mind calling Jacinda Wonder Woman though. 🙌🏾

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BEKAH MARTINEZ

The former Bachelor contestant and current Bachelor in Paradise star is known for more than just her quick-wit. The outspoken feminist stood up for all vinas after receiving Instagram direct messages saying that a fellow Paradise contestant had sexually harassed them. Bekah called out the contestant on Instagram and urged fans to push for stricter casting processes from ABC.

After receiving backlash from the contestant in question, Bekah answered this in an interview to the Daily Dot: “Since when is exposing someone’s history of sexual harassment worse than the harassment itself? Don’t be a shitty person, and people won’t have shitty stories to tell about you.”

Bekah is the truest vina of them all.

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FIRST LIEUTENANT MARINA HIERL

First Lt. Marina Hierl is the first woman ever to graduate from the Marine Corps’ intense Infantry Officer Course and now is also the first female Marine to lead an infantry platoon in her service’s history. This 24 year-old has fought against sexism within her own Australia-based platoon and has stood up for herself and her vinas every day. Marina aspired to lead a Marine platoon since former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta waived the policy barring women from serving in the infantry.

“I didn’t think there was anything better in the Marine Corps I could do,” Marina told The New York Times.

Marina, we are giving you a big round of applause!

AND A SPECIAL SHOUTOUT TO. . .

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CHRISTINE HALLQUIST

On Tuesday, August 14, Christine became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party, beating three other candidates in Vermont’s Democratic primary, according to The Associated Press. She won with over 40% of the vote. “Tonight, we made history,” she told supporters at an election night party in Burlington. “I am so proud to be the face of the Democrats tonight.”

Congrats, Christine!

Come back next Friday and meet more kickass femmes. Until then, check out Hey! VINA to meet awesome vinas in your area. 

 

THE REALITY OF ANXIETY

Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with ones daily activities. The truth is, anxiety can be debilitating.

Generally, symptoms can include immense stress and the inability to set aside worry and restlessness. To break it down further, anxiety can include physical fatigue, sweating, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts and hyper-vigilance or irritability. Anxiety disorder symptoms excessive worrying, fear, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, and trembling.

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So what’s the reality of anxiety? While it’s different for everyone, any or all of the symptoms above can impact a person’s life and cause them to feel alone, worried, or depressed. While anxiety and anxiety disorders are hard to understand if we’ve never experienced them, we need to make sure we acknowledge them and do our best to understand them. These extreme types of anxiety are mental health issues and should be recognized as such. We should give those struggling unconditional support and encourage them to get the help they need.

Making new friends can help with overcoming social anxiety. Get the Hey! VINA app now to connect with vinas who are there for you.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FRIEND IS TALKING BEHIND YOUR BACK

Well, you found out and boy, do you feel betrayed. Because of this, your whole friendship could be permanently damaged. Your friend was talking about you behind your back. So where does this leave your friendship? Are you able to move on or will this friendship be left behind? As vinas, we need to learn how to answer this question and handle this situation with class, poise and ultimately respect. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

KEEP IT ON LOCKDOWN

The moment you find out that one of your friends has talked about you behind your back, you must keep it to yourself. Lock. It. Down. With that being said, try not to cause any more unnecessary drama. Keep everything as courteous as you can.

TRUST YOUR SOURCE

Before diving into the problem headfirst, ask yourself these questions: Who told you your friend was talking behind your back? Is this a reliable source? Is it a true vina who has your back? Can you trust what they have told you? If you feel unsure about any of these questions, make sure you have the facts straight before you accuse anyone of anything. READ: Do not jump to conclusions.

CONFRONT YOUR FRIEND

Once you have the correct information about who and what was said, confront your friend. Even if confrontation is not your thing, now is the time to bring up the situation at hand. Let her know you are upset that she was talking about you. Maybe ask her why she was and if there is something you could do in order to prevent this from happening again. Be sure to be respectful to her, but also be sure she knows this kind of behavior is not tolerated by a vina.

RECONSIDER YOUR FRIENDSHIP

If there isn’t a way to reconcile after you talk with her, then you may have to come to terms with the fact that you two can no longer be friends. Do not put up with a friend who makes you feel insecure, sad or anything less than worthy.

On the other hand, maybe it was a simple misunderstanding. Maybe she accidentally left something slip and it came out wrong. We are all human and with that, we are prone to making mistakes. Take a good look at the situation and make a decision from there.

TALK IT OUT

Talking about the situation with a trusted vina can bring you the clarity you need. Get their thoughts about the issue and see what they have to suggest. They might even have an idea on how to avoid this from happening again.

But ultimately in the end, you have to decide what is best for you. If this friend is gossiping and sharing your secrets, is she someone you’d feel comfortable being around again? Take as much time as you need to figure this out and remember, vinas should never make you feel less than perfect.

Tell us, have you ever been hurt like this by someone you considered a friend? How did you deal with it?

 If you’re ready to find some new vinas, start swiping on Hey! VINA.

THE SUMMER THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

In the summer of 2017, I moved 3,000 miles away from my friends and family and into a world I barely knew. As daunting as it already was, it didn’t help that I had a mild case of FOMO and separation anxiety. Months before my departure to Iceland, I always heard phrases like, “You’re so lucky!” or “I could only dream to do the things you’re doing.” As I am very fortunate to have landed an internship at one of the largest publications in the country and be accepted to a post-graduate program at the University of Iceland, obtaining these opportunities was never a massive struggle for me. It was something that just happened.

Being isolated from the only life I’ve ever known, I was granted with something extremely valuable: time. Many people go through life and are never able to take a break to reflect upon themselves. Months alone gave me just that. Iceland is where I believe true reflection, creativity, and self-improvement thrives; at least from a foreigner’s perspective.

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The atmosphere, the nature, the art scene—everything captured me. I have discovered I don’t get this feeling when I am back home because of the difference of my lifestyle there. At home, I live in a constant routine of choosing fun over personal growth. I go to my retail job, spend more money than I should going to concerts with friends—an experience I seldom enjoy—and if I’m not occupied for even a second, I will message anyone just to fill the time. I never give myself the chance to be alone and discover who I am.

I missed the routine of being with friends and being “productive” in ways that didn’t aid in my growth. Inertia at its best. I’m not saying spending time with best friends is hindering, but it takes up so much energy. This energy is not able to put into reflection on who I am becoming as a young adult. If it wasn’t for my friends, there would be a lot I would have not discovered about myself. However, I have learned that they can only take me halfway to self discovery and the rest is up to me. I’ve learned how to be alone and how to enjoy the best moments of my life with no one to share them with. I can only share my stories, and even then, I could never tell them in a way that replicates how I truly felt, but that’s OK. It’s OK because it’s my experience, and it’s changing me for the better.

Not everyone will have the privilege to move far away and be put into a different world, but at some point in everyone’s life, they will be in a situation where they are completely alone. This is when time is on your side. I believe time and loneliness are linked and in a way, it is a unique gift. Having the time to work on yourself – by yourself – is precious. Whenever I let my heartache get the best of me, I use that energy to focus on how I can better myself. I learned how to be emotionally independent and secure in my relationships. There were countless many moments that I felt alone and didn’t know where I was going, but I kept going. It was a long way to travel for something so uncertain, but I found what I was looking for where I least expected it.

If you’re traveling and want to meet new vinas, just join the Hey! VINA app and update your location settings!