Blogaversary things 

Exactly one day ago today, I officially joined the world of blogging! Wow.  I remember clicking that post button for the first time and telling myself it’s ok if no one reads it.  I remember getting so many likes from friends and family on my first post initially and then being stuck on how I could possibly top that.  I remember nights when I had an idea on something I wanted to write about, but I wondered if it would be true to my blog or if my readers would even be interested in that particular topic.  It’s been such an amazing journey.  At first the blog was going to be a temporary thing , but I’ve decided to keep doing it and I wanted to stop and note the reasons why along with some things I have learned. 

  1. Writing is kind of like my catharsis.  When I write it comes from the inner most part of me and usually I feel twenty times better when I get my thoughts on a piece of paper or on a post.
  2. I’ve learned that writers all have different styles and sounds and that I don’t have find a niche.  I’ve learned it’s ok for my pieces to be different. 
  3. I’ve learned there’s a million different things to write about!! Yes someone else may have already written on it, but they haven’t done it the way I can. 
  4. I’ve learned to write for me and only me. Times when I’ve tried to tailor my writing to what I think others will like, it hasn’t brought me the same type of joy.  What brings me joy is writing about my experiences and what I learned and sharing that with people who may be going through the same thing and need some extra encouragement that it will be okay.  So that’s my main aim-a lifestyle blog about me…but to encourage you. 
  5. I’ve learned writing helps me reach people.  I’ve had people tell me about a post they’ve read that really resonated with them though they may not have liked it or commented.   Your piece may be exactly what someone in the world needs to hear. 
  6. I learned my support system is THE BEST.  Family around me, family back home in Zimbabwe, and friends from different corners of the world who keep up with my ramblings and I appreciate you all so much! 
  7. I learned internet friends are a real thing and they are a real AWESOME thing. 
  8. I learned reading other writers content is super inspirational.  Reading something new ALWAYS gave me new insights.

When I began this blog I was in a little bit of a dark and hopeless place. I had just graduated and I felt like I was the only person who didn’t have an immediate plan of success. I was running from grief over the death of a family friend and I was avoiding the feelings of being back home after being gone so long that home doesn’t feel like home. This blog gave me a place to put all that and if you’re reading it now as a new visitor or a regular know that it means so much to me!! The following quote from a Kelly Clarkson song sums up my feelings and seems like a good note to end on.

“Beat down on me beat down like a waterfall. Cuz I can take on so much more than I had ever dreamed. Baby I am ready to be freed. But Now I am invincible, no I ain’t a scared little girl no more. Now I am invincible, what was I running for? I was hiding from the world. I was so afraid I felt so unsure-now I am invincible.”

Thanks for reading. Thanks for the feedback and the support. Thanks for making me feeling invincible! 

PS some of you know I did join a new “group” blog of sorts. For all my sports fans if you’d like to check it out I’ll link it below.  Me and 6 other amazing women write on just about every sport you can think of. I mostly cover football and basketball so my articles are on those pages when you click the main menu, and they have my name on them. Have an amazing week guys❤️

Sports As Told by a Girl Blog

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Graduation SZN

Naaaaah nanana nahhhhhnuhhhhh nahhhh nuh nah nuh nah.  It’s that time of year folks. The time when everyone is humming that sacred Pomp & Circumstance tune. That’s how you know- graduation season has arrived.  East Coasters, I know most of you have already been graduates for almost two months but the West Coast schools are just now catching up.  All over the world the plethora of balloons are being bought, gift cards are flying off of shelves, flower bouquets are being spritzed with water, girls are buying that extra large bag of bobby pins to secure their caps, and guys are perfecting their dabs and dance moves for that famed across the stage.

So let me ask you. When you think of the word graduation, what emotion arises within you?

  • Are there happy memories with friends?
  • Sad memories of heartfelt goodbyes?
  • Nostalgia for what one was?  

Roughly a year ago, I began this blog as a frustrated postgrad with a degree that did not calm my anxieties about stepping out into the world.  Oh, the places you will go!!! That’s what everyone said.  Where I went was back to my parent’s house, into my bed for weeks on end-where i would battle with what I wanted to do, what my parents wanted me to do, and what I felt like the world wanted me to do.

After pomp and circumstance comes all the “What Now” questions from your parents and your peers, and the “When are you getting married” questions from your African aunties if your family is anything like mine.  It can get super frustrating.  But why is that?

In my opinion, graduating high school in 2017 is major because of how few people even get that far.  If you tack on an undergraduate degree, you’ve survived about 16 years of school give or take!!!  It seems like a crime to NOT stop and celebrate for at least a month.  In my case, I pursued my secondary degree right out of undergrad and let me tell you. it was tough.  It was worth it, but I think you can manage to take a brain break and celebrate a little, while also preparing to go back to school

I got to watch the babies I tutored in middle school get promoted to high school and listened to some of them tell me their parents didn’t even get that far.  They were commended for that.  If you are a high school graduate, celebrate that too! Realize that those sleepless nights cramming for tests paid off and spend the summer commemorating that with your closest friends before you part ways for college.  If you are a college grad, I know the IRS will be sending those letters to your house soon, but that also means you’ve done it!! You’ve  suffered through those Statistics courses, gained the freshmen 15 and rebounded, gotten curfew violations in the dorm, tuned out boring professors and saved powerpoints from the ones you’ve loved- you conquered ALL of that.  What can you NOT conquer going forward?

When the bright lights of graduation fade out and you realize that you have no idea what’s coming next, realize that that is the most exciting part. It’s okay to say “I don’t know”.  You won’t know if something fits until you try it- SO TRY IT ALL.  I’ve been working really hard to try new things, go out more, and surprise myself more lately.  I was the quiet, hard-working, study all night, go to school and work all day student and so taking risks is not what I’m used to.  But let me tell you- Its a lot of fun.  For all my 20 somethings, no matter when you graduated, look back and ask yourself- what have i accomplished since that day? Am i doing what I love? Am I spending time with who i love?  Am i building now for the future that I want based on what I want or what people want for me?

It’s been a crazy year for me and I wanted to share those thoughts with some of you who may be in that dark and confusing postgrad place where I once was also.  I was unemployed, I quit social media for a a bit because FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, I got a job I loved though people told me it didn’t pay enough, I took my first solo trip, I got of toxic people in my contact list, started a blog and read tons of books!

  • You can do it too- success doesn’t have to be immediately after grad and if its not for you, you are not a failure.
  • Push through the I don’t knows, yo  My fellow psychopaths also pursuing grad degrees- Keep working and remember your end goal!!!! Go out when you dont wanna go out.  Walk down the street and talk to three strangers- see what they teach you.  Work the job with the long hard hours tha tkeep you from friends on the weekend, but isntead save that money for a big trip to celebrate you because you deserve it.  Write more, read more, and LOVE more.  Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  The rest kinda falls into palce by itself.  I will leave you with this- There is no map of how you are “supposed” to do life- you decide and only you.

NBA FINALS ARE HERE

Have  you ever been on the freeway (or highway if you are not a Californian), and you have no idea where you’re going? That’s me literally all the time so google maps is my best friend.  So I’ll be casually driving to my destination and my phone will tell me there is a 20 minute delay ahead and that there is an alternative route.  If you’re a Southern California driver, you know that’s usually a lie.  The minute you take the alternative freeway, usually, the one you just left opens up and the GPS redirects you right back to square 1.  That’s what these NBA Playoffs felt like.  People got hurt, players were suspended, teams had shocking runs while others weren’t so shocking, players retired, and there was all KINDS of pettiness on social media by the athletes in between games.  All those twists and urns and we ended up RIGHT where we began in prediction at the start of the year-  the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Golden State Warriors.

So i thought I would jot down my thoughts prior to Game 1 tonight.  The team-based fan in me is annoyed for obvious reasons.  It seems like no matter what players are traded, which coaches are swithced around, and which rookies are added- the two top dogs will always be GS in the west and CLE in the east.  If you’re a fan of literally any other NBA team you know what I mean when I say the situation seems bleak sometimes.  My main team didn’t have a trash season, but they weren’t amazing either- the Lakers are rebuilding without Kobe and they’re all so young I didn’t really expect anything more.  The bouts of depression I suffered came from the two next teams I support because they got close enough to taste success before being booted out of playoffs. The Wizards were soooo much fun to watch this year, but I think it was apparent that even superhuman John Wall needs a bench to help him.  And the Rockets. God. I’m not sure i’m ready to recap the train wreck that was James Harden so we will exclude him.  The rest of the Rockets team did so so well.  And i really think they could have bothered GS at the very least.  Can you imagine how much fun it would have been to watch Pat Beverly annoy the hell out of Steph Curry??? He’s basically Draymond Green, but I actually like him. Stifling defense. We were robbed.

As an NBA fan however, how can you not be excited about this Cavs Warriors matchup??  I think its comical that people are talking about a sweep from Golden State because I’ve learned to stop betting against Lebron James.  He’s Lebron freaking James.  I just can’t disrespect him enough to think he would allow a complete sweep without leaving his corpse out on the court.  Yall seen that man’s twitter??? Once that zero-dark 23 tweet goes up NO ONE IS SAFE.  Now in order to win the series his whole team would have to be at their very best.  JR Smith would need to not only show up, but show out.  Tristan Thompson would be pivotal.  Kevin Love has been playing out his mind already, and Kyries doesn’t really need to be told to be Kyrie.

The warriors are so stacked it’s crazy.  I think we’re all mad because we realize that.  It was shocking this season when they won a game by less than 20.  They’re just that good.  Personally, I stopped watching them play after the first like 3 games of the playoffs because cmon.  Those blowouts were demoralizing.  It physically became painful to watch.  The Cavs would need to be extraordinary to win the series, while the Warriors can afford to just be ordinary.  So I understand the predictions.  Javale McGee is shooting above 70%.  Not much else can go right for those guys, it seems like they’re at the pinnacle.  I wouldn’t be mad if they fell somehow, though. Then we could all just blame Mike Brown. 

We have yet to see the Warriors in crisis mode this playoffs.  We’ve seen them calm, crazy good, and smooth.  What happens if then Cavs hit a run? What Warriors show up then? Does Draymond throw up a kick? Does Mike Brown maybe switch up rotations and trust someone new with more minutes like Channing Frye or Deron Williams?  Does the Kardashian curse haunt Tristan Thompson and cause him to be utterly useless all series?Does Klay Thompson stay asleep all series or does he go for 50 one night and remind KD he was there first? Do we get another bit from  Kyire about the aliens taking over his body and causing him to play well or maybe his flat earth theory? So many possibilities!

I’m hoping for an entertaining series.  I’m hoping for competition, trash talk, crazy post game interviews, amazing blocks- ALL of the works.  I’m also hoping the Cavs can pull out 1 game….maybe even 2.  Golden State in 5 or 6 is my call, but I would love a game 7.  I guess we will see!! Stay tuned!

There’s a wonderful article on the ringer.com that talks about the importance of each player on both teams and I thought it was incredible.  For my avid basketball fans, give that a read!

Ranking The Usefulness of all 30 Players in the Finals  

NBA Awards/Playoffs Round 1


The time has come ladies and gentlemen.  NBA playoffs.  I’d like to apologize publicly if you have no interest  in basketball.  Partially because of the happiness you’re missing in your life, but mostly because of how obnoxious I get during playoffs on basically every social media platform possible. Most people are already aware of this, but if you weren’t, now you are. Don’t come into my mentions or my inbox during the end of a tight game or to trash talk any of my teams because I can’t be held responsible for what I say back. 

Anyways. I’m super excited for playoffs. I should’ve posted all my predictions earlier but a friend told me that if I tried to overshadow Easter weekend and the death of Christ with my sports ramblings,  the basketball gods would make sure I regretted it…so I held off until now hahaha. Just in case. 

So these are less predictions and more so what I want to happen. I also think it’s ridiculous that they’re holding off on awards for regular season until the POST season is over this year. That makes no sense but I included my picks for that too. 

Proposed Awards

Coach of the year: D’Antoni (HOU) cause duh. 

  • Honorable mention to Scott Brooks (WAS) cause he also did some amazing things with his squad in my opinion 

6 Man of the year:Eric Gordon (HOU)

  • Honorable mention to my boys from the Lakers, Big Lou Wil (whos now in HOU) / Jordan Clarkson (LAL)

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (GS)

  • I’d love to give it to just about anyone BUT  draymond because his antics annoy me but he deserves it. Rudy Gobert is up there also for me.

Rookie of the Year: Dario Saric 

  • Honorable mention to one of my favorite players to watch on AND  off the court- the pride of philly, Joel Embiid. If he can stay healthy, he’s a monster. 

Most Improved Player: Giannis (MIL) aka the Greek Freak whose last name I shall not spell out 

  • Honorable mentions Otto Porter (WAS), Isaiah Thomas (BOS)

Exec of the year: Daryl Morey (HOU)

Most Valuable Player (MVP) rankings 

  1. James Harden
  2. Kawhi Leonard 
  3. Russell Westbrook
  4. Lebron James
  5. John Wall

  • That being said I’m not stupid and I’m aware they’ll give it to Russ. I just dont agree. When I look at who was the most valuable asset to his team and who was efficient nightly but also pivotal in creating opportunities for his supporting cast, I think kawhi and James did that and more.  Yes I considered team record as well. Russ shot well as an individual. Everyone keeps saying oh he has a trash supporting cast compared to James and this is true but he never gave them the chance to prove you all wrong.  Russell’s season was entirely about proving he could survive without KD & i get that but in my head an MVP is championship minded, and a leader of the team. Bron is bron and John Wall was phenomenal.

PLAYOFFS ROUND 1


EAST 

BOS Celtics/CHI Bulls

  • Celtics 4-2
  • When I heard isaiahs sister passed I counted the Celtics out but since watching game 1 I take it back because they clawed their way to #1 & the deserve more credit 

CLE Cavaliers/IND Pacers 

  • Cavs 4-1

TOR Raptors/ MIL Bucks 

  • Bucks 4-1

WAS Wizards/ ATL Hawks 

  • Wizards 4-1

WEST

    GS Warriors/ Trail Blazers

    • Warriors 4-0

    SA Spurs/MEM Grizzlies

    • Spurs 4-2

    HOU Rockets/OKC Thunder

    • Rockets 4-2

    LA Clippers/UT Jazz

    • Clippers 4-3

    The Jazz and the Hawks I think, are capable of upsets but the rest of the series I feel like the top seeds will be safer  the Thunder Rockets series is a toss up if Russell’s teammates show up, which obviously I’m hoping they don’t.  I’ll be watching that and the Wizards very closely. 

    Also Honorable mention to Kristaps Porzingis. What a pleasant surprise he was. I absolutely LOVED watching him.  It’s unfortunate he’s a Knick and they’re always hard to watch but sheesh- he’s supernatural. An actual unicorn. 

    That’s all for now. I’ll be watching and tweeting and trash talking. What a time to be alive. I’m sure a million people disagree with my commentary lol feel free to state your team or your favorite player in the comments.  Thanks for reading! 

    -Jo💜

    The Road to Epsiode 100 (Scandal-Fest ) Pt.1

    So today a little show called Scandal has it’s 100th episode.  I’m sure no one has ever heard of it; not many people watch.  I’m kidding, of course.  I wanted to take a look back at the last 100 episodes and look at the path of some of my favorite characters on the show for Part 1 of this Scandal extravaganza.  Part 2 will be up shortly after and it’ll simply be my Paleyfest experience/pics of me meeting the cast of the show a few weeks ago.

    So how did I become one of the millions of gladiators who faithfully tune in every Thursday to watch Olivia Pope slay other people’s demons and struggle with her own?  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a die hard Grey’s Anatomy fan.  So naturally, I would be sitting on my couch in a pile of Kleenex, trying to process the final minutes of Grey’s when Scandal would start right after.  I watched because Shonda Rhimes had me emotionally paralyzed by the first show and unable to leave before the second one started immediately after.  When i commit to a show, i go all in, and do my research first.  Looking up ratings and such, i remember seeing an article about how the lead of the show- Kerry Washington- was to be the first black woman in a lead role on a drama in 27 years.  After that, i was all in, because i knew whether the show would be a slam dunk or an airball, i wanted to be at the game to witness it.

    i’ll never doubt Shonda again, because the show was a hit by the end of the first season.  I was having weekly watch parties with my friends in college and we took them oh so seriously.  Yes, it was a bonding time, but there was also an unspoken reverence and respect that is almost hilarious.  We rotated who made snacks for Thursday nights and the guest list fluctuated as our viewing parties got bigger.  People who hadn’t seen each other all week knew they could meet for Scandal on Thursday night.  Talking through the episode however was a surefire way to catch glares and maybe not be invited the next week.  The 3 minutes that commercials were on were the only acceptable times to speak or breath audibly, and even then that time was sacredly reserved for reaction to the OMG scene that had just ended.  Thursday nights since Scandal began have just been such a community even.  When I am not physically with my friends, I’m live tweeting with them!

    One cannot cover the growth of 6 seasons- 100 episodes- of this addictive political soap in one blog post, but the growth from season one to the current season is crazy.  Here are some of my favorite moments

    • Episode 1: Olivia Pope the Savior and her intro to the ABC viewers was phenomenal.  In this episode you see her sashay her hips, talk faster than Lorelai Gilmore, and basically fix literally every problem thrown her way.  They kinda set up the gladiator team at OPA and let you know each member came from some tragic spot in their lives but moved into the light because Liv saved them. I need an Olivia Pope in my life, dont we all?
    • Olitz: Liv and Fitz, Fitz and Liv, the lip tremble and the eyebrow quiver.  Crazy.  I feel like for every 15 Scandal fans i meet, 14/15 of them are enamored with this relationship. personally i grew very annoyed with it because HELLO he’s married.  call me old fashioned because i was always so mad at they way fans praised Liv and crucified mellie, but i disgress
    • but THEN Fitz gets shot and all hell breaks lose.  I dont know if I’ve ever watched a more intense episode of TV ever.
    • You have Liv’s kidnapping and for the first time, superwoman needs rescuing- cue fitz being willing to start a war over 1 woman… NOT HIS WIFE…..clearly he hasnt watched the movie troy.  All of sudden there are fewer cases and Liv herself is the case as her family comes up and we get the intro of Jake, Rowan, and mama pope
    • i also love how Shonda made the political parralels she did that makes the show so relevant. i loved that they tackled issues like police brutality, rape, soliders in combat hiding sexuality choices, corruption in high places- all of it was done so directly and i think it made it wasie to discuss some tings we never did

    its been a crazy ride and in 100 episodes the characters grew, too.  I’ll just end by noting the growth and transformation of my favorite characters

    • MELLIE GRANT- Easily my favorite character, always has been.  Everyone kind of hopped on the bandwagon after her son died and they realized shes not a heartless witch keeping Fitz and Liv from standing being happy. shes a mom. shes a woman who can stand on her own.  The fillabuster was the first sign of this.  not to mention how Fitz treated her and how she had to see his mistress day in and day out but still backed him as president and did her wifely duties.  i just love the strong woman she is.  Give that woman an emmy for her fried chicken graves scenes.  I’d elect her as my president ANYDAY. #imwithher
    • Jake Ballard: its hilarious how jake was introduced as this creepy stalkerish guy who bugs livs house and watches her bathe and drink wine and sleep and now?? now hes this rugged, NSA director (the irony)  we all want to be happy and loved because hello, hes hot!! yeah he killed people for a while, but he always has a good reason right? minor details.  he also went from being Rowans puppet and his “son” to this season being livs puppet so in that aspect he didnt move much unfortunately
    • President Fitzgerald Grant III- what’s funny is im not a Fitz fan.  I hate the way he treats the women in his life, i think hes a terrible president, and i really don’t think he’s changed much or learned from his mistakes.  I think this  new post presidency Fitz from this season is hilariously free spirited and more entertaining to watch.  he reminds me of obama as his term was winding down when he was just ready to go and planning vacations and such.
    • Huck- Liv’s right hand sidekick.  he went from licking quinn, stalking his own family, torturing anyone who didnt speak in a tone liv liked to being shot and locked in a trunk.  I cant wait to see how he recovers after this latest near death experience

    What a show.  Shonda Rhimes is obviously phenomenal.  It’s been a crazy ride so far Gladiators but I’ve loved every second of it!  I’m sure the 100th episode tonight won’t disappoint either!

    Stay tuned for the Paleyfest pictures of the cast!

    -Jo

    Sights, Sounds & Smells of San Diego

    I told you guys I would have a travel blog up here sooner rather than later after my Egypt recap!  There’s just something about the travel bug.  It’s like when you get a small mosquito bite.  It begins as a small red bump on your arm that just keeps itching; you keep scratching and it doesn’t go away.  Ever since I took my first trip back in high school to Mexico, I find myself growing antsy every six months that I am in one place.  That being said, I wanted to do something this spring break even though I didn’t have a lot of time.


    San Diego, California is a city that has endless amounts of things to do.  I was there for only four days and it was not nearly enough time to accomplish all that I wanted to.  Originally, I chose San Diego because coastal and beachy areas are also really relaxing for me.  I’m a big city girl.  I love getting lost and exploring big cities.  Unless if we’re talking Mystic Falls, Stars Hollow, or Port Charles, small towns in the middle of nowhere make me die a little inside (my TV addicts will get those references).  So San Diego is about an hour and a half away from me.  I drove there on a Thursday afternoon and traffic was pretty light.  It was a solo trip, so just me and my Vivian (the Volvo aka my car haha).  I stayed at the Lafayette hotel, and I must say I loved it.  The hotel has a very southern, historic feel to it.  I explored the hotel bungalows, the bar and the restaurant named after Bob Hope, the pool area, and the guest shop basically that whole day.  


    On Friday morning, I went on a tour that I had booked through a travel company online.  The tour was guided, and in a group.  The perks of air conditioning and a knowledgeable person leading you to basically all of the touristy/picturesque sights are underrated.  Driving around downtown by myself was a disaster- the city is growing by the second and building tons of new residential areas to accommodate the Comic Con fans that swarm them annually I guess.  Parking was a mess, and we won’t discuss the one-way streets that I didn’t realize were one-way streets.  The tour was awesome and it was worth every penny.


    I forgot which parking lot I left Vivian in after the tour and I ended up roaming the streets of downtown looking for her in the late afternoon.  I wasn’t that upset about it because I had already paid for a full day of parking.  While on foot, I discovered a district (?) called Little Italy and walked through some of the stores and restaurants there.  The Crepe place I ended up at had a nice server who sat down with me for a moment.  Friday night I was invited to vespers by a group called the SD Care group.  My anxieties had anxieties walking into the house because I watch too much Criminal Minds & I hate being the “new kid” in any room.   But I soon found out they are a very legitimate group of caring, loving, God-fearing people.  I had a good time there.  


    Come Saturday morning, I was too exhausted to go out and socialize.  Being an extroverted introvert means as much as I thrive of being around people, I also need time to myself to recharge and rest.  I spent most of Saturday in the hotel reading, watching lifetime movies, journaling, and just lying in bed honestly.  It was strange feeling like I had no responsibilities and just being able to sit there, but I think I needed it.  Sunday, not much happened outside of me hitting the pool, checking out an awesome East African restaurant Ifound, and driving home.

    I think sometimes it’s important to just take random trips. Go somewhere different. Do something different, be uncomfortable and see how someone else lives. On my tour I met a young girl who couldn’t have been more than 12. She was traveling with her mother, who happened to be blind.  At every spot we stopped mom stayed in the coach and the girl went out and took in the sights, returning to describe in vivid detail to her mom what she had seen. The mother told me she was elated only to be able to provide her only child that experience. She said she was seeing all she needed to because her daughter was in turn getting to see just how big the world is and just how many opportunities lie before her.  I thought it was a beautiful thing to behold, honestly. 


    So- if tasty foods, pristine coastlines, naval history, botanical gardens, Mexican markets, and a warm and friendly people sound enticing to you, I would recommend taking a trip to sunny San Diego! This weekend try to see a little more of the world around you-really see! Feel free to leave comments, questions & concerns below as usual! And shoot me some of your most previous/future travel destinations! 


    -Jo❤️ 

    Pursuit of Happiness? (Egypt 2016)

    So I’m back!  What was supposed to be  a short blogging break accidentally turned into an extended one I guess. It’s been what seems like decades. My days have been filled to the brim, my nights often too short and passing by too quickly.  Lately,I get immersed in the routine of life, and it almost seems like I’m going through the motions without even being there.  The other day I drove home from school and my mind was so wrapped up in the things I had to finish that when I pulled into my driveway, I wondered how I even drove home. The hustle and the bustle of life is often very mind-consuming and it’s easy to just do what you have to do without stopping to think about it. I’m reading a book by former  gold medal winning Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and in it she talks about how we need to stop and smell the roses every now and again.  She talks about how people search for complicated formulas to being happy but the fastest way to happiness is really just doing more of what makes you happy.  So I thought to myself “what makes me happy??” 

    A lot of different things came to my mind when I picked up my phone and began sifting through all my pictures.  I hit pictures from my trip to Egypt last year and i realized, it has been exactly a year since i visited Cairo for the first time.  Such amazing memories.  I remember wanting to go on a mission trip and sifting through the seven or so different trips my school had for spring break.  I remember indiscriminately picking Egypt and not really being sure why.  I remember how I was making payments leading up to that trip, but it all seemed so surreal, right up until we boarded the first leg flight to Amsterdam.

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    I think I have always had a little bit of a travel bug and a love of visiting new places- I did choose to go to a college 7 states away from home, on a whim.  But it’s funny how these things work out.  I shocked myself in Egypt because that trip was mostly a solo decision and a solo adventure.  I went with 12 other people from my school who I did not know, to a country I did not know much about.  I ended up loving the experience so much that i went back to Egypt again during the summer.

    My Egypt trip taught me…

    • that I could travel internationally on my own and not die
    • that i could speak to large crowds
    • that God has a bigger plan for me than i can imagine at times
    • that history doesnt have to be thatttt boring: the ancient Egyptians were anything but boring and I was fully intrigued
    • that i CAN make a difference
    • that i could trust myself
    • that learning is a joint process- teachers can also become students and vice versa
    • I learned that you gotta be a little uncomfortable to appreciate what it’s like to be comfortable
    • I learned that people speak different languages, but there are universal things that break down all barriers- things like love and laughter, music and food
    • I learned that although I am prone to wanna fix things, sometimes all i can do is be physically there- listening, caring, sharing a smile or a hug.
    • Above all, I learned how much i love learning about people in all their different shapes and sizes- learning what they love, what troubles them, what their heart yearns for.

    I think traveling gives you a different perspective because you are not in your comfort zone.  It forces you to physically step into someone else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes.

    It’s been a year and I can still taste the amazing Egyptian ice cream; I can hear the children at NUA laughing and playing soccer intramurals; I look at my Facebook timeline and smile at the pictures and memories that keep popping up and I have no regrets at all.  Going forth I was trying to figure out how I recreate the happiness i felt during that trip.  I am planning a few different trips and saving money for that financially, but I think i can recreate that happiness in my city too.  I think for me, that means doing more of what I love here.- intentionally going out and meeting new people and learning more about their stories, maybe trying some new foods at food trucks in LA, making sure i experience something new at least once a week, and trusting God to put me where i need to be to help the people who need help the most.

    So this week, I encourage you to ask yourself what makes you happy, and do more of that.  When was the last time that you felt blissfully happy? What were you doing and how can you get back to that?

    P.S. If anyone has any super cool travel destination ideas hit me up!! I’ve got a few on my list (Right now New York City, the Netherlands, Kenya, London, & Greece) but I would LOVE to hear about places you visited and loved, or recommend!  I’ll do more travel blogs when I can too:)

    P.P.S. Again, I’d like to thank the people who participated in my Love Series around Valentines Day.  It ended up being so much more awesome than I anticipated. All the people who wrote for me, I’m super grateful and the readers who offered feedback and support, you all are just as awesome. It’s good to know I can experiment with a few things on here and people won’t freak out on me or stop reading. 

    -Jo