That is such a crazy huge milestone am I right?!!
So in honor of that milestone, I wanted to do something special. I decided to take a look over the last 30 years of my life, and reflect, and give thanks for the life I have had the privilege of living. I have decided to write out here for you (with pictures of course!) The Top 30 Moment of my 30 Years of Life.
Are you excited? I'm excited! Let's begin!
The entirety of it can be summed up as the best years of my life. My siblings, my parents and I had a complete blast; Riding bikes, swimming in the creek, playing kick the can, jumping on the trampoline, Super Nintendo, hanging out with an assortment of barnyard creatures, climbing the mountain, playing grey wolf with all the cousins, playing in the mud, and living the best life a kid could ask for.
2. The day my little sister was born
I was seven years old, I already had two brothers, and I wanted nothing more than to have a little sister. I was at school when my mom was giving birth, and that is all I could talk about all day! We didn't know the sex of the baby yet, so I was even more excited! I got the phone call later that day, and when my Mom told me that I had a little sister, my life was complete.
I walked back into class, on cloud nine, and told everyone that I had an announcement. Some wiseguy goes, "We all know, your mom had a baby." and I said, smiling from ear to ear, "She had a girl! I have a little sister!"
3. My Dad telling me I can be anything I want, and accomplish anything
I believed him, and I did!
I was 14 and I went to Costa Rica. We zip lined through the rain forest, went white water rafting, rode around in the back of cars, and I stayed with a local family that only spoke Spanish! It began my obsession for travel.
5. Giving the salutatorian speech at my high school graduation
I donned the silver robe, silver cap, yellow sash, and my Converse. I proudly marched down that aisle, got my diploma, and then I gave an epic speech. I said something special about each person in our class, talked about our futures, and then closed with the quote, "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine (I believe I substituted Mountain Dew for wine!) in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming Woo hoo what a ride!" And I most definitely fist pumped as I screamed "Woo hoo!"
6. Living in Colorado
I moved there after high school. It was exactly what I needed; to get out of the small town I grew up in, be free from parents, meet new people, and experience life on my own!
7. The night we crashed a wedding
While living in Colorado, me and some friends stumbled upon a wedding. We signed the guest book, watched the first dance, took pictures, and ate some cake before being interrogated, and subsequently asked to leave by some members of the wedding party.
8. Backpacking Fiji, Australia, and Vanuatu with my best friends when I was 19
What more could a 19 year old ask for?!!
I was flying through the water, the warm tropical wind was blowing, the sun was perfect, and I looked down, and I could see forever. A never ending ocean of brilliant coral, schools of fish, and the crystal clear water that looked like a glass floor beneath me.
Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of a ton of tropical islands. lt is actual paradise. The first week was spent swimming in an infinity pool with a swim up bar right beside the ocean, napping on the sand, drinking out of coconuts, and exploring the local villages and markets. The second week we spent in Takara Village, a village that was hours from civilization, had no electricity, no running water, and was located directly on the beach. We ate the native food they made us, wore their clothing, slept on mats on the floor, used squatty potties, helped prepare food in leaves (picture 2), met the chief, and played with the children. We also played volleyball on an old World War two landing strip, hosted a party for the women and children, where we did skits, prepared food, and had a wonderful time. We got to visit a small island by boat, where we explored, and went out to the middle of the ocean (picture 1) and jumped off of coral. Eventually we got around to the real reason we were there; we funded and helped build a water tank to catch and store rain water, so the villagers wouldn't have to walk miles to a dirty stream to collect their drinking water (picture 3). Oh! And I went octopus hunting (picture 4)! And we ate it for dinner! This surreal trip ended with me getting baptized in a waterfall in the middle of the jungle.
I had gotten stranded overnight in Chicago, and then again in Beijing. I was sleep deprived, and nervous as could be, but on that ride I knew I had made it, and I knew what I was made of. I wasn't even 21 yet, but I believe that on that ride, I became an adult.
12. Seeing the Olympic Torch being passed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Not only did I get to experience this super historic event, but the way I made it there is one of my favorite stories about myself! I hadn't been in China very long at all, couldn't speak the language, and had no idea where the passing of the Olympic torch was going to take place. I waited at the bus stop, saw some Chinese people decked out in Olympic gear and flags (as was I), followed them onto a bus, and got out when I saw the throngs of people standing in the street!
I turned 21 a month after moving to China. Sure there's no drinking age so I didn't get carded, but there were fireworks, a Korean Bbq, Chinese beer, friends, and drinks! It was also very memorable, because it was my first time talking to a stranger in Mandarin. I told the lady at the bar that I liked her hair, and I was so overcome with joy, and so proud of myself for being able to say it!
A couple of months after moving to China, an earthquake hit. I survived, but was pretty shaken up (Read all about the earthquake here). That night we had to sleep outside because the aftershocks were so bad it wasn't safe to sleep in a tall building. After that night the aftershocks kept happening, and every time, I felt like the earthquake was happening all over again. We decided that dealing with culture shock and aftershocks at the same time was just too much, so we packed up, and spent a luxurious week in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
We got to explore the jungles, bask in the beaches, go wakeboarding, and we stayed at a resort with an infinity pool. It was a beautiful time of rest and rejuvenation.
I knew you wouldn't believe me about this one, and that's why I put this picture here, because truth be told, if I didn't have actual documented proof of it, I probably would have thought I had dreamt it!
So one night some Chinese friends of mine tell me we're going to a party. We're walking downtown and suddenly they turn down a dark alley, we go into a side door, then proceed down I don't even remember how many flights of stairs. A lot! We get to the bottom and I literally could not believe my eyes (or ears!). There was a dj spinning some mad hip hop beats, several people were off to the side break dance battling, and then in the center of the room, were the rap battles. I felt like I was in 8 mile, if 8 mile were in China, and Eminem was Asian! All the rap battling was in Mandarin Chinese, and I couldn't understand anything they said (hey I can barely understand people rapping in English!)! So I'm listening to this guy (pictured above) rapping, when all of a sudden, I realize he's talking about the other dude's Mom! As soon as he mentioned this guy's mom, everyone starts going "Ooooohhh!!!" It. Was. EPIC.
Could a girl ask for a better way to celebrate a birthday than to climb the great wall, visit the summer palace, be with friends, karaoke, and stuff her face with glorious street vendor food?! Nope!
17. Riding an elephant through the jungles of Thailand
18. Floating down a river on a bamboo raft in Thailand
19. Drinking Thai tea in Thailand
Every day we were in Thailand, we would walk from our hotel to a little tea stand in the middle of nowhere. We would buy two teas each. One for the walk back, and one for when we got back to the hotel!
This was me and my band's first gig, and it couldn't have been any cooler! We got to eat all the free food and booze we wanted, plus, we got to play onstage for a Mini Cooper event! I felt like a complete rockstar!
It was for a weekend long open house at a Real Estate company. I got paid to dress up fancy, drink wine, mingle with the guests, and sit and look pretty! Best. Job. Ever!
22. The week my mom and sister visited me in China
It meant more than words could describe, that my sister conquered her fear of flying, and they both flew across the ocean to come see me. We had the greatest time ever!
23. When I moved back to Ohio after living in China for two years
It was the most incredible reunion with my family and friends. Lots of happy tears!
24. The day I met Nick
Changed my life forever.
The moment every little girl waits for!
My fairy tale wedding finally happened! And it was perfect!
27. The day after our wedding
Such relief! Such joy! Such love! Such happiness!
28. Our first year of marriage
I'm not going to lie to you and say it was all roses and sunshine, but wow was it a wild and crazy ride! And also, neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before, so that made it even more special!
Me and my husband planned it for her, and it was literally the coolest thing ever! It was a Medieval theme, and we had the best time ever decorating, dressing up, hanging out, and celebrating the amazing lady that is my Mother with our friends and family (See all the pictures here!).
All inclusive. Pools. Sun. Ocean, and each other. Bliss.
Writing this list has made me realize just how incredibly blessed I am.
I have met and loved so many wonderful people and creatures, explored the most beautiful corners of the globe, and experienced living life uninhibited, free, and my way.
So on this crazy day marking my 30 years of existence on this earth, I am not only truly grateful, for all that I have experienced, but also proud! I am so proud of myself, for most of these experiences would not have happened without my determined mind, hard work, bravery, and wild and carefree spirit!
I am so excited for what the next 30 years will bring...
And also to Princess Tutus Boutique. They provided the tutu for this shoot, and it was, as you can tell, dreamy!
Peace Love and My 30th Birthday