Running Wild

You can take the girl out of the suburbs, but you can’t take the suburbs out of the girl.

Aug
10

I don’t keep it a secret that I don’t like big cities.

Or any city for that matter.

I like the idea of them. I appreciate cities in the sense that I like looking at postcards of the Chicago skyline that someone else took. That’s as far as my appreciation for cities goes, and I promise it does not venture out beyond that. Granted, Chicago is huge compared to other cities, but it really doesn’t matter: I. Hate. Cities.

> Drove through Milwaukee – cried.

> Drove through Seattle – cried.

> Lived within 45 miles of Chicago for my entire life – tried my best to avoid it as much as possible.

So for the past 3 months whenever someone asked me why I picked Richmond, VA as my first stop on my journey of independence… my response was always a very flip “well, why not?”

Now, after being here for a week (truly on my own for the first time in 23 years), I’m starting to see the validity in that question.

See, I never meant to actually live in the city of Richmond. I thought I could find a small apartment in the surrounding suburbs somewhere. However when I called around, there were no vacancies anywhere until October. I doubt my parents would be very pleased with me if I remained unemployed for another 3 months. Also I would go absolutely stir crazy and I’m POSITIVE my mother would block my number after the umpteen millionth time I called because I was bored and wanted her to come home and entertain me.

Therefore with the urgency of needing to move out pronto, I found the apartment of all apartments (“it’s actually a 2-flat” – dad) near downtown Richmond. Really it’s pretty perfect. I have my own room, my own bathroom, washer, dryer, dishwasher, and a roommate who travels around the country for about 75% of the time.

It’s perfect… except that it’s in a city.

I won’t lie, I have used the Olympics as an excuse to not leave the house. With the exception of needing groceries, cause you know – food, I have stayed in my little humble abode on Monument Avenue. And so far I’ve been totally fine with my agoraphobic self… until today.

My agoraphobic self and I had a little conversation this morning and we came to an understanding that I needed to leave the house; I mean 2 -flat.

I promise I’m not crazy.. but I was getting there.

I scoured the internet to see what I could do today that would get me out of the comfort zone I’ve created for myself, and settled on Maymont Mansion and Nature Center.

It was actually pretty cool. I took a tour of some old guy’s (James Dooley) really old mansion, and saw river otters. AND I rewarded myself with a Maymont pin to add to my collection. I sort of got lost coming home, but I made it back in one piece. Parallel parking wasn’t too bad either.

Maybe cities are growing on me……. nah.

 

Dear Mom, Dad, Hannah, & Tim

Aug
06

Five years ago as I was packing up my room to head off to my first semester of college, Dad gave me a flash drive that held all the music that I grew up listening to. And I listened to that playlist on repeat for that entire first semester. Somedays I go to Spotify and play Angry Eyes by Loggins and Melissa just for the heck of it. So much has changed in the past five years, but one thing that hasn’t is the music we listen to. My whole life, you all have given me everything I have ever needed and I can’t thank any of you enough for all your unconditional love and support. I could never ask for better people to grow up with, learn from, or be loved by. I might be moving across the country, but home will always be where my heart is – with all of you.

To thank you, (as a start), I’ve put together a playlist of songs that in my opinion best summarize the past five years of our lives. Playlist is on your Spotify account titled “Cheers”. Some songs you’ve heard 10,000 times. Some you’ve heard but not for a long time. And others, this will be the first time. Either way, these are all great songs by great artists that embody the great heart of this family (Tim included).

Enjoy.

Rules:

  1. All parties must be present in order to listen to this playlist. That includes Mom, Dad, Hannah, Tim, Maddy, and Lainey.
  2. Find a night when no one has to work the next day. This playlist is a little over 2 hours long and I’m betting you won’t start it until after dinner – which knowing you guys won’t be until about 8:30 or even 9 depending on how much fun you guys are having while making dinner.
  3. Pick a night when it’s gorgeous outside. You’re going to want to sit on the deck while you listen.
  4. Side note: Someone bring some tissues for Mom. She’s going to need them (spoiler: I did NOT include What a Wonderful World specifically because I wasn’t sure she could handle it along with all the other songs that might make her cry. Love you, Mom!)
  5. Also, sorry dad, there’s no Chris Stapleton on this playlist. I think we all know that if I included him, you would probably switch the playlist over to ALL Chris Stapleton.
  6. NO PEEKING. That means no looking ahead to see what’s next! I have no way of knowing if you will or won’t, but I’m trusting you. However, you MAY look at the current song that’s playing.
  7. Try your best not to replay songs. Only replay the best ones… you’ll know which ones they are. I promise.
  8. Listen to all the songs ENTIRELY. Don’t skip around, you’ll regret it. Don’t mess with the order and don’t interject any of your own songs (Queueing is NOT allowed). Also make sure the playlist is not on shuffle.
  9. I recommend playing a game of “up and down” while you listen, let me know who wins; my bets are on Hannah.

So mix your Manhattans, pour your tequila shots, uncork that 3rd bottle of wine… this is going to be a long night.

Cheers!

Moving Day

Aug
03

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…”

This is it – the day I’ve been waiting for. Today is the day I move to Virginia.

I graduated college. I passed my board exam. I got a job, and now I’m off on my next great adventure. I have no idea what’s ahead of me (other than an extremely long drive). I just know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I only know that I’m supposed to move to Virginia, I’m supposed to help animals, I’m supposed to help people, I’m supposed to put one foot in front of the other.

There’s so much that I’m leaving behind. My parents, for one, have done nothing but love and support me through every big idea I’ve ever had regardless if that idea lasted longer than a minute or 18 months or longer. They’ve stuck by me through hospitals, and school, and losing my way, and finding it again. They’ve been there through everything and there’s no way I’d be able to make this move without them.

(To Mom & Dad -) I know, although proud, you’re sad I’m leaving. But I will remind you over and over again to not be sad about anything I do; this is who you raised me to be.

Then there’s my best friend who I have shared all my secrets with first, before I shared them with anyone else if I shared them at all – my sister.

(To Hannah -) So much has changed these past few years, both for us and between us. Break ups, new relationships, hospitals, car crashes, birthdays, etc. But what hasn’t changed, nor will it ever, is that you are my sister, my best friend (yes, you share this title with Lainey – get over it), my heart, my everything. So much has been going on with both of us: your work overload and my studying and moving. And I’m sorry all that has gotten in the way of our relationship. I’m sorry I forget sometimes to tell you I love you because I assume you already know it. I do love you, and I can’t say enough how proud I am of you and what you’ve done this year with your new endeavor as a entrepreneur. Your business is going to take off, just you wait.

I am also leaving behind my four-legged furry friends Maddy, Lainey, &  also Tim (who is a two-legged person). And although I’ll miss all of them so much, I know they’re in good hands.

(To Tim -) 1. Do right by her, 2. It’s a trap.

Yes, I’m leaving behind my home and those I love. But I’ll be back. This isn’t forever, this is just my next adventure.

So, the car is all packed.

My mountain is waiting.

Better get on my way.

uncropped blue ridge parkway