” Our lives were falling apart. Crumbling and breaking down. The issues that our family had to endure during those times seemed never ending. No matter how hard we tried, how hard we worked or how long we worked at it nothing seemed to give. It was time to move. Across town to a neighboring neighborhood. To try and start over, rebuild and put our lives back together. It was in the attic that she found a big hay stack with no idea where it came from. It was enormous and seemed to grow everyday. One day, she decided to look in it and investigate and she found a few little heads popping out of the hay. The big pile of hay was, in fact, a big nest. She looked directly above the nest and realized that this poor mother bird was working so hard to make a home for her children. She would go out every day and search for hay for her nest and every day that nest she would build would fall into the attic below. She found herself starting new every morning doing the same thing not realizing that she wasn’t getting anywhere. She felt bad for the mother bird for she knew what she felt. She knew how it felt to work so hard for your little ones and it all seem to just fall apart.. every day starting over again trying to build something. And it was here that she realized that there’s always another way. If one way doesn’t seem to work that there is always another way to be explored.”
I conceder myself a believer that there is something beyond this world, this place, what we know or what we can possibly imagine. This belief of mine has come from years of experiencing “coincidental things” and undergoing years of “off” occurrences that could not be explained… but as these things continue to happen my belief of this gets stronger and stronger.
One of these events happened 2 days after our wedding day when we were in Mexico. The whole time we were in Mexico I felt as though we were not alone. I felt as though our fathers were there with us. I couldn’t put my finger on it but there were several signs that lead me to believe this. Besides stopping the rain on our wedding day there was another particular occurrence that left me thinking about these “coincidences” that happen in life.
We woke up that morning had a wonderful lazy day and then decided to eat one last time at our favorite grill place by the ocean. We went and had the best server ever! He was amazing. He was friendly, he was attentive and he seemed interested in us. We asked him his name and his name was Michael. John and I both thought it was interesting that he had the same name as his father, especially given the fact that we both liked him so much!
That night we decided to go to the small city of Tulum for dinner with my uncle my aunt and our two cousins. As we all walked the streets together looking for a good place to eat we happened upon this Italian place in the middle of a strip of restaurants. It was so lit up it almost called our names. So we all decided to give it a go. So we sat down at a table and we ordered some of our favorite dishes. Dishes that brought me back to Italy. Spaghetti con le vongole was my go to- and always a favorite of mine.
As the food came it’s smell reminded us of Italy. There was NO WAY that this food could be as good, but as we all took our first bites we realized quickly that indeed it was. We ate every bite that was on our dishes, very satisfied and very full my aunt said to the waiter that we wanted to meet the chef. The chef came out, an Italian man from Italy, who moved to America and then to Tulum to cook. My aunt and uncle spoke to him and told him how amazing his food was. We had truly never had such an amazing Italian dish outside of Italy. We wanted to meet the chef. So he came out and introduced himself. His name was Massimiliano. As he said that I looked at John shocked that we were served by two people with the same names as our fathers. Then I looked around the table and everyone else was just as in shock since that name is very uncommon and we have never met anyone else with the same name.
It was evident to me that night and on other various occasions throughout our wedding celebrations that our fathers were there with us. Somehow, some way they made their presence known and they came to us in odd ways with odd “coincidences” but they were there… and I think then more than ever they showed us that.
Our wedding took place in Mexico. We chose to get away because we love to travel and I am a sucker for blue water. So off to the Caribbean we went to say our vows and pledge ourselves to each other. We chose the location off of pictures and reviews. I had a fellow nurse tell me about her dream wedding in Mexico so I decided to look into the same resort where she had her wedding at just on the opposite side of Mexico. I narrowed the resorts down to our top three and from there I showed John the pictures and let him pick his favorite. Ironically, we picked the same one without knowing so off to Tulum it was! We had about 1 year and a half to plan our wedding in Mexico which was more than enough. We gathered 60 relatives of ours and friends and headed south in the dead of winter in the beginning of January. Plane by plane all 60 of us arrived and made our way to Dreams Resort and Spa in Tulum; an all inclusive resort right on the Caribbean.
The plane ride there was one that I will never forget. We flew with John’s side of the family which consisted of his sister, his brother, his brothers girlfriend and his mom and Tim. On the way to the airport his brother (also the best man) began to feel ill. “Uh Oh” is right. Our wedding was 4 days away and he was having symptoms of the flu. As soon as we got to the airport he began feeling sick. We had to hide him and the bag he got sick in in fear that they wouldn’t let us travel! It was quite a show. While in line to get onto the plane there was also a drunk girl knocking into everyone. This wouldn’t have been an issue if we didn’t have to turn around the plane right as we were about to take off because this drunk girl decided to mix her drinks ultimately landing her in a passed out state. Of course she was ok, but as they had the ambulance people and cops come escort her off the plan John’s brother who was sitting behind her could not hold in his sickness so he got up, green in the face, made a fleeting attempt to run to the bathroom and passed out. “Did he just pass out?” said John. I looked at him looked at all the people staring and freaking out and got up.
He somehow got himself up and made it to the bathroom. As he was in the bathroom I was outside the bathroom speaking with the Pilot telling him that “he’s just anxious with all the commotion and hates flying he must be feeling sick”… that was the best excuse I could come up with to keep him on the plane and get our butts to Mexico. Thankfully it worked and thankfully his bug was only about 24 hours. His girlfriend also ended up catching it but it was short lived, so they were able to enjoy the rest of their trip.
Upon arriving in Tulum we had some car troubles… a little drama always occurs when you travel. It’s something to be expected. It’s also a part of our wedding story I will skip right over. We finally got to the resort with champagne in hand and a bottle of wine waiting for us in our suite by the water life was perfect and we couldn’t have been happier. This was exactly what we wanted. We got to resort rather late, due to our car issues, but still decided to order room service and then go for a walk around the resort. Even in the dark it was beautiful. It was everything we could have dreamed of and looked even better in real life than it did in pictures.
The days flew by leading up to our wedding. We had events or adventures set up for every day that everyone was there with some built in relax days. We saw the most beautiful clear water bay, we swam with hundred year old turtles, we got to see the centoes and even got lay around and do nothing. We saw some amazing shows and ate at some tasty restaurants. We couldn’t complain, we were all having fun and letting loose.
Then came our wedding day. We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. John and I couldn’t believe the day had finally come. From early morning we went our separate ways and spent the morning hanging out with our bridesmaids and grooms men. Us girls went to the spa and got our hair and make up done while the guys ate out at one of the resorts restaurants and had a few. It was some quality time before the big moment. Three hours before we had to walk down the aisle a nice big storm cloud began to blow our way. Just like that we had to make a decision to have our wedding outside or inside. We decided with some long conversations via the phone that we came to get married on the beach and that’s what we were going to do rain or shine. Right before it was time for me to walk down the aisle the rain poured. I prayed to our fathers that they would let the rain stop for 20 minutes so we could get the ceremony finished. They must have been there that day because right as I was about to walk out the rain stopped, for EXACTLY 20 minutes. We walked out of the ceremony as it began to drizzle again. In some ways I was comforted to know that they were there, and perhaps the rain was the only way for me to know for sure.
The reception itself was lovely. We had relatives come from Italy, London, Vermont and even friends from Finland. It was something wonderful to see everyone in one room to celebrate us. The speeches John’s mom made, my step-dad made, John’s brother made and my best friend Mackenzie made were well written, touching and put a tear or two in our eyes. My dad and I dances to the song from the little mermaid and John and his mom dances to a country song.. “my wish”. The it was time for me and John to dance to our first song as husband and wife (by band of horses) and he snuck in his air guitar. The cake was beautiful the food was good and we danced the night away until we got kicked out.
We had all planned to meet at the outdoor bar by the beach within the next half hour for some karaoke and dancing. John and I returned to our room to change into something a little more comfortable. As a lay on the bed waiting for him to put his shoes on as he sat on the step I heard a familiar song come on. The song was by Jimmy Eat World, called hear you me, and I realized just then that John had already put on his shoes, He was just sitting there. I put down my phone and watched him as he stood up and faced me. His cheeks had streaks of tears.. and just like that mine came too. He reached out his hand and I stood up taking it. We danced out second dance that night to that song. In memory of all those we have lost… but especially in memory of our fathers… and just like that our wedding night was complete with that one song. They both were there with us.. just like everyone else who came to Mexico… we just couldn’t see their smiling faces is all.
Half way report:
It’s October 19th and a little over half way through the very first quarter of grad school. It’s been quite the trip full of emotions from scared to happy to exciting to stressed to overwhelmed and somehow all these emotions come together and make up your grad school experience. Like all things in life there are always ups and down that make up a journey.
Some downs that I’ve had thus far is the limited time of free time. I barely have time for myself let alone my family friends and dog. This is particularly difficult when you are a family centered person. This has been a huge difficulty for me. Missing my sisters games and family events or functions can be very tough. Missing out on events with friends and coming to find someone you saw everyday now you only see once every two weeks can also be life changing. This is one of the most difficult hurdles of grad school. I have found that to deal with this properly it is important to make the time. Even if it feels like the time doesn’t exist, make sure you take those study breaks and make time to meet with your family or friends. These “breaks” will keep you sane throughout your grad school process.
The only other down is the rigidity; did I mention grad school is HARD? It should be challenging and life changing in a variety of ways. But then again, would the MNS degree be worth it if the program itself wasn’t so incredibly challenging? NO. So although tha rigidity of the prgram can be a downfall it is also something that makes the program itself unique and a major accomplishment when finished.
Although there are some downfalls at this particular point in time it’s important to remember the ups! Here a few positives about my experience in grad school. 1 the teachers. IDK if its just me but I lucked out this quarter with some of the most amazing instructors. They are highly educated, funny, caring and rooting you on all the way. They are all persuing advanced degrees and I have found each and every five of them to be extremely insightful and helpful on my journey. 2. Would be the school. I have been to a total of 5 colleges/universities since I turned 18, each college/university for a different degree or certification and there has not been a school that I truely liked more than I like DePaul. IDK if its the atmosphere, the location in the city, the staff or the student body but I love it and I am so happy that I chose to attend grad school here. It indeed was the perfect fit for me. The tuition cost is another story, but well worth it in my opinion. Last, #3 is the friends I have made here in my program. I have to say that all the people in my program are great, but my small study group is one that is above average! They are some pretty solid ladies with the same goals and aspirations as myself. They have become great friends to me and are very helpful when needing someone to talk to about school or get you through a class.
End of Q1:
1 quarter down and 7 more to do! As the “brave & bold” students of class 2019 it was an enormous accomplishment to finish our first quarter of grad school. To pass all classes with flying colors and then to celebrate our accomplishments together as a cohort. The first quarter got us ready for what lies ahead and the rigorous quarters that follow. BUT, now its time for our 6 week break and to celebrate our successes. As a cohort we came up with the idea to begin a tradition of quarterly celebrations after our very last final.
This quarter we decided to go to a place called Trader Todd’s which is in the city of Chicago to celebrate. About 25 people from our 50 people cohort showed up but we had a blast! There was karaoke, and we were not the shy group! Many of us got up on that stage more than once, me included. Typically something I would shy away from in the past, but seems to me I have turned over a new leaf in the past few years. I don’t seem to be as shy as I once was and in many way this has served we well when it comes time to make friends, get people involved, or plan a cohort outing. The place we went to had decent deals and had a very cute bonfire in the back area which is hidden that we all enjoyed. The place, the people and the night was a good way to end the quarter and was a good start to many more to come.
At the end of quarter one I can honestly say that I feel confident, faithful, reassured, happy, and prepared. Some new emotions than previously mentioned half way through the quarter. I am excited and scared for the next quarter to come but look forward to moving right along and through the program with my new found friends at my side!
Night time seems to be the time where all those thoughts you were holding back in your mind start pushing forward. Tonight is one of those nights. I lie awake thinking of the list of things I have to do tomorrow: pay the bills, figure out my life and schedule, do 20 hours or more of homework, study, go to work, make food for myself… but the one thought that enters my head that is here to stay is what I’ve had to give up and let go of to be here today.
This particular post is about what I’ve had to give up to be in grad school and accept my place as a grad student of nursing. With my long hours at school and long nights working at the hospital I realized that I was an unfit mother to my dog. For people like me who don’t have any children, our dog is the closest thing. My dog for me is like my child. He means the world to me and coming to the conclusion that I was not going to be able to take care of him killed me inside. I quickly realized however, that keeping him was being selfish. As a good dog mom I could not live with myself knowing that I wasn’t doing the very best thing for my dog. So slowly but surely I came to the conclusion that for my time spent in my masters program I was going to have to let go of my dog, my baby and give him up. If I was going to excel in my studies and build a better life for myself and him, I would have to sacrifice my time with him. Knowing this is what needed to be done I reached out to my grandma, who loves him as much as me if not more, and asked her to keep him for two years. we arranged a sort of schedule where she has him majority of the year and I take him back on my Christmas break for a few weeks, get him groomed, back on a diet, snuggle him a bit and then back to her house when school begins again. This was the ideal arrangement.
However, lying here I think about him and I miss him. I wish I could be the dog mom I want to be… I wish I could keep him and give him all the attention in the world… but there’s a lesson to be learned here: sometimes you just have to let go. Sometimes just sometimes letting go is the best thing to do. This was one of those situations. As much as it breaks my heart to be apart from him and think about him, I know that in the end this was the right decision. I have faith that at the end of this all I will get that little fur ball back and be able to me the fur mom he deserves! Sometimes in life we must sacrifice for a better tomorrow.. and this is just what that is. Letting go until the time comes to take back. Miss you my little Meo ❤️
It’s been in my head for a while now that I need to get better at writing and keeping track of what’s going on in my life. Life just flies by sometimes too quick for me to catch it. My first week of grad school was one of those instances. It came and went so quickly with a blink of an eye. It gives me the feeling that this whole grad school experience will be fleeting… but in order to not get ahead of myself let’s start with the now and what’s going on today in the crazy life of mine.
At this very moment I write to you in my bed. Bundled in covers after a 14 hour long school day which consisted of my commute to school, my classes, and a nice five hour break of hard core studying. Oh and of course the constant reminder that I’m forever broke, but that’s besides the point. Back to my bed. I’m practically writing this with one eye closed; given the fact that my eyes are so tired they want to give up on me. With sore fingers that are so weak they can barely spell from typing all day. With a brain that’s half comatose from the information overload. But most importantly, with that spark that keeps me going, pushing and forever moving forward.
Needless to say, my first week was busy. Simply put… rigorous… just as I expected the program and grad school to be. But then again that’s what I’m paying for and that’s why I picked this program. Because I know that at the end of it all it’s going to make me one kick ass nurse, co-worker and dedicated ass lifelong learner. So the torture is worth it and with that so begins my two year journey of torture with the sweetest of gifts at the end…. the privilege to change lives.
There is something to be said about us grad students as a whole. We like a challenge. We’re unique in that we won’t stop until we have attained excellence. We will weather the storms, withstand the torture, subject ourselves to academic abuse and at the end of it all still be there and chances are want to go further until we can’t possibly go any more. Just then do we grad school student reach our goals. But in order to reach them we must advance using baby steps.
There are theee main steps in the mastery process. Bachelors, masters and doctorate. (At least for our profession). Today myself and 50 other students are at step two. Were half way where we want to be and half way far from where we want to be all at the same time. Grad school is a vital step in completing the three step process in that it gives you the key to unlock door number three. It’s a necessity to excel and master your career. Step two is an in between phase… it’s a phase where your an adult but you still feel like a kid. Where the stakes get higher. Where the grading scale spikes. Where making friends is much easier. Where studying becomes 3/4 of your life. Where school takes priority space number one. Where you realize this is your journey and your finally achieving what you were meant to to.. becoming who you were meant to be..
It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s exhausting.
And it’s just the beginning… so here goes nothing! Bring on grad school!
My husband came home and told me about his friend Erik. Erik moved to Chicago about 6 months ago after breaking up with his girlfriend and while trying to detach himself from his father, who is part of the notorious hells angels in california. He supposedly was sharing an apartment and was giving his buddy the rent money who was then pocketing it. Erik got evicted from his apartment and had no family or friends to turn to. Upon hearing this, I offered for him to stay at our house until he got back on his feet. I figured that since John and him worked together that we had nothing to worry about. I also felt that we could be something good for Erik and a positive influence in his life. I truely believed that we would be able to help… but sometimes a good intention goes sour.
Erik moved into our guest bedroom about a week before I left for my trip to Italy. At first things were some what smooth. We never saw each other and he came home and late hours of the night and left before we woke up. However, as the weeks progressed what was supposed to be a short stay of a week or two turned into a month. With the passing weeks came surprise after surprise. While I was in Italy I was told by my husband that he was bringing over women to our home. This did not sit well with me concidering I never met them and had no idea what there women’s intentions were. Two weeks passed and I came home to find mess after mess. Every morning I would wake up and spend an hour cleaning the messes he would make around the house or his bathroom just to do it all over again the next day.
I looked in his room and it looked like the Tasmanian devil had been through there. Not to mention the fact that my carpets seemed to be stained with black dye. One morning we got to talking and he opened up telling me that he also has HIV, which wouldn’t had been a problem had he not been skipping work because of “health issues”. Erik was a guest in our house. He did not pay rent and he even was offered a plate at my dinning room table. I knew things were getting out of hand when I had cooked dinner for us and he asked me for a piece of foil. It just seemed to be one thing after another. I told my husband that I needed him to be out before I began my masters. As much as it broke my heaRt to kick him out of our house I had to face the fact that a good deed on our part was mistaken for weakness and in the end we got used. The night that he left he brought over a girl showered with her for 40 minutes and then took his things. Leaving behind two bags that he couldn’t fit onto his motorcycle. He then came to get those last bags two weeks later while taking yet another shower at our house and literally throwing soap all over the walls in the bathroom.
To make matters worse a week before we officially left he was fired from his job for not showing up. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do to help. He was a grown man of 39 years old. That is 15 years older than me and as a 24 year old and 27 year old my husband and I were not able to take care of him or support his ways.
He left without barely a thank you. We were left to piece back together our home with stained carpets, a trashed guest room, a dirty bathroom. a large water bill, and the insecurity of what he was doing or if he’ll be back. The lesson that was learned was that sometimes being nice can be taken advantage of. There’s no way of knowing when a good deed could go wrong until you do it. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and that’s what this experience was… a lesson learned. A home is to be respected especially when living and eating for free out of the goodness of ones heart. I wish him the very best and pray for some positive change in his life. I truely hope something good came out of us having him here.