A New Rhythm

Human Body Block [aka Gross Anatomy] lasts 9 weeks. At the beginning it seemed like the block would take forever. I remember thinking to myself, “how will I ever make it through this?”

Somehow, I’m making it through this. We are two tests down, with roughly 3 weeks left and one more exam. The days pass quickly with this new rhythm of school, and the weeks consist mainly of —

Anatomy lab, lecture, physical exam sessions, ultrasound sessions, problem-based learning sessions, med school recess [lunch], study sessions, more study sessions, Crossfit, church, escape to the mountains. Rinse and Repeat.

Every day is a new day to learn something new, a new day to be amazed.

In my program we are introduced to ultrasound early on. We have machines that we can use to practice the skill on each other. When I say ultrasound is a skill, I mean that it is a skill. I thought it would be easy, I thought “how hard can it be to put a little gel on a probe and bada-bing-bada-boom you have a clear picture on the screen”. I was so wrong. Somehow we will get the hang of this though. Peel back the layers that cloud our vision.

In the meantime, we get to see some pretty awesome stuff.

Last week, with some help, we did ultrasound on our own hearts. Laying on the table, I saw on the screen my heart beating. The compartments working together to pump blood throughout my living, breathing body. This week, I worked with a group of 7 other classmates through a patient case and successfully diagnosed him with acute appendicitis. I’m learning to perform a physical exam, to listen to heart sounds and test for ACL tears. The reminder that I know nothing is constant, and humbling, but also thrilling at the same time. I have the opportunity to ask questions, to seek clarity, to think deeply. All things that I cherish and hold dear.

This new rhythm is stressful some days, but refreshing and inspiring on others. I don’t always feel on top of the world, but like I’m slugging through the mud on the way up the trail. The pastor at my old church in Atlanta once talked about how we naturally seek out the mountain top moments. We reach for the highs and dread the lows. However, as he so eloquently pointed out, “Have you ever noticed that people don’t live on the mountain tops? They live in the valley”. We do life in the valley. We love people, we work hard and every now and then we climb to the top of the mountain.

Living these, sometimes dreary, days to the fullest is what it’s about. This is the mundane and hard part of becoming who we are, but also who we are meant to be.


Last weekend, some classmates and I headed up to Breckenridge for the annual Colorado Medical Society Retreat. We laughed those deep belly laughs that seem to last forever, but also got to chat with some pretty big-wig docs in the world of medical policy. It was sweet.

Be You.

I’m officially a 4-week old medical student. Not a doctor yet, but people continue to insist that “there’s a doctor in the room if I trip and fall”.

It’s a strange feeling being here. For many of us this has been our dream for a long time. We’ve gone through the whole process of taking the required undergraduate courses, sitting for the MCAT, volunteering, shadowing physicians, holding leadership positions, writing our primary and secondary essays, interviewing, and then finally, waiting to hear the good news. [I wrote about my experience with the application process a while back – you can read it here].

After getting in and receiving the gift to defer I thought I would spend my next year calmly waiting for the moment to arrive. The moment when I would quit my job and move back to Colorado to start school. Instead, I experienced spells of panic after not hearing from CU for a while. I would wake up in a sweat, fearful that I dreamed the whole thing.

That I would show up to orientation on the first day and they wouldn’t be able to find my name on the list.

That it was all a mistake.

There’s a very real name for this feeling – imposter syndrome – and we’ve already talked about it a lot. They are constantly reminding us that we are here for a reason. It’s almost annoying having someone tell you every day that you are good enough, but I can also see why they would want to drill it in our heads that they chose us.

One piece of advice all of the “older” students have shared is to avoid comparison like the black plague. Comparing ourselves to classmates only perpetuates the imposter syndrome. It’s not productive to becoming a doctor, it’s not productive in every day life.

In medical school we are no longer graded on the bell curve [weird, right?], but rather we either pass or we fail. No in-between and no “only 10% of the class gets an A”. Now, I suppose this is created to foster collaboration among a highly competitive group of individuals. The idea being that if we aren’t pitted against each other, then we will be more likely to share our ideas, study tips and success stories. Yet, immediately following my first anatomy exam, all I could think about was how I did and what other people scored.

Comparison doesn’t just stop at the lecture hall door. For instance, some other things I’ve caught myself thinking of in the last few weeks are —

  • How it is that people seem to have solid friend groups established and I’m just trying to remember the names of the people next to me in lecture, plus the 2000 other anatomy terms.
  • How the heck people already know what they want to specialize in and I’m sitting here, interested in pretty much everything.
  • Should I be studying more like everyone else, or am I spending too much time outside of the library.

If comparison is a creature of habit then I’m not writing all of this down to reinforce the habit. I’m writing it down so I can turn around and crush those feelings to bits. My classmates are incredible and they have done things I only dream of accomplishing one day. I am honored to have been chosen to journey through medical school together and it would be a shame to see the adventure marred by self-doubt. What can we accomplish when we truly stop the comparison and work together?

So, I challenge you, today, tomorrow, and the day after that, take a moment and think about how you might be comparing yourself to others. Write these things down, acknowledge them, then crush those feelings to bits.

You are awesome. You’ve been hand selected for the journey that you’re on. Your contribution is important, valued and necessary. You can sit at my table.


On a completely unrelated note – have y’all ever thought of all the things in your bodies? It is absolutely incredibly how many important structures are jam-packed in your armpit. My mind is blown.

Thailand, Part 3

It feels like being in Thailand was forever ago. Not just a few months past, but years. The hustle of the everyday has snuck back into my life, and don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying every second, but the memories of a place on the other side of the world feel just beyond the tips of my fingers. Most days the smells, sights and sounds of Bangkok have faded and the colors have lost their brilliance. Then there are moments when I feel the breeze on my skin and I remember the open windows of bus no 1.

This is it, the third and final installment of our trip to Thailand. [Here is part 1 and part 2 if you missed out]


From Chiang Mai we traveled down south, to the Andaman Sea. We flew first to Krabi Town where we had arranged a bus transfer to the island of Koh Lanta. Ask anyone in Thailand about Lanta and the first thing they will say is, “Oh, you want to chill. Lanta is chill”. They were all surprised we didn’t want to go to Koh Pi Pi [a popular tourist destination], but we intentionally chose Lanta; seeking a relaxing island to counterbalance the buzz of Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

The Andaman Sea is known for it’s towering limestone cliffs and turquoise green waters. Indeed, one of the first sights we spotted outside the plane windows were these monster cliffs, towering straight up out of the ground. A climber’s paradise.

At the airport we were picked up by a local and driven to the bus depot. Usually there are boats that travel between the islands, however, during the rainy season the boat schedule becomes quite limited and some routes are shut down altogether. Lanta is not a very popular island so it’s a little more difficult to access. That being said, we had no problem booking a bus and ~2 hours later we were dropped off outside of our hostel, Blanco. Cute hammocks swung between the trees in the common area, nice tidy rooms and the beach was only a short walk away.

First things first. We changed into our swimsuits and headed for Long Beach. Talk about shocking though. Repeatedly we were told about the beauty of Koh Lanta, yet upon reaching the beach we discovered that it was covered in trash. Plastic bottles and wrappers littered the coast line. Here we were, in paradise, and filth was washing up on shore as people discarded their waste. It was especially convicting as we had been drinking from those same plastic water bottles for the duration of our trip. We brought with us reusable bottles, but neglected to bring a proper filtration system. I felt that I was part of the problem. I was angry and sad, but I also didn’t want to get sick from drinking unfiltered water. I wasn’t doing my part to protect this piece of the world.

After wrestling with this idea of pollution and talking about how we could do our part to help reduce it we were able to also see Long Beach for what it is – beautiful. Breathtakingly beautiful. We walked and found some beanbags at a local resort that weren’t being used and commandeered them for the rest of the afternoon. Slipping in and out of sleep, reading our books and occasionally cooling off in the ocean. Lingering long enough to watch the sunset over Koh Pi Pi, a blue and purple hue cast across the horizon. We fell asleep on our first night to the rain splattering on the roof over our heads.

Day 2, on Lanta and we decided to splurge and go stay in a resort. We upgraded to the Lanta Sand Resort and Spa just a little further down Long Beach.

Oh my.

We stayed in a villa with an outdoor bathroom, seconds from a clean beach and swimming pool. Back to the beach for more lounging, swimming and another epic sunset.

Day 3, we rented motorbikes. Perhaps this was my favorite day of the entire trip. I’ve talked a lot about how I enjoyed the moments where I felt self-sufficient and independent; renting the motorbikes was the epitome of this feeling. Honestly, I was a little nervous at first having never ridden a moped before, but after a few practice laps on the hotel driveway we motored off down the road with a grin plastered from ear-to-ear.

My right hand turned the throttle and the wind blew through my hair. Riding along I remember feeling my face break into a smile and a laugh erupt from my stomach. It was exhilarating. With this new-found freedom we were able to travel to the opposite side of the island. Koh Lanta is quite large and there was no way we could have walked to the other side, but with the help of the mopeds we motored around and discovered the east coastline.

From Koh Lanta, we bused to the city of Ao Nang to catch a long-tail boat to Railay Beach [only accessible by boat]. We waited 30 minutes for 10 people to purchase boat tickets and then were pointed in the direction of the water, “Your boat is out there”.

Oh okay….so we walked to the boat. Through the waves.

The captain jumped out and started walking towards us while beckoning us into the ocean. He also kept motioning to his upper thigh saying, “It only goes up to here”. HA! I mistakenly chose to wear white linen shorts and laughed thinking that they would stay dry. With no other choice but to walk to the boat we hoisted our bags over our heads and plunged through the waves. After arriving at Railay Beach we repeated the process, but backwards toward land.

At Railay Beach we rented a 3-person kayak and paddled out into the ocean, among the cliffs. There was one cluster that we floated in between, two rocks reached down as the waves crashed into their bases, bird song and bug chirps drifted through the air from the plants growing from the rock. A perfect end to an adventure.


I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world. To explore another culture, to spend time with my sister’s and to challenge my comfort zone. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Now, back to the drawing boards.

 

Thailand, Part 2

The suspense has been building. Are you ready to hear more of my trip to Thailand?

Last we talked, my sisters and I boarded a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It was 7 PM and we were scheduled to arrive in the northern station the following morning around 9 AM. There are a couple of different options for this overnight train when booking your tickets, but we chose the #13 because the sun would be up while we were arriving. Our hope was that we would be able to glimpse the Chiang Mai countryside; Mountains, rice paddies, and lots of green foliage. Once on the train we found our seats and prepared to depart. In the meantime, there were people milling about, stowing their baggage, finding their seats and an older Thai woman selling chips for “cheap cheap”.

Shortly after sitting down Leah got up to use the restroom but returned thereafter and exclaimed, “I’ll think I’ll wait until we are out of the station”. Why? We wondered. Apparently, the “toilet” was a hole in the floor of the train seeing straight through to the ground. This was the first of many commodes we would encounter that had us saying, “Man, you have got to see the bathroom!”

As the train pulled out of the station, we chatted with the Canadian seated in our section and passed the phone back-and-forth as we played “Heads Up”. At bedtime the train staff appeared, efficiently transformed our seats into beds then disappeared again. We drew our individual curtains shut and closed our eyes to the gentle rocking of the train down the tracks.

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The Thai people like to describe areas of their country by assigning it a temperature – hot, hotter, hottest; Chiang Mai rings in on this scale as hot. Upon our arrival the day was just beginning to warm up, a weight of humidity dripping from the clouds. Our ride, exactly on time, piled us into a van with other travelers and one-by-one dropped us at our respective accommodations. The AirBnb rental we booked wouldn’t allow us to check in until early afternoon, however, we were lucky to be able to drop our bags at the front lobby and head to the Old City to pass the time.

Chiang Mai City is the old capitol of the Lan Na Kingdom and the Old City is surrounded by a moat and wall to protect its citizens from enemies.

We reached this after a short 20 minute walk down a winding road. Once past the gates of the Old City one finds a network of streets in a grid-pattern that is approximately “one cigarette” in length. Meaning, to walk from one corner of the Old City to the next you should be able to smoke exactly one cigarette [This was never verified as none of us actually smoke cigarettes, but if you go to Thailand and smoke, let me know the verdict!]. Compared to the hustle and bustle of cars, buses and tuk tuks outside the gates, the Old City has an air of peacefulness and calm.

In Chiang Mai we did a lot of things. We got Thai body massages [AMAZING], drank more Thai Tea, went on an excursion to the highest point in Thailand at Doi Inthanon [Doi means mountain], visited an organic farm and learned the magic of cooking traditional Thai dishes, bathed and fed elephants, hiked to a waterfall, went swimming in said waterfall, took a yoga class and discovered a local park tucked into the corner of the Old City. We booked all of our day trips through local tourist agencies that are very easy to find. It’s overwhelming because of all the options, but we went with our guts, and most importantly made sure that the elephant sanctuaries did not allowing riding.


Thai Body Massages, Day 1:

The Thai people love massage and it’s easy to see why once you’ve had one. For ~300 baht [or $6] you can get a one hour, full-body massage that incorporates deep tissue kneading and stretching. First you change into these outfits – for newbies, the pants tie in the front! All three of us put our pants on backwards and the massage ladies giggled as they told us to turn them around. Then they started with washing our feet and finished with your massaging our heads. We walked away feeling refreshed, declaring we would have one massage every day until the end of our trip.


Doi Inthanon National Park, Day 2:

Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand and is where the late King Inthanon’s burial site is located. We drove ~1 hour in a bus climbing steeply up the mountain side to reach a pair of waterfalls, Wachriathan and Sirithan. Our tour guide loved our short hikes and explained how as it was durian season, we needed our exercise [Durian is a fruit loaded with sugar. It has a very stinky smell though and can be quite difficult to find in the local markets].

From there we continued our drive further up the mountain, reaching the highest point and the burial site. The further we climbed into the atmosphere the more chilly, windy, and misty the air around us became. A vibe that translated deep respect and importance for the site we were visiting. To the Thai people, the King is of great importance and must be respected at all times, even in memorial.

Next, we drove to the King and Queen’s pagodas surrounded by a botanical gardens. It was a lovely sight, and even lovelier as the clouds began to shift and a view of the valley opened up below.

Our final stop of the day was the Karen Hilltribe village where we played with the most adorable puppy and bought some seriously comfy Thai pants.


Smile Organic Farm Cooking School, Day 3:

Another 1 hour bus ride and we arrived at the farm and cooking classroom. We signed up for an evening course and learned to cook traditional Thai dishes as the sun set over the Chiang Mai mountains. The farm was beautiful, growing everything we needed for our meal. We even got to walk around and pick some fresh herbs and flowers for plating. The Thai chili peppers are so small, so be careful when working with them. I accidentally ate an entire green pepper, thinking it was a green bean – it was SPICY. Anyone that wants to come over and enjoy a Thai dinner is welcome!




Elephant Sanctuary and Waterfall Hike, Day 4:

We were transported out of the city once again, this time to an elephant sanctuary. Elephants used to be employed and owned by families that would clear areas of the forest for farming use. However, the Thai government has outlawed the use of elephants for this type of labor. As a result there are many families that can no longer afford the care necessary to keep an elephant – they eat tremendous amounts of food each day! Hence, elephant sanctuaries. We went to a smaller location compared to some of the more popular retirement facilities, but it was still a great experience. We got to hand-feed bananas to the elephants and bathed them in a small pool on the property. Elephant’s mouths are like vacuums! They will use their trunks to grab banana after banana, and they will keep on eating unless the trainers limit their food.

Last, but not least, we spent a morning sleeping in, sweating it out in a yoga class, and laughing at the park.

Chiang Mai City was a full, bursting at the seams experience.


From hot we were now about to travel to hottest, the Andaman Sea.

Thailand, Part 1

Welcome to Thailand. From the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, to the old capital of Chiang Mai City, and to the hammock-loving life down in the Andaman Sea we traveled with variety.

Here is a photo journal of my trip to Thailand. This will scratch the surface of the laughs we shared and the memories we made. Our list of non-negotiables for this adventure —

  1. Thai Massage
  2. Watch every sunset; watch one sunrise
  3. Drink endless amount of Thai Tea
  4. Kayak in the Andaman Sea
  5. Ride a city bus
  6. Take a yoga class

Now onto the good stuff —


Bangkok, Thailand

 

To start the trip the three of us met up in the great city of Los Angeles. Then we boarded our flights for Asia. Leah bought her tickets separate from Anna and I so we split again at this point with a plan to meet at baggage claim in the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

Our travel took us first to Tokyo and then on to BKK. After we arrived in Thailand we found out that Leah’s flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok was delayed 4-hours.

Now that’s some pretty rough news after binge watching movies and cuddling up under airplane blankets for 16 hours, but we took the delay in stride and played some serious rounds of “Spit” [card game] until Leah’s face showed up across the baggage carousel. Reunited once more, we sisters caught a taxi to our Airbnb near the airport for some shut eye.

 

Following some seriously needed sleep (~2 hours) we rounded up our things and jumped on the train to find a hostel in Chinatown. For this trip we made “big picture” plans. Meaning we had a general idea of the places and things we wanted to do, but we didn’t necessarily know where we were going to sleep each night. Thankfully things like HostelWorld exist and we ended up finding a bunch of really great places to stay. Our first home in Thailand was at Loftel 22. A hostel in the heart of Bangkok, it was right on a main road through the city that the bus #1 drove along. This was a highlight of the trip. I enjoyed having some sense of responsibility over our location. In a foreign place you get in a taxi and trust they will take you to the right location with the risk of being scammed, but when we took the bus I felt the wind blow through the windows and listened to the movement of people through the streets on their bikes and cars and tuk tuks. I felt free.

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In Bangkok we rode the #1 from our hostel to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. The Grand Palace is home to Wat Phra Krew and the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred of Buddha images. ‘Wat’ means temple and there are a ton in Thailand. At the Grand Palace and at Wat Pho the buildings sparkled as the sunlight reflected off the beautifully tiled roofs. In Wat Pho lies the reclining Buddha, a direct contrast to the Emerald Buddha less than one mile away. People were making such a huge deal about the Emerald Buddha that I figured it must be quite large, however when we stepped into the heart of the temple I had to squint to be able to see him. Ha! Now, the reclining Buddha on the other hand is enormous! He stretches from one length of the temple to the next, laying on his side.


In this buzzing city we found tranquility among the golden Buddha’s. We found beauty in the flowers tucked inside the corners of the temples and peace in the shadows under the Thai sun. For dinner, we stumbled upon a restaurant over looking the Chao Phraya River and toasted to the start of a great trip as the sun set behind Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).


We spent our second full day in Thailand wandering through market places filled with baskets of spices and produce. Winding deep through the fabric of the culture and uncovering what a day-to-day might look like to a Thai. There were cats everywhere. Lounging amidst the peppers and making grumpy faces because they were probably too furry and therefore too hot. We walked through Bangkok on foot after getting kicked out of our Tuk Tuk for striking a hard bargain, but we picked up our #1 bus and it almost felt like we had been there for days.
We even braved some street food and came away with full bellies and happy hearts. At the end of the day, we jumped on a train bound for Chiang Mai, turned our chairs into beds and waved good bye to the big city.

Next up —> Chiang Mai

The Foothills Trail

After two months of preparing and fundraising the hike is over.

11 hours and 40 minutes of walking and my toes have crossed the finish line. It was tough, my hips hurt, my knees hurt, my shoes are tied too tight, I really want to lose the backpack from my shoulders, and there’s pizza at the hotel. 67 people were crazy enough to join me on the trail today. All kinds of people – young and old – laced up their boots to tell cancer to take a hike.

Today, we followed a path that wound through the hills. Past rushing waterfalls and bubbling creeks. We began in the dark before the sun rose with head lamps illuminating the way. While there were threats of copperheads and bears, we had no such luck in catching a glimpse of either one [thank god because I’m terrified].

We did this for all of the children fighting for their lives. For those that have endured the chemotherapy, radiation, infusions, surgeries; for those that were brave, yet lost. These children are far stronger than I for they have walked a unique trail through the halls of the oncology floor.


The Foothills Trail is beautiful. I’ll let these photos do all of the talking —

 

 

Goodbye Mervin

Tragedy has struck.

My majesty palm Mervin was diagnosed with a red spider mite infestation this morning and has found himself in the trash. I guess I wasn’t committed enough to try to save him because I just couldn’t handle all the creepy crawly bugs.

Farewell.

Maybe I’ll get another majesty palm some day.

Denver Bicycle Party

I LOVE puns. Or nerdy jokes/pickup lines. These are very important facts about myself.

In college, I met one of my closest friends and she just gets this about me. For example, we always send each other those memes with cats on them making chemistry jokes, like this one here and more here

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My sisters also get the pun obsession. We are always trying to come up with creative ways to say something and usually crack ourselves up in the process. [I am a strong believer in the necessity of laughing at your own jokes]

A few weeks ago my older sister Anna was texting me and trying to come up with a name for her birthday bike ride. A quick google search of bicycle puns didn’t help much with the title but gave us an excellent start for the description. The idea of this party was to have a “wheely good time” while biking around Denver, CO to various local breweries*. We would ride until we were “two-tired” to keep going. Get it?

Saturday morning we met up with our squad of riders and kicked off the festivities with champagne shot skis and mimosas. Shot ski technique is simple – try to be the same height as your team, don’t spill.


After pumping up our tires and eating a well-rounded meal of waffles and waffles, we buckled our helmets and headed to the first stop – Cerebral Brewing. Located east of downtown Denver, Cerebral has a neat vibe. They play on the intellectual side of brewing beer and display Petri dishes growing yeast on the inside tables! I’m pretty sure I got the beer – “Muscle Memory” – and I’m pretty sure it was delicious!

The next stop, Black Shirt Brewing! We biked there via City Park and Race Street where our group freely took up the whole street, grooving to good music and laughing because:

bikes + beer + sunshine = fun.

Black Shirt Brewing is located in RiNO with an awesome back patio where barrel sitting is a must. While the kitchen wasn’t open when we were hanging out, they had a GRAND OPENING for their pizza kitchen this week, April 19th. What could be better than a slice of pizza to wash down their beer?

The third and final stop on our beer tour was Ratio Beerworks. Alright, this place is cool. They have a fun vibe and the beer is fantastic. This was also the only stop that I ordered IPA which is my favorite type of beer so that may have influenced that statement….

Anyhow, out back is corn hole, lots of space to gather, and on the curb was a grilled cheese food truck for all of our hunger needs. All in all, a 10/10 day.


Where would you go on a bike tour of your town? Coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, ice cream stands – the possibilities are endless!

*obviously, if you choose to drink and ride your bike – ride responsibly!


 

 

Lists

If I don’t post my Atlanta bucket list, do I still leave Atlanta?
This is the struggle and lately it’s been a constant battle of emotions in my head and heart. I am beyond thrilled to be going home. I am thrilled to breath the mountain air and to be in a place, knowing I am taking the next steps towards my dream. Yet, I am sad to be leaving. It seems like it’s too soon. I’m just beginning to feel known and moving back to Colorado feels a little bit like starting over. I’ll be in the same city, but a different me [also, my new roommates are the rents, but they will probably have more fun than me with all my studying. I’ll be asking them when they’ll be home…]

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t changed at all since I arrived in Georgia. I’m thankful for these changes because each and every one of them have made me stronger. They have taught me how to better love one another. They have taught me to have my own opinion and worry less about what other people say. This adventure has taught me about risk, but most importantly about trust. Trust that He will provide and equip us with the necessary things to go out and honor Him.

If you are laying in bed wondering if you should move to another state, run the marathon, start the blog, change your job, travel to another country or whatever else is challenging you right now the answer is yes. Do it. Take that leap of faith.


Here is my Atlanta Bucket List – places to go and food to eat before I leave the City in the Forest. There is room for improvement so write any other ideas you have in the comments! I will update this post as I cross things off the list —-

Places to Eat:

  • Home Grown
  • Ria’s Bluebird
  • Buford HWY
  • Heirloom BBQ
  • Flying Biscuit

Places to Hike:

  • Max Patch, NC ✔️
  • Cumberland Island
  • Providence Canyon
  • AT Approach Trail ✔️
  • Lulu Lake Land Trust
  • Springer Mountain ✔️
  • Brass Town Bald
  • Yonah Mountain ✔️
  • Tallulah Gorge Floor

Other Places to Go and Things to Do:

  • BAPS Shri swaminarayan mandir Atlanta
  • North Georgia vineyard ✔️
  • Braves Baseball Game
  • Savannah
  • Find rooftop views of downtown
  • PCM farmers market
  • Picnic @ Piedmont Park
  • See pandas in Atlanta

Photos are from my latest excursion – the AT Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain, and back. This was a challenging – long – hike that had decent elevation variability and is possibly my favorite hike in Georgia to date. We had fantastic weather and completed the hike in ~6 hours! As I prepare for the Ultimate Hike at the end of April this was definitely good training.

I love u wknd 

The ladies in my house church are trying to plan a girls trip this summer and the only thing it’s accomplishing in doing is proving to me how little time I have left in Georgia. I counted. There are only 4 months — or 16 weekends. Time is scarce and these remaining weekends have just become significantly more valuable.

About a month ago I re-downloaded the dating app Bumble. It’s pretty much like all of the other dating apps with the unique twist that the girl has to send the first message [In general, I don’t like always being the first person to write something, but this way I can avoid the creepy/unwanted messages]. My interest in finding Mr. Right is low given that I’m packing up my life in just a few months, but my interest in trying as many restaurants in Atlanta is quite high. I figured this might be a fun way to accomplish that goal.

I’ve been on one date since writing my “about me” and I think it could have gone better.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we met up at the Westside Provisions area in West Midtown. The date started outside on the patio at Barcelona Wine Bar [one of my fav places in the city] accompanied by decent conversation and red wine sangria. We talked about our jobs and our dreams. What books we are reading, what we do on the weekends, movies, music, sports. All the typical first-date stuff. He talked about making plans for another date, paid the check and then we jay-walked across the street for Jenis Ice Cream [also one of my fav places]. All in all, the date was pretty good up to this point.

Where things went wrong was the moment I went to give him a hug goodbye and he went in for the kiss. Let me tell you, this wasn’t your average kiss. It was open mouth, tongue, and so, so much spit. In complete shock I pulled away and he states, “I guess you aren’t that kind of girl”. [Are you serious?] My response was, “Nope”, followed by laughter, followed by an apology, followed by “text me about dinner next week”. I haven’t heard from him since and that is totally fine by me.

For all the men out there wondering if they should kiss a girl on a first date with tongue, maybe reconsider? Or at least don’t start out with that…thnx.

I still want to cross new restaurants off my bucket list minus the wet kiss. Maybe I’ll go on more dates, maybe I’ll have some more stories to tell from it.

I love a good story. Huge fan.


I’ll share my full Atlanta Bucket List shortly, but in the meantime here are some pics from last weekend with my cousin Sarah visiting. We checked out the rooftop @ Ponce City Market, ate at Victory Sandwich, cooked up some fresh stir fry, and I solo hiked at Pine Log Creek and Quarry. There was so much moss in the water that it *almost* looked radioactive.