A little more Atlanta, A little less Boston.

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The start of October and Atlanta is refusing to let the leaves change color. Green treetops make it look the same as months past in Georgia; but it feels different. Change is coming. Humidity is gone.

This is certainly my favorite time of year. It seems that everything puts on its best color–a fanfare of what the past year has held.

But as I look at this picture; “things will change.” I’m left thinking less about peak weekends and more about my everyday week.

Never in my life have I felt adulthood so freely and so heavily at the same time. While moving to Atlanta was one of the less-stressful gigantic life changes I’ve made; in the past six months I’ve found myself kind of avoiding embracing the change — and embracing new life — and instead living in constant memories and pinings of New England.

Kind of crazy. But, when you have an adventure that vivid and colorful — not even your childhood dream job can necessarily distract you from missing parts of that risk-taking lifestyle.

That time was magical and I am having a terribly hard time letting it go. Constant prattling about Massachusetts with new Atlanta acquaintances. The ever-frequent #latergram of past wandering Boston Saturdays.

I know, it’s annoying.

My fixation on Boston has been avoiding the reality that:

Things have changed.

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Since my move back to the South I’ve been brushed with some unsettling differences. The fact that, old friends are seemingly much harder to stay connected with — and new friends are hard to make when you work odd hours.

Living in a memory is sometimes easier than jumping into the new.

Steve Jobs (yeah, I’m going to go there — it’s a good thought he had) once talked about how it’s impossible to connect the dots moving forward. You only can backward. That’s the only way to make sense of change, how you end up where, what opportunities present themselves — and for what reason. You can only do that in retrospect.

When you think of the future — and even the now — you have to trust the dots moving forward. You have to just go. Follow your heart and your passion. But you’re not always going to know exactly what comes next or when.

I think that’s part of why it’s easier for us to live in that last ride, sometimes. You know it was a good one. And the current path you’re on is still undeveloped. It’s in the process.

You focus on what you know was good.

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This is the first time in my life that I’ve really forged a new chapter 100 percent alone.

And some days that is lonely.

While I spend moments and days, fantasizing about weekends and explorations gone by up North — what I miss is the feeling of risk taking and adventure.

I have neglected to realize that my current situation requires just as much bravery.

This is ever-so-much another challenge–it’s just different. Where Boston had history to see; Atlanta has culture. Where Boston had me quitting a job; Atlanta has me embarking on a whole new career. Where Boston thrust me into new lifelong friendships; Atlanta is encouraging a patience to grow something similar.

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Things have changed.

And things will continue to change.

The way to gathering the full happiness from it though is not to shirk in the shadows — but to embrace it fully and even mess it up a little.

Just because I’m in Atlanta doesn’t mean that Boston has to go away.

I just need to find that girl that moved into Kent Street and have her take charge here in Brookhaven.

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Life is beautiful to the core right now.

And I can’t miss it because I’m still thinking about the leaves from last fall.

Birthdays, Dirty Laundry, Flannel and Jesus.

What are you thankful for today?

I’ve spent this morning thinking about all the ways that life is a little richer today……

1 // This little munchkin turns TWO years old today. He’s probably the first baby I was a really big fan of — and the first piece of faith that, yeah, having my own kid one day is going to be REALLY awesome. Happy Birthday, Ev! You ain’t a baby no more!

THE CUTEST CHUNK.

2 // Yesterday I spent 10 minutes in Bath & Body Works sniffing all of the fall scents. I spent a long time with Flannel. It’s a small thing and totally a luxury, but few things have the calming effect on me that fall candles do. I can’t wait to get some. And then get more to share the joy with my loves.

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3 // Speaking of flannel, it’s almost time to wear it. THANK the heavens. I’m soaking in every last second of sub-70-degree weather out West while I can. The 10-day forecast for Atlanta still has 90-degree days and I won’t let that steal the joy of wearing a sweatshirt today. The start of a changing season always makes me feel grateful that we get four.

4 // My mom is a nurturer. She gets joy from taking care of her family and doting on each of us. I know that there are many days I took for granted her tidying up behind me, paying attention to setting the table, keeping us in clean clothes and always asking about our comfort. “Are you cold? Do you want a blanket? Do you need something to drink?” But as I get older I’ve started to recognize that through her action — she also taught me a little something. Now that I’m a little older I recognize all the effort and appreciate all the gestures. And I notice that I’m starting to enjoy doing the same. It’s 9 a.m. in Portland and I’ve done a bunch of loads of laundry for Andy. And honestly? It just makes me feel love to do it. ❤ Few things feel more womanly than feeling love folding underwear.

A picture. Cause we’re cute.

5 // NBC letting Kathie Lee honor her husband on air the way that she wanted to–sharing faith. I know that this is news from earlier in the week; but it’s stuck with me each day. It raises the question “would you do the same?” I’m a Christian. Would I be brave enough to ask to share my husband’s testimony on network television? I would hope so. But I think one of the greatest parts of her address from earlier this week is likely the bravery that led her share those words. I want to have faith like that: unashamed, unbound and unfiltered. I want to not “expect people to be offended.” Or “expect standards to not allow it.” If you want to talk about Jesus; talk about Jesus.

The Owl Life.

I’ve always had trouble going to bed. I was the rotten seven-year-old with a dozen excuses to pop back out of my room. And as an adult it’s not much better–I have very little will to stick with a 10:30 p.m. normal bedtime. (Maybe I’m not actually an adult after all…)

Even when I would abide by a routine, at alternating times in life–be it because of stress or just busy-ness–I’ve often grappled with insomnia.

4 a.m. and I are pretty intimate.

But now we’re like in a Facebook-official relationship.

In the list of things that have been adaptations with getting used to a new job—I’m now officially an “overnighter.”

My work days go from roughly 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. with the beautiful perk of working four nights a week. Not everyone jumps in line for this shift–but I think I came into it with a solid 26 years of preparation.

My new typical day involves getting home from work as everyone else is leaving. I eat my first breakfast. Maybe squish in a work out. Read a chapter of whichever Harry Potter book I have caught up to. Sleep for a good seven hours. Slowly thaw out from that sleep over the course of two hours and a Hallmark movie or more reading by the pool. I eat second breakfast. Quickly get ready for work. Soak in a daily hour Facetime with my Andy–and then a chat with mom on my drive back into work.

The days fly by. Before you know it Monday has turned into Wednesday and your weekend is just around the corner.

It’s both the most beautiful and the most startling.

At work the shifts are more intimate with fewer people in the newsroom and everyone carrying a larger plate of responsibilities as a result for the 10 hours that you’re churning away on shows. Since I work for CNN International this is one of the times where you’re most likely to see my shows broadcast on CNN–as it often simulcasts our programs during the wee domestic hours. Unsurprisingly most of our news overnight is focused on Asia, Western Europe and the MIddle East which is much further into their next day.

It’s been an amazing opportunity to learn because there’s always extra places to lend a hand and new tasks to try for the first time. Plus, there’s an unspoken camaraderie about being awake and working hard at 2 a.m. while deliberating what to eat for “lunch.”

Honestly? I love it.

It seems like the perfect application of my “I don’t want to go to bed yet” excuses. And nicely, during the morning when I get home, I’m so perfectly exhausted that sleep is no problem.

The only issues?

Those normal-person routine things like a weekly social life, exercising, running errands and cooking–those are hard.

Working out, especially, is tough. Who wants to work out after working 10 hours? Who wants to work out when it’s 90 percent humidity outside in glorious Atlanta at 4pm? >This girl.<

I’m trying to get into a morning routine. I’ve found my best strategy so far: avoid the couch. JUST LACE UP YOUR DARN SHOES, ASHLEY. 🙂 First breakfast can come afterwards!

There are definite pluses and minuses to this new shift; but for the most part I think I’m adjusting marvelously. If only I can remember to keep balance—still plan time for the routines, the me time and the time with my family and friends on the weekends.

One of the hardest parts about embarking on the new job adventure was doing so 2,500 miles away from my love. But surprisingly a vampire-like schedule is quite conducive for cross-country phone dates.

The biggest emotional side effect of this new schedule is the tendency to indulge.

I crave a lot of comforts.

I don’t know if it’s a reaction to having a schedule flop — or just Ashley still adjusting to a new city. Probably a lot of both. But usually this means when I have a strange desire to light pumpkin candles in July — I do it. And if Hallmark is showing Christmas movies — I watch.

One last side issue to my moonlighting is this “breakfast issue.” I have cereal or waffles roughly 12-15 meals a week. Maybe this is the comfort thing, you say.

I argue that it’s a “breakfast is the best meal of the day” thing.

“But 12-15 breakfasts a week, that’s extreme,” you may come back.

My response to that, for now?

More waffles, please.

3 Weeks A.B.: Life After Boston

I’ve been back in North Carolina for close to three weeks now. Three weeks of a grad school graduation, moving, family, friends, holidays, visitors and readjusting sleep cycles. There is a lot percolating on my job search front; but nothing ready to write about quite yet. In the meantime, I’m holding this quote above close to my heart.

Searching for a new job (whilst looking all over the country, mind you) is quite scary in so many ways. At the same time though, I embrace knowing that it’s the only way to go. You can’t follow up Boston with going right back where you started.

Adventure should precede adventure.

The funny part of looking for a job though is the normalcy that creeps in from being back home. A car that needs to be inspected. New tires. Trips to the bank. Cooking dinner for mom and dad. There’s almost a sense that this is actually a Twilight episode where adult Ashley goes back to a parallel dimension from when she was 17 years old.

After living a thousand miles from home and seeing my family approximately two times in 12 months, I’m embracing it.

One of my favorite parts of life is seeing how you have exactly what you really need when that time is present. Today may have been full of some preparatory job work, but it was also full of soaking in my cup of coffee and looking around my parents living room grateful to be in the one place that provides the best springboard for “next”:

h.o.m.e.

It amazes me as I look back at “New Years” posts of yesterday. I was always quick to make a long list of hopes and goals and accomplishments to tick off.

This year I have a mental list of things to do; but most of what I want to accomplish in 2015 is a feeling. I want to feel my heart operating full time at that bursting capacity. The way your heart feels when you adore what your job consists of. The way your heart operates when you’re embracing and appreciating the small moments with people you love.

I have been so focused on the tedium of accomplishment for the last two years (perhaps that is inevitable when you’re in school), that in 2015 I want to focus on the emotion of it. When I’m fully feeling my work is when I actually finish it to the very best quality. When I’m breathing and relishing my relationships is when I act like the very best friend, daughter, sister, girlfriend and co-worker.

Full heart and full steam ahead. A good mantra as I go into this next year.
For all of my rumblings about how, for me, change is truly hard––I’m getting to be quite the accomplished ‘transitioner.’ For me, if 2015 were a road sign it would inevitably be: “Curve Ahead.”

From My Lobster Sammie to My Boat Shoes. #CapeCodder

There have been so many  wonderful and fun adventures this spring but I haven’t been able to blog about them. Mostly because I’ve been lazy—sigh—but, I now right the ship.

One of the best parts about this beautiful time I have in Boston is that I’m learning so much about a new city––but also a new region. I moved to Boston in September being the hugest New England nube. I had no idea what was good about Rhode Island, nor did I have a consistent idea of which was west and which was east – Vermont or New Hampshire? (They look alike, cut me some slack.)

Having my car here over the last six months has opened up a whole new radius for me.

Most recently traipsing all over Cape Cod with Andy and his mom.

There had been a huge build up to May since….well, since I met Andy. (For me, May has meant graduation and Andy moving away from Boston. BUT. That’s not happened yet. Well the moving part. So we won’t talk about that for now. I’m using avoidance as a coping mechanism very effectively 🙂 )

May came.

And with it a graduation.

And finally meeting Andy’s mom and brothers.

It was the best. Such the best. And such a happiness that I immediately felt like I had known them for a long time.

Graduation was a wonderful send-off of celebrating some of my best new friends.

Credit to Ms. J-Radz. Most of the people in this photo….They’re what’s made Boston “home.”

Of course, most of my time revolved around being with this guy and his family. It was – I’ll say it again – the best.

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We have some awkward photos in our relationship. There’s a strange part of me that likes this photo though. I look proud.

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Don’t mind my mound of crap in the background. I was a working girl that day doing interviews!

Did I mention that he was also the speaker at the graduation ceremony? Proud girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In that wave of bonding, I tagged along on a week-long road trip all along Cape Cod and into Rhode Island with Andy and his mama. We left on the road trip pretty much immediately after graduation had settled down.

And I have to say. Y’all, I pull off New England OK.

Lobstah Sandwich? Check. Clam Chowdah? Check. Boat Shoes? Check, check.

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Our first stop on the Cape was South Yarmouth. It was lovely. We stayed at the Red Jacket Resort and our view was aahhhmazing. It was so nice we went with the intention of staying one night and ended up there for three. Totally recommend.

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While it was a little too breezy for what I would call “beach time,” it was still really nice to just be barefoot in the sand. Jacket or not. What shocked me though was how clear and green the water is up here. Maybe it’s because it’s so cold…

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Glare warning. You would NEVER believe that I’m vaguely capable of a tan these days. Curses NE weather!

One of those days we channeled our inner “Wings” and went to Nantucket for the day. It involved three hours on a ferry, biking around this tiny island, finding a secluded beach where I FINALLY saw a seal (I’ve been on the look out for months) and it was DEAD. Smelly, gross, leathery, dead. Disgusting. But the rest of Nantucket was so great. Very quiet, peaceful and as New England as you could imagine.

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Andy takes a lot of naps. This is a lifestyle choice we don’t see eye-to-eye on. “WAKE UP! Let’s look at the water together.”

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We did sequence shots of Andy jumping down the cliff into the water forever. This one was the funniest. He looks so happy. HOORAY BEACH.

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So we settled on a selfie.

As we wrapped up our time in Cape Cod, we made a mecca to the homeland of potato chips. We got less free samples than my potato-chip loving heart would have preferred–but it was still a fun, free stop along the way.

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Then it was off to Newport, RI, the mansions and the cliffs. Newport is so beautiful and unique along the coastline (at least to me). If you ever want a weekend getaway that’s cozy and romantic, or cozy and fun—try that. Lots of old stuff. Fun things to see. Good restaurants and bars. And when it’s warmer there are good beaches, as well.

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Surreal that someone lived in these places.

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Not suitable for sandals. I about fell to my death a few times.

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Haha, hence I took this photo thinking it was funny how terrified I actually was. I kept thinking of some book I read in elementary school where a girl falls to her death off of cliffs. Scary.

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Mansions. These have to be haunted. But totally less scary.

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This is Rose Hill … or Rose Cliff…Andy always has to tell me the right one. Regardless, it’s where the original Great Gatsby was filmed, as well as some of 27 Dresses, True Lies and….another movie I hadn’t seen. It was gorgeous and so incredibly Art Deco.

We toured four mansions over two days. It was fun and interesting. The history nerd in me was in heaven wandering around listening to the audio. I have to say though, living so close to the Biltmore House growing up has spoiled me. I was rather unimpressed by some of the sizes haha but then had to realize that to these aristocrats these homes were just “summer cottages.” Crazy.

We stayed in an airbnb in Newport that Andy swore was haunted. It was pretty scary one night — but mostly because I think we had been watching too much “American Horror Story.”

When it was time to go back to Boston it was bittersweet having to leave and take on the oncoming summer busy-ness. But it was also a welcome to be back in my own bed.

What a wonderful opportunity to spend so much time with Andy and his mom. When you have bi-coastal families that’s just such a rarity. Who would’ve ever thought I’d date someone from the other corner of the States and have to even think about such things?

All I can say is, when I left North Carolina I knew that my world was bigger.

Boston added to that.

Going to the Cape. Gallivanting New England adds to that.

But also, having Andy does too.

My world is a LOT bigger than it was a year ago.

So, do you want to go to Cape Cod? I’m full of places that I’VE liked. What about you? I’m very open to New-England-like weekend, day and long-weekend trips. Pearl the Mazda is ready for a trip — just give me a suggestion where to go next!

Wanted: A Wolfpack

Every time I take the Meyers-Briggs test the most skewed personality trait is the extroversion part. I have a knack for finding a familiar face where ever I go. And I’ve been known for either collecting friends? Or having enough that I deem my “friend quota is full.”

I’m the worst.

But it’s just because I love being around people and feeding off of the energy of interaction.

Since I moved to Boston though, it’s been a little tough to replicate my (AMAZING) North Carolina crew. Three very, very best guy friends? Girl friends who had gone through every crush, relationship, conquering and failure with you? Well that’s impossible.

Part of it is my fault. I went and got an awesome boyfriend who I wanted to spend every waking second with. And I moved in with a built-in friend from home who is my female saving-grace here in Boston. They have made it less of an investment to try to make connections with other people. (Sorry, Andy and Sarah – Looks like I’m throwing you under the bus.)

Part of it is seemingly Boston’s fault. I haven’t quite had a person cross my path, like Bridget Weber (Lynch ha), who I instantly knew I would be best friends forever with.

Maybe I’m not immersing myself in the right groups.

Or maybe I’m bitter because I did have the great fortune to make some amazing friends who have sadly now all graduated and moved away.

But regardless.

I need a Boston rew to carry me through the end/eventual move!

So web friends, give me some advice. What should I do to meet more people? So far this summer I work pretty much alone at my internship — so no opportunities there. Are meet-up groups odd or acceptable in the city?

Also, keep in mind I don’t have a ton of funds to join a lot of sports teams, etc. because that’s a typical way I’d be putting myself out there.

For now, this Sunday morning, I’m off to church….

Ashley Gets More Comfortable on Cam

It’s really annoying to start every blog post with an apology for the delay–both for you–and for me. So, let’s skip that and talk about fun things.

One year ago this week, I was having a complete anxiety attack over the impending decision to move to Boston. I was given less than 12 hours to make a decision on an apartment that I had never laid eyes on and agree to a montly rent that I had no idea how I would pay for.

At that time, as I laid in the floor hyperventilating, my mom calmly told me that a year would pass either way and before I knew it it would be next spring. She said that we wouldn’t believe how quickly the time would pass.

And boy, was she right.

One year. And now I’m back to stressing about where I’ll live next 🙂

In funny torture, Boston University makes its graduate program three semesters–which means you’re left looking for an apartment for––three months? You have a year lease and then everyone wants you to buckle down for another year.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, I don’t have a clue. I’m obviously staying in Boston through the end of school. I do love it here. But, after December the story is yet to be written and I want to give myself the greatest flexibility to either be with my loves while I look for a job, or travel, or just move to the next gig! I’m hoping and praying and crossing fingers for a splendid ordeal to work out. But I need some prayers!

It’s hard to worry too much about life stuff though with so much school happening. Shooting, shooting, shooting. I’ve been doing a lot of application this semester. The first part of my program gave us the tools: intro to cameras, intro to editing, intro to approaching stories. This semester has been about constantly generating––and I can see huge growth in what I’m doing. The latest example was completed earlier this week. I’m pretty excited to show how much more comfortable with the camera that BU’s program has helped me to become:

I’m happy to say that I’ll be getting even more on-camera experience this summer as I take part in the Newton News fellowship and generate a lot of stories over the coming months.

That means I’m not sure when I’ll get to come home to North Carolina next though; which is intimidating. I’m hoping and praying for at least a long weekend in the coming months!

In the meantime, I came to Boston to switch back to newswoman––and I have to say––that’s been my true focus over the last seven months; now eight more to go before a graduation!

Eh, weekend? Let’s try it again in 5 days.

Last week was full of stress which resulted in adult breakouts that added to more stress, which meant eating bad and no running. So many things would have probably helped me chill out. Like a good run? But there was not enough time.

For the first time since I got to Boston I have been over-freakin-whelmed. And not in the way that I could just run a tighter ship, sharpen my pencils and that would solve all of the problems. Instead it was issues that I had no control over.

I got my first collegiate snow day and fully enjoyed some frolicking and football, but I also suffered a cancelled–or three–interviews.

Riverway snow beauty.

Friends. Football. Boom.

I was able to wrangle in getting all of my work done in time, but some how new things popped up that weren’t scheduled.

It was also crazy.

So you can imagine that I was fully looking forward to this weekend!

And, it was fun-ish. There was a little bit of sleep. A little bit of sunshine. A little bit of fun. And a lot of productivity. But it just wasn’t quite the best of the best. I don’t know what’s happening in the stars, but it just seemed like this weekend was destined for a funk.

And how does it end? It ends at 10 p.m. with my ole’ Mazda having been welcomed to Boston with a towing. Wah.

I would hereby like to start this Monday and get a fresh start––and then fast forward to Friday to try it again 🙂

You know, I realize that this post sounds a little whiny. But you know what? I’m always writing about how darn wonderful life is––and it still absolutely is––but it only seems fair to let you know when life is NORMAL too. And this weekend normal meant just being kind of “eh.”

Fresh start Monday!

Currently:

Reading: “Run Like a Girl” from Ms. SincerelyLily. Yup, still haven’t finished. As soon as I do though, ladies watch out, this is a good one to pass along. It’s been really nice to be reading a running book given I’m FINALLY up to my longest runs since my stress fracture. Four miles. First 5k of 2014 this Sunday. Fingers crossed for a 25-minute run. Fingers crossed.

Watching: Movies on movies on movies. Has anyone seen “Captain Phillips”? What about “The Butler”? “American Hustle”? I’ve seen two, seeing “The Butler” tonight. Then FINALLY (lots of those) “Inside Llewyn Davis” tomorrow night.

Obsessing: Unscheduled interviews. I swear few things are more anxiety-causing than seeing a calendar tick away to a deadline and not be making any progress. Two weeks until a big story is due and only one interview scheduled! EEK! In the meantime, I did have a decent time putting together my first evergreen story of the semester. It was a fun piece to cover and learn about. More previews of me doing my thing, here:


Wanting: To get into a semester swing. It’s still kind of weird. My organization is a little off and so is my motivation, haha. That said, I’m really excited about a number of my classes and I’m so full of story ideas which is awesome. Now I need to get into a rhythm. This was my first actual regular schedule week–so I’m thinking next Monday will be like old hat.

Eating: Chicken pot pie. Homemade. Chicken pot pie. Yum. Also, having a beer. Andy and I made a “no drinking on week nights” pact a few weeks ago and it’s been really lovely. I feel a little healthier and also am sleeping better; and also saving money. Being in grad school there is always a reason and excuse to go out and socialize and grab a beer. It’s been a nice reason to take a step back. That said, when Friday comes I’m ready to kick back.

Fearing: I’m not sure. I guess that’s good? Maybe I’m most afraid that time is going to fly by again this semester and I’m going to miss opportunities. Opportunities to stay in better touch with family. Opportunities for internships and getting involved in broadcast activities. Opportunities to get ahead on projects and my thesis (eeeeeek). Opportunities to explore and have little adventures. I can sense a little bit of tunnel vision developing and I don’t want to lose a moment.

Missing: My girls. Having best friends far away is no fun. I think I was distracted last semester; but going home for winter break reminded me how awesome it is to have someone that you can just gush about everything (plus boys, duh) to. I have some amazing friends in Boston. I just don’t have a bestie that I’m quite on that level with right now.

Hoping: To go through my closet and get rid of masses of clothes that have still gone unworn. Like, seriously? How is this possible? I feel like I’m constantly getting rid of things but somehow I still have too much.

Accepting: That I will never be able to really stick to a 10:30 p.m. bedtime. I’m a nightowl and it is what it is. #yawn

The Boston Blur.

That’s what life in Boston is turning into.

I was terrible and should have posted more over my long winter break; but alas you’re away from home for four months and don’t know when you’ll be back again––so instead of passing bored moments with blog updates or scheduling time to write, you find yourself just constantly being with people. Annoying your family with closeness. Strategically scheduling friend time to catch up.

The month that I was home was weird, wonderful and relaxed. And long. Very long.

Immediately after I got home there was a wedding and parties; family dinners and the immediate holidays.

Panthers game with my Winston-Salem ladies.

Wedding with my AOII alumnaes.

It’s funny how holidays are so different in this mid-20s phase of life. You don’t have kids for there to be that same Christmas magic. You’re no longer a kid so it carries a different connotation of happiness. And all of siblings are in a similar comfortable place of contentment with just . . .spending time. No more racing each other to the living room on Christmas Day. No more spending the full day playing incessantly with a new toy (well, maybe sometimes). But it’s just different. It’s so much less pressure. And so much more relaxed it seems. I loved it. This is a pretty cool time in life with my family. We just get to appreciate the time together.

LIttle brother + Me.

The weeks that I was home passed in hang outs and work outs, basically. Running. The gym. Sitting on the couch. Shopping with mom. Eating out with friends. It was really a rinse and repeat of my life four months ago.

Eerily it seemed almost that I could just close my eyes and slip back into my old life.

But yet. I couldn’t. Boston wasn’t a dream. And Boston was going to be returned to. Instead it just felt like I was living this parallel life that no one knew anything about.

Four weeks at home.

The hardest part was probably being away from ole’ Andy. The new(ish) boyfriend and I had been together for two months when we left for our respective Christmas breaks almost 3,000 miles apart. Three time zones. We went through our third month marker while we were apart and it was just so strange to bridge that much space for such a long period of time when you’re so early into a relationship.

But it was good. The best part? Andy, total sweetheart that he is, volunteered without me asking to fly to North Carolina to ride with me back to Boston since I was taking my car on the return.

That meant he got to see my North Carolina.

And he got to meet my family. And my friends.

And now, sure he still knows who I am, but he knows a lot more about why I am.

Favorite things all in one place.

Pretty awesome that he gets to see all that and we’re only (almost) four months in.

The weeks since our two-day, 15-hour return drive to Boston have been full of watching football (RIP Panthers), getting back into a work schedule (mama needs money), readjusting to a new class schedule (SO MUCH FILMING) and having reunions with friends in the area.

Last weekend we took a short road trip to Providence, RI (hello first new state of 2014) to see our friend Jeanna’s boyfriend play hockey with the Providence Bruins. Fast forward two days later and we’re getting together to watch him play on television with the Boston Bruins.

That's not Zach fighting. But nice that Zach scored...the Bruins won...AND there was a fight.

That’s not Zach fighting. But nice that Zach scored…the Bruins won…AND there was a fight.

Rob, Rox, Andy + Me at Doyle’s.

A Sam Adams Brewery tour. A winter storm.

That was pretty cool in the last two weeks, as well.

With all of this fun though, I’m still starting to feel the pressure that this program is only a year and a half long––and I’m already working on two-thirds finished. I have my first thesis meeting next week and I really need to get rolling on internship applications.

I’m going to continue to try to be better about posting : ) Maybe THAT should have been my NYR.