I don't even know where to start... There are so many emotions that I'm feeling right now that it's almost impossible to focus on just one. Let me start off by saying that you've made me the happiest woman in the world by giving me the opportunity to be your wife. I always wondered what my life would be like with whoever it was I was going to marry, and I'm excited to say that I know our marriage is going to be full of laughs, good food, the occasional tears, but lots of love. I know many people may think we're crazy for meeting up in a foreign country to get married, and then part ways 7 days later, but as long as we get it, then that's what matters.
I understand that there will be challenges that we'll have to face together while being apart, but we've always seemed to make it work for the both of us. We'll rack up enough Sky Miles seeing each other, that when we do get to fly together, then we both can sit in VIP! As I'm sitting in my living room typing this, it's still dawning on me that this home is our home. Even though you aren't here, you know you'll always have a place to come home to. (BTW - thank you for fixing my cabinet. What a great husband you are!)
My house isn't quiet just yet. With your parents here, it doesn't hurt as much knowing that you left today. (Don't get me wrong, it still breaks my heart). I know that when they leave, and it's just me here, that's when it's going to hit me really hard. But that's okay...
Holy cow, we're married... It seems like it was just yesterday when I visited you and we went to go look at rings. It went from, "I can't do this anymore, let's go. This is making me anxious" to "I'm so excited to be your wife" to "let's have babies". (Yeah, that escalated really quickly, lol.) It's funny how the question, "now what are we going to do?" can create such big events, right?
Now that I can finally sit and just think about it all, I'm thinking all the way back to when we first met, and how perfect we were for each other right off the bat. There's so much that we have in common, that it was actually quite frightening how perfect it all seemed. Like it was all just "too good to be true." I won't lie and say that there wasn't a point that I never had the thought that we wouldn't work out. But that's when I was still afraid to really commit myself to you in fear of getting hurt. Then as the days went on, you continued to shower me with your love and kindness, and you took care of me before you took care of yourself.
I've met lots of people throughout my travels in life, but none of them even come close to comparing to you. I can truly say that I'm the luckiest girl to have met such a kind, selfless, loving man like yourself. The only one who can make me laugh with just one look. You really are my sweetest hello, and my hardest see you later.
Sean Michael, I am so in love with you and I am so happy to be your wife.
xx, Mrs. Sison
I wasn't planning on going anywhere far... but how could I turn down a paid trip to Switzerland? I was kind of bummed that my friend Allie couldn't come, because she'd been wanting to go on this trip for so long. At least when we do go, then I'll know where to take her.
Our morning started very early. I had worked the night before, and had gotten into bed at 10PM just to wake up at 2AM to start getting ready. We had to be at the bus by 3:30 AM, and it would be a 5.5 hour journey to our first tour destination, The Cailler Chocolate Factory. German law required our bus to stop at the four hour mark, after we had crossed into Switzerland. The rest stop we were at was extremely nice. It was like a mini-shopping mall. Everything inside was very overpriced, so we just decided to grab coffee, and I grabbed my traditional postcard for my collection. From the border, it was about 1.5 hours to Gruyere. I was a bit dismayed with the weather. The rain was pouring and the clouds covered up the view of the surrounding Alps, but we didn't think of this while we were in the chocolate factory
Maison Cailler - Rue Jules Bellet 7, 1636 Broc, Switzerland - When we got there, we were able to skip the line. If you plan to go, try to see if you can purchase tickets online to save your self some trouble from standing outside. When you enter, there's a giant section of chocolate to the right for purchase. Don't get too distracted that you don't look up. Giant chocolate decorations were hanging from the ceiling, and the scent of chocolate overpowered the room. The tour has an audio guide available for your language convenience, but if you travel in a group, then each room is spoken in a certain language. The tour is a timed tour. You move through different rooms, a short history about chocolate it said accompanied by moving pieces in the room, and then the door opens to the next section. This made it easier to get through the Maison without getting too distracted.
Towards the end of the tour, they have a room where you can see, touch, smell, and even taste the ingredients being used. Just make sure you're grabbing from the correct bin when you're trying the ingredients. You don't want to eat something everyone hands have been on! There's a clear wall separating the tactile room and the factory. You can actually watch small chocolates be made, and at the end of the line, you can grab a sample! Enjoying your piece of chocolate from start to finish. Then comes a long hallway, that will tempt you with chocolate at the beginning. It'll instruct you to savor the chocolate by first looking at it, smelling it, biting it but not swallowing it, letting it melt, and then finally enjoying it how chocolate should be enjoyed - or devoured for that matter.
You're led into a small room with trays of different chocolates. If you want to try a chocolate twice, try it twice. You don't get to go back around for seconds. There are two different rooms for tasting. One room is already prepared chocolate, and the second room is where you'll see chefs preparing the chocolate in different ways - like French macarons... French macarons I didn't get to taste. So if you're on a guided tour, make sure you have ample time to indulge in the sweet, chocolate goodness.
La Maison du Gruyère (Fromagerie) - Place de la Gare 3, 1663 Pringy-Gruyères, Switzerland - A trip to Switzerland wouldn't be complete if we didn't go indulge in salty, cheesy goodness. (Today was a great day for the salty & sweet combination, + wine). This fromagerie was only 10 minutes away from the chocolate factory by bus. It was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be, but when we went inside it seemed like it was so much bigger. The tour wasn't long either. They gave you an audio guide, and the character of the guide was very funny to listen to. It walks you through the different ingredients used to make Gruyere cheese. You can smell the ingredients, some smelled great, and some made me feel like I needed to throw up. The second half of the tour, you could see the factory.
Did you know that it takes 400 L of milk to create one 35 kg round of Gruyere cheese? Can you imagine having to try and make a batch of 20 rounds? That's a lot of milk! The cheese is turned in these large barrels for quite some time, and then poured into containers where they're shaped and turned every... 16 hours I think? They get run through a salt bath, and then are placed on shelves. I was able to see the robot they use to turn the cheese. It goes up and down the aisles and spins and turns the cheese so everything is... even? I don't know. They can tell if the cheese is done by the elasticity and the "bounce back" of it. It's really interesting...
The only thing was the cheese tasting was only given in a small packet of cheese that had 3 different ages of Gruyère. I ended up buying two slices of cheese because it was so good. I would've liked it more if it were like the chocolate factory, and you lined up in a room full of cheese.
We ate brunch there, kind of. I had a sorbet, my mom had leek soup, and my aunt had a mixed salad. Everything there was very overpriced, and everything was covered in cheese. The food was pretty good, but not good enough to spend hundreds of Swiss Francs on. After our snack, we ventured into the town to explore.
Mind your own (dxmn) business.
There is one fool-proof thing you can do to be happy, and that is to bring back that phrase from your elementary school days and MYOB.
Focus on building your own foundation.
Don't try to include yourself in business you're not a part of.
I find that it is very difficult for some people to do this. There are many people who really thrive off of the attention of others. There are also many people who like to know everything that is going on. Then there are people like me, who could really care less about what is going on. If it doesn't concern me, then I won't butt into it. I think I'm the kind of person who really only focuses on 3 things: what I'm doing to better myself, what I want out of my relationship, and what I want with family. Those are the only three things that I really think about. If you are my friend, and you need help, then I will reach out to you. If you are my friend, and you ask for advice, then I'll sit there and listen to you and give you advice if you need it. Other than that, I will go about my day, do what I need to do, come home, and call it a day.
Don't try and interject yourself into business you're not welcomed into. That's where drama is created, that's how gossip starts, and that's how friendships are ruined. Know your boundaries with people. Don't be so concerned with what others are doing. I think this thought is coming from something that recently happened to me.
I'm new to Germany (can I even say that? I've been here for four months)... and I haven't spent too much time telling people about myself. So it comes to my surprise when I hear someone is talking about my personal life like they talk to me on a personal, one-on-one basis. This is where I have a large problem. I was very upset at hearing this news, and I was furious for a couple of days. Then I sat and I thought about it, did my little meditation breathing exercise, and decided to not give it any thought. Because why waste my time being angry at someone who only wants attention? So ask yourself that. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Should you waste your time and energy being mad at someone who isn't benefiting your happiness? Or are you just going to keep on keepin' on being all happy and just brush it off? The only person who really knows you - is yourself. If you know that what you're doing is for your happiness, then who cares what others may think? I mean, don't go around doing things that could cause people to question your morals and values, that's never good, but don't live your life in fear. Don't live your life to please others that mean very little to you. If people who mattered were really concerned about you, they'd go directly to you and not to the people you know. Know the difference between concern and just being nosey.
How people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours.
So again - stay focused on you and your small circle, and if there are people who want to talk about you and make you lose face, just remember that they're the ones losing face by gossiping. Don't stoop down to that level. Don't try to get even. The universe has it's own way of making sure people get what they put out.
Everyone deserves to be happy. In my solid 24.5 years of living, I have found myself struggling with this thing called "happiness". The whole "don't worry, be happy" phrase is a lot easier said than done. So in this blog, I'm going to just list a few things that I know helped me get to know myself, and helped me find my own path to happiness.
Learn to be alone, but not lonely
This is something I learned back in high school and reinforced during my first few years in college. When I was a senior in high school, I stopped hanging out with a large group of people and I did things on my own. I went from wanting to be a part of the crowd, to wanting to just observe the crowd. I traveled to places on my own, in a culture that I had no understanding of. The first time I had traveled in Japan on my own, I was very scared. This is going back to me not having a phone with internet capabilities to conveniently Google things. I walked around aimlessly, and I got lucky if I found places that I enjoyed. I also got very lucky if I found my way back home. There was something about being in a city booming with people, but not knowing anyone there. It's like everyone had one thing in common, we were all alone together, and that was our security.
In college is where I reinforced my "be alone, but not lonely" mindset. I had my own apartment in Seattle and in Pullman. I loved being with friends, but there was no better feeling than going home to my apartment and just being by myself. It allowed me to think about everything that happened, and just be alone with my thoughts. Some times were more challenging than others, for instance, when I'd had a bad day. I wouldn't have anyone there to hug me and tell me that everything would be okay, but I did have friends I could call on. I think every young adult has to experience living alone for at least a year. You learn to rely on yourself. You learn what you like and don't like. It's like those people who are still afraid to go eat out on their own. There is nothing wrong with enjoying something for yourself and by yourself. Disconnect from the world for a bit, and realize that what you do, is ultimately for you. The decisions you make take the biggest toll on you; and the way others react to is not something you have any control over.
Have a "go-to" routine, but remember to do something fun
On my days off, I normally do a short routine. I make myself breakfast and a good cup of coffee. When I work, breakfast is always something that is rushed and I never have time to enjoy it. So my days off, I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen cooking things that I can eat throughout the week. I clean on my days off. A lot of people resort to hanging out with friends a majority of the time, or going out and traveling. Right now, that's not in my best interest, so I do the one thing I know will make me happy (after) it's done. I clean my home. I've never been able to function in a messy space. When I see clutter around me, I feel like my surroundings are shrinking in on me, and then my thoughts get frazzled. Having a routine that you can resort to can help fill in the feeling of "I don't know what to do with my life right now". You don't have to make it a daily routine, or something you do every time you have a day off. It's just something that you can be like, "okay today is the day I do everything I need to get done, because I've been putting it off for the entire month" type of routine. (lol).
Then there are those random days where I just want to go out and do something fun for myself. Like my last post when I went to Geierlay Bridge. It was a break in my routine, and I enjoyed the company of my friends while traveling. I personally don't need to be out doing something all the time, but having a day off doing something different can be a nice "recharge". It helps you form relationships and create unforgettable memories. You need that in life. Don't confuse my "learn to be alone but not lonely" spiel with you shouldn't hang out with friends, haha.
Find a workout and diet that works for you
We're three months into the New Year (so would it still be considered new?) and you may have slipped up on your diet and workout routine. I understand! There's a lot of motivation when January rolls around and you realize that Thanksgiving dinner is still sitting on your hips. I think body image is probably the biggest thing I struggle with. So in this section, I'm going to name a few major things that I know help me stay motivated to keep up with my diet/workout.
Follow people that inspire you. Social media can work both in positive and negative ways. I used to follow a lot of "fitspo" instagrams of very thin, toned people. People who ate nothing but fruits and vegetables, and showed you 5 workout drills and claim that it'd get you "killer abs" and all of that. At first it motivated me because I'd be like, "oh yeah I want to do that." After awhile though, it'd make me feel bad about myself because I just didn't look like them and I knew I never would. (Slightly because it'd require me to get a boob job, and that's not something I'm interested in). So I stopped following those kinds of instagrams, and I focus on my own progress, and I follow realistic instagrams. (Realistic for me at least). I'm never going to be that girl who can lift 300 lbs or be brave enough to compete in physique stuff, so I stopped following them. Honestly, it was the best decision I've made.
Be realistic with what you eat. I've seen a lot of my friends and family (mostly my mom) start doing crazy fad diets like juicing, or going vegan, or even just vegetarian. Transitioning to diets like that in a short amount of time can be dangerous (mostly the juicing one). Before you decide to take on that major life change, do your research. If you're someone who eats steak, burgers, and a lot of chicken for your meals, don't try and switch to being vegetarian overnight. Ease your way into those diets. Make sure you consult with a doctor beforehand so you know what to eat to ensure you get everything you need. Vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, proteins and all! :) Also - I eat one treat a day, whether it's a cookie, or a belgian waffle with my morning coffee. I don't deprive myself of something I love, because that's just mean. Moderation is key, people!
Do a workout routine that you enjoy. I hate running. I really, really hate running. So I have to find out how to do cardio in another way other than running. I also hate the routine of lifting weights. I give mad props to those who can go into the gym and do the same routines over and over, but I can't do that. So I resort to body weight workouts, or dumbbell/kettle bell/medicine ball workouts, pilates, and yoga. I have fun doing my workouts, so it gives me more incentive to go back and do it every day.
Why working out is on my road to happiness: Overall health. I feel better about myself and the physical results I see. but I also feel better inside knowing that I'm not eating a lot of junk food. I feel good knowing that I am taking care of my body, because I've seen what not taking care of your body could do.
Meditate, or at least take time to breathe
This is something that I've had to learn to do. I started off with a couple of minutes a day, then I increased it to longer intervals. I know that there are days where I feel like I don't even have the time to breathe. I think people mistake other moments for their "breathers" like driving to/from work. That doesn't count. Your mind has to be paying attention to absolutely nothing. It should be able to just run it's own course. I'm not going to lie and say that I go to church every Sunday at 9 AM. My work sometimes doesn't allow for it to happen. I know that a constant worry of my mom's is that I'm "not close to God". I remember her coming into my room raising this concern, but I don't think she understood what I meant. I'm not a fan of constructed prayer and worship. Don't get me wrong, I'll go to church (happy Ash Wednesday btw), but I find that I 'connect' best with Him, when I do it my own way, in a place I'm comfortable in. So most weeks I don't dedicate that one hour to Him in church, but I know I dedicate more than one hour in total to Him throughout the week.
And if you don't have a specific religion you follow, then just take the time to breathe. Take the time to not give a care in the world. You don't have to be worried every second of every day.
Reach out to those who mean the most to you
This is not hard anymore because of technology. You have no excuse. Life gets busy. We all know that. I live very far away from everyone I know and love, and it's hard to keep in touch with time difference and schedules. Sometimes I go on for weeks without talking to some people, but when I find the time, I message them to see how they're doing. Facebook and Instagram make it very easy to peep in on your friends and family, but writing them more than just a comment can be more meaningful. Emails and messages work. Sometimes a phone call if you know you're both awake (don't go calling someone at 3 AM their time just to say hello, that's just mean). I am a firm believer of "you don't have to talk every day to know you love each other" (unless it's Michael, then he better talk to me every day or he's going to have one angry girl to deal with). But just letting people know you care and you're there for them if they ever feel alone... that really makes a big difference. You never know how much of a difference a "hello, how you doin'?" can make.
That's all I guess. It's a lot of random stuff you probably already do but don't think about, but that's just what I do. Breathe, workout, eat yummy foods, and stay in touch with people that I love. I try to avoid the things that I know will make me unhappy or feel bad about myself - I ain't got time fa' dat.
What's something that makes you happy? Write your answer below! <3
I woke up this morning excited to get out of my little apartment and see some nature! Our plan was to leave around 10 AM, but with my excitement, I was up at 6 AM on my laptop searching for things around the area. Today didn't work out as I'd hoped it would have, but it's okay. Being from Washington, when you say the phrase, "let's hike," I automatically picture being lost in the woods going in an upward direction. I pictured breaking through the treeline and seeing grandiose views of the mountains or a glacier lake. I think of small deer trails that you can follow and it'd lead you to somewhere cute. Today, I went on a walk. I over packed for sure. I brought snacks, extra clothes, and hygiene stuff. All of which I didn't need.
It was funny, because everyone started showing up at my house at 10. Ash came before 10, Laura came at 1005, and then we were just waiting for Allie. No one had heard from Allie since 7 AM. So as soon as 1006 hit, we all were like, "uhhh.... Allison hasn't texted anyone or even looked at the messages." But luckily, she pulled through and texted us back!
Geierlay is about an hour and a half away North from where I live. It's located in the little town of MÖRSDORF. There are a lot of hiking trails in the area, but when it comes to German trails, a lot of them tend to be walking trails. By walking trails, I mean paved sidewalks that you can walk on through their fields and behind their houses. So we parked at the visitor's center, and from there, it was about a 2 kilometer walk to the bridge. All of which was paved. I don't know if you can kind of tell my disappointment through my writing, but I was definitely a little disappointed.
The bridge itself was actually really cool though. Along the trail, there were little stops that would teach you a little history about the town, and then showed you pieces of the bridge and how it worked, and another one showed how windmills worked. There were windmills all around us, which was actually pretty neat! The Geierlay Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Germany, at a length of 360 meters. There were a lot of people there when we arrived, which made walking on the bridge a little trickier. The bridge swayed in the wind, but overall, it was a pretty neat experience.
I would take my visitors here just for the photos, and if I ever decide to go again, I'll plan on taking a scenic hike to get there. It kind of reminds me of Vance Creek Bridge in Shelton, WA. Although sadly, I believe they've taken that railway down because of the illegal visitations people continued to make, since it was private property. Oh well.
I think I'd rate this... 5/10.
Walk way: Paved
Parking: Plenty of lots (Euro coins needed)
Final note: Do it for the photo, not for the hike, unless you take a different route that I took.
When my alarm went off at 0420, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and go for a 20km march after working a full week at the hospital. "Why do I get myself into these situations?" I thought to myself as I tried to find every ounce of motivation inside of me to get up. This morning, I made my way with a group of friends to Goronne, Belgiuim where we would march 20 kilometers of a route that the 82nd Airborne Division took when they were passing through Europe. The weather didn't look promising, my legs had already been aching from working shifts, and I'd slept for only four hours. With every movement I made this morning, I kept asking myself, "how do I get myself into these things?"
I give my respect to those people who can get up and walk 12 miles every morning just for fun, but walking outside was the last thing I wanted to do. I thought I would be spending my entire Saturday lounging in my pajamas on my couch, hot cocoa in hand, and watching Friends (please, don't judge me, for it is only my 4th time watching the entire series over again). I slept most of the way to Belgium. When I woke up we were already trying to look for parking at the starting point. The weather still didn't look too promising, but it was perfect for the 12 mile march.
When we got there, so many people were dressed up in their battle uniforms. There were Soldiers from different countries like Germany, Belgium, and I think I even saw Luxembourg there. Which surprises me because I didn't think that Luxembourg had a military force like that. Then of course, there was the large group of Americans that were there in support of our brothers of the 82nd. The atmosphere was pretty motivating to be honest. Seeing everyone participating in a memorial march kind of gave you a feeling of a very strong tradition or legacy, and to know we were a part of that now... It definitely made you feel like you were a part of something much bigger than yourself. Especially with people being there to walk in memory of their grandfathers, THAT was pretty impressive.
The terrain we walked on varied. We started out on pavement, and then found ourselves in fields covered in mud and cow pies. It was different from what I imagined it would be. We were in the middle of fields and forests a majority of the time. We constantly found ourselves fighting the slick, deep mud for our shoes and our footing. About 75% of the hike was at a steep incline, and then the rest was either flat pavement, or very steep declines. I think I got enough of a workout for two days worth of rest. Along the way, there were snack/beverage stations (mostly alcoholic, haha) at miles 3, 6, and 9. We skipped the station at mile 3 and kept pushing. At mile 6, we took a break and grabbed lunch. There were people from the town there selling bratwursts, hamburgers, Belgian waffles, beers, and then the organization who put the event together had free minestrone soup. We didn't stay too long, but we stayed long enough to catch a glimpse of what the field hospitals looked like back in the day.
When we were on our way to finish the second half, I felt my body starting to ache. By mile 8, my legs were pretty much numb to all the pain I was feeling, and my body felt like it went into auto-pilot mode. So it actually hurt more to stop and take a break than it did to keep going. Along this route, there were more and more stations by people who were dressed and perched in fox holes, and medic stations. I think the set up of the route was great, and one of the stations let us jump in to take photos with their rifles. At mile 9, we stopped at the memorial dedicated to those who walked the route in 1944. It really makes you think about what you signed up for when you joined the Army. History goes a long way.
By mile 10, every decline we came to, we decided that it was easier for us to run down it. At one point I started humming cadences to myself just to keep myself motivated. No, I'm not Airborne. Yes, my babes is. Maybe, just maybe I might try to get my wings. One day when I am "volun-told" to live in Fort Bragg. But that's if and only if, that ever happens.
Our motivation in the beginning was to stay with the American Flag. There was Soldier who brought a very large flag with him and carried it the entire way. At our halfway point, our motivation was a cute, fluffy dog who just seemed so happy to have been going on a long walk with his owner. At the end of the march, we finished with the American flag in sight. We were greeted with a delicious serving of Gluhwein, and a certificate saying we participated in this great event. My knees are aching, and I may be very tired. But like I was telling Allison, "this wasn't paved back then, and they didn't get to rest afterwards, how do you think they felt?!" I have to suck it up and know that my brothers from the past had it much, much worse than we have it today. And I can only be grateful to share and dedicate these memories to them.
Mother truckin' Army Strong, hooah. (Okay, I felt undeniably TOO hooah today, and now I will go back to icing my knees and watching friends.) Thanks for inviting me Allie. We have to add more to our bucket list of historical adventures!
"Slow motion is better than no motion."
The truth is that I've definitely had periods in my life where I just wanted everything to stop. If you know me, then you know the girl who is always on the go; always trying to go somewhere, do something, be something, learn something. There is no such thing as being "stagnant" in my life. The one thing that I hate the most is being idle. If I sit down and I have time to think and ask myself, "is there something I could be doing right now?" I will immediately get frustrated with myself and get up and force myself to do something.
Though this may still be the case for a majority of the time, growing into a functional adult, I'm still perfecting my value of "slow motion is better than no motion." I've slowed down my life. Definitely not a long period of "lag", but definitely short periods of just slow cruising. I take more time to look at my life in retrospect and appreciate all that I have. I try and take more time to write friends/family that I haven't spoken to in a long time, regardless of whether we left on a good note or not. I take the time to write my parents every now and then to update them on how my life overseas is going. Most importantly, I take the time to really think about my life and plan ahead. When I was younger, I would make what seemed to be unattainable goals. I didn't have small milestones, I had "now or never", or "all or nothing" type of goals.
One thing I've been thinking about lately is my fitness and my health. In high school, I was an athlete. I did track, cheer leading, volleyball, you name it, I probably tried it at least once. When I got to college, I tried out for rugby, and surprisingly found myself enjoying that sport, regardless of my size. When I hit nursing school though, my fitness plummeted so fast. I found myself barely passing (okay, not really) my PT tests. I went from scoring in the high 280s to scoring in the 250s. That may not seem like a lot of points, but it really is. I barely had time to eat because I always forgot. I never took the time to eat or take care of myself, because I was so caught up in learning to take care of others.
Now that I'm actually a nurse, and I have what seems to be "more" time, I've taken it upon myself to really put effort into getting fit. I eat healthy portions of healthy food. I work out almost 2-3 hours every day; cardio, strength/resistance, and flexibility training. I drink tons of water. I get tons of sleep (not really, but it's more than what I'm used to). I've been at this fitness journey since I got to Germany, and today, I really noticed the improvement I've had. Heavier weights, more reps, longer runs, bigger stretches. It may not be 0 to 100, but it's getting there slowly.
Persistence. Greatness doesn't happen overnight, right? This was such a random blog...
I thought that when I got to Germany, it would feel like home. As much as it did, I knew something in my heart was missing. It was you. Our initial meeting wasn't pleasant. We were both hungry, tired, irritated from traveling, and more. But never have I felt so complete seeing you walk up. Your time here felt so short now that I look back on it. As soon as I walked back into my house, it just felt cold. I knew that I wasn't going to be greeted at the door with a, "hello love, I cleaned... kind of." I took a shower knowing that my bathroom was going to stay warm because you weren't there to make it cold. I had to do laundry by myself, so you could imagine all of the lights in the house being on when I had to go downstairs. I sat at my kitchen table... by myself.
And although I'd been doing this all before our bae-cation 2.0, it just felt worse doing it today. I'm happy that you came to visit me here, and I hope that you can come again soon. We have had the roughest relationship being apart all of the time. Sometimes we get so irritated (okay, I get so irritated) with it all that it turns into a glimmer of doubt that we could make it. But it's times like this that pull me back to July 19, 2014, when I first asked you to line your shoe up to mine because I thought the back said something funny.
Every time I think about us, I think about how well we mesh together. For some reason, I can't see myself without you. From what you say, I can see that it's the same for you (phew.) I'm so happy that I had time to have you again.
I love you Michael. And that's something that I know will never change.
P.S. Thank you again for cleaning the house. Heh.
Traveling around Paris is as magical as people make it seem. It was like walking in a fairy tale with all of the lights and Parisian architecture. Being surrounded by such a rich history gave it a different, cozy type of feeling. The buildings there told their own stories. It's definitely at the top of my list when it comes to places I've visited. Surprisingly, getting around the bustling city was easier than we thought it would be. I've included some helpful hints to navigate through Paris.
Where we stayed: I used to book a lot of my travels through sites like Expedia or Travelocity, but being in Europe, I found it better to stay at places I found on Airbnb. Airbnb has become my companion when it comes to looking for good apartments to crash at. It was my second time using it, and so far so good! It may seem like a big jump if you're coming from the United States and you aren't used to the concept of staying in someone else's home, but Airbnb does a great job of rating hosts and doing reviews.
We stayed in Château de Vincennes. It was a quaint apartment that was located in a quiet neighborhood accessible to restaurants, small boutiques, a market, and the train station. It was about a 15-20 minute ride to the heart of Paris, depending on what train you took. Our host had her mother greet us on our way to the apartment, and she did an amazing job of pointing out where things were in case we needed anything. They explained to us how to ride the train, and where to grab fresh food, and gave us their information in case we needed anything.
How we got around: I bought the tickets to Paris at my local train station in Germany. If you're starting off in Germany, then I suggest that you go in and book your reservations. If you have a DeutschBahn 50 card, it will only work on the tickets you purchase from your local train station to the connecting station where you'll get on the train to Paris. So we took the train to Saarbrucken, and got on our train to Paris. The ICE train from there takes about 2 hours. You have a reserved seat, so there's no need to worry about getting their extremely early. The trains leave on time, so make sure you aren't late!
When we got to Paris, we were confused on how to use the machines, because we didn't know what any of the choices were. We went up to the counter and there were prices for 1, 2, 3, or 5 day passes. We got the 3 day pass, and I believe it was about 30 Euros for each. This would allow us to travel from our Airbnb to the city (Zones 1-3). We didn't go outside of those zones. If you plan on traveling outside of those zones, then it would cost about 50 Euros for a 3-day pass. For more information, or if you want to grab tickets ahead of time, click here! It really isn't hard to grab tickets for your stay when you arrive though, so no need to rush!
I think my biggest tip is to just carry a map of the metro with you so you have it readily available and you don't have to be at the station to look at it. Most tourist coming from the states don't have international data, so don't think you can rely on Google Maps to get you around. We found that it was similar to the NYC subway system. Many lines stop at the same stations, but if you look closely, some lines stop less frequently. So when we would want to get home faster, we would take the A line. If we didn't mind the time, and the M line came first, then we would get on that one.
If there are big events, like NYE when we went, they will close some of the stations down because there are big crowds outside, and for security purposes. Make sure you look this up ahead of time on which stations are closed, and if you can't understand the overhead announcements, it's okay to ask someone. We rode the train back and forth on NYE because we didn't know when it would stop. Learn from our rookie mistake!
One more thing about the metro is a lot of the stations are designed differently! One of the stations near the Louvre have artwork posted around the tracks. The Bastille station has a lot of graffiti work. It's interesting. Don't hesitate to hop out and explore the stations too.
Where we ate: Everything in Paris is delicious, from the pastries to the entrees. Here's a small list of restaurants we stopped at.
Where we visited: There's so much to do in Paris, and it can be overwhelming if you only have a few days there. Planning ahead will work in your favor. Looking up times, prices, and route planning has never failed me yet. Make a list of what you want to visit, plug the addresses into Google Maps, and send yourself the route. It makes it easier when you change the mode of travel to public transportation. It'll give you the metro lines you need to take! If you're lucky enough to have international data, you can load your route onto your phone, and get real-time updates on transportation! Here is a list of places we were able to visit during our stay:
Most importantly, have fun! Don't be afraid to do something just because there isn't a blog about it. Submerging yourself into the local culture is the best part of traveling. Hope you enjoy Paris as much as I did, and I hope this was at least a small bit helpful!
Why is it only during special occasions do we recognize those that we appreciate the most? Better yet, why does it sometime take a tragedy for us to look at our loved ones and think, "wow I'm really lucky to have them..." Well, here I am. The holiday season, check. Tragedy struck Berlin today, check.
For the past few weeks, I've noticed a very saddening trend on Facebook of tragedies occuring worldwide, and even personal tragedies that my friends are experiencing. Deaths of loved ones. Mass murder in Christmas markets. How is this holiday season supposed to be the happiest time of the year?
It can be actually. IF you look at it from a different perspective.
See, death occurs very often in our lives. It's not something we think of very often, because we don't know too many people that die, but obviously there are deaths occurring every day. We need time to mourn properly, and of course, that's human nature. There will come a time though, when you need to change your perspective of looking at things in a different way: having an appreciation for what once was. Seeing your family and friends as blessings that you got to enjoy. Absence is hard. I know that for a fact. I have had my slew of depression phases where I wanted nothing but to join my loved ones, but I had to change my mindset.
Appreciate your family and friends who are living. Appreciate your family and friends who have passed. Honor their lives by living yours out, and continuing to do what you do best. Bring purpose to the world. Change it for the better. Bring a smile to someone's face whether they're someone you know or a stranger on the street. Defeat every day with kindness. Being nice never brought any harm to anyone.
I am not perfect. I can't say that I live every day loving every person I meet. I can't say that I live every day saying positive things all of the time. I have to remind myself every night to be a better person the next day. Try it for yourself too.