Two Roads Diverged


I’ll be linking up with Jenni this month for her Blogtember series. Today’s prompt: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

Robert Frost said it best:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Except, I didn’t. I didn’t take the road less traveled by, I took the safe route. You see, I wanted to join the Peace Corps after college. I love to travel, I love adventure, I love other cultures. I really wanted to learn a language. And I knew they wanted people interested in health- and I was. I applied. I interviewed. And then I waited. For some reason…doubt that I’d get accepted, maybe…I applied to graduate school too. See, I’m a planner. An INTJ, as we learned yesterday. I’m practical. And I felt like I was putting my eggs all in one basket. Peace Corps wasn’t guaranteed. There were still health physicals to pass. Paperwork to gather. And the financial collapse was starting. Jobs were scarce and Peace Corps was becoming more popular, and more competitive. So, I applied to graduate school. I got accepted to graduate school. And I waited some more. My heart wanted Peace Corps. But the silence wasn’t a good sign. So, one day, I finally picked up the phone and called my recruiter to check up on my status. He was equally baffled that I hadn’t heard anything yet, so he said he’d look into things and call me back. I figured I’d be waiting a few more days. He called back 15 minutes later. I had passed the interview, but he had failed to actually submit my paperwork. He promised me he had just submitted it and I was good to go. I was thrilled. But there was bad news. They wouldn’t have any openings for another 8 months.

This was April. Most of my friends were graduating and starting jobs in June. I had graduated in December and was working a few part-time jobs while waiting to learn what my next step would be. I had already been waiting for 4 months. And now I would have to wait for 8 more months!? Again, as we learned yesterday, I’m not patient. I couldn’t just work part-time jobs for 8 months. (Yes, in retrospect, I realize I could have. And maybe I should have. But that didn’t feel like the smart or “practical” move at the time).

Leading up to this time..to finally learning I HAD been accepted into the Peace Corps, but now I would have to wait, there had been an unusually high numbed of deaths in Peace Corps. And I felt like this was just one more sign (the first being that my paperwork didn’t get submitted when it should have) that maybe this wasn’t my time. I had gotten into UCLA. A great school for my degree. I had never lived out west. And I kept seeing signs EVERYWHERE that were calling me to UCLA. For example, a girl I worked with, but didn’t really know, was from LA and moving back home and looking for a roommate. I went shopping in Urban Outfitters one day, and on the east coast, they had UCLA shirts. They were the ONLY college shirts in the store. IN a college town. ON the east coast. It just felt like things for UCLA were falling into place.

And so I chose. I chose UCLA. I put my dream of Peace Corps on hold. I went to LA. And I lived at the beach. And I made amazing friends. And did things I never dreamed of doing. And I fell in love. DSC_0728 DSC_0660 37553_937308988168_5003894_n 3162_609913062417_6326937_nI met amazing women that I would end up traveling the world with. I made career decisions that have gotten me to where I am today. I tried new things (coffee, running, yoga!), and I learned to live on my own, away from my family and friends, just as I would have if I had joined the Peace Corps.

…but man, do I sometimes wish I had taken that other road less traveled. The more people I meet who have done Peace Corps, the more my regrets grow. I’ve tried to convince my husband to go with me. But he’s not ready. So maybe it’s my new retirement dream. Maybe down the road I WILL get to take that road less traveled.

But until then, the road I did travel, well, it wasn’t too shabby either. And in many ways, IT has made all the difference.

Life Lately

DSC_2243Brunch at the famed Honey’s with friends and their babe. Despite it’s Food Network fame, I’ve been twice and think it’s way over-hyped. But that’s another story for another day. The plus side is that they were VERY accommodating to a large stroller and an infant. 

DSC_2263 DSC_2262 DSC_2261 DSC_2260 DSC_2259Photos from the world’s best book club. Seriously, I am part of the very best book club that has ever existed. A hodge-podge of beautiful, brilliant women from different worlds collide for laughter and meaningful conversations. This time around we read The New Jim Crow. The author was a little ranty, the content was less non-fiction novel and more academic textbook, BUT it’s thought-provoking and worthwhile to read (or at least skim). Those of you watching Orange is the New Black would appreciate it.

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I went to Atlanta for a work trip. It was nice to reconnect with old colleagues, but even nicer to spend time with old friends. While downtown Atlanta has nothing on Philadelphia, I miss the charm of Atlanta’s neighborhoods a lot. This was the view from my hotel room. Views of CNN, the Georgia Dome, and the newly installed ferris wheel. DSC_2274 DSC_2273 DSC_2267 DSC_2264And then I got to come home to my apartment and these views. I love our neighborhood so much. Our private roof deck makes it even better. And the sunsets have been out-of-this-world-beautiful lately.

Life has been busy but oh, so, good. 

xoxo,

Ashlee

 

 

5 on Friday: Mexico

ONE: I miss Mexico. This was the view from our private, sunset dinner a few days before our wedding.photo 1TWO: I miss this view from our morning walks on the beach.photo 2THREE: I miss this crystal clear water from our Honeymoon at El Dorado Maroma.photo 4FOUR: Just before this little nook on the beach is a nudist resort. photo 3FIVE: Now that I’m depressed because our wedding and honeymoon in Mexico are months behind us already, HAPPY FREAKING FRIDAY!photo 5 You may not get this view, but you can make this drink anywhere! Vodka (or rum), some pineapple juice, and a splash of cranberry juice. Enjoy :)

xoxo,

Ashlee
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Jersey Shore

While it’s only the beginning of August, our summer is basically over. August marks the beginning of our busy seasons at work. We wanted to soak up one last weekend together with no work obligations hanging over our head, so the beau planned a day trip to Cape May for us. The weather threatened to ruin our beach day, but we had a back-up plan of visiting some of the south Jersey wineries if that happened. Thankfully, the weather behaved, and we only had a few sprinkles on the beach.

The only thing I knew about the Jersey Shore was everything the Jersey Shore taught me. With that in mind, my expectations were pretty low for Cape May.  And I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Victorian houses turned into B&Bs, the fun font used on street signs, the colorful umbrellas dotting the beach, everyone riding around on bicycles…it was so quaint and charming and QUIET! Definitely not the Jersey Shore’s Jersey shore.photo 3 (2)photo 4 (2)photo 2 (2)photo 1photo 3photo 3 (2)photo 2And then there was dinner. We had planned to drive back to Philadelphia for some Ethiopian food (my fave), but we were too tempted by the adorable restaurants. We decided to grab dinner at the Lobster House on our way out of town. The food was good, the view was better. :)photo 1 (2)photo 4 (2)photo 5 (2)photo 3 (3)photo 4 (3)YOLO! Note to self, don’t judge the Jersey shore based on the  Jersey Shore.

xoxo,

Ashlee

p.s. I apologize for the poor quality photos. I lost my DSLR battery. Replacement should be here tomorrow!

Saratoga Race Track

 

DSC_2288Saratoga CollageJockeys are so little (bottom right). That’s my brother in-law next to one. For perspective, my brother in-law is probably 5’9 and 190 pounds…

ImageYou can bring your own cocktails to the race track. Amazing.

DSC_2242ImageLike mother, like son. Picking their winners.

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DSC_2299DSC_2312The winner in the winner’s circle.

Have you ever been to the race track? I’ve been lucky enough to go to 2/3 Triple Crown races (Preakness and Belmont– I’m coming for ya Kentucky Derby!). Saratoga is in upstate New York. Traverse Stakes is its biggest race (at the end of August). It’s not a Triple Crown race, but it’s still a big one. Saratoga is also one of the more historic tracks in the country. It’s celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. What I love most is that the crowd is so diverse. You have the wealthy, like Bill Parcels, who was there this past weekend…DSC_2319See gold jacket.

…But you also have common folk, like us, who pay the general admission fee ($3) and bring our own cooler of food and drinks (alcohol too!). It’s really fun, even if you’re not the betting type. I place a lot of $1-$2 Win Place Show and Exacta Box bets. They are pretty safe. You won’t win a lot of money, but you can generally win your betting money back. I call that a win. This go-round, I didn’t win a single bet, but the hubs made up for my losses. I could go on and on about the history and the atmosphere, but really, you should just go. It’s fun. :)

xoxo,

Ashlee