outdoor venues.

how gorgeous would an outdoor fall wedding be?  i’m at the in-between age where half of my friends are getting engaged and the other half are just as lost in life as i am; pretty soon now, i’ll have a wedding every weekend –

and if the receptions are these gorgeous, i won’t mind at all!

Advertisements

bucket list.

there are so many amazing places in the world.  the longer i live, the more things i see, the longer my bucket list grows.  i think i’ll have to work ten jobs simultaneously for about fifty years before i can afford all of these trips…

______________________________________________________

watch the balloons during sunrise in cappadocia, turkey

 

______________________________________________________

skydive over the swiss alps

______________________________________________________

learn about my heritage in scotland

______________________________________________________

hike haiku stairs in hawaii

______________________________________________________

climb the sydney harbor bridge

______________________________________________________

swim in the krka national park waterfalls

______________________________________________________

explore the european christmas markets

______________________________________________________

get back to oktoberfest

______________________________________________________

see the northern lights in reykjavik

______________________________________________________

work in amsterdam

______________________________________________________

hop between the greek islands

if i’m lucky, i’ll be able to do half of these before i die

______________________________________________________

six months.

Time to check in!  I realized while watching the sunset last night that it has been six months since I moved to Virginia.  It’s been a long six months, made to feel even worse as a result of losing my Grandpa halfway through.  But overall, I think I’ve transitioned well.  There isn’t a day that I don’t miss living in Italy,  but Washington has its charms.  I love to experience the city with my camera; I find it helps me to pay more attention to my surroundings.  I remember streets and buildings more clearly.  I take notice of the people around me.  And there are so many beautiful and historical buildings.

I’ve also started to coach volleyball, which is something I’ve wanted for years.  Seeing my team play each week, knowing how excited they are to improve, makes me happier than any achievement at work.  I love to know that I’m helping others to develop skills and encouraging their love for a sport that I’ve enjoyed for 15 years.  Here’s to the next six months…

unnamed

just my luck.

This year hasn’t been smooth. It certainly hasn’t been perfect. It’s been absolutely full of speed bumps, imperfections and problems. But it’s probably been one of the best years of my life. I’ve been blessed beyond belief and luckier than a single person deserves. As the end of the year gets closer, all I’ve been able to think about is all of the great things that happened. The sheer fact that I can place the good times in more prominent memory than the bad times is yet more proof of my luck.
During the spring semester, my soul sister of 10 years finally visited me at school. One of my favorite friends from home even came with her. I also lived with one of my best friends and spent weekends exploring Virginia (aka doing wine tastings).
For spring break, I split my time between New Orleans and Nashville and was again joined by two close friends. New Orleans was a new destination for me but I chose to visit because it was the site I had picked for my senior thesis design project. Nashville is a longtime favorite travel destination that always puts a smile on my face.
At the beginning of May, I graduated. By my side, I had my loving and supportive parents. I also had one of my best friends ever – a friend who flew across the country to sit through my graduation because she was so proud of and happy for me.
Next up was my first trip to Los Angeles to visit the soul sister. It was such a fun few days and I can’t wait to go back one day.
Summer was full of babysitting my nieces and nephew – who are my four favorite humans on this earth. My last single sister got taken off the market this summer, so we celebrated a wedding shower, a bachelorette party and a wedding. I guess watching the Cavs win the NBA Finals wasn’t too bad either..
Next, I moved to Italy. I met a whole new group of people, spent lots of time with my cousin and got to see new cities. Oktoberfest was too much fun and I practically had to be dragged away. Seeing Amsterdam – the architecture especially – was one of my favorite parts of my time abroad.
Now that I’ve been back home and my life has settled down a little, I’ve returned to spending time with cute babies and making lots of desserts to fatten them up.
It’s been a crazy year and hasn’t always made sense (just like this blog post), but I’m very happy about that. Even though I’ve had a lot of bad parts during this luck-filled year, I still am optimistic about what will come next.

img_5394

“No matter how far I roam, my heart will always be at home”

transition.

I’ve been back in Florence for about six weeks.  It hasn’t been an easy adjustment and it’s nothing like what I was expecting.  I had a great summer last year – working as an expatriate, traveling around Italy and making friends from across the world.  Perhaps naively, I was thinking that this secondary expat section of my life would be the same.

I don’t mean to gloss over the difficult parts of last summer, but the overall feeling left in my mouth when I moved home was of a fantastic ten weeks in which I met some of my now closest friends.  This time, I feel like I’m fighting to fit in.  I showed up a month later than the rest of my coworkers/roommates and it shows in my daily routine.  I often feel like an afterthought to people who bonded so deeply while I was still in the States.  Simply comparing pictures from last summer to this fall, the difference shows.

I’m still smiling, posing with friends and presenting a person overall happy to be in Europe.  But there’s an undeniable shift to more individual photographs, whereas those were rare last year.  It’s been difficult to deal with adulthood, graduation, and learning to be on my own all at once.  I can’t stress enough how many times I’ve felt so lonely that I almost moved back home.  But I’m slowly learning how to fill my days on my own.  I’m learning to travel solo.  And I’m learning that sometimes my quiet time can be in a piazza absolutely packed with people.  It isn’t easy to be on your own.  But it can surely be worth it.  While I know when this experience will end, which is sooner than I originally planned, I’ll never regret coming here.  The only way to learn about yourself and grow as an adult is to put yourself in difficult situations, to encourage less-than-ideal experiences and to do it with a smile on your face.