Friday, July 27, 2012

North Carolina, I Love You

I have only Saturday left in Raleigh, NC before I hit the road and head to Chicago with my sister(from another mister) and Partner in Crime Bridget. From there, I will board a plane bound for Dublin, Ireland which will become my new home. CRAZY! Am I excited? Heck Yes!!!! Am I nervous? You better believe it!

I thought this would be an appropriate time to write my love letter to the Great State of North Carolina, which I have called my home for the past 18 years after my family and I relocated here from the freezing cold terrains of New York.

North Carolina, I Love You. And here are the reasons why:

  1. My family - Thinking about moving away from them is the hardest thing about this move
  2. My friends - Again, not fun to think about leaving them
  3. Lake Johnson - The best lake to take a long and beautiful walk!
  4. Chick Fil A - In case you are unfamiliar with this great establishment, Chick Fil A is a fast food restaurant with the most friendly and efficient staff ever. For Real. And their chicken sandwiches and waffle fries? Don't even get me started!
  5. Cook Out - Again, in case you haven't tasted the deliciousness that is Cook Out, I'll elaborate. It is a rare and magical place where a hungry soul can get a burger, fries, hushpuppies(fried cornbread party in your mouth) and a milkshake all for $5. Will it clog your arteries? Absolutely. Is it worth it every once in a while? Duh.
  6. Springtime - Spring in North Carolina is pretty amazing. There are so many beautiful flowers here and they all bloom together in the Spring months, making for a beautiful scene
  7. C. Grace - My favorite spot to grab a drink. As referenced in an earlier post, they even make some drinks with egg whites creating a frothy and delicious alcoholic beverage
  8. Fedora - An awesome local boutique where a girl in need can find anything from an adorable top to the perfect dress for a night out.
  9. Sweet Tea - A uniquely Southern treat, this cold tea beverage has so much sugar in it you might be wired for hours, but its so refreshing and delicious on a hot and humid North Carolina summer day
  10. BARBECUE - A mostly North Carolinian culinary creation, when prepared correctly this dish will leave you wanting more. Its traditionally made with either pulled or chopped pork and topped with either an Eastern style vinegar sauce or a Western style tomato based sauce. The rivalry between the two is pretty strong down here, so choose your side wisely. 

Of course there are many more than the10 listed here, but these are some of the most quintessential North Carolina-esque topics I could think of. This state has served as the backdrop to my childhood and has seen me grow into a woman. It will always have a place in my heart, and it will always be where I come when I want to be home. 

So, North Carolina, thanks for the love and the memories! I'll be seeing you soon! 


P.S. For those of you from Raleigh, NC (especially Sarah Hardin) the picture below goes out to y'all(Southern for "all of you" or "you guys")!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Adventures Are Just Around the Corner

     To say that 2011 was a difficult year would be an understatement. I went through the single worst experience of my life thus far-losing my mother to ALS. After six years of watching her suffer and being strong for her, I emotionally lost it after she passed away. I cried what seemed to be endless tears. I sat in a crowded room full of those who loved me feeling completely vacant, devoid of any feeling whatsoever.
     But, once the intial pain of grief subsided I was able to really look inside of myself. I saw a girl who was broken, grief-stricken and fearful of what life would now be like. I also saw a woman, a strong fighter. Each day I would get to know that fighter a little better, gaining confidence and finding healing. I prayed, and prayed some more, and some more again. After a few months, my life no longer felt like a terrible tornado of a nightmare. Was I ok? No. But I was learning to deal with the reality of what had happened. It was during that time when I asked myself what I really wanted for this new, strong fighter-woman inside of me. I realized that I wanted a fresh start. A new beginning. A place I could drive down the street and not see a doctor's office I had been to hundreds of times with my mother, both of us desperate to find a cure we knew didn't exist. I also wanted to get my undergraduate degree. So, I applied to University College Dublin, and a short while later I found out I got in. 
     So now, here I am several months later preparing to leave for Ireland in just two short weeks. Today that strong woman, the fighter, is who I am. I've been through a trial and I've come out on the other side of it stronger and I hope a bit wiser. Is there still sadness inside of me? Yes. That will never go away. I will always miss my mother. She and my grandmother and my grandfather raised me. I will forever be thankful for everything they have done for me. 
     Leaving home is scary. I wonder if going 3000 miles away from the place I have always lived will be what I think it will. It probably won't. Nothing in life is ever the way we expect it to be. But I can count on the fact that this experience will change my life for the better. Its all about my attitude toward it. I'm going to soak in everything I possibly can-learn everything from my classes(or try to at least), form new friendships and find out to make it far away from home. 
     I got a fortune in my fortune cookie the other day that said, "new adventures are just around the corner!" It couldn't have been more correct. I'm so filled with hope and excitement. Anxiousness and fear are there too, but I once was told that if your dreams don't scare you a little bit then you aren't dreaming big enough. I'm extremely blessed to have this opportunity, and I plan on living each and every day to its fullest, keeping my mother close in my heart and bringing her with me on this great adventure. 
    ****Side Note: I know today was supposed to be "Thirsty Thursday" but...this came out instead. haha. I might stray a little from my daily themes in these last 2 weeks leading up to the move, but once I get settled I'll be right back with them!
    ****Second Side Note: My sister Bridget(not by blood, more like a soul sister) is getting MARRIED!!! And she asked me to be the MOH(Maid of Honor)! I'm so happy for her and her Prince Charming! The wedding is scheduled for next summer, so we all know where I'll be spending my summer next year: in Raleigh!