I like to surround myself with positivity.  It can make such a difference in how you feel.  When you’re living in a country that is so different from what you’re used to having a positive attitude and being surrounded by positivity can make such a difference.

This is especially true as I write this post on yet another poor air quality day.  It’s been a week straight with bad air.  You make think if you live in Los Angeles that you have bad air, but I’m not quite sure it’s the same.  A bad air day in L.A. is probably one of the good air days here!  I’ve heard that you can come to think of bad air days as rainy days (since you don’t want to be out in either of them!).  I could choose to focus on the terrible air and how it impacts my life, but I don’t want to get sucked into that negative mindset.  Instead, I take these bad air days and think about what is nice about them.  It’s a great day to lounge around (you actually have a reason to stay inside!).  It’s a great time to focus on home projects (maybe I can finally get that book I’m writing finished!).

It’s not just that bad air days that can bring you down.  For some, it’s the traffic.  There’s always someone who is honking.  Sometimes the cars are honking for no reason (traffic is a standstill, the honking won’t change that).  Nevertheless, sometimes the honking is what alerts you to the car or scooter (who are electric and oh so silent!).  I like to focus on that aspect of the honking.  As for the heaviness of the traffic, I like to focus on the fact that I can walk and don’t have to be stuck in the traffic or I can take the subway.

As far as the subway goes, it can get extremely crowded there (think a can of sardines!).  But again, don’t let that negativity consume you.  Think about how affordable the subway is and how it’s easy to get on in case you have trouble finding a taxi.

Sometimes it’s the language barrier that can get some down.  Again, I think your mindset makes a huge difference.  I moved here not knowing any Mandarin (ok-I knew “hello” and “thank you”).  Fortunately, there are western stores and restaurants where you’ll find people who are able to speak English.  However, you’ll come across many who do not know English.  I think this is enough to make some people not want to go out and explore.  Don’t let not knowing the language stop you!  Hand signals are pretty universal.  And by going out, that’s how you’ll pick up some more of the language.  After two months here (and still no formal language training), my vocabulary has increased a lot.  I’ve learned how to give directions and ask for something (or say I don’t want something). Don’t be afraid to give something a try and see what happens.

There are always going to be negative aspects of things (especially when you’re moving away from what you know) but the trick is to find the positive aspect.  Take that negative and turn it into a positive!  It won’t be easy to do all the time, but it’s possible.  It goes back to your mindset.