What to expect: advice for leaving everything you’ve ever known behind

After failing to post for a little over a year, I’m not quite sure where to begin with this particular post. My life is in a sudden state of chaos and I’m pleased with where the unspoken forces of the universe decided to send me. In about a day, I’ll be leaving behind Colorado to pursue my dream fellowship as an investigative reporter in Pheonix, Arizona before heading straight to Singapore for a semester abroad.

Though this might not seem to be of much consequence to a random person on the street,  allow me to explain why this matters to me. (Since this is my blog.. mainly for personal and therapeutic use, I’m allowed to be as selfish as I want.) As a homegrown Colorado Native from the foothills of Conifer, I left home 3 years ago with a lot to learn. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was naive or unprepared, but definitely had lots of room for personal growth and discovery. I was shy and unsure of myself.  Thanks to turbulent times and solid friends, I’ve become the person I am today. For years I’ve yearned to leave Colorado and set off on some whimsical adventure full of unknown dangers and new people. Yet, as I stand on the edge, ready to take the stereotypical leap of faith, it doesn’t quite feel the same way I always thought it would.

Let me spin you a tragically romantic love story. For a little over a year, I’ve been seeing this guy and recently became emotionally attached. Usually, I’m pretty good at cutting ties and staying single, but he managed to sweep me off my feet, both emotionally and at one point physically. We would probably be in a relationship if we both hadn’t agreed long distance is a horrible idea while still in college.

While we were saying goodbye last week, silent tears started unexpectedly streaming down my face. He looked at me and said “You’ll be fine. I promise,” before pulling me into an encompassing hug.

At that moment, I had a stark realization. He misunderstood my concern. I wasn’t so much worried about my personal well-being or success making the move. I’ve got enough faith in myself to adapt smoothly and adjust to changing circumstances. Rather, I was too caught up in the thought of walking away from the people who had helped build me up and help me grow. All these scenarios started running through my head about how nothing might be the same when I come back. What if these people I care about so much simply move on and forget about me? Though it sounds silly to type, it’s a genuine concern. Eight months is a long time.

When speaking with one of my closest friends, Anouk, over a bottle of wine, she shared some of the best advice I’ve gotten in a long time. As a world traveler herself, who isn’t exactly shy when it comes to establishing a new home every few years, she mentioned to me that true friends will be loyal no matter where you are. Though you might not be as close when you’re both away, strong friendships will quickly rekindle once you return for a visit. Also, its okay not to speak every day as long as you both find time to catch up every-so-often when important things happen.  If things happen like they’re supposed to, and you both grow as people in a positive direction, you’ll both have even more to connect on. If not, that friendship simply wasn’t meant to be.

To end this post, my best friend Lauren deserves a legitimate shoutout. Frankly, I doubt any of this would have happened without her guidance or wild ideas. She helps me to push myself, to stay ambitious, and encourage me to embrace forward thinking.  I look forward to her visits within the coming months. As always, we will explore together and run full speed ahead into our future.

 

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48 hours in DC

Washington, DC is a city of hustle and bustle. Personally, that’s why I am so attracted to it. The people in a city that never sleeps is usually driven by ambition and a vision.  DC is a perfect example. There is always someone new to meet, places to see, and things to try. I have a deep love for DC because whenever I am there its like I’m on top of the world.

This time around in DC, I was actually there for originally an international fraternity conference called Phi Alpha Delta. This group is composed of undergraduate students, graduate students, and also those going through law school. We are collectively committed to the end goal of finding a career in the legal profession. I was still lucky enough to find time to explore the city in the short 48 hours my group and I were there.

We spent Saturday afternoon exploring a few key Smithsonian museums. The Air and Space museum was impressive because of the space and air history artifacts put on display. This had been my second time at the museum so perhaps it was less interesting to me. But, I had never been to the Botanical Gardens or the American History Museum before.

For anyone traveling to DC in the near future, I would highly suggest the American History Museum. When you walk in its not overly impressive, but by the time you finally get to the meat of the exhibits, the content and research that has gone into the exhibits have a profound effect. There is nothing like experiencing an overview of American History where many of the decisions about the outcomes have been made. The section on American war was perhaps my favorite. It starts out with the American Revolution and slowly transitions from war to war based on a linear timeline. But as you approach later wars and more controversial wars, like the Vietnam War, they are presented in a way that becomes very real for those visiting the exhibit. I don’t think ever been so moved by an exhibit, not emotionally but mentally. The American History of war Museum at the Smithsonian left me with a deep curiosity and new perspective on quite a few things. I suggest that if you can make the time, it would be worth spending an entire day or two at this museum alone.

The botanical museum was mostly just beautiful. The diversity of plants are astounding. The most interesting rooms were probably either the endangered species room or the room that featured various medicinal plants. I have always had an interest in botany so I found this museum more interesting them my counterparts but they still enjoyed themselves. This  botanical museum could comfortably be seen in an hour or two. But make sure not to miss it. I had no idea that it was even there until this trip. It is hidden in comparison to the rest of the mall. Instead of being directly off the National Mall, it sits directly to the right of the Capitol Building.

After the Smithsonian closed we made our way up to Capitol hill and toured the outsides of the buildings in this area. From the outside, the Supreme Court was by far the most impressive. It reminded me of  ancient buildings that I’ve seen  in citifies like Vienna or Rome. Its Roman pillars were larger then most redwoods. You had to stand a couple hundred feet back from the building just to get a complete picture bottom to top, but you were free to walk up on the steps outside of the building. Perhaps less impressive from the outside but still beautiful was the Library of Congress.  Although, if you do make your way up to Capitol Hill, make sure that you do it between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:30 PM. Unfortunately, we arrived about an hour late and the doors were closed to the pubic. I would have bet though that the interior would have made up for the unimpressive exterior.

The most majestic moment that I encountered in DC was walking through the memorials during sunset. I cannot stress the beauty of the Lincoln Memorial with a gorgeous sunset behind it. The colored light was bouncing over the reflection pool and the area glowed of purple and blue.12118679_492143454288692_78464703576351655_n