In most ways, I’m the same person I was six months ago when I last posted. Same house, same job, same problem spending too much money at Whole Foods. But behind my fading summer tan (it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been to the beach), there has been growth across the board—plus some more surface level “changes.” This is a little long so hold tight…
I have new passport stamps + more Southwest points
Since we last spoke I’ve taken four trips. My family and I hopped the pond for 3 days in London (not nearly enough) and 5 days in Ireland. We did mostly touristy things in London—high tea, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Harrods, a red bus tour, both palaces and Big Ben. Go, go, go!
One of my favorite “simple” activities was running through their parks and city streets. The Queen’s Garden (below) was so beautiful! After coming off the red-eye, our three days there were really two awake days and one can’t-keep-your-eyes-open days. That’s how all Americans are in Europe though. I will definitely be back. I will time my trip for a public Royal Family event, too.
We Air Bnb hopped throughout Ireland. You have to rent a car when you go there because you need to see all corners of the country. Ireland was exactly how I imagined it (in a good way). Green hills, friendly people, and lots and lots of pubs. My favorite town was Dingle (west coast). The weather was ehhhh but we had one really nice day and we packed it with a boat ride and hiking.
This photo below was from the Guinness Factory tour in Dublin. I thought it was ironic, given I have celiac disease.
As for non-international travel, I flew out to California in early August and stayed with my cousin in LA. I took a very similar trip last year so I wanted to refresh my memory and see as many little areas/neighborhoods as possible. I had it the back of my mind that I’d want to live there, but after my first Uber ride of the trip and almost pulling my hair out because of traffic, I threw that idea out. California is still on my radar but not so much LA. Santa Monica was my favorite though. Actually Erewhon market was my favorite. Erewhon is a more expensive Whole Foods, which I didn’t know was possible.
My dad and I visited his family in Pennsylvania over Labor Day for some quiet, quality time and then two weekends later I finally made it to Auburn to see my sister. That was my first time in the state of Alabama and she’s lived there for more than two years. It was time! She has the cutest apartment filled with things that made me laugh/smile. Exhibit A:
I have a new perspective thanks to Irma
The first three weeks of September were Irmageddon in Florida. The entire state was in a panic leading up to it and then in emotional and physical stress after, the latter depending where you live. I went to bed the night before she hit expecting to lose everything and I was oddly ok with that—as long as my family was unharmed. We were completely fine and Tampa dodged a direct hit at the last-minute, but others nearby weren’t as fortunate.
While I’m grateful to have returned to normalcy, I have newfound empathy and a refreshed perspective for what matters in life. I’ve stopped myself from complaining many times over the last few weeks because my annoyances are trivial in the big scheme. Everyone impacted by these disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, fires) needs our continual help, prayers and action.
I got braces
This was a sudden and unexpected decision. When I got new retainers (my old ones were gross) and my orthodontist said he wasn’t pleased with my bottom teeth. I wear my retainers religiously so it wasn’t my fault, let’s make that clear. He said four months of braces would correct the bottom row so I went for it. I’m still in some pain, namely the rubbing against my bottom lip, but hopefully I’m over the hump.
Fun fact: One of my biggest fears in life is waking up one day and my teeth looking like they did in 6th grade pre-braces. I take VERY good care of them for that reason.
I got a new car
I said goodbye to my beloved 2010 Ford Escape (the year is important because the model changed). It was a pretty sudden decision as well but necessary for safety reasons. I loved my car so much— I cried saying goodbye! I think part of the tears were because now I have a car payment though…
My old car wasn’t fancy at all but it kept me safe for seven years. It was my piece of “home” when I was away at college and was undoubtedly a safe spot for conversation and tears. My new car is awesome in different ways. I’m trying really hard to keep it clean. So far so good.
I’ve loosened up my need for plans
In a few different ways my Type-A self has been forced to do everything BUT follow a plan. In my dream world I would have the path from point A to point B and I would put in the work needed. Yet what happens when you take the “do your best at this moment” path? The one where the end is up for question? I don’t know but I’ll keep you posted.
What’s the same?
Salmon is still my favorite food, football is still my favorite sport and the Kardashians are still my favorite guilty-pleasure show. I still go to bed early and wake-up before the sun. I still have the sweetest dogs in the world. I’m still so grateful to be with family. And I still really miss writing in this space. That won’t change.
What’s new with you?