Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Guten tag... Greetings from Vienna! To pick up where I left off, I felt like a million bucks after our first night at Austria Trend Hotel Schloss Wilhelminenberg Wien (phew, what a mouthful). We ate breakfast at the hotel with a view of Vienna below. Gorgeous. Our breakfast selection had the most variety out of any of the hotels I have ever stayed at (rightly so, considering it cost us an additional €30 at checkout). Niki got the bus/metro information from the front desk and we set out to explore Vienna.

Because of our disastrous travel sage the day before, Niki and I had to make the most out of our one day in Vienna. So, after a short bus and metro ride, we ascended the escalator up to the city center. I was absolutely awestruck once we reached ground level. Directly to my right was St. Stephen's cathedral. The Gothic style cathedral (c.1300-1450) is known for its 450-foot south tower and its colorful roof. When it was built, it was a huge church for what was then a tiny town, and it helped put the undeveloped city on the map (thank you Rick Steves). Rick was also kind enough to provide us with another guided walking tour. After a quick stop at the first Starbucks that I had seen since arriving in Europe (don't judge... there is only so much Italian espresso a girl can take before a mental breakdown. Btw, my latte was fabulous, thanks for asking), we skipped across the street to the Opera.

If Vienna is the world capital of classical music, this building is its throne room, one of the planet's premier houses of music. It's typical of Vienna's 19th-century buildings in that it features a revival style-Neo-Renaissance- with arched windows, half-columns, and the sloping, copper mansard roof typical of French Renaissance châteaux. Since the structure was built in 1869, almost all of the opera world's luminaries have passed through here. Its former musical directors include Gustav Mahler, Herbert von Karajan, Domingo, and many other greats have sung from its stage.

Unfortunately, seats had already been sold out long before we got to the Opera. It would have been possible for us to purchase admission to the standing room only, but this was only our first stop of many for the day. We decided that we would just see how we felt that evening. Luckily, we were able to tour the lobby at the Opera and got a few good photos!

Next stop on the walking tour was at Cafe Sacher. This is the home of the world's classiest chocolate cake, the Sacher-Torte: two layers of cake separated by apricot jam and covered in dark-chocolate icing, served with whipped cream. There was already a line out the entrance to the Cafe when we arrived. Thank goodness it's a fairly large restaurant and we only had to wait about 5 minutes. The hostess whisked us down a long hallway where they took our coats in exchange for a number. We were then taken into one of the many, elaborately decorated, dinning rooms and then seated at a table for two. The cafe was so beautiful with walls lined in red, satin-looking wallpaper. The ceilings were draped with crystal chandeliers and the walls decorated with 16th/17th century style portraits. Granted, this cafe is incredibly touristy, but I ate up every second of it... literally. We ordered a piece of the Sacher-Torte to share and two glasses of procecco to wash it all down with. After our dainty little snack, we hit the ladies room and then went to gather our belongings. We turned in our number and our coats were returned to us... for a small fee of €3. Might I add that upon entry into this establishment, no one mentions anything about a fee and they make it seem as though hanging up your coat is simply protocol. Rick Steves also failed to mention this little tidbit. So, for you future travelers, you have been warned :).

After satisfying our sweet-tooth, we made our way to Albertinaplatz/Albertina Museum. We decided not to go inside the museum to save time and, instead, made our primary focus the Monument Against War and Fascism, which commemorates the dark years when Austria came under Nazi rule (1938-1945). I will post pictures with detailed descriptions of this monument on FB if you are interested. We then made our way back towards St. Stephen's Cathedral to take a tour of the inside. Once again... amazing. I won't bore you with my own inadequate description, but take a look at some of my pictures and, for goodness sake, go there if you ever get the chance! We left St. Stephen's and wandered through the streets of Vienna until we found, in my opinion to be, the most glorious church in Europe... St. Peter's.

Leopold I ordered this church to be built as a thank-you for surviving the 1679 plague. The church stands on the site of a much older church that may have been Vienna's first (or second) Christian church. St. Peter's shows Vienna at its Baroque best (Rick Steves). We partook in one of the churches free organ concerts and attempted to capture its incredible beauty in our photographs... this was not possible. We spent at least 30 minutes gazing at the walls, dripped with gold, pastel colored frescos and life-like statues. Wow, how could we possibly top this moment?

Our next stop was the Hofburg palace. On our way, we were delighted with the scene of a slow-setting sun and millions of Christmas lights strung from one side of the street to the other; every street with its own theme. The street leading directly to the Hofburg palace is called Kohlmarkt -aka- Vienna's most elegant and unaffordable shopping street. After making our way through endless amounts of Cartier, Armani, Gucci, and Tiffany we arrived at the emperor's palace. We by-passed the museum/attractions of the Hofburg to save a little time and cash and just walked through the archways to appreciate the New-Baroque facade and architecture on the opposite side. We strolled through a nearby park and stumbled, luckily, onto the Wiener Christkindlmarkt or Vienna Christmas market. This market is the largest Christmas market in Vienna with over 200 stalls selling candy, handmade goodies, delicious food and, my personal favorite, mulled wine! The backdrop for this magical market is the gothic style Rathaus. The Rathaus is a building in Vienna which serves as the seat both of the mayor and city council of the city of Vienna. The town hall also serves, in personal union, as Governor and Assembly (Landtag) of the State of Vienna, a state with the Austrian federal system. Somedays it was difficult exploring each destination in the cold weather, but getting to experience each location during the Christmas season is something that I encourage everyone to do if you are able.

To wrap up the day, we decided to consult Rick for an authentic Austrian dinner. He suggested we try Reinthaler's Beisl- a time warp the serves simple, traditional Beisl fare all day. Score! An order of homemade dumplings, sauerkraut, pork steak and one large Gösser Bier later and I was ready for bed :) So tasty! Another successful day in Europe! Tomorrow... off to Prague!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Windows on the Train

Whoa, we FINALLY made it on the train out of Venice! I was starting to feel like we were never going to get to our next destination. Let me start from the beginning...

The last time I wrote I was on my way to Venice. We stepped off the train and walked out the doors of Stazione Santa Lucia to a breathtaking view of the Grand Canal, looking as perfect as Google image had depicted it to be. The water surrounding this one-of-a-kind city is an amazing color; turquoise blue like you might find in the Caribbean, but not clear to the bottom. Since the city of Venice is actually an island, transportation here is conducted mainly by boat also referred to as a 'water bus.' Once in Venice, the first thing we had to do was purchase a bus ticket to take us to the different ports throughout the city. Sure we could have saved ourselves some money by walking everywhere, but with the windy and narrow streets surrounded by 4-5 story high, umpteenth-century old buildings, Venice can be somewhat complicated to navigate.

Anyway, Niki and I actually stayed on the island of Lido, which is a short water bus ride away from Venice. We stayed at Hotel Panorama for 2 nights. The hotel sat directly across from our bus stop and gave us an nice view of St. Mark's Basin. Beautiful and convenient! I would recommend this hotel to anyone interested in visiting Venice. The desk clerks were are extremely knowledgable and friendly. A continental breakfast was also included in the price of our room. The hotel was clean, our bathroom was spacious and came with a full sized towel warmer... hands down the best feature of the room!

After dropping off our luggage we headed back to Venice to start exploring. Silly us for taking the wrong bus back to Venice - we ended up on the North side of the island, far away from all of the sites of the city. Not to worry though, this ended up being a good thing. We were able to see the less touristy parts of Venice and took some pretty amazing pictures (if I do say so myself). We also stopped at a delicious little bakery and snacked on some homemade treats! We oh'd and ah'd at the marvelous Christmas lights strung up along all of the picturesque avenues, visited Piazza San Marco and took our picture on the Ponte di Rialto. We continued to wander around for a few hours until we got hungry. We then consulted our favorite travel guide, Rick Steves, for a place to stop for dinner. He had several good recommendations. We chose a place called Trattatoria di Bepi after Rick raved about their fresh seafood. So far, Rick has proved to be worth the €30 that Niki shelled out so we could have a "personal" tour guide along on our journey. The restaurant was adorable and the food was sooo fresh and really tasty.

After dinner we headed back slowly towards Piazza San Marco to catch a bus back to Lido. As we strolled along the edges of Bacino di San Marco we noticed an open door in Palazzo delle Prigioni. There was a man standing in the doorway dressed in a tuxedo taking money in exchange for tickets. We wandered closer to inquire about the event. A large sign, sitting on an easel, read Orchestra Collegium Ducale 9.00p.m. Of course we immediately purchased tickets and headed inside. The show was an hour long and exactly what I had envisioned a trip to Venice would include. Here is a brief description of the Orchestra Collegium Ducale:

This orchestra brings together in one group musicians from the best orchestras of the Veneto: The ensemble is prepared to execute a repertoire ranging from the Baroque to Twentieth century music. Well-known soloists contribute both to the whole of the performance and as featured virtuosos. It is actively involved in the research and study of technique, with the aim of offering to the public a performance of pieces based on the interpretative spirit of the period they date from. The orchestra has been performing in Venice since 1993.

What a great day. It felt so good to get back to our hotel room and hit the hay. The next day was exciting as well. We spent the entire day exploring the city, including Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica) and taking loads of photos. We stopped for lunch at a little pizzeria and then ended the day at a darling pub in the University district. (Check out my pictures on fb).

Since we consider ourselves to be well trained in the planning department, Niki and I decided to save ourselves a few Euros and take an overnight train to our next destination, Vienna, Austria. We would leave Lido at midnight, travel about 30 minutes by boat to the train station, buy our reservations, and then hop on the 1:30 am train. What a great idea... WRONG. Italy is known for having random, yet somehow planned, strikes that typically last for about 24 hours and affect the transportation systems (i.e. boat/bus/train). Excellent. The strike was over at midnight and we were able to catch our water bus. Unfortunately, it took longer than we expected to reach the train station, but we made it just in the nick of time! What's that? You didn't know that Venice had more than one train station? Funny, neither did we. I'm sure you've guessed it by now, but yes, we missed our 1:30 a.m. train out of Venice. Conveniently enough there wasn't another train until 7 a.m. With our spirits low, we walked down the street a bit and found, what seemed to be, an appropriate looking establishment to spend the night. 3 1/2 hous and €80 later we were back on our quest to Vienna. We actually made our 7 a.m. train and I was left feeling relieved that I could relax for a while. Everything was going great... until we reached our first connection in Verona. We were ready to exit the train as it came to a stop. Excitement turned to panic when the door wouldn't open. A few seconds later, Niki and I watched in disbelief as Verona slipped away through the windows in the train. Niki, being the optimist that she is, momentarily tried to convince herself that the train was just moving forward a bit to adjust its position. About 30 minutes later we were in Brescia, Italy. Originally there was only 1 hour in between connections, so we knew that there was zero chance of getting back to Verona in time. Tack on 2 1/2 additional hours to our trip. Finally we made it back to Verona and caught the next available train to Vienna. It was an incredibly long ride, but filled with breathtaking views of the Italian countryside and mountains. It even snowed for a few hours! The snow covered hills of Italy/Austria we absolutely magnificent. I was thankful that we were able to see these sights in the daylight and that made me feel less bitter about missing our first connection. Around 8:30 p.m. the train rolled into Vienna. As I walked towards the lobby of the station, I noticed that my suitcase wasn't moving as well as it should be. After a quick examination, I realized that one of the wheels was broken and basically hanging on for dear life. Could this day get any better?

Anyway, my high school German was getting us absolutely nowhere and after an unsuccessful attempt at finding the cities metro, we settled on a taxi ride to our hotel. We checked in and headed up to our room on the second floor. Upon entry, we were horrified at the dirty bathroom and the microscopic window showing only a portion of the view of the city below. At this moment, I'm pretty sure Niki hit her breaking point. She threw on her coat and declared that we were heading down to the front desk. Five minutes later we were collecting our things and on our way to our new room along with 2 vouchers for a free cocktail at the bar (a 'gift' from the hotel)! This room was definitely an upgrade. After almost 24 exhausting hours of travel we were finally situated in our newest temporary residence. I slept better that night than I have since I left the U.S. almost 2 months ago! Yay team!

Well, I certainly hope that this lengthy post redeems me for my lack of postings recently. Don't forget to look at my pictures on fb when you get the chance! I should have my next blog update in a few days about Vienna.

To be continued.........

Thursday, December 15, 2011

La Dolce Vita...

Oh geeze... where to begin? Ah, okay, I am officially a certified teacher of the English language!!! It was a pretty tough class, but it was worth all the hard work! To tell you the truth, I actually enjoyed most of the class. The best part of the whole experience was getting to know all of my classmates. This reason alone was worth the trip to Italy. Moving to another country is scary and I am so happy to have been able to make friends quickly. I would recommend taking a TEFL class to anyone who is interested in teaching/ living abroad.

One of the women that I made friends with, Niki, is from Minnesota. We are currently on a train headed towards Venice, Italy. It's our first stop on a journey that will last for 17 days and take us to 5 countries and 6 cities. After Venice, we are headed to Vienna, Austria/ Prague, Czech Republic/ Munich, Germany/ Salzburg, Austria (for Christmas)/ and then ending the trip on a high note in PARIS! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! If this wasn't amazing enough, the day after I get back to Florence, I am hoping on another train and heading to Rome for New Years including mass at the Vatican. La dolce vita...

Anyway, other than that there hasn't been much going on beside some studying and massive amounts of homework. Since we're taking trains to each destination on our trip I will have plenty of time to blog. I just wanted to let everyone know that I was still alive! Until then...



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beware of the Balls

Ciao tutti (hello everyone)! It's me again... I am happy to report that I am wrapping up my second week here in Italia! I have also just completed my first week at Via Lingua. Wow, it feels a little awkward to be back in school. Lord knows I didn't apply myself as much as I should have back at ol' NMSU, but I am certainly doing my darndest to be a good student for the next 3 weeks! I CAN DO THIS!

Anyway, a lot has happened in the last week... let's see if I can't get everyone (my one subscriber and my mother) up to date! Last Friday, Andrea's former roommate, Madeline, and her boyfriend, Paul, came down from Valdagno, Italy for the weekend. Madeline's birthday was a few days before and Paul wanted to surprise her with a trip to Florence and then a day trip to the truffle festival. Yes, I said truffle... Paul is from the UK- he's a little reserved, but sarcastic and Madeline is from Victoria, TX and can be best described as a bit of a spit-fire. Any-who, wonderful couple and I love them both! We basically spent the weekend eating, going out, eating the amazing cheese and butter with truffles that M & P brought back from the truffle festival, going out some more, and.... eating. However, our last meal together was on Sunday night and, as far as I'm concerned, is going to be ever so hard to beat. I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but my roommate is quite the chef. He spent all day Sunday preparing to make pizza for a group of 8 people. This was quite a process; homemade dough, fried potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, sausage, mushrooms, onions, the list goes on and on. It was seriously amazing. Definitely the BEST pizza I have ever had! On the other hand, the best comment of the day went to Andrea when he warned Madeline and I to "Beware of the balls!" - balls of dough, that is, that were rising on the kitchen table... priceless. (Check out my pictures on FB and try to imagine, although it won't be possible, the most glorious meal).

Okay, now that I'm done drooling, I can tell you a little bit about school. My class consists of about 12 people, mostly American, but also 1 woman from Holland, 1 from Canada, and even 1 from right here in Florence. When the instructors said that this 4 week course would be intensive they weren't kidding. It's been a ton of information to take in, but it's in a very organized format, exactly the format that I will be teaching in, and actually rather interesting. I think I've even been enjoying it a little! Yay me! My favorite part about school is its location. I love that I get to walk over the Ponte Santa Trinita while gazing at the Ponte Vecchio every day (these are bridges btw so look them up on google now if you don't know what I'm talking about... seriously GO). I also pass by all of the top designer stores: Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, etc. as I stroll down Via de' Tornabuoni on my way to class. A-MA-ZING. Also, this past Thursday there was a fresh flower market in the Piazza della Reppublica, which is where Via Lingua is located. Sooo beautiful! I can't believe I live here! (Fyi- I was unaware that this would be here so I don't have any pictures, but if it's there again this week I will be prepared).

Something that I'm really looking forward to in the coming weeks is the Christmas festival in the Piazza Santa Croce. It starts on November 30th and everyone has already been talking about it. I'm not really sure what to expect yet, but I'm still excited to attend. Speaking of Christmas and shopping, one of my classmates and I (hi Erica!) went on a little adventure yesterday to the local IKEA (pronounced e-KAY-ah in Italy). This was seriously a project. We started out at 3:30 pm and headed towards the Stazione Centrale di Santa Maria Novella (train station). Across the street were several bus stops, one of which was the free bus to IKEA. Now, I assumed that it would be a clearly marked location. I think we all know where assuming got me... I'm telling you this sign couldn't have been more vague and to top it off had been damaged a little by the rain. It looked like a freakin' water color painting. At least we found it. Of course we were 30 minutes early, so, we decided to form our own 'occupy IKEA' along with the 15 other people that were there waiting. Finally the bus arrived and 20 minutes later we were at IKEA! It was my first IKEA experience and, though it may not be my last, I'm probably not going again any time soon. But I did make it home with a new shower curtain, a new candle and a lint roller! By 7 o'clock I was home and just in time for Chef Andrea to make me some dinner! Fabulous!

Anyway... I'm clearly in a very wordy mood tonight, so I'll try harder not to let so much time pass in between posts! Until next time...



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Va bene!

Well, I am finally in Florence!  This is my second full day in Italy and I managed to sleep through half of it :(  I set my alarm for 8 am and proceeded to sleep for 4 more hours.  Va bene (oh well/it's okay)!  Eventually my body will get used to the time change and I'll be able to function like a normal human being again.

    My flight(s) went better than I had anticipated.  Each one was on schedule. I didn't have to pay an extra fee for my luggage weighing more than 50lbs. per bag (although there was a $75 fee for having a second bag which my parents, very lovingly, paid for... thanks Mom and Dad!), I got to watch 3 movies that I've wanted to see, and going through customs in Amsterdam was a breeze!  Once I arrived in Italy, Andrea (my Italian roommate) met me at the airport on his lunch break to give me the keys to the apartment.  It was nice seeing a familiar face.  I think he was glad to see me, too, until he saw my luggage.  I believe his exact wording was, "Whoa, you have a lot of stuff!"  (Okay people, I'm MOVING to Italy not coming to visit for 2 weeks!)  Thank God he offered to meet me at the apartment to help me get all of my 'stuff' up the 6 billion stairs to the 3rd floor.  He literally ran both of the large suitcases up the stairs while I struggled to get my small carry-on to the top.  I have a feeling that my fitness level will be increasing in no time after a few trips up and down those puppies!  Once inside, I met my other roommate, Kathryn Irene.  She is an American from Washington D.C. area.  We haven't spent much time together, but it's comforting to have another female and english speaker in the house. 

    Around 7 pm my new friend and fellow blogger, Sally, came to collect me at my apartment.  Sally is actually the person that I can thank for getting to live in such an awesome place!  She also lived with Andrea when she first moved to Florence in August 2010.  She now lives just down the street.  She has been very generous with advice and in helping to ease some of my fears about living abroad.  She has also proved to be an excellent tour guide!  Anyway, the two of us set out to find a place to eat.  On the way, Sally introduced me to some friends of Andrea's uncle.  Fabio and Luca own a furniture restoration shop just a few blocks from where I live.  I was almost taken-a-back when Sally carried on a conversation with Fabio and Luca in, what seemed to me to be, perfect Italian!  I am so jealous, but now hopeful that I, too, will be able to speak the language of my adopted city.  We ended up eating at a restaurant called Il Muna Cielo (I think), and feasted on pizza, meatballs with marinara, bread and vino of course! 

    After dinner we met Andrea at Piazza Santo Spirito for some evening cocktails.  With a little coaching from Sally and Andrea I was even able to order our second round of drinks all by myself!  Yessss!  Unfortunately, I had forgotten how tired I was and may have had one too many... needless to say my tummy wasn't 100% the next day.  After sleeping in until 12:30pm, I got up, got ready and went be-bopping around Florence with Sally while she ran a few errands.  I even stopped at Apartments Florence so I could meet Christine Dickert (another fellow blogger).  Christy has also made herself available to me for advice and reassurance about my move.  I ate Gelato, saw Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo) for the first time, visited Stazione Centrale di Santa Maria Novella (train station), and went grocery shopping.  Then, to end the day on a high note, Andrea and Sally prepared a delicious meal of pasta with sausage, crostini with pate, fresh cheese and vino.  Oh, and then we went down to the corner gelataria for dessert (my second helping for the day)!  All-in-all a fabulous day. 

Today, I went exploring for the first time by myself.  I was a little scared, but now that I know I can leave the house and find my way back on my own gives me a sense of relief.  Oh, and my friends, Kendra and DJ, are currently living in Perugia, Italy.  They called me today to check in and to invite me to spend Christmas with them!  Kendra said that there is the possibility that we may get to go to evening mass at the Vatican in Rome on Christmas Eve.  Yes please!

Alright... ciao for now!

P.S. uploading images from my iPad to the blog is proving to be problematic. If you are friends with me on facebook you can view all my pictures so far! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Free Bird

The countdown until my departure to Florence continues with only 21 days remaining. It's such a strange feeling to be unemployed and even more strange knowing that I'll soon be leaving everything that is comfortable to me. The constant emotion, which I've always referred to as nervous-excitement, is running through my entire body. Nervous at the thought of failing, but excited and so thankful that I've followed through with my plans so far. I still have a few loose ends to tie up before I go (packing, saying goodbye to friends and family, converting currency, and selling my car), but other than that I feel as though I'm as prepared as I can possibly be.

My best friend Melanie and I... a night out in Austin, TX

Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit some of my family and very close friends. I spent 5 days in Austin, Texas with one of my best friends from high school and then stopped in Dallas, Texas for a short visit with my Uncle Matt and his family. I spent another 4 days in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While there, I attended the New Mexico Balloon Fiesta for the first time (don't ask me why I never went in the 3 years that I lived there), ate some amazing food, and saw several of my good friends from high school, college, and Bed Bath & Beyond. I was also fortunate enough to stay a few nights with my Mother's sister, Annie, and her husband Bill. I came home with an overwhelming feeling of happiness. My hope is that I can carry this feeling over into the next chapter of my life which, in a way, has already begun.
My friends Laura, Katherine and I at ABQ Balloon Fiesta 2011

Also, after over 5 1/2 years, I have left my management position at Bed Bath & Beyond. This this only the second day that I've been unemployed. So, it hasn't quite sunk in yet, but just the thought of it is absolutely liberating! Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I succeed in this new venture and don't have to beg to have my position back (I don't know that I could bring myself to do that anyway)! That being said, I guess that leaves me with just one last thought: FREEDOM!!! (Insert sigh of relief).

Until next time...


*Here are a few more photos from Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta!

View of the Sandia Mountains from Bernalillo, NM (northern ABQ).

Balloon Glow

Dawn Patrol

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

89 days and counting...

Yep, you heard it hear folks. On November 7, 2011 I will be packing up my life and moving across the Atlantic Ocean. Destination: Florence, Italy. Most of my close friends and family already know this to be true, but I mostly reiterate this fact to myself in hopes that it might start to sound believable. As the date draws near, I can feel myself going through the motions of preparing emotionally for, what is sure to be, the most adventurous chapter of my life thus far. Taking into account that there is no possible way to even begin to fathom the changes that I'm in for, I still can't help myself from daydreaming about how my life will be different/better once in Italy. On the contrary, I have also had my fair share of grounding thoughts like, "You know you don't speak Italian, right?" Please trust that the lack of my ability to speak Italian won't stop me from relocating, but I have to remind myself that there will be obstacles in the road ahead. To tell you the truth, obstacles are exactly what I need.

When I graduated from college, the vision I had for my life included a nice car, nice things, a stable/rewarding career, a husband, and children. Some of these things I have already accomplished and some... not so much (ahem, husband/kids). Recently, I wondered whether I wanted all of these stereotypical "things" for myself because I actually wanted them or was it because it has always been my perception of what all women my age should want?

For the last year I have been living with my parents. I don't mind admitting to this, because it wasn't out of necessity, but rather a desire to spend some much needed quality time with my Mom and Dad. I would be lying if I said that there weren't other perks to living at home again. Who wouldn't appreciate paying less every month for rent, home cooked meals, and clean laundry? (My Mom is awesome btw). It feels so good to have gotten to really get to know my parents again. Also, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to really reflect on my life, past and future, and what I want to get out of it. I still hope to find love one day and maybe even have a family, but for now, I feel content knowing that I am not afraid to go after goals that aren't exactly what everyone else expects of me, but more along the lines of what I expect of me. So, here's to taking chances... let the adventure begin.