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The Beginning of the Ending

This year I start the beginning to the ending of my twenties. Three years ago I wrote a piece on my thoughts entering the ending of my mid-twenties. No this won’t be a drawn-out piece on how a millennial feels old, or document my angst towards my wasted youth. No. In fact, it may be one of the shortest pieces I write on the subject matter. (Which if you’re a regular to the site, might be a relief, ha) Continue reading “The Beginning of the Ending”

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How Moving my Life to New Zealand for 3 years Changed Me

I came to change New Zealand. After 3 years, New Zealand changed me. Cliche I know, but this ended up being the truth.

This post has been written over the past 18 months. My thoughts, my observations, and my feelings have obviously morphed along the way, but let’s just start at the beginning.

With 50lbs of luggage, a working knowledge of left hand driving, and one solid contact, I packed up what I owned and moved my life to New Zealand. I kissed my parents, hugged my niece, wished my siblings well, and flew. In my luggage was an optimistic, slightly naive, monstrously unrealistic idea that I was going to get a job, in my field, in the first few months. With…one…solid…contact. Yeah. Right. Continue reading “How Moving my Life to New Zealand for 3 years Changed Me”

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Thanks4Giving

Well, it’s that time of the year again where I celebrate something that New Zealanders do not. Thanksgiving is such a huge part of my childhood. Growing up in my family, Thanksgiving consisted of giant family dinner’s, complete with all the relatives, smells of stuffing, green bean casserole, and turkey, catching up on a years worth of activity with aunts, uncles, and cousins, playing football in the backyard, kids running around the floor and into the basement, and either Detroit or Dallas playing on the TV. Also there is laughter…so much laughter. My family is a laughing family. We indulge in a good story, embellish for the chuckle, and deliver for the howl that resonates our walls. Usually we end the night with a board game, which my Dad does not like. Still, it’s a tradition to play one every year.

I love my family. This has to be said. I miss them like crazy and I know that they miss me too. They are the most caring, loving, thoughtful, hilarious, wacky, and joyful group of people that I know. If you’ve spent any time with a Peterson, Birkey, or Soraich, you would know. You would know because our family is one of a kind. They have supported me through thick and thicker, and I have been blessed beyond what I deserve when I was raised by Sharon and Russ Peterson. As a kid I always wanted a brother, but I now know the true gift in growing up with two sisters. For one, I have been exposed to the…rougher sides of living with women, haha. But in all seriousness, I am thankful that Robyn and Nicole have been there, no matter what, encouraging me through school, through moving, and through distance. I know it hasn’t been easy, but I love you so much. I am thankful for family that doesn’t change, regardless of the miles in-between.

Such solid memories were made in those years when we all got together to eat, talk, laugh, and reminisce. They were happy times which I take with me everywhere I go, no matter the distance. It’s in times like these that traditions hit me the hardest. I know that this year will be different, just like the last. There’s nothing I can really do about that, other than making new traditions. Life moves and turns and grows when we’re not looking. Don’t blink. Which is why I am thankful for the now. I’m thankful for my flatmates, friends, and mentors who are making it easier for me here, now.

Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving where you are, don’t let that get in the way. I started a tradition with some friends a few years back called “Friendsgiving,” where we gather to give thanks as friends and enjoy a meal, conversation, and each other. Make it happen where you are and remind each other that you still have things in this life that are worth noting and worth saying, “I am thankful for you.”

If you feel like it, let me know what you are thankful for in the comments and why. Share it around and spread the cheer. And thanks to everyone giving. You are the backbone of altruism and the human spirit. I love you and thank you.

Here’s a typical Thanksgiving night in the Peterson household:

A Letter to Three Mothers

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This year, I have been extra aware of the mother figures in my life. Reason being, my mother is over 8,000 miles away by sea and by land. In addition to my mother, my two beautiful sisters, who really have this whole motherhood thing down, are also in Chicago. (Seriously, I know no cooler moms). Other than Debbie Elliott, who has been my surrogate mother while being in New Zealand, the three coolest women in my life have been the best, most accurate examples of what God’s love for others truly means. Continue reading “A Letter to Three Mothers”

Chicago- Murder Capital U.S.A: What I learned about my City

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When a kid grows up in a city such as Chicago, the kid has the unfortunate opportunity to take for granted of the immense fullness the city has to offer. Everything from the Museums to the parks. Aquariums to the symphony. Navy pier to The Magnificent Mile. Lights in December to bike rides in June. Cubs games, Hawks games, and Bulls games. Food from every country, buildings for miles and miles. From train rides, to bus rides, to subway rides. 5 star restaurants to your favourite dives. That little improv place you found to The Chicago Theater. City life to suburban life. The Air and Water Show to the Taste of Chicago itself….this is a great town, my kind of town. I am proud of my town. And yet, I felt like I barely knew it. This could not have been more true the day I read an article explaining how Chicago has become Murder Capital U.S.A. Continue reading “Chicago- Murder Capital U.S.A: What I learned about my City”