Sunday, December 2, 2012

Life Update

It has been 4 months since I packed up my CR-V, headed West on I-80 through Chicago, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and finally arrived in Utah.

I have moved around more times than I wish to count, and each time I learn a little bit more. If somebody wanted to know what lesson I learned from this round of moving I would emphatically tell them "Don't ever move in July/August/September/October time frame." Why you might ask? Because that dreaded homesickness that I talked about in this post, will happen right over the holidays. Don't get me wrong, I have had a wonderful time here in Utah, but change is hard, and it makes no difference if you are moving to a location with an iron-clad support system.

I knew that moving to Utah would be hard, but I never expected to miss Ohio as much as I do. It's almost comical as I look back at the posts from the last 2 years (just reading last Thanksgiving's post made me chuckle a little bit to see how far I have come in just a year) , to see how much I wrote about hating Ohio, because now I would give anything to have my "Ohio life" back. Having removed myself from the situation I realize how many wonderful people I left behind, whether they be co-workers,  friends from Church, or the patients I worked with. The move happened really fast, a year ago I would have never expected to have quit my job in Cleveland and move across the country to a new career path in Utah. That being said, I know that it is a lot easier to look back at the things that I miss about Ohio, as I sit here on my couch, surrounded by so many wonderful friends that I have known for years. I have here what I always wanted in Ohio, an instant support system.

Despite my longing for the life I had in Ohio, I plaster a smile on my face and try to make the most of every day (more of the "fake-it-till-you-make-it" philosophy). I have decided if I keep myself busy enough I won't have time to miss the things I had in Cleveland. I have already run three races (two 5k's and one 10k), I have been able to go hiking (real mountain hiking), I have gone back to Moab, I spent the holiday's with family, I got to hold little baby Brooklyn, I have had somebody to eat Sunday dinner with every week, and I have laughed so hard I have almost peed my pants. But I still feel like something is missing, and that is when I came across this quote that really resonated with me, "Nothing is worth it if you are not happy." and that is when I realized that all of the decisions I have made to get me to Utah have not made me truly happy. I thought that I wanted to leave the clinical setting, that as soon as I changed my career path to a a more outdoor recreation based job I would find my calling in life.... I have discovered that thought is FALSE! So what have I discovered you might ask? I have decided that I loved my job in the hospital. I have decided that I love being around my friend's and family. I have decided that I still want to work with medically fragile infants. So after throwing around many options I think I have settled on one.... I want to get my Master's in Occupational therapy at the University of Utah (or maybe University of Minnesota). This is a pretty lofty goal, and I am not sure when this will happen, but just ask anyone, when I know what I want, I get it. As of right now I will continue to give 100% to my job, I will continue to put a smile on my face, and I will continue to enjoy my life in Utah.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Autumn is my all time favorite season.

I love the changing leaves,
I love the smells,
I love the chill in the air,
I love drinking hot chocolate,
I love bonfires,
I love wearing cardigans,
I love Thanksgiving,
I love watching football,
and most of all I love the feelings that often come flooding back as I reminisce on past autumn memories.

 **All photos taken from google images**

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life Lately

In a matter of a few weeks life has a way of turning everything that was once familiar, routine, and safe upside down and all around into things that are now unfamiliar, unknown, and chaotic. For all the complaining I had done about Cleveland, I had grown to love the life I had created for myself. And even though I know in my heart that right now, I need to be in Utah, close to family and friends, it does not make the transition any easier. My last two weeks in Cleveland were full of last minute sight-seeing, last visits, and last bucket list activities. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to spend time with dear friends and co-workers that helped me throughout my time in Cleveland.
 Here are a few highlights:

1. I finally made it to the Christmas story house and I am so glad that I did! Although I did not grow up watching the Christmas story I absolutely LOVE Christmas so any excuse I have to see a Christmas tree I will take it, plus hearing the history of the movie was fascinating and I feel as though I will enjoy the movie that much more next time I watch it.

2. My dear friend and co-worker, Deb, took me to see the sunset on Lake Erie (twice! The first time it was cloudy). It was absolutely gorgeous and I enjoyed spending the evenings talking with Deb.

3. In an effort to try new things I found a new activity that I absolutely love…. Anti-gravity yoga. And for those of you who feel that the word “yoga” can only be used when referring to poses done in conjuction with meditation and deep breathing, get over it. This type of yoga integrates poses such as chair, mountain, and warrior, with acrobatics to strengthen and stretch muscles as well as give you confidence in your body (because there is nothing like dangling 2 feet from the ground with nothing but your body and a little piece of material to stop you from face planting into the ground).
Google Images
Although everybody thinks that I absolutely hated Cleveland and that I would be skipping out of there (mostly my fault, I know), It was not easy to say goodbye to Cleveland. I cried more leaving Cleveland than I did leaving Changzhou, China. Luckily I have been so incredibly busy that I have not had much time to sit and think about what I have left behind. There are moments when I feel as though I am just on vacation and that in just a few short days I will be back in my “hood”, buying the regulars at Costco, going to see my babies at the hospital, but then I am quickly drawn back to reality. (usually by my cousin screaming, “more cars, more cars!”)  There are moments where I break down in the car because I do not know where the gas stations are, or I can not find my way back to my house. There are moments of anxiety as I realize how much I will need to learn to be able to complete my new job. There are moments of fear as I realize that I have to walk into the church building by myself, or go to activities and know absolutely no one. Despite what others might think, this was not an easy move for me (and just for the record, I never thought it would be). But despite all the anxiety, fear, and uncomfortablness, I know in my heart that this was where I needed to be in my life and I just have to move forward.

The past week has been so incredibly busy! In 10 days I traveled through 11 different states, gone through 4 different time zones,  stayed in 6 different cities, and stopped at numerous gas stations. As I have traveled through the different states I have been so blessed to be able to feel so much love in my heart as I have reconnected with friends and been able to spend time with them. I have been separated from many of these friends for over a year, but my heart was filled with gratitude as I saw how wonderful the treated me and how much they loved me. I was reminded of this love when (due to some unfortunate events) I needed a last minute place to stay the night I got into Utah. I asked several people if I could stay and within a matter of a few hours I had three friends who were willing to let me sleep on their couch. I was reminded why I have the greatest friends ever when my friend insisted that I sleep on their bed while they took the floor. Was it a big deal? No, I would have done the same thing, but after being away from them for so long, that simple act was enough to remind me how loved I am.

This week I was fortunate enough to spend with Melanie, my aunt, her husband and 3 year old son (and their adorable dog Bobby). The first couple days were spent in Vegas where I met my 2 week old cousin Mary. Then it was up to Vernal, Utah were Mel reside. It is never a place that I would choose to live, but I have managed to have fun while I’ve been out here. Between the kayaking, birthday party, and trips in the community with Emmit, I have thouroughly enjoyed my stay and will be really, really sad to leave. And for those of you who think I have a heart made of stone, Emmit and Bobby are here to prove you wrong. They have me wrapped around their little fingers (or paws), all they have to do is look at me and I let them do whatever they want (do not even get me started about what I do when they start to cry). I love coming to visit Mel, Val, and Emmit, they always spoil me, especially when it is my birthday! I have loved spending the time with Emmit, and although he has given me quite a few bruises, his laughter warms my heart. This year for my birthday I got the spend the day with Emmit, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day (besides the tempertantrum he threw leaving the library where the head butted me multiple times). But how could you be mad at him when he says, “Tiff, Emmit sad, Emmit so sad.” Then getting to spend the night roasting hot dogs outside, with the dogs running around and Emmit saying, “Tiff, party cake, party cake Tiff.” I seriously could not have asked for a better week!

So here’s to a new adventure!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

As promised here is an update about my trip to the Nation's capital:

When I first accepted the job in Utah and decided to make a bucket list I knew that the first thing on that list was to make a trip to Washington D.C. After all I could not very well say that I had only driven through Washington D.C. and did not take the time to stop in such a historic part of our Nation's history. At first I was apprehensive of the trip, only because I was afraid that I would have to go see all of the sights by myself, and while I have grown accustomed to doing many things by myself I knew that this trip would be more enjoyable if shared with at least one other person, regardless if I liked them or not. Lucky for me, I remembered that my friends Holli, Annie, and her husband Victor all lived in the D.C. area and I quickly became excited to see them again.
Part of our Group from China 2007
Holli to my R, and Annie to my L
Long story short I had the most amazing trip of my life. Annie, Holli, and I first met in Kunming, China back in 2007. We stayed in contact throughout the years, Annie went on her mission to Romania and graduated from college, Holli got married, had a baby, and graduated from college, and I went back to China and graduated from college, however we had not seen each other for at least 3 years. After a few Facebook messages I arranged to stay with Annie and her husband Victor in Stafford, Virginia. I knew through Annie's blog that she had been taking quite a few visitors on tours of the D.C. area and did not want to inconvenience her by making her see the sights yet again, so I had planned on still seeing them by myself. But that is where I was wrong and when I remembered how amazing my friend's are, because not only was Annie and Victor willing to let me tag along with their plans that weekend, but they also took me to see any of the sights that I wanted, even if they had just been a couple weeks earlier. And you know what, it was amazing, I loved the time I had to catch up with Annie and reminsce about old days. And I loved meeting her husband, they had some great stories, and we shared a lot of laughter! Holli even came down with her little girl, who I got to meet for the first time! It made me remember that although my confidence in making friends has struggled here in Ohio, that I am have been blessed with such amazing friends throughout the years and that I am capable of making friends.

Saturday was spent going to the temple, and then Vic and Annie took me up to Annapolis for a BBQ. Victor went to the Naval Academy there and had a friend who had just graduated who was throwing a BBQ. After all the yummy food I got a tour of the Naval Academy from the alumni. Annapolis was hands down my all time favorite place I have been (in America). It probably had more to do with the people that I was with, but for the first time in 18 months I felt like I could breath again. It probably helped that the weather was absolutely gorgeous, I seriously couldn't have asked for a prettier day.

Sunday was full of more sight seeing. The Marine Corps Museum, where I got to experience what it took to be a marine, as well as see the original pictures and flag from the battle at Iwo Jimma. I loved going with Annie and Victro because they were so knowledgeable in the history behind all the exhibits, they were like my own personal tour guides (hopefully it wasn't too annoying!) Hands down my favorite museum, especially the flag. I have a soft spot in my heart for those men and women who protect our countries freedoms. I get tears in my eyes when the Star Spangled Banner is sung, or when I see a flag that was raised in a battle that was fought to protect my freedoms.
After eating a yummy Indian dish that Annie made, we headed off to Arlington cemetery to see the changing of the guards.  Yet another humbling experience to hear the background story about Robert E. Lee, and then to see all of the gravestones of those who have died in battle. After we were done visiting the graves we decided to see a couple of the sights that would be out of our way on Monday. The funniest thing happened as Victor went to go park. As with any city the only way you are going to find a spot is if you know how to parallel park. Lucky for us Victor grew up in Jersey and grew up parallell parking. We were lucky enough to find a spot and just as Victor is reversing to go into the spot we here a car honking. This man had come up from behind and tried to pull into the spot as we were reversing. As the men were discussing whose spot it really was these men across the street yell to Victor, "He pulled an illegal U-turn, it's yours buddy!" That man tried to dibs a spot from across the street and pull in as we were reversing.... we were not going to back down, it was our spot fair and square. Lucky for us the guy decided he was wrong and pulled away, leaving us free to park there. We went to the classic sights, the Lincoln memorial, the Washington Monument (unfortunately the reflecting pool was under construction so it just looked like an ugly mess of rocks). The Vietnam memorial was probably my favorite, plus Victor was telling me the method behind what each man was carrying and why (extremely, fascinating). Again the weather was beautiful, it was absolutely gorgeous. After such an eventful day we decided to go home and watch a movie. And while you may be wondering why I am putting such a small insignificant event on my blog (I mean seriously everybody watches movies, you don't have to go to D.C. to watch them). It meant the world to me to be sitting next to somebody on the couch, laughing about the movie, looking at pictures from her trip, doing all the things I used to do in Rexburg, that I have been so desperately missing the last 18 months.

Monday was another exciting day, Holli and Charly came to join us as toured the White House, the Washington Monument, the National History Museum (I got to see the original flag that inspired our national anthem as well as the Hope diamond), as well as one other museum I can't remember. Again the weather was absolutely gorgeous and we got to eat some yummy food!

File:Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964.jpg
Moral of the story: I have amazing friends. I am so grateful that the Lord allowed our paths to meet 5 years ago and that he allowed our paths to cross again.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

3 weeks and counting....

August 4th will be a bittersweet day. It will be the day that I will start my journey back out to Utah. Despite my somewhat sad and depressing posts the last year and a half, not to mention my negative attitude about the people in Cleveland, it might surprise you that I am actually extremely sad to leave. After all, I will be leaving a place that I have grown to love. I love watching the leaves change in the fall, I absolutely LOVE the old houses that are found in my neighborhood, I love my job and all the people that I work with, I love feeling like I can take care of myself, and most of all I love the people that I have met and the friends that I have made. I know that I have seriously undermined their importance in my life, and I just pray that I have not hurt any of their feelings in doing so. Cleveland is my home, I know where the grocery stores are, and where to find the cheapest gas. I know how much to buy at the grocery store and when to buy it. I know what my schedule will be like week after week and have a routine for going to the gym. For the first time in my life I have settled down and have made Cleveland my home.

In everybody's life there is always a place where they can look back and think, "Man, I sure did a lot of growing up here." Whether it's the cabin you went to every summer, or that year in college when the real world came knocking and you realized that you were no longer the care-free teenager who only had to worry about what boys liked her and what she was going to wear to school the next day. One day when I look back and think, "When did I become an adult?" I will remember that the process started in Cleveland. That is where I learned how to find an apartment to live in and set up the gas and electricity in that apartment. I learned how to juggle the demands of work, church, and social life, and to budget my money. I learned how many decorations, appliances, furniture, linens, etc are actually needed to fill an apartment and I learned how to successfully navigate myself around the ghetto. Most importantly I learned who I am, what motivates me, my discourages me, what hurts me, and what makes me happy.

Yes, August 4th will be a bittersweet day, I will be packing up my car with everything I own (hopefully it will not get stolen this time) and driving to MN while singing at the top of my longs to this song by Jerrod Niemann
And of course this one too!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Being a tourist in your town...

In an effort to bring more positive words of affirmation into my life and enjoy some chocolate while I was at it, I decided to by a bag of Dove chocolate. After a particularly rough weekend, this is the encouragement that I received today:

Which is exactly what I have been trying to do the last couple months.

 In an effort to experience all that Cleveland has to offer I decided to start "seize the day" movement. Many of you will remember my "Cleveland Bucket List"   Here are some of the highlights from my last few moments in Cleveland.

From L to R:
1. Heartthrob ball: I have had several opportunities to dress up and go to a fancy event for work. The Heartthrob ball is a fundraiser where 3 kids from the Children's hospital are chosen as Courage award winners and spotlighted at this gala. These are kids who have shown courage in their surgeries, treatment, or therapy. They are kids who have overcome great odds and are still smiling at the end. One of the Courage award nominees is a young man that I work with in the dialysis unit, so I was able to go to this $250/plate or $5,000 dollar table  to support him. I did not pay for the table, of course, it was just one of the perks of working in a department that had a Courage award winner. It was amazing, unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I pulled up to a red carpet, the valet took my car, and I was ushered downstairs to enjoy cocktails before the event started. The event itself was something else, the tables were eloquently decorated, the women were in evening gowns, the men in tuxedos. Absolutely breathtaking! Watch the first one... but I will warn you, you many need a box of tissues. Courageous Kids

2. E. 4th, a favorite local place to dine.

3. My first country concert with a group of girls from work. Kip Moore was preforming at a local restaurant. This was a huge moment for me.... I broke free of my rigid Wednesday routine, skipped the gym, and ordered pizza for dinner at 9 o clock at night.

4. Dinner in Ohio City with Suzie and Jack.

5. Posing for my first 5k in front of the West side Market.

6. The Kirtland Temple: What an amazing experience I have had to have been able to attend multiple church services in the Kirtland Temple. One man gave a powerful and moving talk there about his ancestors who helped to build the temple, and how they were put in Ohio for a reason. It is as true then as it is now. Everybody that I have met while here in Ohio has been for a reason, and I have been able to learn and grow from each person. It is no coincidence that I ended up in Ohio, or that those I have met have ended up in Ohio, there is a greater purpose for our paths crossing.

7. Saigon, a yummy restaurant we ate at on E.4th.

With a little under 3 weeks left and a packed agenda I have triaged the must do activities and have narrowed it down to just a handful of pictures/activities:
 1. Go tour the Christmas story house
2. Take pictures from the CC rooftop, East Cleveland, west side market, and Cleveland skyline.
3. See the sun set over Lake Erie

Thank you to all my friends who have helped make my bucket list possible. I have loved spending time with all of you and will miss you dearly when I go out to Utah.

Monday, May 28, 2012

One is the Loneliest Number

Cleveland has taught me many lessons... one of which is how to be alone. Now I'm not talking about the occasional loneliness one might feel for a day or two when they are surrounded by family and friends but are having a difficult time connecting and relating to those around them. I am talking about coming home to an empty apartment day after day, spending countless hours, days, weeks, and months with casual acquaintances you say "hello" to at church and occasionally spend a night out but are not emotionally invested in each others lives. I'm talking about touring the town by yourself because you asked the two people you knew might say yes and they already have plans. The loneliness you feel when you do not want to leave church because you know that when you get home you will be greeted to an empty apartment and will be forced to eat yet another meal by yourself. Dreading holidays because you do not  have the 8 hours of work to distract you from being alone and you realize that all your "friends" are cooking out while you are eating take out Thai food while sitting on your balcony. The loneliness you feel when you need to move and you realize that you have to ask for help and the limited number of people you know are too busy to help you. The loneliness that makes you afraid to leave your house because you wonder what happens if you might end up missing, hurt, or dead someday because nobody would know for days or weeks because you do not have anyone to check in on you.

In my 24 years of life this is the first time I have truly been alone and what a learning experience it has been! Regardless of what my relationship is with my family, I at least had them for the first 18 years of my life, then there were roommates and friends throughout college, the other teachers in China, friends and teachers in Moab, and somebody was always there to talk about the day at 7 Kailuana Pl in Hawaii. (Now this is not to negate the wonderful co-workers and the few friends I have made here in Cleveland and Akron, because they have been wonderful to me, but I do not come home to them and they have their own families and friends to spend their free time with. During this time alone I have developed a list of lessons I have learned about being alone:

1. Having somebody say "Hello" to you is such a simple thing but the moment it is taken from your life for 15 months you realize how significant it really is.
2. Cooking dinner is much less enjoyable if you are going to be the only one eating it.
3. Funny moments become much less funny when you are the only one there to laugh about it.
4. Friday nights just are not the same because there is nobody to sit and eat out of the ice cream container while watching a girly movie.
5.Sight seeing is much less interesting when you have no one to say, "Oh my gosh, look at that" too.
6. Unless you are willing to be seen eating out by yourself, you waste the first 15 months of your time in Cleveland not enjoying the local restaurants.
8. Inside jokes no longer become funny if you are the only one who gets it.
9. Cleaning the apartment becomes much less fun if you do not have anyone to sing with you to 90's pop
10. Holidays are the absolute worst.... no seriously try sitting at home when the weather is nice, knowing you could be grilling out if only you had somebody to do it with.
11. Late night trips to the grocery store are not filled with as much laughter.
13. TV shows and movies loose their appeal if you are the only one laughing and quoting the funny one-liners"
14. You have nobody to witness you doing the "I am trying to zip up my zipper on my dress dance" and then eventually help you.
15. There is nobody to tell you that the outfit you just bought is actually unflattering and no longer in style.
16. Having crush's on boys is no longer enjoyable if you have nobody to share that information with.

Anyways I'm sure there will be more added eventually.... but this is a pretty good start. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life has a way of surprising you...

Due to fear of change I have put off publishing the following information as long as possible, thinking if I did not tell people that it would not be real. But I think it is probably time to come out of the closet and publicly announce (to the 2 of you who regularly read this) that I am moving back Salt Lake City. Yes, you heard me right, I am moving back to the land where the girls poof their hair, and the guys scope out the ward list for potential girlfriends.
Confused? Bewildered? Wondering how it happened? So am I? According to my last post I had come to terms with living in Cleveland, and was actually happy here. Despite all my tears and lonely nights, I have learned how to be by myself, I made friends with the people that I worked with, I became good at my job, and after months of trying to find my place in Cleveland, I found my niche in Akron and had developed a solid group of friends. So what would posses me to uproot myself from such a comfortable position to move into the great unknown... the answer: I'm not sure.... but I'm sure the answer will slowly be unraveled one day at time, I do know that there were a series of tender mercies that led me to this decision, many of which happened years ago while I was in college.

Here is a youtube video for the camp that I will be working for. The official position is Program Coordinator and is a mix of hands on program implementation and administrative duties.

Although Cleveland is a strange place to live and has many quirks I do not want to leave Cleveland with any regrets so I made a "bucket list" of places I want to go and pictures that I want to take before I leave. I'm sure the list will grow, but these are the easy
1. Take a picture at the Rock and Roll hall of fame/Lake Erie (6/10/2012)

2. Tour the Christmas Story House
3. Ride the RTA from Warrensville to downtown
4. Take a picture from the rooftop of Cleveland Clinic
5. Tour Kirtland (5/2012)

6. Take a picture in East Cleveland
7. Attend Catholic wedding (4/21/2012)
8. Attend Indians Game (one too many times)
9. See a pro-football game (Fall 2011)
10. Go to the Aurora outlets (5/12/2012)
11. Eat in Tremont, E. 4, Ohio City, and Little Italy (Various days)
12. Take a picture at the Westside Market
13. Go to the John Johnson farm (February 2012)
14. Go to church in the Kirtland temple (5/2011, 1/2012, 4/2012, 5/2012)
15. Take a picture at E. 105 and Euclid, first pedestrian stop sign)
16. See the sun set over Lake Erie

 And just for good measure here are some videos or songs about Cleveland that make me giggle.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shh.... I have something to tell you

It's a secret, do you promise not to tell anyone?
Ok, here it is I secretly love Ohio. Yes you heard me correctly, this place that I have pretended to detest for the past 13 months has slowly found its way into my heart. As I have spent many countless nights and days feeling completely and utterly alone, I have come to the realization that this time I am spending in Ohio is a time to discover and learn about the working world, relationships, and myself. The growth I have experienced due to uncomfortable, awkward, and often challenging situations have been just as life changing as any other major turning point in my life (all though it has not been as fun as China or Spring Summit). And while leaving the comfort zone is not enjoyable the growth I have experienced from the uncomfortableness of it is a necessity of life (and much like my Mormon speed dating experience it is much better experienced just once in your life.)

The year 2012 has been much kinder to me than 2011 (which tends to happen when your belongings do not get stolen as you move across the country in the second month of the year).  After spending many unhappy months and lots of tears trying to fit in at church, I decided to shake it up a little bit and try the young single adult branch in Akron (same religion, different people).**Disclaimer: I am not saying there are not wonderful people that are in Cleveland branch, because they are amazing people, it just was not a good fit for me at this point in my life.** Not only has the 45 minute drive been a huge blessing as it has given me time to reflect on what I should be doing with my life but the people I have met there have filled a gap in my heart that has been present since the moment I said good-bye to my dear, sweet, friends in Utah. I have a long way to go before my confidence and self-worth are at the level they were several years ago, but with a few encouraging words from those I love and a few listens to "Firework" by Katy Perry, I will be well on my way. I feel like a completely different "Tiffanee" than even just 3 months ago and I could not be happier!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights: After 12 months I can confidently say that have finally settled into routine, and as a person who thrives on routines I couldn't be happier. After moving across the country with almost nothing, starting a new job, becoming the relief society president, moving to a new apartment, getting my wisdom teeth surgically removed, road-tripping to Minnesota, and Virgina, realizing how busy things can get at the hospital at Christmas, and getting sick for 3 weeks I can say with 80% confidence that I am comfortable with my routine. I have been able to adjust to working 40 hour weeks, going to the gym, planning better meals, reading my scriptures, going to family home evening and institute, becoming more efficient at grocery shopping and still having time to relax. I couldn't feel more accomplished and proud of myself, partly due to the post Hawaii pounds that I put on, and partly because I feel more centered and in control of my life. My life feels less like a ball of chaos and more like an organized mess.

I realize this picture has nothing to do with this post but I felt as though another picture was needed and I realized I only have a handful of me in Ohio.. So there you go!
In miles: Between the two road trips to Virginia and Minnesota, the many trips to Columbus, and the many miles spent driving to church in Akron I have loved the time I have spent solo and with friends. There is nothing like a 9 hour road trip through the night to give you memories to last a life time.

In laughter: Unfortunately there has not been less of this and more of strife. Luckily there is technology and videos (and Facebook) to remind me of the wonderful memories I have been able to make. I love looking at pictures of me smiling, I love watching videos I made in college, where I almost pee my pants because I am laughing so hard (see video below). My goal for this year... laugh as hard, if not harder than I did in the video.

In strife: Living in Ohio has not been the easiest, it is much like a roller coaster ride. At times it is fun, at times it makes you laugh, at times it makes you angry, at times it scares the crap out of you, and at times it makes you cry. It doesn't help that I had a rocky start, after experiencing the 7 stages of grief due to the loss of my car and all of my belongings, I have finally reached the upward stage. I have begun to work through my emotions and start reconstructing my life. I have accepted the fact that there are some of my belongings (ie: my journals and letters) that I will never get back. As part of reconstructing my life I have started to re-write those memories. The hours I have spent writing those precious memories has actually been a wonderful blessing. I have been reminded of the changes and decisions that I have made in my life that have brought me here. I still cry when my friends across the country tell me that they love me, or the miss me, I still cry when I go to church and sit by myself, and I still cry for no apparent reason at all.
Again this picture has nothing to do with this post but I felt as though another picture was needed!
 **Just as a side note this day also marks the 5 year anniversary of leaving for Kunming, China. I can't believe how fast time has gone and how much I have changed because of that experience. **

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You gotta fall in order to mend.

After 11 months full of ups and downs I have finally begun to re-write the memories I lost when my journals were stolen. Trying to recall important events that have happened over the last 3 years has been no easy task. My nights have been full of emotional highs and lows as I remember the happy moments, the sad moments, the tough moments, and the lonely moments. This walk down memory lane has led me to re-read my blog posts from the previous year. I started with the post on Jan. 31, 2011 (a year ago today) with finding out I was moving to Cleveland, Ohio and moved to the emotional post of the stolen car, and then the lonely tales of living in Cleveland. The post on culture shock was particularly interesting. And while I don't (and probably won't ever) consider Cleveland my home I no longer experience feelings of anger, anxiety, disgust, and irritation or have irrational mood swings. I still cherish the memories that I have made in places such as China, Hawaii, and Moab but have come to realize that I need to live in the moment and not continue to have one foot in the past.

There are still those hours, days, and months that I just need something to give me a glimmer of hope.... and I have found it in this song! While I'm sure that the words are eluding to some sort of love story I'm pretending to be oblivious. I generally shy away from sharing lyrics to songs but I think today I will make an exception. I love the verse that says
"It's a brand new day The sun is shinning It's a brand new day For the first time In such a long long time I know I'll be ok"