Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who says you can't go home?


That's about the only way to describe heading back home & leaving behind 4 months of friends, memories, and an invaluable experience on Hilton Head Island.  I was proud of myself for not crying when I left work on Friday or even when I said goodbye to the girls.  I don't like goodbyes (I feel as if that's so cliche -- does anybody like goodbyes?) and it's no secret that I am not an outwardly emotional person, so I tried to keep things as light as possible.  Unfortunately, the second I hit I-95, I turned into a great big baby and more or less cried the entire way home.  When it's just you, the road, and the radio, you're more or less stuck with your thoughts & forced to face your feelings.  I think I felt just about every emotion possible in that 4 hour drive back to the upstate.

Sad and scared to leave my bubble.
Excited to see my family.
Terrified of what's to come.
Anxious over the uncertainty.
Grateful for the experience.

It was a very contemplative and melancholy drive, thinking about how drastically different my life is now compared to what it was the first time I made that 4 hour drive.  It's amazing how much can change in such a short period of time when you're open to the idea of change and willing to accept that you're not in control.  I returned home a different person, and for everyone who had a hand in that over the past few months, I am eternally grateful.

To be honest, going back home was the last thing I wanted to do.  I was bitter about it & not looking forward to it at all.  I have essentially burned every bridge here and feel as if I've completely outgrown the small town life.  The hardest part is coming home to something so familiar after everything has changed.  Home isn't the same as when I left it, but then again, neither am I.  Surprisingly, it's been a blessing in disguise.  I'm already more relaxed and less stressed.  Life is slower here.  I have time to catch up on things that got away from me.  Time to enjoy being with my family and watch my nephews play ball.  Time to enjoy the beauty of the foothills.  Yesterday, Roxy and I hiked some nature trails and enjoyed a nice ride around the lake and our farm.  It was so amazing.  I definitely took for granted how beautiful it is up here and how nice it is to just slow down and enjoy every minute of every day.  Roxy definitely enjoys the great outdoors -- take a look for yourself and tell me she doesn't look like she'd make a great farm dog!

Reunited! So glad my little lady remembered me.
Just another beautiful day on the farm.  I forgot how truly amazing life is here.
Roxy exploring the barn.
She definitely has a future in farm work.
Driving away from the island made me realize more than ever how truly happy I am at this point in my life, despite the overwhelming uncertainty of my next step.  I don't know where I'm going or what's coming my way, but I'm ready for whatever it is.  Now is my time.  I've been hearing a lot of "I hope you find whatever it is you're looking for."  What people don't understand is that I'm looking for me and I'm having a blast doing it so far.  What better time to continue to discover myself than at this pivotal point in my life?  Stay tuned -- when I find her, you'll know.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Every new beginning..."

"...comes from some other beginning's end."  Closing Time, Semisonic

I thought it was pretty fitting to start off with my senior quote from my high school yearbook.  Six years ago, I would never have dreamed that I am where I am now, closing one chapter and ready to begin another.  As I sit in our humble little cottage at the beach preparing for my last day of work, I am thinking about all the great memories I have made over the past 16 weeks and what a wonderful, indescribable, eye-opening experience this has been.  I only think I've said it about 100 times, but I learned invaluable information about myself and the world and have had some of the best moments of my life here.  Life as I knew it is dead and gone and I'm leaving here is such a different state than when I left.

I think the hardest part about leaving here is facing reality.  I'm ready to leave the island, but I'm not ready for all the responsibilities that come along with an independent adult.  I'm not ready to leave my safe little bubble at H3.  The second hardest part about the end of this internship is leaving the 3 girls who have kept me sane over the past 4 months.  Without the other interns, I probably would have fallen apart long ago.  We quickly learned that we roll "4 deep" and I'm lucky to have had these girls around through this experience. We've not only had some great nights at the Triangle, but movies, wine and gossip at the cottage, inappropriate but hilarious conversations around the dinner table, and other unmentionable adventures along the way.  We joke that this situation was a little like the Real World -- girls from all over the country thrown together and hoping for the best.  We live together, work together, eat together, and go out together.  Spending so much time together could have been disastrous, but somehow it worked and I'm lucky to have found friends in these girls.  I've also learned a lot about myself and life through being around them and conversations we've had.  It's so hard to imagine waking up on Monday morning at my parent's house and not seeing Samantha curled up with Pandy or having our morning conversation over breakfast.  I will especially miss the mornings playing catch-up after a night of going out for "one drink".

We're going back to our respective parts of the U.S. over the next few weeks, but we've got big plans for yearly reunions.  Until then, here's to you girls ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Panic mode

11 days. That's it. This time next week I'll be packing up, teaching my last few classes, & saying my goodbyes. I'm not gonna lie -- I'm freaking out. It's almost as if time is speeding up & everything is spiraling out of control. So much to do over the next few weeks & not nearly enough time to get it done. If only I could press pause or slow things down a bit just so I can catch up & keep my head above water. If my adult life is going to be spent playing catch-up from the get-go, then I'm content to never grow up.

But I'm ready. I'm ready for things to start falling into place. I think the most stressful thing at this point is the uncertainty of where I'll end up. My plan was to have sort of job lead by the end of this internship, but as of now, it looks like everything is still up in the air & I'm going back home for a while. I've been applying to jobs, but lately I haven't found any positions that I'm qualified for or that I'm really interested in. It's definitely not for lack of trying -- I'm wracking my brain & spending hours upon hours wading through the world wide web. I know the "economy is tough" and I need to "be patient" but it isn't helping ease my stress any. I'm so thankful for friends and fellow interns who send jobs & ideas my way. Every little bit helps, so if you've got ideas or connections, I'm all ears!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Where did the time go?

I've known all along that my days here were numbered, but the past 14 weeks have FLOWN by! I think I've been in denial about leaving, but I have to face it now that I've only got 2 weeks here. In the next 2 weeks, I've got to accomplish A LOT: finish an evaluation of the employee wellness program here at H3, deal with everything school-related that I've been putting off (namely the presentation I have to make on what I've accomplished here), get ready for hooding, a beach trip & a friend's wedding, and figure out my next step on the job front.

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."

I mentioned this quote in a previous post.  My mom emailed me this when I was having a really rough day and the words just spoke to me.  I don't think she realized it had such an effect on me, but these words continue to echo in my life.  I realized a few weeks ago that I don't want to go back to the upstate. I kept grinding at the job search, but neither Greenville or Spartanburg ever made it to the "location" box on any of my searches.  I think it all started with a conversation with one of the culinary interns about a possible job in New York City.  It sounded so amazing and I realized that I want that for myself -- a job that I love in a new, fun city.  Essentially, an offer I just can't refuse.  For those of you who know me well, you know this is so unlike me.  I have never been the type of person to just pick up & go.  Everything in my life requires methodical planning and change is not something I adapt to very well.  However, I've been writing about how much I've learned about life, myself, and the world as we know it, and I've come to the conclusion that it's time for me to do something new.  I'm ready for a big change.  I'm ready to see what life has to offer, where I will end up, and what kind of contribution I can make to society.  I'm ready to soar.

I've also learned a lot lately about the person I have been, the person I am, and the person I want to be.  While the idea of moving to a city where no one knows me is a bit intriguing, I've come to the conclusion that I have to know me.  I have to figure out who I am as an adult -- especially since I may not have people around who just "get me."  I don't want to be the kind of person people forget.  I want to live every day in hopes of making someone else's day.  I want to be a servant of the Lord and mankind and take happiness wherever I go.  Somehow, I've gotten so lucky lately to have people come into my life who make me want to be a better person.  Their attitude and outlook on life is so infectious.

The road ahead is quite scary, but I'm comforted by the fact that everything does happen for a reason. I've been looking for and applying to jobs in Nashville, Charlotte, and Atlanta, which is both nerve-wracking and exciting.  No bites yet, but I'm keeping and open mind and my fingers crossed.  Things may or may not work out the way I want, but I'll end up exactly where I need to be.  That's the beauty of this ride -- everything serves as a learning experience for what's to come and everything will fall into place just how it's meant to.

Having fun, while we're still young & beautiful

I know, I know -- it's been way too long since my last blog post. I've been extremely busy with my final project, searching for jobs, and a lot of soul searching. I joke that this internship basically turned my life upside down (mostly for the best), but I'll save that for a later post.

The other girls & I have been doing a lot of celebrating here lately. I thought I hung up my party hat, but I think we all got hit pretty hard with the realization that we're being pushed out into the real world sooner than we might like, and we need to live it up while we can. The past few weeks have been filled with bachelorette parties, a last-minute trip to Atlanta to see DJ Pauly D, St. Patrick's Day festivities in Savannah, my birthday, Ashlee's birthday, and now my 2 "moms" are here for the week to vacay with me.

We've had a blast & created some incredible memories along the way. I'm thankful for my time on this crazy island & the chance to just live before I have to do that whole responsible grown-up thing.

The bachelorette crew with the band
DJ Pauly D. 
Party crew in Savannah
My parents had cupcakes delivered to me! Vegan, of course.
Flowers for the birthday girl.
Starting off birthday celebrations at Frosty's.
Ashlee's birthday -- we needed another excuse to visit our friends at Frosty's.
The J Squad
Mama P & me