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One year later: What I've learned from leaving home

May 26, 2015

It is surreal to realize that as I'm writing this blog post in our new DC apartment (goodbye Northern Virginia) this time last year we were in the midst of selling our Orlando house and saying our farewells to family and friends. To say that this past year was an emotional roller coaster would be the best way to describe our moving experience.

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. " - Alan Alda

I've learned that you are not really sure what you are made of until you step out of your comfort zone.   A 713 square ft. apartment is way too small for a married couple and their dog. I'm becomingly more convinced that most of our tension came from transitioning from a 3 bedroom house to that tiny apartment. We now have an 800 sq. apartment and the difference is amazing. If you ever want to see what your marriage is made of just move away from your support system and see what happens.

I've learned that your phone's GPS navigation is a lifesaver and necessity. Back in Orlando I knew those roads since I grew up there. If there was traffic on the highway, I already knew the alternate routes to get where I needed to go. Now I have to look everything up until I have driven to a place a few times.

I've learned the beauty that is public transportation. You have to own a car to get around in Orlando. The local bus system there is unreliable at best. I first felt the love for public transit when I lived outside of Boston and rode the commuter rail into the city. Now that I live in the city I love that I can ride the Metro to most parts of the city and avoid the stress of city driving. Now I just need to learn to parallel park one day.

I've learned you are never too old to miss having your parents close by. I am pretty close to my parents and lived 20 minutes away from them back in Florida.  I regularly spent time with my mom and dad on the weekends and not having them near by has been the hardest part of moving away. They just came up this month and it was nice to spend time with them in my new city.

I've learned that living in suburbia is not where I want to be right now. In Florida we lived in a house in a residential neighborhood 10 minutes south of downtown and honestly I found it boring. Most of the people in the neighborhood had kids and I didn't, I found Northern Virginia to be the same way. I haven't been in the city long and I already love the difference in urban living.

I've learned that winter sucks but is just part of the deal of living in a place with four seasons. Driving in the snow still makes this Florida girl nervous.

I've learned that there is something about being in a new city that makes you motivated to explore it in a way you don't do in your hometown. In just one year of living here I have explored Harpers Ferry West VA, Charlottesville, various Civil War battlefields in Virginia and Baltimore, MD.

10 things I wish people knew about me

May 12, 2015

They say looks can be deceiving. We all walk around with things people assume about us or secrets that we choose to keep inside. So I thought about what I sometimes wish people knew about me and how it would help to get to know more about the person I am.

1.  I may wear the coveted size 2 but I walk around with years of body issues. I inherited my mother's lightning fast metabolism and her childhood teasing of being a skinny girl. I have moments where I've made peace with my body, but other times I am still sensitive to people's rude comments about my figure.

2. Yes, I am in fact of Hispanic descent. Yes, I speak fluent Spanish. I'm also overly aware that I don't look like what apparently a Hispanic is supposed to look like. I wish people knew it hurts to hear things like "I don't consider you Hispanic" or "You don't look Hispanic enough".

3. If you are a good friend to me I am incredibly loyal. I haven't always had that loyalty repaid to me in the past and it hurts to learn someone doesn't value your friendship.

4. I don't plan to have kids and yet I don't hate kids. People sometimes wrongly assume that because  I am choosing not to have children that I must dislike them.

5. Just because I majored in English and taught it for six years does not mean I am correcting everyone's grammar or am a human dictionary.

6. I am an introvert by nature and it takes me a little while to warm up to people. But once I feel comfortable around someone I am quite chatty.

7. I am a self-diagnosed Highly Sensitive person (HSP) and diagnosed myself after reading the book.

8. I always knew that I wanted to move out of my hometown, but that doesn't mean I look down on those who stayed put.

9. Wounds run deep with me. I tend to feel things deeply.

10.  When I asked my husband that he wishes people knew about me he said, "How witty and off the cuff funny you can be."

Around the World Embassy tour 2015

May 04, 2015

Once a year the embassies in DC open their doors to locals and tourists alike to come see and learn more about the various countries represented. I had read about the tours when I was researching prior to our move here last June and instantly loved the idea. Now that we are actually living in the city it was a no-brainer that we could get up early to try to see how many of the countries we could visit.

Countries Visited: Embassy of the African Union, Botswana, Bangladesh, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Mozambique

Each of the embassy showcased their country's heritage in their own way. Some of them played music from their country, had authentic dancers, and gave free food to their visitors. All of the embassy visits had a personal feel despite the long lines that many of them had throughout the afternoon. The highlights for me were the free food at the Ivory Coast and African Union. I have always wanted to travel to Africa so having authentic dishes from parts of that continent was quite a treat.