“There’s a beautiful melancholy that settles over the river and village as the weather matures from summer. The air holds a bit of chill and even the birds’ singing is subdued.

This is my favorite time of year. I feel it perfectly captures the time in my life that I had the most struggle. I used to love autumn for the colors that blanket the trees everywhere, but now it’s that moment right before the change – the trees still as green as they can possibly be, telling the world that there may be a dead period approaching, but they are still full of life and will be back for another year of green beauty. In a way, the yellows, oranges, and reds are their final goodbye to us for the year. That last love letter that tells of beauty coming in the next year.

I am overwhelmed by places that get to experience all four seasons. The lucky spots on earth that have snow in winter, are covered in blooms in spring, have sunny weather in summer without too much heat, and have the fiery colors in fall to cover the earth. If I found a place like this, I don’t think I’d ever move away. Of course, every season has a time and place, and change is part of our natural process. Loving every season for what it brings to the world is necessary, but the beauty of fall is unattainable elsewhere.”                   -personal journal from September 4, 2014

I’m in the middle of a mental leave of health from work. Being in this period is part unfamiliarity and part undesirable old friend. When I first started truly struggling with depression a few years ago, I was unable to hold down a job. Every little thing overwhelmed me and I would go days without moving off of the couch. I’ve very lucky to have found a job that understands the importance of mental health, but the idea of returning to a place that I’ve been absent from is intimidating.

The good parts that come out of this are time, mentally regrouping, and most importantly, writing. Life had been keeping me so busy that I couldn’t balance work, a personal life, and my projects. It’s probably just a self-organization issue, to be honest, but part of my mental health recovery is learning coping mechanisms and how to better schedule my life. Perhaps this is just an opportunity for growth.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to refocus my writing efforts. I started a project last year that I’ve shared a bit about on here, and making it ready to publish has moved high up on my priority list. So much of the writing comes from a personal place, and I’ve jotted down bits and pieces of this book scattered throughout various journals. I went back a bit too far in my journaling and discovered a few pieces of reflection written while I was still living in Germany (the italicized quote at the beginning being one of those reflections). I was struck by how the cycles in my mental health seem to repeat themselves, but at the same time evolve cycle to cycle. Each time, I learn a bit more about how my brain works and how to overcome the darker moments.

I’ve been repeating “every season has a time and place, and change is part of our natural process” over and over in my mind the past couple of hours. It’s so fitting that I’ve found that bit of writing in a time such as this. It’s a pleasant reminder that this is hard, even paralyzing at times, but a new season will be coming soon. A new season full of hope and growth, of maturation and clarity. This is a shadowy part of life, but it will soon give way to a new part, and I’ll soon be able to make sense of it all again.

Potter’s Marsh, Anchorage, AK – August 2014


The Struggle And The Growth

I spent yesterday wandering around what has easily become one of my favorite cities. I’ve got two weeks and two days left to say that I’m a resident of the Frankfurt area, so I’m trying to soak up every moment possible. I walked down Kaiserstraße, through the Zeil area, next to the Dom Römer, across the river on the Eiserner Steg (the bridge covered in locks), and along the banks of the Main River. In my opinion, the best part of the city is that it is situated around a body of water, and there’s nothing like being able to sit along the bank of that river and enjoy a sunny day. I also enjoy the face that Frankfurt still isn’t very touristy, but it’s a big international city, so you don’t often have to deal with massive groups of people.

I read an article months ago about the ex-pat life, and how it’s hard to really feel like you completely fit in back home after living in another country. I haven’t even moved back yet, but I’m already starting to feel that way. While the German culture isn’t as different from the American culture as some others might be, there are still many differences. I’ve gotten fond of the language barriers because I feel a strong sense of pride when I understand and can answer questions. My diet has completely changed, and the idea of throwing all of my trash in one big bin seems almost foreign now. Because of the heavy British influences in my friendships, some of the words I use in everyday language is different, and some people have even pointed out that my accent has changed somehow. Even now while I sit writing this, I think I’ll miss the German way of living far more than I would ever miss the American one.

Of course, whenever you go through a big move, you simultaneously go through a big change. If you chose to move back to your original location, it will never the same. You may look the same and you may continue to enjoy the same friendships, but you as a person will have grown and changed. With an international move, that change will inevitably include an expanded worldview.

I’m not looking forward to moving back to Texas (even though I know it’s just a temporary move) for that very reason. I’m excited to see friends and family, but I know I’m not the same person that I was when I moved away. In some ways, I feel like they might be meeting an entirely different person. At the risk of sounding conceited or overly proud or whatever you might call it, I feel like I’ve gained a sort of quiet confidence. I’ve become even more independent than before, and I know that the limits I used to believe were holding me back are now mostly nonexistent. I will have only been gone for nine months, but when you move away like I did, you’re forced to hit the fast forward button on changing and maturing.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “I’m not sure what I’ll do, but — well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.” This sentiment is one of the biggest reasons I want to travel and live in different places and immerse myself in different cultures- I want to grow. I don’t want to be stuck in some small town and keep a small worldview. It’s been so long since I’ve lived in Alaska that I’m not expecting anything to be as it was when I was a child. I’m excited to be back because I know there will be struggles and lessons to go through. Of course, the gorgeous scenery and a wonderful man are big things to look forward to, but most importantly, it’s a chance for me to grow even more. It’s time for that next chapter.

Frankfurt, Germany- September 2014

Frankfurt, Germany- September 2014

listening to: Jason Mraz

Happy Challenge: Round 2

A little over a month ago, I completed the 100 Happy Days challenge on my instagram. I used it as a way to count down until my trip to Alaska and as a way to make sure I appreciated as many moments as possible in those hundred days.

Challenges like this help to remind me that days are made up of different moments and experiences, and it’s our choice to focus on the good or the bad. For someone who struggled with severe depression for quite a long time, remembering to seek out the light and the good is a very important task. While it’s not a crippling fear of any sort, I do know that for someone like me, it can be easy to sink back into the unhappiness and self-isolation if I’m not conscious of my daily well-being.

All of the seriousness aside, I also enjoyed my first 100 days challenge because I started to find joy in simple things that previously I had taken for granted. A sunny day or simply having some quiet time to write became things that I learned to appreciate far more than before.

I’ve also always been known as somebody who doesn’t tend to finish what she starts. If I was even able to count how many projects I had started and hadn’t finished, I’d be appalled with myself. To say I have commitment issues is putting it lightly. To have completed the photo challenge without skipping a single day or dreading having to post a picture was a huge change for me.

Because of all of this, I decided to do a second round of 100 Happy Days. I’m only three days in as of today, and lot will be happening in the next ninety-seven days, so it should be another fun challenge. The final day (if I did my math correctly- which I didn’t do the first time) is scheduled to be December 31, so I will have moved from Germany to Texas, visited New York City with friends, seen Damien Rice and Jason Mraz in concert, visited family, and moved from Texas to Alaska by the time the hundred days are up. With all the moving and traveling that will be going on, it will also be a good way to keep me grounded.

I wanted to show off a few of my favorite moments from my first round of the challenge. I could have easily picked twice as many photos, but settled with five good memories, because they helped shape my growth during those hundred days.


A few of the girls that quickly became my family while in Frankfurt. I know without a doubt that these three are lifetime friends and I wouldn’t trade our laughs and deep talks for the world.


I visited Berlin for the first time nine years ago, and my visit in May this year was just as wonderful. I got to show off the unique city to my parents, and the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall will probably always be one of my favorite sights to visit in the world


My job isn’t always just fun and playing games with the kids I watch. Sometimes, it gets very stressful and overwhelming. This Wednesday was one of those days of constant running around with no break in sight. The host mom I work for sent me out for drinks with friends, and being able to spend all night talking about everything under the sun was just what I needed.


Another photo tied to a memory of a day that didn’t start out all that well. It was the 4th of July, and the only day where I was painfully homesick. I wanted to go out and celebrate with fireworks and barbecue, but without any Americans to spend the day with, I felt completely isolated. I ended up traveling to the American air force base close to where I live and spending the evening out there. It was one of those emotional days, but I ended up enjoying the evening and learning I can celebrate a holiday without needing to be surrounded by friends or family.


Paris. All of Paris will be a fond life memory, but being able to just sit and enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower from my friend’s apartment was the most serene I felt the entire time I was in France. Oh, to be able to go back there and spend hours writing on that balcony. A girl can always dream.

listening to: Alt-J

An Exciting Turn of Events

Most of the time, you don’t get many answers to the “what if” question in life. You’re presented with choices, you go down one path, and life continues. Second chances don’t happen that often.

Toward the beginning of the year, I started catching up with an old friend from childhood. This old friend also happened to be my first serious crush, so the reminiscing, while embarrassing, was also very enjoying. Both of us were still very much in the middle of working through some serious issues, and I think just having someone to talk to who you had known for years was a big help.

A new relationship was never part of the plan. I wasn’t ready to start trusting someone again after the mess I had finally gotten out of the past few years. Yes, I was very aware of how attractive of a man he had grown up to be, but developing feelings? I was not prepared for that.

I think before romantic feelings really got involved at all, our friendship grew. Since we had known each other since childhood, I found myself sharing things about my life and what I had been through that I normally wouldn’t share with someone. We skyped every day. We talked about our childhoods, family stories, theoretical issues, etc. We didn’t have to talk about topics that both of us were knowledgable about either, which was nice. I could share ideas and thoughts about things I was interested in, and even if it did bore him dreadfully, he still appreciated my interest in whatever I was talking about.

The romantic part kind of snuck up on me. I could go into further details, but it’s entirely too mushy and emotional for me to talk about without experiencing the “why have I turned into such a lovey dovey girl all of a sudden?” feeling. Any of my close friends will tell you that I’m not much of the romantic type. Chick flicks, romantic novels, and cheesy love songs all give me the heebie jeebies. I realize that those things aren’t necessarily all true definitions or examples of romance, but you catch my drift- I’m not one of those girls. I’m the girl who is friends with a bunch of guys and who would rather sit around talking about beer and playing video games. I’ve even been described as a “dude in a chick’s body” (thanks for that, Caleb). I say all of that to say that this is an entirely new world for me, but I don’t really mind it one bit.

I feel like having to learn to use words to express the entirety of my feelings has really helped keep everything in perspective and helped me reevaluate my thoughts to make sure I’m following down the correct path. Anything long distance has previously seemed too difficult and not worth the effort, but in this case, it’s been the greatest way to build a strong base of trust and communication. It’s been hard, especially since there’s a major lack of skype time since my internet has stopped being so reliable, but the times we do get to talk are even more rewarding and special now.

I’d be lying if I said that visiting Alaska this summer and moving there at the end of the year has nothing to do with him. However, he’s not the only reason I’m making these decisions. I truly believe that moving up there will open up doors for me and is the correct next step for me. However, there’s no denying that being in the same city as him is one of the things I’m most looking forward to in the next year.

Beluga Point, Alaska- August 2014
Beluga Point, Alaska- August 2014

listening to: The Civil Wars

A New Move

12 years, 1 month, and 17 days ago, I made my almost 13 year old self a promise: I would return to Alaska to live one day. I was able to visit the first two summers after I had moved, but the visits were always far too short. I certainly made sure everyone I came in contact with knew of my love for the state.

As I got older, I felt like the dream would never become a reality. I thought about moving up there for college, but the schools didn’t offer what I wanted to study at the time. I researched jobs up there, but didn’t feel like I could make enough to cover living expenses. Something just always seemed to be holding me back. After my trip to Alaska a month ago, I was reminded more than ever of that promise I had made myself as a kid. I hadn’t visited for 10 years, but my memories of my home were as sharp as ever. That’s when I first started planning (really planning) my move back.

One thing I’ve learned in my time in Germany, and really in the past year in general, is to start taking more risks. I’ve started living my life in a bolder way, and I think those actions have had a freeing effect on my attitude. While I’m still aware of responsibilities and the need to think things through instead of acting on every impulse I might have, I’ve stopped dwelling on possible outcomes for so long. I’ve learned to trust my gut a bit more.

December 29 is the moving date. I’ve got a couple of jobs lined up, a place to live with rent less than I ever imagined having to pay, friends that I’m excited to reconnect with more, and a new(ish) man that swiftly became the highlight of every day several months ago (more on that later- I’m still trying to figure out all the best words to start that story).

I know this is the next step I’m supposed to be taking. Things keep falling into place, and I feel at peace. Will I be there forever? Probably not, but while I’m living in the states again, there’s no place I’d rather be.

Alaska- August 2014
Alaska- August 2014

listening to: Damien Rice