03 December 2013

23 on 23

So, I will be 24-years-old on Friday. Just tipping out of my early twenties, I suppose (or maybe I am out of them, I'm not sure what the official position is on 24).

And 23! Jeez, what a year. I'm sure I'm stealing this from someone else's blog, but I wanted to try and make a list of 23 things I had learned and done this past year, as it was certainly a time of growth. So here we go...

  1. First and foremost, I worked a lot on this blog. And I forgot to mention in my thankful post (I wanted to go back and change it but it'd already been up for a day and that's too late...) that I'm really thankful for this blog. I've met so many great girls through it and I love getting your emails of encouragement and thoughts. Really, it makes me feel so good. Almost everyone on my sidebar is someone I have exchanged great emails with and love reading their content and seeing their beautiful pictures. Blogging has certainly been a great and fun outlet for me. 
  2. I graduated from college! Officially, officially. I did walk in May of 2012, but there was nothing in the diploma I received because I had transfered schools and lost a semester. So I was a supa-senior and finished taking all my classes and had a very unclimactic graduation that consisted of turning in my last papers and getting drunk at the campus bar. But I still did it!
  3. Learned to like some vegetables. Especially broccoli. 
  4. Decided to move to Russia.
  5. Fucking moved to Russia. In the middle of January. With only my L.L. Bean boots and my ski hat to protect me (don't worry, this year I've upgraded to heels with tracks on the bottom and a mink cap).
  6. Learned how to read cyrillic. 
  7. Braved grocery stores, mashrutkas (tiny buses all over the city that are terrifying to ride in), and metros by myself. 
  8.  Learned what I like to call "life words" in Russian. I know how to talk about the weather, my moods, ask for food at restaurants and at the store, count, ask about how much something is, etc. 
  9. Bought some cool new clothes! I guess this one is kinda silly, but I feel like since I started college I've been broke and I had to rely on thrift stores for like, everything. Which is fine and dandy-I love a good deal more than anyone (I have a terrible habit of telling people how much something costs after they compliment it) and used to work at Plato's Closet in high school and loved it, but I still envied everyone who could buy all the new styles. But now that I'm making my own money, I'm really grateful I've been able to indulge here and there--it's been quite refreshing. 
  10. And on that note, Ben and I also saved a significant amount of money and that's something I'm really proud of. It started off small-1000 rubles every paycheck ($33) and then we began to add more and more and now we're killing it. It feels so good to know our self-discipline can now be enjoyed in Amsterdam and we're almost finished paying for plane tickets to Italy! So for #10, I learned how to save money. 
  11. I learned to cook. I never made anything more than Ramen bowls and popcorn, but I have found that I really love to cook. I'd really like to take some cooking classes next time I'm in America, but for now YoutTube has been great. 
  12. Built some seriously strong relationships with my friends and family back home. Going abroad really shows you who you can count on and who your real friends are. 
  13. Realized that Americans are the most sugar-induced people in the universe and nobody eats like we do. For real-bread anywhere else in the world doesn't taste like it does in America. 
  14. On that note, people are surprised when you tell them you're an American and you're not fat. 
  15. Aaaaand on that note, I'd pay an obscene amount of money for a box of my favorite American candies right now.
  16. South Africans have my favorite accent ever. I don't know if that should be on this list, but they say "me-graines" instead of migraines and how can you not love that?
  17. I've learned to be more aware of what's happening in the world. Americans are criticized for being very internal and not studying other countries in school/not having a lot of knowledge about world history or events and I have to say that, unfortunately, for me personally, this is true. Since being an expat and spending time with people all over the world, I feel like I've learned so much. Obviously, I've learned a great deal about Russia, but I've also learned about Canada and the U.K. and South Africa and Ireland and so many other places. It's wonderful to be an expat and get to know people from everywhere. 
  18. This is should not be so far down on this list, but I have gotten so much closer to Ben. Really-our relationship has grown so much since moving abroad. I know that I can trust him with my life because in a lot of ways, I have. He has guided me through this experience and always been encouraging and supportive. He has also filled so many roles in my life while we've been isolated and I know that is not an easy task. I love him so much and am so grateful we have such a happy and healthy relationship.
  19. I remembered how fun it can be to just read a book and get nothing out of it all. Just enjoy it. 
  20. The best way to take a shot of vodka is this:
    1. Fill your stomach up with some bread and water (some)
    2. Pour shot
    3. Make grand toast
    4. Take shot
    5. Smell bread
    6. Eat some salami
  21. On that note, I am done with vodka. But for real this time. 
  22. American themed restaurants are just the best when you're abroad. 
  23. I am bigger than I thought I was. I am stronger than I thought I was. And that is a good thing to learn. 


  1. happy early birthday then. i turned 24 in june. i feel like after 23, it's getting real close to 30. ha.
    i should learn to save more too. gah. and maybe learn to cook.

    1. Thank you! And we are no where near 30 girl... spend spend spend ; )

      And start with spaghettis! Adding a couple veggies or meats make it seem like you're pro while you're still figuring it out ;)

  2. Happiest birthday to you. This looks like you've had a heck of a year.

  3. so many good things in your 23rd year! i am turning 24 too next month and i am feeling just as sentimental. for me, 23 has been pretty awesome too. i also graduated, and although i didn't move to another country (huge!) i did get a promotion that i wanted more than anything. and i love all of the things you've learned this year. i will have to do some reflecting and collect my thoughts on how i've grown too :) lastly, happy birthday!

    1. You're only 23?! Ugh, I envy your cool life. I thought you were like... *27* (not because of your looks, more of your achievements)!!! I'm glad 23 was good to you too :)

  4. sounds like it was a great year. happy early 24th to one of my favorite-internet-friends! cheers! x

  5. What 23 wonderful things to learn, I especially like #16 and 17! Happy birthday Liz :-)

  6. happy birthday! i too have a terrible habit of telling those who compliment my clothes how little i got them for! it is just terribly satisfying to find something cute for a good price. thank you for your words!

    1. Ahhh! I'm glad someone else is as weird as me! Russians especially don't get the cheap clothes thing (probably some Soviet leftovers)--I bragged about my cashmere $30 sweater to my tutor once and she just patted my arm and said, "good for you". AWK.

  7. So you wrote this post on my 25th birthday:) hehe and what a cute idea- the list I mean. Can I also mention how much I like how much South Africans appear on your list, and Im glad you like our accent cause I think it sounds pretty rough. My husband asked me the other day why I like reading blogs so much and yours is a great example- the window into places I've never been, a way of living. Happy Birthday for tomorrow!:)

    1. Carey, I'm so happy you read my blog. I think it's so cool that someone so far away can relate. And I would love to go to South Africa one day- I don't mean to generalize, but all the South Africans I have met here are very thoughtful, spiritual individuals. I'd really like to explore the magical place they all describe coming from. Embrace the accent, girl! And I love blogging too and everything that comes with it (though my boyfriend is also befuddled by it).

  8. Hi I just started reading your blog. Just wondering how do you find these opportunities to teach english in foreign countries?


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