Being Grateful: Fifty-Ninth Edition

Hello once again friends! It’s time to recount what we have to be grateful for, because there’s always something, even if it’s as simple as chocolate, our pets, or having access to the internet.

I apologize for the delay here, but better late than never, right? It brings me a lot of joy to write these posts and have you all share in being happy and grateful together. I’ve been blown away by the reception this series has gotten since I started it, and I can’t ever see myself giving it up.

It’s been mentioned before, but making gratitude a habit has been a huge game changer for me, and I don’t regret it at all. So if you need a little motivation, hopefully I can provide it! And since it’s the middle of the week, I hope it serves as an additional pick-me-up.

The reasons I have for being grateful this week - 59th edition!

Being Grateful for an Awesome Volunteer Opportunity

Back in December, I had applied to volunteer at a rather large convention happening this summer for one of my (new) favorite companies.

For those of you that have been to FinCon, I think we can all agree there’s something energizing and amazing about the atmosphere for those 3 days we’re all together under the same roof.

Conventions and conferences are great opportunities for networking and friendship, and I’d actually love to go to more, but alas, they’re a tad expensive with tickets and travel factored in.

Anyway, I was eagerly awaiting to hear back to see if I was accepted (they had over 2,200 people apply), and the news finally broke last Thursday. I checked my email to see I had been chosen, and I pretty much did a victory lap around the apartment.

I am beyond excited that I’ve been given the opportunity to help out along with 500 other people. This convention has been massively successful in the past, and I hope to be able to contribute to that. Besides that, I’m really interested in seeing how everything is run behind-the-scenes.

Have any of you ever volunteered at a convention or conference?

Time With Parents

When I fly back home, I always fly out of the airport near my parents. Flying out of Charlotte is at least $100 more, and their airport is smaller, so it’s very easy to navigate.

I was happy to get to spend a few extra days with my parents due to the inclement weather we were experiencing last week. They didn’t really want to drive in the rain/sleet/ice mix that was going on during Tuesday, so we left on Wednesday instead.

Normally when I’m there, it’s either with R or family, but this time, it was just the 3 of us, and it felt like “old times”.

I know I probably sound slightly crazy to some people when I say that it was nice and made me feel more “at home” there, but what can I say? I’m very lucky and grateful to have a good relationship with them after all these years. As long as I’m only staying there for a few days, that is. ;)

My dad was also kind enough to make fudge the night they stayed over our apartment, which I’ve been happily enjoying since. Oh, and I had to make sure to bring back pudding from NY so my mom could make chocolate pudding pie.

It’s sounds so simple – and it is – but unfortunately, the instant pudding they sell down here doesn’t come out the same. Hopefully it will make its way down here at some point. Our favorite brand of tomato sauce finally did, which I was very grateful for! (I always buy it just in case it’s a fluke.)

Signs of Spring?

Yes, I know it’s only the beginning of March, but the weather is resuming its craziness, and it will be alternating from the 40s to the 60s all week. I’ll take it, as our electric bill these past two months has been painfully (and maddeningly) high. This is despite the fact we were barely here last month, and only have it set to 69*.

Plus, Daylight Savings Time is next weekend (I couldn’t believe that), which means more sunlight! I don’t know about you guys, but while I’m a night owl and don’t mind the darkness, I do like sunlight during the day.

I just like knowing the days will be longer and warmer soon. It’s been nice having the sun out past 6pm. I’m so ready to kick this feeling of hibernation. Anyone else?

Grateful for My Cats

I haven’t mentioned my cats in a while, but they’re still crazy and cute as ever. My parents got to watch them the entire time I was gone, and apparently they didn’t miss us.

I swear, as long as they have a place to sleep and someone feeding them treats, they’re happy. I wish life were that simple.

Nothing makes me happier during the day than seeing them curled up, napping. They always look so content and I just want to cuddle them, but I know better than to bother them during nap time. Looks are deceiving.

Concerts and Music

I’m not sure if any of you remember, but I mentioned back in November that I decided to purchase tickets to a concert as one of my favorite groups was going to be in Charlotte.

The reasons I have for being grateful this week - attending a concert!

The total ended up being around $65, and it was well worth it!

To be honest, I’m normally not the type of person who wants to be crammed in a bar/venue with loads of other people. I’ve only been to 2 concerts my whole life. R and I got stepped on, bumped into, and all that jazz.

BUT, I didn’t let that stop me from having a good time. Seeing them play live was amazing, and absolutely doesn’t come close to simply playing one of their songs on the computer. I’m so grateful we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone and went.

The atmosphere was contagious, and it made me realize more than ever that music is a uniting force. Regardless of what language we speak, it’s the feeling that music incites in us that matters.

I’m sure they won’t be touring near us any time soon again, but I’m more open to seeing other artists perform live now. We’ll see!

What have you all been grateful for lately? Have you attended any live events recently? Going to any cons this year?

Being Grateful: Fifty-Eighth Edition

Friendship is the number one thing I'm being grateful for this week!Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been doing well.

I know, these weekend posts have been the only thing I’ve been able to crank out lately. At least that’s consistent?

Being on “vacation” and juggling freelance work has been a bit more challenging than I thought.

As much as I tried to get ahead before I left, little things kept popping up here and there. I’ve been completely off any sort of routine as I bounce back and forth between hanging out with friends and my grandma’s house.

When I haven’t been hanging out with people, I’ve been working. I feel like a yo-yo!

But enough complaining. There’s always a bright side to things – that’s what the point of these posts are. So let’s take a look at them.

Hanging Out with Friends

I am so very grateful to have awesome friends. I think I mentioned this when we first booked our flights, but our one friend (who is basically the “leader” of our group – all friend circles have one, right?) made plans for almost every single day this week, in light of our visit.

So I’ve been able to see almost everyone I was close with in college (and after). It’s been a great time, and it honestly feels like we never left. Our friends have always been accepting, but it’s really nice to feel at home after almost a year of not seeing everyone.

Let’s see if I can recap…

On Saturday, after my last post, we hung out at our friend’s house and went to Applebees afterward. It was just like old times in college.

On Monday, we had a little “farewell” lunch because R was leaving, so we went to Friendly’s with two other friends as we don’t have any near us (not that I missed it…). We then came back to our friend’s house, played a few matches of Super Smash Brothers, and proceeded to take R to the airport.

On Tuesday, we went to trivia night at a local bar. R and I had gone once, right before we moved, and it was a lot of fun. It’s free, and you get an entire pizza for your team.

On Thursday we drove an hour away to get lunch at a supposedly amazing place. I got a chicken sandwich, and it didn’t disappoint. I also got a delicious coffee cake muffin. We came back to eat at our friend’s house, played more Super Smash Brothers, and then watched episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which seemed pretty funny.

My friend also had to deal with 4 of us girls craving chocolate, so we forced him to make brownies (well one of us helped). They ended up coming out like cake, but chocolate is chocolate, so we ate it.

After that, we played some Jackbox! This is an online game I was recently introduced to, and it’s a great way to include people whether or not they’re physically there. I believe it’s $25 and can be purchased on the PS4, Xbox One, or Steam.

Only one person needs to buy it. That person can then start games and people can join the games with a room code. The games are all party-friendly and really hilarious. If you like Cards Against Humanity, you’ll probably like these.

On Friday my friend hosted a potluck which was scrumptious. We had meatballs, sweet potatoes, pesto chicken and pasta, cheesey garlic bread, baked potato soup, empanadas, and brownies. I’m writing this after eating it all and fighting a food coma very badly.

After dinner, we decided to play Jackbox again. It’s fun as R can jump in on the fun. I’m looking forward to being able to “spend time” with our friends by playing games with them once I get back.

My plans for Saturday consisted of meeting some new people that I met via the other community I’ve been participating in. Due to the weather, our meet up actually turned into a sleep over, and needless to say, it was pretty fun!

Everyone was super nice and welcoming, and I’m very grateful for their kindness. Plus, we went to a diner in the morning, and I miss NY diners.

All in all, I’ve been grateful to have spent time with my friends again. I do have to say – it makes me sad we didn’t spend as much time with them when we did live here.

After R and I moved in together, around the time I started blogging, we were focused on saving as much money as possible. That meant cutting back on nights out with friends.

As you can see, our friends are fans of frugal activities, but they do go out to eat often. That’s not that hard to avoid, though. Lesson learned.

My financial priorities have changed a decent amount from last year, but I don’t necessarily think it’s for the worse as long as I’m still being mindful of how I spend.

Lastly, I’m actually grateful to be returning home (and grateful my grandma has put up with me for this long). Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed my stay (as you can tell), but there’s only so much time I can live without access to a car or my own bed. And I miss my cats!

Well, since I thought I published this and didn’t, I’ll add that I finally got home around 11pm. My flight was delayed three times and we were never given a reason why. (6:40 pushed to taking off at 9.)

However, instead of getting upset about it, I decided not to. Simple as that. It was something out of my control and not worth worrying over. Thankfully we finally got out (because getting a ride back would have been a nightmare), AND I got an entire row to myself. I like to think that’s a good sign. 

What are you being grateful for this week? When’s the last time you met up with friends?

Being Grateful: Fifty-Seventh Edition

Hi everyone! Happy Valentine’s Day! I honestly kept forgetting it was today until…well, today, since it keeps coming up.

R and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s really just another day to me. I don’t like flowers, and since we’re at my grandma’s, there’s more than enough sweets for all of us!

I was listening to the local news, and they were saying that people spend around $140 on their loved ones today. Yikes. No judgement if you celebrate, it’s just not for me.

So yes, I am grateful to be back in New York! And it’s snowing. What a surprise. It was actually flurrying when we landed, but I’m grateful we had a smooth flight.

We ended up landing earlier than expected, and we had to wait another half hour for our gate to clear, but that’s better than having a bumpy flight.

My first order of business was eating a bagel, and my second order of business was eating pizza. Sorry NC, you kinda fail on both of those fronts.

What else am I being grateful for this week?

What am I being grateful for this week? Being back home in NY, despite the snow!

My Uncle for Picking Us Up

Unfortunately, the only airport that offers decent fares and a direct flight back home is La Guardia. LGA is kind of far for my family, and no one else is available to pick us up except my uncle, as he’s retired. My grandma doesn’t feel safe navigating the airport parking (it’s huge, busy, and confusing).

So every time we come up to visit, we have to make sure he can pick us up. It’s not a fun drive, so I’m thankful he doesn’t mind coming to get us. My grandma came with him, and it was nice to catch up in the car.

My Grandma for Being Her

It feels like I haven’t been gone at all. We came back to my grandma’s house and immediately she was taking care of us as usual. She bought a ton of food and she’s been trying to stuff R as much as possible.

She also called my aunt and confirmed they’re definitely going to be visiting in April, so I have that to look forward to! We just have to figure out how we’re going to fit my grandma, my aunt, my cousin, and myself into 2 rooms. I volunteered to sleep in the closet on an air mattress…(It’s a big enough closet!)

In other news, when I got here I found out my grandma had gone ahead and leased a new Honda Civic, but it won’t be ready to pick it up until Thursday, which I am a bit sad about. I’m grateful she found a deal she’s happy with, though. Hopefully this means she’ll be safer!

Our Friends

We were able to see our friends last night, which I am grateful for as the snow is supposed to get worse tonight. We have plans to hang out, but safety first!

While it’s been 10 months since we’ve hung out with everyone, some things never change. =) One of our friends also made a delicious cake with caramel that we all got to enjoy.

After sitting around BSing for an hour or two, we had to decide what to do next. It came down to Cards Against Humanity or Super Smash Bros. That was a hard choice, but we ended up playing Smash. R decided to name his character “Meat” and many ridiculous jokes ensued.

My Parents

We ended up arriving at my parents house around midnight on Wednesday, and they were actually waiting up for us. I’m grateful they were happy to catsit, as I would have been worried otherwise.

My mom called Thursday night to tell us they spent the day lounging around on their coveted screen porch, and that they were sleeping peacefully after that. I’ll be Skyping with her later to check-in on them!

Since we’ve been back, I’ve been reflecting a bit on what “home” means.

Even though there’s a less than 10% chance I’d ever consider moving back to NY, it still feels like home. I still identify with being a New Yorker. It’s where most of my family and friends are.

Yet, the people and the food aren’t enough to keep me here. And while it’s been 7 months since my last visit, it doesn’t feel like much has changed. It feels like I’ve been gone for only a month. It’s strange.

I feel the same way when we visit my parents. I can make myself right at home relatively easily, and I always enjoy my time there. But, I don’t think I could ever live where they do for more than a year.

And then you have our actual apartment, which is just a place to live to me. It doesn’t feel like home in the truest sense. I suppose that’s because I always saw our move to Charlotte as a stepping stone, eventually leading to something else. There are still so many cities I want to explore, and while Charlotte has been nice, it hasn’t screamed “stay here!”.

I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but I am at least grateful I get to have two places to call home. “Home is where the heart is” sounds about right!

Slight side note — I’ve been noticing that comments are going a little wonky. For some reason, even though I unspam certain comments, they’re getting deleted. I apologize if one of your comments has been eaten. =( I’ve tried to look for ways to get them back, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix.

What are you being grateful for this week? Any of you getting hit with more snow? What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Where’s “home” for you?