First Reading, 2019 Goals, & New Micro-Essay

This past winter I read my writing in public for the first time at local lit mag, Whistling Shade‘s issue launch. They published an essay of mine about Rome and John Keats last summer, so I was invited to be part of the reading. At first I was like ohno, not me, imposter, but I coaxed myself into saying yes!, and I’m so glad I did. 

It’s crazy to me how strong the literary community is here in Minneapolis. It warmed my heart to see how many people came out on a night in January and crowded in the back room of a bookstore just to hear local people read original poetry and prose. Also, I have so much admiration for Whistling Shade, which has been putting out free magazines twice a year since 2001.

I especially loved this poem, Philando, by Norita Dittberner-Jax, who I got to talk to a little after the reading. I cut that poem out of my copy of WS and taped it to my wall.

I thought I would share my 2019 writing goals here on the blog even though I realize now it’s March, not exactly timely. I want to get more comfortable writing across multiple genres, so I set the very ambitious goal of writing one essay, one short story, and one poem every month, the thought being I’ll have 12 drafts of each by 2020. I totally nailed it in January, I did not great in February, and March is going a little better. I scrape together whatever writing time outside work when I’m not too stressed out. While a lot of the new writing, as with any new writing imo, is not good, I feel like I’m learning from the exercise of forcing myself to get words on the page. And every so often something comes out that I really like.

In January I also had a micro-essay / prose poem type thing, “Vesuvius,” published in Atticus Review. It’s really short, so possibly give it a read?

I was thinking about doing this new thing where I share some things I’ve read and really liked recently. So here are a couple:

Anyway, thanks for always being kind to my infrequent updates. Let me know if you read/liked any of the things I shared. And I’m always looking for recommendations as well!

Much Love,

Lizzie

 

 

 

An Essay About Blogging

Hi there!

I wrote an essay about obsessive blogging that sort of shows my journey into writing. There was a time, maybe around 2013 to 2014, that I thought I wanted to be a hard core blogger person, and I took it very very seriously. The essay is a snapshot into my life at that time: obsessing over page-views, angering people on the internet, ditching friends in order to write, and taking my first creative writing class. It’s a funny one. Is it funny? I think it’s funny. Anyway, it’s up on Identity Theory. I hope you like it!

http://www.identitytheory.com/blogger-girl/

RIP Blogger Lizzie.

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Lately

Summer is pretty much over now, and Chris left for clinicals in North Dakota. Aside from being a little bummed out initially, I’m embracing living alone. It’s great for productivity and independence. Plus, I’m not really alone because I have Zara, who’s cuddling next to me as I type this. Anyway, I think I can handle an update post?

Here are some things I’ve been up to:

  1. I’m Lizzie Lawson now. I changed my last name, legally and otherwise. I thought I was going to keep my own last name after marriage, but I succumbed to the double L’s.
  2. I got published on The Rumpus! I’ve been working on this essay for almost a year? And I’m really proud of it. It’s about college friendships, color auras, and the time my friends and I abused a professor’s house (among other things). It’s not very long, so I hope you give it a read. Disclaimer: I didn’t choose the title (which is pretty typical of online publishing), and I still know and love the girls in the essay. I originally titled the piece, “Auras.” I’m SO PUMPED to be on The Rumpus! I’ve discovered a lot of my favorite writers there, and It’s crazy cool to appear alongside them. Here it is!
  3. In July I had an essay in local lit journal, Whistling Shade. The online edition just recently became available, or if you want, you can probably still pick up free print copies at these places around the Twin Cities. This essay is kind of my baby – it’s about one of my last days in Rome, where I studied abroad for a semester. The piece means a lot to me as I was feeling kind of lost at the time, and finding a poet’s house in Rome felt like discovering something only I would appreciate, like it was meant for just me. I wrote an earlier version of this essay for a college creative writing class, and though it’s still far from perfect, it’s come a long way!
  4. Another essay of mine was recently accepted by literary site, Identity Theory. It’s an essay about my obsession with blogging during my late teens and early twenties. I’ll post a link when it comes out. 
  5. Chris and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary! Wow, I want to write so much about this. I was telling Chris earlier that this anniversary feels so different from our first anniversary when we were still trying to figure out our goals and dreams together. On our first anniversary, we actually took out a notebook and separately wrote down where we hope to be in 5, 10, 15 years, including things like locations, careers, kids, pets, hobbies, and travel, which was a super fun exercise and also taught us a lot about each other’s desires. This year though, I feel comfortable and happy, and we remind each other of our goals everyday. I love our life together: cracking each other up while getting ready in the morning, cuddling with the cat, cooking together, and trying not to let him make me laugh when I’m mad. Chris is my biggest advocate, and I love him so much.

That’s what’s going on with me. I know sometimes it sucks to read other people’s news on social media because it can feel like we’re all comparing ourselves, so just know I’ve been working on this stuff constantly the past two years since undergrad. It hasn’t been easy, and it took a long time to convince myself to take my writing seriously. Above I posted three essay acceptances I got, but I should also say I’ve racked up 72 rejections in the past two years. I mean the piece I got in The Rumpus was rejected 18 times alone. I’m just trying to remind myself that progress is slow and rejection is inevitable.

Much love,

Lizzie

WS3

 

 

A Week in the Desert: On Mountain Climbing, Fears, and Distractions

Recently, I got to spend a week roaming the desert in Arizona and New Mexico. Chris and I planned this trip as a preemptive anniversary celebration (two months early but that’s what you get when your husband has a graduate school schedule). A hiking trip down south sounded like exactly what I needed to hit refresh after so much time spent in the office. I decided to share some of our photos and stories in this little online journal I’ve been neglecting. Hope you enjoy!

Our journey began in Phoenix, AZ. We got off the plane and picked up our rental car by about 9:30 am local time. We went to the trendiest coffee place we could find on Google Maps, which turned out to be Cartel Coffee Lab, for some cold press and wifi to plan our day. Hopefully this embedded Instagram pic comes through:

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We ended up spending the morning at the Phoenix Art Museum, which was super impressive. It was gigantic and had a wide collection of modern and historic art from various cultures. I, of course, had to see the Italian art section because I took an art and architecture class in Rome, and I thoroughly geeked out over a couple Caravaggio imitators (would Dr. Lev be proud? Not likely). We also loved one of the current exhibits, Longer Ways to Go: Photography of the American Road, which is what you would expect given the title, and brought back some childhood nostalgia for long and crazy road trips.

The rest of our time in Phoenix consisted of the best fish tacos of my life, homemade ice cream that was also pretty good, marveling at how hot it was (98-105 degrees), reading by the pool, and counting how many sports cars sped past us on city freeways. That was pretty much my first impression of the American South, having never been south of Colorado.

The next day we went hiking in Sedona on our way to Flagstaff. Sedona is possibly the most scenic place I’ve ever been. Everywhere we looked was blue sky and multicolored rock formations. We did a five mile hike through the sun and heat to see Devil’s Bridge, pictured below. The park recommends that each person bring a gallon of water with them, to give you some sort of idea of the heat and difficulty of the hike. We brought about 2 liters each and drank almost the entire amount. At the bridge, I set aside my fear of heights (sort of) and walked across the dangerous looking rock formation as other tourists were doing to get pictures.

It was a relief to get back in the air conditioned car and drive through the mountains to Flagstaff, where we were spending the next three nights. Flagstaff is much cooler (75-80 degrees) due to the altitude, and it also seemed to have more young people around with interesting things to do. We got to explore the various art studios, shops, restaurants, bookstores, and bars. We found a telepoem booth where we could listen to free poems by dialing a number from the phone book. I kind of wanted to live in Flagstaff.

One afternoon in Flagstaff, we hiked to the top of a random mountain, one that was visible from our hotel. We climbed around 3,000 feet in close to 3 miles, and then had to go back down. I didn’t plan to go all the way to the top. I wasn’t physically or emotionally prepared. From the bottom looking up, I thought we were just going to do some exploring on this mountain. But before I knew it, we were more than halfway up and still moving forward. Several times I wanted to go back and lead a normal life, perhaps one that didn’t involve strenuous activity at high altitudes. But then we were so close to the top that it felt silly to not make it there (or so it seemed according to Chris and his GPS watch, who had an extremely loose interpretation of the the words “almost there.”)

I distracted myself from the pain in my legs by thinking about people I know who are in chronic pain and offering a few prayers for them. I thought about the only other time I climbed something, Mt. Vesuvius, and how it became my highlight of southern Italy. I distracted myself by thinking about how cute our kitty, Zara, is.

Chris was more than willing to help.

“She’s so cute!” He would exclaim from above.

“She’s so cute,” I agreed. Can you tell that we missed her a lot? We would scroll through our pictures and videos of her every night before going to sleep. It was weird to not come home to her at night.

Shivering from the top of the mountain hugging my knees, I looked out at the surrounding landscape which had shrunk considerably. The surrounding rock formations (once very large) were almost indistinguishable from the rest of the landscape. I wondered, why did I do this?  Why am I on the top of a mountain right now with miles of hiking downward? When did I sign up for this? Why am I here? Is it worth it? I wasn’t so sure.

Because I married a runner and outdoors-man, I’ve developed somewhat of a persona for resisting outdoor activity just because I spend my time on other things. This is one of the ways I’ve learned that joking about oneself can turn a person into a bit of a punchline. Sometimes it’s easier for me to joke about myself than actually stand up for my own decisions, but this also comes with repercussions.

Of course this was a factor in getting me up the mountain. But there must have been something else inside me that wanted to make it to the top otherwise I doubt I would have made it. Part of me must have wanted to prove to myself I was capable of such things.

The way down the mountain was so much more beautiful than the way up. Instead of seeing only the trail, I was facing the skyline. We spotted a family of elk, who were more curious about us than afraid. We watched the surrounding landscape become bigger and watched the mountain we climbed become larger behind us. I was limping by the time we got to solid land. My legs skipped the jello phase and went straight to the pillars-of-lead phase. We looked back at the mountain and couldn’t contain ourselves. Then through my pain and frustration, I felt something like accomplishment.

Aside from conquering the mountain, one of the highlights of Flagstaff was going to an open mic night in town and listening to local musicians and comedians. It was really inspiring to see so much creative talent and energy in such a small town in the middle of the mountains. For years I have been talking about developing my own stand-up comedy bit on the down low, you know, just for the thrill of it. I actually have a running list of potential jokes written in my phone. After staying at that bar in Flagstaff and watching all the local comics, I might just have to develop a few jokes of my own.

At the Grand Canyon, we didn’t do much hiking because our bodies were sore from the mountain. Even a slight incline on the sidewalk was difficult to cross. So we settled for the view from above the canyon, which is beautiful by the way. Aside from a brief stint at Lake Mead and a night in Las Vegas, that was pretty much our trip.

Here are some pictures, so you can experience AZ through my eyes:

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I’m going to end this post by saying that I have some projects forthcoming that I might be able to show you soon. Pretty exciting if you ask me!

Things to Remember About Being a Bride

That being engaged feels a little weird. Because you knew, have known for a while now, that you two would get married, but suddenly now there’s a ring to prove it. Because talking about the prospect of a wedding before the ring seems assumptive and off-limits, but after receiving this piece of jewelry, it’s suddenly okay.

That picking out a wedding dress will be a confusing, amusing, emotional trip. That the more you look at dresses the more confusing it will get. That it’s okay to practice dancing in the wedding dresses, but only if the bridal shop is empty, aside from you and your sisters, and the employees are doing their homework at the front register. That if you feel crazy, you are doing something right. That you will eventually find a wedding dress that is completely and 100% you.

That it’s painful to have a long distance relationship when you are engaged. But it won’t be long before this period ends and the next one begins.

That planning your wedding isn’t the only thing going on in your life at any moment. Yes, real life is still a thing. But it’s okay because you can use your wedding as ‘event planning’ experience in your next interview.

That the conservatory, which you select as your reception venue, will ask you if you would like to host an ‘animal ambassador’ such as an armadillo or invertebrate. They will send you a detailed pamphlet with a lovely photo of a bride and groom standing next to a sloth.

That your bridal shower will feature embarrassing artifacts from your childhood such as school photos, handwritten Christmas lists, and thank you cards. That there will be tiny figures of your groom taped everywhere. That you will definitely take home the tiny groom figurines and keep them forever.

That you will probably break a nail days before the wedding because of moving furniture and unpacking boxes in your new apartment. That you will probably make a big deal about this. You might say, “Why can’t I ever just look good?”

That your bachelorette party will be sort of bitter sweet because the squad will never be the same now that people are getting married and moving away. That you will definitely have to guess who gave you what underwear, and you will be surprised to find that your innocent little sis gave you the thong that says, “Not tonight Chris!” That your other under-aged sister will try her hardest to get everyone really drunk and that she’ll be slightly disappointed that nobody will start dancing on tabletops.

That pre-wedding weekend brunch with your mom, aunts, sisters, and grandma will mean creating a loud spectacle in the middle of Chianti as you open surprise gifts of lingerie. That other people in the restaurant will turn their chairs toward you in order to get a better look. That you will pretend to be scandalized by all this but actually this will be one of the highlights of your entire life.

That at your rehearsal dinner, your groom will tell everyone about the time coffee came out your nose. That your grandpa will be thrilled to give a speech, and he’ll be wearing fake sleeve tattoos and hopefully a superman tie for the occasion. That you will watch excitedly as all your best friends from the bridal party finally meet each other, and you can’t help but hope they become friends with each other. That you will feel like time is moving faster than usual and you’ll wish there’s some way to slow it down.

That you will host a spa night before the wedding for all the bridesmaids to watch ‘Bridesmaids’ while doing facials. That pink nail polish will be spilled on the carpet of your new apartment. That your girls will spend the night before the wedding in your new apartment with you even if that means they have to sleep on the floor. This will mean everything to you, having this one last sleepover like you are back in the dorms or in that old apartment where you spent Thursday nights on the futon together just to sleep a few hours before 8 am class.

That the morning will be chaos. That your friend Jo will help you fix your hair after the hair stylist leaves, and she will assure you that every bride hates her hair on her wedding day.

That your four flower girls will completely steal the show. That they have been looking forward to this moment possibly even more than you have. That your little brothers could literally. not. care. less. about being ushers. That they wish they were at home playing video games.

That the whole ceremony will be a blur. It will be a mixture of looking out at all your friends and family to looking at your groom and thinking, “this is my husband.” That you will put pressure on yourself to remember every word even though that’s impossible. That after the vows are said, you might feel a little different, but you will wonder if you are only imagining it.

That your dad will give a speech even though he acted like he was going to blow it off. That he will actually sit at the computer and type out moderately coherent sentences and that you can only imagine how this must have looked with his two giant index fingers circling the keyboard for the right key. That his speech will be the most talked about moment of the whole evening.

That choreographing your first dance with your groom will make you realize that your life calling as a couple is to dance choreographed dances together. That you will entertain the idea of making this a youtube phenomena.

That it is possible to make your dad dance to “A Whole New World” (your absolute favorite song) even if he is normally a very stern man. Beer will make this a reality.

That your friend, Olivia, will catch the bouquet and become the It-Girl (and Jason Derulo will want to put her in the middle of a spotlight). That this song was already a thing among you girls (the DJ made a lucky guess) and that you will continue to listen to this on repeat long after getting home from the honeymoon. You will probably cry when you hear it because Olivia lives in NYC now. 

Immediately after, the DJ will play Florida Georgia Line and you and the bridesmaids will all FREAK OUT because this is your song, as a collective group, and you know LITERALLY all the words. You will sing the remix version even though that isn’t what’s playing, “I got my windows down, and my radio up, got my radio up!”

That your friend Frances will go crazy on the dance floor, contrary to her usual personality, and she will yell in your face, “HOLY SH– LIZZIE YOU’RE MARRIED!” Of course, making your whole life complete.

That you have never experienced anything as amazing as being the bride on the dance floor. And you probably never will.

That meanwhile your groom and his groomsmen will be smoking cigars and getting some marriage advice from your dad and uncles. That your dad’s best piece of advice to your groom will be, “Always get the last word, Yes Dear.”

That your hair and makeup will be trashed by the end of the night, but you will be so proud of this fact because you rocked your wedding like a champion.   

That you will leave the wedding, reluctantly, and be at the airport a few hours later like you ain’t ever gettin’ older. See ya! *mic drop

That the number one most important part of your wedding is to pick the perfect groom. That this part was easy for you because you had him picked out since you were eighteen years old. 

Chris and I have our generous and hard working parents to thank for the beautiful wedding celebration. Thanks Mom and Dad! Another thanks to our wonderful family and friends for their many years of support.

xoxo

-Lizzie

100 Things I’ll Remember from 2015 (because I wrote them here…)

My friend, Olivia, mentioned that she was feeling sort of nostalgic lately. This time last year, we were purchasing our plane tickets to Dublin and reserving hostels. We were planning what cities we wanted to go to and what activities we wanted to do. We were already making some mistakes and furiously talking on the phone with StudentUniverse about our tickets (my friend, Johanna, saved our trip with her “Can I please speak to the manager?”).

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself. Here are 100 things that I want to remember from 2015:

  1. Living in a professor’s house with three of my best friends (technically in winter 2014, but we’ll count it).
  2. The fact that I have been in 10 different airports this year.
  3. Hostel showers work like those public sinks where you push down the button and it’s on a timer. Sometimes these buttons get stuck down and you have to call the person who gave you free hot chocolate in the lobby to help you turn it off.
  4. Carrying all these bags to four different cities in Ireland, two airports, and three trains. (Here we go again.)1378472_10206241880631725_1878162364641536679_n
  5. Falling asleep in Irish restaurants because jet lag finally got us and again during orientation when we got to Italy. 
  6. Monday night dinner group at Barbarini. They called us “the ragazzi” and gave us free appetizers. 2015-02-24 08.41.06^We always sat by that picture of the Trevi because the real Trevi was under construction the entire time we were in Rome.
  7. When churches in Italy served wine after mass on Sunday morning instead of coffee and donuts. “Won’t you stay for some prosecco?”
  8. We did not understand a word of whatever English they speak in the Irish countryside. It is gibberish. (“Mhmm,” *nodding along)
  9. My friends and I truly believed that we were going to die on my first budget flight with RyanAir. After  successfully landing the plane, all the passengers clapped. We got used to this routine pretty fast.
  10. “Let’s put some wings on this tin can and a bunch of rugby players and fly back to Rome.” Introducing EZJet. “We salute you, low budget airline pilot.”
  11. Eating a TON of seafood (provided by Thanos) in Naples right before taking a long bus ride in the mountains and hiking up Mt. Vesuvius. *Spoiler: I threw up. 
  12. Speaking of Naples, it is a god forsaken place.
  13. People in Prague drink beer for breakfast. In the hostel they will offer it for free in the morning; “Are you sure you don’t want a nice cold beer to wake you up?”
  14. Taking the 7 hour slow train to Turin because we didn’t want to pay $50 more to ride fast.
  15. The Cliffs of Moher and being afraid that my friends were going to fall off the edge. #daredevils20150204_133315.jpg
  16. Spending time with native Irishmen, who took us on a pub crawl. We learned a new catch phrase, “Now thaaawt’s claaaawss.”
  17. “Italians take their holidays very seriously, more seriously than they take their work days.” -Uncle Joe. He also sighed heavily while waiting in lines and muttered; “I have to get out of this country.”
  18. My first time touching the ocean. So psyched!10978636_10206242031355493_8059260620077929927_n
  19. A shared hostel room with 8 beds doesn’t mean there will only be 8 people spending the night…
  20. Mimicking the dancers in the square of Turin; “freedom, Freedom, FREEDOM.” And I said “Ciao, Ragazzi” to the police officers.
  21. Staying with the coolest girl ever, Gulia. She texted me on my Italian phone and said that she liked my aura.
  22. When Laurel touched the stray cats in Assisi…And she became patron saint of the strays. strays.jpg
  23. Feeling like I was always about to get in trouble in Europe. Someone was going to tell me to get off the steps (an Italian man would come up and say “Not possible”), not touch something (“Scuzi, not possible”), not to take my peanut butter on the bus (“Es not possible”), to be quiet (“Silencio, No photo.”), to pay to sit down in a cafe, to walk faster (or slower), etc.
  24. Learning the title, artist, date, and significance of (what felt like) every work of art in all of Italy. Feeling like a pro at Italian art = priceless

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    Primavera by Botticelli, 1482
  25. The restaurant in Krakow that gave us the most delicious free shots of homemade raspberry vodka. It tasted like jam.
  26. When our schedule was so busy with group sight-seeing and weekend trips and we were so tired of walking on cobblestones that we sang “I’m only human” by Christina Perri to try to express our pain. (“…And I bleed when I fall down… I crash and I break down.”)
  27. That man who loved Frances’ eyes; “I look into her eyes, I forget my own name.”
  28. Singing “Near, far, wherever you are!” and reenacting Titanic while watching the sunset in Orvieto. For no particular reason other than to follow our hearts. 20150327_145032.jpg
  29. Opening two bottles of prosecco on the beach in Capri. The cork launching into the Mediterranean. Drinking directly from the bottles. Openly bringing the open bottles onto public transportation. Only in Europe.
  30. ^The very same day, I led my friends in an impromptu yoga class on the beach just to be funny, and we had an unexpected visitor in a speedo.
  31. Talking waaaay too loud in European public places. When we weren’t that loud, the Europeans still complained. That is the first time I realize why people label Americans as loud, because everyone else is way too quiet (Duh).
  32. Prossima Fermata, Barbarini. Thanks to riding the Italian metro.
  33. Speaking of the metro… In termini you can smell your way toward whichever line you are looking for. The A line smells like wet rocks. The B line smells like trash. B Line.jpg
  34. Always, always late for the train. Running through Termini, running down the street in Sardinia, frantically wheeling all our bags through Dublin.
  35. Getting lost for hours during my second week in Rome and being saved by an Englishman named David, who I think was my actual guardian angel.
  36. Saying ridiculous things like, “Sorry, I’m too tired to go to the Vatican with you today. I went to Assisi yesterday.” In my defense, Assisi is really hilly, and I was wearing improper footwear. Also, “Maybe I should do homework instead of walk 30 minutes to the best gelato shop in all of Rome.” Now, that’s crazy!
  37. Frigidarium, = best gelato in all of Rome.
  38. Carbonara tastes drastically different everywhere you get it in Rome (or Italy in general). Just ask Chris; he was only there for a week and tried three variations.
  39. It is possible to get sick of pizza and pasta. As my uncle put it, “the last thing you want at 9:00 at night is a giant portion of carbs…which is precisely what you get.”
  40. Also the “cornetto” that the eat for breakfast is a stomach ache just waiting to happen. Picture a flaky croissant look-alike that is filled with brown jelly. Avoid at all costs.
  41. When your favorite pizza place is in the most confusing part of Rome and you get lost literally every time you go there, even with maps and planning ahead. That doesn’t stop you from trying.
  42. La Focaccia = Best pizza in all of Rome. All the NAC seminarians go there, so you know it’s good.La Focaccia.jpg
  43. Finding out that Limerick, Ireland is nicknamed “stab city” after you stayed overnight at a place on airbnb that had zero reviews.
  44. Assigning Disney villains to each of our thirty group members based on their personalities and doing impersonations. Lizzie = Cruella Devil.
  45. The way that Italians say “Okay.” And “Sisisisisi,” in English, “yesyesyesyesyes.”
  46. The meaning behind the word “Allora,” which is absolutely nothing. Use it all the time.
  47. Speaking Italian in the streets just to crack each other up. “Ah Roma.” “Mi piace Roma.” “Piacere Gelato.” “Okay.” “Ciao ragazzi” “Tutti”
  48. When it finally gets to the point where you intimidate other tourists because you got the whole thing down.
  49. Ordering cappuccino at the wrong time of day, which proves you are a tourist.
  50. Eating two jars of nutella before it occurred to me that although it seems like a peanut butter substitute it is actually just chocolate in a jar.
  51. What is the point of an espresso shot? There is no way to enjoy it even though I am a coffee lover and I tried and tried to like it. Plus, who needs that much energy all at once? I give up!
  52. Pistachio gelato. Heaven.
  53. Being so close to Pope Francis that time stood still. 20150211_094132.jpg
  54. Theo 380: God and the Poets aka bedtime stories with Fr. Murray.
  55. Fun fact: Fr. Murray was one of Mother Theresa’s spiritual directors.
  56. Another fun fact: JPII studied at the Angelicum in Rome when he was my age. I studied where he studied.
  57. Desperately trying to visit all the churches in Rome and realizing that it is impossible.
  58. Being in Montecassino after you are engaged is dangerous. You will want to join the monastery. It is the most beautiful place on Earth. 20150510_114613.jpg
  59. Explaining the Sistine Chapel ceiling to Chris mere hours before he proposed. 
  60. When I thought that a stranger was going to take our picture, but I actually got engaged! I thought “why is Chris begin so weird about asking someone to take our picture?” Question answered.
  61. ^Telling that story on the first day of class the following semester. My professor said, “This girl has to go to a different country just to get engaged!”
  62. Getting engagement photos taken in the Villa Borghese
  63. The flowers on the Spanish Steps for the month of May. Taking this picture through John Keat’s window. keats window.jpg
  64. There were eight wedding dress shops on the block where we stayed in Krakow. 
  65. Licking the walls of the salt mines in Krakow.
  66. Walking into our $12/night Krakow hostel to a wall of stench. Trying to stop myself from gagging as the lady showed us to our room. It smelled like feet worse than you can imagine.
  67. I cried at the museum of Saint John Paul II’s childhood home even though I previously didn’t know much about him and I’m usually not an emotional person.
  68. Taking a biking tour with the most high-pitch lady in the world. “If you want to try some Zapikanki…”
  69. Learning Italian songs in Italian class. “E’per te” and “El amore que conta.”
  70. When Olivia and I got bored of walking forever, we sang ‘A whole new world. Don’t you dare close your eyes!’
  71. Trying octopus for the first time and not knowing what to think.
  72. Walking in the rain for 45+ minutes because there’s no other way to get to class unless I took a taxi. Our chaplain told us to compare it to Christ’s suffering on the cross.
  73. The Communist Cafe
  74. James Bond was filming right in front of my home in Rome!
  75. Celebrating little Cecilia’s first communion in Santa Cecilia en Trastevere.
  76. Being that person who always took pictures of her Gelato.
  77. Deciding whether or not it was worth it to cross the street. Quoting the movie, Elf, “the yellow ones don’t stop!”
  78. Taking the 110 bus that was as big as a closet and packed about 20 strangers in close quarters. It also made unnecessarily fast stops.
  79. The Public House. Especially the first night that we went there and kind of sketched out.
  80. Every time that we walked for hours on cobblestones. Sometimes at 1 am because we wanted two euro tacos at the Abbey Theater.
  81. When the men made dinner for the women. And they escorted us to our seats.
  82. My first creative publication
  83. Going swimming in Sardinia even though it was freezing cold.

    20150522_164400
    I feel cold just looking at this.
  84. How could I forget that super delicious hotel breakfast in Florence.
  85. Dancing to Uptown Funk a whole lot.
  86. The view from the top of the NAC.
  87. “Do you feel like going to see Pope Francis today?” “Maybe for a little bit.” So nonchalant, it was unreal.
  88. Taking an Italian cooking class in Italy. Learning to make fresh pasta and eggplant lasagna.
  89. Making tiramisu with the sisters.
  90. Coming home and realizing how much I had changed.
  91. This year, I had my last shift ever at three different jobs: Chipotle, the writing center, and catering at St. Thomas.
  92. Having my first job in marketing
  93. ^I’m only employed at one place for the first time in 3-4 years! WHAT!?!?
  94. My surprise engagement party! Mr. and Mrs.
  95. Driving up to Duluth to visit Chris on the weekends.
  96. Buying my wedding dress (after going to six different places)
  97. The actual stress of wedding planning.
  98. Writing this blog.
  99. Chris’ acceptance into grad school.
  100. The end of a 3.5 year long distance relationship. Now, living ten minutes away.

Look at you! You made it all the way to the end. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

XOXO -Lizzie

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