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I find stereotypes really interesting.  Not saying I agree with them – or even disagree with them: I just find them interesting.  For instance, people say New York is dirty and crazy and the people are rude and crazy. Sometimes that’s absolutely right.  But tens of thousands of people a day visit the city.   Quests, adventure, I ❤ NY everywhere. Seems counterintuitive for a dirty, rude city for people to want to visit.   I went to NYC’s Fleet Week this past weekend.  It’s in those moments of walking around my city, watching people connect and show appreciation for the military and whatnot that it makes me so proud to be from there.   

The city changes for events such as Fleet Week. When a NY team wins the World Series or Stanley Cup or whatever sport you’re into. You get the idea. I watched people in cabs flag down Sailors crossing the street to give them money to buy a drink.  Service members getting VIP treatment to observation decks of the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower. Free meals and beer and people genuinely appreciative of other people.  It’s an unforgettable experience. 

I also checked off another Broadway show while I was home. It may be hard to believe, but until this weekend, I had never seen The Lion King on the big stage! I’ve been hesitant to see it. With it being my favorite movie, I had high expectations and I didn’t want to be disappointed! Well. I was not. The costumes and puppet work was phenomenal.  Nothing I imagined it would be and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was enthralled. I wish I had a thousand pairs of eyes to see everything. One to see again, methinks!

Hakuna Matata!

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NY State of Mind

So I’m officially a New York State resident again. It’s kind of funny. I’ve always associated myself with being from NY and it will always be home. But this is the first time in my adult life that I’m actually living in NY.  I went to college in Florida when I was still 17 and haven’t been back other than visits since. Go figure! Granted,  I live in upstate NY now,  but it still feels more home than my previous digs have.  There’s just something about being close to mountains and having seasons and just the charm that is the greatest state that I can’t explain with words alone.  It’s that feeling of truly being somewhere you love.  You don’t need to DO anything to have that vibe. It’s sheer contentment sitting on your stoop or driving to nowhere and reveling in the beauty and magnificence of where you are. The feels are just there.  It’s simple and wonderful tied up in a bow and BAM! Home. 

I went home home (yes,  Brooklyn) for Easter weekend. It was nice. I didn’t tell all that many people I was returning. It was pretty sad to go home and not have the Ice puppy there.  Empty. 😦  There’s no words that can make that go away. Maybe time helps. I don’t know yet.   The other day was the anniversary of my good friend who took his life. I’ve written about him before (re: Sandman) and I guess it is a true testament to time since it was the first year that I didn’t completely lose it thinking about everything.  I still miss him. I still wish he was with us and nothing will change that he wasn’t here for long enough.   But I think I’m finally accepting things and coming to peace with it. It’s a strange feeling. Part of me thinks that’s a betrayal of him – that somehow that makes me miss him less or not care. But the other part recognizes you can’t dwell on the what ifs or should haves. What’s done is done.  There’s still an empty void that will probably never be filled.

But back from that tangent, home was otherwise nice. Had some meals at my favorite restaurants with family,  got breakfast – I would call it brunch but apparently if you meet before 10AM the absolute earliest,  you’re out of your mind and it’s definitely breakfast – with some high school friends (we’ve known each other for over a decade!!! How crazy is that?!??!!), and, of course,  an amazing dinner for Easter at my aunt and uncle’s – with more family! Om nom. So much food and goodness!  Anyway. Life is good. 

Hakuna Matata!

Positivity

It’s been a rough month.  I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the hours of daylight I saw in the previous two weeks. And in all of that, I ended up not succeeding on my first attempt on a task that’s rather vital for my job. I get another shot at it next week. So that really just means another week of killing it to ensure round 2 goes better. 
In all of this, naturally, I was pretty devastated. I’ve been working so hard,it’s frustrating to see those efforts seem to go to waste. They’re not. But in an instant when you learn you’ve failed at something – That’s the moment you think everything you’ve been doing is for naught. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?  I try to find the good in everything. A reason that maybe isn’t so obvious as to why certain events occurred the way they did.  It’s still pretty hard for me to accept this didn’t go my way. But I was reminded of something more important than anything else in all of this. 
I’ve mentioned this before. And I’ll say it again. I have the greatest people in my life. When I got to my phone the other night, I had a handful of texts and voice-mail messages from my people with their words of encouragement and support. It’s easy to blame other people for things that go wrong. But ultimately that gets you no where. Easier said than accepted of course. But my people all avoided any of that blame. Simply stated how I’ll get it next time and how I’m still awesome and all the feels.  The focus on the positive and what can be controlled.  That’s huge.  And makes all the difference in the world. 
I’ll end my sappiness here for the evening. But don’t forget the importance of being positive. It changes things. For the better. Hakuna Matata!

Thankfulness

Whelp.  It’s almost the end of November.  I’ve been writing this post in my head since the 1st.  But here we are.  Time freaking flies.  It’s amazing.  Here I am sitting on a plane on my way home for the holiday and no update to mention.  Yeah, I know.  I’m a terrible blogger.  2016 has been a pretty crazy year.  There are quite a few of my facebook friends who insist we don’t even acknowledge this year in the future.  But I have to admit, it’s been a pretty memorable one for me.  I’ve moved from Hawaii to San Diego to South Carolina.  I’ve explored Iceland and Denmark and Estonia and the outer skirts of Germany, and visited Russia and Sweden and Finland.  I’ve driven across the United States on an epic road trip and visited famous landmarks and national parks.  I’ve crossed the Pacific Ocean and I’ve gotten to visit friends and family across the country.  So can I really complain?  These are the things that matter.  I am so blessed to have the people I do in my life. Regardless of how they got there.  I’ve revisited our nation’s Capitol and returned to the greatest city in the world twice (yes, I’m referring to New York).  And I still have this weekend and Christmas to enjoy before the year is out.

I’ve been fortunate enough to join my dive family in Florida for an annual Thanksgiving celebration, not to mention surprise my family for my dad and uncle’s birthdays.  I’ve reunited with my college roommate and made new friends at my latest job.  Of course there has also been failure and total feeling of loss and despair.  But mostly joy.  At least the stuff I choose to dwell on.  And that’s what I think is the key.  Why focus on the bad?  There’s so much good.  Moving for the third time this year was a struggle. Leaving the people I grew to care for and accept was challenging.  Returning to academia was a lot harder than I imagined it would be.  But there have been a multitude of people who have helped me get where I am.  And I am more than grateful for their input.  From the 5:30AM wake up calls to wish me well on an exam or just to say hi, to the random texts and messages just that say people are thinking of me and are hoping I am well.  Those mean the world to me.  Even if I’m not the greatest at conveying that in the moment.

I’m thankful for more than I can ever write about in a blog post.  My family plays a huge part in that.  As crazy as they drive me at times, they are the best.  I don’t care who you are.  You don’t beat the genuineness and love that is experienced in my family.  I have the best friends.  We can not talk for months.  And when I pick up the phone in a moment of despair or boredom, they are there for me.  I’m a pretty crappy friend.  My job takes up a lot of my time.  And when I’m not working, I’m kind of burnt out.  And a loner.  Not in the creepy or bad way.  I just like me time.  So I screen my calls and texts and eventually, I will get back to you.  But aside from the fact that I’m usually asleep before 9PM and I talk to about 2 people on a regular basis (and yes, one of those humans is my mom), my people are still there for me in spite of that.  I don’t get invites to go to the opera 500 miles away.  But I get videos of my friends being awesome and killing it in their chosen profession.  And updates on so and so and what I’ve missed.  Like nothing has changed since I left New York.  And I’d like to think that as anti-social as I can be, my people do know that I would be there for them in a heartbeat if they truly needed me.  It’s funny how that works.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Happy Thanksgiving, Blog World.  Always remember.  Even when things don’t seem to be going right, there’s always SOMETHING to be thankful for. Hakuna Matata!

Life Paths

As more and more of my friends get engaged and married and have children or get pets, I find myself wondering how my life may have been different if I didn’t follow the paths I did.  There are days when I think it would be the coolest thing in the world to have a mini human.  They are few and far between, but they are there.  And there are days when I miss my little monster (I use this term affectionately) so damn freaking much that I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly ever want to not experience the joy a puppy could bring.  But then I think of how heartbroken I was having to leave him every morning to go to school and work and life.

I am a nomad.  I literally just moved less than three months ago and I’m jonesing to go somewhere else.  It’s really hard to travel when you’ve got a dog who can’t go with you.  Or kids, I’d imagine.  But it’s hard to travel with adults too.  I started this blog shortly after I got to New Zealand.  After spending 6 months on my own in Germany.  I’ve posted about the challenges of living in a foreign country, not knowing the language or people and being 6 hours and 5,000 miles off from your people.  I stand by those sentiments still.  Before I did the study abroad in Italy, I couldn’t even go to a fast food place by myself, even just to pick up food to go let alone live in a different country by myself.  I would rather starve than be by myself.  Not because I wanted to be around other people, but because I hated appearing lonely in front of other people.  I don’t know why that distinction was important, but it was.

Europe made me change that mindset.  I wanted to see what was out there.  And I didn’t know anyone so I had to go by myself if I wanted to have that adventure.  And in traveling solo, I discovered something incredible.  I met people I would have never given the time of day to ordinarily.  I spent time on the things I thought were fascinating and skipped the boring stuff.  To me.  That’s the beauty of people, though.  We all are enchanted by different things.  Finding someone who will like and dislike the exact same things as you is nearly impossible.  Sure, there will be some similarities, but we all do appreciate different things.  Having that opportunity to experience things at your own pace is something everyone should be afforded.  It made me stronger.  And more independent.

Traveling alone, however, can also lose some of the magic.  It is nice to share certain moments with other people, especially those you love (platonic or otherwise!).  I’m planning my next adventure – it shall be epic.  There’s driving across the country, and gallivanting through different bodies of water, and cruising to countries I’ve only read about.  And I don’t want to go alone.  But I do.  Because planning this adventure is proving to be more stressful than I anticipated.  Mostly because I’ve become so accustomed to doing what I want, when I want, I don’t know how to compromise.  Well.  I don’t want to.  And because visas are involved.  And consulates.  And no email addresses and I have to call people and speak to them.  On the phone: I hate the phone.  This is 2016 for goodness sake!  I should be able to text someone to get a visa!

But when adventuring with other people, you have to take into consideration their stuff.  Well, at least you should. So back to seeing my friends committing to other people and all.  I can’t even commit to where to go for dinner!  And I wonder.  If I never went to Italy, if I never moved to Germany, or studied in New Zealand, or worked for Continental: Where would I be?  Would I want to travel?  Would I still be with my college boyfriend? Would I have the career path I found myself in?  Would I have more education?  Maybe I would be living back in New York. Maybe I’d have my dog.  Who knows?  I think things happen for a reason.  What those reasons are?  No idea.  But we end up where we do to affect someone or something.  In my opinion.  Good or bad – we have purpose.

It’s crazy how many variables there are out there.  But ultimately, mine has been pretty freaking awesome.  It’s been a roller coaster, but I’m ready for the next turn.

Good Riddance New Year’s Resolutions

As the year closes out and my facebook news feed is plastered with reminiscings of  2015, everyone seems to also include their well wishes and hopes for 2016.  Which is all nice and wonderful, but my issue with this is that shouldn’t we be well wishing and thankful for what we have year round and not just for one or two weeks at the end/beginning of a new year?  The notion that a new year should mean we better ourselves isn’t a bad one, but why wait for the new year?  Fix the issues you have when you realize you have them!

There’s a quote I’ve always found amusing: “Don’t wait – procrastinate now!”  It’s the same concept even though it’s opposing what I’m encouraging if that makes sense.  Along the same lines, people always try to stay in touch around the holidays. As if Christmas and New Year are the only times we think of these people we care about. How absurd!  I admit, my lifestyle does pose some issues with how frequently I keep in contact with the people I love.  But I still attempt to talk to them year round. And by talk, I really mean text,  facebook stalk/message/post, or emails mostly. But just a simple text that says ‘hey’ usually gives a person those warm fuzzies that makes the extra seconds you took out of your day (and not just on a holiday) seem all worth it.

It’s been a good year. And of course I want the next year to be even better. But how much better would our lives be if we reflect on the awesomeness that is life and people and what we have on a regular basis?   Just sayin!

Hakuna Matata!

In the Navy…

Forty minutes ago, we took off from the nation’s capital heading to Kuwait City. By the time this is actually posted, I will be far from Kuwait and onto the next chapter of my life and career and I can honestly say I am more than excited to begin that moment. But as we fly over my home town and I am being jostled about by the turbulence, while listening to my Musicals playlist, I cannot help but feel that sense of emptiness. Do you know what I am talking about? The gut wrenching, loneliness and emptiness that only comes when you are faced with leaving everything you know behind for something new. Something bigger and better than yourself, but nevertheless, intimidating and exciting.

As I said my last few goodbyes before my phone service was suspended, the last call I made was to my Mom. The person who has been there for everything for me, unwaveringly. Saying goodbye is never easy. Even when you do it often, it doesn’t get easier; that whole practice makes perfect thing is a lie when it comes to saying goodbye to those you love or once loved. As we were boarding the plane, one of my buddies asked me the very question I have debated since day one of joining the Navy, over three years ago. Is this something I want to do for a career or serve my time and get out? In that moment, I knew we were both experiencing that emptiness. It’s almost nice to have someone to go through it with, but of course, it’s different for everyone. We had both just spent the past day or two saying goodbye to those we care about, not knowing when or where we will speak with them next.

I wouldn’t say I am anti-social. I am far from it. But I have always considered myself to be rather closed off to all but a small group of people. The funny thing is, that when you live in multiple places, get involved with different organizations, and make connections with small groups of people in all of those places, your small network grows quite significantly. So my handful of people I care about and feel the need to communicate with and say goodbye to is actually way larger than I thought I’d ever be comfortable with. But saying goodbye to all of them was rather depressing. And thinking about not communicating with them for long periods of time is scary.

At the same time, I think time is going to fly. And I cannot wait to experience all that is in store for my deployment. It’s going to be difficult, but I am stoked. And that’s what I need to keep in mind when I do get that emptiness feeling creep up. At any rate, just my ramblings for the next adventure ahead. If nothing else, I have some awesome diving and hiking and friends waiting for me when I get back.