Ask us about Sam Sung..

Ahh, today we came home. A short trip but a wonderful assortment of memories that will last a lifetime. We visited the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame today. We were in a hurry before our flight so we didn’t take as much time as I’m sure is recommended but we came, we saw and we conquered. That’s what matters.

There are so many things I feel like I’ve left out. The airport and our nights on the town. The conversations we had and things we saw, the people we met. I’ll trust that my memory will hold onto those moments beyond the words that I haven’t typed. Right now, I’m exhausted but the good kind of exhausted, I suppose. I wanted to write because I haven’t written in so long. Going on trips makes me want to pick up my tablet and write everything I see. I miss writing.

I went on my first and second plane rides this week. I stayed in my first Airbnb. I saw so many beautiful things and have memories that will stay with me for years to come. I did all this with a wonderful, hilarious and kind human by my side. She puts up the toughest of fronts and she’d kill me if she ever reads this but I’m so grateful that she’s let me into her life and allows herself to let her guard down even if I have to pry it out of her. I don’t think she realizes how much this trip, this adventure, this friendship has meant to me. It’s so hard for me to let loose and relax but she makes me do it. Even though I tell myself that I have the spirit of a vagabond, I reluctantly have the mind of an organized spaz and it is so very difficult for me to stray from that.

So, if you’re reading this.. Tough as nails but secret softy, Alicia.. Thank you. Thank you for being my person this week and hopefully many more weeks to come. ❤ 

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All of the things.

I definitely cannot hang. My idea of a vacation and Alicia’s idea of a vacation are so far apart, they aren’t even funny. She sleeps until she wakes up, takes her time getting ready and would be cool avoiding most of the touristy spots. I, on the other hand, want to be up as soon as the suns first ray hits our faces, check out the agenda and see everything we can possibly see.

Juggling our completely opposite narratives was an act for the circus today but we managed and succeeded. Schwing! We slept the entire morning away. Apparently staying out until 3:30/4:00 AM is not something I can do on the reg. No way, Jose. Anyway, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland.

We eventually got our butts in gear and packed our day with all the things. We hit up The Melt which will cure even the worst of hangovers. The Melt was featured on Man vs. Food and Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins. You definitely get what you pay for and that in itself is even an understatement.

After a late lunch, we rushed to The Christmas Story House and toured that little block of cinematic history. I wished I’d rewatched the movie before our trip to have a more vivid recollection but it was still pretty sweet to see. We met an uncle/nephew combo, Matt and Tyler. Again, Alicia and her ability to meet people is just so foreign to me. We ended up exchanging numbers and met up with the duo later in the evening for cocktails and swapped traveling stories.

After the CSH, we decided to explore downtown Cleveland and news to us, it’s so easy to get around (aside from the damn bus lanes and lights). We didn’t realize how close everything was. We had walked around a bit the night before but if we’d just gone one street over, we would have been in a totally other, really cool, area. Lightbulb moment for sure.

We found the Worlds Largest Chandelier, walked around East 4th Street, were bombarded by a mob of graduates and made a pit stop to view Lake Erie. I’m surprised how much we were able to see in just a few hours but that’s what you get when you have two determined women making it a point to see all of the things.

Today, we are basketball fans.

Today, tonight.. all of it was something! Well yesterday was. I’m typing as if it were yesterday but I was ¾ of the way in the bag by the time the clock struck midnight..

Sunday, May 21 marks my first flight! The entire flying experience is brand new to me. No matter how much research I did and how many people I asked, I never felt at ease or like I’d gotten all my questions answered. I’ve never been afraid to fly. On the contrary, I’ve always dreamt of when I’ll get to fly. It’s just never been an option in my life until this point. We didn’t travel growing up and I’d never been afforded the opportunity until now.

But guess what? It’s a damn breeze. I could spend 45 minutes talking about every single step from the time we were dropped off in the airport to the second we got in the Cleveland Uber but I’ll spare you for now. If you’ve never flown and you’d like someone to actually tell you step-by-step what to expect, hit me up. I’d be delighted.

I do want to say though that I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a breeze it was. Maybe it’s because my personal item was basically empty and I did my research but i didn’t encounter any issues like i hear on the news. And guess the eff what? Beyond the security line, there’s a whole other world. At least in MSP there is. It’s like a damn mall. Restaurants, stores, you name it. Alicia tells me it’s not like this everywhere but it’s still pretty sweet.

The only issue I had with the flight was I felt a bit light-headed. I can’t decide if it’s because I looked down and out the window too soon or if it was the altitude. Either way, it was so surreal in the best sense. I’m sure typing this I have a weird giddy smile thinking about my first flight but so what! Better late then never!

I want to shorten this up because I’ll ramble for days.. The descent/landing is the best part in my opinion as a first time flyer. I love the feeling of heading straight for the ground at 300 miles an hour. I can’t wait to ride a rollercoaster. For real though, I could do that part all day.

After we (finally) got our Uber and headed to our FIRST ever (for the both of us) Airbnb, we took a nap. Because we are old folks.. But eventually, we got ready to take on the Cleveland night. We hit up Fan Fest for the Cavaliers vs Celtics NBA finals until we were rained out. We had hoped to scope out some celebrities but to no avail.

We ended up grabbing dinner at Winking Lizard in downtown Cleveland and walked over the City Tap for the bulk of our evening. I kind of felt like our night had started off slow. I couldn’t get into the grove of relaxing for some reason. But it ended up being a really great night.

Alicia and I have a unique relationship. We bicker a lot. Fight, whatever you want to call it.. But it’s all in good fun. She means so much to me and I consider her one of my very best friends. Even though we drive each other mad, she gets me and I get her. I wouldn’t change our dysfunctional love hate relationship for anything and tonight I felt a lot closer to her. We were able to just hang out and talk freely without the stress of life or our relationships or work in the background.

Another thing about Alicia that I should have known about by now is that she can talk to ANYONE. If it weren’t for her, I’d probably have sat in the corner sipping my colorful drink all night. I don’t know where she gets the confidence or language to talk to just about anyone. I suppose that’s what you’d classify as liquid courage. We met some cool people tonight and we stayed out way too late and had way too much fun tonight. Is that such a thing?

I’ve been saying Monticello wrong this whole time..

Do you know how many times the two of us have told people where we are going and how many times we’ve received the same “wtf” look? And how many times we’ve had to explain “wtf” we’re doing? Tickets were cheap, the Airbnb was cheap, adventure! Honestly, the second we booked the flight, we both looked at each other with the same “wtf” look we’d been getting for the past month.

I was up bright and early this morning. Up to this point in my life, I’d only been on vacations with family and Channing. I’ve never gone on a girls trip or gone anywhere for that matter with a friend. Historically, I’ve never been good with friends. I’ve just never been able to connect. I blame my social awkwardness. But that’s another story for another time. Anyway, up bright and early. Guess who wasn’t? A to the licia.

There are a lot of things different about this trip so far and it hasn’t even began. I’m a spaz planner. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, how I’m doing it. To the point where it’s obsessive. I’m talking Google Drive folders, spreadsheets, printed out reservations in a tidy trip labeled binder.. that kind of spaz. With the exception of a condensed spreadsheet THAT I FORGOT IN MY CAR, I was plan-less.

The. Struggle.

We eventually hit the road and went to IKEA like every basic bitch would. I pulled a classic Ori.. filled my cart up to the brim and slowly but surely narrowed it down to six items. The cheapest of all the items of course. Whereas my shopaholic travel-mate, Alicia kept her load high and dry from the aisles stuffed with left behinds. Oh, I envy her ability to shop. It’s a problem that I need to deal with. Shop, damnit. Shop!

We were grateful enough to have landed a sweet place to stay thanks to Alicia’s college connections in life. We had dinner reservations at an italian place with her former roommate and they graciously let us crash the night in their beautiful suburbia home with a bombass deck. We didn’t sleep on the deck but we probs could have. It was cool. Tomorrow I fly!

Cleveland Rocks!

Long time, no type. I’m fairly certain I’ve written that exact phrase before. What I’m about to write and the few posts following are a chronicled summary of the last few days. I didn’t have time (or energy) to write about my recent trip in real time so I’m pulling from the few notes I left myself. YES, I have a list of talking points in my list of lists..

About a month ago (maybe more), I was going through a weird mid-20’s thing. It wasn’t a crisis, probably more of a “damnit, I want to live more” type of a thing. After a lunch hour of complaining about everything, the men in our lives and thinking about life, my friend and co-worker sent me a chat asking if I wanted to go to Cleveland or Cincinnati. The flight was only $40 a seat each way..

Hold the door. YES! And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Is it weird that I’m re-gauging my ears at age 26? Whatever, don’t answer that.

I feel like my life kind of stopped sometime around age 20 & I fell into a rabbit hole not quite as awesome as Alice. I became a secluded social hobbit.

But about a year ago this time, I decided to start doing what I want with my life. I know that seems annoyingly cliché but I don’t know how else to describe it. Before then, no one was holding me back other than myself. I think a lot of people thought Channing was holding me back for years and they weren’t totally wrong I guess. But as me, who’s been through the 20-something life I’ve had, it was more me molding into his interests or disinterests when I should have been continuing to be my own person.

He never restricted anything in my life. Ever. He actually has always encouraged me to do whatever I want but for some reason I stalled out and was stuck in thin air. Stuck in my 20’s unable to move. Thinking I always needed to be right there, always available, revolve my life around him and only him. I was wrong.. and dumb.

Now, at age 26, I’m no longer naive about the situation I was in. A lot of the things that happened in our early relationship were inexcusable. I admit that a large part of me was probably too insecure to leave. Too scared of what might happen to him or that I may never find anyone again. Mostly because of my weight. For years, I don’t know if my love for him was the same as his for me. I doubt it. I chose to live a miserable few years, that’s true. I had a good support system and could have paved another path for my early 20’s but I didn’t. Ultimately, I chose not to. And I’m cool with that.

Two, three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say that. Say that I’m okay with how life is turning out. Up until relatively recently, I had always wondered all of the what-ifs. What if I stayed gone when my mom and brother moved me out? What if I continued on to a 4-year college after Northland? What if I moved far far away? What if I never would have met him that day at the fair?

I didn’t have any kind of epiphany. I just realized that I’m tired of worrying about it. I can’t change it. Anything that I didn’t do or felt like I couldn’t do at the time, I can do now. Just because my early 20’s are gone and I don’t have hardly any good memories or stories to tell doesn’t mean that my life is over. I’m 26 for God’s sake. Twenty fucking six!

So earlier, I said my way of thinking all changed about a year ago. Nothing crazy happened, I was just like “I’m going to do what I want” whether it’s by myself or not. I’m going to go to the store, I’m going to go for a walk, I’m going to look for a better city to live in. I’m going to travel and laugh and not apologize.

I didn’t go on some newly 21-year old crazy streak. I sought out a better future for us. We moved to Fargo, I was able to transfer within my company and turns out I’m now in a pretty awesome place professionally and financially. I’m doing something I like. We got a cat kid named Franklin. I traveled some of the Great Lakes blue with my mommy dearest. Don’t worry mom, I won’t say “mommy” again. Ugh, that word. I remember going to a grocery story one time, years ago and this teenager said “mommy.” Pretty sure I gagged. Rant over.

But you know what? Everyone survived. Channing came with me and supported me without a struggle. After years of being so reserved when it came to my relationship, scared to disagree or say something wrong; I was worried about nothing. Over the last year and even more, Channing has more than willingly made sacrifices to help me do or get what I want. He’s never even tried to veto me on them. He supports me.

Four or five years ago, this was a different story. For whatever reason, the Universe had some kind of pull to make everything fall into place the way it has. 20-15 was a good year for us, for me. And this year is going to be even better. Funny how much truth there is to the phrase “You’re the only one that can hold you back.”

CWA #2

Topic: The best advice for a teen just graduating from high school.
Purpose: I was flipping through my book today and came across this topic. I’m the oldest in my family on both sides. I received some sound advice when I graduated but a lot of it seemed to be cliché and was too little, too late. I have a cousin graduating this year and another cousin (or two) next year. This is for them.

The hat and gown suits you well. It seems to be the single outfit in human history to look great on everyone. Not only does it hide any physical abnormalities or dislikes about yourself but it, in all its plainness and flowiness, forces people to believe that you’ve accomplished something great – which you have. You graduated high school; an achievement that was 12 years or more in the making. The hat and gown you’re wearing – it makes people look at you with pride and accomplishment. It makes you, the one wearing it, feel good and special.

That same hat and gown is awfully deceiving though. It doesn’t give you a sure-ride ticket to anywhere unless you continue working beyond the blip of an achievement that you made. And I don’t say blip because high school graduation isn’t important – it’s probably one of the most important moments in your life. But it’s a blip simply because there are so many more great things you’re capable of doing going forward now that you have that checked off your outline of life. There are so many more moments and times in your future that people will look at you with pride and accomplishment – if you allow it.

If you’re lucky, your dreams for your future are clear. You have a plan and you’re going to go and get it as soon as this graduation party is over. On the contrary; you might not have a plan. You might not know what you want to do with your life. The dreaded “What are you going to do now?” has been asked a hundred times over the past six hours if not six months. “I don’t know” doesn’t seem to be acceptable even though it’s the truth.

Don’t be afraid to not know. That’s the absolute best advice I can give you. Don’t be afraid of figuring it out. It’s scary as hell but I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Simple the process of a future down. Go to and graduate college, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids is still what people seem to want to hear. Even now in 2015, that’s what their ears are ready for. You’re 18, although thinking about your future is important and I wouldn’t abandon it all together, there is no use in thinking of the big picture right now. Consider each moment in your life a single picture creating a lifetime collage. All the milestone photos of your life will continuously accumulate, make them the absolute best. Be proud of what you’re going to do in your life. Follow your dreams, live your dreams.

Don’t be stupid and make detrimental mistakes. Don’t abandon those that love you; primarily your family. Appreciate the world and what it has to offer. Travel, make new friends, take photographs. Pay your bills on time and don’t be reckless. If you decide not to go to college – don’t waste those young years away. Understand the reality of real life and accept it instead of try to fight it. In doing that, you don’t need to give up your free roaming spirit or life. If you don’t see yourself in a typical 8-5 setting 10 years down the road, do something about it. You’re still going to need to make money to survive, accept it. Don’t rely on and abuse your parents financially. Save up some money and make wise decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join the Peace Corps, backpack around Europe, fall in love, skydive. Do everything you possibly can because you want to not because society wants you to.

From personal experience, I do think college is important. However, I would only recommend college to those that know what they want to do. To those that do have a plan. I’m still paying off my 2 years of college debt 5 years later. I didn’t get a fancy job, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, I didn’t make lifelong friends, and it didn’t help me decide what to do in my life. But that’s me, don’t let anyone else’s experience deter you from living your dream. If I could do it all over again, I would have done more research in high school, visited colleges, and actually spent time to decide what I wanted to do. I would have moved away and attended a four-year college. I would have traveled abroad my junior year. But I never did because I felt that the resources weren’t available to me and I didn’t know where to look. That’s why you have me. What are your favorite things to do? Sports? Painting? Photography? Working on cars? Photoshop?

There’s something to do in the “real world” for everyone. You can become a sports reporter, journalist, newscaster. You can own your own art gallery or become an art professor. You can be a photographer on your own or with a media group. You can become an automotive or diesel mechanic, a shop teacher. You can become a graphic or website designer. The possibilities are endless, your future is wider than your arms are even capable of spreading. Don’t waste the days after high school graduation away. Find yourself but don’t lose yourself. Dream big and follow through.

So, even though this was important for you to read, take my advice; put this down and spend time with those that love you. Throw that square hat up into the air, smile until your cheeks hurt today and everyday. Be honest, take those milestone pictures, and show everyone what life is all about. Make your collage worth looking at.