They Call Me Abby Apple Tree

I am now a certified Yoga Instructor. It feels incredible to say that. I almost just want to scream it to the world. I worked my booty off, I learned so much, I grew as a person faster than you can blink! Of course I also found my second family. It is insane how so many random people come together for the same purpose and desires to grow. I have so many new goals that were created through this experience such an impact I am ready to make.

Yoga has always been a part of my life, a larger part at some points, and much smaller during others. The idea of becoming certified never really crossed my mind until the option was literally sitting in my lap. I did not have a regular practice, I was certainly not flexible, and I definitely did not know most of the poses. However, I had the time and the money at this point in my life to give it a go. Now that I have completed the training I now know the doubts I had were completely irrelevant. As long as you are striving to do the best you can, you in fact are doing yoga.

People see yoga as just about stretching, something that is only for flexible young women, or that is just for hippies and so on and so on. Honestly yoga is whatever the hell you make of it, and whatever you want it to be. It is up to you to develop a practice whether it is just sitting in your house in silence taking the time out of your day for yourself (some would also call this meditating). It could be just making conscious choices for your body. It can be a form of therapy for some, an escape, and a full blown work out for others. In the end it is whatever you want it to be.

I am so excited for the new journey and all the new information I have opened myself up to obtain. This is an experience I feel everyone should embark on at some point throughout their life whether they plan to teach after or not. You will evolve in more ways than you can imagine if you enter with an open mind! I cannot wait to share more about my experience. Please comment any questions you have!

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Inspiring

“I keep hearing these inspiring sayings. Whether it is a post on social media, on a podcast or something small I catch when someone else is speaking in a movie. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what is going to make me happy. I know it is an adventure and I think it is something I need to do on my own. But… is it wrong to want to do that with someone else? Are you suppose to grow with someone by your side even if you are growing at different paces? It is all so confusing. I feel like I am at this total hippy stage in my life and I can’t decide if I am settling with the people I have surrounded myself with or if they are. People tell me that I am awesome and inspiring and beautiful. It kinda pisses me off though. Maybe that is what they truly see but it bothers me that I can’t see that for myself. It is total bull shit. I also hate how it always seems to come down to guys for me. Some girls have these lists of what they want in their significant other and I guess I do too, but it is so broad and I swear I could make anyone fit into it. One day I want comfort and the next I want adventure. Finding yourself is hard, its confusing, its depressing at times, but I will tell you what, I know for a fact I will not be disappointed in the end. I know it will be worth it. Because the pain I am going through and the pain I am putting others through will not be for nothing.”

I wrote this the day after I ended a relationship that lasted almost a year. At the time, I felt like the worst person in the world and could not quite put my finger on the reasoning on why I suddenly knew this was right but now I know. People come and go in our lives and in the moment it is hard to make sense of it all. This is such a wild story so buckle down, but the day before I ended this relationship I met someone.

I had knew this someone for some time through a mutual friend. My first thought was “he is so far out of my league,” and the real kicker was that he did not even live in the same state as me. He messaged me and said he was coming to my city for work and asked if I could show him some of the sites. I was hesitant at first and thought it would be wrong towards my relationship at the time. So I asked if my boyfriend would mind. He did not. Then, I found out the weekend that this someone was coming to town there were three large events happening and ever single hotel was booked (I looked they really were). He needed a place to stay so I offered. Was not the smartest move on my part I will admit. I got instant butterflies. I checked with my boyfriend at the time and once again he did not mind. The day this someone came into town I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. I showed him all the most amazing spots in the city and took him to the most authentic restaurants. That evening my best friend and her cousin went bar hoping with us. I had googly eyes all night. (I even got lost in his eyes at one point and totally missed everything he was saying… I thought that kind of thing only happened in the movies.) This man was inspiring me in ways I never knew could exist and was so respectful in every way. I never told this someone I had a boyfriend. Which sounds bad but in my mind I did not want it to matter, I wanted to be my own person and I did not want him to treat me anyway different because of it. And he did not. We did not hold hand, kiss, or even hug. We just continued with good conversation. Continually picking each others brains. Inspired is the best way to describe our conversations.

That night my best friend pulled me aside and said to me “What the hell are you doing! I have never seen you happier and this guy is clearly mad over you.” I instantly was in shock. Long story short she sat me down and gave me this whole speech about my own life from the outside in and how I was not striving hard enough for my own happiness and how all I was doing was wasting my energy to make others happy. I could not have agreed more with her. The following day I ended things. It was hard and I knew how bad I had hurt him. But I also knew I was hurting myself by continuing the relationship. Now this someone I had met was not the only reason things ended, their were plenty of other things going on that were very wrong in our relationship and different goals we both had on a long term spectrum that were far from matching up. We were not growing together or apart. We were just in a stagnant world were neither of us could grow.

Fast forward almost a year. I am now dating this someone and I can say I have never been happier. I am not saying you need someone to grow as a person or not. At this point in my life I just needed to do more and this someone encouraged me to do just that. I have been traveling, meeting a ton of new people, learning new things about myself, gaining new perspectives, and I even became a certified yoga instructor. I cannot wait to see what the future holds with someone by my side inspiring me in new ways each day.

Working Hard? Hardly Working?

Its so weird to me. Life after college. Everyone asks, “Do you like working full time or do you miss school yet?” And honestly I was beyond ready to be done with school and start a real job. I had done many internships and was confident in what I wanted and that was a real damn job.

I have always been so focused on the future and what will come of it and who I will be. I should be living in the present but sometimes that is not the case. So here I am working at a large international firm and realizing what a disappointment school was.

From day one they tell you of the impact you are going to be able to make one day once you have graduated, once you are experienced, once you have won and lost a few battles,you would truly be able to influence another life in a productive and positive way. And I am here to tell you that this is complete bull shit. It was like being at Disney when they tell you “its the most magical place on earth.” when really it is stressful and chaotic as hell. College sat there and convinced you that this is suppose to be the most important time of your life, the time when you are suppose to find yourself, where you become who you are suppose to be. They sell you on your major day one and then you are hooked for the next four years. So again, here I am at this amazing company realizing I never signed up for this career for the money and here I am getting paid way more than I planned on. But that is not why I signed up for this, I signed up to make an impact. And this impact is not happening. And yes, I am new this is still only my first year in the profession but when you see the other people who have been here longer who have been sucked into this lie, you realize everyone gets lazy and forgets the reason they started in the first place.

Every time I told someone what my major in school was, I felt like I needed to defend it after… I had one of those career paths that everyone thinks they know what its like when it is the total opposite at least that is what I thought…. The school created this beautifully designed story of what a typical life in this career would be and it was everything I wanted. I worked my ass off to get where I am. So after all this time when I have had to defend my education and what I had been striving to do for the rest of my life, I was wrong. My major is exactly the opposite of what I thought it was. I wish I could say it was just the company I am at or the work I am doing or the project I have right now. But the truth is its not. Its been like this since day one and I have missed all the signs.

I guess you could say many things in life are this way. You get so caught up in something and ignore all the bad. In the end though it is all what you make of it. The people you are with everyday and what you make of your time outside of work. Trying to cultivate the positives in all situations as hard as it may be.

Fingerprints

Fingerprint (n): an impression or mark made on a surface by a person’s fingertip, especially as used for identifying individuals from the unique pattern of whorls and lines

You know what else is like fingerprints. Every damn day of your life. Not one day is going to be the exact same as the previous. The leaves on the trees are not going to be the exact same as the prior day. The temperature will never match up perfectly with another day and all the activities included. All the emotions and thoughts you have will never be the same as they are at that very moment. And honestly that kind of sucks.

For example, I’m currently on a bus riding 165 miles from Ohio to Pennsylvania to see Fallingwater (for those of you who do not know what Fallingwater is, I will let you looking it up in all that free time of yours instead of spoiling it for you!) and it is peak season for the leaves changing. Let me just say it’s absolutely breath taking. The rolling hills covered in vibrant fall colors and the small streams that run in between and the sky is a dark grey. (Mentally preparing for the rain.) It’s amazing. And I’m sitting here thinking about how much I just want to tell our bus driver to stop so I can take a picture. However, at that point it would probably be best for me to walk. But even if I were to drive here a different day it’s never going to be the same images I am seeing now and I’m just going to have to rely on my own memories.

Anywho… I will get to my point. Do you know how many moments like this there are? Where you just want to hit pause so you can take it all in. I know I have a lot some are the simplest things too and they are never going to be the exact same as the first time they happened. So stop taking advantage of the little things it will never be the same the second time around.

Happy?

Surprise! I’m back. Life has been chaotic! Not a bad thing at all but, I have noticed I’ve been making lots of lists. I always have. What can I say I like my life to be organized even though it’s not most of the time. I like my lists and post it’s covering my planner. I think I would die if I ever left my room without my planner to be honest.
I list literally everything. Things I actually need to do. Things I want to do. Things I need to buy. Things I want to save up for. Funny things my boyfriend says. Things that are easy to cross off. I do it because I like being productive. I feel like everyone should, your instantly relieved of stress and who doesn’t love not being stressed!
Anywho… life has been crazy and I’m going through one of those phases we all have where we want to do everything and anything that we don’t have time for because real life continues to get in the way. Well, I am putting my foot down and I am actually going to start doing those things on the “Things I want to do” list. We all have one of these lists whether it’s written down or buried in your head. It’s the list with your goals in life that you continually put aside even though you know if you would just do even one thing you  would be so much more content with yourself. Do you know which one I’m talking about yet? Well, regardless I’m doing them! Even if it is just one, I’m doing it because I know they are the things I won’t regret and the things I will remember in my happiness in years to come. I challenge you all to do the same.
Comment below which thing (or things!) on your “Things I want to do” list you plan on doing this week!

Beyond Blessed

I have noticed that things come into life when you least expect it whether good or bad. This summer I needed an internship for school. Guess what? I did not get one. So I had been scrambling for odd jobs ever since I got home from my travels, basically looking for activities to fill my time that I wish was being used to travel some more. Any who… I had one of those days that was just one thing after another and to top the end of the day off  I had a dentist appointment. I am sure most of you may hate the dentist but mine is awesome. It is an experience in itself.

I was their last patient of the day and afterwards, my dentist, the secretary, and I just sat around and talked for a while. My dentist was talking about how one of her other patients had texted her saying that he was desperate for another leader for a mission trip to West Virginia. She was saying how there was no way she could close down her business for a whole week. Without any thought I told her to give him my number and that I would go. So, she did and I spoke with him, Colin, the following day.

Colin asked me numerous times if I was 100% sure I wanted to take on this group of teens and wanted to make sure that I knew what I was getting myself into. Realistically, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I have always wanted to go on a mission trip but have never known of any, that I loved kids, and of course needed something to do!

So, a week later I am in a van on my way to West Virginia with twenty five teenagers.

We had a very large group so they split us up. Half of us worked on a ramp for an elderly woman, and the other half worked on a roof for a large family. I was with the group working on the roof. Which quickly turned from a roof to a wall project.

The first day on the site… it poured down rain so we were only able to work for half of the day. The problems started when one kid stepped on a soft spot of the roof and managed to fall through (don’t worry, no injures). That is when we found the termites… everywhere.

The following day, another boy fell through the roof and shortly after, another went head first (again no injures). The second day the contractor showed up. He was in charge of four different sites so it was hard to claim him for a day. When we showed him the areas with the termites he said that it was a mix or several different insects that had infested the roof. He had us pull up the whole area and then we even found the infestation had rotted out more than half of the back wall and that needed to be replaced before we could even begin on the roof itself. We managed to get a lot done when Kim the contractor was around.

It was hard at times because we did have a group of great teens who really wanted to help but with the damage the water and termites had done to the roof, it was hard to keep them busy when only so many people could be used at once. So we decided to pick up a new task for them. Long story short, the family that we were helping had many adorable animals and one of which was a pit bull named, Prince. So, we decided to build him a new dog house.

After we finally began to make progress on the roof, that was it. It was time to leave the site. We said goodbye to the owners and they thanked us and were so appreciative of all the work we had accomplished. We left and went of a short hike (if you ask any of the teens though they will tell you it was not a short hike) up to a beautiful view of the New River Gorge Bridge. We spent quite a while there taking pictures and enjoying the scenery before heading back for a very emotional chapel.

On our final full day of the trip we went white water rafting. I had gone white water rafting before and hated it because it seemed to have just been a whole lot of paddling and not a whole lot of rafting and was concerned that this would be similar. I pushed Colin to switch us over to the more intense trip but he but he said that would not be the smartest idea for this group. I understood what he meant moments after we got on the water that this group liked to jump out of the rafts… quite a lot. The rapids where fun and we had a great time. I ended up burnt to a crisp but it was worth it.

At the end of the trip Colin asked me if the trip lived up to my expectations but the truth is, I did not have any expectations going into the trip but it was easily one of the best weeks of my life. I only wish I could have experienced something like this sooner.

I Cried A Little Bit

Well I have officially arrived back to my homeland of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! After four months of traveling I could not be any happier. These are all the places I have gone:

Florence, Italy (where I lived)

Pisa, Italy

Chianti, Italy

London, England

Rome, Italy

Sienna, Italy

Verona, Italy

Venice, Italy

Dublin, Ireland

Bolonga, Italy

Parma, Italy

Corfu, Greece

Athens, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Milan, Italy

Sorrento, Italy

Capri, Italy

Pompeii, Italy

Positano, Italy

Naples, Italy

Split, Croatia

Krka, Croatia

If you want more information on best things to do in these places or any other travel tips let me know. When you are trying to make the most of a trip, some of which are only in a matter of a few days, it is key to know the best places to go.

Any who… I just want to touch on the amount of tears that have been shed since I arrived home roughly 24 hours ago.

To start, I balled when I saw my family after sprinting through the entire airport. And then after pulling up I got to see my puppy dog (he is not actually a puppy) and I still do not think he is over me being back, he follows me everywhere! The first thing I did when I arrived home was a load of laundry I could not wait for all of my clothes to smell like home! My own bed was even better then I had remembered and not having to share my room with someone might have been the cherry on top! One thing I learned on this abroad experience is that I am not by any means a city girl… so sleeping and not being able to hear people screaming outside, street cleaners, garbage trucks, etc. is pretty nice to say the least.

This morning… let’s take a moment to applaud not having to shower in a two by two shower anymore! So much room for activities! Now the amount of options that opened in my wardrobe… I can not even decide what to wear anymore because it is just too overwhelming.

A few other things that made me tear up was the microwave, dishwasher, driving, popcorn, and obviously Chick-fil-A.

I do not want you to think that this was not the best experience of my life. However, when you run out of money with a month left coming home is pretty damn great. I would recommend to everyone to travel to the places they want to the most because you only live once and it is an experience that is so incredibly worth it and no one can take that from you. Just make sure you make the most of it!