31 Aug Live like a Lee Ann Womack song…
Jeez Louise guys, long time no blog. Don’t worry though… its not you, its me.
After returning home I felt like blogging about my life wasn’t going to be cool. Or mostly that nobody would want to read what I had to say. I kept asking my dad and sister, “Did people read my blog solely because I was in Australia and they were only interested in the sights and adventures there?” orrrrrr did my humor and stories capture the hearts of you all and in reality you just like to know what I am thinking and doing?
So after some consideration, I decided that I would keep blogging because… dun dun dunnnn…. I want to.
I like writing.
I like telling stories.
I like talking.
I like sharing my thoughts and being able to write words that I don’t know if I would normally say out loud.
I also really like the idea of having all these words and stories and pictures compiled into one place. Its like a diary but not as weird or creepy.
well it is kind of creepy that you all are able to read it but I don’t mind, I use to read my sisters diaries all the time.
I just like to imagine in 10 years, me sitting with Shelby and Cooper or even my own kids (which is unlikely, but hey a girl can dream) being able to read all these blogs and getting to talk about my adventures. That they will be able to read along in detail, about what my life was like at this moment.
So there’s that….
I hope you enjoy reading along too
and now, I will continue blogging my adventures!
I’ve been back home for 2 months, in those days ive been so happy.
The question, “How’s it feel being back?” is a common conversation starter.
Here’s what usually goes down…
(my face lights up)
“It feels good! I missed being around my family and being Auntie. But also, I miss traveling… well mostly because I was in paradise and how could you not want to go back to that. If I could combine my family and friends with Australia and NZ then that would be my idea of heaven.”
But not much time went by before I decided I needed another trip. This time I booked a flight to the East Coast on a mission to watch my best friend play professional soccer.
Taylor Lytle and I have been friends since we were about 13. Our friendship started because we played on the same Competitive soccer team, we weren’t friends initially, she was this little soccer star prodigy and I was this awkward red head (like really awkward). But I won her over when we were stuck at a hotel together and we were kind of forced to hang out.
After that weekend,we were destined to keep causing chaos together. We bonded over laughing too loud and having to do pushups in the middle of games.
Her family became mine and mine became hers.
As little girls, we all dreamed of being professional soccer players. That was my dream until I realized that that’s all it would ever be. A dream.
But Tay had this unbelievable talent. She would step on the field and looked so graceful, it came naturally. She would get the ball and it was like it was glued to her foot. She would literally dance around defenders, and usually I would just stand back and clap.
(That’s probably another reason I wasn’t ever going to be a pro)
She was a top player at her High School.
She got a scholarship to play at Texas Tech and again, was a key player.
Her commitment and drive to play this sport that she loved was so fun to watch.
When she got the opportunity to be a drafted for the first season of the US Womens Professional League she took it.
She got signed to Sky Blue F.C. out of New Jersey.
For 4 years now she has been working towards being a top player in the league and this year she is just that.
I am so proud of her.
With all that being said I would have probably cut my pinky off if I never got the chance to see my best friend play Professional Soccer.
So with a click of a mouse I booked my trip out to The Shore and went wheels up on the runway.
I left at 5:45am from the El Paso Airport on a Thursday. This was also the day after Southwest Airlines had a nationwide computer outage and had to cancel like 900 flights.
Luckily my flight there was fine. (Thanks for looking out for me mom and er)
Everything went smoothly except that they spelled my name wrong on my boarding pass. But because the El Paso Airport is attentive and professional they didn’t seem to care and let me fly there will no problems! (keep that in mind)
I arrived in the Newark Airport Thursday afternoon and jumped into the car with Tay, we spent the hour drive back to her house talking. I don’t think there was a second of silence.
We walked into the FRAT HOUSE which is the house she lives in with 3 other girls on the team and was uncanny to what I would believe a frat house would look like…. (I was obviously an angel in college and didn’t ever go near one.)
That night we went to River Rock, a rocking restaurant on the Manasquan River. The food was good, I ate me some fresh sushi and washed it down with a few beers. The actual restaurant was a little odd. There were so many waiters and none of them knew eachother. The service was slow, but I didn’t mind because I was loving life.
I had dinner with Tay and her bestie Rachel. This girl is hilarious, we hit it off immediately and soon we were all best friends. After dinner we jogged to the corner liquor store and bought three 40’s.
By 40’s I mean 40 oz of beer and were off to see the sunset on the beach.
It was beautiful!
The next day I hung out at the FRAT HOUSE while Tay and the team trained. Part of me wanted to just ask if I could practice and see if they were in need of a very slow and uncoordinated center mid? But instead I went on a nice run to the beach and people watched.
But that evening we went out to eat a modern and hip pizza restaurant in Asbury Park ….. Where I carbed up and sipped on wine.
After feeling good we walked on the pier and had a really solid photo shoot.
The next day was Saturday, it was also GAME DAY BABYYYYYYYY!!!
Not my game day, but I felt nervous enough to say it was. We took the day to just watch some Crossfit Competition and hang out.
There really is nothing like sitting on a couch with your best friend doing nothing but laughing and eating salted strawberries, which is weirdly good.
We arrived at Yurcak Field at Rutgers University. This is their home field and to be honest I was fully convinced we were going to a jail, because I had sworn that I had heard of Rutgers on Law And Order. But per usual I was wrong and the jail is actual Rikers and I am obviously insane and I don’t know why I just told you all that.
As Tay and the team warmed up I made my way into the stadium. I was asked to leave because my purse that’s only slightly bigger than a carryon suitcase was apparently “too” big to bring in. I mean it could’ve fit a small child inside and they weren’t having it.
After returning with my wallet that is the size of a normal small purse, and a solid plead to let me in with that was granted I was stopped by a guy with a video camera.
He introduced himself and this is what happened
him, “Would you like to nominate someone for Soccer Mom of the year?”
me, “Ummm, no im okay.”
Him, “you don’t want to help a mom win a minivan?”
Me, “Do I have to nominate a mom on this team.”
Him, “No, you can nominate any mom. You can nominate your own mom if you want.”
Me, “uhhhh I don’t think that will work out for her.”
Him, “Come on, ill just record you real quick, ask you a few questions and you can help share it and then that mom could win a free minivan….”
Me, “Alright… this is weird.”
So heres the video….
If you want to help me win a minivan…. Just like and share… hahahahahaha
After that nonsense I just had the best time watching Sky Blue and my girl ball out.
I might’ve gone a little overboard with the sign but you know, sometimes you just got to do what you gotta do.
I loved watching her and the team take pictures, sign autographs for all the fans and future soccer stars.
That Sunday we had a good Sunday Funday. We went to one of the girls houses and had a pool party.
We drank, ate and Rachel opened beer with her teeth.
Then continued to fun at a rooftop bar called the Biergarden. We drank two pints of beer each and that apparently wasn’t enough because we decided to walk to a different bar and continue drinking. Solid move girls.
We met a good amount of the team at the other bar which I cant remember for obvious reasons and lets just say I was welcomed onto the team. Here is proof…
That lady hugging me?
Yea that’s Christie Rampone…
So there’s that.
The next day which was Monday, Rachel Tay and I jumped in the car and cruised to conquer New York City.
This was the second time I had been there. The first was in 8th grade on a school trip. I have very minimal memories of this trip, partly because I was 13 and I didn’t care about anything other than wearing orange everyday to school and partly because I have blocked out that time because I don’t want to remember a time in my life where people called me big red and
What the hell was I thinking?????
So this trip was big time for me!
We sang and laughed the whole drive there, if you haven’t heard the Blake Shelton song, “She’s got a way with words,” don’t listen to it. Its horrible but so catchy, it also doesn’t make any sense.
As we began to see the sky line of the city I realized that the one thing that I really wanted to accomplish that day was to spin around in the middle of Time Square while the Taylor Swift song, “Welcome to New York” played in the background.
We parked at Liberty Park to wander around before taking a water taxi to Manhattan.
*side note: we are reminded and then reminded again, that the last water taxi back was at 8:45pm.
Our first stop was a rooftop bar called Loopy Doopy.
This is a posh little bar that serves unique drinks and small plates of overpriced snacks.
The drinks they offer is a Prosecco & Ice Pop cocktail, a fruity People’s Pop ice pop topped with chilled Prosecco or Rose.
It was pretty cute and fun. I definitely enjoyed the $22 drink while overlooking lower Manhattan.
Our next stop was Ground Zero, located at the World Trade Center. The memorial honors the 2,983 people killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Memorial consists of two reflecting pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers and a plaza of trees, including the Survivor Tree.
It was unreal and so surreal at the same time. When I visited Ground Zero last, it had only been 2 years after the attack. It was just a pile of burned ruble and construction that needed to finished.
But this memorial is the most beautiful thing I have seen. Prettier than any beach in Australia.
The reflecting pools, with the names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.
If you saw a rose placed inside the inscribed name, it was their birthday that month. It was so powerful and humbling.
God Bless our Country and the men and women who fight for it.
As we walked away I definitely different.
From there we walked to a random square that had a line in front of it to take a picture. Im not sure what it means or why it was necessary but for goodness sakes I got my picture in front of it.
Then Rachel, being our tour guide convinced us that Little Italy was “only a few minutes from here.”
Minutes and miles was the major key difference.
We walked a couple of miles to Little Italy. Once we got there we needed food and a drink.
We ate a cute little Italian place and enjoyed our corner spot to people watch. As we sat there the weather began to change. Then we got flash flood warnings on our phones.
That’s when I knew this was going to get weird.
We walked out of Little Italy in search of a Subway to get to the Brooklyn Bridge. It started raining.
I have never rode a subway before so I was kind of excited to check this off my bucketlist.
We got onto the first Subway and Rachel insisted she knew what was going on.
She didn’t know what going on.
So we are in this empty subway train, that ends up stopping. She says, “I think we should get off” and then literally gets off the train, as we try to follow her, the doors shut.
Im not joking when I say this was like a movie. She is standing on the outside and we are standing on the inside. Doors closed. Staring at eachother. Fear has never been so real.
Luckily with no rhyme or reason, the doors just open up.
It was nuts. But also hilarious.
We end up exiting that train or caboose or whatever you call the cars of a subway and Rachel leads us to another one. Now this one my friends, is not empty.
It is insanely full. Like to the point where we had to push ourselves into it.
So there I am in a New York Subway smashed against complete strangers who are sweaty and wet from the rain and my goodness I did not like it.
This little New Mexico girl was not okay.
Let me remind you that we are no longer headed to the Brooklyn Bridge we are no where near it. So we get off a few blocks away from Times Square, because I needed to accomplish my mission.
As we emerge from the depths of the Subway station all we hear is rain.
It is pouring. People are crowded under awnings and smashed between buildings.
But we had a mission. And we had to accomplish it.
So there we go, running down the streets of New York until we arrive at the usual crowded location that is now a ghost town of bright lights and puddles.
What a magical experience.
You know that saying, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
That has hands down been the most cliché quote I have ever used but at that exact moment I was living it out.
That kind of explains my life as well.
There have been so many storms.
Dirty, ugly, no good storms in my life.
Storms that could’ve and most commonly should’ve washed me out to drown.
But that’s not how I was raised and that’s not how I handle things.
If you let specific storms dictate your whole life, you are just another broken boat not fighting for the chance to float.
Soaking wet we hurried into a bar and tried to dry. It was approximately 6:30pm at this point. My phone is now dead. Rachels is on about 5% and Taylors is leading the pack with 15%.
We decide to walk and just look around some more keeping in mind we have to make it back to the water taxi by 8:45pm.
I don’t know what else to say except that we lost track of time and are now in desperate need of finding a taxi to get us to the Marina for the water taxi.
To get an uber you need a phone. Mine is empty. Rachels is now empty. And Tay has no idea how to use Uber. So we waste about 5% of her battery trying to get an uber and then frantically decide to ditch that idea and just jump into a taxi. The taxi driver askes us where to take us. We say Loopy Doopy because that is the only logical location we know that is close to the marina. (stupid)
We only have 10 mins now. And it feels like we are in the Movie Speed.
We see water out the window and yell for the taxi to stop and that we will just “Run” the rest of the way. (stupid)
So we jump out and run to the water. We look left…. Nothing… we look right… nothing.
The Marina is about 2 miles from us to right. We can barely see the lights.
Tay yells, “Rachel RUN, STOP THE FERRY!”
So Rachel takes off in a sprint, with tay in second and me, well, im holding down 3rd place.
We literally run, and run and I think we did 7 min miles because as we turn one last corner we see our ferry sailing away into one of the best sunsets I have ever seen.
So our night concluded with a train ride, another uber ride and an hour and a half drive back to Jersey to get us home a perfect time of Midnight.
What a memorable day in the Big Apple.
Our next adventure happened on Wednesday where Tay took me down to the Jersey Shore aka Guido Nation. We spend the afternoon hanging out on the boardwalk and hanging by the beach. It was such a great ending to my trip!
The next day I caught a train from Spring Lake to the Newark Airport. When I arrived to check into my flight I was delightfully informed that they cancelled my flight from Chicago to El Paso because of bad weather.
So they gave me a few options that were useless and let me decide if I wanted to spend the night in Chicago or there. I chose Chicago hoping I could catch a different flight from there.
But, wait… it gets better. Due to my misspelled name on my boarding pass the clerk told me I might not be able to even fly because it didn’t match my ID annnnndddd because I had already flew and this was a returning flight they couldn’t change it in the system. So El Paso really did me a solid.
It didn’t work.
I got head of security called on me and then got lectured by him to never let it happen again. I just smiled and nodded.
When I arrived in Chicago most of the flights out had been cancelled. That meant most of the hotels were now booked up. That meant that I had to get an uber 45 minutes away to a hotel to sleep a few hours to then get another uber back to the airport in the morning.
My life is funny.
After a Chicago to Las Vegas then Las Vegas to EL Paso flight I finally made it home.
Wowawewa guys. Now that’s an adventure.
Thank you to Taylor for your hospitality, and grand sense of humor and for always being my best friend and keeping me weird. You are amazing!
Thank you to Rachel for keeping me laughing and continuing to ask why im not at your practices.
Thank you to #nonsenseinNJ for keeping my traveling heart happy and for keeping me on my toes.
So when you have the choice to live your life like a Leann Womack song I hope you dance … in general and also in the rain in the middle of Times Square…
“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance”
Im back, and youll be seeing more of me.
Today and everyday,