Making a Life Change is Scary…But You know What’s Even Scarier? Regret

As a girl in my 20′s, this time is crucial. While a lot of girls my age are concerned with finding a partner, planning their dream wedding and starting a family, that is the further thing from my mind. I see these prime years as an opportunity to follow my dreams, explore, travel, spend every day as I please, stay up until sunrise, and be as spontaneous as possible. When I am older I want to look back on these glorious years and smile to myself, with absolutely no regrets. This is why I made the decision to pack up my belongings and leave everything I know to make a trans-Atlantic move to Berlin, Germany.

Although I moved to the US when I was 10 years old, I definitely consider myself American. I went through all the rites of passage: winning middle school trophies, passing driver’s ed, getting a license, going to prom, attending football games, graduating from college, etc. After graduation the inevitable “NOW WHAT?” question surfaced. Every conversation I had somehow turned into “So now what are you going to do?” The truth was, I had absolutely no idea.

Most of my grad school classmates started working right after graduation. But I just couldn’t picture myself following that same path. After 23 years of school, the world was my oyster. I was finally free! I turned down several offers from local companies, which no one could understand. But I just could not accept to settle down in the same city I grew up in. I knew there was more. I wanted to see the world, experience it, learn, grow, get a better understanding of others, and myself.

I was determined to make it happen. I spent hours online researching and sending my resume out everywhere. I purposely avoided any job or relationship commitments to make sure I had the flexibility to pack up and move abroad at a moments’ notice.

Finally, the months of worrying, pursuing, applying and networking paid off. I got the opportunity of my dreams: an offer to work for an international events and media agency in Berlin. I signed the offer with no hesitation, it was such an exciting thought to move to Europe, meet tons of new people, discover a whole new scene and work in a dynamic industry.

My work start date arrived faster than I anticipated. Before I knew it I was down to my last few days in beautiful, sunny Florida. Reality sunk in. I was entering a new life, moving to a city I barely knew, where I didn’t speak the language and had no friends to fall back on. I was petrified.

I hate to admit that I did look back and hesitate those last few seconds before boarding the plane. I was saying goodbye to a comfortable, easy life, with no certainty that once I returned it would be the same. However, I choose to get on my flight that day. Making a big life change is always scary, but what scares me even more is regret.

As the plane doors closed behind me, thus began the start of my adventure: the bravest, craziest, most exciting thing I’ve ever done.

Memoirs of a Travel Addict: Part 1

It’s funny, when you think of addictive substances, your mind may wander to thoughts of cigarettes, chocolate, or alcohol, but one activity that you may have overlooked is traveling.

True life: I am a travel addict. It was a slow realization, but I have finally come to terms with this fact. In the last year of my life I have visited much of Europe including destinations like Mallorca, Croatia, England, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Ibiza, Switzerland, Portugal, and Hungary. I have also dabbled in some slightly less exotic, but still equally alluring domestic locales such as Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, and Puerto Rico. While for some, just the list may exhaust you and understandably so, but I have not had enough!

It all begins with my first step into the airport. Of course the airport itself is not the originator of my passion, but upon arrival, my heart flutters because I know, yet again I will be traveling to a new place. I start to imagine the food that will fill my belly, the smells that will consume my nostrils, the views that many have only imagined, and the sounds of a different world. And as if that wasn’t enough, as I walk through the airport past all the gates that are not mine, I can’t help but to look at the groups of people awaiting their flight and the corresponding destination. In doing so, I have to wonder: why are they going? Do they live there or will they be visiting? What will they be doing there? What would I be doing there? When can I go there? And, if I wasn’t already going somewhere else, would I want to go there? And at this point, I find my next addition to my travel list. For those of you who enjoy travel as much as I do, I think you know what I am talking about.

Funny enough, as I lay here writing, I received a message listing the travel deals of the month, oh the temptation! Now my mind is wandering to thoughts of islands and beaches..they know their audience too well.

 

Lest We Forget Where We Came From

I confess. I watch way too much television by most people’s standards, but good or bad, it serves as therapy for me – an escape from a busy day at work, relief from the traffic crunch endured on South Florida’s highways, a respite from life’s daily stress…

That being said, those closest to me know that I have an uncanny, and somewhat annoying ability to recall and recite lines from TV shows and movies in the midst of a conversation or situation when the mood strikes (when it’s relevant to the topic, of course). So expected as this might be, it was a recent episode of ABC’s Modern Family that inspired this blog…bear with me while I get to the point.

For those of you who watch the show, you know the characters well – the dysfunctional 21st century “modern family” includes the patriarch, Jay, his Columbian wife, Gloria (several years his junior), her son, Manny (from a previous marriage) and their new baby boy. Jay has two older children from his first marriage – a daughter, Claire, her husband Phil, and their children, Haley, Alex and Luke. Jay’s oldest son, Mitchell, and his male partner Cameron, have an adopted daughter named Lily.

In the episode entitled “The Future Dunphys”, Gloria comes to the realization that her oldest son, Manny, is losing his Spanish-speaking skills. Later that day, she also discovers that Mitchell and Cameron’s adopted daughter knows nothing about her Vietnamese heritage. Gloria’s fear is that she, too, will begin to lose her Columbian culture and traditions as she becomes more entrenched in American society.

As cliché as it is, America truly is a melting pot. But it’s what I took away from this TV sitcom that made this cliché more profound for me…we must never forget where we came from. Yes, our society is a rich, multicultural collection of nationalities, traditions, customs, and languages. But the reason that this diversity works is because each of those individual cultures has been embraced, respected and allowed to flourish on their own. Each of us has a responsibility to perpetuate the unique heritage of our ancestry so that future generations won’t forget where they came from.

I personally hope to never forget my Italian and Syrian heritage (quite a cultural mix, don’t you think?). The traditions handed down from my parents, my parents’ parents, and their parents before them have made me who I am and I, for one, feel fortunate to be a part of such an interesting lineage and all the wonderful things it has brought to my life.

Submitted by Maria DeChello

New Collection Added

1909

Norma and Traci Lilly, an African American mother and daughter team of jewelry designers have adorned thousands in the twenty eight years that they have been in business.

The designers were inspired to design their collection exclusively showcasing pairs of earrings that don’t match when they began working with more organically shaped stones and shells, some twenty years ago.

The amazing colors, beauty and uniqueness of the Imani Jewelry collection is now available at CulturesToGo.com.