Life is Precious

You haven’t visited the museums in Amsterdam until you’ve been to the Anne Frank House.

Anne Frank House

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I wasn’t allowed to take pictures or use my cell phone inside, which I get. But I did wish I had a notepad to record some of the quotes that were sprinkled throughout the house where Anne and her family went into hiding from the Nazis. I’ll share some of my favorites at the end of this post.

I don’t think there’s any true way to prepare for an experience like this. You start reading and transform into the observer – putting your own problems behind you in order to understand something bigger than you will ever have to face in your lifetime. Your heart aches for the hour you spend reading about Anne’s legacy and watching those who knew her speak about the kind of person she was.

For example, Otto Frank, her father, was filmed saying that the Anne on the pages of her diary is a different Anne than the daughter he knew and loved.

As someone who was once a teenage girl filled with angst and confusion, that allows me to try to place myself in Anne’s shoes. Obviously I can’t imagine the true horror and agonizing pain that she endured, but a special place in my heart ignites when I reflect on the things she had to say.

She was kind, sophisticated, and true to herself. She knew her words would carry weight if they ever had the opportunity to be read by the rest of the world. I respect that on so many levels.

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On display was her final diary preserved in a glass box, like the picture shown above. Original parts of the bookcase used to enter the annex were also maintained for visitors to see.

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My experience walking through the Anne Frank house provided an opportunity to recognize the things I am grateful for – I have freedom, support, and have found acceptance everywhere I’ve been so far in my life (knock on wood). Things are this way because others have fought for them to be.

My Favorite Anne Frank Quotes

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“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”

“People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn’t stop you from having your own opinion.”

-Anne Frank

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The 411

I woke up this morning and practiced meditation for the first time in a long time. Rather than chasing sporadic ideas of what I should do next, I want to let the true answer materialize once I’m ready to listen.

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I got some mail from my cousin Jill (whaddup Jilly Cat!) who was inquiring about some of the things mentioned in a post last week that are due for some updates, like:

  • The apartment search
  • Job search
  • Other travel plans

I will try my best to answer those questions!

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Gulp

Truth is, Shannon and I haven’t figured out what we’re doing yet. We’re in an AirBnB that is up on January 29th and haven’t secured anything beyond that point. Stupid? Maybe…

The thing is – I like not having a plan. Last week I almost had a heart attack thinking about the job I left and the security it brought me. I wanted to get on the next flight home and beg for my cubicle back because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing out here. Though I may not know exactly what the plan is for tomorrow or next week, I’ve begun to surrender into my big, comfortable chair of not knowing.

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The more I discover about this city, the more I love it. Amsterdam emits eccentricity, acceptance, and love; which vibrates off its towering buildings and into the hearts of its inhabitants…not to mention everyone we meet encourages us to stay here to find happiness like they did. We’re making friends and content…what could be better? Oh right…making money would be nice!

Knowing very well this will hinder our bank accounts, we’re going to turn our adventure into a Eurotrip. Not the kind where you stay two days to go snap pictures of famous buildings and hop on the next train, but something similar to what we’re already doing. We’ll plop ourselves in a city of our choice for an extended period of time and really get to know our surroundings. Why? We’re growing fond of this place we’re temporarily calling home. I want to ride this feeling as long as I can, wherever I can.

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A Lingering Possibility

Another interesting tidbit we learned from our favorite bartender, Lucas (owner of our favorite bar – Café het Dwarsliggertje, aka Always Opposite), is that we are eligible for a Working Holiday visa in Australia which lasts up to a year. I could go there, potentially get a job in social media/marketing, and keep this adventure moving full speed ahead while developing the skills I wish to perfect.

For now, I’m enjoying today – we’re going to the zoo! I promise to check in with more info on our decision-making process once we have updates on progress or factors influencing our choices.

Letting go and living in the moment feels good.

Thank you for reading our blog and traveling this journey with us. Your support means everything, and it is a solid staple in our success.

So I put my hands up
They’re playing my song, the butterflies fly away
I’m noddin’ my head like, ‘yeah’
I’m movin’ my hips like, ‘yeah’
I got my hands up, they’re playing my song
I know I’m gonna be okay
Yeah, it’s a party in the A’DA(M)

-Miley Cyrus, kind of

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Have you done a Eurotrip and have any suggestions of places we should visit? Stories you want to share? Maybe we’re waiting from a sign from you! Comment below and share your experiences with us 🙂

Ok, Sooooo…

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted and there’s been a weird reason why.

I know it’s only week #1, but I’ve been homesick! Kind of. Well, I’m physically sick with a sore throat, and I’ve been confused as hell over what I came here to do.

Not sure how many of you guys are into astrological signs…

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I’m a Taurus (if you disregard that new weird sign that’s popped up over the past year). According to astrology-zodiac-signs.com (which I’ve never used, but the definition is consistent with all other resources I’ve used), here’s how to describe my sign:

“They love everything that is good and beautiful, and they are often surrounded by material pleasures. People born under the Taurus sign are very sensual and tactile. Touch is extremely important for them, both in business and in romance. Stable and conservative, Taurus is among the most reliable signs of the zodiac.”

Check out those keywords I’ve so graciously bolded for you. Those are the characteristics I identify with that are making me feel extremely out of my comfort zone. I crave security, my support system, and a strong sense of purpose. Neither of those things are with me today in Amsterdam, but I’m learning to accept that I don’t need them.

I’ve had to ask myself a few questions:

  • By coming here, what did I expect to do?
  • How will this impact my life?
  • What do I desire to change?
  • How can I improve myself?
  • Who do I want to become?
  • What do I want to go back with?

I didn’t come here to party. I didn’t come here to feel homesick. I came here to give myself a fair shot at becoming a better person by having the space to do it, and that’s what I intend to do.

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Yeah, I’m still sort of freaking out about my future a bit because I know how difficult it can be to get a job. I’ve fumbled through ideas of grad school and going back to where I was working before I came here, but those thoughts are premature and impeding my ability to be present in the moment – right here, right now.

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So, that that mushy stuff being said, let me update you on what we’ve been up to 😁

Stay tuned,

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An Emotional End to the Holiday Season

Christmas is over, meaning I said my goodbyes to my cousins, aunts, and uncles, and I used the phrase “see you in six months.”

I had such a great weekend with the company that matters most to me: my family.

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It looks like I have a little hat on.

The long weekend was rounded off by our traditional family trip to J. Timothy’s.

If you’ve never heard me go on about J. Tim’s, you’ve missed about 20% of the things that come out of my mouth. They have THE BEST CHICKEN WINGS that I have EVER had – which is totally worth blabbing about. They’re all over my Instagram…I’m not ashamed of my love for chicken that has been sauced and fried twice.

Look, here’s how much of a fan I am:

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So aside from J. Tim’s being full of delicious goodness, I love it because it’s always brought my family together. Little by little our family grows bigger with our new additions tangling their roots into our family tree. One of my sisters is engaged, another lives with her boyfriend in Massachusetts, and the youngest is one of my best friends in this world. My parents are supportive and want us all to be healthy and happy. There’s no reason to frown when we’re all sitting down at the same table.

Notice the hair down in the “before” and the hair up in the “after” ?

As I drove home after hugging Becca goodbye for the last time until June, I cried. I leave in less than two weeks. This, right now, is the end to so many familiarities…so many things that come to easy for me.

Though I am sad, I can’t help but feel a bit of raging excitement for the world I’ve only seen through the TV screen that’s about to become my reality.

I feel pretty empowered rn. Love you, fam 💋

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Letting Out That Something

Ever feel like there’s a burst of energy within you waiting to be recognized?

Sometimes it’s stagnant – surreptitiously savored by the subconscious while shallow encounters steal your focus. Other times it’s ignited – bouncing around your insides waiting to burst off the tip of your tongue or fingers.

The bouncing one – that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. When I really sit down to let myself in, I feel this intense need to release this soft, glowing burn that craves attention by the rest of the world.

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Sometimes it can be relinquished by a song, or any type of art for that matter. It does the trick for me when the buzz I’m feeling feels simple enough to be extinguished through audio. Lately, that isn’t the case. Songs and pictures from someone else’s page don’t describe what I’m trying to say.

The energy within me is taking on a course of it’s own, growing more complicated and harder to tame…harder to explain…

I’m no longer identifying with what used to help me express myself. There is a true need for my own voice to be broadcasted and heard by the others who can’t quite hit the spot with superficial shit. To misrepresent what one is feeling inside is a sacrifice nobody should make. We live in an era of multimedia and increasing transparency…might as well be honest. Identifying with any piece of expression other than what you feel is bullshit that is dictating your life by causing you to settle for something other than truth.

Time to start taking my own advice. I’m not settling for shit.

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Flip-Flops, Not the Sandal Kind

I guess this is what learning to deal with ambiguity feels like. This is the worst case of flip-flopping that I’ve ever experienced, and I’ll tell you why.

When you commit to a decision you’ve made, it’s a marvelous freedom.

Yes, it is. I’ve decided to live abroad next year, and that’s a no-brainer. Decision = done. No matter what, doubt will not conquer that idea because the roots are already well down into the ground.

But, I have no idea where I’m even going. A lost work opportunity in August, perilous research September thru October…November was for learning how to accept my decision and confiding in those who will actually hold me to leaving the country next year. By December you think I’d have a freakin’ clue as to where all of this work is taking me…

I’m back to offering a little faith in the company I work for. Another meeting with someone in a more powerful position brings the possibility of my career expanding overseas – right after I accepted that loss. Funny how corporations work. That brings me to Glasgow or Antwerp. Otherwise it’s onward to Amsterdam.

Yes, I’m tired of conflicting visions of the future, but I am in no way defeated. I’m taking this as my first life lesson of this entire experience, which is to ride it out. Keep the energy flowing into the universe no matter how much of a beating it’s taken so far. There is always more where that came from. I’m not taking no for an answer, so it’s time for myself to buckle up if my savings is all I’ve got to start with.

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Fluctuating Hopes & Possibilities

Uncertainty is taking its toll on me. I’m learning the hard way to dump all expectations because they have nothing to do with what actually unfolds.

I’ve been taking it one day at a time while the move to Europe is right around the corner and things have continued to get more complicated.

I almost got a job abroad at work…sort of. Allies agreed to follow the idea and maybe see it to fruition, but I think it’s already been stopped by an HR department far, far removed from my needs. They shrugged their shoulders and decided it was too complicated. Disappointment sucks.

If I had a chance at staying with my company, I’d be in Scotland or Belgium. I’ve distanced myself from the idea ever since I was turned down back in August and was just warming back up to it. I’d find a new purpose with work. Things would be so much more secure.

So, if I don’t stay with work, it’s really up to the survival skills to kick in. Shan and I will have to find our way with little-to-nothing except the stubbornness we have to make this move a successful one.

Each and every How I Built This podcast episode I’ve listened to and other success stories I’ve read all have one theme in common: the risk. The crazy refresh of life from confusion and dreams into a brand new world. We don’t choose the lives we’re born into, but we can choose to start them over once we’ve finally learned what could propel us into the next one.

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My Loop

Welp, I’ve officially ripped off the bandaid that I’ve been hesitant to rip. So with that.. cue Kel and his nostalgic punch line: “aaaaaaaw, here it goes!”

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First post and I have to say, I am rather nervous about taking off this outer shell to unleash my vulnerability onto the world. How do I open up my mind and soul and disclose my inner thoughts to perfect strangers? Subjecting myself to new interpretations of what I’m thinking, experiencing and feeling.

Fuck it, I have a month left here so here goes everything.

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A little over one month. One month until we’re ripped from the roots that have wound our feet so tightly into our small state for the past 24 years. One month left of simplicity, familiarity, casual comforts of family, lovers and friends. One month until our adventure begins where we’ll be engulfed in doubt, mistakes, anxiety, self-searching, the unknown and potentially failure *GULP*

As I write this, I’m watching Dolores in Westworld struggle to break the mold that binds her to her simplistic “loop” of a life.

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I can’t help but feel like Dolores is the perfect, cliche metaphor for myself. Theres been this subtle itch I’ve been attempting to scratch for a long time, yet I’ve been stuck in the same “loop”. Always finding an excuse to prevent myself from altering the straight and narrow path that I’ve been on.

“I don’t have the money”, “I have too much to lose”, and, my personal favorite,“it’s not the right time”. I’ve found that no time is ever the right time. If I keep using that excuse, I’ll never accomplish what it is that I want to accomplish and I’ll never scratch that itch.

This goes farther than just being stuck in the same place surrounded by the same faces and same routines everyday. I had a small glimpse of what I’ve been looking for when I had the ultimate freedom this past summer. Waking up in a new place every day. No responsibilities, no ties. Constantly surrounded by the raw beauty of nature and discovering first hand all the unique stories each state has to share. The road trip cross country was the ultimate release of stresses from “real life”. I yearn for that feeling…and in a little over a month, I’ll inhale deep and feel the soothing release of those stresses once again. Except this time, I’ll get to hop on this crazy roller coaster of life with my best friend by my side *cue Hawaiian roller coaster ride*

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Until then, I’ll remain discontented, while staying on my same loop: wake up, work, go home, fall asleep, dream of what is yet to come…repeat.

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My New Misshan

I’m scratching my itches. I know I can scratch yours, too.

I believe our feelings are not as isolated as we think. Somebody somewhere has a case of the tiny, gnawing mind games, too. That person is harboring negative feelings just like you are, because for some sick reason we want to watch the darkness grow. We want to surrender our control to something else so we can avoid the duty of waking up to face a treacherous and difficult world. The smarter tormented ones make money out of their misery. The rest of us stay at a standstill with the happiness attempting to bubble up to the surface. The lid we create ever so tightly plugs up – tightening the parameters. We can’t let any of the inmates escape.

Because feelings seem crooked and incorrect and resemble a pile of rocks you have nowhere to unload. As time goes on, the pile increases, and the overflown stones tumble to the floor…offending everyone around you when your life isn’t even theirs to be offended by, anyway. I think what confuses me the most about dominant people is the amount of concern they have for the choices anyone makes for him/her/zeself. Why do some people claim others as theirs to keep nearby, for their sake? They’re probably the same kids on the playground who either tried to run the game, or were those annoying kids who made a big deal out of everything instead of rolling it off the shoulder like everybody else.

I’m going to create content using every bit of myself, and fingers crossed it’ll resonate with you. I’m opening the conversation for words that would be otherwise silenced. I’m freeing myself for the sake of my life experience, my health, and my overall self.

Sadly, I haven’t thought about this until the end of this chapter in my life, but THIS IS MY LIFE. I never actually thought about the fact that my consequences should affect me, too, and not just other people. In fact, they should hit me the most. So what are the rules here? Where would consequences sprout up if I took a moment to be honest about what I want? Let’s start with my biggest regret: eternal sadness for neglecting to put myself first.

I haven’t been holding myself to any sort of standard or expectation. I allow others to rule every decision I make. I put them first, and I think that’s why my crazy often leaks out. I’m overflowing with lost time that I have every intention of making up for. No matter how much it affects other people, they’re not the ones in my shoes. I am the only one who can experience the true consequences of my actions. They can shove their secondhand worry up their asses. They should be more like me and feed themselves something to occupy their nosy and underwhelmed minds. That type of BS comes from being unaware of or unimpressed with the possibilities throwing themselves at us everyday.

Sorry dude who allows himself to worry about other people while ignoring his own internal cries…I’m sorry that you’ve yet to stop yourself from doing so.

I can’t wait to be on top of the world.

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Rabbit Rabbit 🐇🐇

Writing a blog post and feeling kinda weird right now. Like, nostalgic for happiness. Desperate for it, even. The quote in the picture above is a quote I’m using to calm the recycling voices that are telling me I can never have it again. It’s by Maria Shriver, and it makes so much sense right now.

Thankful that my Mommy does love me 😊

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