It look me a long time to think of where I grew up in those terms though. As a surly teenager, New Hampshire conjured up adjectives and images more along the lines of: boring, oppressive, dull, endless barren wilderness (or as some like to say, "the sticks"). I felt like New Hampshire living was a straight road to drudgery and essentially, no where. Save for some pretty scenery (which to a teenager, isn't much of a selling point). I was itchy, restless and bored. I was looking for some action.
So I left. After college in the quaint New Hampshire town of Keene, I took off to the happening city of Boston, MA, joining my boyfriend at the time living just outside the city center. I LOVED this. To me, Boston glimmered and beckoned. I saw it as a symbol of youth, excitement and a progressive thrilling adventure. Weekends were punctuated with nights out surrounded by friends, exploring neighborhoods close-by (and securing our standby favorites, hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants, a cozy European bakery, mouthwatering burger joints), driving home to see family, or in the summer time to a nearby lake or even the ocean, sometimes holed up between the aisles of stories in a bookstore on a rainy afternoon, the list goes on. I loved this period of my life.
But as all wonderful chapters do, it came to a close. In September, 2013, I took off for Europe. Since studying abroad for a short spurt during college (in Florence, Italy) (very sweet though much too short), I had been spellbound and enchanted. For me, Europe was dripping with romance, possibility, history, novelty, and elegance. It was awe-inspiring and full of wonder. I couldn't wait to go back. In fact, after studying (and trekking) all over Italy, from the watery, mysterious streets of Venice to the craggy paradise of the Cinque Terre, I vowed to live in Europe someday.
In the wake of my heartbreaking divorce, this is exactly what I did. In the span of six months, I made two of the hardest leaps thus far in my life. Two of the most terrifying and emotionally wrought. I left one of the people I have loved the most in my life. And I packed up all of my things into four suitcases and, following my dream, moving halfway across the world to Prague, Czech Republic.
Prague bewitched me from the start. Its like the setting of a medieval fairy-tale. The cobbled streets, ornate buildings, Old Town Square which is impossibly gorgeous and eye-catching, the astronomical clock dominating the entire square. I loved all of it. I could not get enough. Feasting on gingerbread stars-which taste like Christmas, lounging in parks with a book or game of chess, exploring cute little cafes or delectable restaurants, snapping photos galore, I was in heaven. Totally smitten.
A few months later, I was smitten in an additional way and moved over to Germany, both of a change, for a new job, and for an infatuation. The latter didn't pan out as I had imagined, but that is more than OK. Living in Germany has been a game changer for me. At the risk of sounding cliche and cheesy, it was unquestionably meant to be.
In the past 2.5 years to be exact, the close friendships I have found and poured myself into have filled my heart to overflowing. The places I have traveled, both with friends (friends who have come to visit me from the US as well as with the friends I have made here in Germany), with visiting family members, and even solo, the list is a long one. Places I dreamed of exploring and seeing with my own eyes, I can finally say that I have. Italy once more, Paris, Portugal, Austria, all over Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands, the list of cities within these countries I have been to is a long one. The job I have here in Frankfurt as a teacher has filled me with such joy and a resounding sense of accomplishment. To hear a chorus of little voices calling my name in the hallways, asking when I will be in their class next. The hugs I receive and little gifts I am given by smiling students. The way their faces light up when they see me. This experience has been deeply affirming for me. And finally, the work I have done with my writing and on this blog while living here across the pond.
My time in Europe has deepened my interest in food, photography and writing, as I am sure you can see from this blog. I love food, in all manner of speaking. Eating it, photographing it, making it, serving people I love, recipe testing, sampling new foods, searching out the best places to eat on any and all of my adventures. All of it.
Travel continues to fill my heart with awe and the most all-encompassing happiness I can imagine. Waiting and waiting for the moment when I can snap the perfect photograph, and then finally getting it, this fills me with a rush of satisfaction. And writing, I do it every single day. A notebook is permanently affixed to my hand nearly all the time. Writing for me is close to breathing. Its how I express myself, it brings meaning to my life, gives me a sense of inner peace, and total contentment.
I have fallen hard for the life I have built over here and the experiences I have had and continue to have. And I love life in all its messiness, complexity and shades of gray. I love all the nuances involved in human emotion, relationships, friendships, and big life changes & adventure. To me, a life that is neat, clean, perfectly posed, cropped and edited just so for ones viewers or audience, this is neither real nor as interesting to me. I love what is real. I like the romance, wonder and variation of what life truly is. I hope my photos...entries...words...may help inspire others to travel, to live more bravely or to add adventure to their lives where they might wish to have more. That is something of which I wish to showcase on this blog, both in regards to myself and to my website.
Watching this blog grow the way it has in terms of responses I have received, along with view count, has stunned me and been an awesome adventure. It fills me with passion and creative whim.
I am always happy to hear from readers! I would welcome hearing from you, whether for comments, upcoming entry ideas or more.