Road tripping, packing, and winding down

It’s been a little over a week since things got cray cray for me. At that time, two weeks to pack up and say good-bye to everyone who has had a part in the past two years of my life seemed easy and doable. Now I’m down to one week and surprise! It’s not easy. I feel like packing will never end and saying good-bye stinks.

But I have been so touched and overwhelmed by how supportive and excited for me everyone has been. It’s wonderful knowing I’m being welcomed back home with open arms, but it’s just as wonderful knowing I’m being sent off from here with nothing but blessings. My last week here is already jam packed with fun adventures, including horseback riding on the beach, a send-off fiesta and one last stop at the local country bar/dance hall.

Between the packing, hanging out with friends and jotting down things on an unending to-do list, I’ve been trying to map out the road trip back.

We’ll be taking route 1.

So I need your help and suggestions! For starters, my dad and I will be stopping in Austin for lunch and a possible quick stop one other place. I haven’t checked the most infamous city on Texas yet, so suggest away! Also, anyyyyyyyy stops between Dallas and Milwaukee are welcomed. When I moved here, I drove straight through and only made restroom and sleep stops, so I’d like to have a little more fun this time. Help me out, guys!


The end of the Brownsville chapter of my life (and a new page in the Wisconsin one)

I should start off by saying this post will be filled with all sorts of emotion. And it’s also a post I never thought I’d end up posting, but I can’t help but be overjoyed that I am.

I have officially accepted a job as associate editor at Taste of Home, which is located in Greendale, Wis. I will be working in their Special Interest Publications department. They handle the “Best of,” seasonal, recipe card publications and more. I’m sure I’ll be able to do a much better job explaining once I start!

This part I am overwhelmingly happy about. Not only am I extremely excited about my new job and all the wonderful people I’ll have the opportunity to work with, but this also obviously means I get to move back home. Though I have never regretted moving to Brownsville for a single moment, it’s been no secret that I have always loved and missed Wisconsin and my family and friends there. Heck, I have a blog post that is dedicated solely to just that.

It’s been particularly difficult the past few months to be away from home between several big events happening in the lives of those dearest to me (upcoming weddings, weddings I’ve missed, babies born that I didn’t get to meet until they were one, upcoming babies, people getting new jobs, lots of missed birthdays, etc.) I have been praying this whole time that God would allow me to remain content and happy until it was time to move, and to show me specifically what His will was every step of the way. This is the new chapter for me.

Of course, there is also quite a bit of sadness that comes with this announcement. I have been so blessed since moving to Brownsville. I have wonderful current coworkers and fantastic friends here. Leaving them will be no easy task, and it honestly breaks my heart a bit to do so.

When I moved to Brownsville nearly two years ago, I barely had a college degree under my belt. I was quite literally the doe-eyed girl who had no idea what she had gotten herself into. Driving the 1,500 miles from home to Brownsville ALONE was the scariest thing I had ever done. (Don’t worry, one of my family members WILL be flying down to join my journey back.)

I had never stepped foot into my new apartment or work before I arrived. I met my roommate in-person the night I showed up at her door. I knew NO ONE. But I was so incredibly welcomed by everyone in Brownsville. The generosity and hospitality extended to me was beyond what I could have expected. I wasn’t able to go home my first Thanksgiving away, but my boss and his family invited me to their family’s gathering. I had coworkers invite me to meals out, parties and more. The church Bible study group I joined became my family away from family. There was always someone I could turn to here.

The past (almost) two years have been nothing short of amazing, and I will always cherish the times I spent with the people here. From work: The time we drove past the border fence for a story (and Marci tried to scare me by talking about snakes). The many times I camped out in courtrooms with various coworkers while waiting for verdicts to come back. The time Jackie, Yvette and I ended up on the longest, hottest three-mile march for Stations of the Cross, followed by standing on pavement for three hours with Laura and Brad for a car accident. The time Yvette and I quite literally melted as we waited all day outside the federal courthouse. The time we all took a field trip out to the beach (for a story). All the times Favi and Diana fought over “custody” of me. The time I got to stand on a bridge halfway between Mexico and the U.S. for an event (and getting back into the U.S. proved iffy). I could go on and on.

With friends: The time we all went camping (where a mouse ended up in the toilet, I jumped out of a tree into a swimming hole, and we went to look at the stars and instead just got freaked out by zombie Jovan). The corn maze and IHOP night (where Claudia told the girl who tried to cut in front of us exactly what she thought, and Pedro and I freaked out because we thought Sam’s water had broke). The time we had chicken at 10 p.m. All the Dance Central parties. The girls’ nights. The Truth or Dare night. The crazy birthday song singing. Lunch every Sunday (except I won’t miss the mall food court). The movie nights where it took us an hour to pick out a movie (and it was an awful one with talking Golden Retrievers). The Super Bowl parties. The beach days. Heartfelt talks with almost everyone at one point or another. The Schlitterbahn days (and accidentally ending up as David and Mel’s official third wheel). Fourth of July sitting on Jimmy’s truck (with Jimmy in the kayak mounted on top). The ugly Christmas sweater parties. David and Mel’s wedding (and literally dancing ourselves silly). Again, I could go on.

All this to say: I have loved Brownsville. I have loved the people I’ve met here. I have loved the tan I’ve gotten since being here ;). Leaving will be so very difficult, but I will never forget it. I know it’s time for the next chapter of my life though and I can’t help but be excited for that.

I will miss these people.

I love these ladies.

I will miss working with these lovely people (and others not pictured!)

I will miss being their unintentional third wheel.

I will miss camping excursions and insane, boiling hot tubs with these people.

I will miss forcing the newsroom into the Christmas spirit with this lady.

I will miss these random outings.

I will miss our Christmas good tidings.

I will miss these people. Period.