So…I didn’t die. RT school is absolutely no joke. I have been so incredibly busy I feel like I haven’t had to breathe. Between clinicals, work, marriage, trips, and holidays, I’ve been so slammed. But I’m back and finally have a semi manageable schedule (it’ll be even better in January!) that I think will support my blogging more!
I have honestly missed blogging. It is such a great creative outlet for me, but I have just not had the time to do it.
So! A few life updates!!
We are still happily living in good old Cville, but we have moved! We are in the downtown area now! (more about that in another post)
Watson is finally done growing. He’ll be two in January and is basically my emotional support pup.
Fiyero is still his usual aloof self, but now he’ll sometimes emerge and actually snuggle.
RT school is completely brutal, but it will be worth it in the end! (Which is nearing! June can’t come fast enough…)
I’m still a working student; I’m working at UVA Health now and love it here! I’ll also be switching to working nights come January, so any night shift tips are appreciated!
Some big changes are on the horizon, so I’ll keep you guys updated as they happen!
Like I said earlier, my schedule has opened up so much more! Christmas break is almost here (PRAISE) and I’ll be doing nothing but napping, blogging, reading, and repeating. Ya girl is BEAT. The crazy thing is, I’ll also be prepping my resume!?! What is life?! Then fast forward to February and March, I’ll be beginning my RT job search; It’s truly crazy for me to think about that. So much is happening and I’m just sitting here ready for a break. As the title suggests, I’m taking it one day at a time at this point.
Have any of you all had any big (or small!) exciting life changes? Drop them below if you want to share! While I know this is a short post, I just wanted to throw a quick one out there before my busy week got any busier. But I’ll be back this weekend because we’ll be traveling back to one of my favorite places on Friday! (Cue excited/slightly obnoxious squealing)
Alright guys, cards on the table; I suck at this. I so want to keep you all in the loop, but I am so bad at it (as I’m sure you guys all have noticed)!!
So here we go again, hopefully for the very last time; Time to play catch up!
First things first, I did not get into the Surgical Tech program I wanted, which was both a good and a bad thing. Bad because it really hit my confidence levels pretty hard, and good, because through that rejection, I found my true passion in Respiratory Therapy. I’ll continue this story at the bottom, but up top is reserved for spark notes haha.
Watson has gotten huge. Like seriously huge!! He’s probably over 30 pounds now and he just keeps growing like a weed! When we adopted him, we were told he was a pure Cocker spaniel, but so many people have suggested that he might be a Boykin spaniel! And I’m honestly not sure!! The differences between the two aren’t very clear to me, I mean, I know they are different breeds, but they look so similar in my opinion! If you guys know anything about the two, feel free to comment and teach me!
The husband got a new job, and get this: IT’S IN TOWN!!! He won’t have to drive for two hours a day anymore! So, SO happy about that! (He is too, but I think I might be even more excited than he is lol)
My work schedule has changed drastically for the better! I now don’t have to be in until later in the morning (and sometimes not until the afternoon!), which leave plenty of time to get things done around our apartment and to take care of Watson and Fiyero 🙂 It will also come in very handy when I start classes on the 17th!
We just totally DIYed our kitchen table, and it turned out fantastic!! So much better than we hoped! (Mostly because we had never stained anything before, let alone laminate lol) I’ll post a picture below!
Lastly, we are finally settled in our new place! It looks much more like a home now than it did just last week! (Last week it looked like a poor college student’s crash pad) We hung pictures and decor up, rearranged, and we basically have a new table! We also bought bar stools, which made us feel very adult. It feels like we JUST finished unpacking…probably because we did…haha! It’s just such an arduous process in my opinion…I absolutely hate unpacking period. So finally being unpacked is huge for us, well me mostly.
Extreme Heart Pouring Out below. Skip to the end if you want to just see my dog and the table, and no my feelings won’t be hurt ❤
You’ve been warned.
So! Respiratory Therapy! You’re probably thinking “Whoa Tori, you need to just quit flip-flopping and choose something!” Or perhaps you just think I’m insane…well, I am, and I like it so… 😛 But here’s what I think: Sometimes, God closes doors, maybe ones that you thought were right ones to walk through, for your own good. It’s funny honestly…these past few years have been really hard for me; Never really having a plan, and it seeming like there would never be an end in sight. Basically having the feeling of hopelessness. This changed everything. Long story short, I didn’t make it into the Surgical Tech program. I was completely devastated. I felt like I had hit a wall, AGAIN. So I wallowed for a few days, and then I lost it. I just broke down in tears and started praying asking why SO MANY DOORS had been closing in my face for so long. I was so emotionally wrecked. Not long after that, I started just surfing the web…looking for inspiration or something. It was then that I had the bright idea to research Respiratory Therapy (RT). Well, I say *I*, but let’s be real, it was a God thing. Anyways, I look it up and stumble upon a program that fit into my life and schedule PERFECTLY. Almost way to good to be true. So, I inquire.
The next day, I heard back and again, it sounded perfect. I started looking up what RTs typically do, and it was…uncanny. It’s exactly what I have always wanted to do, but I never knew a job like it existed. You get to help people, young and old. You get to help in crisis, and in calm times. You get to research and discover new and exciting ways to help people with chronic illnesses. You get to have patient interaction and have ample interaction with co-workers as well. And, the best part? RTs are an integral part of a NICU team…which has always been my dream. I know first hand what it is like in a NICU and it can be so scary…which is why I wanted to work in one so badly. People you see in the NICU are usually hurting and searching for answers, or just hoping that their sweet baby will be alright. I want to be there during that time of need for those families just like they were there for mine when we were in crisis mode. I want to be that comfort, that shoulder to cry on, or just a listening ear. And those babies need people fighting for them, and that’s what I want to do with my whole heart.
After realizing all of this, I got so excited, and I started the process of applying and testing to get into the program. Shortly after I took the test, I found out:
I got in. Me. The girl who was rejected from the other programs that I thought I wanted. I. Got. In. I jumped, I screamed, I cried…there were so many emotions.
Fast forward to the present, I start on the 17th as long as all the paperwork goes through and if I get into a clinical site! My interview for that is this Saturday and I am super nervous. So good vibes and prayer would be greatly appreciated! I’ll let you guys know what happens! So that is that! I still can’t believe it to be honest. A program that works for me, and has an end in sight, I can afford it, I can still work full time while going through it…mind is blown away right now. I need to stop here, because honestly, I’ll just keep rambling about how excited I am and it’ll get really old, really fast haha!
Wow. I know that was alot. If you read it all, THANK YOU! If not? Totally fine 🙂 Not everyone is into the heart to heart stuff 🙂 Without further ado, here is my pupper and our new to us table 😀 (If you can’t tell, I am very proud of it and I seriously have sent this picture to most of my friends. It was also featured on my Insta story which, reminds me…FOLLOW meh! ( @makinghistori )
Boykin, or Cocker Spaniel? I’m honestly not sure.
Well, guys, It has been a blast! I’m so sorry I ditched again for so long! I will do my very best to keep everyone in the loop about my life, and would love to hear about how yours are going! Drop a comment if you like, or feel free to send me a message 🙂
Whoa, guys! It has been WAY too long!! I had to take a break from blogging because school and life got insane. But! I’m back, and can’t wait to catch everyone up on how life has been!!
I finished my semester and applied to a surgical technology program (fingers crossed I get in!), and Davey and I got a PUPPY!!!! His name is Watson and he is honestly the cutest puppy I have ever seen (although I may be biased) and he is so good. (Pictures at the bottom of the page) He is a chocolate cocker spaniel who loves to sleep in bathtubs and eat cat food. He also loves to torture Fiyero, poor little thing! We are currently trying to overcome the hurdle that is potty training him, so anyone that has any tips, please share!!
Life has been so full of ups and downs recently. Davey and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary recently! We went on a little weekend getaway and just relaxed. It was so wonderful to take a break from everything and just rest. Ironically right before that trip, I was in a car accident (I’m totally fine, thank goodness!), but sadly my car did not make it 😦 But we did get a new car shortly afterward and I love it!!! It’s blue and so much bigger. I’m still getting used to the size and different little things about it. I’m still horrible at parallel parking though! I don’t think that will ever change haha!
Davey and I are moving in just a couple of weeks! Let me tell you…you NEVER know how much stuff you have until you are packing to move!! Or how truly unorganized you are!! It’s crazy! Here I thought I had an organized little apartment…nope. Not at all. Too much stuff, super messy. Let me level with you guys: I hate packing. I’m bad at packing. I find it so annoying and tiresome. I absolutely love UNpacking and organizing a new place, but packing everything up just seems so much harder for some reason.
Anyway, I am so sorry I totally fell off the face of the earth for so long! I’m back! I can’t wait to continue to share little bits of my life with you all!
(First of all: I would like to address the title of this post…my husband came up with it. I couldn’t say no. Sorry not sorry.)
Anyone can be a “Yogi”. Literally anyone. I started just a few months ago, but have really enjoyed the benefits. Am I a natural? NOPE. But that’s totally fine! No one is good when they start out! I started yoga originally because I had heard it was a good stress reducer, and that was something I desperately needed in my life. I stress way too often about basically everything! (Don’t be me. Don’t stress about stress, then stress about yoga. Bad idea. It ruins it.) So on a boring Saturday, I decided on a whim that I should give yoga a try. There were plenty of yoga studios in Charlottesville to choose from! You’d think that would make it easier…wrong. It made it next to impossible to decide where to go. Having never taken a yoga class before, I just started comparing prices and reviews of different places and it was then that I realized that yoga could be expensive. VERY expensive. Now I don’t say that to scare you away! Depending on your location, yoga class prices could be anywhere in the range from high to free at certain gyms. But, if you happen to be visiting Charlottesville and feel that need to stretch, I’ve got just the place for you.
Out of the many yoga studios around town, I landed on Flydog Yoga Studio. They have, among other things, heated vinyasa classes! (Which I absolutely LOVE. The heat really intensifies the workout.) They have many different types of classes you can choose from, those just happen to be my favorite! Another great reason to try out Flydog, is they are actually affordable! A drop in class is only $14, and they have an amazing deal for beginners: $30 for a month of unlimited classes! It’s the perfect package if you have no clue what classes you want to take, or if your schedule is wacky. The instructors there are fabulous too. One thing I personally was very nervous about was going and being judged. I am not skinny and am probably not your typical “yogi”. I am in fact curvy, and very athletically built, therefore I do not bend in certain ways…or so I thought.
My first class came and went in a blur. I got there, was greeted by a wonderful human being who then showed me around, I was given a complimentary yoga mat to use since it was my first time, (after your first time, you can rent one for $3 or $5 I think) and told not to worry about anything at all. I was instantly put at ease. I walked into the studio, found a spot in the back and quickly realized that this was something I wanted to continue. From the moment I started, the instructors were willing to lend a helping hand, and really show me the ropes. I was never once judged, or mocked. All the already established yogis in the studio were also very supportive. I felt welcomed and free to be myself. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t bend in a certain way…all that happened was an instructor came over and helped me do the pose in a way that worked with my body! It was GREAT!
Immediately after the class, I had the best feeling ever. I felt so loose, and in tune with my body. Not only that, but I wasn’t nearly as stressed out as I was going in. I will say, however, the next day I was pretty darn sore, but that got better as I practiced more. Yoga is pretty fantastic because it combines stress relieving techniques with strength training. You leave having had a solid workout, but you also leave feeling refreshed, and ready to take on the day.
Anyone who maybe doesn’t like the traditional gym route, or maybe someone who has a previous injury that gets irritated on a jog or during other generic exercises…yoga may just be the thing for you! The wonderful thing about it is how you really can tailor it to your specific needs. No matter your body type, age, or whether you are male or female, you can (and totally should) try yoga!! It is a wonderful alternative and I will always recommend trying it!
In summary: Yoga IS a stretch, but not one that you have to worry about 😉
If you are local to good ol’ Cville, totally go check out Flydog! (I promise this is not sponsored!) It’s a great place, and you’ll meet some amazing people! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself a whole new community to be apart of!
Thanks for listening to me talk about sweaty people who like bending their bodies 😉
Its nearly Christmas, and that means many people have their trees up and have their houses are decked out for the holidays! Everyone has their own special traditions they follow (if you have any, feel free to comment below and share them! I’d love to hear all about them!) at this time of year, we are no different! My family specifically had a few “normal” ones too, so I’ll list those along with the usual Dominican traditions 😀
The house was ALWAYS thoroughly cleaned (I mean top to bottom) around this time of year! Mostly in preparation for all of the incoming guests, you may be expecting!
This deserves its own bullet: General fact: Cleanliness is next to godliness. Seriously. But its especially important when the holidays roll around because other people will be in your home! You’ll be JUDGED. Okay, not really, but that’s what the parents want us to think. Watch this to get an idea of how intense it could get: (No, this person is not Dominican, but they sure are acting like it!!) Example of Dominican style cleaning
Along with cleaning the house, decorating for the season is important too. Lights, cute little wooden (or really any material)/ painted trees around the house, ugly home-made children’s decor (So I made an elf out of a Quaker oats can when I was little…Darn thing sits next to the Christmas tree every year and causes me nightmares.) candles, and anything cinnamon smelling. (Wait..that last bit is just my dad…would recommend though!!)
Coquito, Coquito, COQUITO!!!!! It’s really important that you realize how delish this drink is. It’s there for you every major holiday too! YUM. (I’ll put the recipe at the bottom of the post)
Shooting off fireworks in the streets is a normal occurrence in the DR. Unfortunately, the US is no fun and has banned fireworks in loads of places. BOO.
Christmas (Eve usually) dinner is VERY important. You dress nice, family comes, the table is heaped with enough fantastic food to feed an army…you get the idea.
In the days leading up to Christmas, we (I think this may have been my family specifically) had advent calendars with dulces or sweets in them for each day!
I should also mention that the DR is primarily Roman Catholic, so La Misa del Gall or Midnight Mass is a typical family outing!
Around Christmas, its normal to spend time with family, but if you’re blessed to be apart of a Dominican family, there is NO excuse. Christmas= Intense amounts of family time. Uninterrupted family time at that. (Not saying its a bad thing, but most people I don’t think get that family time in this culture is SUPER important)
The good news is, during this intense family time, there are games, LOTS of dancing and music, and food. Always food.
My dad always read the Christmas Story from the bible every Christmas morning before we opened presents!
We ALWAYS open one present on Christmas Eve before going to bed. However, I must confess that I always knew they would be PJ’s…(Thanks, mom 😛 )
Dominican households around the holidays are lively ones, which is something I love and cherish! The fact that I get to come home to a family who just embraces their child-like side, and celebrates the birth of Christ is so great! There is never a dull moment. I’m pretty excited that this is my FIRST year being a married woman! So, no more sleepovers with my sister (where we secretly stayed up trying to guess what we had gotten) or tip-toeing down the creaky steps to sneak a peek at all the presents before we violently woke our parents up, I am really going to miss it…
But I am looking forward to carrying on traditions in my little family! Will totally not be forgetting the one present on Christmas Eve! (Except no PJ’s) After this Christmas, I’ll have to post an update if we come up with our own traditions or use the ones I listed above or any combination of those 😀
I may or may not be about to poke some fun at a few things we Dominicans do! But hey! All in good fun 😉 (I’m sorry Dad for the things I am about to say.)
As you are probably well aware, every culture has its own customs and traditions, but have you ever thought about mannerisms? Have you ever noticed that a specific group of people use their hands more when they speak? Or anything like that? It’s something that I find super fascinating (don’t ask me why, because I have NO clue!) Well, one thing many Americans (and a bunch of other cultures, I’m sure) tend to do is point at things with their fingers. Well, something that many Dominicans (and Hispanics in general) do more often than not, is motion to things with their lips/chins!
Yes. Their lips. I know it sounds stupid, but its just…a thing that we do. Basically, give yourself some duck lips and motion with your face to thing item you want cousin generic name #4 to get for you. That simple. Maybe one day I’ll post a tutorial…
Another technical mannerism that is true of almost all Dominicans is their hospitality! (Okay, so I had to google whether or not hospitality was a mannerism. SORRY.) We’re experts. I would even say that we rival “southern hospitality”. (I know, CRAZY…not.*rolls eyes*) When people come into our homes, we usually go overboard and completely overwhelm them with extra things. Stuff you usually see in hotels, but for some reason, we feel like we owe it to these guests! Sweets on the pillows, small toiletry packages for everyone who stays overnight, we cook deluxe breakfasts, offer to wash their laundry, you get the idea. It’s a bit ridiculous, but it feels right. When people come to my place, I absolutely hate it when they try to help in ANY way. (Unless it’s my sister. Fool get yo own plate. Love you!!) They are guests and should therefore NOT do ANYTHING. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to show how much I care. When the food is ready, I usually announce it, which is also a Dominican trait. No one starts eating before I give the okay! Guests are always served first, and always have first dibs on seconds. (Okay, I want to be a guest in my own home…not fair)
Thirdly, being fashionably late is a real thing. One I intentionally do NOT follow. Probably due to my mom’s affinity for being on time! (Thanks, Mom!) But being 15 to 30 minutes late is considered polite. If you show up on time, its okay, but kind of strange, you know? Like they will answer the door, and be happy to see you, but inwardly, they will be wondering if they gave you the wrong time, or they may wonder if you even actually know them. Storytime: On my mom’s wedding day, my dad’s sisters were trying to get her to be fashionably late, and she was not okay with it! (I find it hilarious, picturing my mom in a puffy white dress with huge hair fighting to be on time in her oh-so-cute flustered way) They succeeded and I think she was 15 minutes late! So, yeah. I don’t do this thing. Nope, nope, no. Ask my husband. He DOES embrace this horribly annoying trait. (Grr…)
Hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into the fun mannerisms of this cool culture! Now go point at things with your lips and see how people react! (It’s hilarious, trust me!) I could probably keep rambling about all of the adorable things Dominicans do, but I’ll save it for next time 😉
Once upon a time, I grew up in the best state ever. (Me? Biased? Nah..) New Jersey was probably the best place to grow up because it was both fast-paced, and slow at the same time. Living there most likely instilled in me the “never stop” lifestyle that I still have today. I have a seriously difficult time just spending a day at home, even though in theory that would be a good thing.
Close your eyes and picture horns honking, vendors yelling in at least 4 different languages, the distinct smells of street food, sweat, and determination. Then imagine being slightly, but firmly pushed through a crowd of people heading down dirty concrete steps to an already jam-packed subway. Power walking was the norm, having to get everywhere quickly and on time…it was intense and that intensity was seemingly never-ending. But then if you took the time to really look around, right there in front of you was the softer side of the city, something most tourists never saw because they were so swept up in the city that never sleeps. Ice skating at Rockefeller Center, people taking long walks with their dogs, and families picnicking in Central Park. Bike rides through smaller, local streets, hole in the wall pizza places where the owners knew your name (S/O to Champion Pizza! You made my childhood delicious! Best pizza in NYC guys. No joke), you get the idea.
So, growing up my dad and I used to subway into the city, oh gosh, on most weekends just for fun. But in 1999, everything changed. My dad got into a horrible car accident. The hospitals in NJ near us couldn’t help him, so he was brought to Virginia for medical attention. My mom and I followed. After months of back and forth, my mom ended up accepting a job offer in Richmond, Virginia so we could stay for my dad. I honestly don’t know if it was ever their intention to stay in Virginia, but that’s what ended up happening. We left New Jersey and never looked back. Well, I think I was the only one to look back. I missed it. That fast-paced feeling, and then that relaxing feeling of coming home after a whole day of that rush…nothing compares to it. In Virginia, everything is slower, calmer, and most people are content with staying at home or just moving throughout their day in a more relaxed way. I felt like a fish out of water. I felt that I shouldn’t have these massive urges to “get out of the house” as my dad used to say. But I still have them. And you know what? I don’t think that will ever stop.
Time travel to 2015 (sorry I’m a nerd), when I left my home in Richmond to move to Charlottesville, VA. I quickly fell in love with it. It’s faster paced then Richmond, but still has that laid-back feel underneath the rush. Its home to the gorgeous University of Virginia (Go Hoos!), and its nestled super close to Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway! The small college town feel was so perfect for me. And the fact that I live so close to the mountains, meant I could indulge my love of hiking all while living in a small city! Perfect!
So I went from the Big Apple to a place filled with Orchards. Don’t get me wrong! I love Charlottesville with its rolling hills and beautiful mountains! It’s quaint, and the people are wonderful. But it really isn’t the same as my favorite concrete jungle. I think a part of my heart will always belong to that bustling city and especially to New Jersey. You can take the Jersey girl out of Jersey, but she will always be a Jersey girl. What can I say? It’s in my blood.
Hello, hello! This is the first of a SERIES! Yay! So stay tuned 😉 If you haven’t clicked on over to the “About Me” section of my blog, then you may have missed that I am half Dominican! My dad immigrated to the United States when he was only 18 and never looked back. I like to think through him I have a strong connection to the Dominican people and its beautiful culture. Growing up in a Dominican influenced household held a lot of different traditions compared to the average American household. So there were tons of things that I thought were “normal” but found out the hard way that they were NOT. On top of that, I realized I hadn’t done many of the actual normal things. For example:
I never tried a s’more until I was well into my 20’s.
Breakfast ALWAYS included rice and beans (Actually that was EVERY meal).
You do NOT in fact vigorously hug and kiss both cheeks of a person you are meeting for the first time (They never spoke to me again).
Loud salsa, merengue, and especially bachata music during all hours in the home.
Evidently, not all weddings are wild multiple day occasions. (Still bummed about that one)
Flip-flops were never called “flip-flops”; the term you are looking for is “chanclas”.
I still have not tried french toast.
Family is #1. You have no other priorities. (No, really. None.)
Oregano is in everything and it IS everything.
We can all cook. Very well. (At least in my family??)
Coquito at EVERY Thanksgiving and Christmas gathering. (Will link a recipe for you to try this life-altering drink. If you’re of age that is!)
Every family reunion turned into a massive dance party (Noticing a theme?).
Pointing to literally everything with your chin.
We have the ability to recognize another Dominican from 7,900 miles away. No joke. (AND we hug each other vigorously!)
My dad still looks like he is 30…I won’t say how old he is, but it is WAY over 30. He hasn’t aged. Seriously concerned he is an alien. This is normal. Help.
You get the idea. We’re insane, love loud music, dancing, and being very over the top in the best way possible! We know how to have a good time. Growing up in this environment taught me to be a MAJOR extrovert and really embrace life passionately. I grew up in Paterson, NJ in an amazingly awesome neighborhood. It is sadly rundown, and I wouldn’t advise going there now, but man. It was awesome. We had an adorable tiny house, where I, like Mr. Harry Potter himself, slept in a closet! (Don’t worry, it was a HUGE closet and I loved it!) I was born in 1993, (90’s baby, yeah!!!) so everyone was still friendly and helpful with no suspicions or stigmas attached. It was such a diverse place! So many different peoples, religions, and traditions. I could safely ride my bike throughout the entire neighborhood (and into a brick wall, a story for another time) with no fears of being snatched up or anything like that. I was lucky enough to live only a couple blocks away from two great buddies of mine (S/O to Samantha and Stephen! Love you both!) and we would do the dumbest things together! It was fabulous. Oh, how I wish I could raise my future children in that same environment! It was so peaceful, and simple. Safe and nurturing. Growing up there, I never noticed skin color or any other racial differences. People were people, and that was all that mattered. One lesson my dad always taught me (by this I mean at least a minimum of twice a week) that a smile was the best greeting and to “always walk with your head held high”! Be proud of who you are and where you come from. I carry those words with me daily, and boy are they ever relevant today. No matter where you’re from, be PROUD! You are bringing something to this wonderful melting pot of a nation! You are bringing you and your super cool/ new traditions and culture! Always walk with your head held high and smile. You are amazing and I would so love to hear each and every one of your stories. While all this is coming from the blissful memories of a 4 to 5 year old girl, the principle still remains: People are people. No one is lesser or greater, and the diversity in this nation is a beautiful sight to behold. I think more people need to remember that everyone has a story worth sharing and to be proud of their own stories. Those are a few lessons I learned growing up Dominican. We are a community. Everyone matters. When it comes down to it, we are all the same. Love people (hug them vigorously if you feel so led), and respect them. It’s what people will remember about you: if you love them, and respect them.