Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hello THIRTY.

As my twenties come to a close it's only natural to reflect on the last ten years. So cliche, right? I would reflect on the years before that but my twenties have enough memories to go around. Then around again. They also say your thirties are some of the best years of your life. Another super cliche, am I right? I hope they're right, I think they are too. My twenties served for some great times, great memories, major milestones. And some not so pretty times too. I'll try to recap but I'm not really sure where to begin.

It took every ounce of energy and emotion I could muster up to finish nursing school. It was exhausting moving 5 times post college until I bought my house. (Insert laugh, considering I'm currently a nomad again). Relationships and friendships came and gone. I'm okay with that. I became an aunt X 5 and dog mom X 2. I'm equally obsessed with all 7. Ehh... the two furry ones have been testing their limits lately, but I love them nonetheless. Alabama served as a great home for 27 years and holds a special place in my heart but it became so routine. As much as Birmingham was growing, I was not. Not for the better anyways. Everything around me was changing. Except me. So I did what any rational twenty something would do. That's where the traveling comes in, but you already knew that.

I learned a lot in my twenties, but I think what I learned the most is that life really does go on. Despite feeling that every time something falls apart, you have to hash it all out and desperately try to put the broken pieces back where they were. As hard as I tried though, I could never put those pieces back together and life went on whether I wanted it to or not. Luckily enough. I learned that I'm way more independent than I could've ever imagined (insert bicep curl emoji) and I am stronger too. At times, I'm emotionally unstable for reasons I like to push far away but I've learned that keeping those emotions in check is a far more healthy lifestyle. I think my twenties were challenging. I think they were wonderful. I think they sucked. It really just depends on which year we are talking about. Not to be a drag, but becoming an adult brings its own challenges. Bills have to be paid. The grass has to be cut. There are no brothers around to take out the garbage or sister to do your laundry. The dogs have to be fed. My hair has be washed. Life gets tough. I wouldn't trade it though.

Twenty nine was a really cool year. And I can say that with all the confidence in the world. It started in California, took me all over the world with great friends, then landed me in Las Vegas (still wrapping my brain around that one). I bought a car. I moved out of my little white house and moved my life into a medium size storage unit that is filled to the max. Who knew how much one could accumulate in a short 29 years? Most don't know, but I decided to stick around in Vegas longer than my typical 3 month contract. For now at least. Why? Because I can, because home will always be there and while I can, I'd like to take in all that I can. Sometimes I  make good decisions and sometimes I make really crazy ones. No matter what though, I'm making them for me first. Adulting is cool like that.

If I were back home, I'd already be 30. See, Vegas does have its perks. Ha. I'm pretty excited to start this new decade, this new chapter. So here's to 29 years down. Hello 30. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

SLO

We spent our summer down SLO and it went by anything but. SLO = San Luis Obispo, the central coast of California. Believe me, we had never heard of it either. However, Californians swear by it. SLO is perched in the quaintest city surrounded by beaches, morros, wine and cow country. For those of you wondering, a morro is a "rounded hill," but after hiking one of the tallest (Bishop's Peak) it felt more like a mountain. There's 9 of them altogether that stretch all the way to Morro Bay. That's a beach, a cold and windy beach. Who knew beaches could be so cold in what we southerners call summertime? The warmest we ever saw Avila (that's pronounced AV-I-LA, not A-VEAL-A) was the high 70s. It didn't keep us from going though, although we seemed to miss the wetsuit memo. That's also another thing worth mentioning; unless you're a child with incredible body temp tolerance to the icy waters, a wet suit is a MUST HAVE. That's because people surf here and they live to surf. Too cool if you ask me. SLO is where you settle down. No one is ever in a rush, the city closes down early unless college is in session (Cal Poly) and Oprah once called San Luis Obispo the happiest city in America. I wouldn't disagree. This was the first assignment where I found a routine, felt like I was living a normal life, and then 3 months happened. As much as I wanted to extend my contract there just wasn't a need and I had to leave my favorite little city nestled in the hills of central California. 

Woodstock Pizza is one of my FAVORITE pizza places I have ever eaten and I have had pizza in Alabama, New York, Chicago and Texas. Try it if you're ever in the area. It will not disappoint. I can't say much about the other food places. Good food is in San Fransisco, not so much in SLO. It wasn't terrible but the highlights of my 3 months don't include the dinner dates to try out the local venues. Except Woodstock, of course. 

In the quick 3 months in SLO we visited a few vineyards, hiked Bishop's Peak, road tripped to LA, and beached it at Avila and Pismo.  My sister even made her first appearance in California and we had the best weekend ever, just the two of us. 

Another high note in the 3 months might have been the 25 mile trek to Walmart only to find they do indeed sell Milo's Sweet Tea. Y'all just don't know how happy that made us. 3 gallons didn't last a week. I think my new Cath lab friends appreciated it too. Whatever they were drinking before couldn't hold a candle to Milo's. Speaking of my new Cath lab friends, I'll miss you guys way more than you'll miss me. Ha. This hospital might be the smallest I've ever worked in, but everyone couldn't have been friendlier and more welcoming to this Alabama native. Thankfully everyone can rest assured knowing that toboggans are worn on your head in the winter according to us and what you're referring to is what we call sleds. We like to keep things simple. Only my Cath lab friends will understand that one. Thank you for making me laugh daily, talking college football despite hating Alabama (Roll Tide), the endless memories & always looking out for me... even up to my very last day when my contract situation became a little hazy. I hope to visit again sooner rather than later.

Next up is Las Vegas with a quick vacation back home and Hawaii in between. Just when you have everything planned out, things change. Despite my initial reaction of overwhelming anxiety, somehow this all happened just as it was supposed to. I have been traveling for a year now and I just can't believe everything we have seen and done this past year. I think it's only going to get better. 

Here's to one year down! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

One year ago 9.4.15

One year ago I clocked out of my very first (and only) nursing job. I said goodbye to family, friends, comfort, routines and security. I clocked out on a life that kept me comfortable and safe. I left a home (that I purchased all by myself), a fenced in yard and the most comfortable bed EVER. I packed up my life and headed west (actually, that very day I hopped on a plane and headed south to Disney World)! In one year I have worked at 3 different hospitals in 3 VERY different cities. I have slept on rented beds, twin beds, and hotel beds. I have moved 5 times and flown over a dozen. I have even managed a few home visits in between. I love this gig, but of course it doesn't mean it's been easy. It's hard to describe, this traveling life. I get to see and do all of these wonderful things but  that doesn't mean life ever stops, especially back home. I miss birthdays, holidays, big moments, graduations, etc. (so I've definitely had my fair share of tears over the last year). I wouldn't trade it though. I keep saying I would never do this or never do that and each time I'm living out those moments I once thought I would never do. I often wonder what life would be like if I was still punching in that same old time clock, but it would be just that, the same. As much as I love the place I get to call home, I can't help but be so grateful for this opportunity. So until I pack away my luggage for good, I will cherish every phone call, every FaceTime and each visitor so very much. We only have a couple more weeks in what Oprah calls "the happiest city in America," and the adventures are getting better by the minute. Until next time!
I snapped this picture as I was walking out of my favorite hospital on the hill last September! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

"Oakland-ish"

I'm not sure where to start with this assignment. Oakland gets a pretty bad rap, especially since it ranks in the top 10 of most dangerous cities. However, we moved here by choice and I am so glad we did. It took me a little longer but I fell in love. I will say that it started pretty rocky though. As most know, two weeks in, my favorite Aunt passed away and our lives have been a little less sweet ever since. We miss her like crazy but I know this journey is once in a lifetime and she loved following along. Now, she just has a better view. Courtenay and I have been friends since college (that's 10 years, y'all) and we quickly learned that what we thought was city living, was nowhere near it. I'm used to everything being a 20 minute drive away. The Bay Area (Oakland/San Fransisco) laughed. We missed BARTS, took the wrong busses, and UBER'ed more times than I'd like to admit on just one rainy Saturday. We were dressed to kill and quickly realized just how much we stuck out. I might be most grateful that leggings and a puffy vest are the go to outfit, each and every single day of the week. I've collected even more leggings because of it, and I love every pair. It was tough at first; the city is crowded, people aren't nearly as friendly, and I second guessed our biggest move yet. I think Courtenay did too. It grew on me though. Once I braved walking to the BART alone. I learned it was far less traffic, less road rage, and less red lights than sitting in any car. (Because every time you do drive, you're fighting for your life with the defensive driving going on out here) Let us not forget, exit at the Powell Street BART station and you walk right into the mall. Really, how convenient is that? That's not all though. We might have eaten too many tacos, had too many glasses of wine (Napa, is by far, my favorite) and stayed up too late on our short getaway to Vegas, but I just wouldn't trade it for the world. In this great big city, I learned that maybe I could be a city girl, the organic/vegan life isn't for me (ha!), no one knows the SEC (and that's a shame), it's a melting pot for different cultures (but this southern accent can still make most do a double take mid conversation), and catching someone walking naked in the Castro is most definitely just your normal Saturday (right, Mom?) Courtenay and I have packed more in in the last 5 months that some spend a lifetime doing. We've seen the highs and lows that Northern California has to offer and I'm sure we still have worlds to see. As adults I don't think we expected to have to share a room with twin beds (the living expenses are crazy high) but we survived and it's one more thing we can check off of our ever growing bucket list that we get to live daily. Just to recap, we biked the Golden Gate, beached it in Carmel, brunched it A LOT, danced at the Painted Ladies, journeyed to Vegas (BRITNEY), wined it up in Napa, BART'd all over the city, hiked Muir Woods, cheered on the Giants and watched history in the making with Curry (Go Warriors). I know keeping up can be a little exhausting; altogether we both took 8 flights, had some sweet family visits, and somehow managed to squeeze work into all of it. Honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to fit in when I first started, but I know without a doubt I'll always have a home in that Cath lab. I promise to take my new found crossword puzzle love wherever I go. Thank you for taking me in and teaching me so much this big, crazy world has to offer. See ya soon, but these two Alabama girls are heading south. Southern California, we are coming for you.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

A new season.

I'm by no means an expert Christian (most days I feel like I fail God), but as I've gotten older I've taken the time each day to really get to know the relationship that I have with Him. This year for Lent I couldn't think of what I should give up. I didn't eat enough fast food to make a difference. I probably could've done something about working out, not eating pasta, laying off the internet; but the night before Ash Wednesday I picked up my phone to my app, She Reads Truth. There was a daily reading for Lent so I dove in head first. I wanted to learn why as Christians we give up something for 40 days and what that means. So often we give up something to jump start a diet or cleanse our souls from Internet addictions. That about sums up what most people are fasting from. On day 1 of my devotional I quickly learned we are doing it all wrong (if you're doing it like I've done in the past) How is not eating fast food, not drinking that one Diet Coke, not checking the latest status on Facebook getting in the way of your relationship with God? I am not singling anyone out. These are actually some of the things I've given up in the years past. In reality, not getting on social media does allow us more time to chat with God, but are we really doing that with our free time? How is losing weight benefiting our relationship with our Creator? Maybe the majority knew what this season was all about. However, I feel like we've taken full advantage of it. Not surprising though. We take advantage of a lot of things life throws our way. Our homes, our cars, our fresh air, our families. We have let everything superficial get in the way. I think if we do decide to still give up these things we should be doing it for all of the right reasons. Every time we don't drink that soft drink or forgo the yummy pasta, we should do it for God and not because we need to fit into last years jeans. Take time to thank God for even being able to afford a pair of jeans or a smart phone to click on the internet all day. Thank Him for not giving into those temptations. Let the world know that you're doing it for God, not for yourself. Let us not forget what this season is truly about. God sending his son so that he may be nailed to the cross, buried and ascended into Heaven all so that we can be free of our sins. How amazing is that? Today as I sat alone for the first time on Easter Sunday hundreds miles away from family, I wasn't too sad about it. Sure, I miss them like crazy. However, what Jesus sacrificed for us hails in comparison. Without Him dying for my sins I wouldn't get to do this journey. Tomorrow is a new beginning and I think how wonderful it is to be here one more day? So let's give God all the glory He deserves, every single day! I hope wherever you celebrated your Easter Sunday, it was wonderful. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Timehop

I don't know about you but I have the app, Timehop. It's a daily reminder of what happened over the years past on that same day. Somedays replay happy memories, funny pictures, long lost friends or even trips we tried so hard to put out of our minds. 4 years ago this very week, I was jet setting off to San Diego to be with my now ex. It rained a good bit while we were there and it was a pretty good reminder that we could only make a relationship last by ourselves, 2600 miles from reality. Sometimes I like to look back at the blogs I've previously posted and every now and then I'll catch one about this relationship. It's so easy to get stuck in a world because we think there are no other options. We make excuses, blame ourselves, and really just feel like this is it. And by we, I'm just referring to myself. 4 years ago this week I thought I would be stuck in a relationship for forever. Actually we broke up soon there after and I vowed California would never be home. I remember flying home by myself and had a layover in Houston as well. I ate my birthday lunch there. If you scroll back far enough on my IG, you'll find it. Who would've ever known 4 years later I would get to call both of those places home without any sort of association with the past that put me here? Although traveling was always a dream, I never put much effort into making it a reality until last year. (That was another blog post). Actually, God had it planned all along. He knew when to step in and show out and He did just that. I love that my plans often get overshadowed because God's are so much greater. Being in a city as overpopulated as Oakland has and will continue to teach me worlds about life and how to live it. By no means am I an expert or perfect and have flaws far beyond the makeup, yoga pants and puffy vests that California lets me sport every single day. You can find those pics on IG too. Ha. I think as I approach my last year in my twenties, I can reflect on all the good. Often I like to remember bad things but it just adds more wrinkles. I get to see a new city every 3 months, knock off tons on my ever growing bucket list, work & live this crazy life in the process. My family and friends are the best support system I could have and keep me grounded every single day. I am slowly but surely learning to be a better version of who I want to be and if I continue to let God plan this fun journey, it will only get better. Cheers to 1 day shy of being 29 years old. Time flies. 


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1•12•16

I'm not sure anything I could write would do her justice. Every Wednesday we would go to the grocery store and the bank for my grandmother when I was a little girl. She taught me at an early age how to bag groceries (and you never put non food items with food, ever). We made candy every year before Christmas (although I still am terrible at stirring the fudge for the full 5 minutes or understanding a rolling boil) and she could wrap a Christmas present with only 4 pieces of tape (seriously). So many of my childhood memories have her in them, and adult ones too. She let me share her bed and twist her hair every night. She had vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup waiting too, and taco salad is always served with Doritos thanks to her (You should try it). Really, the memories are endless. Aunt Lynn was our biggest fan in all aspects of life. She even cheered for Auburn once despite her love of Alabama. She is the best aunt this girl could have and I can only hope my relationship with my nieces and nephews is just as grand. I never in one million years expected to write this, but my heart is so heavy. When she was diagnosed with cancer a little over 5 years ago she would always say that this too shall pass, and it did. She was such the fighter. She was our rock, our potato salad maker, and the only one with her head on straight. She kept our chaotic worlds so constant and so strong. This growing up thing is for the birds, but right now she would tell us that it was her time and God makes no mistakes and today He took her home (and despite how sad we are, that makes me smile, because I hear her saying it). I can not wait to see her again. Please remember our family in your thoughts and prayers. Our hearts are broken beyond words. 

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