Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Today is the 30 day mark.  It is difficult to fathom that in just one month I’ll be boarding a plane to go live halfway across the world.  I am still working but I can say that I am ready to be done.  If I could afford to take the next month off before I leave I definitely would.  You have no idea how much I am looking forward to teaching an older group of children. It is just in my grasp!

The 30 day mark also happens to be my birthday.  My golden birthday.  Turning the big 2-5 on the 25th.  I guess this has no real significance but people don’t usually realize that they’ve had their golden birthday until it’s over.  Really, who will ever remember that they turned 3 on the 3rd?!  It’s cool, come on give me that.

My birthday will include:

Having the day off of work.  No little kids giving me a migraine today!  A large thank you to my boss!!

Going to Verizon.  What the heck do I do with my iPhone in Thailand?!  I feel that I need it there for the trips I take.  How do I let my parents know that I am alive and well in Laos if I can’t send them a Facebook message from the random restaurant’s wifi?! And I’ll still want some access to Instagram and Twitter.  Time to get some answers.

Fundraising.  The ideas of places to go for donations keep coming.  If you or someone you know think you may have something to donate, feel free to contact me!!  I still cannot thank the restaurants and businesses enough for all of their kindness and generosity.

Pampering.  I’m getting my hair did.  Dead ends need to be outta here for the wedding next week.  Speaking of wedding and hair, I guess I can add picking out a wedding-do to my list.

Picking up bridesmaid dress.  All the tailor had to do was shorten it.  I cross my fingers that it is cheap-ish and perfect.  Countdown to wedding: 9 days.

Bombers.  I think I would have been able to do the teacup, boot, and margarita 3 years ago, but on a Wednesday night, I’m going to stick with my favorite.  One birthday margarita for me please! And dinner with some great friends of course!!

Lionheart.  What would my birthday be without a couple of drinks at my favorite place in Albany?! (Yes I have to work tomorrow, so let’s cut me off sooner rather than later!)

So, I’ve been thinking about 25 a little bit lately.  Most of my friends are single, doing well in their jobs, and have no intention of buying houses or making any big purchases anytime soon (except for a select couple who happens to be getting married next week!).  It used to be so un-typical for this to be happening at this age, but now I know nothing different.  It freaks me out a little bit that at 25 I am packing up and starting over completely, but this opportunity will open so many doors for me when I return.  Moving to Thailand is not typical at all, and although sometimes I think it is a way to “stall” growing up, this is actually an extremely grown up move on my part.  It sounds super cliché of a twenty something year old who is traveling the world, but I think my journey to Thailand is for just that: soul-searching and growing up.  How could I not in this situation?

When I get back, I picture myself saving money living at home.  I will nanny until I get hired as a 6th grade social studies teacher in Boston, where I will move next August.  Or, if that scenario doesn’t work out (it likely won’t), there are plenty more that could unfold.  I may come back not even wanting to teach anymore.  Or I may want to move down south.  Or I may keep traveling overseas.  It will be an experience getting to start from scratch, but it doesn’t make sense to go crazy over it just yet.

In perfect timing for my birthday, I saw an article floating around Facebook from a blog on wordpress and here is a little take-me-home from it that fits nicely with whole turning 25 thing:

but what I really mean to say is that I hope you aren’t held back because of a number. and that you don’t rush into things because it feels like time is slipping by. I hope you do what’s right for you.  hold on. slow down. and breathe in. your age is your age. but more importantly, your life is your life. don’t change your journey so that it matches someone else's. we need to walk different paths so the whole world can be explored. revel in the differences. and enjoy where you are.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Good in People

            I can imagine that most people who are reading my blog have heard that one of my best friends, Erica Wordon, has very recently been diagnosed with brain cancer.  In case you are not familiar with Erica’s situation, here’s a brief explanation:

"+Erica Wordon  is a 23 year old from Hudson, NY.  She is as outgoing as they come (cut right from her mother's you-know-what), generous, and sure to put a smile on your face.  After getting severe headaches, Erica got an MRI done in early July and found out that she had a tumor in the left frontal lobe of her brain.  After several appointments and removing the tumor with surgery, all were more than hopeful that the tumor was benign, but Erica was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma on August 1st, 2013."

I have known Erica forever. Our moms have been best friends since high school, so it was inevitable that we would be too.  Our friendship is rare, as it isn’t typical for people to grow up together as toddlers and still be best friends in their 20’s.  It is hard to believe that we were once scared to stay at each other’s houses (her mom just recently learned that I used to creepily crawl into bed with her because Erica was a bed hog, but then I would go back into Erica’s bed because Laurie snored too loudly).  When I was younger, I could always count on Erica to eat my vegetables and to drink my milk at the dinner table. When we got a little bit older, our mom’s picked us up together when we got caught drinking for the first time.  And now, when we are SO old, I am happy to say that she would still drink my milk and throw more than a few vodka sodas back with me.

I actually stayed at Erica's apartment last night, but don’t worry, I was sure to sleep in a different room, as the bed-hogging experiences still haunt me.  We made dinner, which consisted of rotisserie chicken (no skin for Erica), corn on the cob, tomato and cucumber salad, and salad.  It was strange having to ask Er, Can I use these cucumbers and tomatoes? They’re not organic..  Wow.  I know she has gone on some crazy cabbage soup and Atkins diets before, but this is not a choice, she has to adjust to a very strict diet, and she’s doing a great job at it.  No fuss, she just knows this is another change that she has to make in order for her to stay healthy during treatment.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of how brave she is, and although I could probably write about how amazing she is every day, I’ll leave it up to her.  Check out her medical updates and watch her kick cancer’s tail at

            The anticipation of Erica’s fundraising event has been building since word of the cancer spread.  We toyed with the idea of a fundraiser and wanted to wait a while, but then Erica found out that her medical bills  would be much higher than originally expected.  With a great team effort, we have been able to put together an event that has the potential to make a world’s difference for Erica and her family.
            Look at the beautiful flyer that +Elizabeth Hunter  made!! Feel free to pass it on or even hang it up! 

             Also, check out the Facebook page that +Alyssa Abitabile  put together!
             You can find event information on the flyer and Facebook page. The more support shown at the event, the better!  In order to officially RSVP, please call or text Alyssa or Lizzie at the numbers given on the flyers.  By ‘liking’ the Facebook page, you are not RSVPing, only showing your support.
            If you are not able to make the Cure for Erica event, but you still would like to help, send a donation to the address shown on the flyer, or visit the donation website at

            I can go on and on about Erica all day, but here is a thanks to you.  I really, truly appreciate every message, phone call, and donation Erica has received, because it really makes her feel better, if only for a minute of her day.  The outpour of support for Erica has been inspiring.  I always tend to think the best in people (which may not always be a great quality), and this really shows me that people are good.  People are even great.
            Check out some current numbers:
$3,030 Raised from
$2,200 Raised from Team Erica t-shirt sales
$4,000 Raised from donations sent directly to Erica
170      RSVPs to the Cure for Erica event
1,763   ‘Likes’ on the Cure for Erica Facebook page
                        As I’m writing this blog, the numbers keep getting higher!

            I have gotten countless emails from people who want to donate auction items who don’t know Erica.  Many of Erica’s monetary donations have also come from people she does not know.  Word spreads.  People are touched.  The good in people shines.
            I want to personally thank everyone who has attempted to make a difference in Erica’s life.  If anyone deserves it, she does.  I have seen small donations and large donations, and both are equally appreciated.  Thank you to those who are walking/running the Race for Hope 5K on September 28th.  That money goes toward cancer research and I am getting teary-eyed right now just thinking of how many people are signed up to be on Team ERICA.  Thank you to those who bought ‘Team Erica’ shirts.  Thank you to those supporting her by ‘liking’ her Facebook page.  A huge thank you to the people who have RSVPed to the Cure for Erica fundraiser.  It will be a fun, positive event with great food, beer and wine, lots of amazing items to bid on, and even a photo booth if you’re lucky (Ahem, Allison Connor).  Biggest thanks of all to Jeff Weiss, the owner of Glennpeter Jewelers.  Without him and his team, we might be lost in putting this event together.

            It has been an honor to be able to help in the planning of all of the fundraising.  I can’t tell you how great it feels knowing that some of the financial stress is being lifted off of Erica and Laurie’s shoulders.  At this point, if they wanted me to fly to Disney to get a donation, I probably would.  The fundraising has actually been pretty fun, especially getting to talk to the people at the businesses, then getting excited to add their gift to the ever-growing list of auction items.  I am going to continue to work my butt off for this event because unfortunately, it is being held two weeks after I leave for Thailand.  Although I had a mental breakdown when I realized I would not be there, I can't wait to hear of all the good that comes from it!  This day works best for Erica because it is at the end of her 4 weeks off between radiation and chemotherapy.  She wants to have a great time at this event and be able to enjoy herself, and we have fingers crossed that November 8th is the perfect day for that!

Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.