Sometimes I write. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's not. Either way, my mom likes it.
New Years Resolutions 2018
Be the truest version of yourself.
Travel to four new places. At least.
Make sure that your happiness is always first.
Be fluent and confident in Spanish.
Win an award in advertising.
Let the people you love know. Often.
10.04.17 Birthday Reflections
Reflecting on the past year: life is what you make of it. You shape your life with the people, the environment, the effort and the adventure you put into it. Happiness is doing what you love, not caring what people think and accepting each challenge with grace and respect. Life isn’t easy. Do what makes you happy, fail, succeed, and grow. Because when you are truly you and truly happy, you shine. If these are the lessons I learned at 22, welcome 23, let’s see what you have for me.
This year has been an interesting year for me, I graduated college, travelled Europe, did a whole bunch of activities from going to festivals to hiking and almost everything in between. Then I found my way back to the city I love, San Francisco and now I sit here looking back and thinking to myself two main things:
One: how in the world did I get so lucky? To be able to be surrounded by so many amazing people, to have travelled around Europe and to have graduated college all in one year. I feel so so amazing. So thank you to all that were and are a part of my life. Each and everyone of you is special to me.
Now for number two: no matter how big or how small, everything you do in your life matters. And I realized this more now than I have ever before. With all these big life events this year, came a lot of decisions both good and bad. And Im just going to flat out say it, I definitely made some bad decisions that resulted in mistakes. It doesn’t matter how small the decision is, the after math of each one will change the course of your life. Plain and simple. It was a hard year figuring this out but I’m glad I did.
So if I can take one thing away from 2016, it would to always remember that even if you throw a pebble in the ocean, there will still be ripples altering the surface of the water. Just like in life, no matter how small the decision is, there will always be ripples.
10.03.16 Aleigh Abroad: Copenhagen, Denmark
My, my, my Copenhagen. AHH! I love this city. I don’t know if it was the bike riding, freedom or just Copenhagen in general but I’d say if you are over in Europe, it is a must see. So first of all, I took the train from Stockholm to Copenhagen which was beautiful and I had a wonderful conversation with a Swede and a father and son from Hong Kong about anything from weather to currencies. Oh the people you meet when traveling solo. 🙂
When I arrived in this wonderful city I grabbed my backpack (didn’t lose it this time!) and journeyed to my hostel, Urban House which was extremely nice and pleasant. I got there in the afternoon so I didn’t have a lot on my agenda but close to my hotel was Trivoli Gardens. This is probably one of the most touristy things you can do. And since I hate doing touristy things, I thought I get it out of the way on day one. It is actually an amazing historical place full of beautiful gardens, shows and rides.
Now for the next day I did what I love to do. Walk and explore. I started by going down the main shopping road (and other touristy thing to do) but I didn’t last long on there because it was full of H&M, Zara, Adidas and more. Pretty much just a really long mall road. So I decided to turn off the main road and head to the Rosenborg Castle.
I literally started tearing up walking around here, I think it was a mix between the beauty of the castle and me realizing how INCREDIBLE my life is. Right when I got in through the gates, I saw the changing of the guards, it was interesting to see the differences between Sweden and Denmark. Then I spent about 2 hours around the castle. This castle had a moat around it!! It was my first time EVER seeing a castle in person with a moat around it. I walked around the gardens, the outside of the castle, and across the moat on a wooden bridge (my faveeee).
Then I continued my walk and had a pølse or yet again, a hot dog that is really pink and wayyyyy to long for it’s bun with fried onions, regular onions, sweet-kind-of-pickled cucumbers (I can’t call it a pickle) and ketchup and mustard. NOMS, so good.
Then I just continued to the canal that you probably see when you google search Copenhagen. It was so beautiful but I was getting really tired so I walked home to rest. Come to Europe if you want a workout/vacation.
On my final day, I did one of the most “Copenhagen” think you can do, ride a bike! Ahhh, it was so nice and the weather was amazing. I went to the “Little Mermaid” statue, rode along the canals, listened to an organ in the Church of Our Savior and really just had the best day. Comes close to one of the best day’s of my life.
And for lunch I went to this amazingly cute little shop called Gravy. I’d say this is a must do, especially if the weather is nice.
Such a good couple of days!
10.02.16 Aleigh Abroad: Stockholm, Sweden
It all started with a direct flight to Stockholm, Sweden from Barcelona. All should go well right? Well no. Because travel with me is almost always a struggle. So right of the bat, my backpack (aka life) some how got left in Barcelona. But that’s okay because I was going to see a beautiful human by the name of Louise soon.
I was fortunate enough to be welcomed into her brother’s home. AHH! So nice. So as a thank you, Louise and I cooked the family TACO TUBS! We Americans, seriously need to learn from the Swedes because this is the best way to eat homemade taco meat.
But during the days I was there, we just explored and Lady Louise played (Russian) tour guide as her style is starting to date her back to the 70’s and apparently thats Russian. We went the castle where we saw the guards change, walked around the city and I even got to stand in front of Berghs, School of Communication, which if you know me that pretty much is the mother of two of my best friends and many others. I was pretty excited to say the least. One of my favorite things was the Swedish candy, I liked it so much I forgot to take a pic of it.
The food was so good in Stockholm. There were so many good/interesting flavor combos. Like a classic cinnamon roll and coffee that I had from Espresso House (which is like the Starbucks for Sweden) during my first ever proper fika or coffee break. Or a Tunnbrödrulle which is a hot dog, mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, ketchup and mustard, onions and fried onions all wrapped up in a Swedish flat bread. Sounds weird, tastes delishhhh. And finally, we went to Omnipollos Hatt where we had soooo much good pizza and beer. One of the beers we got even had FROZEN beer foam on it. If you are in Stockholm, I’d recommend this place.
On my last night there, we went for a sunset swim in the Baltic Sea to say Goodbye to summer! It was cold and kind of scary because the water was so dark but the sunset was AMAZING! Definitely a nice way to end my Stockholm adventure.
Stockholm, I’ll be back for you, you amazing city. And thank you Lady Louise for being the best guide and host a girl could ask for. 🙂
09.10.16 Barcelona to Backpack
Sometimes things aren’t exactly what you expect. A little over a month ago, I made Barcelona, Spain my new “home.” I was working, living and learning in this seaside Spanish city. One week ago, I made my backpack my new “home.” I said goodbye to the life and lifestyle I was leading in Barcelona to embark on a solo adventure around Europe. Barcelona as a city was amazing. The culture, the food, the architecture were all so flawless. My situation, both living and working, was not. And that needed to change.
Now you might say, “Why would you ever run away from living in Barcelona?”
Well let me tell you. I wasn’t “living” in Barcelona, I was up to no good, sleeping in late, staying out late, working for free and begging for an escape from my living situation. I walked the same path to work every morning and evening with no interest in my surroundings. I wasn’t accomplishing the things I wanted, and I wasn’t living a life I ever wanted to live. Getting sucked deeper and deeper into a hole, I needed an escape. And with that escape, meant leaving the amazing, beautiful Barcelona.
Now in a matter of one week, I have swam in the Baltic Sea, eaten my weight in Scandinavian candies, biked along the canals in Copenhagen, lived in a Swedish home, cooked meals for myself and others, seen my first castle with a moat around it, drank beer, listened to a live organ performance in a church, eaten a hot dog and crab salad in the same roll, managed to lose my backpack (and recover it,) navigate my way through two different countries and currently am on an over night bus to my third.
That, now that is what I call living.
02.03.16 Seven Seas
I want to see it all you see
not just what’s within you and me but,
all the seven seas.
10.08.15 Don't Lose Your Grip
I wobble into my pose as I stare at myself with sleepy eyes. It’s 6 AM and I am in the sweltering hot Bikram Yoga room. Breathe. I think to myself as I hold the pose. Listening to the teachers voice “Whatever you do, don’t lose your grip.” I clench my sweaty hands together a little harder, as I begin to think. That is exactly why I am here. To continue to grasp life and hold onto it a little tighter. I haven’t been able to work out for the past year; yoga is my avenue back into a life I once knew too well. “Don’t lose your grip.” She says again. I focusing on this thought as I continue to wobble and drip with sweat. The actions we take, the words we say and the mistake we make are all part of us trying not to “lose our grip” on life. We all go through life and take different turns to grasp a little harder. Yearning for a better understanding on something no one really understands. We are all trying to be the best us but maybe the best us is exactly who we are today. Remember who you are, who you were and who you want to be because we are all just trying get a grip on this thing called life. Food for thought.
“You’re in a bad place.”
You said with that stern, strict, untrusted face.
If only you came soon before my break down and ball,
I could have told you it’s all from my fall.
Little did you know there was a change,
After my fall i still felt strange.
But who would have known for no one would listen,
I wasnt the same, some of my pieces were missin.
I could feel it getting worse, will i ever get better?
I asked myself as you told me i lied about that letter.
She was a doctor believe me i said.
But no you did not, “stay in your bed.”
A little after that, still no progression,
The pain i felt was out of my possession.
I did all i could to try and get better,
“There is no hope, now go get the letter”
I gave up my first love and dream,
So that you could have a more complete team.
That was it, no more calls no more nothing.
I just wanted to hear you tell me something.
I guess the point if this whole thing,
Is that you flat out pushed me out the ring.
But there is something to me, something more.
There is more to me, number twenty-four.
And thats all i want for you to know i guess,
We are always just trying to be the best.
Get some playing time, some confidence, some acknowledgement from you.
So hopefully, just maybe you will see that us too,
We are humans and souls,
We feel pain and have goals.
We are more than the numbers we wear on our backs,
And the understanding of that is what you, my coach, lacks.
03.12.15 March Madness through the eyes of the mad and sad
I have always really enjoyed watching March Madness but this year was different. I was obsessed with it. Both men’s and women’s, I couldn’t get enough. It was something I looked forward to everyday. Watching basketball. But why? I miss it. I miss my first true love, my first passion. I just miss it. Plain and simple. Having to end my career right before the whole nation turns into baskeball fans was the hardest thing I could have gone through. Watching all the players give it they’re all for something that every athlete dreams of, gave me a sort of feeling like I was with them. If I had to miss a big game, or even just a random game I wanted to watch, I would get so upset. I didn’t realize how much I miss basketball until March Madness started. The weird feeling of pain and happiness that I got from watching the games was addicting. I needed it. The feeling of competitiveness and just playing. I yerned for the feeling of a team, that close family of people only related through a love of basketball. It was everything I had 6 months ago. I guess I just miss it. That’s all. A lot.
For the past two months I have been battling Post Concussion Syndrome. If you don’t know what that is, its where you still experience concussion symptoms and some other issues added on. In my case, I still have headaches, I still get dizzy, my mood swings off the chart by the littlest things, and I can’t go to sleep when I need to but once I do, I sleep for at least 12 hours. Usually I am the happy go lucky twenty-year-old girl who plays basketball, and loves school and her friends and family more than anything.
The very first practice of my junior collegiate season, I fell. The back of my head slammed the court. Instantly, I knew I was concussed as I stared through my glossy, tear filled eyes, at my team continuing on the opposite end of the court. All through my collegiate career, I haven’t had the best of luck and the most confidence but I made a special point of forgetting the past and starting fresh this year. I wanted to work hard, regain my confidence and find love for the game I had once gave my heart to. Everything changed on that Wednesday morning.
I didn’t know what was ahead of me; accept for the fact that my luck had gone out the window yet again. Every year I have had some sort of set back in my collegiate career. Before this year had started, I had though about quitting and if I did, how many tears that would save, how I could dedicate my time to my new found love in school and spend more quality time with my family and friends because after all we aren’t getting any younger. I thought about how easy my life would be and how much less stress I would have. Everything would just be simpler. You see, the thing is, I have never been one to quit. I hate the word “quit.” I believe that everything in life can be worked through; there might be some necessary changes and adjustments but quitting just isn’t an option.
So here I was, concussed, which means I can’t play. I hoped for the quickest recovery and told myself every day that I was getting better. One week after I fell, I was back on the court. Everything was going to be okay, right? Wrong. I wasn’t better. Things were getting worse. My symptoms weren’t improving and at times I felt as if I was decreasing. I pushed through though because as an athlete, we naturally push through the pain. That was my number one mistake.
Now, after two months, numerous doctor appointments (including seeing a psychologist once a week,) getting put on an antidepressant for my headaches, irrational moods and sleepless nights, being completely stripped of basketball, and having restrictions on school, I am trying to recover. The process is long and upsetting. As you can imagine have a two month long headache, dizzy spells and sudden sadness and anger issues would be. The most frustrating part is that there is no time frame to my recovery plan, it’s just hour by hour, day by day, week by week, and now month my month.
Through this extensive battle (and yes I call it a battle because of all the ups and downs I have faced) I have learned a lot about people, life, and most importantly, myself.
Having all these different symptoms, having the good days and the bad days, I have learned to accept everyone no matter what. There have been many days where going to class was going to be the hardest thing for me to do that day because my headaches were bad, I was dizzy or I was just feeling sad. In class, the way a person would react to me looking tired or distressed would make or break my day. They didn’t know that I was injured or what I was going through so sometimes they would act stand offish or distant. Moments like this are where I realized that I not only need to accept everyone but I also need to respect everyone and realize that people are fragile. I think I have always known this but once I experienced what it was like to be in the fragile state, I knew how fragile one could actually be. A person can always accept a compliment or a hug or a sincere “Hi, how are you?” (Which I think are sometimes taken for granted) but they can’t always accept a sarcastic comment or a standoffish vibe, so I try and greet everyone with sincerity now because looks don’t always tell the true story.
With the bad times, come good times. That couldn’t be any truer to me in my current state. Ask anyone that has spent a lot of time around me in the past two months, which is actually only one person; I bet you she would agree. I could be heading in the right direction acting like my old self then a minute or two later, my eyes are filled with tears. Most of the times I can’t tell you why I start crying, but I do. It’s something that I have begun to accept and I have learned two things from it. One is the that it’s okay to cry and happiness will come sooner if you let it out rather than hold it in, and the idea of that can’t frustrate you because I let it frustrate me for way too long. The other thing I learned is to embrace, remember, and hold on to those happy times because those memories are what will pull you through sadness or anything that is a set back. The happy memories of me playing basketball has gotten me through these past two months and are making me eager to return. Just don’t ever take happiness for granted because it can be taken from you in a matter of seconds.
Everything I have been going through can be hard to talk about, especially when I am in one of my lows. I have always been a person to keep my emotions somewhat bottled up and then erupt to someone I love and trust about everything I am feeling. During these past couple of months though, I have had to tell at least 3 people everyday how I am feeling and what my thoughts are about my feelings. This has been hard for me and I tend to be hesitant to express my thoughts and feelings with certain people. What I didn’t realize is that if people are asking, they care. I can trust them and tell them. People don’t ask questions unless they genuinely care. So trust them.
Waking up everyday, knowing that I am fragile and vulnerable has made me fall back on people for a sense of stability and reassurance that things will get better. The ones that really love you will already be catching you before you even realize you are falling. For a while, I didn’t realize the support I had. I felt as if the whole world didn’t understand, people were getting frustrated when I would be upset and have no reason, I was being told I was in a “bad place” and I needed help, I was confused and broken. I had no answers for a long time and every time I was falling down into another hole I already had people pulling me out. So always remember that when you are beginning to fall you always have someone already catching you. Embrace them. Even though at times they get frustrated, they will always be by your side. I tried to push them away but they fought back and held on. Although I am not near being back to playing and better, I can’t thank these people enough and I don’t think I will ever be able to. I just know that they will be close to me for the rest of my life.
This recovery process is nowhere near the end for me. I will still continue down this long road with my ups and downs. The memories of happiness, my support team, and the glimpses of happiness I have now will get me through this and with time, I will not only push through this burden, but also become a stronger, wiser person because of it.