My First Homecoming as Alumna

Earlier this month I visited Boone, N.C. for the first time since graduation last May. I had been missing college, my small college town in the mountains and most of all my friends. I hadn’t seen any of my friends from school in over four months.

I love my friends so much and I have a wonderful group of girlfriends from school. We are all scattered now which is really hard. Towards the end of my final semester I was worried that we would get distracted with our lives and find it difficult to stay in touch. I know that the older we get the more time and effort you have to put into all of your relationships in order for them to last.

I was inspired by the Sisterhood of Travelling Pants and dragged my friend, Laura with me to all the thrift stores in Boone because I insisted we were to find a pair of jeans that fit all of us so we can keep in touch like they do in the books. In reality, there are a couple problems with this. One, it’s not possible and two, even if it was, about 90 percent of jeans at thrift stores are hideous.

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About mid-summer I came up with a plan B to magical pants, a more realistic one. I started a group chat with our group of friends on Facebook. It was a perfect alternative to magical pants! We all contribute to an ongoing conversation about funny stories, dates and life updates. It also has made planning trips together so much easier.

Homecoming was our first trip and now that we all have jobs we can hopefully begin planning more. It was so good to see them all again. We had so much fun returning to our favorite bar, tailgating and going to the football game. Since I’m in Florida where we see almost no Fall, I forced myself to get up early a couple days to go for hikes and see the changing leaves in the mountains. I can’t wait to go back to Boone again and I definitely can’t wait to see all my friends again.

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It’s so strange visiting your college town. I feel like I’ve only been pretending to be a grown up! Maybe that’s why they say “fake it till you make it?” I don’t know!

Love,
Liv

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Liv Learns: Post College

It’s been a hot minute since I updated this thing so I thought I’d catch everyone up with five things I learned about myself since my last entry.

    1. I can go somewhere completely foreign on my own. Travelling on my own showed me how much I was capable of. Researching destinations, planning hostels, transportation basically everything is just the first half of going on a trip like that. Once you head out solo is you learn that, once you open your mind to opportunities you can accomplish anything.

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    2. I can run. While I’ve always been into working out and fitness I absolutely despised running. At the gym, I’d sprint for about five minutes at a time, go do something else, then sprint again. Coming home after Europe and graduation was going to be the first time in my life that I didn’t have a gym membership. That, plus the fact that I decided to grow out of my asthma this past summer, is what motivated me to learn to love running! Since, I’ve done a 5k, 10k and next month I’ll be running in a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot with my sister!
    3. I can kinda cook. Before I got my job, my life this summer consisted of these things: Instagram, running, Pinterest and catching up with old friends. But, mostly Pinterest. Therefore I spent a lot of time looking at food and recipes. Before this summer the only things I could make were strawberry pizza and tortellini soup. Thanks to the lovely invention of Pinterest I’ve now made cookies from scratch! And these interesting avocado chocolate chip pancakes! 
    4. I can get a job! After what felt like months and months of hunting for a job and feeling like I’d forever be living at home with my parents, I found a perfect one for me! Now, if only finding the perfect boyfriend were that easy.
    5. It’s possible to have a new beginning in an old place. If you had asked me six months ago where I’d be right now I would’ve said, “anywhere but Tampa.” Heck, if you had asked me four years ago I’d probably say the same thing. I changed my mind. I realized that my hometown is actually a pretty good place to be. We’ve got the best beaches nearby, amazing sunsets and plenty of interesting people to be entertained by. It’s all about perspective and how you see a place or situation.  Returning home having graduated college and having grown into who you are is a totally different situation then when you were 17. Like you would anywhere else, you’ll get a job, meet new people and have the experiences you want to have. You just have to go out looking for them.

Love,
Liv

PS- I also learned how to do a top bun! Wha wha!

And I Did It All in Heels

In one month I traveled around Italy, Sicily, Croatia and Spain. I saw brand new places had some of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned more than I had ever anticipated on this trip.

Beautiful seasides, Greek temples, cathedrals, art and culture, pizza and cannollis, are all fantastic but the best experiences I had were thanks to the many people I met along the way. Whether it was someone in my hostel, a stranger attempting to help me when they didn’t speak any English, locals who invited me to sit with them at dinner when they saw me eating solo, or an entertaining tour guide. Above all what made my trip unique were the people I met in this past month. People from all over the globe that even if I never see them again I hope I never forget them and their stories.

Before I left my friends asked me if I was scared or nervous. At the time I was too busy finishing up college to let it register but I honestly thought it would hit me once I was on my own and I would be scared. Although I had my moments where I was scared (cough cough Palermo) for the most part I was so busy enjoying every ounce of my experience that I didn’t have time to worry. Like someone in my last hostel said, “just because you’re alone it doesn’t make you lonely.”

In the past five days…

Let me recap the past five days of my life:

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I graduated college.

There were cupcakes.

I moved out of my college apartment.

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Hopped on a plane (on my 22nd birthday).

And arrived in Florence!

Needless to say it has been a BUSY five days!

I’m so happy to finally be in Italy though. I’ve been planning this trip for the past semester. While my dad will be in Florence for the next six weeks teaching a study abroad course I really wanted to see parts of Italy I haven’t been to before. I’ve been to Florence and Tuscany quite a few times. I lived here for four months when I was five years old and visited for six weeks at a time almost every summer I was in high school.

My itinerary:

  • Palermo, Sicily (6 days)
  • Milan (3 days)
  • Venice (3 days)
  • Back to Florence (6 days)
  • Herculaneum (1-2 days)

Then probably Barcelona and Madrid then back to Florida!

This is the lightest I’ve ever traveled anywhere in my entire life. Only one backpack for the whole trip! It’s going to be a very busy and interesting six weeks!

Things that make me happy right now:

  1. my fam
  2. Italy
  3. my cats
  4. tiramisu gelato
  5. color blocking

Love,
Liv

PS- If you want to see a few more pics that I’ve taken since getting to Italy you can click here…

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What I Learned in College

For the past for years I’ve answered the same question countless times.

“So, you’re from Florida, how did you end up at Appalachian State?”

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Four years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to get out. I wanted to have the ‘going away to college’ experience. I wanted to try something new and live somewhere new. I wanted to grow up and become the person I wanted to be.  So many people I knew from high school (not all though), went to the same college, hang out with the same people, went to the same parties– Personally, I just don’t think you really have a chance to grow as a person and mature if you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself in new situations that may even feel uncomfortable at first.

Everything I had hoped I’d get out of college, I got. I definitely have had a lot of lessons in the past four years and looking back I got everything I wanted for out of college. It didn’t happen as easily and smoothly as I had imagined (nothing does) but I got there and I’m better for it.

At the end of each semester the seniors in my sorority stand in front of chapter and read a letter to the younger girls. I really liked mine. It was more of a list of things I wish I had known four years ago and lessons learned. Maybe I have regrets. I’m not sure, I’ve always believed you shouldn’t regret anything. But lately I think people who have regrets are good. They’re the people who look back on their life and thought about how they could’ve done better, how if they’re in a similar situation in the future they’ll do it right. As long as you don’t dwell on regrets and use them to give you direction in the future and be a better version of yourself I think they’re healthy and a good thing.

Anyways as cheesy as it is here is my list of things I wish I had known four years ago.  Continue reading

Independence

I always get urge to write in the middle of the night right as I’m falling asleep. I plan on getting up and writing it down first thing in the morning but as soon as my day gets going a million other things are more important to get done and writing gets pushed further and further back on my to do list. So here I am at 1:30 in the morning with class at 8 but I’m going to type this thought out anyways.

I like making hard decisions. I always have. The thought of doing something because it feels comfortable or easy makes me nauseous. Aside from a couple guys with sports scholarships, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person I know from my graduating high school class that went to a school that not only was out of state but also where I knew absolutely no one. I don’t even think I had ever visited Boone before when I made my decision to spend four years of my life here. Not to mention, I went to a school where if I check the weather during the winter and its between 30-40 degrees I think to myself, “that’s not that bad.”

Now that I’m nearing the end of my college career people keep asking me if I’m going to move back to Tampa or go to Charlotte or Raleigh or somewhere else where everyone goes in North Carolina. As much as I love Tampa and my wonderful friends back home I feel like it would be a cop out if I were just to move there and work. I think Charlotte or Raleigh would feel that way as well because now I know so many people who will probably be moving back there too.

I don’t know why I run from everything/everywhere I know. I can’t tell if this is a character flaw or a character strength.

And most of my friends will live a die in this zip code and it might be for me, but until I go how am I ever supposed to know?”
The Band Perry, Independence

Mother’s Day Hike

After many sleepless nights in the library, three research papers, two presentations, four final exams, moving out of my apartment, moving into the family’s condo, moving into a hotel, moving into my uncle’s beach duplex, going to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday, my parents leaving for Italy, and now my first day at my internship I think have finally been able to catch up with my life! A chaotic month and a half later I am hopefully beginning to find a little routine in my life!

So I made it through finals and the semester from hell is finally over and I could not be happier! Literally the first thing my sister and mother said to me a month ago when they came to Boone for Easter was “Liv, you do not look good,” ” you look so tired,” and “you do not look like yourself.” After I got finished up the semester and after I spent a few days in hibernation in the mountains this HOPEFULLY this still isn’t the case. One lesson I have taken from this semester is that I will never again even think about attempting 19 credit hours again. Bad idea for almost everyone unless you’re super human (which you may be), but for an ADHD college girl, definitely not.

My mom and I spent Mother’s Day in North Carolina as well. Since I’m not only a tired, ADHD college girl but also a broke one,  my mom picked out a bracelet, bought it and came to me and said, “Here Liv, why don’t you give me this for Mother’s Day.” I promise one day when I have a job and I am making money I’m going to take her on vacation to somewhere really amazing.

Mom and I also decided to go on a hike that day too. My mom searches the internet for a nice hike that isn’t too far away. She finds one and says she found one that isn’t too far away and it is labeled as a moderate hike so it shouldn’t be too hard. I’m driving because of course, its Mother’s Day and I’m such a sweet daughter. The hike she wanted to go on may have only been 25-30 miles away but since more than half of it was driving up a windy, GRAVEL road, that had steep overlooks where it looked like we were about to drive off the mountain, it took more like an hour. By the way, my mom is terribly afraid of heights! I’m not even very scared of heights and this drive was freaking me out! Finally, we got to the parking area, which I thought was practically the top of the mountain and I didn’t understand why anyone needed to get any further up! The hike itself may have been “moderate” but the I’d say driving my two-wheel drive Nissan Versa on mountain gravel road would have been considered “vigorous”!

This was the mountain my scared of heights mother chose to hike!

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“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”

As a college student I have the tendency to look at my never-ending “to do” list (I’m a list maniac) and feel incredibly overwhelmed. As do most of my friends, I’m sure. It probably doesn’t help that I’m blogging at the moment instead of studying for my three tests I have this week or my three upcoming research papers that I’m know are going to “suddenly” sneak up on me in couple of weeks when they’re due.

A few days ago I was looking at my list of everything I had yet to do and feeling at a complete loss at where to even begin (ADHD and long lists don’t mix well). Papers, tests, homework assignments, and projects have a tendency to pile up quickly. Lately, during the school week I’ve been noticing that most of the things I say or talk about are pretty negative. “I have so much to do.” “I haven’t slept in days.” “Is it summer yet?” or “When did college stop being fun and started being so difficult?” This is what most of my recent conversations with others have consisted of and I HATE it!

I’d like to think of myself as a usually upbeat, happy go lucky person. I’m usually the person who tries to see the silver lining on every cloud.

Yes, college can be stressful, hectic and downright depressing at times but we have to learn to give up that attitude, or at least try to. Everyone is entitled to a bad mood every now and then. We need to figure out a way to snap out of these moods. So that we can go back to living life and meeting our full potential (you always do better work when you’re in a good mood).

So here’s how I snapped out of my bad mood. I closed my lap top and my textbooks grabbed my pen and a pad of paper and I wrote down everything I could think of that makes me really, really happy. I know, it sounds like a pretty huge waste of your already small amount of time, but it worked!

I listed everything from the avocado cheeseburger at Chilli’s, to running at the beach during winter, to the Gasparilla Art Festival, to day-drinking at Klondike with my sorority sisters. I soon realized that I did not have enough time or enough space on the paper to list the many things in my life that make me truly happy. I also realized that the stress and lack of sleep I’m dealing with now will all eventually lead me to even more things that make me happy. Even just looking at the list and all the reasons I wrote, puts a smile on my face and ease on my mind.

So while it does suck at times, I’ll do my best to envision that brand new car I’m going to buy myself in a couple of years when I’m makin’ that monaayy in the real world.

Love,
Liv


Yep, my dream car is a pink Mini Cooper… except mine will be a convertible
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Home is where the heart is?

Andrew: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew: You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”  – Garden State

So lately, this quote has been continually popping up in my thoughts… Continue reading