THURSDAY PT 2 – NYC

New York City is… wait where were we?

D A Y  •  O N E  •  C O N T I N U E D

Click to read THURSDAY PT 1.

In my last post, I paused at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I felt that the next landmark we visited had to almost have a post all to itself.

The Top of the Rock. Rockefeller Center. This “city within a city” is the home to the Christmas Tree tradition, Radio City Music Hall, and years of New York and American history stemming from the Great Depression.

When we reached the “Top of the Rock“, as many do, we may have turned it into an opportunity for some cute photos. How could we not do that – with the beautiful, unobstructed views of Manhattan surrounding us? New York City seems huge, of course. But when you get to the top of one of the tallest buildings, and begin to think about the hundreds, of people that work on every floor of the other skyscrapers around you – it’s amazing. So many people, in one city, each living a different story, on a different timeline, with a different dream.

The most memorable part of the day, was when we were on our way towards the ground floor. Have you ever heard of flossing? I’m not referring to kind of flossing that the dentist is always telling patients to keep up with better. A dance move from a kid on Instagram went viral when Katy Perry featured him on Saturday Night Live. After said dance move was brought up in conversation, while we were standing in line to get on the elevator, my sisters took it upon themselves to teach our dad how to floss. (Yes, I’m referring to the man that is in the above picture, posing with a sculpture of wings.)

Oh boy.

There was a group of kids (maybe freshmen or sophomores in high school) standing in front of us in line. As soon as my sisters began teaching our dad “how to floss”, they joined in and started doing it too. Soon enough, my dad was flossing at the Top of the Rock with a bunch of high school kids. And right before we stepped into the elevator to ride to the ground floor, my dad received a round of applause from the quite large crowd that had gathered behind us. It was only slightly mortifying – but also a really fun moment to remember.

Some of these moments with family are annoying, and yes – embarrassing, but ultimately it’s family. I can’t wait to look back on this day, and this moment, and remember how cool it was to share this with my parents and two of my younger sisters. And the 30+ additional tourists at the Top of the Rockefeller Center.

to be continued

XO – MC

THURSDAY PT 1 – NYC

New York City is a magical place. It has many names, from the “Big Apple” to the “Melting Pot,” but my favorite one is “The City that Never Sleeps.” NYC is a place where people have worked hard at 3 jobs, while they pursue their dream; where people have tasted new food; where people have grown an appreciation for art; where people have started successful careers; where people have fallen in love. Nothing ever stops moving. It doesn’t matter if someone is there as a visitor or a resident, the city never sleeps.

My sister was offered an internship in New York City for the summer. Her time off from her internship (and the job she also had) was limited, so what better excuse to take a family vacation to NYC? I had been to New York City once before, in 2011, following my senior year of high school. Because our trip also included New Jersey and Canada, our time in “The City that Never Sleeps” was limited to just a few days, but it was still memorable. This trip was more – it was incredible. I’m not sure if that is because I am now old enough to appreciate more of the beauty of NYC, or if it was because I saw more of NYC than I thought was possible in one week.

My family drove in from North Carolina, where they were living at the time, while I flew in from Northwest Arkansas. We settled into our Chelsea hotel pretty late, but were ready to begin our week early the next day.

D A Y  •  O N E

But first, coffee. To any of my closest friends, they know that I am a dedicated Starbucks drinker. And while there are Starbucks locations at almost every other corner of Manhattan, we settled on a place near our hotel, Luna Coffee Shop, to grab our caffeine  fix and breakfast.

My sisters did their research. They planned an efficient way for us to see the most out of New York City and its beauty, all within the week that we had. We started at the Empire State Building. We had been here on our first trip, so we didn’t spend much time there – we had the rest of New York to see. But it was a lot of fun standing where Will Ferrel had stood as his character, Buddy the Elf, once again. Our next stop was the New York Public Library. If I would have been in NYC for college at any point, I would have loved to spend time studying at this library. The detail in the entry, the ceilings, the architecture, and the beauty of the books – it was so peaceful. One of my favorite spots in the library was a little corner that said, “What are you reading now?” Sharing favorite books with each other via a sticky note – how unique and old fashioned. Perfect for New York’s Public Library.

A Midtown Manhattan landmark was the next stop on our itinerary – Grand Central Terminal. In the 1800s, railroads were not only a response to NYC’s growth, but also a catalyst to its growth. Standing in the middle of Grand Central, I couldn’t even imagine how much New York City had grown since that time. There were hundreds of people in that terminal – and a few moments later, there were hundreds more. The constant movement, people passing by other people without a word between strangers, was very unique to watch.

Our next stop was a place very close to our hearts – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Growing up Catholic, there are so many religious traditions that I have carried with me into my adulthood. One of the most memorable Catholic moments that I’ve had goes back several years, when I took some time off school, and was working for a hotel back home. Cardinal Dolan, a St. Louis native, came back to town to celebrate his brother’s birthday with his extended family at the hotel where I worked. By the end of the weekend, I received a thank you letter from Cardinal Dolan, which means a lot to me being in the hospitality field. Fast forward to this trip, and getting to visit his parish – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a cool little “Catholic-nerd” moment.

Oh if only you could have been there…

to be continued

XO – MC

WILMINGTON, NC

“There’s a day when you realize that you’re not just a survivor; you’re a warrior. You’re tougher than anything life throws your way.” – Brooke Davis, One Tree Hill

This past January, I visited Wilmington, North Carolina where the One Tree Hill series was filmed. The most emotional of the places that I visited was a rusted, white bridge, that is seen in each episode’s introduction as Lucas Scott dribbles a basketball across.

How can a bridge be emotional? I guess it wasn’t the bridge as much as it was the actions of people from across the nation that impacted my experience there at that time and still today. One Tree Hill’s story is a rollercoaster of emotions, detailing the struggles and blessings of friendship and love. The show never saw an absence of inspirational quotes – from an entire range of emotions. These two quotes were of hundreds written in permanent marker on the bridge.

“People always leave…” is barely visible on the left side, but another person responded to her by saying, “But sometimes they come back.”

Some quotes have faded away and you can see where people retraced them. Some people wrote half of a quote, while someone else finished it – adding even more emotion to my experience visiting. For example, one of the most recognized phrases of the show is from the two-part quote, “People always leave…but sometimes they come back.” It’s said by one of the main characters, Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton), through her struggle of loss, absence, and much more. If you look closely at my photo, you can see a very faded “people always leave” on the left side. I could tell that weather has taken its toll on this bridge between all of the rust and faded quotes. But what this photo told me is that someone out there has enough hope and faith to talk to someone through a phrase on a bridge and say, “But sometimes they come back.”

As I struggle with my own heartbreak and absences, I keep thinking about this bridge and how I felt when I took these photos. It was powerful. It was inspiring. It was uplifting. Saying “sometimes they come back”, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person we miss will come back. But it means that maybe months or years down the road, they will either come back into our lives as a friend or be replaced by someone else that will bring that feeling back.

Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) said, “There’s a day when you realize you’re not just a survivor; you’re a warrior. You’re tougher than anything life throws your way.” She’s right. I’ve survived so far, and others have survived much worse than I have faced. So why should I let heartbreak or loss or absence define me? The more confidence and strength that I gain, I find myself to be more than just a survivor every day.

XO – MC

EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE

People are constantly saying that your 20s are for “finding yourself”. We typically start our 20s while in college, have our first legal drinks at 21, fall in and out of friendships and relationships, pick up and quit hobbies, and soon enough we’re a quarter of a century old.

In the first 3 and a half years of my 20s, I was in a serious, long-distance relationship with someone who I believed to be the love of my life. He was younger than me, though not by much. As I watched my classmates get engaged, married, and start to have kids, I knew that I was ready for the serious decisions in life. He was not. As time progressed and he made less-than-serious decisions, we went our separate ways.  Maybe one day I’ll tell my story in another post, but today is not that day.

I realized soon enough that time is relative. Healing is relative. It may take 1 week, 3 months, or 1 year for someone to tell you that they love you. And it may take 1 week, 3 months, or 1 year for a broken heart to heal. A broken heart may never completely heal, because we’re human and we’re flawed. But it’s how we strengthen ourselves after the broken heart that really matters and eventually that defines who we are.

I’m not completely sure what this blog will be about yet. I’ve heard sometimes it just comes to you as you go. I don’t want it to be “just another blog” that blends in with others and is eventually neglected. It will be about confidence, growth, and discovery. For now, I’m going to use it as an outlet. I might talk about my job, traveling, my family, falling in and out of more friendships and relationships, and those hobbies that I decide to pick up. I can’t wait to share how I figure out life with you, and look back on this one day as a time-capsule of memories that I want to treasure forever.

XO – MC