What It’s Like to Move to LA (pt 1)

What It’s Like to Move to LA (pt 1)

LIFE UPDATE!

It has been a full summer since I moved from Salt Lake City, UT, to the Los Angeles area. Lots has happened. Opportunities and disappointments have been abundant. Emotions have been felt ranging from utter sadness, conflicting “homesickness,” to joy, ultimate motivation and excitement. Overall this has been the best decision for me, and I feel that am in the right place.

***Disclaimer – take what you will, if you do, from my pieces of advice. These are things that I wished I believed just 3 months ago when I started this new adventure…***

So first for the most exciting parts of my new “LA life”…

Thanks for the Adventure

MUSIC

In case you were not aware, I got my undergrad degree in music. Music is my passion and I hope to make it into a full, fledged, career. I am still figuring out how I will use my passions to support my life and how I can genuinely spend all of my time doing what I love. Whether that be through performing or other avenues of work within the music and entertainment world.

I jumped into auditions the first day I “lived” here. It was a whirlwind and I had no expectations going into it, which was probably the best way to do it. I most likely a post will come of some of my unique “Becca Moments” I’ve had at some of these auditions…

After lots of driving, and searching Facebook for audition notices…I am officially a member of the Christmas Matters Holiday Carolers! So get ready LA for Dicken’s-era dressed Becca to swoon you into the Christmas Spirit.

I have been dying to be back in an a cappella group again since graduating. I LOVE the genre, the people, the music, performing style, the challenge, basically everything about it. So again I jumped onto Facebook and Google and found a couple of groups auditioning…

I am officially a member of Top Shelf Vocal! This group is incredible and I feel so honored to be a part of it. I LOVE the people and feel like I am finding a place in LA with them. I am overwhelmed with the talent and I feel like I am learning by simply sitting in the room with them. The music is fun and there are some exciting projects planned… So good!

Not only did I audition for one a cappella group, but another one came across my radar… I am so excited to also be a member of Premiere A Cappella!! I have never been in an all female group and I’m STOKED. These ladies are incredible and sooo welcoming. They are helping me get out my shell and I love being around them. And of course singing with them. Again the music is fun and there are some cool opportunities coming….

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Official Logos of Top Shelf Vocal and Premiere A cappella – please visit their websites and socials!!

 

I also jumped back into the religious scene to find a side gig… I have just started as the piano accompanist at a local Methodist church (which just so happens to be located a couple minutes from the beach…) I really am very excited about this opportunity. I really enjoy being involved in other religious services. The music director is phenomonal and really felt like I had found a mentor and friend within moments of meeting. I am excited to have a reason to practice my piano skills again, as well as learn new ones. There may also be more excuses to put together fun recitals and sing my classical rep again!

I am so grateful that these opportunities came about fairly quickly. I am also very proud of myself for putting myself out there and taking the plunge into so many scary auditions. I feel that this is just the beginning and I am so excited to do more music and meet more like-minded people here. LA really is an amazing city for music.

***Advice – it sounds cliché but…TAKE THE AUDITION! You just never know. Share your voice!***

JOB

The job search has been rough TBH… I had allotted myself one month originally as a “vacation” for myself  – to allow a transition to happen as well as a chance to explore opportunities. I wanted to find a social group, figure out what field I wanted to explore jobs in, and figure out the lay of the land – AKA how far I was willing to commute. I wanted to explore my new city(ies) and feel that I belonged. And get all the nitty gritty stuff done like residency and such. But one month turned into three (without income) and it has been rough, but eye opening and I am very grateful for a supportive family and friends who are willing to take late night phone calls as I complain, cry, and obsessively talk about job applications.

***Advice – have multiple months worth of savings saved in your bank account. You deserve that time to become a human again after making a new change. Explore and become connected with your new surroundings. But save more than you think, no need to stress more.***

After multiple phone and in person job interviews…and companies “ghosting” said interviews I did snag a temp position at a local photography company. It’s small and part-time but I enjoy the people, the new skills, and the much needed money. I am still actively scanning Indeed.com, Google Jobs and LinkedIn as one does in this day in age.

I always heard the statement that, “Job hunting is a full time job.” I didn’t believe it, but now I do.

***Advice – it’s OK to spend hours on a computer finding a job.***

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FRIENDS

This was one of the biggest things I was worried about. I thrive around people, but I can be painfully shy and get very overwhelmed in highly social situations. I hate small talk, but want to have conversations. Social anxiety is also a very real thing.

***Advice – give yourself some credit for trying! You did it! You went to the thing! You talked to the person! You put forth effort! Even if an immediate friend doesn’t result you tried.***

***Advice – it is also OK to stay at home, when you are overwhelmed by the drive or the energy or the unknown. You know your limits.***

I have been brave and have forced myself to go to small social events through religious groups, I joined a few Facebook groups that are based locally and are specific to my interests, and the music groups I am now a part of have been a huge lifesaver. My new music fam is the source of my feelings of feeling welcome and excitement to be here.

***Advice – it WILL happen naturally. Find the places and the things you want to invest your time in, and you will connect with like-minded people. And you will most likely have some fun while doing it.***

There have been very strong feelings of homesickness and missing my close friends in Utah. But technology and social media is amazing. I feel connected still, sometimes a little too much and needing to cut back on phone time…whoops… Phone calls are my jam! I love talking for hours, catching up, hearing their voice, and laughing.

There have also been some anxiety surrounding this – feeling worried I’m bothering people or worrying why they haven’t texted or called back or that I’m being forgotten. Normal millennial worries, right?

***Advice – don’t worry about how others are thinking about you or if they’ve forgotten you, etc. Don’t torture yourself, waiting to see if they will reach out first when you just want to say “Hi!” You are thoughtful, and it is okay to text first or to call. Just how you want to know that you are being thought of, they deserve to know that you’re thinking of them. Just don’t obsess, tear yourself down, and avoid your new friends in the process. True relationships will last.***

ADVENTURES

There has been some exploring, thanks to Utah friends visiting and family adventures. Some I’ve documented here such as in Thanks SD. I will, hopefully be updating more! I try to spend time at the beach, at least once a week and see a different sight or building in LA everytime I’m driving through. I’ve seen most of the “Hollywood” sights, been to a Dodger game, and experienced some of the best sunsets I have ever witnessed.

Every experience whether that be a rehearsal, job interview, a new book at the beach, party, restaurants – they are all new adventures. Everything is new!

Don’t get me wrong, I am exhausted. I have a day-to-day grind and it never stops. I’m up early in the morning to late at night. I drive (a lot). The driving and traffic here is insane but a way of life. Positively, I have found some new podcasts though… I don’t have many moments to myself, but more so than I had in Utah. I am motivated to practice my music, read more, run more, absorb the sun more, and be more.

What an Adventure.

Thanks for the Adventure, LA!

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Socials!!

Top Shelf Vocal – Facebook and Instagram

Premiere A cappella – Facebook and Instagram

@thanksfortheadventureblog Facebook and Instagram

Personal Instagram !!

 

Please give a follow, like, comment! I’d love to talk with you! And go have an adventure!

 

First Travel Vid!

First Travel Vid!

So I love watching travel videos/vlogs. I also discovered after my first trip to Europe I loved looking back at the videos I took. There are so many sounds and more memories that come back from them. Although, pictures are also amazing moment captors.

Every trip I’ve taken since, I have filmed moments and I have always intended to compile each trip into one, watchable, video. So here’s the first! From my most recent adventure in San Diego!

Most of the video features our adventure at WONDERSPACES. I talk about my experience, that I LOVED in a previous post linked HERE.

Take a look! And make sure to follow my socials to keep up to date of my current adventures! Enjoy!!

 

Music Credit:

Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFw… Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music released by Argofox https://youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8

Socials:

Facebook

Instagram

Personal Instagram (most of my travel adventures are posted here!!!)

 

Again, Thanks for the Adventure SD!

Thanks SD

Thanks SD

This past weekend I got to escape my little life and hang out in San Diego with my sweet cousin, Lizzy! So here are some of the best moments from this past weekend…As well as places to see next time you go hangout in SD!

-The drive there and back. Yes, there was traffic. Did it take me 6 hours instead of 2 to getTaiwan there? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! That drive is gorgeous. Seeing the ocean and open fields with open water behind it brings me sooo much peace. My anxiety goes away and overall I am so grateful I moved here, simply because I am so close to the ocean. So I highly recommend taking the I-5 or even the PCH (if you don’t mind more traffic). Preferably timed around sunset going north, and you are guaranteed gorgeous views no matter what. Then add some good music and podcasts and you are set.

-The first night there we ventured to La Jolla to see some Utah friends and to check out Opera Neo’s production of La Callisto. It was so good! Entertaining, fantastic acting, costumes and sets. The singing was incredible and the orchestra was phenomenal. *Insert more adjectives* Mostly I was in heaven seeing two of my favorites singing their faces off. I saw one of my favorite professor, got my Mason hugs that I’ve missed, and Paul kisses as well as met a few other cool singers. Check out OPERA NEO for incredible singing and opera if you are in the La Jolla area!

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The FANTASTIC singers, and my wonderful friends at Opera Neo!

-PACIFIC BEACH! My cousin lives right in the heart of it and she took me all around and Taiwan -2boy I’m glad she did. So much beach and sun that I was in heaven. We spent most of the day walking down the main strip (Garnet Street), eating food and checking out the little shops. I filled my book haul need at PENNYWISE BOOKS, scoring some bestsellers for just a dollar each! The vibe in PB is just what you need if you’re looking for cool, beach town, vibes with a fun bar scene. I would say its a perfect spot for vacationing 20 something year olds but also very family friendly. The beach was gorgeous and the weather was perfect.

-We checked out WONDERSPACES -their “In Common” exhibition in downtown SD. So so so cool! Interactive art installations that involved light, sound, technology, fog, you name it. You wander at your own pace and there were employees every step of the way to explain the meanings. You could take pictures and interact with almost every piece. The theme of “In Common” was so prevalent and inspiring. I love anything that shows and reminds us that we are all human, experiencing this world at the same time. Therefore we do have the ability, and should, support and love each other no matter what. My favorites were the “Harmony of Spheres” by Foo/Skou simply because it was A cappella in an art piece and so much fun. “Confessions” by Candy Chang was incredible. In the most public spot of the entire space there were booths where you could anonymously write down a confession. They then would hang them all up for all to read. It was incredible to see how much we all have in common. So many confessions were about love, being in love, being heartbroken. Fear was common – fear to tell a close friend something or to make a change. There were funny ones, about peeing their pants or liking certain foods or TV shows. But all in all they were all human and relatable. Both the sad and joyous ones. I could’ve stood there for a hour reading each one.

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-FOOD FOOD FOOD! One of the best parts of any trip, weekend getaway, or night out is the food. To simply not have to prepare anything and the little joy of not caring about money and simply ordering something because it sounds good brings so much joy. We had SUSHI KUCHI our first night. Affordable, typical, and delicious sushi in a super fun environment. My cousin told them that it was my birthday, while I was in the bathroom, simply so I could witness the incredible display of Birthday Celebration that they offer. The next morning I had a sweet, little, iced Chai Latte at BIRD ROCK COFFEE while waiting for our table at CRUSHED – which was well worth the 30 min wait. I ordered the Daddycakes which was essentially pancake tacos filled with eggs, meat, and jalepeno peppers. Just the right amount of food in a fun, weekend, brunch spot. We ate snacks and got drinks along the water in downtown, and lunch on Sunday at FIREHOUSE. It’s a cool, two-story, restaurant/bar right along the beach of PB. There are relaxed sitting areas and constant water views. We had delicious Calamari with aioli and I ordered a tuna melt sided with garlic fries that was delicious. And of course snacks such as sour patch straws and chocolate bars were consumed.

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Just a blurry photo featuring delicious food and a gorgeous cousin!

-We consumed said candy while watching “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” where we laughed, cried and simply admired Leo and Brad then finished the night off by watching a Manson Family documentary. Luckily Lizzy and I share a fascination for the scary, sad, disturbing, and misunderstood topic of confusing people and moments in this world so we indulged.

Overall it was the perfect weekend full of laughs, sea air, humidity, girl talk, good food and just good moments. A weekend getaway is necessary and I will probably be making one every few weeks.

So…

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Thanks for the Adventure San Diego!

P.S. More Pictures and Videos will be on Instagram @thanksfortheadventureblog !!

Thoughts by a Human…

Thoughts by a Human…

It has been one of those weeks…changes have been happening, positive and negative. Contemplating life. And having no job, more time, results in lots of thoughts. This is my space of the internet and I would like to share those thoughts. Please share yours or share this!

So here are some thoughts by a human (me)…

 

Human existence is amazing. So much can happen to one human being on this planet. And there have been so many human lives, each of them unique. Every view of the world is unique and beautiful in its own right. Every comprehension of human life, what was before and what is after is unique. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to find the truth. Is there one certain truth to life? Or just our own unique truths? How you want to exist in the world and possibly the next (if you believe in that of course!)

Maybe that’s why I, personally, don’t believe in coincidences? Because every moment, person, experience, and emotion I have felt has shaped me, very uniquely, to the human being I am. And I wouldn’t change it. I can’t imagine a different self, because what has happened to me, happened. Again I wouldn’t change that.

It’s amazing how much our perspective of time changes through our lives. As a child there is so much time. A year is a large portion of our lifetime. Our natural existence fills the time. As we grow older priorities and responsibilities fill our time. We manipulate our time to alter the way we exist. We can change the direction of our lives with a single choice. We can change the direction of life to find a existence that we love and feel fulfilled in. What power, yet we are still at the whims of time, health, the Earth, those we love and hate, societal expectations, personal expectations, emotions… the list goes on and on.

I think our own emotions are the most difficult part of life. We are at their mercy. They are constantly changing. We can’t anticipate or control them. Sometimes they appear so strongly that we become consumed, forever changed by them. They are the one thing that we can’t put into words. The deepest parts of our souls, I believe, reveal themselves through our feelings. To others in our lives, they can never be fully justified or even proven.

So there is nothing wrong with dictating our lives based on our feelings, emotions, or a feeling we get from something or someone. They may lead to mistakes or even better, triumphs.

Every emotion is a success of the human experience. It means we are here and alive. Even with the darkest and most lonely ones.

We do, and should, try our best to respect ourselves – our “souls”, whatever that means to you, and our emotions. We should also respect others. We are all the same. Existing together, uniquely. No moment of time and space is the same from before or after that moment. It’s okay to clutch to some of those moments and to let go of others. But we should never try to only in one, single, moment. Always moving forward.

It’s okay to cry or jump for joy. It’s okay to share your failures and triumphs. It’s okay to view the world and all that is holds differently from those around you. As long as respect and love are given. That is what is at the core of kindness and morals. All are valued, important, worth, loved, respected – no matter where they are in their experience.

We are all human.

Thanks for the Adventure life. And thoughts.

Thanks for the Memories Taiwan (Part 1)

Thanks for the Memories Taiwan (Part 1)

One year ago I had the trip of a lifetime to Taiwan and China. Now this trip was different in that I was not there for pleasure, per say, nor did I really have the option of planning my days. (Which was less stressful and more exciting I will admit.)

I was there with the University of Utah Chamber Choir and our days were full of rehearsals, concerts, buses, meals and excursions planned together. There were some frustrating moments as well as some pretty incredible ones. I fell in love with the people and cultures of Taiwan and China, I was able to sing some pretty incredible music in some incredible places, and of course become more of a family with my friends and fellow choir members. All of it made this adventure special and unique and I will never forget it.

Untitled design-17.pngSince there are so many details I want to share (and document) I have split it into to two posts! Here are my first Top 5 Memories of my week in Taiwan!

 

  1. The plane ride over

Now this wasn’t exactly in Asia but it was memorable. We left Salt Lake City quite early in the morning, but all (as far as I could tell) were very excited. We boarded our second plane in Seattle and in 9ish hours was supposed to be in South Korea then onto Taiwan.

The plane was old, leg room minimal and there was a lovely piece of paper scotch taped over our air and light switches. I felt happy being sandwiched between my two best friends, John and Kyra. The other passengers were nice. We were also throughly entertained by the older man sitting across the aisle who chose to lay the airline blanket over his head, fall asleep, then lean completely sideways into the aisle. Resulting in flight attendants and strangers having to gently push him upright to pass, after which he would quickly lean over again. Snoring away.

3 1/2 hours in, the already dimmed lights suddenly turned off. An announcement was being said over the speaker but it was quiet and so broken up that no one could understand what was happening. Another announcement came on, clearer this time, saying something about “broken piece,” “cold weather,” and “turning back.” We watched the map with the slowly moving aircraft change to show a u-turn in the middle of the ocean. 3 hours later we were back in Seattle, sitting in groups by the gate.

We spent the next couple of hours watching videos, swapping snacks provided by the airline, and wandering the nearby gates. We re-boarded onto the same plane and watched movies, talked, and played trivia games on the somewhat working screens. A total of 18 hours later from takeoff the first time in Seattle, we finally arrived in Seoul barely missing our next flight. We ended up spending the “night” there, and back on a plane within a few hours. Once in Taiwan we took a 4 hour bus ride to Kaohsiung. As our director  (if I remember correctly) at one point said, “I feel that we’re just going and going and going and not getting anywhere.”

Taiwan airplane progression

 2. Transport

Not only did we travel on planes, but also on buses, subways, and speed trains. I have to give a shoutout to Korean Air for possibly the best air travel experience ever with a spacious plane, kind and thoughtful attendants, and interesting but delicious food.

Buses were our main form of transportation. Whether it be across the country, meals, rehearsals, concerts, or a museum. Every bus was unique with decor. One bus was a sea foam green with white tassels hanging from the windows. Another was dark blue with 90s patterned seats and strobing colored LEDs. All felt like they could be a room in my Grandmother’s house. Without fail on every bus ride I was sandwiched in the back between John and Kyra with Julia added. I loved it.

Untitled design-7.pngThe Subways in Taiwan were unbelievably clean. Our first experience on the subway was in Kaohsiung at a station near our hotel. It was massive with a center that had shops and a gorgeous, colored glass roof. On one of the sides was a white, baby grand, piano which our pianist took the initiative to cross the rope barriers and start playing. Since the room was very live, choir members where able to hear from all ends of the center and slowly gathered back as they heard one of our songs and we sang “Oh Danny Boy” for anyone who walked by

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We took the Speed Train, that travels at approximately 180 mph, across the country from Kaohsiung to Taipei. It involved a chaotic, but somehow still organized trek from subway to subway trailing our bags with us. Yu-Feung (one of the choral conductor TAs, a Taiwan native, and wonderful human being) led the large 40 person group of Americans, like little ducks through crowds and checkpoints to the train in a record amount of time. The train itself was spacious and very quiet. Multiple times we were reminded of the quiet culture that the Taiwanese have, and frankly I quite liked it. We ate little bento boxes with a delicious flan like dessert. All provided for by Yu-Feung. We were able to see the green countryside, and cities here and there in record time. All while being sandwiched between John and Kyra, reading my book.

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3.Hotels

The hotels in themselves were an experience. I had no idea what to expect including what level of comfort, safety, and just general expectations. Each one was unique and overall memorable.

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Our first hotel was a Grand Hyatt actually in Korea, during our short overnight “layover.” We probably all slept a total of 2-3 hours after spending a good couple of hours in the vast, marble covered lobby. The rooms were very nice, clean, and American. But the BEST part was the breakfast. In their sleek restaurant building, across a bridge, with beautiful and kind Korean waiters and waitresses wandering around. I’ll describe the food more later…

The hotel in Kaohsiung was an adventure. There was a small lobby, completely open to the air and sounds outside with a wall made of looney tunes cardboard boxes (??). There was a karaoke bar next door, and men always hanging around. There was a row of elevators outside, but it seemed only one worked at a time. The elevator was small and each wall had large “advertisements” of women. It sometimes opened randomly to the “5th Floor,” that was dark and completely gutted out. Very spooky, and as the door buttons didn’t work you would be stuck staring into the great abyss. The doors would close with force at any point, no matter if there was a human or suitcase in the way. We quickly learned why there were advertisements, as the “7th and 8th Floor” was a “business” in which we were not allowed to enter. It had a club like feel, with beautiful attendants who would look at us apologetically as a large group of drunk men would squeeze inside the small elevator, already filled with American choir singers.

The room was spacious, clean by my expectations, the beds were firm and the bathroom had a “fancy” toilet with additional buttons. The walls were brown with grey floral accent walls. It was also very hot and humid, even in the rooms, which made putting on makeup difficult but our room had a spectacular view.

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Our Taipei Hotel was in the army district of the city, near the President’s palace, called the Taipei Hero House. There was a spacious lobby with a 7/11 and massage chairs. The breakfast room was large and everything was in Chinese and every guest and employee only spoke Chinese. The rooms were standard with firm beds and green walls. There were plastic sandals outside of the shower. Outside the window was a small alley and we could see right into the windows of the next door apartments, giving a glimpse into city life in Taipei.

4. Night Markets!

NIGHT MARKETS! One of the best things about Taiwan was exploring the night markets. They are like American Farmers Markets but better. Full of sounds, people, wonderful and questioning smells. We went to two markets, one in Kaohsiung our first night there (hello jet lag…) and one in Taipei.

In Kaohsiung we were separated into small groups and led by local students around the market. Ours was shyer, but was more than willing to answer questions as we walked through the city. As well as eat any foods we didn’t like and recommend typical snacks and foods. The market was smaller, one long street, but there was so much to see. We tried a fruity milk tea and “stinky tofu” (it lives up to its name), delicious pieces of meat and fresh fruit. Despite being hot and extremely tired it was probably the best way to spend our first night there.

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The market in Taipei was incredible. It was this large and vast market that covered blocks of city and many little alley ways. Again, we were led by a local student and friend of Yu-Feung’s. Super kind, smart, and funny. He also ate any foods we didn’t like, made sure we saw what we wanted to see and try, recommended local favorites, and explained college life within the city. There was a temple in the middle of the market with neon lights around it, which we went inside to explore. This market had not just food, but clothe shops, toys, electronics, raw foods as well as cooked foods, desserts…anything you could think of. We went through the fish market, ate delicious candies, desserts, meat, fruits, etc. I hadn’t felt the extreme jet lag until this night. I felt that I couldn’t stand upright or focus, but it was memorable all the same.

5. Food

Untitled design-11.pngOne of my favorite parts of traveling is food. It is worth the money, and pounds, to try anything and everything (to a certain extent.) I was excited to try food in Asia as it can be so different from the US and Europe.

The breakfast in Korea was phenomenal. With chefs preparing omelets, colorful dim sum, noodles, meat, there was fruit everywhere and a whole station of beautiful bakery bread.

 

For meals we had anything from pasta and rose tea to fast food dim sum and steamed hot pot photobuns (which was incredibly delicious.) We had bento boxes full of noodles, vegetables, and a choice of meat. KFC is a gourmet unique experience in Asia, with their different breading and spices. We had many different types of barbecued meats. Some fish. We went to a Japanese Hot Pot restaurant, which quickly became everybody’s favorite. An experience that included individual hot pots which you fill with broth then cook your own choice of meats, vegetables, noodles, and sauces.

The mango. How much could I talk about Mangoes in Taipei. I dream about a mango shaved ice with fresh fruit on top that I shared with Kyra. We even bought a second one we loved it so much. We tried a variety of fruits like dragon fruit, pineapple, and an unique type of apple. There was candied strawberries on a skewer. Warm, fresh, strawberries covered in a sugar coating that crunched and stuck to your lips when you took a bite off it.

Boba tea and milk teas are delicious! Sweet, yet still bitter, and creamy from the milk. There were fruit milk teas, aloe milk teas, etc. Snack wise we tried lots of different types of crackers, cookies with sweet bean fillings, chocolates, candies, and sodas.

Desserts are my favorite no matter what country I am in. Our friend in Taipei took us to a shaved ice parlor where he ordered ice topped with passion fruit and one with beans and sweet and condensed milk. We all tried the beans once, but he finished it thankfully. The passion fruit was incredible and refreshing.

Beans were everywhere. On our flight to Taiwan we were served this jello/greek yogurt type substance that had a packet of soy sauce alongside. Bean curd. Very salty and slimy.

I loved (although most did not like) a popular dessert at the night market: which was sherbet ice-cream with fresh basil and peanut brittle all wrapped in something I would relate to a French crepe.

I wish I remembered more about the food, but it was a ride to simply eat what was given to the entire choir. Don’t worry Taiwan, I’ll come back for your food and overall hospitality.

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Like I said this trip was unbelievable and I am determined to go back at some point in my life. The culture, the food, the history, and the people were unimaginably wonderful. These memories were unforgettable, hence the being able to write about them a year later, and I hope to never forget them.

I want to thank the donors who support the University of Utah’s College of Music and the Choral Department. As well as Chamber Choir. Every person and singer in that choir made it possible, especially our director Dr. Bradford. And shoutout to Yu-Feung! The NTU chorus as well as other university choruses who fundraised and welcomed us deserve all the love and gratitude.

Check out the UofU Choral Department HERE, the UofU Choir Facebook HERE,  as well as the Youtube page for some of our performances in Taipei HERE!

Make sure to check out the Instagram @thanksfortheadventureblog and my own personal Insta @beccaanneclarke for more photos and stories!

 

And…

Thanks for the Adventure Taiwan!!

Part 2 coming SOOOOON!!

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Thanks Rusty Screws

Thanks Rusty Screws

I’m gonna be honest. It has been a stressful week for me. Anxiety is real and sometimes I need time to be a potato, think about life or not think about life, and not punish myself for not accomplishing my long list of weekly goals (like an extensive post about Taiwan).

Someday I will write about my anxiety and such. It is a thing that many experience and I want this blog to be an open space. A space where I can share my stories and talk to others who have stories to share.

Today’s story is going to be part of a series that I want to call “Becca’s California Adventure…” *insert glowing letters and a echoing booming voice* Which will be a series of adventures I have while exploring life in Southern California.

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If you do not know, I am a person who feels like she gets herself in strange and sometimes painfully funny situations. Whether they be self inflicted or just the universe gifting her more stories to tell . I feel that I am a character on a comedic sitcom. Just imagine Jess from New Girl and you’ve got it (or so I’m told.) I may share some older ones from my life pre-blog, but today will be one that happened just this week.

As part of the “things to do when you move” list, enduring the DMV is one that I wanted to check off as soon as possible. My goal was to take the written drivers test, receive a new license, and register my car – all in one go.

*WARNING* Government websites tend to give conflicting information. So after four hours and $300 lighter, I found myself with a new license but one signature and smog check short. Although they (the lovely DMV employees) did assure me that my next visit would be much shorter.

*WARNING* Government employees tend to give conflicting information. I showed up a few days later with more papers in hand and the idea that I would only be there for maybe an hour…

During DMV Round 1, I was told to come back and drive up to “Lane 1” where they would take the rest of my papers. I did not need to come inside…

I pulled up to “Lane 1” and sat there for about 10 min watching teenagers in the cars next to me practicing their hand turn signals and nervously watching the door waiting for the next test instructor to emerge. I rolled down the window and turned off my car. Another 10 minutes pass and I decide to go inside.

I wait in line to check in with the DMV Greeter, as I like to call them. He immediately hands me a number. I try to squeeze in an explanation of what I need. He tells me to wait for my number.

I will say though that majority of the DMV Greeters and Employees were generally pleasant.

I go out despite the number to sit in “Lane 1,” again watching anxious teenagers with their anxious parents. My car is turned off, I have the window down, and I read a good 20 pages of my book. Which I don’t mind in all reality. The DMV employee finally emerges after about 45 minutes of waiting, inspects my car, just gathering information that is on every other sheet of paper and she tells me to go inside.

I sit inside again reading my book for two hours. I watch the numbers climb slowly to mine. I hear a loud conversation that a woman has on speaker phone. I watch a teenager walk back and forth studying the drivers handbook. I reach the last 20 pages of my book as I get the text that my number is 15 min away. I start reading faster and faster, feeling the pressure of the clock. That anxiety kicks in. I finish the book I started in that very same room a few days before.

There is less than a hour before the DMV closes when my number is called. It’s the same man that was my “greeter” during Round 1. He looks through every piece of paper carefully as I explain the situation. He slowly takes out the staple. He starts typing on the computer. It truly felt like that scene from Zootopia. He asks for my license and hands me a heavy envelop with a screwdriver.

I walk outside as quickly as possible to replace my license plates with the beautiful, white, California plates. I go to the back and notice that the screws securing my Utah plate are a dark brown coloring. I hope for the best and start spinning the screwdriver. Dark dust begins to fall but it turns easily.

I move to the last screw and I try to spin. Using all of my strength as I had with the last one to get it to move. Instead it felt like butter. Every attempted spin would result in the screwdriver scooping out more metal, slowly changing the shape of the screw. Yet it wouldn’t move. I call my Dad in a panic, mostly just to vent and express how ridiculous I felt. I break off the plastic frame in hopes that I can unscrew it from behind the head of the screw. There is 20 minutes before the DMV closes… I feel sweaty, panicked and I can’t help at laughing at each stare I get from cars driving by.

I run inside with the rusty screw in hand. My Round 1 DMV greeter friend is working with someone else and I stand there awkwardly. He assumes I’m done and hands me my license back. “Do you have pliers? My plate is stuck…” and I hand him the first rusty screw. The lady he is helping, her eyes get wide and she says, “Oh noooo…” He doesn’t even look at me and pulls out pliers from his desk drawer.

I run back outside. Call my Dad again. Sweat is pouring off my face. The pliers simply peel off the outer layer of the screw, sprinkling more rust dust. I banter back and forth with Dad. There is one minute until the the DMV officially closes. I see the jolly police officer (if Santa was an officer he would this guy) start to close the door and I run. He simply smiles. I appreciate happy people.

I stand again awkwardly waiting for Round 1 DMV greeter friend. He looks at me and I simply shrug holding one Utah Plate, one California plate, one envelope, two screwdrivers, one pair of pliers, one rusty screw, and a stack of papers. The “Oh no” lady from before looks at me with empathetic eyes and a bit of a grin.

Round 2 DMV greeter appears and is asked to help me. He looked at my stack and sweaty face and simply said, “Go home honey. Do what you can to get it off.” He hands me my license and I leave. Grateful for happy, jolly, DMV employees who are willing to break policies for poor people such as myself who simply can’t function normally.

It is a few days later. I have since visited Ace Hardware, spent more time in a sunny parking lot, spoke with multiple kind people who probably just felt bad, and found my new car mechanic. I have one beat up Utah plate (which I will surrender to the DMV, don’t worry law abiders), two California plates properly attached with special screws that will not rust, and a story that seemed worthy enough to put on the blog.

I will also say I have gained an appreciation (again) for kind and jolly people. As well as an observation that at government facilities we are all in the same boat. We are all just people trying to accomplish what the government requires of us, without sacrificing our whole day and sanity.

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So…

Thanks for the Adventure Rusty Screws. And Utah weather for causing said screws to rust. And California weather for simply adding to the comedy that was already happening.

 

Top 5 Reasons Why I Travel

Top 5 Reasons Why I Travel

Myself and Mr. Jasper have been feeling a bit under the weather today…which means no long post that I have been planning but haven’t finished yet. That is my reality this week. But I am getting quite a bit of doggie cuddles so I won’t complain too much…

I want to share my top 5 reasons why I LOVE to travel. I used to experience quite a lot of fear and anxiety when planning and traveling for trips. But after a few mishaps and fantastic adventures that fear has turned into a constant itch to explore.  I do not consider myself well traveled, which I intend on changing soon, but I have learned quite a bit and have enjoyed my few meager experiences exploring this world we live in.

  1. It gives you a break from “real life.” Our everyday lives are important, beautiful, and should be full of joy but they can also be stressful and boring in some instances. As humans, for the most part, we thrive off of routines. Our jobs are important. I mean they help fund fun experiences…Our friends and family are a support system that is necessary for life. Everyone’s “real life” is different and wonderful. But having a break to go and experience something totally out of the norm is incredible. Getting out of the daily routine for a week or two (or more…), for me, helps me get out of the rut that I feel after doing the same sort of things.
  2. You can travel alone. Traveling, to me, is simply exploring someplace new with a bit of uncomfortableness added to it. I personally hate doing anything alone so forcing myself to explore a nearby city alone for an afternoon is huge for me. It brings me out of my comfort zone which in return forces me to interact with the world as well as get to know myself.
  3. You can travel with others. You can share these really cool experiences with the people you care about. You become bonded over something that you will never experience in the same way again. Traveling with friends is a dream. You instantly become closer and bonded. They laughs increase and the inside jokes multiply. Up to this point, my favorite way of exploring is with friends.
  4. You learn about yourself. I have learned my limits, both small and large, by traveling. I know what kind of things I like to invest my time and energy on. (I love walking aimlessly for hours and museums and bookstores are my cup of tea.) I know what kind of things I should and shouldn’t spend my money on. (Who likes unpacking from a trip and finding that you really don’t care about that certain souvenir…But food. Food is worth the money.) I have learned how long I am capable of walking and being on my feet. I have learned to recognize my crabby qualities that I appear when I am hungry or tired and how to fix them before I disrupt the group’s flow. I have learned, that for the most part, I am willing to try every food and I will typically like it. I have learned that I actually do like traveling, despite the fears that I still experience when traveling.
  5. Travel shows you that this world is a lot smaller than we think. Humans are all alike, despite our obvious differences in culture and language. We are all simply trying to find joy in our lives. We all need food, shelter, water, and comfort. I love that connection you feel with strangers as you explore a tiny part of their life or trying to order food in their language. Traveling teaches so much respect to those who are willing to try and see the world. This world is seemingly large with all of its differences, dangers, and misunderstandings but in reality it is insanely beautiful. There is so much history we can learn from, so much food to try and love, so much to see, and so many new people to meet. And it is all plane ride away.

So here you go. These are my top 5 reasons why I love to travel, at least in this moment.  Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and experiences on this crazy little space I’ve created for myself. I’m excited to start sharing my stories, pictures, and videos of some of the places I have fallen in love with.

Comment some of your reasons! I want to start a conversation and get to know people!

And…

Thanks for the Adventure World.

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Thanks…Waitress the Musical: an Essay

Thanks…Waitress the Musical: an Essay

In honor of my favorite Broadway show Waitress, which announced its closing date this morning, I thought I would share my experience with it New York, 3 years ago. Like for so many others, this show changed my life. Thank you Sara Bareilles and the entire production team, actors, singers, musicians, etc. who were all involved in creating this incredible show. Here’s a bit of me to share my appreciation.

*This is a portion of an essay that was originally written in 2017*

JUNE 8, 2016

NEW YORK CITY

It was our third day in the city. I wake up to the sun shining on the next-door apartment buildings in the middle of SoHo, with a view of the bridge in the distance. Our hotel room is unbelievably small but still comfortable for three people. Three small beds fill the room decorated with silver and purple hues, leaving just enough space to walk to the bathroom. The bathroom is white and bright and it somehow felt like the largest space. There is a window over the bathtub that swings open overlooking the same apartments, giving a view into the city life.

My Mom knew that today is important to me and she was already up, to allow herself theUntitled design-8 time to get ready. Diana, my college roommate and best friend, joined us for our NYC adventure after we spent a week in Boston with her. Over the course of the trip we had amazing food and fantastic shopping in used bookstores and street markets. We had already had had some adventures with attempting to push my mother’s wheelchair over the cobblestone sidewalks and the pot-hole filled streets of New York, but I wasn’t tired yet.

I created a time schedule for out day, including the time it would take to travel on the subways. I knew exactly how long we could spend in the 9/11 museum and precisely how long we would have for meals. This day was not going to be stressful, but magical, I assured myself.

The morning was spent in sunny weather and with a sense of somber reflection at the memorial. Despite my urgency to stay on time, I found myself alone getting lost in the photos and videos, the artifacts, and displays. After finishing looking through a set of photographs I found Diana looking at a display of papers. We turn to find my Mom, front wheels up and scooting through the exhibit, managing to not hurt any other observers. I check the time.

“Oh no. We need to go now to catch that train…” Diana agrees and we herd my Mom towards the exit. After a few wrong turns up ramps and into other exhibits we were finally directed to an exit elevator. The panic started to pulse, but was easily checked by my self reassurances.

The elevator “bings,” and as it opens a large crowd of children in matching blue t-shirts begin pushing each other into the small hallway. They are yelling and laughing at each other as they shake their hair and squeeze their wet clothing. Chaperones are wearing plastic rain ponchos and create more noise as they try to organize the groups. All I could think amongst the commotion was, Not on the one day we didn’t bring jackets or umbrellas… Diana and I look at each other and I push my Mom onto the elevator.

As we reach the exit my Mom pulls out a small umbrella and opens it. “Here Becca, you use the umbrella since you’re pushing me.”

“Mom, I can’t hold the umbrella if I’m pushing you.”

“Oh. Diana?”

“No, you can use it. Stay dry,” she replied with a smile.

Other patrons comment on the rain as they pull out ponchos and hide phones in pockets. The security guard opens the door and we begin running into the now dark and windy city. So here we are: Diana running ahead while navigating on Google Maps to find the nearest subway entrance. My Mom is sitting in the chair clutching her purse and the bag of souvenirs and books while holding the small umbrella. Then there was me, bent in half as I tried to navigate the chair over potholes, curbs, and crowds of business men. My eyes are squinting against the rain. About every half block I feel a stream of water traveling up the sleeves of my cardigan as the umbrella would slowly tip back.

“Mom, could you hold up the umbrella straighter.” I don’t even try to hide my frustration. “You’re dumping water all over me.”

“Oh I’m sorry! I’m sorry you’ve had to push all around on this trip. I feel so-” she stops mid-sentence.

“It’s fine. Let’s just focus on getting there.” I begin to feel bad, but I try not to dwell on it as we find a small staircase leading underground.

A steady stream of people are traveling down as we awkwardly help my Mom out of the chair and attempt to fold the chair as flat as possible. We disrupt the flow of traffic as Diana leads my Mother down the stairs and I awkwardly hold bags and carry the chair, hitting the fronts of my ankles every step. We receive stares and comments but I force myself to ignore them.

Untitled design-6Make up is smeared across our faces, our curls and pins so purposefully done that morning for pictures are out of place and gone. My cardigan is hanging off my body and water squishes in my shoes. We turn a corner and find ourselves on 47th Street and Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The small theatre entrance is lit up with a flashing blue and pink sign. Waitress stares back at me. I had been waiting months to see this show.

I had first heard about the show over a Playbill.com announcement stating that Sara Barielles’ new show had opened in London and was set to open on Broadway. A quick Google search led me to Spotify and her original album with the same title. I listened to the album countless times, memorizing all the words and the nuances of her voice. I watched the movie, again with the same title, and fell in love with the story. I watched every press release and every video released during their workshops. The feeling of I need to see this occupied me. As well as the feeling of I need to sing this music.

I look up and think, I’m here. I was about to see my first Broadway show. I was about to see and hear one of my idols, Jessie Mueller. I didn’t care that I was wet and cold.

We reached the door and the usher pushed us inside the crowded entrance full of older couples. I suddenly realized the small lobby was ill suited for Mom’s cumbersome wheelchair, and I started guiding mom gently through the crowds, careful to make sure I didn’t bang into anyone’s ankles. I’d maneuvered nearly to the front of the line when a woman stepped back abruptly, crunching her leg right into the metal foot rests.

“Watch where you’re going!” she yelled out, turning to face mom.  “You ran into me!” Then she looked directly into my eyes and pointed, “You need watch where you’re pushing that thing.” She wheeled around and stormed away.

I stood there speechless, my hands gripping the wheelchair handles hard.

“Becca?” my mom’s soft voice broke the trance. She was looking up at me, concern in her eyes. I bit my lip and pushed her up to the ticket window, angry tears beginning to burn the edges of my eyes.

We enter the theatre and the smell of warm sugar overcomes us. Pie. The theatre smelled like pie. I steer us to our seats in silence, dripping and cold. The pages of the programs were gumming up and sticking to our wet hands.

I didn’t care. All I could think was, Why would someone say something like that to a woman in a wheelchair?

We sit down. I don’t even notice that I’m crying or the little jars of pie my Mom bought. I wish we were just back in the warm hotel room, away from these people, I thought for a moment—and at that precise second, as if on cue, the lights began to dim and the theater was transformed.

The space surrounding the stage lights up. Towers of pies are spinning and a diner appears. The familiar, but different, music started. The curtain was raised and I was in another world. I didn’t care that some old woman’s phone started going off. I didn’t care that I could feel my toes squishing in the bottom of my wet shoes. I didn’t care that the air conditioner was making the skin on the back of my hands and neck chill, or that my tears hadn’t stopped. I was in the world of Jenna at Joe’s Pie Diner.

By the time we reached Act II, and Jenna’s husband has thrown his guitar at her, she has lost her last chance of ever escaping a life she didn’t want or deserve. She is also about to give birth. The entire theatre is entranced and the F# major chord fills the room. She starts singing:

It’s not simple to say. That most days I don’t recognize me…

In the seat next to me, mom gasps. In the dark of the theater, I don’t see the tears, but I can hear her sobs and sniffles. The rest of the theatre is sniffling, too and I am hypnotized by Jessie Mueller’s voice and storytelling.

She is lonely, but most of the time

She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone but she used to be mine!

“That’s me!” Mom whispers, and I try not to think about it, try not to let the emotions overwhelm me, because I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop from breaking down.

My Mother lived through the childhood that you see in movies and books: childhoods that had nasty divorces and lack of love, with moments of joy and family. Filled with events that affected my Mom so deeply mentally and physically that I have never really been able to fully understand her. We have our things that we connect with, music especially but nothing deep. All I could see was the unfulfilled promises, the days where she couldn’t leave her bed because of chronic and mental illness, and the occasional fights we would get in when she tried to become involved in my life and threaten my independence.

In Act 3, Jenna sings of her realization that she is a completely different person than the one she was before, the one she liked to be. But she knows she can’t go back. I realized it in the same moment that Jenna did on stage: that I have felt that way too. We are alike: Jenna, my Mom, and I—and this sense made me feel closer to Mom than I’ve felt in a long time.

As the show ends we all stand and cheer. It was so surreal to see the human beings who changed my life and me in a moment. As the lights come back up Diana, my Mom, and I all look at each other. We are all disheveled from the wind and rain. Our hair is still dripping and our eyes are puffy from the crying.

“Becca I hope you are happy, despite everything we went through to get here.”

“Oh Mom I loved it. I really did love it. I don’t care about anything that happened before.”

“I’m sorry that I was crying through all of that. I just couldn’t help relating. That’s exactly how I felt when I had you. All I wanted was to the best I could for you. I hope I gave you what you wanted”

“You did Mom. You did.”

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JULY 2019

 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

I left that theatre changed. The rest of the trip wasn’t magical or full of ease. More adventures happened, including a stolen wheelchair from that very theatre… But I was changed from it all.

Waitress changed my life. I have seen it twice since that day in NYC and I would see it 10 more times. That song has had different meanings for me since that day. I have turned to it, cried to it, and jumped for joy because of it. I discovered my voice and myself singing it and I couldn’t be more grateful. Don’t worry… I’ll write about all that someday soon. But…

Thank you Sara B. Thank you New York. Thank you Broadway. 

Thanks for the adventure Waitress the Musical…

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Thanks SLC. Hello LA.

Thanks SLC. Hello LA.

A quick little update after a quick little vacation from the blog…

I have started the “next chapter.” The chapter that I have been wanting to start since I was in high school. Moving back to California.

I have always felt a deep connection to sunny California. Majority of my childhood was spent there. It is where a majority of holidays and vacations were spent. It has always been associated with happy memories, fun adventures, and have been wanting to move back since I was a teen. I was feeling anxious to take the next step. End the chapter of college and move to bigger things. Bigger opportunities and bigger cities. New people and new adventures.

Untitled designThat being said, I love and miss Salt Lake City. I love that city with a large part of my heart. I will miss all the familiarity that I felt from its streets and sights. I will miss the constant memories, both good and bad. It was the city where I discovered a big part of myself. I grew up there. I will miss the people. So much. My closest lifelong friends and loves are there.

 

What a strange experience to feel drawn to one place. Drawn to the excitement and the overall feeling of it being right. But then also feeling pulled to the old place. Parts of my heart was left in Salt Lake City, Utah. I feel that I am “from” there. It will always feel like home and I intend to visit as much as possible.

So here I am in sunny Los Angeles. I have got the same insecurities, anxieties, and fears but also excitement, hope, and determination. Also this blog 🙂

Thanks for the adventure SLC. Here’s to the next LA.

An Introduction…

An Introduction…

I want a add an introduction for Mister Jasper the Dog.

Jasper has saved me in too many ways. Too many to count and too many to list. But here is a part of his story and some of those ways that he has saved me.

Jasper is small, energetic and loving Chihuahua/Jack-Russel Terrier mix. (JACKCHI!) He was born somewhere in California in December of 2016. He was probably adorable and small with all the love that he currently has now to share. At some point he was abandoned at a park where he was probably afraid and untrusting. Luckily some rescuers came along and chased him around for a couple of hours. (Mister is FAST and he knows it…)

Then comes the next human in this story, Grandma. My Grandmother had recently lost another rescue Chihuahua named Pepe. She saved him and he saved her. She wanted another little guy to give her love and that she could drown in love as well. She found Jasper, who at the time was named Owen. She picked him for his coloring and overall demeanor of a shy, loving, and attention seeking lap dog. She knew that she needed to save him. She told me that the name Jasper just came to her, that it wasn’t after anyone or anything in particular. Just that his name was supposed to be Jasper. Which was strange, seeing that she likes to recycle the name Pepe.

That summer I was in Germany. My Dad and siblings were in California. Jasper was 7 months old. He was terrified of my Dad. Would bark, growl, and hide but he loved my sister.

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That first picture…

My Grandma admitted that he was too much for her. The example she used to me was, “He would pull all the bathmats out of every bathroom!” Yep. That’s accurate. My Dad offered to take him back to Utah as my parents had just gotten another dog, Chewy, who was the same age. He sent me a text with Jasper’s picture and I fell in love. I jokingly texted back, “I want him!” And then it began…

For awhile my doctor and I had discussed the possibility of getting a pet for my anxiety. I grew up with a dog, Brenna, who entered our life right when I was struggling with extreme anxiety as an 8 year old. She saved me too. My roommate/best friend had just gotten married just before I left for Europe and the possibility of living alone terrified me. It was perfect timing.

I got home and visited my parents. Our first meeting wasn’t full of sparks or fireworks. He was nervous but definitely gave me kisses. Over the course of the next few days he opened up more and would cry and anxiously paw in excitement when I would walk by the dog pen.

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Chewy and Jasper during my first visit

I left for Salt Lake City with a doctor’s note in hand to give my apartment management and admittedly a fear that it wasn’t going to work. I didn’t feel the overwhelming love like I had for Brenna. I was even worried that I wasn’t going to miss him.

The next couple weeks were agony as I waited for my application to get approved. I did miss him and the excitement of being a Dog Mom exploded. I told everyone and anyone and showed off the few pictures I had of him.

My Dad arrived to my apartment less than a week before the semester began. Jasper showed up nervous and with drool dangling from his mouth. We brought him inside to my large and lonely apartment, closed the door and put him on the floor…and he exploded. His personality shot out of his body. He began running around the entire living room, bounding on top of couches, the futon, and multiple bodies. He began kissing everyone. He started playing with his toys. His tail even twitched a few times.

My Dad exclaimed, “I have never seen this. He is a completely different dog.”

I don’t know how many times I have heard that since. Or how many times I’ve heard, “You two were meant to be.”

As cheesy and romantic as that sounds, to talk about a small dog that way, it is true.

It was meant to be. The next week after starting our adventure together some events happened in my personal life. My mental health spiraled out of control. I lost friends. I lost myself. But Mister Jasper rose to the occasion. I would not have survived those moments without him. He got me out of bed. He got me to smile. He simply showed me that love and joy were possible in his own unique and innocent way.

The rest is history. It took a couple of months for that special and unbreakable bond to form. I am still learning all of his unique traits, needs, likes, dislikes etc. But he is now my constant companion. He comes to work with me, to the store, to school, on road trips, hikes or any other sort of adventure I try to find. Everyone falls in love with him instantly. He gives an unlimited amount of kisses and has too many quirks to list here. His tail wags, or more accurately twitches in strange directions, constantly. People call him a “light” or “lightbulb.” He makes people smile. But more importantly I have him. I have a purpose with him. He makes me laugh and smile and gives me cuddles when I cry or just because. Yes I am talking about just a dog but he’s my dog.

I will share about him more. So just you wait…

So Thanks for the Adventure Mister Jasper….

***Check him out on Instagram @misterjasperthedog!

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