Memorial Day Weekend

I hope everyone had as wonderful of a Memorial Day weekend as I did! It’s such an important reminder to think of all those who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so much for this country and take the time to appreciate them for everything this have done and continue to do. It’s also a time to be proud of America and how far we have come as a country. I have many friends who have been/are in the military and who have lost friends through war and seeing how difficult the weekend was for them, but also the pride they held for their dedication and service, was all very moving.

I had such a crazy four-day weekend and enjoyed every minute of it. On Friday, I was lucky enough to witness teens from my youth group get officially confirmed in the faith. I was so proud of all of them!

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On Saturday the weather was finally nice after a few cold and stormy weeks. I got to walk around the village here, which is small town cute mixed into a bigger city. It was great seeing so many people outside enjoying the day. I went to a farmer’s market and walked through Glen Park, which has beautiful waterfalls. There were tons of ducks with all of their babies lying around so it was wonderful to look at them all and watch them learn to dive into the water for food. The evening was divided between babysitting and playing outside and going to a friend’s party and having fun with everyone.

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And of course there was ice cream involved:

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Sunday was another beautiful day in Buffalo. The weather was wonderful – so what better way to enjoy the day than spending it outside? I took a canoe ride around Ellicott Creek near the Tonawanda River for a few hours. It felt so good to be in the sun and work on my tan while being active outdoors, I loved every second of it! I ran home after to get dressed up real quick for a fantastic dinner party outside. I love spending time with good friends and family, eating delicious food and enjoying each other’s company. Everything was so great it felt like I was on vacation.

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Monday was Memorial Day! I got to watch a parade from a rooftop and wave at veterans and local firefighters/police officers. I enjoyed seeing everything from above like that and being part of it but not down below with huge crowds at the same time.

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After the parade, I made it to my parents’ house for a big cookout party by the pool!

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I loved seeing everyone and eating so much amazing food. It was delicious!

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Getting Ready!

It’s been over a month since I went to Chicago and it’s the longest I’ve been in Buffalo all year. I’m so excited and happy that it’s finally summer and my travels will kick into gear again. Yesterday I finally bought some plane tickets and it felt so good to be back on the website picking out which seats I wanted for each flight. The past couple months since my last big trip, I’ve really been working a lot and building up so much at home – something I don’t always get to do because I leave so regularly. It’s important to remember to take the time to do that too though.

I mean I do kind of live in paradise in the summer and I have a very important guy here with me:

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And my job is kind of awesome:

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And I’ve been baking up a storm:

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And I’ve been spending time with returned friends:

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We had a blast playing real life Mariocart on her family’s golf course riding around in golf carts like nobody’s business.

And I even made it on the news, see my blonde hair in the middle, hands crossed?

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Sometimes a break and a little downtime can matter just as much as the chaos and craziness of exploring and getting out there.

But the time has come for me to ramble on so in just under two weeks I’ll be making my way back to my favorite city!

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The City of Angels of course!!

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Get ready Cali – I’ll be there soon!!

What I Get out of my Travels

Traveling is one of my biggest passions in life. Why? Because of everything I have gotten out of my experiences through travel. Of course it’s fun and adventurous, but it’s more than just that – it’s helped me develop as a stronger person and contributed immensely in making me the person I am. It’s experiential learning. Here are some reasons why going everywhere any chance you can can be so incredibly valuable.

  1. Traveling creates maturity and independence

Being in a different town, state, country, or continent can be scary and overwhelming! Whether you are alone or not, you will be in new situations where you have no choice but to act like a grown up and handle it. You will have to try things on your own, find that transportation, make that reservation, or talk to someone you don’t know. It forces you out of your comfort zone, which helps you grow.

  1. You learn it’s okay to ask for help

Although you become more mature and independent, part of that involves understanding that there’s nothing wrong with accepting others’ advice and assistance – this is a harder less for some more than others. There will be that time you get lost or confused. If I had started asking for help earlier in my travels, I would have saved the time it took to follow my old method of standing in front of a sign with a confused look on my face until someone came over and asked what I needed. It’s usually much more efficient to just ask! Often you can meet friendly people and may even learn something unexpected in the process.

  1. It’s always good to gain perspective

Traveling makes you aware of how small you are in the world. Billions of people live on this Earth with struggles and realities you cannot even begin to comprehend. Actually exploring and taking a look around gives you a chance to face this fact and change your view of yourself, the world, and your place within it. Suddenly some trivial issues don’t seem as important.

  1. You understand patience really is a virtue

In a time where everything has become instant through modern technology, many people lack the skill of basic patience. Even if everything is on time and goes smoothly, there will always be plenty of time to wait for flights, buses, trains, boats, other people, translations, or answers. Learning to deal with unwanted extra time is an important and worthwhile ability, even if it can be boring at times.

  1. You can find joy in the small things

When you travel to a new place, it seems like everything is new and exciting, even something as simple as a piece of bread. Experiencing this newness and discovering the ability to feel excitement over those little joys can be also be applied back home, you can gain a new appreciation for all parts of life with a fresh pair of eyes.

  1. Traveling often leads to a little modesty

In American society, direct confidence is often valued and seen in those who are successful. Experiencing being lost or confused in an unknown place can be a very humbling moment. Hearing what people in other parts of the world think of where you come from and learning about their values can change how you see yourself.

  1. It provides the chance to learn new perspectives of history and culture

Traveling often leads to museum visits and tours, but even if it doesn’t, any interaction with locals can help broaden your knowledge about a place, its history and culture, and how the perspective from that place may be different than from what you learned in your home country. Textbooks and Wikipedia articles can help inform you so much about a place, but actually going there and seeing it doesn’t just teach you, it actually affects you.

  1. Flexibility will make for a better experience

When you travel – whether it’s to the next town over or on the other side of the world – you have to be willing to be flexible. If your expectations are for a perfect trip, it will be a disaster because something will always cost more than planned, someone will get hurt or sick, something important will be forgotten during packing (Murphy’s Law of travel). Be flexible and positive, and you can even try applying these to “real” life once you’re back home – you may be surprised to find it makes you happier.