Monthly Archives: August 2014

Weekly Wishes!

Weekly wishes

Sweet little Macy girl! Every summer when I go home I tend to bring home another animal- I wonder how much longer my family will continue letting me come home?

Well I’m back in Chicago and already missing this sweet girl’s face! However, my new roommate’s cat has decided I’m her new best friend so I’ve still been waking up with a furry thing beside me! Also, yesterday when I came back from a shopping trip I got the best parking space right in front of my apartment so now I never want to leave. I suppose I have to go to work though!

Last week was so much fun with my family- I was so sad to leave! This weekend I accomplished moving, getting a bed, and putting together a dresser so I feel pretty accomplished going into this week It’s the first week of work and school and the beginning of this new chapter of my life!

Last week’s wishes were to:

1) Be sure to make the most of my time left with my family. Done! I just wish I could have had more time.

2) Get all moved into my new apartment! Done! I’m in and mostly settled and don’t have too much more to do.

3) SERIOUSLY get everything figured out with my new school. HAHAHA no. Not at all. But ya know, that’s life.

4) Keep baking and cooking and doing these things that allow me to love on and care for my family in such a fun way. Yes! And I loved every minute of it.

This week, my goals are to:

1) Enjoy getting to know and getting used to my new school! Starting work is terrifying and incredibly exciting all at the same time. Time to put all this education and training to good use!

2) Not cry at school. #TeacherLife This week is going to be so busy! I have either meetings or grad school classes every day after work this week. I know that stress and no sleep are going to take a toll on me, so really my goal is just to keep it together!

3) Make some time for myself at some point this week. I need to keep doing my yoga for my sanity and my body!

That’s going to be it for this week. I just want to focus on getting all settled into this job and back into the city most of all!

What are you goals this week? Have a busy week too? Let me know so I can cheer you on!

A difficult post to write, a break up, and a new start.

never regret 

Yep, it’s time for that break up post.

There are some things that happen that I absolutely can not wait to share with you all. I write notes about them in my phone and when I sit down to write the thoughts and words come easy. They flow and bring me joy to share and hopefully bring some of you joy to read as well.

This post is different. I’ve thought of different ways I could write this post over the past month or so- thinking of metaphors or pretty words to make the situation seem more blog-able, but in the end I feel like it’s best to just say what’s on my heart.

In moving to Chicago, I knew most of what I was getting into. I knew everything would be new- the job, grad school, the city, my friends. But I thought I’d be going through this with a partner. A partner I had counted on for a long time and I knew I could depend on regardless of what new things life threw at me.

As I’m sure you’ve been able to guess by now, D and I are no longer together. To keep things in both of our best interests, I’m not going to lay out the details, but I now know that I will be much better on my own than with him. Of course I am hurt and sad to say the least, but keeping busy has been the best thing I could do.

I still feel that Chicago is where I am supposed to be. I still want to be here, do TFA, and thrive.

In the weeks that have passed, I’ve of course heard advice from all types of sources. Many have said that I’m too trusting, too loving, give too much. I’m told that this is something I should work on, should change; a fault, of sorts. Maybe they are right that living this way will inevitably lead to more heartbreak. However, I will never apologize for loving too much.

I have opened my heart and with arms spread welcomed in lovers and friends with everything I had. I’ve experienced the pure joy and peace that only real love can bring.

And I’ve been hurt. Oh, I’ve been hurt.

I’ve let myself be hurt by those who had no business being anywhere near my heart. And I’ve had my heart torn wide open by the knives of those who once loved me deeply. I’ve given pieces of my soul to men who would rather leave than learn that I, too, was human and imperfect. Men who didn’t realize that they weren’t yet whole, either.

My trust has been broken and my heart has been worn and tattered. I know that heartbreak is worse than it sounds.

And yet- I will still rise every time I am thrown down by a former love.

This new start is the best thing that could happen right now. This life is fulfilling, and I am full of joy as I begin my teaching career and love on all these little souls.

And I will open my bruised heart just as wide again and love with everything in me. Not in naivety, but with the knowledge that that pain exists, and will likely find me again.

Good love is worth that pain.
Love is what drives me.


Reverse Culture Shock | Travel Tuesday

Reverse Culture Shock

One of my most precious memories. That first hug from my Daddy after my first year abroad!

Last week I wrote about culture shock and some things that go along with that. This week, I want to talk about reverse culture shock- a very real, very shocking experience.

As a returned from my first time living abroad, I felt so different and out of place. It was hard to figure out why I felt like it because here I was, back in my childhood home, where everything and everyone I knew was, but I felt like I didn’t quite fit. Everything felt almost right, but still felt a little… off.

Things had changed during my year abroad. I had changed, too.

During my “re-entry” retreat with other exchange students, someone voiced my feelings so simply and so well I couldn’t help but just say YES and feel understood. Finally. They said that coming home was like moving to a new host family’s house, only you already knew what drawer the silverware was in.

This hit me as such truth because it was- the family here was familiar, of course, but also new. They way we interacted was new. The culture was new again- not what I’d been living for the past year and what I was used to. English? Pshh, at that point I was thinking and speaking in Spanish. Translating every thought and word to English was now almost as exhausting as my first couple months in Mexico. I was lonely- something I wasn’t used to feeling anymore.

I was confused- I was home, wasn’t I? Wasn’t I supposed to come back in and feel like I belonged here? This is where I grew up, after all. This town, this house, this language, and this culture. It was mine, right?

Right. But also wrong. Both myself, and the home and community I came from had grown and changed in the year I’d been away. It was a whole new version of culture shock to adjust back to living in the US, and in my little town in Idaho.

This seems to happen almost every time I come back from another country, but most stands out to me this first time, and when returning from Uganda.

My stomach wasn’t used to this food- I hardly ate, and when I did, hardly kept it down. Tea and dry toast became my foods of choice. My heart longed for the forests and dirt roads and children and nuns that I loved with. Speaking in American English was, again, strange to speak as my mouth struggled to remember how to form the words and thoughts I needed. I remember my first (of quite a few) public crying spells. My sweet mama went shopping with me to get a few new things before I headed off to college. I began crying in the middle of the shirts as I realized that- while reasonably priced for the USA- one shirt could pay for a year of several of my kids’ education. I felt guilty for wanting more when I already had so much in this life.

Of course, with time, I adjusted back to life in the USA, and accepted that a part of each culture I’ve lived in will be a part of me. A piece of my heart was left behind, and that’s ok. I am a better person for the traveling and living I’ve done- each place changes me and I grow. Acknowledging and recognizing this helps me to be able to love traveling and learning just that much more.

Have you ever experienced reverse culture shock? How did it effect you?

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Weekly Wishes!


Weekly Wishes

Hanging with my Daddy, Planning out my week thanks to Joyful Papery, and lounging with my babies.

How many living creatures can you spot in the bottom photo? We were all good and cuddled up!

Is this really my last week here in Idaho? Hmm, I suppose it is. This time next week I’ll be working on getting my classroom and student information together for school to start! It’s been so nice here at home. The weather has been good, my family has been wonderful, and I’ve been able to hang out with some friends here that I just don’t see often enough!

Last week, my goals were to:

1) Keep biking/jogging/walking in combination with yoga at least 4 days a week. I did it! I’m really proud of myself for how I’ve been keeping myself on a schedule-ish. I’ve had a harder time getting up early to get this all done but I’ve gotten it done at some point throughout the day.

2) Keep on spending as much time as possible with the family. Of course, of course. I’ve loved it so much.

3) Get all my TFA paperwork done. I got this mostly done. There’s still some more to be done but I’ve gotten as much done as possible!

4) Try and get more contacts for people at my new school. Well, yes and no. I talked to my now ex-principal a bit more for information about the school, but I still don’t know about people actually at the school!

For this week, I’d really like to:

1) Be sure to make the most of my time left with my family. I can’t believe this is my last few days at home for a long while. It’s hard to think about leaving these clear skies and wheat fields and the sweet love that surrounds this home.

2) Get all moved into my new apartment! The day I fly back to Chicago I’ll be moving straight into my new apartment. Go big or go home, right?

3) SERIOUSLY get everything figured out with my new school. I mean, I start working next Monday, so this is super last minute. Who knew this is where life would lead me? 

4) Keep baking and cooking and doing these things that allow me to love on and care for my family in such a fun way. I love being able to bring them joy and taking all these ingredients that are separately not so tasty and making them taste good- I love it. 

That is all for this week! I’ll be reading (or listening to on Audible) Gone Girl some more- I’m loving it so far, SO GOOD.

What are your goals for the week? What book should I read/download for the flight back to Chicago? Let me know in the comments!

Oh hey, Friday!

Oh Hey Friday

This week has FLOWN by! Here I was planning things for “later this week” and here it is! Goodness how did it happen? I only have one week left here in Idaho before I return to Chicago and work and get ready for the kiddos to come back to school! It’s exciting and terrifying all at once! I wonder who gets more nervous, the teachers or the kids? I’m voting teachers.

I’m linking up with Karli today to bring you 5 thoughts for the end of the week!

|One| Coffee shops are beautiful and wonderful places. I went and had a morning coffee with a friend yesterday and then sat and got work done for a couple hours afterward. It was lovely to just have a change of scenery and do some people watching and get things done at the same time.

|Two| I am angered and my heart hurts deeply because of the events happening in Ferguson, MO. What are your thoughts on the situation? The more I read and watch and learn- I just feel so saddened. This is the world we live in.

|Three| Being home has been SO good but SO bad for my waistline! I’ve been baking like crazy (stress reaction) and I love being able to make my family happy with things I worked to make for them. It’s the best feeling, but I know it’ll only be for while I’m here. Once I’m back to Chicago, no more baked goods for a while!

|Four| I’ve decided I’ll get my next tattoo as a birthday present to myself. I almost wanted to get it done here in Idaho while I’m home but I think it will mean that much more to me to get it in Chicago. I got my first here in Idaho, my second in Atlanta, and now this one in the newest city that will have a big influence on my life.

|Five| There’s been a couple of songs and videos that have been my jams this week. They are just fun.  There’s this one that I pump up every time. And then the one below. I like to sing it in my head as I drive anywhere out here. Short little me in the big ole truck to put any guy’s to shame. Enjoy!


Thank you Daddy, and Happy Birthday!

10 things learned from dad

Oh boy, another year! Your actual birthday was Tuesday, but blogging is weird and it made more sense to post this today. We had fun Tuesday, anyway. We found you the perfect gift and mama a car and watched way too many episodes of Storage Wars and Ice Road Trucking.

It’s been a heck of year, and Daddy, we’ve been through a lot. You’ve taught me so much through the years, but here are just 10 things I’ve learned from you.

I’ve Learned:

1) It’s really important to wave goodbye. Every. Single. Time. Even if it’s only for a 5 minute drive. It shows the person leaving that you love them a little extra and feels good to be remembered as the person being left behind.

2) “If you want it, get it!” Ok, my dad didn’t actually say this, but I thought he did. That’s a whole other story for another day. If you want something, go after it with everything you’ve got. Work hard for the things you want, and get them. Go out there, and get them.

3) Willow trees were made for swinging. Swinging and pretending to be Tarzan, that is.

4) Respect your family, respect yourself, respect others.

5) When something is beeping, flashing, or making noise in the car, I can always call dad. Always.

6) Be kind. Be the kind of person that makes others happy by existing. Smile and be enthusiastic about what other’s say.

10 things learned from dad

7) Chocolate and pizza can help many heartaches. So can new shoes.

8) Horse races are fun and exciting and the horse that starts in 3rd place will win. (sometimes)

9) “I can do anything, the impossible just takes a little longer.”

10) Lastly, and most importantly, I will always be your little girl. No matter what happens, the bond between father and daughter is unbreakable, indescribable, and lasts forever.

10 things learned from dad

Love you more, Daddy.


Want even more sweetness about parents? Head on over to Lot 48 for this post on things she’s learned from her parents!

Culture Shock | Travel Tuesday

Culture Shock

Culture shock is quite possibly one of the hardest and yet, best parts of traveling. It turns your whole world upside down and makes you think in a brand new way. You learn that everything you’ve ever known is not necessarily “right” but it’s not wrong either. It’s just different. And that’s ok.

The term “culture shock” is often used to describe how we deal with cultural differences in a new place and things we first notice when entering a new country or area. As many expats and long-term travelers know, there are many stages to culture shock and some don’t fully develop until after spending a few months in a new culture. It sometimes takes reflection and a realization that the emotions and exhaustion you feel can be attributed to culture shock.

I’m going to talk about 2 of the most common stages of culture shock. The first will seem obvious to those that have traveled to a place with a different culture, the second may seem a bit strange or unexpected!

The Honeymoon Phase

AKA- “Everything is great! I love this country! There are so many new things to learn/eat/speak/see and my new friends are so nice helping me try to speak the language and I love it!”

You really are learning and taking in so much at one time. Everything seems new and exciting as you experience a new way of life, new foods, a new language, new clothes, etc. You’re super happy and in noticing all the different things around you- and they are the coolest and best things ever.

On the other hand, you may also be looking at the culture immediately as “Why would they do it this way when we know it’s better like _____.” This is so different, and not in a good way. Those feeling usually pass though if you really try to integrate yourself into the culture and put yourself out there with an attitude to learn, not judge.

As these feelings fade and you get into a new routine, you’ll start to notice some different things…

The Adjustment/Exhaustion Phase

“I can’t keep up. I feel like no matter how hard I try I can’t fully grasp the language- no one can really understand me here. I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster lately and I just want to sleep and speak English for ONE DAY!”

My first time living abroad at 15- I didn’t recognize my symptoms as culture shock. This all manifested itself at about month 3- October, my birthday, my first bus trip to a new city alone- I just thought I was having a rough time and everything started falling apart and I wasn’t good at this whole traveling thing.

What I didn’t realize what the my Spanish was actually getting quite good. I could get around on my own, have conversations and had begun making friends that 8 years later I still keep in touch with. My main problem? I was tired. My mind and spirit and body just couldn’t keep up with the pace I had set.

The thing is- I didn’t recognize this part of culture shock and didn’t know about it, until a wise exchange student counselor handed my a book that explained it all to me.

My brain was tired from translating literally everything I was saying or listening to. My body was tired from running around trying to keep up appearances. And my spirit was missing family and friends back home. I soon learned that all of this is part of the process- making the rest of the process so much smoother. Everything about life was different than what I had grown up with. I was dressing differently, acting differently in accordance with culture, and processing everything around me.

So how do you deal with it?

Sleep more. This helped in almost every aspect. I gave myself time to adjust more and learn more of the language. I found time to keep in touch with friends and family back home, but not too much- still immersing myself in my new life and culture.

I went out more. More time with friends, more travel within the country, more time with other exchange students, just keeping myself even more busy. Counter-intuitive? A little. But it works. Immerse yourself in the culture!

Acknowledge what you’re going through- it’s not totally all in your head. You’re not weird or wrong for feeling this way. It will pass, it will get better. I promise.

I’ve experience culture shock in the form of fear, anger, exhaustion, and complete joy. It’s definitely a unique experience but totally worth it to be able to travel and really learn and be a part of a new culture.

What about you? Where have you experienced the most culture shock? How do you deal?

Travel Tuesday

Weekly Wishes!

weekly wishes

Are you guys sick of seeing sunrise pictures yet? Because I’m sure not sick of taking them!

Oh Monday, I know you get a bad rap, but this week, you’re looking pretty sweet. This whole week I get to hard-core plan and hang out with my family. If that doesn’t sound good then I just don’t know what will. I’m so lucky to have this time to come home- to my parents’ home- and relax in the place that will always feel the most comforting. Having summers off (somewhat, anyway) is a teacher perk I’m already quite enjoying. Of course, working on my computer a lot of the time isn’t idea, but at least it can be done in my yoga pants with a dog on my lap or at my feet- usually both!

Last week, my goals were to

1) Bike more! – Yes yes! I’ve had glorious 5am bike rides every day this past week. Oh, life is sweet in these moments.

2) Get a new phone! Done! I’m already so in love with this phone. It actually works all the time and does what I want! Imagine that?

3) Spend as much time as possible with my family. Continuous. Working from my laptop means I get to hang out with Daddy all day while he watches TV and such, and it’s the best best best. This time is so precious to me. I really can’t imagine a better way to spend my days.

4) Focus on myself and things that make me really happy and feel good. Oh yes. I’ve been seeing friends, making plans for myself, biking and doing yoga on a daily basis and making myself feel GOOD.

This week, I’m going to try to:

1) Keep biking/jogging/walking in combination with yoga at least 4 days a week. Since I’m going it early in the morning before it gets too hot, sometimes I can convince myself to sleep 30 min afterward and then it feels like a brand new day. EXTRA good.

2) Keep on spending as much time as possible with the family. It’s been so good to be home. Sometimes I forget just how much I love visiting this little town.

3) Get all my TFA paperwork done. There’s still quite a bit left to do on the legal side of hiring and getting started and all that. I’m hoping to figure this all out this week!

4) Try and get more contacts for people at my new school. Part of TFA and teaching in general is being super flexible. Right now this means not knowing A) who our new principal will be, B) anything about my new students, and C) if I will have a co-teacher/who that will be. I’m going to reach out to some of my TFA contacts and see if I can’t get some sort of info. I suppose I’ll find out everything soon enough- the first day of school is approaching fast!

That’s it for this week! I’m looking forward to this week of more relaxation and working on making myself happy while I don’t have many other responsibilities.

What are your goals for the week? Let me know and link up with Melyssa for more encouragement!

Oh hey, Friday!

oh hey friday

Chased the sunrise this morning on my bike ride. It was so pretty!

How in the world is it Friday already! Woo! I’m definitely not complaining! Let’s get out a few thoughts Oh hey, Friday style!

1) I’m really really hoping to be able to take a quick trip over to Seattle and Portland before I head back to Chicago. Organizing with friends is going to be fun! Plus I just got a new audio-book which is my favorite thing on long trips. Have you read Gone Girl? Because that’s what I’m about to get started on! Ah, vacation.

2) My sweet puppies make my day, every day. Just by existing. They are the cutest things ever and I just don’t know how people do life without dogs. I may or may not (totally do) have a chihuahua curled up on my lap and a big dog beside my chair right now so I’m a little biased, but they are the best.

3) Flexibility has been the name of the game lately, and I’m not just talking about yoga. My principal is leaving our school this year, so we’ll soon find out who our 3rd principal is in a one year span will be. Adjusting to all of these changes at once is challenging, but it’s the way things are in urban education, and it’s exactly why I’m teaching where I am.

4) I’m still in a state of disbelief that it’s August. AUGUST. Wasn’t it just March? Oh, just me? Well, I just can’t get over it. However, being home in Idaho with all the fields and trucks and tractors and back roads is definitely helping it feel more like August. Not to mention the triple digit temps. Woo! Let’s just say 5am is about the ONLY time I can get in a walk or a bike ride lately. Which leads to…

5) I am IN LOVE with riding bikes lately. LOVE. Which is kind of the because it’s healthy and fun and oh-so-peaceful in the early morning before the rest of the world wakes up. If only I could do this in Chicago too. Bummer. #CityLife

Have a few things to share this Friday? Join in on the link up and get in on the fun!



Q & A on a Thursday!


The lovely Kat of Lemonade Linings nominated me for a Liebster award! As I’ve already done a post on the Liebster award, I think it will still be good to answer these questions and share a little bit more about myself with my readers! I did this last time and it was super fun.

And since this is my little corner of the internet and I do what I want, I’m going to answer both the questions Kat answered and the ones she asked. It’s guaranteed to be a fun time! If you think this would be a fun post to fill out, I nominate YOU to write one up next! Tell me 11 things about yourself and answer 11 of these questions!

1. What’s your favorite part about blogging?
I know this is totally cliche but really and truly, the community I’ve found through blogging. It’s amazing to know that around the country (and some parts of the world) there are people reading my words and following along with my life’s adventures. It’s also so much fun to be able to look back on what I’ve written in the past.
2. What football team will you be cheering on this fall?
Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. I know, judge away.
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Oh my goodness. SO many places! I think I’d like to try living in Vietnam for a while.
4. What’s the best piece of blogging advice you have for new bloggers?
Oh gosh I still feel like a new blogger myself. I think the main thing I would say is to not get caught up in statistics and page views. Just blog for yourself and to get your words out there. Remember why you started.
5. Best season: Fall, Summer, Spring or Winter?
Fall! I mean I love summer too, but fall is just so perfect. Not too cold but still I”m not dying of heat.
6. Are you guilty of texting and driving? Don’t lie!
Nope! I used to when I was younger, now I just don’t want to take the risk!
7. If you were 18 and in college again, and know what you know now, what would you major in?
Public Health, all over again. Except I would go ahead and get a minor in Education. I really loved college and my degree but I would love to have had a little more background in what I’m doing now!
8. Have you, or do you aspire to ever run a full marathon?
BAHAHA NO. I’ve done some 5ks and have a goal of a 10k. But that’s really as much as I’d like to do.
9. What’s your favorite beverage?
Water all day err day. With ice, please.
10. What was your biggest blogging mistake?
I think, in the beginning I just didn’t post enough. I wasn’t really serious about blogging so I only posted like twice a month. Now, I try to post more but not so much that I get burnt out on blogging. I don’t know how some people do 5 posts a week! I guess I’ll never be at that cool kids table. I’m okay with that.
11. Your house is on fire and you have time to grab three things – what are they?
Well, I’m assuming we’re talking about my new apartment and my roommate is capable of getting herself out? If so, I’d grab my phone, my laptop, and and my laundry basket because let’s be real most of the clothes i usually wear are in there clean or dirty.
1. If you could only eat one food for a whole week, what would it be?
Potatoes. In all the different ways they can be cooked!
2. What is your biggest fear?
Loneliness. Not being alone, because sometimes I love that, but loneliness.
3. If a movie was made about your life, what actress would portray you?
Probably Mindy Kaling. She’s sassy, classy, witty and totally gorgeous.
4. How do you spend your ideal Saturday?
Sleeping in, hanging out with my dogs, a long walk or bike ride, dinner with friends, bed by 11.
5. What is your favorite movie of all time?
The Princess Bride, hands down, every time.
6. What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting your blog?
Before I began blogging, I really didn’t think anyone other than my mother (Hi, Mom!) would be interested in what I’m writing and what’s happening in my life. I’ve learned that there’s such a community to be found here and friendships that I never could have made without this little blog.
7. What is one item you’re dying to have in your closet right now?
Have you seen this dress? Ugh I want it so bad. I mean really all of their dresses are amazing but that one in particular has been speaking to me lately.
8. You are given a $100 gift card to Target. What do you buy?
Girl, you are speaking my language! I’d treat myself to some new eyeshadows and nail polishes, then hit up the clothing department for a new top or something. I love Target.
9. Where is one place you haven’t been that you’d love to visit on a vacation?
I already talked about Vietnam, but I’d also really like to visit Turkey or Jordan. So so many places I still have left to see in this world!
10. If you could only be active on one social media account (blog not included), which one would you choose?
A year ago, I would have never guessed I’d say this but- Twitter. I refused to give in to making an account for the longest time, but I’ve grown to love how connected I feel with it!
11. Cats or dogs?
BOTH. I’m a total cheater, I know, but I just can’t choose. My dogs are my absolute best friends, but my cat just cracks me up with his personality.
Now it’s your turn. Ready, set, go! And link up your post in the comments so I can see!