Category Archives: Idaho

This is Not the Life I Planned

This is not the life I planned

I’m not where I thought I’d be by now.

But that’s ok with me.

Throughout my teenage years, I had a few different versions of where I thought I’d be at this point in my life.

There was option A:  The one where I get married young.
I’d stay home with the kids for a few years. This one is what is common where I grew up in small town Idaho and it works out great for some people.

Option B: The one where I traveled.
See, at 18, I didn’t know what it meant to stay in the United States for more than a year at a time. Post-college, I saw myself continuing this pattern.

Option C: The one with the fancy job.
I’d be working at a big important job by now as a leader in some big industry.

Along with each of these options came a similar timelines. Get a job, get married by 27, baby by 30. Stable. Secure. Settled. 

The thing is though, I didn’t plan for setbacks or mistakes. I didn’t plan for life to get in the way. I didn’t plan on learning more and having my eyes and heart opened to new possibilities. It’s funny, because we can plan and plan as much as we want. In the end, the universe gives us what we need and takes us down paths we never imagined.

I never saw myself where I am now. I never thought I’d be single for over a year, much less by choice (another post for another day).

I never saw myself feeling so fulfilled by my work that seems so simple from an outside perspective, but means so much and matters in this world so much to those of us involved.

I never saw myself living in Chicago. Alone.

I never knew I’d be this content with NOT knowing what comes next. And that’s the thing I’m learning most- it’s ok. Not too long ago, I would have been terrified of not knowing what comes next. Now, though, I know that things will turn out as they are meant to. I know my life will go down the path it is supposed to, because I will continue to grow and learn just what it is I need to get down that path.

This isn’t the life I planned.

This isn’t where I thought I’d be by now.

But this is exactly where I’m meant to be.

And it is good. So good.

Weekly Wishes!

weekly wishes

Oh my word, you guys. Last time I came to this here blog of mine was to post a weekly wishes post and then I disappeared. Though, I had good reason. I’ve been in Idaho at my parent’s house enjoying family, all the food and ALL the puppies! I literally didn’t even open up my computer until last night to answer some emails. It’s been beautiful to be a little more disconnected than usual and be able to really be present here. We had a lovely Christmas filled with singing for our presents (a family tradition) and playing with the pups around the Christmas tree. Now it is time to prepare for work and school to return for me, though I’m still lucky enough to be able to get work done from here for another week before I head back to Chicago!

I’m happy to say I accomplished all my goals last week and am ready for some brand new ones to close out this year! Next week I will be posting my word of the year and goals for 2015, so I’ll keep this week’s short and sweet!

|ONE| Blog ahead and schedule posts for at least a week. Gotta start small, right?

|TWO| Finish Me Before You and start a new book. I have been LOVING this one and know I need an excellent one to follow it to keep this streak going. I’ve been reading nothing but great books lately and I’m ALL about it.

|THREE| Enjoy my remaining time here in Idaho as much as possible. Having 4 dogs and a cat in the house it’s easy to love being here and having someone to snuggle with all the time! I’m also trying to squeeze in visits with as many friends as possible before I leave but it seems there is never enough time!

What are you goals for this week? Will you join me in talking about yearly goals next week? I’m SO excited for the refreshment that always seems to come with the new year.

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!



Weekly Wishes! Now I can tell all my secrets!


Spotted in the airport- giving my wanderlust even more ammunition!

Today (and for the next few weeks) I’ll be posting from Idaho! I surprised my family with a visit out here before school starts and it’s been so hard not to tell anyone or post anything because they might see it! But now of course they know and it is the best feeling to not have to keep it in! I’m terrible at secrets and can’t lie to save my life so it’s a huge relief to not need to anymore.

This past weekend was so much fun. Saturday I had brunch with my co-teacher then hopped on a plane out here to Idaho! I landed in the middle of the night and got back to be greeted with lots of puppy cuddles and my cat being mad at me. Don’t worry, that lasted all of one day and he is back to sitting on my lap whenever possible! My sweet Moka and I had a moment when I returned as we cried together all over again as she told me in her own way about Capone’s passing and how hard it’s been on everyone. That boxer baby had all our hearts, and was so much a part of this family, it’s strange to be in the house without him.

It can’t all be sad though, I am still lucky to have my family (mostly) healthy, the other pets playful and loving as ever, and the ultimate relaxation that comes from spending time in my childhood house.

For anyone who is new around here, Weekly Wishes is where I share my goals for the week and link up with a bunch of other bloggers doing the same. It’s a great way to hold ourselves and each other accountable to get things done and discover more blogs at the same time!

Last week my wishes were to:

1) Get everything packed up to move into my new apartment! Done! Everything is all packed up waiting for me to come back to it and move in!
2) Get rid of some things that I really just don’t need anymore. I did this too! I probably could have gotten rid of even more but I am just too dang attached to things to let them go too easily. 
3) Explore the city and surrounding areas. I did do some of this! Of course there is lots more of the city to see but it will be an ongoing goal for sure!
4) Feel better! SO MUCH BETTER. I can breathe and swallow and exist without pain and it’s amazing!

This week, my goals are to:

1) Bike more! I just re-learned how to ride and it feels AMAZING. My body remembered how to ride these Idaho hills pretty quickly and it’s like I’m 11 years old again riding around. Now I’m just more comfortable going further by myself without making a big brother come with me to watch me, haha.

2) Get a new phone! Is this cheating because it’s already been ordered? Oh well. It’s happening on Wednesday and I am so excited. It’s only been a day and already it feels strange to not have a working phone. 

3) Spend as much time as possible with my family. I’ve missed them so much while I’ve been in Chicago and I can already tell that this time at home will be good for me.

4) Focus on myself and things that make me really happy and feel good. From seeing friends to hanging out with my pets, to biking to yoga to walking. This time is just for me to really be good to myself while prepping for the school year and the changes in my life that are happening.

What are you goals this week? Fill me in in the comments!

5 years!

High School to College

High School graduation to college graduation with my big brother!

How in the world has it been 5 years since I’ve graduated high school? I know it’s not a big milestone to some, but something hit me after writing my last post. I also came home to Idaho for a visit and received a letter. From myself. 5 years ago and about to graduate high school.

A lot of things have changed in 5 years. I know I have changed and grown and accomplished and my dreams have changed. However, there are some things that just haven’t changed. Today, I’d like to share a few quotes from that letter. It’s so strange to read this letter that in so many ways sounds just like me but at the same time, that girl seems like a completely different person.

On travel:

“That night, something changed inside of you, grabbed onto something there and didn’t let go. You made a realization that night. You knew from then on that this would be a big part of who you are. You are a person who travels, a person who experiences as much as you can, and a person who isn’t letting that go. Please don’t let that go. ”

On perfection:

“You don’t have to be perfect all the time… You don’t always have to go further and do even better. Take things more as they come. You just need to do the best you can do, and be happy with that. Do all that you can, and that will be just fine, even if it’s not perfect.”

On worry:

“It may seem like the simplest lesson to learn- don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Don’t try to control the things that are beyond your power. You can handle anything, really. Because you can’t control what happens about some things, you just have to change your opinion about the situation to make it bearable.”

On the future:

Overall, this year, and all your years at Genesee Schools have been full. This year in particular has been a year of emotional growth and maturity as I’ve prepared for my life in the future- your life. In five years, I see myself finishing my degree and working. I think I’ll be living in Atlanta still, and figuring out where to go to graduate school and if I really wat to go to graduate school. Is that what you are doing now? I hope you are still passionate about whatever you are doing, and above all, I hope you are enjoying and loving life in the same way I am now, if not even more so.

On forgiveness:

If you’ve made mistakes, don’t worry. Remember- its ok to not be perfect. I forgive you.

On being a transplant | Travel Tuesday


My first home- Idaho

A lot of the time I think and write about travel, I tend to only focus on the international travel I’ve done. The traveling I’ve done overseas has been great to me and is a huge part of who I am. However, I think that I am doing myself (and you, my readers) a sort of disservice by not also acknowledging and talking about travel within the borders of our own country. This travel has had an equally huge impact on me and has allowed me to grow and change just as much.

To begin talking about this travel, I think it is best to talk about where I’ve lived and the influence moving across the country (a few times) has had on me.

I am an Atlantan. When people ask me where I live I automatically answer with Atlanta. This is my home and where I’ve spent my adult years. This is where I’ve loved and lost and learned and worked the most. However, when I think of home, this isn’t the only place that flashes in my mind.

My story began in Idaho. In some ways, my story is still continuing there through my family. They are my life-blood and biggest supporters (hi Mom!). I lived in Idaho until I was 18, minus the one year I spent in Mexico during high school. Idaho shaped me and raised me and have me the foundation upon which I’ve built my life. I am an Idahoan.

Moving to Atlanta was quite possibly the best decision I ever made. I became who I am here. However, this is not where I’m from and in a lot of ways, I think living far away from where you grew up makes you a little different than those who’ve stayed close to where they were raised. Not better or worse, just different.

It makes you 2 different people, all at the same time. I am the small town girl who is probably a little too trusting of the world and sees life in a simple way with an open heart. But I am also the woman in the city who knows how to navigate her way with the awareness, confidence, and speed required for life around here. I am the Northern girl with a love for the beauty of snow and the hills and fresh air, and I am the Southern woman who doesn’t like the cold and prefers to sit by the pool in the sun after a day at the office in a suit.

You get the picture. They are both parts of who I am. I’ve been able to pick what works best and feels best to me based upon how I was raised and how I’ve adjusted as I’ve grown.

In this same light, I know that Chicago will change me in some ways as well. I will be learning the culture of a new city, and growing as a person learning to navigate this world.

Soon I will call Chicago home.

Though I’m not from there and won’t claim to be, my transplant status gives me a unique view of home. I see home as a feeling, not a place. It’s a feeling I had with my host family in Mexico, playing Wii with my host in France, cooking dinner with my Nun Mother in Uganda, etc. It is a feeling of peace, of calm, of home.

I feel like I’ve gotten to a point of rambling with this post, but I’m interested to know what you all think. Where have you found home? Did you stay in one place all your life or move around? What place do you consider to really be your home?

Travel Tuesday

The story of a girl who couldn’t make up her mind. Ever.

Aka the story of how I’m now living in my 3rd home in as many months and now there’s no turning back. For a while.

As you know by now, life post-college graduation has not exactly been the fairy tale I might have imagined my sophomore year of college. (I thought I’d be living in North Carolina and married over this past summer and life would be moving in a TOTALLY different direction. HA, 20 year old me was so silly.) Honestly, I could not be more grateful for the way my life has changed over these past couple of years but it still leaves me with immense feelings of uncertainty. Is this where I’m supposed to be living? Is this the path I belong on? Hello, confusion!

What I do know is that I am incredibly lucky that my past experiences have given me the confidence and ability to just pick up my life in a matter of days, pack everything I own into my car, and go. It’s a wild ride.

After my summer of teaching, I packed up and moved home to take care of my Daddy. Though I know I was helpful to provide rides and a rest for the rest of my family, I also know that I wasn’t in the place I was supposed to be. My heart wasn’t there. And that’s ok.

I love my father with everything I have. I have him in my heart forever, and his writing tattooed on my skin. He will forever be my number 1 man, and my biggest cheerleader in this life. I know he understands my need to leave my small town in Idaho and knows my heart is in the city with more opportunities for education and for work that I will be able to love. I still talk to him regularly and I know the updates on his condition, and am in close contact with his doctors. At this point, there is nothing more I could do, and I just have to trust that they will make my father the most comfortable that they can in this time.

So I picked up and drove to Atlanta, back again for good this time. Or until I save up enough money for another move. For now, I am relying on the generosity of sweet friends to provide housing for me until I can find myself a job and an apartment on my own, and enjoying time recovering mentally and spiritually from these past few months, and reconnecting with friends that fill my soul with so much happiness.

This change and transition into a new stage of life is bittersweet, but the moments of joy make it worth it. And as bad as I might think things may be at times, I remember the words of my favorite professor as I complained once to her about not knowing what to do with my life- I am lucky. I am so very blessed to have these options. To have choice. I have the privilege of deciding what I will do and who I will be. There are so many who don’t have that, and I am lucky. This reminder to be grateful echoes through my mind any time I start to think negatively.



My goodness!

So remember how last time I wrote I said I had decided to stay in Idaho for about another year while living with my parents to save $$ and go to school and such?

Well, I’m back on the fence. I still want to stay, but I just don’t know that I can make it another year. In a few weeks, when my summer teaching session ends, I’m planning a trip for a few weeks back to Atlanta so I can see how life could be there. I need this trip! I miss the city and my friends desperately, and need to do some serious appreciation of the boyfriend.

BUT! I am currently working on job applications like crazy closer to my parents, which is making my head spin. As much as I know I need to get a job there, I know my heart isn’t in these applications because I really would rather find a fabulous job in Atlanta that could convince me to move back there. I have one last application out in Atlanta that I’m not counting on, but I am certainly hoping for! It’s one I’ve wanted for a while, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

In other news, adulting is hard. Is that really news though?

This week, my car got hit. In. My. School. Parking. Lot.
Meaning it was the parent of one of my students. Disappointing, seeing as they all know it’s my car. In my head, all people were honest enough to leave a note if they hit someone’s car. Or say something. Something. But no. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things but it totally threw my week off. I’m fine, my car still runs, no harm done (except a big dent). So  getting that fixed will be…interesting.

My debit card expired. My new one was sent to my parents house. Meaning this week I’ve been without a way to spend money. Again, not a big deal, just inconvenient. I’ll get it this weekend when they visit.

Actually, now that I think of it, maybe that was a good thing, ha!

Anyway, people sometimes suck and money is better saved.

Now, I MUST get back to this pile of laundry. My parents are coming down to visit this weekend and I would hate for them to think I’m struggling as much as I am. They have enough to worry about without worrying about the cleanliness of my apartment!

PS- For the record- it’s clean, just cluttered!


I’ve been feeling kind of “meh” lately. Between moving and leaving everything I’ve known for the past four years and trying to make this transition into living in Idaho and not being a college student anymore, I have to admit it’s been a little rough.

However, today when I was browsing the TV channels (cause I can do things like that now- no papers to write!) I saw a commercial about education that shared some stats about Idaho. While the commercial was quite sad (we’re ranked 48th in the nation! OUCH!) it also pointed out that although right now I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much, I actually have done something that not many people do.

As you can watch in this video,

For every 10 high school first-years in Idaho, 8 will graduate from high school.

4 will go to college.

1 will graduate from college.


I am that one.

The teacher in me wants to make sure that in the next generation there are many more than just ONE. The recent grad in me is damn proud to be that one.

A a woman, I know the odds were even greater against me.

As a Latina, I know the odds were WAY higher that I would drop out or get pregnant than graduate from college.

I know it may seem like a small thing, but right now it’s big. And it’s real. And that’s something that I’m proud of.

Graduation, moving, and puppies, oh my!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but I promise there’s a reason! I graduated from college and moved across the country! It’s been such a whirlwind couple of weeks but I’m finally catching up with everything going on.

First of all, let me say that graduating from college is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. The amount of love and pride I felt radiating all over my college campus that day was overwhelming in the most fantastic way. My beautiful, sweet, intelligent, kind, incredible friends all did wonderfully and we all couldn’t have been more proud of each other. We’ve all supported each other through four years of the greatest but also most difficult and trying years, but we survived and came out stronger, more confident women.

401833_602051971394_192302761_n     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve loved each other with incredible strength, passion, and loyalty, and these women have become my true support system and best friends. I couldn’t imagine life without them, and I feel profoundly lucky that I don’t have to.

And of course I can never forget about my other incredible support system. My parents and two of my brothers were able to make it to my graduation and I was so so happy that they were there!


A couple days after graduation, my brother and I started on the drive back to Idaho! We had a pretty uneventful trip, just a lot of driving and counting antelope in Wyoming! And of course, coming home I’ve been spending a lot of time with this sweet baby!