Deirdre

In September of 2019, I took a trip to Nice, France. It was my first time in France and my first time in the Mediterranean Sea. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the scenery was, and how at peace I felt in that atmosphere. Everything there seemed to move slower, which was a welcomed change from fast paced Philadelphia. One morning we got up early, and headed down to the beach. The morning sun was warm on my face, and the water was a bit chilly. I was slightly intimidated by the strong waves crashing into the sand. Despite this, I was determined to take a swim. The water felt so refreshing as I began to swim out, gaining confidence and swimming out further. As I began to float on my back, staring at the beautiful hills in the distance, I realized I felt so free. I was extremely calm and at peace, and so present in that moment, not wanting it to end. I bring up that memory often, when I need to find some warmth, peace and calm. It is certainly a happy place for me that I plan to visit over and over again.

Danielle

Normally around this time of the year, I would ride my bike to Rittenhouse Square every Saturday to check out the farmer's market, especially the plant section. I would pick up a new plant to add to my crazy plant collection, or buy a bunch of strawberries or blueberries to add to my weekend baking projects. It might seem unassuming to a lot of people, but it has become my happy place in Philly. I always feel that everyone there is super friendly and lovely. I love how strangers can bond over random plants or conversations around food at the farmer's market; I love that people are enjoying their conversations with vendors and building a relationship beyond being their customers; and I love how most people who shop there carry reusable bags to store all of the fresh ingredients they have just purchased. The Rittenhouse farmer's market gave me something to look forward to every weekend during the summer, and helped me slow down a bit in this busy city life. 

Terri

I grew up having lots of Disney toys and stationery because of my family’s manufacturing business in China.I did not actually go to Disneyland Or Disney World until I was 21 though! And I fell in love with it!  Seeing all the happy faces around the parks made me appreciate all of the production behind the experience. I really do believe magic happens at Disney.  I have visited California Disneyland and Orlando Disney World so far. The newer theme parks surprised me with their detailed story line. Walt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.“ Whenever I visit, Disney makes me feel young.  It is a reminder that sometimes, all you need is to take a break and enjoy the moment.

Hanya

It's a beautiful summer day - the sun is shining, there are a few puffy clouds in a clear blue sky and it's not too hot. The birds are singing in the nearby trees, and a slight breeze ruffles the leaves. I am laying on the grass, soaking in the crisp scent of cut grass and freshness that only these kinds of days brings. I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and flit between staring at the passing clouds and drifting into a daydream.

These are the perfect days of my childhood that I yearn for and that bring me peace. Being in nature is a centering experience for me. I don't need to be doing anything in particular, just being and admiring the beauty of creation. Sometimes, when the weather is just right, I will take my yoga mat or a picnic blanket and go to rest in a local park. Being present and tuning into the earth around me is meditative and calming and it brings me immense joy. Regardless of what is happening in my life - the sun is still shining, the birds are singing, flowers are growing and blooming and I am grateful to be alive and breathing on this earth.

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