The Joy of Airport Waiting Rooms

So here we are again. Another airport waiting room and some more overpriced airport food. This time I am in Newark, NJ. For those of you who don’t know, its right outside of New York City. I’m at that moment in my day where its either gonna be a seemingly endless day of flying that started at 4 this morning, complete with a 3 hour layover, or I can make a different choice.

My flight landed early today, which I normally would be super excited about. Normally when my flight lands early that means I don’t have to do the incredibly awkward backpack run through the airport pushing past people as politely as possible and alternating between  “excuse me” and “sorry” like 105 times.

That didn’t happen today. Today I woke up at 4 AM after a nice 3 hour nap. My flight was a bight and early at 6:20 AM with a three hour layover. I am sitting here in this waiting room…still. There is a young family near me and I can hear a father tell his son to be thankful. He should be thankful that it is not worse.  Maybe I should listen to that man’s advice as well. I should be thankful that I am here. Thankful that even though my flight was early, it was also free. I got this flight using my frequent flyer miles. There was a small tax I had to pay but realistically I spent more on my lunch then I did for this flight.

How spoiled do I sound right now. I’m whining about it taking me 7 hours to go 1,300 miles. It used to take months, if not years to do that. There are many people that would give up a lot of things to be able to take 10 days off work and go see their family, on an almost free flight.

My plane did not crash, thank God. I am sitting in a comfy chair in an air conditioned room. There are escalators to take me up and down the stairs and walking escalators to help combat the awkward backpack running problem. I was able to pack multiple pairs of shoes today and had so much stuff some of my belongings had to migrate from my checked suitcase to my carry-on.

So many times I have heard it said “be in the moment” or “stop and smell the roses”. What are the roses in this situation?  I can look at this increasingly populated room as a nusense  with loud and obnoxious kids, or it can be an incredible opportunity to partake in one of my favorite activities…….people watching!!!!!!! Crowded rooms are great for that!

This three our layover can be an opportunity to write a blog post for the first time in weeks. This is the first time I have had to sit in awhile. Two weekends ago I had a couple of  hours to spend with God but that was the last time I had to sit and be still. Here I do not have to worry about the mess on the kitchen table that has been there for far too long. Or the laundry that needed to be done so I could pack for this trip. I don’t have my most recent unfinished craft project staring me down, begging me to finish it. In this waiting room there is no homework to be done, or coworkers to ask me to take their shift. Here I can relax and be still.

So, is it really that bad?

Alicia ūüôā

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25 Things Everyone Should Know……or Maybe Not

Hello everyone, sorry it has been so long since I posted. This past week has been crazy at work and life in general. I have been in and out of offices trying to get ready for my study abroad to Spain. Also I couldn’t think of anything worth while to post about. I want to make sure that the content posted on Nebraska Girl Adventures is important/relevant/worthwhile and not just random, time wasting, boring, useless stuff.

Recently¬†my Facebook and Pintrest pages have been blowing up with things like “26 Things You Should Learn How to Cook in Your Twenties” or “12 Ways to Cook a Steak Everyone Should Know”. While they are worth while lists, and have some good information on them, the titles can be very misleading.¬†

The list of things that “everyone” should know how to cook in their twenties, was a list of purely American food. One item on the list was good pulled pork. Yes, if you eat pulled pork, you should probably learn to cook it by your 30th birthday. That is more then sufficient time to learn. But what if you are Muslim? Most Muslims that I know do not eat pork at all. A Muslim shouldn’t know how to cook pork, why would they? Seafood was also on that list. I rarely eat seafood, Nebraska is in the middle of the country and North American continent. By the time seafood gets to my hometown, it is not fresh at all and tastes nasty. If I live in a first world country and barely have access to seafood, and when I do it is pricey, then what makes someone think that a person in the middle of a third world landlocked country is going to get decent seafood?¬†

On to the steak list, now I am from Nebraska, the red meat capital of the country and we are a world competitor as well. There are few people who enjoy a good steak more then Nebraskans, myself included….but not everyone eats steak. That is not a bad thing, more for me!!!! If that list were to appear in a country like India, people would be horrified. In India’s main religion, which is Hindu, forbids the consumption of cows. Cows are almost scared in India. They are allowed to roam the streets and do what they want. I imagine every cow wants to live there, they know that they will be treated well and never be eaten :).

These list are not bad lists, but insinuating that “everyone” needs it is wrong. Not “everyone” needs to know how to cook steak. Not “everyone” wants to cook steak. If the list were title “12 Really Good Ways to Cook Steak” I would not have a problem with it. Or if the list of foods I should know how to cook by the time I turn thirty contained more international foods that that would be different, but it doesn’t.¬†

There is a big world out there. Take one trip off your home continent and you will start to realize how big our world is. When I was flying to SE Asia it took us almost 2 full days of traveling. It was literally half-way across the world, the farthest I could get form home. There was a 12 hour time difference in the capitol city of the country. On the plane ride back home, we got to see some amazing islands. Islands I didn’t even know existed. It was weird to think that people live there, and I didn’t even know their home existed. It was an eyeopening experience.¬†

Most people have heard the expression “its a small world”, well no, actually it isn’t. Its a huge and vast world. There are billions and billions of people in it. That concept will never truly sink in unless you go and see the world. When you go and see the world it will become clear that some things you thought were universal, really aren’t. Things that “everyone” should know, only pertain to your culture and lifestyle.¬†

On the flip side of that, there are things that are truly universal. I wrote a post recently about what I perceive as being truly universal in my travels recently. Maybe you will see some of the same things, maybe you already have. Maybe you will see totally different things. One thing I know for sure, the only way to find out is to go and explore this big and crazy world that God has given us.

Alicia ¬†ūüôā

 

 

A new twist on an Arnold Palmer

For spring break this past semester my plan was to stay home and spend time with family. It was a crazy first semester with my dads cancer and then passing, so I wanted to slow down a little bit and work on family relationships. But…..the travel bug bit me again and off I was. I decided to compromise with myself. I spent half the time with family and half the time in Kansas City with a few friends.¬†

Funny at a history museum.

Funny at a history museum.

Kansas City is only a 3 hours away from here, so short enough to be close, but far enough away to feel like a little vacation. Also Kansas City is considered a big city to people who live in the western half of the mid-west. It is only topped by Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago, both of which are a full 8 hour drive from Lincoln. 

It was fun time, we went shopping and saw lots of different shows. Kansas City is a very artsy town with a lot of free attractions. They are also very student friendly and offer a lot of student discounts. Kansas City is known for its BBQ, so we had to get our hands on some of that :). 

Dinner before the theater.

Dinner before the theater.

I finally decided to try some Teavana Tea while we were there. I am kind of a tea person. Tea is tasty and there are lots of different flavors that are kept in my cabinet, but it’s not something that I think about drinking most of the time. Out of all tea’s though, Raspberry Iced Tea is my favorite. I spotted some raspberry lemon tea and decided to give it a try. I bought a little bag of it.¬†

 

¬†Yesterday when I was rearranging the cabinets I saw that little bag of tea that I bought and decided to make something with it. I also happened to see some lemonade mix packets. Raspberry Lemonade is a things so why can’t there be a twist on an Arnold Palmer and have a Raspberry Tea Lemonade. Also the raspberry tea that I found had lemongrass in it, so lemonade would play well off that flavor.¬†

First I got my tea steeping. I took 24 oz of water and put it in a pot until it came to a boil. Then I added 12 teaspoons of Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate tea to the water, took it off the heat, and let it sit, covered, for 15 minutes.

Tea Steeping

While the tea was steeping, I added 24 oz of water to a 2 quart sized pitcher. Then I put in the whole packet (which makes a quart of lemonade) of lemonade mix to the pitcher and stirred until it dissolved. 

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When the tea was finished steeping I drained it into the lemonade.Phone 7.10.14 151

 

I added ice to cool it down and sliced some lemons to make it pretty. I poured myself a glass, grabbed a snack and a good book. 

Phone 7.10.14 152

 Phone 7.10.14 154

It was a pretty good afternoon and I FINALLY finished the Divergent series. I saw the movie while we were in Kansas City, and ordered the trilogy off Amazon that night. I wouldn’t let myself read it until I was finished with the semester though. ¬†

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Raspberry Tea Lemonade                                                                Serves 8

  • 48oz of water, divided
  • 12 tsp. Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate Tea
  • 1 packet of sugar-free lemonade mix, enough for 2 quarts
  • 12 Ice cubes
  • Sliced lemons, optional

Directions

  1. Add tea to 24 oz’s of hot water and let steep for 15 minutes
  2. Add 24 oz’s of water to a 2 quart sized pitcher and add lemonade mix
  3. Once tea has steeped, drain it, and then add it to the lemonade mixture.
  4. Add ice after the tea and lemonade have incorporated. 
  5. Optional: add sliced lemons for garnish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays and Unity

I hope that everyone enjoyed their 4th of July. It my second favorite holiday. I love summer time already and the 4th of July is right in the middle of summer. I also enjoy loud and sparkly things, fireworks are both of those combined. In Nebraska fireworks are only legal around Independence day. The rest of the year they can not be legally sold or used.

On Wednesday night, July 2nd, some friends and I decided to set off some fire works after our weekly bible study. Before I went over to where we meet, I decided to try and get some fireworks to contribute to the fun. My church is doing a fireworks stand fundraiser to help kids get to summer camps. My little brother, who is now taller then me, also is involved with a fireworks stand fundraiser this summer for his boyscout troop. My brother’s stand is 35 minutes away, my church firework stand is 5 minutes away. They are both great causes but needless to say, I went to the one that was only 5 minutes away.

So I got to the fireworks stand and it turns out, fireworks can only be sold on July 3rd and 4th within city limits. When did that happen!!!! Well I couldn’t show up empty handed that night. So being the reasonable person that I am, I went to another town that is only about 10 minutes from my house and got some fireworks there. The crisis was averted, and we had a great time. The weather was amazing and the skies were clear. I was introduced to tank wars, which is super fun, and got to spend time with good friends.

Early this morning I went breakfast with my mom, and then headed out to a nearby town to meet some friends. The town I went to was only about 30 minutes from my house and is the 4th of July capital of Nebraska. It was an amazing time seeing everyone and catching up. That is why the 4th is one of my favorite holidays. I love the community aspect of this holiday. Yeah, I like the loud and colorful fireworks, but mostly I enjoy spending time with friends and family.

Unlike many of the other major holidays, this one is not just focused on spending time with family, but friends and others are included too. Even those who may not have a family to spend Thanksgiving with or Christmas, will always be able to find someone to spend the 4th of July with, and it will not be awkward.

In my recent adventures to South East Asia, I participated in a cultural exchange. It consisted of three American college students, and about twenty Asian high school and college students. One of the sessions that I participated in was focused on holidays. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that many of our holidays are actually very similar. Most places have either an independence day or a national day. There are also religious holidays that are observed, and then some random holidays that nobody really celebrates but they get the day off of school and work. That’s always a good thing.

How we celebrate our holidays are different but the core of the holiday is really not. That got me thinking about what other things are similar cross-culturally. There are quite a few things. When you take a look at the basics of how people live and what they want in life, you find that were not all that different. Connection is important to everyone. No one wants to be alone. Certain people might like to have more time to themselves, but no one wants to be truly alone all the time. Think about what it would be like if you were the last person on the planet? Everyone else was gone and it was just you. How awful would that be? Even the most incredible of introverts wouldn’t like that.

Have you ever seen the movie Cast Away? If you haven’t here is a quick recap of what happens. A man is on a plane, it crashes. He is the only one who survives and is stranded on an island by himself. He does manage to find a volleyball. He makes a hand print on it and gives it a name. This volleyball becomes his best friend. He talks to it, asks it questions,¬† and does all sorts of crazy stuff.

The man in this movie, who is played by Tom Hanks, seeks connection. The only thing that he has access to is a volleyball, so he makes a connection with that. Have you ever wondered why he didn’t try to emulate other things, yes, he built shelter, and savaged for food, but most importantly he sought connection. That is a theme in our lives that does not have borders. It is not defined by political or invisible lines.

Connection and community is so important that God is even in community. He is in community with himself.He is one God with three parts. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. In the first book of the Bible it is written “Then God said, ‚ÄúLet us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.‚ÄĚ ” He didn’t say “let me” He said ” let us” implying that he is not alone. Seeking community is a biological want that God has put in everyone.God also wants to be in community with us.

Connection and community are not the only things that I have found to be similar across borders. Most people want what is best for their loved ones. I saw that when I was in the Caribbean, I also noticed that in South East Asia and I see that here at home in the U.S. Their are always a few exceptions, but the majority of people want the best for their loved ones. They want to see them succeed. They do not wish harm on their family. The views of what is the best, and what is harmful differ throughout the world, but the basic want for good in the lives of loved ones is something that can not be confined my a line on a map. It is ingrained in us, no matter where we are from.

Another cross-cultural thing that I have observed is love. While I was in South East Asia some of the best advice I received was to be try aware of the culture and what is acceptable, but if I make a huge cultural mistake, as long as it was done in love than for the most part it would be ok. One of my most favorite experiences that I have had in my travels was during my home stay in South East Asia. I was staying with a family where four generations lived in one house. The grandmother was the oldest member of the house. They are not sure how old she is, keeping track of birthdays was not important in that culture at the time. She is estimated to be around 93 years old.

I was sitting on the floor of the family house. They were not a wealthy family. The house was completely wooden and there was minimal furniture. If I wanted to use water I had to go to the one and only spout. It was the morning after I had spent the night there. The grandmother did not speak English or the national language, which I spoke very little of but enough to have a small conversation. She only spoke the tribal language of the region, which I speak none of. We had no way to verbally communicate. Even through that, we were able to have an awesome moment together. She sat and looked into my eyes, smiled, and rubbed my leg. Thank goodness I had shaved that day! I looked back at here and smiled and just let her touch my leg. We couldn’t say anything because of severe language barriers, but we were able to give and receive love from one another. That is a moment that I will cherish for years to come. Love really does overcome everything.

Speaking of love, back to fireworks. I hope that everyone had an amazing 3rd/4th of July and stayed safe. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

Alicia ūüôā

Risotto and a New Book!!!

So last night I was at home. There is a weekly prayer meeting that meets at my house, so I kinda had to be home. My mom was gone so it was just me. I was looking at one of my favorite food bloggers and saw a recipe for risotto. I have made one of her risotto recipes before and it was amazing. If you haven’t yet, check out her blog, its called Iowa Girl Eats. I automatically liked her, she’s a local mid-western girl like myself. Shes’ from one of Iowa’s few cities. We’re also from neighboring states, so we are basically BFF’s. ¬†Her food is delicious, homemade, with very few chemicals.

The risotto that I tried was the Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto. Like the title suggests, it’s very simple. It’s also very tasty. ¬†When I made this recipe I did not use the special fancy rice that it calls for. I used just basic, and cheaper, white long grain rice. That was a mistake. Tonight I tried my own new creation and used the fancy¬†arborio rice, it was well worth it.

My risotto contains bacon, which makes it amazing already. Since its looked down upon to make just a bacon risotto, I decided to add some chicken and broccoli as well. It turned out amazing. I will make this again.

I started with 1/4 of a small yellow onion and a garlic clove. I diced them up at added it to a hot skillet with 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Risotto

 

 

Once the onions were translucent I added 3/4 cup of arborio rice, and let it brown in the skillet. It will absorb the olive oil that is left in the pan, that’s ok, it is supposed to. When the rice is browned add 1/4 cup of dry white wine, the alcohol cooks out so you don’t have to worry about that :).

 

 

While all of this is going on, put 2 cups of water, 1 cup of milk, and 3 chicken bullion cubes in a pot on medium-low heat. This mixture needs to be warm, but not boiling.

Risotto

Next I cut up two slices of bacon and fried them up until they were crispy.

Risotto 2

Once the wine had absorbed into the rice, I put about 1/2 cup of the broth mixture into the rice and let it absorb.

IMG_0429

Back to the rice, I kept adding the broth mixture by 1/2 cup measures to the rice until I only had one 1/2 cup measure left. I then added the frozen broccoli, grated parmesan, and diced up chicken to the rice and let it cook. Once that was done I added the rest of the broth mixture to the rice, waited until that was absorbed and tada!!!! I had dinner, well almost.

IMG_0437

 

I put it into a bowl and added some bacon. Then I was finished. The best part is, the recipe is two servings so I have some for lunch tomorrow. I get off work at 11, just enough time to go home and heat some of this deliciousness up for lunch!

IMG_0438

Recipe

  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup arborio¬†¬†rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 chicken bullion cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 lb cooked, diced chicken
  • 2 slices of bacon
  1. Dice the onion and garlic clove, add oil to frying pan and cook until the onions are translucent.
  2. In a separate pot, combine water, milk, and chicken bullion cubes and heat until warm.
  3. Once onions are translucent, add the rice and allow it to brown, then add the broth mixture to the rice in 1/2 cup measures.
  4. Dice up bacon and fry in a separate pan
  5. When only 1/2 cup of the broth is left, add the diced chicken and frozen broccoli with the broth.
  6. Top with bacon.

Nutrition Facts – From Myfitnesspal.com

Nutrition Facts
Servings 2.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 422
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21 g 32 %
Saturated Fat 5 g 26 %
Monounsaturated Fat 13 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 22 mg 7 %
Sodium 1798 mg 75 %
Potassium 411 mg 12 %
Total Carbohydrate 34 g 11 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 5 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 15 g 30 %
Vitamin A 6 %
Vitamin C 53 %
Calcium 32 %
Iron 9 %

 

Also last night I started a new book. Its called Breaking Free by Beth Moore. I have read some of Moore’s books before and I love them. I asked for this book for Christmas and am finally settled down enough to dig into it. I like to read but during the school year it is harder to find the free time. Also when I have to read 5 chapters ¬†a week of textbooks, it dampens the mood for reading for pleasure. This book has been on my nightstand for months now, calling my name. It just wanted to be picked up and loved, so last night I gave in.

So far I really like it. It talks about breaking spiritual strongholds that we all have in our lives. Moore is a female writer, and she specifically writes for the female audience. I have been to a couple of conferences where she has spoken, the Holy Spirit spoke through her in a major way. This woman has a God-given gift to teach others. Their are some spiritual strongholds that I have in my life, and am looking to work through. God is the only one who can break them, I am not trying to underestimate His power, but I am hoping that Moore’s book will give me more insight as to how to go about breaking this bonds.

I’ll keep you updated.

Alicia ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So…I started a blog.

Good afternoon, My name is Alicia. I am a young 20, almost 21, year old who enjoys life and all its ups and downs. Quite honestly I swing between wanting to live in the moment and enjoy the exact moment God has given me, and being completely stoked for what God has planned for my future. It has been a crazy ride for these almost 21 years. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my life holds for me. I am a Nebraska girl, born and raised. Don’t confuse me with a country girl though. I have only lived in the two cities that Nebraska hosts. I was born in Omaha, my parents divorced when I was young. My mom moved to Lincoln, with me, and my dad stayed in Omaha’s suburbia. The normal custody schedule was enforced. I stayed with mom most the time, and spent every-other weekend with dad, as well as one night a week and a month in the summer.

I have ridden/driven the interstate from Lincoln to Omaha’s suburbia, specifically Bellevue, ¬†so many times I could get you there blindfolded and half asleep. It has given me an interesting perspective on home though. Last Sunday my pastor talked about how we, Christians, should never be comfortable in any place on earth, our true home is in Heaven. One thing that essentially growing up in two different cities has given me , is that it is impossible for me to feel completely at home in either one. Lincoln has things that I like, and Bellevue has things that I like, but neither one is home.

I try to look at life as an adventure, hence the name of this blog, Nebraska Girl Adventures. Some of my adventures are bigger then others. Sometimes getting through a normal day is an adventure. Other times it is getting on a plane and traveling half the world to South East Asia and learning from people there. Both can be full of new and wonderful experiences. I try to be a learner in life, but am not always successful. I talk to much, and tend to think that I am more important then I am. That’s ok. God loves me anyways, and the rest of you will learn to as well :). The intent of this blog is to show my adventures. The good, the hard, the interesting, and the unknown.

My likes:

1.) God

¬†I didn’t necessarily grow up in your traditional Christian home. I was baptized Catholic, but not until I was three. Shortly after I was baptized into the Catholic church, we switched to a non-denominational ¬†Christian Church when I was four. I did go to a Catholic school though, from 1st-4th grade. I was not Catholic at the time. When I was a freshman in college I got involved in a campus ministry and it truly changed my life. I was “re-baptized” in December 2011. Its been a crazy ride. I will fill you in later. Once we get to know each other better.¬†

2.) Education

I currently am a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and spend an obnoxious amount of time in this building. Photo credit to https://www.flickr.com/photos/courthouselover/6706603693/

I currently am going into my senior year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and spend an obnoxious amount of time in this building. Photo credit to https://www.flickr.com/photos/courthouselover/6706603693/

3.) Photography

This was taken at a traditional floating market while I was in South East Asia. It is one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken.

This was taken at a traditional floating market while I was in South East Asia. It is one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken.

Another one from Asia

One benefit of waking up so early. Taken while I was in a boat on the river.

One benefit of waking up so early. Taken while I was in a boat on the river.

 

4.) Traveling

I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with getting stamps in my Passport. 

From Asia

A traditional diamond mine.

A traditional diamond mine. In Southeast Asia

From Jamaica

I was not excited about doing homework while in Jamaica. I considered sending this picture to my professor to let him in on my struggle. Doing Spanish homework, verses spending time on that beautiful beach behind me. Their was also an amazing strawberry daiquiri waiting for me at the beach-side bar. In Jamaica the legal drinking age is 18, so I enjoyed it while it lasted. 

Go through 072

5.) Crafty Things

I am currently in the middle of a project. I will post pictures when I am finished. I do not claim to be good, but I enjoy it. It’s a good way to keep myself busy out here in Nebraska, without spending all my free time in front of the television.¬†

6.) My family….they’re big and unconventional, but I love them.

This is one of the only pictures that I have of my siblings and parents. It was taken about a year before my dad past away.

This is one of the only pictures that I have of my siblings and parents. It was taken about a year before my dad passed away.

7.)Food

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I enjoy cooking and trying few recipes. Sometimes they turn out well, sometimes it is a flop. Being true to my Italian roots the one thing that I have never messed up is the family¬†spaghetti¬†recipe. I grew up watching my dad make it, who grew up watching his dad make it, who grew up watching his parents make it, and so on and so forth. It’s a cute little¬†story,¬†and one heck of a good red sauce. Once we all become good friends I might, maybe, decide to share it with you all.¬†

8.) Outdoors

We went off the beaten path in Colorado and this is what we found

We went off the beaten path in Colorado and this is what we found

Sidenote: Liking¬†the outdoors does not mean I enjoy hiking up¬†mountains¬†and not showering for¬†days. For me it is about¬†enjoying the beauty and¬†general¬†splendor¬†that God has created. I like to look at¬†mountains¬†and¬†watch the¬†sunset. Honestly who doesn’t enjoy a good¬†sunset,¬†especially¬†out here in¬†Nebraska. The¬†flat¬†lands make for the most¬†gorgeous¬†arrangements¬†of colors in the sky. It is¬†truly¬†breathtaking.¬†

 

There are a few things that you should know about me before we begin this journey together. I am down right awful at spelling and grammar. I honestly don’t know if I would have gotten into college if I had been born before the amazing invention of spell check. I apologize in advance for my terrible grammar and bad spelling. It’s a work in progress. Try and be patient with me.

 

Let’s get ready and start this new adventure.

Alicia ūüôā