This Is What Dreeeeaaaammmss Are Made Of

Lizzie McGuire can sum up my experience thus far. My first week in Rome has been incredible to say the least. My life has completely changed in such a short amount of time: I moved to a new country, moved into a new apartment with 6 other girls, changed schools, made entirely new friends, and changed time zones (7 hours ahead of MN time). Phew, talk about a busy week! However, amongst the chaos of trying to adjust to my surroundings, I have managed to enjoy every moment that I have been here. From the monstrous buildings and exquisite architecture, to the new language and delicious food, I have been wonderstruck by it all. Growing up in a small town, I have never experienced such large masses of people at one time, all doing separate things and seemingly to be in their own little worlds. It has truly been a humbling experience thus far.

This week was mainly orientation with free time in-between. We took a few city tours, seeing some of the staples of Rome. Pictures will never do the monuments justice in the fact that you feel so small and irrelevant next to them. My daily bus ride to school is past the Altar of the Father (see picture below) and every time I still can’t help but stare at it in awe. Spectacular. Navigating the public transportation is still a struggle for me, but I am becoming more confident in my ability to problem solve in order to get home. (Whoever thought that I would call Rome my home lol). It is very empowering to independently work every angle to navigate your way through a large city that you don’t speak the language in. I have become increasingly detail oriented, trying to watch locals for hints on where we are and where we are headed. While I can speak very few words in Italian, I am beginning to pick up phrases and words and understand the jest of it. Since most of the time I won’t understand what they are saying, I have noticed myself scrutinizing their body language and tone of voice to figure out what is going on. It’s quite remarkable how much you can pick up in a short amount of time.

I feel like this week has been the longest, yet shortest week of my life. So much change in so little time really takes you for a loop! I start class tomorrow and am very excited to see what this trip holds for me and all the things I will uncover about myself on this journey of self discovery. Take a look below if you want to see some of the marvelous sights that I have yet to comprehend!!! Ciao!!

When in Rome….

SURPRISE!!!!! I’m back after like 7 months! Turns out, having a blog gets to be pretty difficult when you’re taking the max amount of credits in college and trying to prepare for a study abroad trip. Who knew right? Anyways, I have officially landed in Rome, Italy and will be spending the next 15 weeks here, so I thought I would hope to post some updates from my experience about once a week. With that being said, I have decided to make a post dedicated to my first day because, I’m not lying when I say it was a disaster. Check it out!

Day 1ish (time change screws with ya)

I start out the day finishing my packing, loading up the family minivan with a suitcase and a backpack, and head to Minneapolis to drop me off at a family diner to meet some friends from college before my flight. I spend the morning with them, bursting with excitement, but also feeling like a nervous wreck. They take me to the airport and we have to say our goodbyes. It’s difficult to say goodbye to some of the best friends I have made, knowing I will be missing good times with them while I’m away, even though I know I will be having fun too. I start crying (wow so surprising, I know) and wave them off while I head through those glass doors to an entirely new adventure, alone. I start at the baggage checkpoint and right away can’t get my passport to scan. An employee chirps at me to rotate it or something and I started crying. Seriously. Too many emotions for me at this point. After checking my bag and eventually getting my passport to work, I head to security and find my flight. The first flight was great to Newark, NJ besides the fact that I didn’t recognize the New York City skyline and told the passenger next to me that the Minneapolis skyline was better (facepalm right here). I guess I really am a Minnesotan at heart. Continuing on from there I get on my longest flight to Lisbon Portugal. I was doing fine (and by fine I mean only short and tiny bursts of tears) until the first announcement comes on and I realized everything they are saying is in Portuguese. I realized at this point that this is what it feels like to be a minority…talk about some culture shock! I was very impressed by the airline staff as they so fluently switched between English and Portuguese when talking to passengers. After a three hour layover in Portugal, I jumped on my last flight to Rome. I immediately realized that I was the only blonde on this plane, and I stuck out like a sore thumb. It was quite amusing as I was repeatedly asked where I was from. We had a nice flight to FCO airport. The next part is where I truly get a run for my money.

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Alright, buckle up ladies and gents, this is where it gets a little rocky for little Holly, the pasty blonde. I do not have an international phone plan and so I will be without phone service or data until about Wednesday when we meet with some people on how to get a sim card. Knowing that, I land in Rome and I try to locate my itinerary that I had printed out (this is literally my bible on how to get to my hotel). I find it and then comes the issue of trying to navigate to baggage claim when few signs are in English. I somehow found it and then tried to follow signs to the train station. I exit through the doors and am immediately met with a mass of people looking for taxis, shuttles, private cars, but I couldn’t find the train station. I tried to ask some security looking people and they were just very adamant about getting a taxi instead. After searching a bit more, I found what looked like a ticket station. I reached the front of the line to this machine and was trying to figure out how to buy a ticket when I realized everything was in army time. I had to google it, because I’m nervous and a bit overwhelmed, as other passengers wait behind me impatiently. I bought my ticket and then came the part of actually finding the train station. For those of you who don’t know, Rome can be quite confusing and there are not always signs for where you need to go. After 15 minutes of walking random stairs with my 40 lb suitcase and 20 lb backpack, I find the station and board. Getting off the train roughly a half hour later, I was thinking that it can’ t be that hard to find the next tram. I had the directions in front of me printed out and I had successfully navigated up until this point. I get off the train to look for this newspaper stand to buy a ticket. I quickly came to the conclusion that there was nothing in this train station besides a ticket station for trains and a few buses outside. Uh oh. I’m exhausted by this point (emotionally and physically) and am about to have a breakdown because it was getting more and more difficult to find people that spoke English to help me. Side note: the key to having someone that understands English but doesn’t know how to speak it, is to just nod and look like you’re understanding what they are telling you in Italian, but just find another person to talk to once they’re done because I couldn’t follow their directions worth squat. Ok, so continuing on told myself I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I was crying so I just focused myself on getting there before dark. Again, I am without phone service or a map of any kind. I AM VERY DIRECTIONALLY CHALLENGED ANYWAYS SO THIS IS NOT MY FORTE. I wandered the area for an hour trying to find any type of sign indicating the tram I needed to get on and where to buy a ticket. I ended up walking into a bar and tried to ask (in Italian), where to buy a ticket. She blatantly said in English, “What?”. Thoroughly embarrassed because my pronunciation was so wrong, I then again asked in English. She just pointed in a direction and left. Ok, real smooth Holly. After walking next door, I realized it was a tobacco shop. I asked this guy in English to buy a ticket. I had finally found the place!! There was no sign indicating this at all. Weird. I asked him where to go to board and he just said straight. So, following orders I walked straight… and kept walking for a half mile because there was no sign indicating what I was looking for. I eventually had to ask a young lady (who spoke english God bless) and she said I was at the right one. WRONG. I boarded and took the tram for the three stops as it said in my directions and…… nope. This is not the place. Frustrated, I got off and then really started to panic. It was growing dark and I had no idea where I was. Come to find out, street signs are on the sides of buildings, not even on the street so I was really lost. So, here I am, little blondie dragging her large suitcase and carrying a backpack like an American trying to find anyone who wasn’t too scary looking to help me. Mind you, I talked to roughly 8 people on the main road before I could find one that spoke english enough to direct me the right way. It was dusk as a gentleman pointed to the hotel that I was looking for. I had ended up walking a mile in the opposite  direction that the train took me. I do have to say, I think the cherry on top was when I immediately blew a fuse the moment I walked in my room and tried to plug in my phone. Ahhh, the sweet smell of burnt plastic and failure was definitely in the air.

Long story short, I am very proud of what I accomplished. Even though I was lost for over two hours in a foreign country, I still managed to keep it together and was able to successfully navigate two foreign airports by myself. I reached my destination safely and that’s all that matters. Times like this are what I will remember and laugh at for years to come.

Stay tuned for more adventures in the weeks to come!!

 

Who Are You?

Many of us still haven’t quite figured out who we are yet. What makes me happy? What makes me feel content? Not what does my significant other do to make me happy, what do I do? Myself? Too many people believe that once you find “true love” they will be happy, but what they don’t realize is that if you let someone else control your emotions, then what are you? An empty body waiting to be filled with a different soul is what you have become. YOU are going to have to live with yourself for the rest of your life, even if you do live with your significant other. They are not you. They are not always going to be right next to you, experiencing what you are going through. They do not always understand what’s going on inside your uniquely wired brain, so why should they be in charge of you? They do not feel or show emotion in the same way that you do, so walk to the edge of that cliff, and take the plunge.

It is terrifying to have to stand alone, but once you take that leap of faith and be yourself, you will enjoy life so much more. Don’t wait for someone to save you, save yourself.

It is not selfish to put yourself first sometimes, it is absolutely necessary. On this journey of life, we are supposed to find ourselves (maybe multiple times). We are constantly growing and changing and the friends that you had in high school may not be your friends now. AND THAT IS OKAY. Drop the negative people that are holding you back from growing and achieving your goals. Like I said, your happiness shouldn’t have to depend on others.

Make your own self happy, dammit. Read that book you’ve secretly been eyeing up, go to a movie by yourself, or take yourself on a date. Learn to be independent. How are you supposed to make others happy if you can’t even make yourself happy? Find a hobby or activity that you love and pursue it. The more you spend time with yourself, the more you will discover.

I am not saying that you should drop all relationships this instant and go on an adventure to find your calling, but I am saying that you should take time to notice things about yourself. Notice what makes you happy, what irritates you, and what keeps beckoning to you in the back of your mind. Those are signs leading you towards your purpose, follow them. You would be surprised at how much getting to know yourself actually helps your relationships. You feel more confident in your own skin and don’t feel the need to always have someone with you to feel whole, because you know how kickass you are by yourself. People are more attracted to you because you have that happy energy, and they want that too. You owe yourself that love that you so freely give to other people.

“Learn to be alone without being lonely, learn to admire your beauty without finding fault, and learn to love yourself without the love of others.”

Self love and discovery is one of the tougher parts of life. You will find yourself crying at 2 a.m. because you no longer recognize the person staring back at you in the mirror, and that is absolutely horrifying. You feel like you have forgotten who you are and what you stand for. Lonely is your top adjective. However, this too shall pass. You WILL find yourself. Wouldn’t it be great to know and enjoy yourself instead of relying on others to live for you? Get comfortable with yourself, you got a whole life ahead of you and the best is yet to come.

3 A.M. Fears

I am afraid.

I am terribly afraid of what lies ahead.

I am terribly afraid of repeating my past.

I am afraid of not being enough for myself.

I am afraid of setting all these goals to come up short, to never reach my full potential.

I am afraid of settling for something or someone when there is so much that I have not achieved.

But mostly, I am afraid of falling in love with someone to only have them fall out of love with me. 

How terrible would it feel to endure the pain of losing someone’s love slowly. They start to distance themselves over time, leaving you wondering what went wrong? Why won’t they answer my calls? Why are they always late? Why are our plans diminishing?…

Why am I not good enough?

Why don’t you love me anymore?

I am afraid of giving everything to someone to have them leave it broken and disgraced on the kitchen floor, never to be touched again; to be dropped like a toy from a child’s hands once they see the new one their mom has brought home.

To feel empty.

I am afraid to feel empty because I don’t know how to fill myself up again.

Sometimes I think that I am almost too generous of a person. I will give and give and give because I want to give them the joy that I feel. But, you see, that is where my deepest flaw lies; I will give until I have nothing left. I will give you every part of me in the hopes that you will give me all of you as well. Foolish, right? Not everyone works the same way I do. Only in fairytales does everything work out the way you want it to, and I am working to accept that fact. But, how do I bring all of that love back to myself once I have given it all away? I know how to make myself look happy and how to be an independent woman, but I can’t quite figure out how to love myself completely.

And maybe that’s why I am so afraid of falling out of love, I don’t know how to love myself anymore.

 

18 Signs That You Have The Coolest Mom In The World

Everyone likes to think that they have a kickass mom, but is she actually a cool mom? Check it out to see if she made the list!

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1.She keeps up to date with the latest fashion trends.

Her outfits may closely mimic what you saw in the American Eagle shop yesterday and she can rock those boyfriend jeans. Oh, and you work that eyeliner Mom! While she might not wear a matching jogger suit like Mrs. George, she still is pretty hip for being a mom.

 

2.Your friends are jealous of the great relationship that you have with her.

You post pictures with her on your social media and your friends think she is the coolest. I mean, who doesn’t want a mom that they can go rafting with and take sick pictures afterwards?

 

3.You feel comfortable telling her about (almost) everything that’s going on in your life.

In fact, you want to tell her about your life and what you are doing. She makes you feel comfortable in your own skin and will always laugh at your stories.

4.She will bust her ass to help you kick ass.

While you are working hard to accomplish your dreams, she is working for you too. You are her priority and she would do anything to boost you up.

5.She is your #1 fan.

She is the one cheering the loudest in the stands at your athletic or art events and you can clearly pick her voice out of the crowd. It might have been embarrassing at the time, but secretly you know you love it.

6.She works hard to provide for you.

She is a hardworking woman that will do everything she can to help you succeed. She might come home late from work and be exhausted, but she will always try to keep time to talk to you because she loves you.

7.She knows when you need a pick-me-up and will gladly be there for you.

Everything went wrong today and you are just down in the dumps, but she is there to talk you through it and be a listening ear. Ice cream and drinks might not fix everything, but it can’t make things any worse…?

8.You told her about someone that did you wrong and now she hates them too.

She is your best friend and only wants what’s best for you. If someone hurts you, they are no longer on her Christmas card mailing list, so consider them irrelevant.

9.She is your backup vocals in the car when your favorite tune comes on.

She knows that it’s your time to shine, so she dons her sick pair of shades and turns up the volume in the mini van to let you do your thing.

10.She has pictures of you all over the house.

That really old picture of you with your braces on still sits on the stand under the T.V. and even though it’s slightly agonizing, it’s still a nice gesture. But hey, that nice senior picture is on the wall so it makes up for it.

11.Her lock screen on her phone is a picture of your family.

There is nothing greater than a mother that is all about her family and she makes the top of the fantastic list. We all look at our phones all too often, but at least she always sees you first.

12.She gives the best advice.

We all get into tough situations and there is no better person to go to for advice. She might not always know the right answer, but she will be by your side no matter what you choose.

13.She hypes you up on that super hot (or super not) outfit you are wearing.

She makes you feel like you can run the world whether you are in your sweatpants or the nicest outfit you own. “Wow hunny! Don’t you look sharp today?!”-Momma Tonya as I come up the stairs in my pajamas.

14.Your friends actually want to hang out with her.

When you ask your friends to come over they immediately ask if your parents are going to be home, not because they don’t like them, but because they want to hang out and talk with your mom. It makes you wonder if they think that your mom is cooler than you….

15.She tries to use the “in” lingo when talking to you.

Her words may not always make sense, but she tries her best to sound young. The words “dude” and “wassup” are used and she will ask you what “sick” means these days. My mom once asked me, “What’s good?” and I about lost it. True story.

16.She knows how to crack a cold one with the boys, but also drinks wine to keep it classy.

Wine might be a woman’s drink of choice, but raising three boys might make a beer sound good right about now. Keep doing your thing, Momma.

17.She knows when to spoil you, but she also knows when to make you work for what you want.

She loves to take you shopping or to an event, but she also knows when it’s time for you to earn the money yourself. She didn’t get to where she is today just on living off her parents. Hard work makes the money, honey.

18.You couldn’t imagine a life without her.

She has done so much for you and has been there with you for the best and worst times in life. She is always that person that you can count on, even if she is terrible at answering her phone when you call. At least you know she will call you back when she gets the chance.

 

Did your mom make the cut? Moms are the coolest! And to think there was a time in every kid’s life where they didn’t want their moms to bug them…. How wrong we were. We love you Mom!

Share below with all the great moms out there to let them know how they ranked!

Your Success or Mine?

I thought I would start of this blog with something that might hit close to home for those around my age, and for that matter, any age: Success. What exactly is success, and when is it enough to fulfill that emptiness we are led to feel?

Starting from when I was a wee blondie in kindergarten, I was taught what success was and what it meant. I was led to believe that success was winning a race, getting a perfect on an exam, or being able to walk across a beam without falling off. Once I was “successful”, I would be rewarded with a prize or a sense of gratitude. You see, that type of success was drilled into my brain and it meant that I couldn’t fail. You can’t lose and win a race at the same time unless you are the only one racing. Failure was shameful and frowned upon. But now, I strongly reject that definition.

My new definition for success is not simply just “not failing”, it has a deeper root. Success is whatever YOU want it to be, whether that be finally finishing a book you started 3 years ago, graduating college, or running a marathon. The problem persists in the fact that we compare our definitions to others. We have lost the essence of time. We forget that we all live very different lives and our goals may not be completed by the same time other people complete theirs. So, we continue to beat ourselves up over the fact that we aren’t as “successful” as they are when that just isn’t the case.

There is a reason humanity wasn’t made to be clones of each other. Every person is made to contribute to the world through their own success. Could you imagine if the person who invented the vaccine for Polio had never created it because they were too distracted by someone else’s achievements? Our world would still be ridden with this disease and many more lives would have been lost. Now we all may not be on the path to cure the world, but we can make a difference in our own lives by pursuing our success, disregarding how much time it takes. We are not failures because it took us more time to finish our goal than our friend or colleague. Failure is just Nature’s way of saying, “Hey, not this way. Try a different route!”. It doesn’t mean to give up your destination and find a new one, it means, “Keep trying, you have the right finish in mind”.

Success is a journey filled with unexpected twists and turns, and you may not even end up where you decided to go in the first place. However, that just might make it sweeter than what you could have ever imagined.

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Have something you need advice on or want to know more about? Comment below and I will gladly help! I am here to make this blog interesting to my readers, so feel free to offer suggestions! 🙂

 

The Start of Something New

Okay, so this isn’t reliving my past love with High School Musical, but this is something new for me. I have decided to start this new adventure of joining the blogging nation not only to fulfill my passion of helping others, but to also further my knowledge of myself. I hope you enjoy the journey of what I have to offer to you and continue to follow some interesting points in my life! Catch ya on the flip side!