5.29.2015

A Lifetime of Preparing

Let me just begin by stating the obvious...

Prague is pretty much all that is on my mind lately. 

Some of you are probably already tired of hearing about it, and I'm not even there yet. 

It's just like any event in life that we get excited about though. It's comparable to the feeling that I had right before I graduated high school, or started college at FSU, or saw Phantom of the Opera live for the first time. It's that feeling of nervousness and needing time to let everything sink in, combined with the opposing feeling of needing the event to be here right at this very second. However, the feeling that I'm having this go round is about a million times more intense. I can't sit still. My brain won't stop. I'm ready to go. I'm ready for this next chapter of my life to begin. 

On the contrary, however, I have also spent a lot of time dwelling and feeling guilty about leaving my friends and family. I know that moving to a foreign country is going to cause the people that I love a lot of unnecessary worry and stress...and that's upsetting. While I know that everyone is excited for me and happy that I am taking the risk of doing something that I have always wanted to do, I also know that there is a part of them that wishes I wasn't going. And that's not a bad thing, it's just hard for someone like me to accept, because I live to make everyone that I love proud of me. 

I don't like admitting it, but the fact that people have questioned my decision (which is to be expected, right?) has made me somewhat angry over the past few months. I guess it makes me feel like people don't think I'm smart enough to make a responsible decision. I know that's not the case, but being the overly sensitive individual that I am, that's how I always end up feeling. 

I'm slowly realizing though, that the reason there is a disconnect between how I feel about moving abroad, and how my loved ones feel about me moving abroad, simply comes down to one thing...

I have spent a lifetime of preparing for an adventure like this, and everyone else has been thrown into accepting the fact that I'm leaving. 

Now, let me explain what I mean by this. I don't mean that I have literally spent a lifetime of saving money, and making to-do lists, and making sure that I have all of the "necessities" taken care of for some grand tip or move abroad. I haven't been planning specifics, and flight dates, or travel schedules...at least not until recently. Honestly, until about 7 months ago, I didn't even realize that this is something that could actually be possible. 

What I mean by "preparing," is, I have spent my entire life dreaming about the path that my life could take. I have spent countless hours reading about, thinking about, and lusting over beautiful, foreign places. I have spent a ridiculous amount of nights, lying in bed, unable to sleep, thinking about the things I want to do, the books I want to write, and the people I want to meet. I have devoured and loved books and movies about strong, independent women who create the lives that they dreamed about when they were little girls, and accomplished every little thing that they ever imagined. 

And now I have finally found the direction that I am meant to go in to continue to make the dreams that I have been dreaming a reality. While I am definitely nervous about the move to Prague, I am for the most part very calm, and EXTREMELY ecstatic....because, like I said, I have been "preparing" for this so long that the majority of my fears have already been calmed. Therefore, I need to be patient and understanding of the fears that my family and friends are expressing...because they are coming solely from a place of love. 

I'm not even sure if any of this is making sense, but it's just how my brain has recently been processing the situation. I guess I will just end by saying that I am so THANKFUL that I have people in my life to worry about me. I am grateful to have a support system that always has, and always will, support all of my crazy quirks, ideas, dreams, and plans. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world right now, and I can't wait to actually begin this next crazy life chapter. 

5.17.2015

Prague "Czech"list


Moving abroad comes with a lot of preparations...obviously.

Over the past few months, my mind and my desk have been swirling with mental and literal to-do lists of things that I need to accomplish before I board my flight on July 31st. Some things are major, and some are minor, but they are all extremely important in making sure that this move goes as smoothly as it possibly can. Of course, I have already accomplished most of the major things:

✓Passport
✓ Plane ticket
✓ TEFL tuition

Travel insurance is the last really major thing that I need to purchase. I'm hoping to do that sometime this week. I also still need to do things like make copies of all of my important documents, such as my passport, birth certificate, ID, etc. (one set to take with me and one to leave here with my parents) just in case something gets lost or stolen.

I'm in a constant process of trying to sell anything and everything that I possibly can, and also trying to decide what things I for sure want to leave in storage here in the states. Plus, I'm about to actively begin trying to sell my car, which is kind of bittersweet because I have had it for so long, but also necessary for the move as I obviously won't need it.

And, of course, there are still a million other little things that I have to figure out, such as my cell phone, moving out of my apartment, cancelling all of my services and bills that I won't need here anymore, getting any mail that I will still receive forwarded...

The list goes on and on. Luckily, I'm not having to work on the process of obtaining my Visa on top of all of this. I can stay in the Czech Republic as a tourist for up to 90 days, and the language school that I"m getting my TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification through helps with the Visa process while I'm there. All I have to say about that is...thank goodness!

Lately, to distract myself from worrying to death about all of the huge things on my "czech"list, I think about the minor things...such as luggage, packing, travel necessities...you know, the "fun stuff." That's why I'm so excited to be able to say that I can now cross the largest item on the "fun stuff" category off of my list.

✓Suitcase

Now, of course I already own a suitcase, but it's small, and old, and nowhere near what I need to take with me when I move out of the country. I have actually been somewhat picky about choosing a suitcase. Because, first of all, a nice, well made suitcase isn't cheap. And, not that this is the most important thing, but having a suitcase that is visually pleasing/easy to spot is an added perk.

I have priced large suitcases at several different places, and just haven't found one that I was ready to lay down the cash for. Coincidentally though, I went into TJ Maxx yesterday to browse around for something else, and the second I walked in the door the luggage section practically called my name. And boy, was I excited to discover that they had an awesome selection of nice, name brand luggage for way less than anywhere that I have looked. Being the rational person that I am, I debated over four or five and weighed the pros and cons before I finally made my selection. I walked out of the store with a brand new Jessica Simpson suitcase that is the perfect size, and I only paid $79 for it. Yeehaw.






I'm super happy with it, and very glad that I didn't just buy the first suitcase that I came across. This one is super well made, has a great warranty, and...it's cute, which again, is not the most important thing, but it definitely doesn't hurt my feelings either. It is now sitting in the corner of my room, and every time I look at it I get butterflies in my stomach. This is the suitcase that's going to help me move my life to a foreign country. How crazy/scary/exciting/phenomenal/unbelievable/totally awesome is that?

My countdown is now at 75 days to takeoff! I still have A LOT to do in the next 75 days...but I have no doubt that everything will get done.

As always, than you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

5.12.2015

A Weekend in Tampa

My mom and I took a little mini vacation this past weekend, and it was wonderful.

As a gift this past Christmas, my parents bought me tickets to see Broadway's Beauty and the Beast at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. My mom and I decided to make a weekend of it, and have ourselves a little getaway. Therefore, we had a three-day weekend full of shopping, yummy food, and some much needed mother-daughter time. Also, Beauty and the Beast was phenomenal. I don't think I will ever be able to truly express the joy that I get from musicals and the performing arts in general.

It was a fabulous weekend. I'm really cherishing the time that I'm spending with my family and friends lately, because in just a few weeks (80 days, to be exact), I'm going to be moving very far away from everyone that I love. I only hope that my Mama realizes how much the time spent with her this weekend meant to me!

Now, to share a few pictures:


//On the road to Tampa!
//Our hotel, which was right next door to the Straz Center!
//It was a perfect day to walk downtown for some lunch. 
//Lunch from Taco Bus.


//The view from our hotel room. 
//In front of the sign for the show. 
//Me in front of the Straz Center. 
//Mama with the super colorful statue in front of the hotel. 


//Downtown Tampa. 
//Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.

That's about all I have for today. I'm off to pack my lunch for tomorrow and then probably be in bed by 9pm. Sometimes I think I'm 65 instead of 25...

5.03.2015

5 Thoughts You Have While Preparing to Move Abroad

It's no longer a secret that I am planning to make a HUGE move at the end of the summer. On July 31, 2015, I will be hopping on a plane and setting flight to not just a new city or new state, but a new COUNTRY. I am still in a bit of a shock. Beginning in August, Prague, Czech Republic will be my new home. (That is officially the strangest sentence I have ever typed.)

Now, I have been through my fair share of emotions since making this decision. First there was overwhelming excitement. Then there was worry of whether or not I would actually be able to make it happen. Now, I would have to say that I have officially reached the "fear" portion of the "preparing to move abroad process." Over the past couple of weeks, my mind has been a bustling metropolis of thoughts, questions, and "you can do this" pep talks. So, in order to make myself feel a bit less crazy, I figured I would get everything out on the table and turn my thoughts into a blog post. 

Introducing...


5 Thoughts You Have While Preparing to Move Abroad

1. AM I ACTUALLY GOING TO DO THIS?
Okay, so correct me if I'm wrong, but moving abroad is kind of one of those things that you dream of doing, and think about how amazing it would be to actually do it, but in the back of your mind you still kind of think it will never happen. Am I right or am I wrong? As I mentioned earlier, this entire thing is still so...surreal. I have the passport. I have the plane ticket. I'm doing everything possible to make sure that I will have the money. Yet, it still somehow hasn't hit me. 

2. WHAT IF I HATE IT?
In the back of my mind, I know that there is just absolutely no way that I'm going to HATE this adventure. Yes, I know it's going to be hard. I know I"m going to get homesick, and I'm going to have a somewhat difficult time adjusting. I'm probably even going to do my fair share of crying. But, am I going to HATE it? There is absolutely no stinkin' way. I think this question still pops into my head every now and then though because "What if you hate it?" is a question that I get asked A LOT lately. Therefore, of course I"m going to dwell on it every now and then. 

3. WHAT IF I FORGET SOMETHING CRUCIAL?
As I'm sure you an imagine, there is A TON of preparation involved with moving abroad. I mean, you are practically picking up your entire life and running full speed into the unknown. There are the basic preparations, such a what to do with your stuff (because you obviously can't take it all with you), how to keep in touch with people, making sure you have enough money, etc. However, there are also the more complicated things, such as Visa applications, and traveler's insurance, and researching the culture and the people that you are about to be surrounded by. It's a lot...but I suppose that's what list-making is for. 

4. IS THIS A MATURE/RESPONSIBLE DECISION?
I kind of hate that I even worry myself about this one, because honestly,..why would following your dreams EVER be an irresponsible decision. Some days though, I get so caught up in the logistics of everything. So, I'm going to leave a guaranteed job, a comfortable apartment, all of my friends and family, a steady paycheck, and my health insurance? I'm going to sale my car? I'm going to get rid of most of my lifetime of belongings? Yes, yes I am. And I'm doing all of this to go to somewhere I have never been and teach English as a foreign language? I'm doing this to learn, and travel and grow as a person? Yes...yes I CERTAINLY am. 

5. WHAT AM I HOPING TO GAIN FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
This question always has the same answer, and that answer is...everything. I am hoping to gain everything. I want to satisfy my craving for "more." I want to see places I've never seen. I want to hear languages I've never heard. I want to meet new people and make new friends. I want to try new foods, and listen to new music, and submerse myself in things that are going to put me ridiculously far outside of my comfort zone. I want to gain everything...and I CANNOT WAIT. 

Have you ever lived abroad? Do you currently live abroad? Are you, like me, in the process of moving abroad? I want to know all about it! 


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