Letting It Out & Letting It Go

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

Warm Weather, Warm Heart

Spending so much time outdoors last week made me exponentially happier 💛

Linley and I spent five days at the dog beach, including one morning at sunset. We also met some new neighbors on our block – both human and dog! – and enjoyed some lemonade stands along our afternoon walks. These kids are gets salespeople around here! Chasing Lin at the beach and watching him play with other dogs and kids was incredibly heartwarming—and exactly what I needed 🙂

Here are several photos and videos from our week:

Life’s a (dog) beach!

My beloved dog-turned-best friend, Linley, and I are blessed to live so close to the most popular dog beach in Chicago.

Note: “Close” in Chicago terms means either ~an hour walk, or a ten minute walk plus two train stops followed by another twenty minute walk (Or an 11-minute drive…).

Regardless, it’s nice being so close to what we love: Lake Michigan, the sand and the sun!

I’m taking a little sabbatical from work—giving Linley and I more opportunity for fun in the sun. Over the past five days, we’ve gone to the dog beach twice. Watching Linley smile and make new friends, prance around the shore, get the zoomies in the sand and let the sun hit his face instantly warms my heart. I forget about all my problems when I’m around him 💛

On Monday, my friend Andrea met us at the beach—followed by a lovely stroll around Uptown, her soon-to-be new condo and an outdoor dinner. We ordered burgers (mine was vegan of course!) and I asked for a plate of grilled chicken for the little guy. Linley was such a good boy—per usual. I’m also lucky that he’s great on long walks and the CTA trains.

Photos and videos taken Wednesday, March 16 and Monday, March 21

South Haven, Michigan

I know that the title of my blog is “A Michiganian Abroad,” but I have been doing a lot of domestic travel since I’ve been home from Thailand. 

This summer has been filled with student loan payments and a new job, so my international trips are on hold until 2018! 


On Thursday, I traveled to South Haven, which is right on Lake Michigan, for an overnight work retreat. The scenery was beautiful, the food was amazing, and the company was much needed! 


A few of my team members live out of state, and getting to know them for the first time was awesome. We had ice-breaker challenges and I won the cup stacking competition (I never win anything…)!


I went swimming in Lake Michigan with Kevin for about an hour. The water was much warmer than usual, but the waves were as high and frequent as I remember. Tonya and I skipped rocks for a while and I failed miserably every time. I still loved my time on the beach with them; they’re two of my favorite coworkers and getting to know them better over the two days meant a lot to me. 


As dorky as it sounds, being in South Haven was a highlight of my summer. My company owns the property we stayed on, and I can’t wait to go back! 


At dinner, we played adult Clue/had an interactive murder mystery game. I’ve always wanted to do this and it was so much fun! The only awkward part was that my character had an affair with my boss’s character, but we had to play the part! I had to cry every time someone mentioned my dead lover’s name, which was “Sal Fee” (like selfie)! 


Sitting around the bonfire with a view like this was something special. Tonya, Steve, Kevin and I played corn hole and the sunset came alive. I can’t wait for next year’s retreat!