Be Impatient

The title of this post might come across as a little dubious upon first glance. Be impatient? But Hannah, I don’t get it…isn’t that impatience bad thing? Why encourage that? After all, you know what *they* say…”patience is a virtue.”

patience.

Sure, I can completely agree that on most levels and in most situations, patience is an incredible skill to master. A skill that I can honestly admit is not my forte or strong suit. Patience is something that I’ve struggled with consistently in my life. When I want something, I tend to want it now. I’m also not very good at taking “no” for an answer. It seems that when I get my mind set on something, I mentally prepare myself to go for it right away. If I’m told to “wait” or if I discover that it’s not possible for some reason, it’s a pretty harsh reality for me to accept. I’ll be the first to admit that this is how I am sometimes, and I’m very aware it’s not ideal. It’s something I’m working on, okay????

There is one area of my life, however, that I think I’ve exhibited a little too much patience. And that is when it comes to my life goals and dreams. I think I’ve been more than generous with the amount of patience I’ve allowed myself to have when it comes to striving for and conquering the big, hairy, audacious monsters of dreams that I’ve envisioned for years. This kind of patience is not doing myself any favors.

It’s time for me to stop putting my dreams on hold. I need to have less patience when it comes to putting off the things I want for later. I need to stop shrugging these nagging ideas and desires off my back only to revisit it with greater hunger a couple days later. The longer I wait, the more I crave these dreams. Though the older I get, the harder it’s going to be to do. If I want to travel, create things, explore, and experience this great big world around me, the time to get started is now. No more excuses.

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I’m not saying that I need to take off for a year-long journey across the world tomorrow. But I do need to start thinking about the things I want, start planning and start making it real. As long as I’m thinking about it and taking small steps everyday to get myself there, then I’m making progress.

*Disclaimer*: As always, this post is a reminder to myself. I don’t believe that I’m important enough or in any place to tell other people what they need to do. I write these things down to make it real for me and to motivate myself. I share it with others in case there happens to be someone in my same situation who also needs a kick in the butt. If I can help others while I help myself…well that would be a win-win.

I’ll leave you with this – A wise man (F. Scott Fitzgerald) once said, “For what it’s worth, it’s never too late , or in my case too early, to be who you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” And he wrote The Great Gatsby, so you should probably take his word to heart.

So…find that strength, and use it with all of your might. Don’t ever let it go. Don’t ever give up. Your dreams are much too important to waste.

dreams

xoxo,

HP ❤

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The Year of Change

Have you ever heard the saying “change is the only constant in life?” Chances are, if you’re a human that’s ever been through anything, you have. This is a saying people use to justify situations or comfort you when things happen or evolve unexpectedly. It may be slightly cheesy, but it’s also undoubtedly true. Change is going to happen whether we like it or not, so as inhabitants of this ever unpredictable earth, we should just go ahead and learn to embrace it. Another truth, however, is that us humans are naturally scared to death of change. It’s basically ingrained in our blood to be downright terrified whenever even the slightest upheaval occurs. But I’m here to try and remind everyone that change is imminent, with or without our approval…so we might as well learn to roll with the punches, welcome the unknown, and search for the bright side of each new beginning.

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Now think about it…without change, where would we be in life? I perceive a changeless world as a place where people are stuck on rocks, like a bunch of snails. Never moving, never growing, and certainly not living. Change is what forces us to learn, adapt, become stronger and wiser. Change makes us better. When I look back on some of the biggest changes that I have gone through, I realize that the ones I thought were the scariest turned out to be the absolute best. The changes that ripped me out of my ever-loving comfort zone…like moving and changing schools in 4th grade, leaving my home town and going to college, moving to Belgium and becoming an au pair, starting my first “big girl” job, etc. Some of these were self-inflicted, others were decisions that were made for me, but the fear was present and just as grand either way. I’ve learned though that the greater the fear, the greater the change, the greater the reward

So I titled this blog “The Year of Change”, and now I’m going to tell you why. I’ll start by saying this…if the woman I was one year ago met the woman I am today, she wouldn’t recognize her, and I think that is amazing. Not that there was necessarily anything wrong with the 2016 version of me, but she definitely wasn’t ready to commit to a life of routine. If every year of my life could start looking different than the last, I’d be the happiest girl on Earth. That would mean growth is happening, and I’d be becoming wiser, more cultured, and more well-rounded every year. I think if we stop growing and settle into a rut at too young of an age, then we seriously risk limiting ourselves and our potential. I’m not interested in that. I want to maximize every little bit of undeveloped potential that I have in my bones before it’s too late. I want to explore, write, travel the world, try new foods, take leaps (literally and figuratively), fall in love, find my soul mate, swim with sharks, start a travel blog, rescue animals, have a family, and maybe even adopt a child one day. I have big plans, and I refuse to stop until I achieve them. Though none of that will be possible without change.

That’s why I had to say goodbye to 2016 Hannah and hello to a whole new world of possibilities. 2016 Hannah was comfortable, safe, content. In other words…she was downright bored. I don’t do well in the confines of regimen. At the time, however, I felt like I was stuck in this pattern and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Therefore I pretended that I was happy with this lifestyle and I tried to conform. I surrendered myself to a life of the ordinary.  And what happens when you do that? You lose sight of your dreams. You have to, in order to feel complacent with the life path you’re on. And that is just about the ugliest, most horrible thing that can happen to an aspiring young visionary like myself. A piece of me was dead inside. And when you let something inside you die, the rest of your life slowly starts to crumble. (And thank God for that, because that made it impossible for me to ignore how unhappy I was in this lifestyle). I knew had to make a change. I wasn’t ready to give up on my life plans. So I did…

After 5 years, I ended the longest relationship I had ever been in. I moved out of my old apartment. I got a place of my own. May not sound like much to you, but these were some of the scariest and hardest things I’d ever had to do. Though I soon realized they were some of the best. Things were starting to look up! Happiness and hope had returned. However, something was still off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. But I knew more change was impending. There was something still “off” in my life, and when something is “off” for too long that negative energy can start to bleed into the rest of your world. I soon figured it out and was able to identify the problem…my job. I was certain it was time to find a new one, and soon enough I did. Again, hope has returned and optimism is shining through every facet of my life.

See what I did there? I realized that I wasn’t happy with the way things were, so I made changes. It wasn’t easy, and it took me a long time to build up the courage, but eventually I did. Boy…I am so, so glad that I did. Change is scary and hard and sometimes it may seem impossible or too late, but it’s not. With a little effort and a lot of perseverance, you can make anything happen. After all, nothing worth having comes easily.

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When I think about it, I guess I could consider myself pretty lucky. I’m one of those people that usually looks at things with optimism naturally. I’m a glass half full kinda girl. I don’t like negativity, and I always believe things are going to work out no matter what. Maybe that’s because they always have, but haven’t they for most of us? I mean, if we are still here and breathing, in good health with a roof over our heads and food to eat, I’d say we’ve got it pretty great. Better than the majority of the world. So why focus ourselves and waste time on the negatives? The same thing goes for change. You can either be so overcome with fear and worry that you refuse to ever make changes or grow in your life. You could be so put off by the inconvenience of change happening to you without your permission that you don’t take full advantage of the opportunity that has been given to you. OR you could do the opposite, and get much more out of life (in my amateur opinion). You could find the silver lining instead. You could ride the wave, be excited about new chapters, and greet each challenge with a devilish smile that says “I’m strong, I’m excited, and I am ready…bring it on”. That’s how I prefer to live, and so far it’s done wonders for me.

Moral of my story is, please don’t let the fear of change overcome you to the point where you don’t allow your life to evolve. Life is all about experience and making memories. But how the hell are you going to do that if you don’t give yourself a chance to open up and accept what life has to offer? It might be scary. It might seem unkind. Sometimes, change might even look like the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. Then soon enough, you’ll realize that it was the best. You know what they say…”one door closes, another one opens”.

Keep on keepin’ on my friends. Life is a pretty sweet adventure ❤

Xoxo,

HP

Live Life…Fearlessly

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My inspiration for this post, and for life. Miss you, Rachel. 

Hello everyone.

I’ve been meaning to write for a while (as usual), but once again I found myself putting it off for months. I used the lamest of excuses as a defense mechanism to make myself feel better about my lazy decision. Such as the classic, “I’m too busy”, or “I have writer’s block”…”there aren’t enough hours in the day”…or the more honest ones like, “I’m just SO lazy”…”I’d rather Netflix and Chill”…”But it’s Bachelor Monday!!!”…you know, typical stuff.

This time around, though, I ran out of excuses. The paper thin walls of bad reasoning that I hid behind collapsed in front of me, and I had nowhere to run. I needed to confront this in the only way I knew how: write about it. Writing helps me get my thoughts in order, see things more clearly, and simultaneously communicate with the world (i.e. a small crowd of wonderful individuals who feel compelled to actually read my posts – shout out to you guys, you’re amazing).

I’d been wanting to write a post about life for a while, because it’s what I constantly think about. Why are we here? What’s our purpose? How do we live it the right way? How do you know if you’re truly seizing your life’s potential?

The ambiguous topic of “life” really intrigues me, perplexes me, and gives me anxiety all at the same time. If I spend too much time thinking about all the things that I want to do and accomplish in life, I start to get nervous that I won’t have enough time. I don’t want to have regrets at the end of this journey or worry that I didn’t take enough advantage of my life here on earth.

These are thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis, but it’s much easier to bury them or shove them into a box in the back of my mind for later when I have other things to focus on. There’s work to be done, bills to be paid, and a dog to feed..who has time to slow down and ponder life’s meaning???

That had been my thought process for months…until the unthinkable happened. I received the most chilling phone call from my mom on what had been a normal Sunday afternoon, but turned out to be the day that everything changed. I rushed to the hospital without a second thought…and it was there that I was forced to say a final goodbye to my God sister, who had been a role model to me for almost 24 years.

It hit me hard. I wasn’t ready. Is anyone ever ready? I doubt it. But it was so tragic, it felt so unfair, so undeserved. My heart was in anguish, my mind was elsewhere…I was distraught. I ached for her mom, sister and boyfriend that had to lose such a beautiful light from their lives. I couldn’t understand it, it didn’t make any sense…and that made me angry. I wanted so bad to go back in time and change something about the situation. I at least wanted an explanation. But I couldn’t have any of it…so instead I just had to let go and allow my heart to shatter, as it naturally wanted to do. To put it simply, I broke. At that point I did the only thing I could do, grasped tightly on to the things within reach – my rock of a boyfriend, my loving sister, my amazing parents, insanely incredible friends, and my ever intuitive pup.

It was an extremely grueling time…but eventually, as life has a funny way of doing, things started to get a little bit better day by day. I took my time to heal, and each day I could feel the dark cloud above me lighten up slightly and the fog inside my mind start to clear. I still wasn’t able to accept or understand the situation, but slowly I began to look at it in a new light. I stopped focusing on the tragic way that she passed, and started remembering and appreciating the way that she lived.

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Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about – the beautiful, courageous, adventurous life of Rachel Leslie Thorn.

Rachel was one of those people you just wanted to know. Regardless of where she went, she always walked into the room like she owned the place and naturally commanded the attention of everyone there. Not purposefully….that’s just how it was. She was also one of those people you wanted to impress. Something about her confidence, her self-awareness and her high standards made Rachel a person whose approval you craved. But most of all, Rachel was a person you wanted to emulate.

Rachel lived life with a certain flare that only a few people I’ve met in my days possess; an irresistible, alluring and optimistic outview that made everything seem a little more pleasant. (Let me tell you now – if you find these people, never let them go. They are extremely special. They are God’s gift to Earth; a shining beam of light in a world that can sometime be very dark. Find them, kidnap them and keep them with you forever). Rachel was a free spirit, through and through. Her passion for living was unmistakable…undeniable. She jumped at every opportunity for adventure, laughed hard and laughed often, loved her friends and family harder than anyone else I know, and always, ALWAYS took full advantage of each and every day.

She grabbed life by the horns, said “Giddy Up” and never looked back. Rachel couldn’t be bothered with the opinions of petty people, standards/”norms” in society, or any kind of limitations. She did what she wanted and your approval of her decisions was not important. Life is TOO short to give a damn what other people think. She was extremely authentic, unique, and unapologetic. Rachel never took life or herself too seriously, because it is way more fun when you don’t. I recommend everyone reading this to STOP… take a second and remind yourself  what’s really important here. It’s not about “likes”, popularity or your professional title on Linkedin. Truly all that matters at the end of the day is your health, happiness, and your loved ones. Luckily for Rachel, she understood this easily and didn’t need the reminder. The rest of us sometimes do…and I hope this post can serve as that for you, if nothing else.

The reason I wanted to write this was to encourage you, in lieu of her, to continue living your life the way Rachel would have: purposefully, wholeheartedly, and unapologetically. Her impression and legacy that she left behind says it all. When it’s all said and done, no one will remember what you said or what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel. (Did I just make this suck?)

Those who dare move the world forward…and that is exactly what Rachel did. She was courageous, daring, and fearless. Her passion and infectious joy for life inspired others. Rachel may not have spent as much time on this Earth as we all would have liked, but in her short years she had already taught us the most important lesson of all – live your life fully, every day.

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Rest in peace, Rach

I leave you with this- take no day for granted, because you never know when it will be your last. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, and never forget to stop and smell the roses (as cliche as it may be).

I love you all. Until next time.

xoxoxo,

HP

Finding the Balance

Hi everyone!

Remember me? It’s the girl who started a blog and then got a real job, finding all her free time sucked into a vacuum of oblivion. It’s a terrible excuse for not writing, but it’s the best I could come up with and I’m going to pretend you’re all understanding individuals (you are…right?)

Yes, you read it correctly, this girl has earned a ticket to the real world. I have a full time job. With benefits. And a 401K (whatever that is). I consistently snooze my alarm and shoot coffee into my veins like the rest of you now. I understand why everyone hates Mondays and depends on red wine for survival. Life seems to make so much more sense; I feel like I’m at a mutual understanding with the struggling humans around me, crying into their Venti lattes while realizing that their 10 minute commute is going to take them an hour. **WELCOME TO ATLANTA!**

Having a job isn’t all bad, though. It felt pretty good to pay my own rent and bills for the first couple of months. Now it feels more like a punch in the throat every time I cut a check or submit an online payment. But that moment when the direct deposit hits…

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Unbeatable. It’s also nice to feel like you’re contributing to something. Like your daily duties are making a difference or an impact in someone’s life. Somebody is almost always expecting you to be somewhere and do something for them. You’re SO popular! (The jury is still out on whether this is for better or worse)

After graduating and before Belgium, I used to spend my days sleeping in, watching my boyfriend get ready for work at 7am and thinking my life was rough because I lost 30 minutes of precious sleep while he had the bathroom light on. I would wake up around 10am, watch The Doctors, The View, take a break around noon and come back for The Chew at 1pm. (You’re welcome, ABC). Sometimes I’d go to the park or gym if I was feeling really ambitious. I had no responsibilities, no one counting on me to get anything done, and no one expecting anything from me. Except maybe to shower every now and then.

Even as an au pair, my responsibilities were rather light. I would wake up around 10am (or 10:30…sometimes 11) to make lunch for the girls. Later in the day I’d help with homework, drive them to dance class, and keep them entertained. The rest of my time was spent exploring new places and learning new things. Not a bad gig, huh?

Nowadays, if I’m not where I’m supposed to be by 8am, my phone will certainly remind me that I’m slacking in a not-so-subtle manner. Calendar invites, phone calls, emails, voicemails, linkedin messages…the methods of communication these days seem to be endless. I really don’t mind it, though. It’s nice to stay busy. I’ve learned to drive with my knees, email while walking sprinting in five inch heels, and how to not take things personally. Sales will definitely teach you to grow thick skin, fast. I’m learning a lot about myself and what I’m capable of, and I am beginning to understand the logistics of relationship building in a professional world.

I even make my own doctor’s appointments, pay student loans, and own a credit card (responsibly, I might add). I’m a real grown up!

Screen shot 2015-07-20 at 9.37.18 PM(Though sometimes it feels more like this)

I’ve learned a thing or two about the working world these last few months, but trying to balance having a career with all the other aspects of life was probably the toughest part to manage. My first month I was going to sleep at 9pm every night, fearing that if I went to bed any later I would be rendered useless the next day. It definitely takes some time to figure out the work/life balance thing, and I’m still trying to perfect it, but I thought I would share some tips I’ve learned in the hopes that I might save at least one person from early-onset work exhaustion (it’s a real thing, look it up).

1. Physical activity is so important. I ignored this fact for an impressively long time. I was basically a professional at not working out. But then I realized how much BETTER it makes you feel. I sleep s, I don’t feel like dying at 2 pm as much, and I haven’t gained quite as much weight as someone who eats 27 Starbursts a day probably should. Make time to do something active, even if it’s just going for a walk or doing some sit ups while watching The Bachelorette. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Eat (semi) healthy when you can. Probably not what you expected to hear from the girl who just admitted her candy addiction 5 seconds ago, but it’s still worth mentioning. Getting in your fruits, veggies and protein can lead to a more productive day. Eating Moe’s for lunch, while delicious, will have you doing the sleepy head nod and avoiding productivity for hours afterwards.

3. Cook at home – bring your lunch! Cooking at home is healthier, will save you money, and save you time in the long run. Plus, if you have leftovers (which you will if you are anything like me, with eyes way bigger than your stomach) you can bring it for lunch the next day instead of going out and spending money.

4. Get OUT of the office! I know I just promoted bringing your lunch instead of going out, but the benefits of taking a break from the office are monumental. Take a walk, hit the office gym for a minute or walk the stairs. And definitely enjoy lunch with your friends occasionally. It’s a great way to take your mind off things (and sometimes you come up with your best ideas when you’re least expecting it).

5. Make plans during the week. If the weekend is the only thing you’re looking forward to on Monday, you’re doing it wrong. If you have other things during the week that you’re excited about, it’ll go by faster and you won’t be so miserable. Whether it’s a movie night with friends, yoga class, or happy hour after work – just have something non-work related on the calendar to keep you going!

6. Take a VACATION! I must admit, my weekend getaways aren’t quite as fabulous as taking casual trips to Paris like I did while living in Belgium. But taking a couple days to go to the beach or a new town/city with friends and loved ones is rejuvenating, fun and necessary.

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7. Give back. I’m a big advocator of “me-time”, but nothing beats the importance of giving back and/or volunteering in the community. Yes, jobs are hard and not always fun, but it’s easy to forget how privileged we are to HAVE a job and be able to provide for ourselves and our families. If you have time, go serve at a soup kitchen, volunteer in your local church, or help clean up a neighborhood in your city. It’s rewarding, fun and a great way to spend free time!

8. Do NOT give up your hobbies! Jobs are time-consuming for sure, but don’t let it get in the way of doing what you enjoy. I used work as an excuse to avoid writing for a long time, and I could honestly feel the void in my life. It’s what I like and it makes me happy! Whatever it is – cooking, painting, reading – just make time and do it!

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That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed my little pearls of wisdom and learned that the real world isn’t as bad as they say. Embrace it, make the best of it, and get used to it.  We’ll be on this ride for the next 40+ years.(Thanks, Obama)

Until next time!

Xoxo,

HP

Final Words

Well…this is it.

Tonight is my final night in Europe. My bags are packed, my goodbyes are said, and tomorrow morning I’ll be boarding a plane back to America. It’s hard to find the right words to explain how I feel right now. On one hand, I’m thrilled to be coming home, especially during the holidays, and back into the arms of my family and friends. Yet on the other hand, I’m devastated to be leaving this place where I have become so comfortable. I have so many people to thank for my smooth adjustment, too. It wouldn’t have been possible without my incredible host family, my awesome new friends, or my supportive loved ones at home. I feel so extremely lucky to have had this amazing life experience. Europe has taught me how to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations with ease, exercise patience in times of hardship, and to always keep an open mind, no matter the circumstances. I’ll never forget the memories I’ve made, the stories I’ve acquired, or the beauty that I’ve seen. This journey has changed my life for the better. I met strangers who became best friends, lived in a foreign places which became home, and experienced life with a different family who now feels my own. I’m lucky to love so many people around the world who make goodbyes like these so bittersweet. Thank you to everyone who has made this experience of a lifetime possible. You all mean so much to me.

Now, time to move on to my next life adventure. Here’s hoping it will be just as great (even though I have my doubts). 😉

Until next time. Cheers!

xoxoxoxoxoxo-

HP

Just Do It

People often ask me why I decided to become an au pair in another country. Is it because I wanted to learn another language? Because I wanted to travel? Because I didn’t want to get a real job yet?

To be totally honest, all the above apply, but the original factor that had me thinking of alternative post-grad routes was that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. The only thing I did know was that I was not the kind of person who could instantly graduate college, get a routine job and settle down. Even just the idea of it made me uncomfortable with anxiety. I had too much built up energy, too much curiosity, and far too much wanderlust to sit myself inside a cubicle in the city where I grew up in and pretend that I was happy. Not that there is anything wrong with that way of life, it just wasn’t for me at the time. I knew that I needed to get out and explore this great big world while I had the chance. I knew I would be filled with regret if I didn’t. This was something I needed to do for myself, my happiness. So I set out to look for opportunities.

The bad thing about being a 22 year-old unemployed college graduate with an insatiable appetite for adventure is that I also happened to be incredibly broke. I knew that if I wanted to travel, I’d have to find a way to do so while also making money. Cue “au-pairing”. It’s incredible how easy the process was. I made an account on a website and within 24 hours I was overloaded with emails from families all across Europe asking to learn more about me to see if I would be the right fit. I skyped with three or four families until I found the one. (Yes I realize this sounds like online dating). Once I virtually met them I just knew it was right, and apparently they felt the same because a few days later I received an email that they had chosen me. {Top 5 best moments of my life.} And voila! In a few months time I was packing my bags for Europe.

What I’m trying to say here is that if you want to travel, if you crave adventure, and if you’re in need of a break from the grind and gridlock that is adulthood, then go for it! What’s stopping you? This is your life we’re talking about, and you only get one of them. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to quit your job or sell your car or become a nomad in order to have these incredible life experiences. There are ways to do it without breaking the bank. And you certainly don’t have to feel guilty about leaving your significant other. If they’re the right one, then they’ll be thrilled for you to follow your dreams and they will support you every step of the way.

My advice to you: Don’t make excuses for not being able to see this great big world we live in! Your mortgage payment and 9-5 will still be there when you get back. If you want it, go for it. I promise you that it will be 100% worth it. You will come back with a greater perspective on life, new ideas about the world and memories that will last a lifetime. Go ahead, treat yourself to an experience you will never forget.

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Xoxo,

HP

Two Places at Once

It’s such a strange feeling, having your heart be in two places at once. At any given moment, I am simultaneously savouring every minute of my amazing time here while also longing hopelessly for my loved ones at home. During my first couple of weeks, however, I didn’t exactly realize that this was the sensation I was experiencing. All I knew was that I was beyond thrilled to be here, yet also couldn’t help feeling like there was something missing. Obviously I knew that I was missing home, that is only natural, but I didn’t comprehend that this separation was having a very real, physical effect on my heart and mind.

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Don’t get me wrong, the tugging feeling of divide in my heart has not hindered me at all from enjoying this experience. It’s more of just a gentle reminder that I have so many wonderful things at home that are waiting for my return. My boyfriend, my dog, my family and my friends are all things that I am constantly missing and thinking about, yet more in a way that makes me smile rather than a way that makes me sad. I feel so lucky that I have so much to come home to, it fills me with incredible happiness. Yet the level of joy it brings me is almost equally matched by the level of despair that I endure when I think about saying goodbye to my new Belgian life.

My Belgian family, friends, job, and my girls…how on earth am I going to bid farewell to those two sweet faces knowing that it’s possible I might never see them again? Two girls that a couple of months ago I hardly knew and now have become such a huge part of my life. They have impacted me in ways that I couldn’t have even imagined. I can only hope that I have effected their lives the way that they have mine. It’s crazy to think that a 10 year old and a 9 year old have taught me more about life than I could have ever learned in school or any other formal setting. These are life lessons that must be experienced first-hand, not passed through vicariously. Valuable life virtues such as patience, kindness, calmness and playfulness were all enforced in me through them, and I am so thankful for that. The most amazing part is, they aren’t even slightly aware of how much they’ve changed my life and my perspective.

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I truly love these girls, they hold an incredible amount of space in my ever-growing heart, which is why when their parents asked me a few weeks ago if I would give thought to staying longer, I was truly at a loss for words. My natural instinct was to say “YES!!” before they could even finish their sentence, but I had to stop myself. I have things at home that I need to consider before making rash decisions like that, and I am blessed in that way. I knew that before I could commit spending more time here, I’d have to contemplate the effect it would have on my relationships, my friendships, my dog, my job opportunities and more. I’m quite lucky to have so much that I care about which makes decisions like these so difficult.

Of course, at the end of the crossroads I decided that my main priorities and responsibilities lie at home, and when this journey is over it will be time for me to pack up, head back and begin my life there as planned. Although I would very much enjoy adventuring around Europe for another 6 months or so, I feel that I’ve already done what I came here to do and it is about my time to be back where the majority of my heart resides. Although coming to this conclusion won’t make saying goodbye any easier, I can rest at peace with the fact that I can still be a part of their lives, despite the distance. Just as I’ve maintained as much a part of my boyfriend’s, friends’ and family’s lives as possible all while residing 5,000 miles away. (Technology is amazing.)

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A piece of me will forever remain in Belgium, and I couldn’t be more proud of that fact. This has been the greatest journey of my life to date, and I will always remember it with extreme fondness. I can’t think of anything better that I could have done for myself and my growth as a person, post-graduation and pre-real world. It’s changed my outlook and perspective on life in the best way possible. And luckily, it’s not over just yet!

Now, time to enjoy my last 2 and a half weeks as a Belgian Au Pair! More updates to come soon.

Until next time!

Xoxo-

HP