I had one of the best weekend I’ve had in Michigan in a very long time! Following my last post, I’m actively working on cherishing the friends in front of me instead of feeling pain from past relationships. Two of my closest friends made my weekend in two of my favorite Michigan cities so special.
On Saturday, Emily and I visited some cool spots in Detroit: Two James distillery, a bar across the street and Cliff Bells jazz club. We laughed, vented about work and had deep conversation about life, love and relationships. It’s fulfilling to have such a mature, “adult”-like friendship with someone you can laugh the night away with at the same time! I look forward to making more memories with Emily.
Yesterday was a lovely Mother’s Day—although it was different than it has been in the past. I drove from Emily’s to see my friend Crystal, who lives in Grand Rapids (on the west side of Michigan). We had a lovely afternoon strolling through the botanical garden, admiring all the flowers and poking fun at some of the more obscure sculptures.
Crystal and I admired the Amway hotel and ate at a southern restaurant before we parted ways. 💛
My time with Andy and Shawn was everything I needed in one weekend: Relaxing, fulfilling with both profound and hilarious conversation, explorative and engaging. I desperately needed a weekend like that with two people I have recently been able to call friends.
As soon as Andy and Shawn picked me up from the airport, I knew I was in for a great weekend! Andy and I became closer during our in-person team on-site back in August, and Shawn is an absolute gem. They both have been married before and have found true love in each other—which really inspired me as I somewhat begin my journey to find my true love and begin anew. The three of us stayed up until one or two in the morning catching up, and the rest of the weekend was full of laughs, great conversation and time outdoors.
Between exploring new places with somewhat new friends, spending time breathing in what felt like crisp, autumn air and spending hours laughing and learning with their South African friends, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with better people!
Photos taken Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2023
On New Years Eve, I sat with a couple girlfriends on the west side of Michigan, as we wrote down our “resolutions” (I put that word in quotation marks because I like to think of it as more ‘aspirational’ than specific, quantifiable ‘goals’). January has been an exceptionally hard month: seeing my ex-husband for the first time since our divorce and leaving Chicago, losing my dad’s best friend who we weren’t able to see prior to her passing, no longer being able to trust one of my male friends because he led me to believe he was someone he wasn’t, and my depression overall rapidly getting worse. Each month, I’m going to track my progress on each of my wishes for no one other than myself — but feel free to tag along if you wish.
Wish #1: ???
I decided to keep this one to myself for now, but plan to write more about this when the time is right.
Wish #2: Travel to South Africa, & plan other trips…
One of my best friends and her husband recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia from Johannesburg. Andy and I have worked together since the spring, and we became extremely close after all the project managers got together in person in August. Andy and Shawn are the kindest, funniest, most supportive people I could ask for in my life right now — both as individuals and as a couple. They’ve both been through difficult divorces in the past, and inspire me and give me hope that my true love exists — and that I’ll find him someday soon, without settling or compromising my beliefs or self worth. I visited them in Atlanta last weekend and I seriously needed all the laughs, time outdoors, lazy mornings watching TV and meeting more of their South African friends in the area.
Coincidentally, I’ve wanted to visit South Africa since I was about 10 years old. Andy and Shawn really want me to tag along with them the next time they return home. Whether that’s this summer or sometime in 2024, I look forward to my time with them, and to the other adventures abroad that are on the horizon for 2023.
Wish #3: Figure out my health bullshit!
As it turns out, I did indeed have a kidney infection, NOT a gallbladder or pancreas issue. Thank goodness I visited the Women’s Hospital of UofM, or else I probably would’ve had my gallbladder removed unnecessarily. If I still experience symptoms, I’ll be returning to the urologist for further testing, but for now I should be in the clear and my levels – and pain – are stable. I also made an appointment for my back problems and although my spine will never look the way I’d like it to, it was a relief to know that it “isn’t noticeable” to the average person — and now I can start planning for a new tattoo.
Wish #4: Find home in a physical place the way I have found home in myself…
I love who I am: I love how I look, I know what I deserve and I wouldn’t change anything about who I am as a person. HOWEVER, I do not feel at home here in Michigan. I left Michigan for a reason (or, several reasons…) and just because Chicago wasn’t my home either, doesn’t mean that I have to settle for less than I deserve here. Sure, some really good things have come out of me being here again, but my time here has been full of letdowns, false problems, and physical, emotional and mental pain. Maybe I’ll receive a permanent residency permit so I can live in Toronto. Maybe I’ll move somewhere closer to one of my best friends on the east coast. Maybe I’ll move to Charlotte, North Carolina because I had the best time with some of the best people this summer. Or maybe I’ll go somewhere totally new. The overwhelming possibilities are endless, but not all those who wander are lost.
Wish #5: More ink!
As previously mentioned, I’m planning my next tattoo, but am also working on finishing my foot/ankle and really want to get my dog’s paw print on my other ankle soon.
Wish #6: Find a passion – new or old.
I’m definitely getting back into music. As a kid, I was able to play three or four different instruments and found that music was a great outlet for me. Maybe I’ll get back into the piano or play something totally new — either way, I’m excited to explore this more. I also want to start swimming laps at a local gym every day, but am waiting until I relocate because figuring that out is like swimming laps in and of itself!
Wish #7: Heal from my marriage, time in Chicago, friendships ending…
It’s nearly impossible to put a timeline on this one. Progress isn’t linear with this one! Some days I feel on top of the world; others I feel like I’m drowning in my own depression, feeling like the universe is kicking me while I’m down. Seeing my ex-husband earlier in the month was necessary for my own healing, yet it was one of the saddest, heartbreaking things I’ve done. Being around someone you loved and who loved you for nearly a decade… and not being able to be with them in that capacity anymore… unless you’ve tried remaining friends with the person you thought was your soulmate is… hard to explain. It’s soul-crushing. I would give anything to go back to the good times where we both were happy — but my ex-husband doesn’t exactly feel the same way. I had to stare acceptance in the face and truly accept that things will never be as they were. Typing that even now – nearly a month later – feels daunting and depressing.
However… I am opening my heart where and when it needs to be open. I’m not only setting boundaries, but am finally adhering to them. I’m creating space for new friendships and new love, and although I’m losing hope, I haven’t fully given up yet. I wish I didn’t have to struggle this much and feel all this hurt within my heart — but I can only hope it all has to be worth it on the other side.
Wish #8: More bonding experiences with Lin!
I majorly need to step this one up. Because I live with my parents at the moment, Linley has shared the love between all three of us — making it hard to have that quality time I need with him. I hope to plan more adventures with Linley: before, during and after we relocate somewhere new. He’s the best dog in the whole world, and is my favorite adventure buddy!
Wish #9: More reading, cooking, exploring, saying “yes” and “no” when I want…
Saying “no” – even when it’s best for me – is still something I feel extremely guilty about. This is probably one of my biggest personal hurdles I need to jump leaps and bounds over this year. The good news is that I’m reading and cooking much more than I have in the past, and the exploring is still going strong! Over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, my dad and I made homemade gluten free calzones and fish and chips. I’m excited to try even more recipes with the people I love most!
Wish #10: Finding community who loves and accepts me for me…
For the first time in my 29 years of life, I finally have this at work. I can be myself, crack my jokes, bring my personality to all of my projects, consultants and client teams, and feel valued for my contributions. I have never had community in my own family, or in my physical location. I hope to find this when I leave Michigan as well; I want to find that group who I feel deeply connected with and not for the sake of “fitting in” — but truly belonging as I am.
Although I am grieving my marriage and what I’d hoped was “home” in Chicago – and despite some of the hardship I’ve endured since being back in Michigan – there are several moments and people I am beyond grateful for.
It’s been challenging to put all of my emotions into words lately (both positive and sad), but I will say this: If you made me smile or gave me hope in these last few months, thank you from the bottom of my heart! 💛
Many people warned me that my friend circle would change during and after my divorce. I pondered that and thought there was no way my friendships would change during that process, mainly because I felt that I would need a good tight knit circle of support around me. However, I found that some of this is true; certain people I thought would be by my side haven’t been, whereas others have (or have tried). I’ve also been guilty of closing myself off and not being as vulnerable around certain friends. I think this has to do with the fact that I’ve been pleased with newer friendships that have emerged from my new phase of life. It’s a mixed bag of emotions, really, but I’m loving the people I’ve met in recent months who make me feel at home.
Work and travel to Florida and Toronto have brought me the majority of these beautiful, new friendships. From Veronica, Mer and Jenna, to Catherine, Baylen, Giacomo and Cosmo, to Cynthia and Mina… I’m beyond grateful. Wherever I end up moving in 2023, I look forward to meeting new people – and making new friends – along the way. 🖤
Last Friday was one of the most challenging days I have had. It was personally and professionally a really difficult day, and I certainly needed some relief. I was excited to hit the road and head east toward Grand Rapids, Michigan to spend some much-needed quality time with my friend Crystal. She has been a constant during my year in Chicago, and I had actually never hung out with her in Michigan even though she lives there. It was nice to go her way and do some camping before the summer’s over.
Being me, I had let Crystal know that I was emotional. It was a long drive, and a long day in general, and I was mentally exhausted. Little did I know that Crystal had the best surprise waiting for me at the campsite!
With Linley in tow, I parked by her and saw someone else get out of the car. Of course I was polite, but I thought it was strange that she would invite someone else along when we had talked about quality time with just the two of us (three of us including the pup!). Who greets me at my driver side door but Donna! Donna has been one of my best friends since high school, and that’s how I actually met Crystal, and I started crying. Donna’s gesture and Crystal’s surprise were two of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. The entire weekend solidified that there are great people in my life, and there is always light in the darkness.
We spent the entire weekend reading tarot cards, floating down the river, cooking delicious meals and drinking by the campfire. I got great sleep both nights, and had such a great weekend away with two of my best girlfriends. I can’t wait to do it again!
Media taken Friday, August 26 through Sunday, August 28, 2022
Last weekend, one of my closest friends in Chicago and I took a Linley to Cashton, Wisconsin for some fun on the farm!
KP is not as outdoorsy as I am, but we both have a deep appreciation for being immersed in nature and unplugging. About a month and a half ago, we found this cute little Airbnb in Wisconsin and knew we had to check it out and stay there before the summer ended. This quaint little family farm had donkeys, chickens, and even a turkey that tried to peck at my feet! He succeeded, and I made the mistake of wearing open toed sandals the whole weekend!
The ironic thing about the trip is that I am a project manager, which means that I literally get paid to be organized and plan assignments. Here I am being the most unprepared traveler from the get, haha! What I thought would be a one and a half or two hour drive instantly turned in to four one-way, and I didn’t bring all the cooking supplies and equipment that we needed. However, we had the best time, laughed our way through the ill-preparation and made makeshift utensils—and actually prepared some solid food over the fire.
We laughed the evening away with some board games, gin and tonic, and more exploration of the farm. My only regret is that I wish we would’ve had more time there together, but the time we had was more than well-spent. We even braved the cold river where fisherman were catching trout! It was the kind of peacefulness and quality time that we both really needed. And of course, Linley had the time of his life too!
I was expecting a nice, low-key weekend with two of my closest friends who just relocated from Asheville to Charlotte, North Carolina. I anticipated some fun at sporting events, some good eats and tons of laughs—but my weekend was much more than that. I had one of the best weekends of my life.
Last Friday, I flew to Charlotte from Detroit (my parents wanted to watch Lin!) and was exhausted. I was exhausted from the week I’d had—both physically and mentally. Although I was sleepy, I napped during my flight and couldn’t wait to be around Carolina and Matt again. They picked me up around 1pm then grabbed some lunch and margs at an amazing Mexican restaurant. Between lunch and our evening baseball game, I took an hour-long nap while Carolina and Matt ran some errands. As I got ready for the game, I decided to leave my phone at their place—to fully immerse myself in the moment and not feel anxious about incoming text messages.
The Charlotte Knights played two games downtown, and the three of us had the best time. We grabbed a couple drinks, some snacks, walked around and shared tons of laughs and stories. Carolina and I have been close since 2020 and I love spending time with her and Matt. The games flew by, and we even saw some fireworks at the end.
After the games and fireworks, we grabbed nightcaps at The Cotton Room downtown. It took forever for us to get our drinks, and while Carolina and I were waiting at the bar, Matt made a new friend. Nick, the one person who is as obsessed with their dog as I am, joined us for a drink and we all ended up making plans for the following day.
On Saturday, we hung out in NODA—the coolest neighborhood in my opinion. I felt like I was back in Asheville, Portland, Ann Arbor and Chicago all in one. Everyone had tattoos and dogs, and were super friendly! Nick brought his dog Jax along for the fun, and everyone was petting him as we grabbed coffee in the afternoon. We dropped him off and the four of us made our way to Optimist Hall, an old mill-turned-market where we enjoyed some tacos.
Going to the soccer game was so much fun, and I didn’t think my weekend could get any more exciting! Boy, the atmosphere with the crowd and the booing and the throwing things was so much fun. We all got right into it!
The game ended, but our night certainly did not. We grabbed dinner and drinks nearby, and made our way back to The Cotton Room. We cried laughing and shared stories just like the night before. It was so fun to spend time with two of my best friends—and make a new one who is so much like me. We all went back to Carolina’s and Matt’s place, where we stayed up until 3:30am (about five hours past my normal bedtime!). What a great night.
Sunday was also great, mainly because I had a later flight home. The four of us were extremely lazy in the morning, but eventually grabbed even more tacos (see the theme here?) for lunch. Before heading home, we went to a dog park/bar and were joined by Carolina’s brother, Matt’s parents and his sister. The eight of us – plus Koko and Matt’s parent’s dog – had the best time. Nick and I hugged goodbye, followed by Matt and Carolina hugging me at the airport. Once I made it through security, I teared up because I missed them already—and can’t wait to make my way back to this amazing city with even better friends.
Media taken Friday, August 5 – Sunday, August 7, 2022
Crystal and I were finally able to get on the river and kayak downtown last weekend. When I say we had the best time and shared tons of laughs, I’m not kidding! We walked around downtown with our Vitamin Waters and Kettle One peach vodka mixes and headed to Urban Kayak. We were definitely the rule-breakers and tipsiest ones out there – and we may or may not have been reprimanded a couple times – but had the best time and really needed it.
After kayaking, we took ourselves to Caffe Oliva, a beach restaurant right on Lake Michigan with the best view of the city. We instantly felt like we were transported to Miami or something, and of course grabbed another peach vodka cran.
Crystal and I have both been struggling with relationships – and our dynamic with Chicago lately, due to said relationships – and really needed a girls day and quality time together. We’re going through heartache now, but we’ll both be okay in the end. ❤
I was in Michigan for the week and returned to Chicago yesterday evening. My week didn’t go according to plan, but it went better than expected in more ways than one.
The original plan was to meet my team on Tuesday through Thursday, with team building dinners and activities in the evenings. However, our get together was postponed to next month, but I still wanted to visit the office—as well as friends and family.
I took Monday off and spent the afternoon on the river with one of my best friends, Donna. We floated down the cascades in Ann Arbor – one of our favorite pastimes – and exchanged deep conversation and support for one another. We have both been struggling with one-sided friendships and overall relationships in general, which made our quality time even more meaningful. We used to spend every Monday or Tuesday evening together, and I can’t wait to pick that back up sometime soon. We ended the evening with some dinner and gin cocktails near my parent’s house—our go-to routine.
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in the office. I haven’t felt like myself at work in… probably ever… and being around new and some familiar faces was great. I met my boss Justin, my friend Ray, my teammate Jeff and others for the first time, and was able to see Heather and our CEO Jason in person—which hasn’t happened since 2019. My favorite coworker was William, Ray’s dog, who was my buddy the whole day!
Tuesday evening was great because I grabbed dinner with Veronica, a new and quick friend from work. We both started in May and have quickly found that we have a lot in common. We both are obsessed with Whose Line, Seinfeld, Anthony Bourdaine, The Twilight Zone and so much more. We’re even going to see Whose Line live this November! It was awesome meeting Veronica in person and we’re both amazed at how quickly we’ve connected over these past couple of months.
Wednesday was just Justin and me in the office, but it was really nice because we were able to get to know each other a little better. Justin has been incredibly supportive of me – personally and professionally – and I have so much respect for him as a leader. We enjoyed a nice lunch together, and luckily he also laughed at my silly jokes throughout the day!
That evening, I was finally able to spend quality time with my brother from another mother Ter Ter B! We spent over three hours laughing, tearing up, and hugging at one of our favorite Mexican places in town. Seeing him again was much needed and even though we usually talk on the phone four or five days a week, being in each other’s arms and presence again was insurmountable.
Thursday was such a happy, heartwarming day! I worked from home but drove Linley down to his former doggy day care—his home away from home. When we moved last year, his favorite camp counselors were heartbroken to see him go, so seeing some of his favorites was fun for both Lin and me. When I scooped him up after my work day, one of his favorite employees Sam had given him/us a toy, some treats, Camp Bow Wow swag and wrote me a kind note. I teared up reading it on the way home! I love and miss that place for Lin as much as he misses it for himself.
The four of us wrapped up our day with a concert in downtown Fenton, which played all of our favorite 60s and 70s music. I absolutely loved dancing around and enjoying some vodka lemonades with my parents. It was the perfect end to a fulfilling day. ❤️
After work on Friday, my parents and I grabbed dinner and drinks at their favorite place in town. I enjoyed a gin watermelon drink and some vegan drunken noodles. We chatted about life and it was just nice to be with them again. Really the whole week had been nice, business and all.
What was really fun and surprising was hanging out with a coworker Ray in Ferndale (who owns our office dog!). We hopped around a few bars in the area and had a nice time together.
Saturday morning was spent with my Little Sister Aniya, who just graduated high school, and her mom Marcion, who just celebrated her 37th birthday. We grabbed breakfast in Saginaw and shared some tears and lots of laughs. I love them so much and they have truly been a second family to me. ❤️
The rest of my weekend was spent with my parents. We spent some time outdoors, watched some Twilight Zone and even shared some moments of profound conversation. As difficult as things are right now – and as confused as I may feel – I know I will be okay thanks to the support I have back home. ❤️
…this may not have always been the case for my mom and me, but all in all we have overcome some difficult times together. And despite whatever we have endured together and apart, we have always had deep love for one another. Boy did I need her last weekend!
A few weeks ago, my mom called me and left a nearly two minute-long voicemail (if you were born in or before the 90s, you probably have a parent or parent-figure who does this as well, haha!) about this dog dog-friendly “resort” in South Haven, Michigan. We love spending time together with my dog Linley, and we had the best weekend at the Sun and Sand Resort.
Friday was our busiest day with the nicest weather. We met at the resort, where my mom’s huge pieces of luggage exploded all over the room, then headed to Pilgrim Haven Natural Area for some swimming and relaxing on the beach.
Pilgrim Haven was quite rocky compared to other dog beaches we’ve visited together, but the three of us enjoyed it nonetheless. We strolled the beach which led to a cute “pool” and scenic river, found some cool rocks and camped out in a sandy, shaded spot for Linley. He spent the majority of the time in the water, but surprisingly splooted (what dogs do when they lay on their belly with their arms and legs stretched out) in the warm sand for a while. As simple and easygoing as our time was, we had so much fun and I really needed it – almost as much as Linley needed the stick from Lake Michigan!
The rest of our evening was spent in downtown South Haven and at the lighthouse. We ate at a cute local restaurant – where my mom even brought some cooked chicken for Linley. After some great cheesy bread, caprese salad, good conversation and the waitress giving Linley some love and attention, we quickly drove to the lighthouse to watch the sunset. This is where things got interesting…!
Without further ado, my mom face planted on a hill full of sand! She wasn’t hurt and is totally okay, but it was hilarious and had both of us laughing so hard we almost peed! Linley laid in the sand as though we were burdening him by making him wait for us to gather ourselves, which made the “incident” even funnier! Once we wiped sand off of my mom’s face and ears, we laughed our way to the ice cream stand for a much-needed treat. I continued laughing about my mom’s fall the entire evening, and my mom did too! I’m just glad she was okay and a good sport about all of it. A couple summers ago, we were walking Linley near her house and I completely wiped out – making us even now.
After the sunset and some scoops, we went to the front desk of our resort for some fire starters. We were craving smores and some time in front of a warm campfire. Of course we’re amateurs and didn’t use the fire starters correctly, so my mom grabbed a lighter from home. After smore laughs (see what I did there?) we called it a night.
The next day, we headed north about 20 miles to Saugatuck Dunes State Park – a place where I’ve taken Linley once before. It has a beautiful hiking trail to one of the prettiest dog beaches in Michigan, full of sand dunes and warm water. Although the weather wasn’t as sunny or warm as the first day, we enjoyed some our time lounging, hiking and people watching on the beach. After a few hours of that, we made grilled cheese over the fire for a later lunch, then repeated our first day by revisiting Pilgrim Haven and the lighthouse before the rain came in.
Instead of my mom wiping out again, we walked the pier and met some really friendly people along the way. Once we were near the car, it started to rain and we headed back to our resort for the evening. Even though it would’ve been great to see another sunset, we were content with calling it a day and playing cards in the room. The funniest part is when my mom wanted us to look at all the rocks we found from Pilgrim Haven. She pulled out this huge stone and said, “And here’s yours!” I, dumbfounded, said, “That’s not mine, it’s yours…” She used the rock to hold our sheet down in the sand, and had been carrying it around in her beach bag for two days! What a goof…
Sunday, our last day together, we pretty lowkey. It was another overcast day, but still nice enough to have a lazy morning and do some hiking. We found a nice trail nearby, where Linley made a new friend and peed on everything his heart desired. It was bittersweet because as nice as our walk was, I knew our weekend together was coming to an end. We wrapped up our two-mile hike with Linley not wanting to ride in his bike basket, and jumping out of it in the parking lot!
In 2020, we had taken two trips up north: Empire and Petoskey. In 2021, we had a falling out due to tension between my brother and me – with whom I still don’t have a relationship. Being able to spend time with my mom again this summer really meant a lot to me, and I hope we continue to navigate our relationship and a better path forward!
Yesterday evening we ventured over to the AIDS Garden Chicago, memorializing the HIV epidemic and honoring those who live with the disease today.
I hadn’t had a good cry in a while, until yesterday. I’ve been putting a smile on for my new team at work, my neighbors, myself… and the tension I’d been feeling was building up to more I could handle.
Darkness covered us as we enjoyed some cheese and crackers along Lake Michigan when Juan started talking about all our good times together. Knowing that we may not have more of those times together broke me in ways I couldn’t imagine possible—and I just cried. Cried so hard and didn’t have any support from him—not even a hug. I was angry and hurt and scared and alone… until Linley comforted me. He sat right next to me and gave me a hug (yes, my small dog can give hugs!). I made me laugh so hard, and even during one of the saddest moments I’ve had in quite some time, he gave me hope that things will be okay—even if they aren’t right now.
When people say things like “animals don’t have feelings” or “animals aren’t that smart,” I wholeheartedly disagree. I was never allowed to have a dog growing up, but I’ve had my fair share of rodents, and even those little critters had personalities! But Lin is different. He’s the most intuitive fella I know. Others (Airbnb hosts, my friends, complete strangers…) even say that he knows me so well, that we’re a good pair. Even as I type this as I sit at my desk, this is how close he is:
I don’t know a better way to channel my love – and receive it – than being with this guy 💛
Media taken Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, 2022