On being a transplant | Travel Tuesday

Transplant

My first home- Idaho

A lot of the time I think and write about travel, I tend to only focus on the international travel I’ve done. The traveling I’ve done overseas has been great to me and is a huge part of who I am. However, I think that I am doing myself (and you, my readers) a sort of disservice by not also acknowledging and talking about travel within the borders of our own country. This travel has had an equally huge impact on me and has allowed me to grow and change just as much.

To begin talking about this travel, I think it is best to talk about where I’ve lived and the influence moving across the country (a few times) has had on me.


I am an Atlantan. When people ask me where I live I automatically answer with Atlanta. This is my home and where I’ve spent my adult years. This is where I’ve loved and lost and learned and worked the most. However, when I think of home, this isn’t the only place that flashes in my mind.

My story began in Idaho. In some ways, my story is still continuing there through my family. They are my life-blood and biggest supporters (hi Mom!). I lived in Idaho until I was 18, minus the one year I spent in Mexico during high school. Idaho shaped me and raised me and have me the foundation upon which I’ve built my life. I am an Idahoan.

Moving to Atlanta was quite possibly the best decision I ever made. I became who I am here. However, this is not where I’m from and in a lot of ways, I think living far away from where you grew up makes you a little different than those who’ve stayed close to where they were raised. Not better or worse, just different.

It makes you 2 different people, all at the same time. I am the small town girl who is probably a little too trusting of the world and sees life in a simple way with an open heart. But I am also the woman in the city who knows how to navigate her way with the awareness, confidence, and speed required for life around here. I am the Northern girl with a love for the beauty of snow and the hills and fresh air, and I am the Southern woman who doesn’t like the cold and prefers to sit by the pool in the sun after a day at the office in a suit.

You get the picture. They are both parts of who I am. I’ve been able to pick what works best and feels best to me based upon how I was raised and how I’ve adjusted as I’ve grown.

In this same light, I know that Chicago will change me in some ways as well. I will be learning the culture of a new city, and growing as a person learning to navigate this world.

Soon I will call Chicago home.

Though I’m not from there and won’t claim to be, my transplant status gives me a unique view of home. I see home as a feeling, not a place. It’s a feeling I had with my host family in Mexico, playing Wii with my host in France, cooking dinner with my Nun Mother in Uganda, etc. It is a feeling of peace, of calm, of home.

I feel like I’ve gotten to a point of rambling with this post, but I’m interested to know what you all think. Where have you found home? Did you stay in one place all your life or move around? What place do you consider to really be your home?

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These are a few of my favorite things | Brunch Edition

If you’ve met me, you know I love me a good brunch. I mean, what’s not to love? Breakfast food? I don’t have to wake up early for it on the weekend? Eating with people I love? Yes, yes, and yes!

Last night I had dinner and drinks with some of my best ladies here in Atlanta to celebrate life- this is different for us, because we’re usually a brunch crowd!

friends

From top to bottom, on left- Barret, Laura, Victoria, Megan. Right- Lola, Adrienne, Me, Tempie!

So, here are my top 5 fav brunch places in Atlanta!

These are in no particular order; they’re all pretty equally delicious!

Flying Biscuit! Ohmygoodness. One of my favorite places in Atlanta. I have never been disappointed here and we always leave full. Their french toast with orange and raspberry glaze is to die for.

Cafe 640. A small little place off Highland Ave. with a tiny parking lot but if you’re there on Sunday the street parking is free! Everything there is delish but if you’re being really bad the chicken biscuits = YUM.

10th and Piedmont. Cute little modern-y place with live music on Sunday afternoon. Their chicken and waffles are corn dog style, salads are HUGE, and the gravy they put over their biscuits is right on point.

Pastries a Go-Go. Located in cute little downtown Decatur. For the longest time I walked right by thinking it was always closed, but it was so worth it when I decided to venture in. It’s a small and intimate place and the meals are HUGE so you will have plenty of leftovers for later.

– Mama’s kitchen. Nope, not a restaurant and not in Atlanta, so I’m cheating, but it’s my most favorite of all places ever. My Mama makes the best french toast you will ever eat and if you’re lucky on a Sunday my Daddy might have made some hash browns and bacon or sausage. Mmm. If you’re ever in Idaho….

Polar Vortex in the South!

Too familiar for comfort!

Too similar for comfort! Picture via.

If you’ve been anywhere on social media, the news, or outside lately, you know that it is COLD. And oh yeah, here in Atlanta we got one of the worst snow storms of our generation! Though it is humorous to look at this picture comparing The Walking Dead intro to the actual picture of people all trying to leave the city, it wasn’t so funny for people stuck on the road!

Now, I realize for those of you in the north, it’s easy to scoff at a couple inches of snow as nothing big. And it’s easy to scoff at people not knowing how to drive in the snow when it’s something that comes almost second nature to those of us who grew up with it.  I know, trust me, I grew up in Idaho, I know.

But here’s the thing that makes what happened a big deal- there’s no way for people to have that experience here. Snow and ice aren’t a thing that happens except for once every couple years. Not so second nature. And cabin fever is SO real after a couple days stuck at home. 

As our city gets back up and running, my heart goes out to those who were stuck out on the road for hours on end and who slept in their cars or in stores because they couldn’t get home. Thank goodness now our roads are getting back to normal and all the children have been reunited with their families.

For those of you up there where this is a normal occurrence- stay safe and warm! I’ve had enough snow to last me a while, hopefully the weather agrees!

I’m employed again! And it feel so good to say that.

It’s been a long time coming, but as promised, here’s what’s going on in my world!

First and foremost, I got a job! I am now working in City Hall in the mayor’s office! I am beyond excited and extra thankful for my friend Megan who said my name in her office enough times to get her boss to think of me when a job came up! I’ve only been here about a week, but so far I’m loving it. The people in my office are so incredibly kind and hard working, I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from them. And apparently they like me so far because most of this week I’ve been the only one in the office and I already feel confident with what I’m doing. Plus, the view from my desk isn’t too shabby either!

This is seriously what I get to look at all day, every day! When it's not the holiday season, it's a fountain. Gorgeous.

This is seriously what I get to look at all day, every day! When it’s not the holiday season, it’s a fountain. Gorgeous.

One thing that is very different from any job I’ve had before is the dress code! From my nursing job in scrubs to my private school teaching job in casual clothes, being in an extremely professional environment is new. I’m slowly going to be building up a work wardrobe, but for now I have just enough of the basics to get by. Have any suggestions for me about dressing professionally on a budget? Please feel free to share them! Again- I am OH so thankful for my sweet friend Megan who also happens to have a fabulous wardrobe and allows me to borrow her clothes, and shoes, and apartment!

Additionally, I’ve started the apartment hunting process. Living with my best friend is fun but I know I need my own place. Both of us enjoy time together but also enjoy our space and alone time. The options are a little overwhelming but I feel like I’m narrowing it down. It’s hard to decide if I want to live in a place close to work or a place a little further out that’s bigger and has more options. Decisions, decisions. I’ve fallen in love with one place that’s just sliiiiightly outside of my budget range so I’m considering moving some things around. But in reality I know I’ll be happy and be able to make a home out of wherever I end up. It’ll be fun to get all set up. Next week begins the tours, then deciding after that! I’ll make sure to post pictures of before and after my move in too! I’m so glad that my internet community will be sharing this experience with me as well!

That’s all that’s going on in my little corner of the world. Catch me up on what’s been going on in yours?

The story of a girl who couldn’t make up her mind. Ever.

Aka the story of how I’m now living in my 3rd home in as many months and now there’s no turning back. For a while.

As you know by now, life post-college graduation has not exactly been the fairy tale I might have imagined my sophomore year of college. (I thought I’d be living in North Carolina and married over this past summer and life would be moving in a TOTALLY different direction. HA, 20 year old me was so silly.) Honestly, I could not be more grateful for the way my life has changed over these past couple of years but it still leaves me with immense feelings of uncertainty. Is this where I’m supposed to be living? Is this the path I belong on? Hello, confusion!

What I do know is that I am incredibly lucky that my past experiences have given me the confidence and ability to just pick up my life in a matter of days, pack everything I own into my car, and go. It’s a wild ride.

After my summer of teaching, I packed up and moved home to take care of my Daddy. Though I know I was helpful to provide rides and a rest for the rest of my family, I also know that I wasn’t in the place I was supposed to be. My heart wasn’t there. And that’s ok.

I love my father with everything I have. I have him in my heart forever, and his writing tattooed on my skin. He will forever be my number 1 man, and my biggest cheerleader in this life. I know he understands my need to leave my small town in Idaho and knows my heart is in the city with more opportunities for education and for work that I will be able to love. I still talk to him regularly and I know the updates on his condition, and am in close contact with his doctors. At this point, there is nothing more I could do, and I just have to trust that they will make my father the most comfortable that they can in this time.

So I picked up and drove to Atlanta, back again for good this time. Or until I save up enough money for another move. For now, I am relying on the generosity of sweet friends to provide housing for me until I can find myself a job and an apartment on my own, and enjoying time recovering mentally and spiritually from these past few months, and reconnecting with friends that fill my soul with so much happiness.

This change and transition into a new stage of life is bittersweet, but the moments of joy make it worth it. And as bad as I might think things may be at times, I remember the words of my favorite professor as I complained once to her about not knowing what to do with my life- I am lucky. I am so very blessed to have these options. To have choice. I have the privilege of deciding what I will do and who I will be. There are so many who don’t have that, and I am lucky. This reminder to be grateful echoes through my mind any time I start to think negatively.

 

Back to Atlanta!

So I’ve taken a little time and run away to Atlanta. My teaching job for the summer ended about a week ago and I’m still having trouble accepting that I’m really moving back in with my parents and going to have to find a job there.

So instead of dealing with my issues like a real adult I’ve decided to run away from them for a bit. And that’s exactly what I’ve done. And exactly what I’ll continue to be doing for the next 3 weeks! I know that this is a one time opportunity (I mean seriously how many more chances am I going to have to be young and unemployed?) But I also know that it is so, so needed.

A little time with my friends and boyfriend will do me some good before I head back to Idaho and work there.

If I’m pretty scarce around here for a bit, you know why! I’m really trying to find out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life here. My mom said “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” as I left the other day. I just hope I find out what it is that I’m looking for.

Adulting!

My goodness!

So remember how last time I wrote I said I had decided to stay in Idaho for about another year while living with my parents to save $$ and go to school and such?

Well, I’m back on the fence. I still want to stay, but I just don’t know that I can make it another year. In a few weeks, when my summer teaching session ends, I’m planning a trip for a few weeks back to Atlanta so I can see how life could be there. I need this trip! I miss the city and my friends desperately, and need to do some serious appreciation of the boyfriend.

BUT! I am currently working on job applications like crazy closer to my parents, which is making my head spin. As much as I know I need to get a job there, I know my heart isn’t in these applications because I really would rather find a fabulous job in Atlanta that could convince me to move back there. I have one last application out in Atlanta that I’m not counting on, but I am certainly hoping for! It’s one I’ve wanted for a while, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

In other news, adulting is hard. Is that really news though?

This week, my car got hit. In. My. School. Parking. Lot.
Meaning it was the parent of one of my students. Disappointing, seeing as they all know it’s my car. In my head, all people were honest enough to leave a note if they hit someone’s car. Or say something. Something. But no. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things but it totally threw my week off. I’m fine, my car still runs, no harm done (except a big dent). So  getting that fixed will be…interesting.

My debit card expired. My new one was sent to my parents house. Meaning this week I’ve been without a way to spend money. Again, not a big deal, just inconvenient. I’ll get it this weekend when they visit.

Actually, now that I think of it, maybe that was a good thing, ha!

Anyway, people sometimes suck and money is better saved.

Now, I MUST get back to this pile of laundry. My parents are coming down to visit this weekend and I would hate for them to think I’m struggling as much as I am. They have enough to worry about without worrying about the cleanliness of my apartment!

PS- For the record- it’s clean, just cluttered!

It’s July 28th already!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on this little blog! I’m so sorry for being away so long, life has been a whirlwind!

I moved into an apartment with no internet (yeah, breaking that addiction was interesting!), began my teaching job (my only source of internet) and have been loving it so far!

My students are the absolute coolest. I seriously could not ask for a better group of kids. They’ve kept me challenged and made me laugh more times than I can count. Watching them as they’ve grown even in these past couple of months has been so rewarding. Seeing them learn and get interested in the material has been great. We’ve has our trials and our road bumps but for the most part I’ve had a great support system around me and we’re getting through!

As for my own life, this past month has been about making big life decisions. I’ve been torn between moving back to Atlanta and moving back home to be with my parents. I love the city of Atlanta and all my friends (and boyfriend!) are back there, and I know my job opportunities are wider there. However, my father’s health isn’t the best, and being so far away just doesn’t seem like the best idea for right now.

Today, I made a decision.

When the summer ends, I will leave my teaching job and move up to my parents’ house. I will go to school at one of the local universities for a second bachelors degree. This time, in elementary education.

So I’m putting off the whole solo-living in Atlanta plan for now. It’ll still happen, but maybe not for another year or so. I know my friends understand. I know my boyfriend understands. They are all, of course, ok with it and supportive of what I feel I need to do.

It’s not going to be easy, but in the end I know family is worth it.