5 D.C. Words to Know

Moving to a new city is always a bit daunting. Not only because you’re suddenly in the market for new friends and restaurants, but also because you’re suddenly a stranger to everything – even the language. I honestly didn’t expect that to be an issue when I moved to D.C. It’s our nation’s capital, after all! I thought, surely, it won’t be anything like moving to Jordan or China. But, wouldn’t you know it, I suddenly was surrounded by terms I didn’t understand and was much too embarrassed to ask.

So, for any of you that are considering a move to D.C, here’s the lingo I wish I had known:

  1. Metro not Subway

Every place seems to have their own term for their modes of transportation. I sincerely believe it’s so tourists look like what they are – tourists. In London it’s the Tube, in Chicago it’s the L, in NYC it’s the Subway. For those of you thinking to call it the subway while you’re in D.C., though, think again. I made that error and was mocked pretty heavily (maybe I need nicer friends?).img_7370

In D.C., it’s referred to as the Metro. And as far as metros go, it’s not too bad. It gets you from one place to another. Sometimes late, actually, sometimes very late. But it gets you there – usually. The key is to download the D.C. Metro Transit app early on, to bring a good book, and to find a secure place to store your Metro card for easy access.

Also, big tip: stand on the appropriate side of the escalator. Right side for standing, left side for walking.

  1. Outer Loop vs Inner Loop

Leif is just the dearest soul. Knowing that my day would be extended an extra hour if I have to metro to work, he has selflessly driven me to work every morning since we moved to D.C. This means that we experience D.C. rush hour traffic. Every. Single. Day.

For the most part, it’s been fine. We use Waze and get places when we get places. We’ve mostly been annoyed with the amount of car accidents we see throughout the drive, as it is dangerous for many, but also slows down the drive immensely. We took to listening to the radio to see if there were accidents that Waze did not have registered.

“Inner Loop near MD-295/Baltimore-Washington Pkwy, proceed with caution by accident, delay of 20 minutes.” Inner Loop? No problem! We’re outside the city, which means we must be on the outer loop!

Nope. Just, nope.

We thought having an outer loop and an inner loop of the Capital Beltway meant there were two separate highways. We were really wrong. And I leave this embarrassing piece of advice for you all here: Interstate 495, better known as the Capital Beltway, is a 64-mile highway that circles D.C. The outer loop is the Capital Beltway headed counter-clockwise around the city, and the inner loop is the Capital Beltway headed clockwise around the city.

You’re welcome.

  1. The DMV

Confusingly, this acronym does not stand for the dreaded hell-hole that is the department of motor vehicles, at least when referred to while residing in D.C. I first ran into it at church when the pastor kept referring to the DMV and the people who live in the DMV. I was really confused, imagining the strange government people who have to live in the DMV day in and day out. I mean I know D.C. is a city of hardworking, government officials, but that’s like a whole ‘nutha level.

Turns out it stands for District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia and generally includes whatever the metro touches. Much more pleasant than the other DMV.

  1. The National Mall

“Do you want to go to the National Mall?”img_7502

“Sure, what can I buy there?”

“Uhhh, I don’t know. Like, gift shop stuff?”

“Pretty crappy mall.”

In case you didn’t know, the National Mall is actually what they call the stretch of land roughly from the Lincoln Memorial up to the Capitol Building. It includes the Smithsonian museums, the Washington Monument, and the White House. So, now you can be smarter than me, and avoid this awkward conversation all together.

  1. Cised

This one is just an entirely new word to me all together. I have been told that “cise” means to be excited or stoked. As in, “Grace was so cised when she found out Leif bought her a Lunchable.”  It’s pronounced like precise, if you drop the “pre”.  Apparently there’s a couple words like this in D.C. slang (bama and lunchin’?), but I’ve yet to fully understand them, let alone actually incorporate them into my vocabulary.

Don’t worry, I’m working on it.

Advertisements

Terracotta Army | China

For our return to Beijing from our adventure in Zhangjiajie, my husband and I decided to stop by Xi’an and see the famous Terracotta Army. I have to be 100% honest – I think we were too worn out to fully enjoy the historical site. Our train ride to Xi’an was a bit of a nightmare (see A Chinese Horror Story), so by the time we arrived I had developed a cold and was a bit done with the whole travel thing. We also accidentally went backwards through the warehouses, even though we had been warned to go the other way. So here I am warning all readers: If you are visiting the army, please go to vault three, two, then one – in that order! The site will be much more impressive that way. Any history buff, however, will still be amazed to see one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century.

If you have any questions or want advice on visiting the Terracotta Army, feel free to contact me.IMG_6963IMG_6975IMG_6960IMG_6931IMG_6955IMG_6935IMG_6980 (1)IMG_6976 (1)

Harbin | China

My husband and I had the opportunity to escape polluted Beijing for a weekend with some friends. Where did we choose to go? One of the coldest cities on earth for their world-renowned ice festival: Harbin. When I say it was cold, I mean snot-freezing, eyelash-crystalizing, lips-turned-blue cold. The day was no better than the night, but it was worth every second of it. We explored the famous Siberian tiger park in the day, and then ventured into the Harbin Ice Festival that night. As you can see it was absolutely incredible. Seemingly glowing legos that stretched on for miles. Arctic foxes to pet, snow sculptures to admire, and ice palaces to climb. If you’re ready to bundle up, I certainly encourage you to explore Harbin!

 

If you have any questions or want advice on visiting Harbin, feel free to contact me.

IMG_0158IMG_0293IMG_0220IMG_0483IMG_0441IMG_0519IMG_0456IMG_0475

Wadi Rum | Jordan

For my last semester of university, I studied abroad in Amman, Jordan. It was an experience unlike anything I could have dreamed. Although most of the semester was spent studying Arabic,  one particularly lovely weekend, my study abroad cohort and I were able to get away and take a trip to Wadi Rum, Petra, and Aqaba. Though Petra and Aqaba were stunning, Wadi Rum stole my heart. We rode camels through the desert, admired the towering rock formations, drank Bedouin tea, and talked late into the night under the countless stars. If there is one place I hope I am able to return before I die, it is Wadi Rum. One last fun fact is that this is the very place they filmed the movie, The Martian, and I imagine you can see why.

If you have any questions or want advice on visiting Wadi Rum, feel free to contact me.

IMG_0476IMG_0532IMG_0518IMG_0614IMG_0655IMG_0669

8 Reasons Why You Should Love Geneva, NY

My family moved to Geneva, New York, three days into the start of my junior year of high school. I was nervous about starting out, once again, as the new kid, but I was so excited to move to a new city and make a bunch of new friends. So, I put a smile on my face and walked into Geneva High with my head held high.

Now, in the unlikely possibility that you’ve actually heard of Geneva, NY, you’ve probably heard some not very nice things.

“Aren’t there gangs? Didn’t someone get killed there? Do you actually feel safe?”

I’ll tell you right now, please stop saying all that. It’s ridiculous.

After two years of living in Geneva, I left for university and didn’t think I’d ever have a chance to call Geneva home again. Strangely enough, after traveling the world and getting married, where would I end up once again? In Geneva, New York.

I thought I’d share with you why that’s actually been pretty great.

10 Reasons Why You Should Love Geneva:

1. Seneca Lake

Geneva is located at the very top of Seneca Lake, the largest of all the Finger Lakes. The colors and waves that can be seen on a windy day can honestly rival the ocean in beauty. On a warm day and sometimes even on a chilly one, you’ll see sailboats and wind surfers making their way across the waters. In the summer, couples and families walk along the shore trails enjoying the frisbee golf course, water park, and ice cream shop. Throughout the summer months, the occasional festival cheers up the night with music and entertainment. My favorite by far, though, is the winter months when the change in temperature causes the lake to steam up into the sky. It’s breathtaking.

 

2. Wine Galore

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

As a high school student, the Finger Lakes region of New York  seemed a little boring. It was certainly pretty with its vineyards and lakes, but it just didn’t hold a great deal of entertainment in my opinion. The great news is that 16-year-old Grace had no idea what she was talking about. Geneva and the surrounding area is overflowing with beautiful wineries and estates that are comparable all on their own to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The area is particularly known for their delicious rieslings and I can’t recommend highly enough Three Brothers Wineries and Estates  for fun, drinks, and even good shopping. It’s my absolute favorite. My husband and I have gone out wine tasting multiple weekends and are never less than impressed with what the area’s wineries have to offer for selection and venue.

 

3. Diverse Ideas and People

Geneva is a beautiful mess of cultures. When my husband and I left China, I was sad about the idea of leaving behind languages, different foods, and learning a way of life that is entirely different. I needn’t have been concerned, Geneva is teeming with languages and cultures. My little siblings are learning Chinese at the elementary school and already know more than I do despite a year in Beijing. I hear Spanish sometimes more than I hear English if I’m frequenting the right stores. The Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Finger Lakes Community College, and the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station all claim Geneva as home, and the community is all the more fortunate for it. They bring with them highly educated and wonderful people and organizations that pour into the community. It’s really incredible to see.

 

4. Beautiful Buildings

smithMy husband and I lucked out when we moved to Geneva, because we found a beautiful apartment right in downtown Geneva. Downtown Geneva has always been my favorite part of the city because of the interesting architecture and old-city charm. We live above an old theater, and actually have a marquee we look out over. We’re around the corner from the famous Smith Opera House that is truly one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen quite a few!). It’s star-speckled ceiling and dramatic colors made for a memorable high school graduation (although, I did lose my shoe while walking across the stage, so I am not soon to forget that night anyway). The Smith is only one of the many charming buildings however – the Hobart and William Smith College houses that line South Main Street, Geneva on the Lake, and Belhurst Castle just to name a few others.

 

5. Small Businesses

Not to brag or anything, but I had the coolest job in high school. I was a barista at a coffee and jazz house. Right here in Geneva, New York. We had live music at least once a week and I met some of the most lovely and interesting people every day. While that shop isn’t around any more, so many amazing new places are popping up all the time! Lake Drum Brewing (local ales), Stomping Grounds (beautiful items for sale), Opus Coffee, and many, many more. We even have our very own Bubble Tea Cafe. Linden Street alone is filled with interesting nooks and crannies that are overflowing with art in all its forms.

 

6. Delicious Restaurants

IMG_8262Food is something Geneva knows how to do well. For my husband’s birthday we tried out the Beef and Brew and we were blown away. It felt like we had been transported into a British Pub right in the middle of suburban America. Kindred Fare is the newest restaurant to the city and all I have heard are glowing reviews of the “spirited cookery”. I’m a big fan of the Char Burrito Bar, although it’s a huge problem that it’s only around the corner from my apartment. The Flounge and Ports Cafe certainly deserve a mention, but really the list goes on and on.

 

 

7. Local Events

The first Friday of every month is reserved for Geneva Night Out. Art exhibits are hosted by businesses downtown from 5:00-8:00 and there’s everything from theater performances to poetry. Around Christmastime, I even watched sleigh rides going around the block. In the summer, there’s the Annual Cruisin’ Night, where antique cars line the streets to show off. Definitely a sight to see! Live music is also a huge part of Geneva. You can hear performances at the local wineries, restaurants, and hotels almost every weekend. Honestly, there’s no reason to ever feel bored if you know where to look.

 

8. Warm Community

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I have moved many places in my life and, in doing so, invested parts of my heart all over the world. Geneva, New York is one place I will never regret having given part of my heart. Its people are warm, welcoming, and unique. My husband and I work with the youth group at our church, Living Hope, and they are a bunch of great and goofy kids. I love attending Geneva school sports games because Geneva shows up loud and proud. The people I met back in high school still remember me and say “Hi” even if we haven’t spoken in years. Because that’s just what Geneva is: an old friend that will always welcome you back with a hug.

Geneva went through a terrible tragedy this past week when a man took the life of a young mother a block from my apartment. I refuse to let something that senseless, dark, and broken stain what is so beautiful. So when you hear about Geneva, I hope you remember all the reasons you should love it, because it’s worthy of all that and more.

 


Have you been to Geneva, New York? What is your favorite part? Leave a comment below.

7 Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

Jet lag. I say that word with deep loathing.

Jet lag has always been the bane of my travels. It’s probably because most of my traveling takes place between the United States and Asia. You can be sure that as soon as you cross the international date line you’re in for trouble. However,  I’m a big napper, so I’m always in trouble. Now, it’s possible that some of you are the kings and queens of jet lag; You are never conquered by its mighty grasp. You are the lucky few.

Last August when Leif and I returned to Beijing, we couldn’t stay awake to save our lives. We spent day after day planning to stay awake, but found our eyelids dropping. And, despite all our planning, we would give in to sleep – deep, blissful sleep.  After four days in a row of falling asleep at 3 pm and waking up at 9 pm, we said enough is enough. We knew we were skipping some very important steps in defeating jet lag.

In light of how crucial fighting jet lag can be, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned over my years of traveling. I hope it can help you during your next flight as well.

Seven Tips for Fighting Jet Lag:

1. Stay hydrated.

Every medical professional (or mother) ever will tell you to drink loads of water while traveling. I’m not as big a water drinker as I should be, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve certainly seen the wisdom of it. I also always feel a little sweaty and nasty after a long flight, so drinking loads of water is a must.  I so often think of jet lag as only a mental challenge, but it’s really a physical one as well. Your body needs to adjust to the new 24 hour clock you are giving it. Help it out.

2. Don’t nap.

This is the number one no-no. I’m already a big napper. I love curling up in an arm chair or anywhere really and shutting my eyes for a little while. Especially when I’m exhausted from jet lag, napping seems like such a great idea. It’s a lie! Don’t listen to that voice. Try and do as much as you can the first day you arrive at your destination. If you fill up that first day with activities (and make it through that day without a nap), you’ll find fighting jet lag a million times easier. It’s completely okay to turn in early that night, too. I find that (when I fight jet lag the right way) I’m an early to bed-early to rise kind of person, and I love it.

3.  Change the time.

This is my favorite tip, because I feel like I’m outsmarting jet lag. As soon as you sit down on your flight, take out your watch/phone/device and change it to your destination’s time zone. This way as you make your way across the world, your mind is already adjusting to the time where you will be. If you can, try and sleep when it’s “nighttime” and try and stay awake while it’s “daytime”.

4. Think ahead.

Now, if you are particularly awesome, you might consider adjusting as much as possible to the time difference before you even leave. (Clearly I’m not disciplined enough to have done this.) If you will be traveling east and want to adapt to the new time, you will have to wake up and go to bed earlier than normal. If you’re traveling west, you will want to wake up and go to bed later than usual. It’s much easier to say than to do, but hey, you’re awesome, right?

5. Use the sun to your advantage.

I’ve done some research on fighting jet lag and most of the experts talk about the importance of light. They say that light is the primary cue telling your body’s clock when to sleep and when to wake. So controlling jet lag is fundamentally about controlling light and darkness. If it’s nighttime where you’re headed, consider closing your shade and putting on an eye-mask instead of admiring all the beautiful clouds out of your window. When you land, however, don’t try and adjust too quickly to all the light if it’s daytime as that may exhaust you even more. Take it easy, grab some sunglasses, and stay awake!

6.  Avoid  overdoing caffeine.

When someone tells me that I’m going to need to stay awake when I’m actually dead on my feet, my first reaction is to find the nearest cup of coffee. However, when it comes to jet lag, this is not the best idea. Caffeine dehydrates and doesn’t allow you to sleep deeply when you do finally sleep. It is important to get deep sleep so your body can recover from the stress of your trip.

7. Sleep well the night before.

Sleep to prepare for your flight is just as important as sleep to recover from your flight. If you’re anything like me, you put off packing until the night before your flight and get around four hours of sleep if you’re lucky. This is also one of the reasons I’m the worst when it comes to jet lag. Be smarter than me, don’t procrastinate, and get a great night of sleep before you leave.

I hope you find these tips helpful for your next flight. Drink water, sleep well & be merry!

Zhangjiajie | China

Our visit to Zhangjiajie National Park, home to the Avatar Mountains, was unforgettable. We had heard that it was more than worth the 23 hour train trip from Beijing, but we never expected it to be as beautiful as it was. Despite the fog, rain, and humidity, we were able to see all the places on our list. Our adventurous natures avoided the cable cars and outdoor elevator, so we ended up hiking around 13,000 stairs in all. Even though it seemed miserable at the time, in retrospect I wouldn’t do it any other way. We saw hundreds of monkeys, incredible views, and lost ourselves in the towering jungle and mountains. Leif and I decided it was our absolute favorite place we visited in China…and that’s saying something.

If you have any questions or want advice on visiting Zhangjiajie, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to send you my “How-To: Zhangjiajie”.










A Chinese Horror Story

It was eight in the evening and Leif and I were sitting quietly in our plastic chairs waiting for the train to begin boarding. I was working very hard to remain positive. When we had purchased the tickets for this particular train ride from Zhangjiajie to Xi’an, all the sleeper trains were already sold out. Our only option had been to purchase hard seats. Hard seats for a nine hour train ride…overnight.

As the time for boarding the train loomed near, I ran off to the bathroom to change into something more comfortable. I told myself that if I did everything in my power to make this trip comfortable, it would be. I had sat in chairs for endless periods of time before. This was going to be just like that. No big deal. Continue reading →

10 Places Everyone Should Visit

I don’t know about you, but my list of places I want to visit is endless. I could talk all day long about the beautiful sights I want to see and the different adventures I want to go on. It can be almost impossible to decide where to actually visit next. In light of that, I thought I would share with you my ten favorite places I have been so far in my life. They are pretty different from one another and I have so many places left to go, so I’m not sure everyone will agree with me. Simply, these are places that stole my breath at one point or another.

Here are my top ten places in the world that I think everyone should visit. Continue reading →

10 Facts People Should Know About Mongolia

When I was nine years old, my family moved to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We lived there four years before moving back to the United States. I know that doesn’t sound like a very long time, but it was my home. And I loved it. Since I moved away, I have often had to explain the mysterious Mongolia. It seems that although the famous Mongols once possessed a great portion of the known-world, they have since crept back into the shadows.

In light of that, I thought I would share with you 10 Facts People Should Know About Mongolia. Continue reading →

7 False Stereotypes About the Chinese

Despite the fact that I spent a good deal of time growing up in Asia, I still had some preconceived notions about China before moving here. I would like to blame Chinatowns, Mulan, and the media for my terrible stereotypes. In reality though, I know I can only blame myself for not having actually bothered to learn before now. After a year of living in good, ol’ Beijing, I thought I would share with you my, now, debunked stereotypes.

7 False Stereotypes about the Chinese: Continue reading →

Thoughts of Frost

The best way out is always through.
Robert Frost

Ever since I arrived in Jordan, the other students in my program would exclaim, “You’re spending your last semester abroad in Jordan?!” And I would always respond, “Yeah. It seemed like a good idea at the time.” And, really, it did. I had considered going abroad earlier, but something always came up. Either I was cast in a show that I just couldn’t miss or there was a core class that was only offered during a certain semester. So, finally, my senior year rolled around. There I was, with no more excuses left. It was time to head to the Middle East.

Today I sit here, on my bed, having finished my last class ever of my undergrad and I can’t help but wonder, “Was I crazy?” Why did I leave everything comfortable, everything familiar, everything easy? Why didn’t I just relax and enjoy my final semester? But then – I remember why.

A person will sometimes devote all his life
 to the development of one part of his body
 – the wishbone.
Robert Frost

Truth be told, I had put all my eggs in one basket when it came to Jordan. Jordan was the symbol of my independence, my future, and my dreams. Jordan was supposed to make my future clear. It was intended to mature and refine me. It was going to be the perfect way to end university, because it was going to make me the person I’d always wanted to become. Quite clearly, Jordan was my wishbone. And I was wishing for the world.

About halfway through this crazy experience, I realized Jordan was just another place. A place filled with beautiful people who love nothing more than to pour their love (and food) into you. A place filled with taxi drivers who really just want to be your new best friend. A place filled with sad kittens who paw through dumpsters looking for something to eat. A place filled with men who stare you up and down or worse. But, still, just a place. There was no secret palace filled with all of my future’s secrets. And there was no magical genie waiting to grant me my every wish.

This reality overwhelmed me. There were days when I felt like maybe, after all this, I had wasted my time. I felt that, while my friends were back in the States applying to jobs and finishing university like normal human beings, I had slacked off and run half way across the world. But tonight, I am stepping back and realizing something. I don’t need to have everything figured out. That’s just not how life works. Life is not ever going to be perfectly laid out for us. Life is messy and things can change or end at any moment. We may think we have everything ready for the next step, and then life happens. I need to stop expecting Jordan to become something that no place could ever be for me – the answer.

In three words I can sum up 
everything I have learned about life:
 it goes on.
Robert Frost

Here I am, Grace Pilet, stopping and looking at what Jordan really was for me. Jordan was my teacher. And it taught me that every day is an adventure. It doesn’t matter if you’re riding a camel in Wadi Rum or if you’re just catching a taxi to campus on a rainy morning. It doesn’t matter if you’re practicing Arabic grammar for hours or if you’re in the middle of a war in Jerusalem – there is always an adventure waiting for you. Life is yours to be had, day in and day out. I don’t want the adventures to stop. Just because my time in Jordan is coming to an end, does not mean that I must have everything figured out. In fact, if I had everything figured out, there’d be no room for the adventures. And, friends, there must always be room for adventures.

So, was I crazy? I guess the answer to that was – yes, I was. But, I’d like to think I came out even a little crazier, filled with excitement for the unknown. I don’t have my life figured out. I don’t even know what this next year is going to hold for me. But I do know it’s all going to be okay. After all, now I’m even more ready for my next adventure.

Jordan was not the answer. But, perhaps, Jordan was just the beginning.

156781630747385081_c5kcqzb4_c

‘Tis the $eason

As you know, I have lived in all sorts of places. Everywhere from Midwest USA with their plethora of fast-food restaurants to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia with its very hairy yaks. And in all of these places, I noticed something interesting. Not about them, but about me. My status as a person changed, depending on where I lived.

The concept of wealth and these changing lifestyles are not new to any of us. But I never considered, until now, the significance of this in my life. In the mid-west, my family and I were fine. You know – fine – not rich, not poor. Just fine. In Mongolia, we were the elite. Our apartments were the most beautiful. Going out to eat was a common occurrence. We could go to fancy resorts in Thailand or visit Beijing for the weekend. But that didn’t mean life was easy. Our white skin was a symbol, important because of what it meant for how fat our pockets were. Our groceries were stolen; my friend’s family had their apartment robbed. We were the envied, the “dream.”

When we moved to Seattle, Washington my family and I became poor. The cost of living was far out of our grasp and I tangibly felt the vast chasm I had fallen through. People like to say that when you’re poor you focus more on what’s important, like your family, because that’s all you have. But let’s be real, when people are poor they sometimes become so consumed with being able to feed their family that the important things continue to be ignored. Wealth is not simple. I continue to be astounded at how one can jump through social classes like hula hoops as one flies through time zones. But, I have realized that this is the nature of wealth. The Gold Rush spoke of “rivers flowing with gold,” but the reality is: a big enough wave will make the gold flow downstream – away from you.

In Amman, I have noticed again this relative concept of wealth. The majority of this country is very poor. They barely manage to survive with the money they do have. And when fuel prices rise like they did recently, the impact of that drastic change can be devastating. All this to explain that, when I see a Jordanian with an iPad, I stop and stare. Electronics are roughly 300% more expensive than in America. In America, seeing a person with an iPad wouldn’t mean much of anything to me. As a matter of fact, it’s a frequent occurrence. But seeing a Jordanian with one, shocks me into silence. The wealth of this Jordanian is something I will probably never be able to comprehend. And yet, here in Jordan, I am also one of the wealthy – me, a practically broke college student. I eat at their fast food restaurants which are considered for the wealthy. I go to one of their most expensive and prestigious universities. And yet, I will be returning to the States, a graduate of college with basically not even a penny to my name. Wealth is so relative.

As we head into the Christmas season, it’s almost impossible not to think about money. We are worried about having enough money to buy gifts for our loved ones. We make lists of all the gifts we hope to get. The season consumes and is consumed by money. I have noticed that it becomes increasingly easy to feel the pressure and stress this involves. We become upset about not getting the gift we want. We forget about enjoying the season in our rush to purchase all the gifts for friends and family. And now I apply my own lesson to myself – wealth is relative, it is temporary, it is changing. 

If we strip away the buffer of wealth that we find within our different social classes, what are we left with? Whatever the answer, this is what we should cling to this Christmas season. Even in America we see that a person’s social class can change almost overnight. With jobs being lost or medical tragedies striking, families can go from wealthy to poor in what may feel like a matter of moments. It is this that reminds us that there is so much more to life than money. And it is this that reminds us how we we are all similar in our own ways.  I constantly need to remind myself that I must guard my thinking in this area. Sometimes, I let myself get caught up in the stress of money. But, in the end, wealth will always be relative and it will always change. This Christmas season I am going to work hard to remember what is most important.

After all, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”