Wednesday, October 18, 2017

travel bug

As I sit here with my annual writing project looming over my head, my brand new Fall semester classes staring me in the face, and all the work I have piled on my desk, I turn to you, my dear blog, to satiate my serious procrastination needs. 

I recently planned this epic voyage. Here's the deal: I have to fly to Seattle in late February. The deal has been sealed: a wedding I cannot miss. So that's on the calendar. So I started looking for flights to get me and my boyfriend there. But then my finger slipped or something and I found the perfect flight. To get us to Seattle. But it'll take two weeks.

It's no secret that I cannot get enough of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman's adventures. It's no secret at all that a part of their trips - both Long Way Round and then the sequel, Long Way Down - struck a chord and buried itself deep down within my soul. Every once in a while if I'm very quiet I can hear the theme song playing faintly just outside. Just beyond...

So I planned this trip and accidentally made a PowerPoint presentation and accidentally emailed it to my boyfriend who immediately (maybe too hastily?) agreed to it. Things are very much still up in the air about it, but now I can't get it out of my head. When I'm bogged down with the stress of every day, I imagine elephants and those pointy boats, and pasta and nights that pass too quickly. I've traversed a decent amount of this planet so far. Moving to the East Coast where the people and cities are all scrunched together hasn't satisfied me. So until I can stave off this hunger, here are some pics of my travels in the last nine months:

(New York City)

(Balboa Park)

(Balboa Park)


(much less impressed in Boston)


(okay this is a block from my house but WHAT)

(Venice, Italy)

(the Tube in London)


Sunday, October 1, 2017


I just got back from an incredibly rejuvenating trip. I left last Saturday after a rager that started at 2PM and ended when my body decided to shut down. Cut to three hours later and I’m experiencing one of the worst plane rides of my life. 

After showering and regaining some semblance of my personhood, I surprised my niece, who could not have cared less. We had a delicious lunch, did some last minute ‘stuff-you-cant-take-in-a-carryon’ shopping, and moved into our temporary home. To be honest that night escapes me: residual effects of the night before I guess. Either way, we rested up for the next morning: Disney.

It’s a very interesting reality: reliving your childhood. Allison is like me in a lot of ways, something I thought would change with time and my absence. Still I found myself helping coax her onto “scary” rides - and getting frustrated when it didn’t work. I had already been through the terror of discovering rides that were too fast or too steep or too dark. Her distrust of my experience was baffling and frustrating to say the very least. That first day Allison was dressed as Tiana, and after a particularly excruciating ride, we bumped right into her as she was going to take a break. She graciously walked with Allie for a bit and took a photo. That poor girl had a ride of emotion. Also on that first day we had a reservation at Blue Bayou - the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. From the moment we stepped into the Pirates ride it became Allie’s favorite so the dining experience was particularly magical. 

The second day was for California Adventure. Allison braved the Cars ride and discovered some things that seems scary can be fun! We worked out a rewards system which got her on the Grizzly River Run: her Matterhorn. I finally understood how annoyed my parents must have been when I made them go on Matterhorn over and over because it was the only ride I could trust. Luckily I love GRR and it’s one of those rides that turns strangers into instant friends. The family that accompanied us in the  eight-person inner tube made the initial ride what it was: a laughing, soaking adventure. In our five separate trips down the river, we laughed the whole way. Allie’s confidence was evident as she guided our fellow travelers with commentary like, “this is the boring drop!” And “you’re gonna get wet!” 

(Before Grizzly River Run)

(After the 3rd round) 

I set myself up for a loss by telling Allison i have a fear of some rides and that we have to be brave to enjoy them. This ideology found me all the way up in a ferris  wheel car with some randos because the line was so long they were packing the cars as full as possible. I don’t like heights, and I especially don’t like seeing riders being evacuated from my favorite ride 30 feet below me. The following day as we were walking to the last ride of the trip - Sharaya to Splash Mountain and Allison and I to Pooh’s Corner - Allison turns to us and says, “I wanna go on [Splash]!!” We were shocked, wanted to make sure she knew what she was getting into and that we weren’t going to have another ‘blow-up-at-the-front-of-the-line’ moment. She smiled confidently and said, “I don’t really wanna go on this but I wanna make DiDi be brave!” Turd.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

hit the road, jack

As if hearing about my sister’s upcoming road trip wasn’t enough, today a good friend asked me if I wanted to take a road trip across the country - back to Seattle, no less. That’s something I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to. I had to though do not only to the fact that I have plans to be in Boston that weekend, but also because my lack of experience driving a manual car would probably leave us in a ditch in the middle of some fly-over state. Anyway, here are some of the best parts of road trips that I am very sorry to be missing out on.

1. Driving down the Grapevine in Bakersfield where it always seems to be hotter than Death Valley, windows down and music blasting, catching glimpses of your carefree self in the side mirror looking more relaxed and happy than you have been in awhile.

2. Filing out of the car at rest stops and seeing a similar parade of families stopping to pee, get some coffee or hot chocolate in the colder months, or just to let the young ones get some exercise.

3. Having to do away with your preset stations and tuning until something other than static comes through the speakers. More often than not on a hot Saturday in the middle of the country you wind up with some old man offering up a beat up car for sale and spelling out his phone number for all the world to hear and you finally understand how some people get themselves killed.

4. Pulling up to the hotel at what felt like midnight and waiting in the car while Dad goes to check in, leaving the rest of us to collect our most precious belongings; being forced to play out a Sophie's Choice between a beanie baby and a doll that can pee itself.

5. Having every liberty to get the worst food imaginable at pit stops. As someone who comes from a family that makes a point to stop only at truck stops, the largest selection of packaged doughnuts was at my fingertips and I took full advantage.

6. Getting out of the car at said truck stop after breathing in the recycled coughs and farts of family members after being in an air conditioned minivan for the last five hours. Stretching, sifting through discarded art projects and junk food wrappers to find flip flops, then hopping out and letting muscles feel stretches they never thought would return to them. Breathing in the hot, dry air, and waddling toward the toilets with TVs and stall doors that lock.

7. The incredible pattern my parents Pavloved us into following: eat a meal, get back in the car, and fall asleep. Is it 2 in the afternoon? That's fine. Take a nap. Is it 8AM? Thats fine. Go back to bed. Are you the one driving? It's okay, the bumps will wake you. Bon voyage!!

Monday, July 17, 2017


I've been spending a considerable amount of my free time in the pool now that the weather has decided to stay consistent. Seeing as I live in an apartment building above a juice bar, I had to outsource my pool needs and luckily my boyfriend has a house with a gorgeous backyard - pool included.  

Seeing as I don't know how to swim, a lot of the time has been occupied swallowing pool water while trying to find the shallow end or sipping cocktails on a raft. Surprisingly no second degree sunburns have graced my English-white skin. My boyfriends dad has inflatable drink holders that are adorable but altogether useless. Two minutes after this picture was taken I found my cider face down in the water, guzzling more water than I had. 

When we aren't in the pool, we’re at the ocean. I've turned into quite the aquatic fiend. Also: acai bowls. There's a place, Playa Bowls, that serves not only acai and chia bowls, but 20oz smoothies in a pineapple or coconut. This particular gem was a banana/coconut blended base topped with banana, granola, chia seeds, and peanut butter drizzle. We truly do live in a golden era.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Side Affects

People constantly ask me why I made the life choices that got me where I am. Why did I travel Europe? Why did I move across the country to Doylestown? To be honest with you even I didn't really know why until recently.

As the youngest child there are certain inalienable rights I should have been granted. According to the birth order theory, the babies of the family "just want to have a good time...they have the potential to be spoiled or babied to the point of helplessness." Not only is this a scientifically proven theory, most adults I came across reiterated these facts and insisted they must apply to me. But then there were others who saw my sister first and made sure to tell me to get out of the way.  

I remember crying in the corner of the living room at my eighth birthday because my sisters were stealing all of the attention on my birthday. They were dressed as clowns so that was sort of the point but as a kid that grew up being told "don't take the spotlight - this day isn't about you" I wanted at least my birthday to be about me. I grew up competing for the spotlight from someone that gets awards for showing up to bowling tournaments. Absolutely nothing I did was going to be worthy enough.

 It is not my job to show the world how to interact with the special needs community. That is not why I was born. I am not an extension of my sister - a fact that took me sixteen years to learn. Everyone that isn't a Sibling congratulates me on this honor of being born into a family with someone with a disability. Every Sibling I've spoken to says this is the greatest battle: competing against someone that cannot lose. Being told a picture would look better with the sibling in it. Being ignored until something that involves the Sibling is discussed.

Listen, its no wonder I act the way that I act and do the things I've done. I've been called "adventurous" and "willing to lose a limb if it makes a good story". I thought it made me exciting and noteworthy. I hoped it did, anyway. And I was right. People cared when I flew to foreign places by myself, even if I was knee deep in an eating disorder that left me nearly unconscious on an abandoned Parisan street. At least the pictures were nice.

So maybe I moved across the country for a good story. It's closer to Europe and I spend a great deal of time in New York City and Philadelphia. Or maybe I moved to get away. I get to be selfish out here. I don't have to tell people I'm apart of this toxic community. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

these people raised me

Spoiler alert: I was planning to fly to Seattle in June as a surprise for my moms birthday and Fathers Day but now that doesn't seem feasible.

In my hype I've gotten nostalgic. Or maybe it wasn't nostalgia and hype. Maybe its been finding out about pregnancies and passings, graduations and weddings. People are living their lives and I don't get to be a participant. I accidentally decided to be a bystander. 

I've been inundated with reminders of home. Ed Sheerans new single Castle on a Hill has been hitting me particularly hard:

I'm just tired of the realities of living so far away from loved ones. I'm tired of disjointed conversations due to time differences. I'm tired of hearing about life changing news and not being able to be there for support. Worse, I'm tired of not being told news at all because I'm not around.

But I've messed it all up anyway by acquiring a whole new set of loved ones out here. Pizza Fridays and Wing Tuesdays (doesn't have as good of a ring to it). Yesterday I watched a seventy year old woman ride a hoverboard for the first time and last week I took the littles to a softball game and told poop jokes for a couple hours. There's so much life happening on all sides and its doing my head in. Hazards of the job, of course, but I'm reminded of the pleading words of a wise three year old,

"I just want all my people to live together! Forever!"

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Last week the five year old asked me if I wanted to change before we left the house. After sweating through my dress, getting them home, fed, and washed I realized I was still wearing the sweatpants and t shirt I put on when we first landed at the house. Apparently my look didn't work for her. She suggested I put my dress back on and gave me some jewelry to sweeten the deal.

While I have no doubts the five year old got her fashion and forwardness from me, sixteen year old Diana would've been mortified that I had to hear those words at all.

I change for people. A lot.

Up until two years ago I didn't like sneakers. Up until a year and a half ago I didn't like shoes at all. Two years ago I stopped wearing a full face of makeup because I thought it would make someone enjoy my company more. Before last year I didn't like asparagus or BrĂ¼ssel sprouts. This isn't a case of "people change". This has become a case of "people change me" and I'm finally realizing how sad that makes me.

I've spent a long time sacrificing little parts of me to appease people. To make them happy, to make them stay. Three people on this side of the country know I'm a force. Everyone else thinks I'm a laidback, happy-go-lucky people-pleaser.

When I was thirteen I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted. I was confident in my terrible fashion choices and awful taste in comedy. Then I spent one night at a bowling alley in Shoreline being chastised by a friend in the bathroom who berated me and told me I'd never know who I was. She spent the night asking blasphemous questions and belittled me when I challenged them. I'm sad to say after three hours I let her get to me and doubted myself for the next five years. At eighteen I had a handle on it again but during the tumultuous time of my early twenties I got lost along the way. That why I kept going back to London. I always knew who I was in London.

Now, at twenty six, in my tiny apartment on Main Street and in between classes and work, I'm figuring it out again.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

itsy bitsy teeny weeny

why have I been MIA, you might be asking? I moved. Again. The lease was coming to an end and I went to a new town on a Girls Day to get my nails done and I fell in love with the brick buildings and little cafes with outdoor seating and the duo screen movie theater with its giant neon marquee outside.

So I did what any rational person would do and got online and checked to see if any apartments were available. I didn't factor in distance to the entire life I'd built up in Holland. Didn't consider how parking would work in a metered town, or how inconvenient it would be to see my friends. What's that thing I have...blind determination? Thats it.

But here I am. A mere three weeks after that Girls Day and I live on Main Street in the county seat or whatever that means. By a courthouse and a police station and a Starbucks that's 67 feet from my bathroom. It's the First Apartment I've always wanted. Everyone has to have a scummy one and I'm glad mine is in a secure building in one of the safest towns in one of the safest counties in this weird conservative state. It's got more charm than it knows what to do with which makes it easier to forgive the drawers that don't open all the way, or the way the floor dips by the fridge.

I've been under a mountain of stress lately (new job! new apartment! school! parking tickets!) and I'd love for it to subside, but for now I'm really really pleased to have a place (and a couch) that I can rely on. I made dinner for the first time last night and even though I burnt everything and set off the smoke alarm, I can still say I made it by myself. I'm doing it by myself.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Twelve Months

It's been a year now since I uprooted my life and left the only place I've ever really known. I've attempted to write about how much I've changed, or the 12 Things I Learned by Moving Across the Country but I kept coming up blank, so instead, here are 12 of my favorite photos from the last year - one for every month I've been gone. 

I drove across the country with my dad, so it didn't feel like a substantial change had been made until I got to Pennsylvania. Luckily I had the opportunity to completely neglect my adult responsibilities and enjoy some time with Brooke in Manhattan. She let me crash with her at the Waldorf Astoria and we ordered room service and watched the Kardashians and vegged.

Long story short, after trying very unsuccessfully to find an apartment in a neighborhood that I felt comfortable in after dark, these littles, their mom, and I packed up and moved into a townhouse together. I moved into the finished basement and they occupied the two floors above me. After a particularly hectic weekend, or during some weird transition times, they would venture down to my room and snuggle up on my soft furry blanket and watch art videos on YouTube while I did laundry or planned my outfits for the coming week. One of my favorite parts of living together.

One of the biggest changes in my personality is how social I've become. I trained with my predecessor for a week and at the end of that week everyone went out for drinks. I was terrified but sucked it up and tried to socialize. This coworker in particular would become one of my closest friends out here, introducing me to one of my favorite Jersey beaches, as well as day drinking.

Another one of the biggest changes came in the form of my physical health. A nightly run with this little punk was a habit of mine. He was such a good sport.

This picture might be blurry for the same reason my eyes look glossy. My sister was in town for her #dirtythirty and we went to one of my favorite restaurants. Oh well.

This picture is blurry for very much the same reasons as above, except we were in my hometown and it was my best friend's bachelorette party which got completely out of hand, the way all great parties do. Being able to go back to my hometown after a few months and being right where we left off meant more than I thought it would. This trip is also the one that made me pining to return to the PNW full time. 

Above mentioned best friend's wedding. The biggest, best, longest party I've ever been to and I got to be front and center for the whole thing.

Summertime with these cuties. This is one of my favorite pictures and has been since I took it and I'm still not totally sure why.

This isn't a great picture but it was a great day. I attempted to surprise my sisters and fly in for their birthdays but this one thought she had it allll figured out. Then I "convinced" her to go to her favorite dessert bar and got mad when she hesitated going inside because she wanted to take a picture of the exterior all the while inside, patiently waiting, was her surprise party. A debt I'd so wanted to repay for the person that threw my surprise 24th, endured unimaginable spousal abuse, was raising a miniature me, and doing it with good humor. It had to be done. 

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time and will probably end up framed in my house.

Because we have the exact same personality and crave an ungodly amount of attention, we really only do super well when we're alone. This was Christmas morning playing with one of her presents. Best Christmas I've ever had, even though I accidentally guided her into some random guy's ass.

I tried to avoid using pictures that have already been seen on social media, but this one was taken on my birthday (before I found out Carrie Fisher had died) and Buddy was so excited that our hats matched and it was a very good morning.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

city of boats & balconies

I went to Venice today. Barely. The airports were far, the flights were early and my energy sapped. Somehow when the alarm went off at 230AM, after having fallen asleep a stunning 3 hours prior, I got up and made myself look decent. Well, decent enough to get into the Uber for the hour long drive to the airport during which I promised my boyfriend that I needed the window seat on the plane to apply my makeup in peace. As I'm sure you can figure the makeup application occurred on the ground in Venice. I digress. 

If I had been alone and had to ask the concierge to print my boarding passes and pay the hefty fee for the transportation i didn't factor in when I made the impulsive purchase for the Italian Extravaganza there's a high chance I would've cancelled altogether. I don't know, maybe that's why I'm with him - he fixes the problems I don't / won't fix.

Venice is magical. Once we crossed the bridge from the train into the city and wandered until the sounds of rolling luggage and selfie stick salesmen died out I began taking pictures. Of mundane things too. I guess I was so worried it would end. The magic was bound to run out eventually and it was all I could do to capture everything and keep it forever. I am not a romantic person and I'll go so far as to say I would've felt this way whether or not I was wearing a new dress and with my boyfriend  and it happened to be Valentine's Day. While I have spent my entire travel life being told to be mindful of Italy because the men are pigs and the hands are sticky, I have been simultaneously inundated with romantic alliterations. And the latter wins out.

There was a couple in the gondola ahead of us who bought the extensive package that included a private serenade. Being in such close proximity during the gondola tour we had the privilege of being subjected to such luxury. Without a doubt it made the experience considerably better. I'm not going to tell you to saddle up and pay the 60€ difference. It probably wasn't that outstanding. But I've never felt the way I did sitting in the slim boat slowly passing balconies that have seen their fair share of Juliets, and alleyways that held century old secrets while the staccato of an Italian ballad echoed off the calm water.

We ended the day drunk on Italian wine & cannolis - my Italian boyfriend's favorite. If you're ever in that part of the world, just go. I've never heard regret come from a "what the hell" decision. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

a trek

I did it again.

Not move, sadly. Although Tampa will always be in my back pocket for those days I can be comforted by escapism. No, today I find myself in London. Specifically, in the lobby of Premier Inn perched precariously between Terminal 4 & a brand new KFC. A vanilla latte that would make your garden variety green aproned barista weep. There's a couple behind me talking about death but their accents somehow make it sound elegant. I don't know, I fell asleep in a cramped chair about six hours ago and woke up here.

I've been told my whole life that when a person grows up they can't ever really find a place that feels like home. First of all, bummer. Big time bummer. As I grew old and restless and set out to make something of myself (as unconventionally as possible because, after all, I'm me) something kept pulling me back to London. Maybe it was the societal standards, the archetechture, or political philosophy. I mean, probably not that last one but my point remains. The last time I woke up here was three years ago and there were times I didn't think I'd make it out alive.

Being back here now, older and with lots of life experience behind me, driving down the familiar streets and seeing the change and the constants, I realize I made myself a home. I forged a path in undiscovered lands,  slayed some dragons and got bruised up. But I licked my wounds and I'm back. Mamas home.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

contradiction of epic proportions

I hate change. Can't stand the thing. Even if something is going absolutely terribly, I try to ignore it and stay as even keel as possible. That's how I landed in the hospital with near kidney failure the on the eve of 2017. I thought if I kept ignoring the symptoms, they'd go away and nothing in my diet or daily life would have to change. My idea of heaven. 

An IV drip and a few bouts of painfully (literally) aggressive antibiotics have taught me otherwise. 

I moved to the East Coast without paying attention to it. As previously mentioned, I got an idea and followed it blindly til I came up for air about three months ago. 

Look at this thing I accidentally did that changed my whole life! What am I like...

Now I've been here for 11 months. Been at the same job for 315 days. Been drinking this tea for 2 hours. You get it. 

I've got big life changes coming around the bend and I find myself already grieving the life I made the first few months I landed here.I'm still grieving the life I had in Edmonds. A whiff of Spring air sent me back to last year when I spent my afternoons in Tyler Park watching the river and today I heard a song I listened to with some close friends outside of Taki Tiki on a cold Autumn night that should have found us indoors. 

 I certainly don't think I've found a place to hang my hat yet. I don't know when I'll be done roaming, so in the meantime I'll keep my roots firmly planted in the ribcages of the people who make this all worth endeavoring. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

there goes the fear

So I did the thing.

It’s been almost a year and it still feels very fresh. A couple days ago I texted my sister  & asked what had happened. A year ago I was an infant teacher and living part time in West Seattle and sort of had a dog and a big group of friends and suddenly I was pulling into my boyfriend’s driveway in New Jersey after a long day reconciling accounting errors in Princeton.

Over the years I’ve grown acutely aware of my tendency to blindly follow a fleeting thought and only later come out of my Determination Coma to figure out what new path I’ve sent my vessel careening down this time. This problematic behavior is especially apparent when someone asks for advice about one of my weird adventures and all I can say is "Do it? Decide you want to do it and then don't stop until it happens?"  Because to be honest, I'm not even sure how the little details worked themselves out. But they also seem to. 

People ask me if I like New Jersey or PA or the East Coast and if it’s better or different or less colorful. I’m sure there’s some scientific explanation to this psychological marco polo game I play, but I don’t consider my life in Seattle and my life on the East Coast to coexist in any sense. This move changed me as all large, life altering circumstances are wont to do, and I feel like I’ve adopted someone else’s life and personality as a result.

If you were expecting this to have any sort of rhyme or reason, I’ve got some bad news for you.

I’ll be back with some photos that prove my existence over the last eleven months.