Tag Archives: big dreams

The one where we all grow up

26 Jun

My little brother leaves tomorrow for the United States Air Force Academy. We all knew he’d be leaving, but I can see my parents aren’t ready. And I’m not either. It’s a different type of feeling that’s hard to put into words. We aren’t sad he’s going. On the contrary, we’re really proud and excited for him.

I thought maybe it was because we’ll see him less often, but that’s not it either. We’ve all spent time apart at one point or another. I think what it comes down to is his departure marks a new chapter in the story of our family. This is the chapter where we all grow up.

Sure, my sister and I have been out of college a few years and both have steady jobs and steady boyfriends. But we always knew we could come back home, hang out with our little Joey and feel like kids again. Things are different now; my baby brother is an adult. Yes, we’ll still have awesome times together (and I’ll still act like a kid), but it won’t ever be like it was.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. In the next few years we’ll each be finding ourselves and starting our own families. It’s exciting and scary and wonderful. And that’s what the weird feeling is – change. Maybe we don’t feel ready for it, but we are.

So to Joey: Thank you for being my inspiration to dream big. You truly are an amazing person and bring so much joy to our family. Never stop following your dreams. We’ll all be rooting for you, kid.

image via

My blogiversary

16 Mar
Amsterdam

{world traveler}

Somehow my blogiversary slipped by without me realizing it. Last year, I started sharing my thoughts here, not really sure what I would get out of it. It has become somewhat therapeutic for me. It’s nice to sit down and write what I’m thinking, and it’s fun to look back on what an incredible year it was.

In my very first blog post, I wrote a list of ten things to do in my twenties. And for my blogiversary post, I think it’s fitting to look back at that list and see how I’m doing.

1. Travel – In 2011 I wrote that I wanted to see the world, and I started doing just that. Since that first post, I’ve not only traveled to Germany, but Spain and the Netherlands as well.

2. Learn a foreign language – This is much harder than I thought it would be, but I haven’t given up yet. For awhile I was getting quite good at German grammar, and conquered a pretty long list of German vocabulary. But life became busy, and I stopped doing my lessons. I’m ready to start again though, so we’ll see how I do the second time around.

3. Develop an active, healthy lifestyle – I’ve definitely become more aware of what I’m eating and actually prefer healthier options. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Shamrock Shake every now and then, but it’s all about moderation. And I have to say, I’m much more active than I was last year. I currently play on an indoor soccer team, and I signed up for another 5K in April. Man, I sure love me some 5K’s.

4. Start a blog – I’m pretty sure I can check this one off the list. My goal this year is to post more than I did last year. I think I’m up for the challenge.

5. Create a monthly budget – Based on my bank account, and the ability to afford my travels, I’d have to say I conquered this list item. It was hard at first, but now I’m capable of setting a budget and sticking to it. And the key is sticking to it.

6. Learn to cook – I still make a mean grilled cheese – does that count? I mostly blame my poor cooking skills on living at home. Why cook when there is already dinner on the table? I know I’ll get better with this at time, maybe not this year, but somewhere down the road. At least I can bake!

7. Live overseas – This is still a dream of mine. After traveling overseas, I definitely feel this is an experience I want to have. Although I don’t see it happening soon, I have a hunch it will happen one day.

8. Live on your own – It’s been a year and I’m still hanging out with Mom and Dad. I don’t ever view it as negative though. I’m saving money, and more importantly, spending time with my family. I won’t ever look back on this time and regret it.

9. Live in a major city – One of these days it will happen – just like living overseas. Maybe I’ll knock out two birds with one stone. Berlin, anyone?

10. Surround yourself with good people – This is still one of my favorite things on the list. I’ve made it a priority this past year to rid myself of negativity and spend time with the people who matter most.

So as you can see, I still have things to accomplish on my list, but I’m happy with where life is going. Around this time last year I was heading to Chicago to visit my sister for St. Patrick’s Day, and today I’m heading to Columbus to visit my sister for St. Patrick’s Day. Even as things change, they don’t really change at all.

Cheers to all the things I will continue to do in my twenties – and to another year of blogging.

Miles apart

18 Jan

“Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the brave. It is for those willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those who know a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough.”

Most of us have been there at one point in our lives. Maybe it was a few hours away, maybe it was another state, or maybe it was like my situation, across the ocean. Long-distance relationships. They’re bound to happen – unless you’re like my parents and fall in love with your high school sweetheart (but even they spent time apart when my dad was in the service.)

Some people make them work. Some people don’t. In most cases it’s a personal decision. Either it’s worth it to you or it’s not. To me, it’s worth it. And despite being 4,000 miles apart, Sebastian and I are happy in a relationship. Is it hard? Of course. Do we make it work? Somehow.

I often get asked, “How do you make it work?” The truth is, we just do. We both realize that time spent apart is better than no time at all. But if I had to give words of wisdom, here are some things I’ve learned along the way.

Make time to talk every single day. Even if it’s only for ten minutes on your drive home from work when he’s really sleepy.

Write letters. There’s something to say about physically holding something the other person touched just days ago.

Share in each other’s joys and sorrows. Even though you can’t be there, celebrate the accomplishments and be there the best you can for the hard times.

Enjoy the time you do have together. Understand that it won’t always be perfect, but it will go fast, so savor every minute of it.

Maybe 2012 will be different. Maybe we’ll end up together this year. For now though, we’ll continue to make it work. And when the distance feels difficult, because some days it will, I’ll remember he’s worth it and only a plane ride away.

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Resolutions

8 Jan

Isn’t the start of a new year funny? The first day of the year arrives, and it’s like we’ve been given a clean slate and a fresh start (even though nothing has really changed). And of course everyone sets those dreaded resolutions – the things we’re going to work on in the coming year. Most people don’t end up sticking to them, and maybe they are a little silly, but there is something refreshing about setting goals and working toward them.

2011 was a great year. I started a new job, celebrated my one year anniversary with Sebastian and even traveled abroad (twice). Looking back it was absolutely crazy, but I loved every minute of it. And now I’m looking forward to this year and everything it will bring. Even though I don’t usually make resolutions, I am a big fan of goals. So in the spirit of the new year, here are my goals for 2012:

1. See Sebastian at least every three months. This will be a little tough and probably expensive, but we’re both done with the months of waiting. It’s no fun, and we owe it to each other to do better.

2. Learn German. I’m not talking fluent here – I’m well aware it will take a while for that to happen. However, I’d love to be able to communicate with my boyfriend in his native language, even in beginner sentences.

3. Read more. When I was young, I used to read all the time. But if you’ve ever been through college, you know that reading for pleasure takes a back burner to your studies. I fit in a few books here and there, but lately I’ve been dying to really read again. I recently finished The Hunger Games series, and I can’t wait to start my next book.

4. Get back in shape. This has been a struggle of mine since I transferred from the University of Findlay to Kent State. I played on the women’s soccer team at Findlay, and when you go from working out two hours a day to nothing, it has a profound effect on your body. I know people often make this resolution, and it’s cliche, but it’s something I’d like to accomplish. Plus, Sebastian and I are thinking about taking a cruise this year, and I’m determined to have a bikini body, even it if kills me.

Goals and resolutions aren’t always perfect, and you don’t always reach them, but it’s nice to work toward something. Good luck in reaching your goals, I know I’ll need it for mine ;-)

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It gets better with time

29 May

Over the years, and a few times recently, I’ve heard someone say, “high school was the best time of my life.” Have you heard it too? I’m always surprised when I hear this phrase. Maybe it’s because I just can’t relate. And it’s not because my high school years were bad, but so many great things have happened since then that I could never call it the best time of my life. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say one specific time was the best time.

Life is continuously filled with little moments every day. Like chatting with my Grandma in her living room or taking my cousins to the drive-in or sitting quietly in the morning watching the sun rise over our pond. It’s making these memories and learning new things that makes each day better.

So for some people, maybe high school was the best time. But for me, each day is something new, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.

On a side note, remember this post when there were 74 days until Germany? Now it’s only 11! I can’t wait!

Sleepy vs. Exhausted

10 Mar

You may have noticed in this post that I made several references to Germany.  My current obsession with the Deutschland mainly comes from my boyfriend, Sebastian, a.ka. zee German. Yup, I’m dating someone from Germany – no big deal. Except this relationship is starting to become a big part of my life.

Quick background: I met Sebastian while he was studying abroad at Kent State. We became friends and right before he left (I thought we were crazy) we decided to start a long-distance relationship. I’ve seen him twice (in person) since then. First, when I visited Germany last summer, and in January, when he visited the states. Skype has become a lifesaver for us, but we don’t want to date through the computer forever. Sebastian graduates in June (that’s the next time we’ll see each other), and we’re planning to live on the same continent this year. Hopefully the same country. Maybe the same state.

I could probably write an entire series on all the things that play into dating someone from another country (and maybe in the future I will). But for this post, I want to focus on language. Sebastian speaks near-perfect English, which has been very helpful for communication purposes. We usually have no problem understanding each other (now that I recognize his accent), except when I start using American slang. When I say things like, “I need to pull it together” or “I get a kick out of something,” he tends to give me a quizzical look. This always makes me laugh, and I then have to explain what I really mean.

We also have differences in word choice (and this brings me to my post title). There is a six-hour time difference between Germany and Ohio. When I get home from work it’s already after midnight there. Even though Sebastian is usually a little tired, this is when we’re both free to Skype. Near the end of our conversation, he’ll start nodding off, so I’ll ask, “Are you sleepy?” And he answers, “No, just a little exhausted.” And just with the quizzical look, I always laugh, because to me if you’re exhausted, you’re probably feeling a little sleepy.

But all language differences aside, he’s great. And despite the challenges of a long-distance relationship, I look forward to seeing where this will go.

Sleepy Sebastian

And He's Cute Too! (Sleepy Sebastian)

Living in the 20s

22 Feb

I recently stumbled upon this blog post. Cameron Schaefer writes that the twenties are foundational years and should not be wasted or lived unintentionally.

This really got me thinking. Am I wasting my twenties? I spent the first couple years in school, busy getting my degree. And now that I’m graduated and working at my first job, sometimes it feels like I’m running on repeat – work, sleep, work, sleep, work, sleep.

After reading Schaefer’s list of 20 things to do in your 20’s, I was inspired to come up with a list for myself. The twenties are a time to discover who you are and take on the world. Here I go!

Note: My list is a little shorter. The first five are ones that Schaefer recommended with my comments, and then I added on five of my own.

US Embassy in Berlin

1. Travel – I am fortunate that my parents thought it was important for their children to see the country. I’ve skied in Utah, walked through the Redwood Forests in California, hiked in the Grand Canyon, felt the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, visited the monuments in D.C. and the list goes on. As much as I appreciate and cherish these memories, I want to see the world beyond the United States. I was lucky enough to visit Germany this past summer, but that’s just the start. I have the whole world ahead of me!

2. Learn a foreign language – I attended a private school from kindergarten to eighth grade, and every week we had Spanish class. I even took two years in high school. Sadly, I can maybe say three sentences, and that’s pushing it. I regret not paying more attention, because everyone should know at least one other language. My new goal is to learn German. Wish me luck…

3. Develop an active, healthy lifestyle – When I played soccer in college, I was extremely fit. These days I’d kill to have my 18-year-old body again. But seeing as I love food, and I don’t run three hours a day anymore, something has to change. I’m trying to become more aware of what I eat, and I try to exercise five times a week. It’s easier to develop these habits now, instead of waiting until I’m old and fat.

4. Start a blog – I wonder how I got the idea for this blog… hmmm. A blog is a good way to document your life, share your thoughts and create a personal voice. I believe everyone should put themselves out there at one point in their life.

5. Create a monthly budget – As my parents kindly remind me, having your finances in order when you’re young will ensure financial stability in the future. Is it OK to splurge on a pair of shoes or a nice dinner? Absolutely! As long as I budget for these little splurges, I’ll never look at my bank statement and say, “What happened!?” Well, maybe I will, but hopefully a monthly budget will limit this occurrence.

6. Learn to cook – Cooking has always been a problem for me. I’m not the worst chef in America, but cooking is an art, and I don’t have it down. I’m always amazed how someone can pull out what’s in the fridge and whip up something amazing. I don’t want to be the person who eats Mac n’ cheese and hot dogs. Hopefully some cooking classes are in my near future.

7. Live overseas – OK, so this probably isn’t everyone’s goal in their twenties, but it’s one of mine. As previously mentioned, I spent some time in Germany, and it really opened my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I love good old America, but I’d love to spend a few years experiencing an entirely different culture.

8. Live on your own – It’s not like I’ve never lived on my own. In college, I lived off campus and experienced all the joys of paying rent and managing bills. But, I always had roommates, and I knew mom and dad were there to back me up. I look forward to having my own place someday and feeling completely independent.

9. Live in a major city – I realize this is the third item about “living,” but they all make sense to me. Anyway, I grew up in a rural area, and after visiting so many cities, I know this is something I have to do. Maybe I’ll try New York or Chicago… or maybe Frankfurt or Berlin? There is just something about being in a large city that is so energizing. I look forward to experiencing it.

10. Surround yourself with good people – I’m lucky that I grew up with great parents, learned from amazing teachers and now work at a job with wise mentors. I hope to always surround myself with people who motivate me to be a better person.

So cheers to all the things I will do in my twenties. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

What are some of your suggestions of things to do in your twenties?