The Travel Diaries

Travel Diary: Melbourne, Florida.


Monday, March 16th: The Arrival

I can’t lie, due to the Coronavirus outbreak that has the whole planet on crisis mode, I second-guessed getting on an airplane to fly down south to see my friend, Tori. What if I can’t come back home? What if they do a travel ban within the United States as well? What if something goes wrong altogether? As I sat in my kitchen with my carry-on and backpack across the room, I really wondered if now was the best time to go traveling. After some reassurance from my mother, it was time for me to get out of the house, and head over to the airport.

On a sunny Monday late morning, I was excited to be finally taking my first airplane trip to another state that wasn’t in the tri-state area. Once I got to the airport, it was freakishly empty which was expected; no one is trying to travel during this time. I checked in, went through TSA security, and got to my gate within the hour that I was there. Needless to say, it was an unrealistic representation of how airports truly are, so I’ll be in for a surprise once this pandemic is over for good. But anyway, I was extremely early for my flight; I wasn’t supposed to fly out until 2:30 in the afternoon, and I was already at my gate at 12 o’clock noon. The wait was brutal, but once we finally got on board and all settled in, we were ready for takeoff.

At first, I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my mouth; she was a first-time flyer. Just feeling the plane book it on the runaway and then just fly up 36,000 feet into the air, it was definitely something I had to prepare myself for. Being up in the air was so dreamy though. To literally see the clouds underneath you and fly over every house, forest, every single thing visible to you, it was breathtaking.


After finally landing in Florida, the first thing I saw was so many palm trees. There aren’t any palm trees in NYC, so to get the opportunity to see something as simple as that was so fucking exciting. So, I finally got off the plane, met up with Tori, and drove back to her place. Traveling totally wiped me out, so for the first time in a long time I knocked out pretty early.

Tuesday, March 17th: Getting Educated By Tori

Tuesday was a pretty chill day; we went out for lunch and came back to then get educated on Tori’s pop/cult-classic culture. If I had to describe Tori, it’s that she’s very much a pop-culture and cult-classics lover. She’s seen everything, she’s listened to everything, and she pretty much knows everything as well. Me? I suck at those things. I mean, everything someone asks me if I heard or seen, I usually say no. So Tori found this trip as an opportunity to show me some of her favorite things. We spent our day watching some anime classics; Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. They were so cute and the visuals were so fucking good! I definitely enjoyed Spirited Away a little bit more than the other one, but I’m glad I finally watched the essentials of Anime movies.

Also, because it was St. Patrick’s Day and Tori is full-blown Irish, we celebrated the holiday the way she does: drinking and watching a cult-classic favorite of hers: The Boondock Saints. It was really cool to just see the things that Tori enjoys; I’m always interested in seeing the things that make people who they are and who knows, you may even like them as well!

Wednesday, March 18th: The Beach Babes


We decided to take on a sunny, warm day by going to the beach! We decided to go to this little island resort-like place in downtown Melbourne and oof, the views were beautiful. Driving along the road surrounded by palm trees and 1980’s Miami Vice style buildings was so surreal for me.

Being at a beach in the middle of March was definitely so surreal for me. Having never left the tri-state area to go to a warmer place before, it felt great to just have a little taste of what warm weather feels like after having a cold winter. Watching the waves come onshore, the other socially distant people in swimming suits and with sun-tans, and just having the seawater hit my legs whenever it came to shore felt so fucking great. It definitely made me reflect on where I’m at this point in my life. I just found it so crazy that at that exact moment, I fucking traveled for the first time ever. I did something I didn’t think I’ll ever do, and I’m so glad that I got the chance to experience such a sight.

After it started to get crazy hot on the beach (it was going to be 85 degrees on Wednesday), we decided to get something to eat along the boardwalk near the beach. We went to a place called “Hula Moon” and oof, the food was so fucking good!


For our appetizers, we tried fried artichoke hearts (which were pretty okay) but the greatest fucking appetizer ever made were these poke nachos. Literally, Tori & I fucked up those nachos like it was nobody’s business. With raw tuna, air puffed tortilla chips, tzatziki sauce, and wasabi, they were everything. We both had a crab & shrimp cake sandwiches with french fries and they were also so fucking good. 

Oh! And we also had drinks! The “Torched Tiki” was the greatest fucking drink I had. We love a fruity alcoholic beverage.


After spending most of the afternoon out, we went back home to decompress and relax. Hanging out, watching TV, we just spent the rest of my last night chilling in the living room and had some really good girl talk that was well-needed. Back in our college days, we had a lot of moments where we had serious conversations; I specifically remember the time Tori opened up about her past one night after her class and my grad class walking her dog down the streets of Staten Island a couple of years ago and another one when I got stranded at her place one night the day before her birthday. We don’t always have the time to talk to one another, but every time we see each other and we do talk, our friendship never is weird or different. We aren’t the same 22-year-old girls anymore, but we sure are the same people to each other ever since we became close friends.


Thursday, March 19th: The Departure


I woke up Thursday morning finding out my flight was canceled. At first, I was totally freaking out because of this whole COVID-19 outbreak going on. I thought I was going to be stuck in Florida longer than I thought, but thankfully they put me on another flight for later in the day. So, Tori and I relaxed for most of the morning before our hour-drive to the Orlando International Airport. Funny story: Tori actually lives near the Melbourne Airport, which would’ve been the obvious choice to fly to and from, but the layovers to even get to Florida were insane. So, we got to the airport, and I truly got the real airport experience being there. For starters, packed. The TSA security line took about 15 minutes to get through, then we had to take an air-train to the gates, and then I saw just saw insanely crowded this flight was going to be. It was pretty nerve-wracking to be on a crowded flight because, well, the whole fucking COVID-19 madness. But, the flight was quick, my father picked me up at JFK, and my vacation was officially over.


This definitely isn’t the last time I go and see Tori in Florida! This was such an awesome first time that the next time when we are finally out of this pandemic, we’re able to explore more of the sunshine state. Tori is currently engaged, and she’s aiming to have a wedding in 2021 that will most likely be held in Florida, so I’m glad I at least got the feel of traveling down there before that big event occurs. Nevertheless, I’m beyond grateful that she allowed me to come down and visit her during her Spring Break. I wish I was able to stay a little longer, but who knew an outbreak would occur so drastically like this? This trip, in the most simple term, was just the beginning of my travels. I was talking to my coworker a couple of weeks ago about one travel-related bucket list thing I had in mind and that was to go to South Korea for a vacation. She recommended that I should aim for that trip for my 30th Birthday, but to definitely go on some baby trips before that big one. I thought it was a great goal to set for myself, and with a little encouragement from all my coworkers pretty much going away for vacation these last couple of months, I figured it was my turn to do so. I definitely do not regret it. 

My only question now is: when are we booking the next trip?!

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The Travel Diaries, Twelve Days of TNTHmas: 2018

Travel Diary: Bangor, Pennsylvania.

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Friday, December 14th, 2018 – The Arrival:

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As much as I like the idea of traveling, my anxiety and body absolutely hate it. So, to say the least: I was tremendously nervous to be traveling to another state, by myself. I’m very much a “go on vacation with my family or my partner” type of person, and this was officially my first solo trip. Although it took some reassurance to myself that everything was going to be fine, I was extremely excited to see the only friend I was able to keep after graduating college: my friend, Tori. I met Tori my senior year of college in an acting class, and honestly, the rest is history. Before this trip, the last time I got to see her was a week before she graduated with her Bachelor’s, so setting this reunion was well needed. The hours leading up to this departure flew by; I remember sitting in my kitchen just watching YouTube videos mindlessly until I saw it was 12:30 in the afternoon and only had an hour to get my life together before leaving. Needless to say, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was but prepared enough to the point I left my house exactly when I was supposed to.


An hour later into the city, I reached Port Authority Bus Terminal and frantically tried finding my bus gate. I forgot how huge Port Authority was; the last time I was here was when a part of my vocal choir had a show at a New Jersey college six years ago and quite frankly, I was just following the people who knew their way around the terminal. Luckily, I found my terminal through this sign, and the bus driver who probably saw just how lost I looked standing in front of his gate. The jitters and the nervousness finally went away when I took a seat in the waiting area of the bus gate. I was here, I was halfway to Pennsylvania, and now my body finally allowed me to be excited for the weekend ahead.

The ride wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, to be honest. Whenever my family and I would visit my grandmother’s house in Pennsylvania, the ride felt like hours, and I wasn’t going that much further than where she lives. By the time I arrived in Easton, Tori greeted me in the hugest hug possible, and that’s when I knew that nothing changed within the last year and a half apart. If you know me as a friend in person, you would know that I pretty much suck keeping friendships because of my social anxiety, and I’m so glad that Tori is understanding how that struggle is for me. Plus, I always value a friendship that although you may not see or talk to each other all the time because of adulthood, that when you get together, nothing has changed. That’s how I can tell a friendship is able to last through distance.

But enough of that cheesy stuff: We went to do a couple of errands before finally arriving at her place. Her place is exactly how I would imagine a young, mid-20’s couple would live in: a splash of her Halloween-inspired aesthetic mixed with her boyfriend’s interest in movies and Marvel comics. (Well, that’s also Tori, but still!) Nevertheless, it was an apartment that had an extremely cozy and welcoming feeling to it, and that’s excluding the fact that her dog, Sasha, makes it even better.


For the most part, we hanged out, ate dinner, and watched a short movie before her and her boyfriend headed for bed. It was still pretty early for me to hit the sheets, so in order to calm my nightly nerves and anxiety down, I pretty much forced myself to get comfortable. Back at home at night, I usually wind down to some Game Grumps on YouTube and pay a couple of games on my phone in the meantime, and I told myself that even though I am not home to do that, I could do that at her place to bring some familiarity that calms me down. I’m learning that having some sort of routine is very helpful in calming me down in situations where I may be getting anxious, so I make it a mission of mine to at least stay on a routine as comfortable as possible. Shortly after, I went to sleep.


Saturday, December 15th, 2018 – Girls Day Out:

Sasha’s good morning kiss to me was how I woke up that morning. She licked my face as I looked up and saw her looking down at me. I heard Tori in the kitchen call out Sasha’s name, but it was too late: I got the wake-up call I needed. I helped make the living room more presentable by deflating the air mattress her boyfriend put out for me the night before and then hanged out with Tori in the kitchen while she made us breakfast with some coffee. Our morning conversation consisted of us talking about Jeffree Star makeup, which she had some of his pieces in her own personal collection. I am not really a makeup person, but I love watching makeup tutorials and reviews of all these makeup brands on YouTube, so seeing some of these lipsticks and palettes in person was a surreal experience for me. Seeing one of Jeffree Stars highlighters in person was seriously an out-of-body experience. Like, I gagged. Shortly after we finished breakfast, we both got ready for our girl’s day out, which consisted of more grocery shopping, shopping in general, and me popping my Chick-Fil-A cherry. 

Ever since our college days, we always talked about how I wanted Tori to give me a makeover. Tori, to me, is infamous for her liquid eyeliner; she’s not her if she doesn’t stab you with her fierce liquid eyeliner. This weekend was finally the time that we had for Tori to do my makeup. Through trial and error (especially my stubborn eyes who rather have the liquid eyeliner in them rather than on them), the makeover look was done. I didn’t get the chance to really take a picture of the finish look, but I FaceTimed my partner to show him. Needless to say, he liked it. After Tori finished her look, we both headed out the door to begin our girl’s day out.

After we did minor food shopping, she showed me around a store called Hobby Lobby. Like I said, I’m a big YouTuber watcher, and a lot of these lifestyle YouTubers rave about how great Hobby Lobby is, so I wanted to see just how great it was. Update: it was amazing. Cute, yet cheap stuff is my middle name, really. I snagged a cute little purse for literally 12 bucks. It doesn’t get any better than that! After that, she insisted that we go and get some lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Bless Tori and her vegetarian heart for taking me to Chick-Fil-A since it’s nearly impossible to try it at the only one in NYC due to its crazy lines. So, we got to Chick-Fil-A and ordered some chicken strips with waffle fries. The chicken was pretty good, but the waffle fries were literally everything. The waffle fries with the Chick-Fil-A sauce? Ugh, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. (Also, you can tell I was hungry and demolished that plate of food because I forgot to yet again take a picture of it!) After lunch, we went to one last store before we headed home.

During our day out, I took my polaroid camera because I never get the chance to use it, and quite frankly the film was about to expire. I never saw Tori’s eyes light up so bright before. She loved the camera, and I will not be surprised the next time I go and visit her that she has one. I was really happy to finally take some pictures with Tori; I’m tired of sharing the same one as her birthday Instagram post; the one we took when we were still freshly college grads when we were babies. I gave her some to keep and I took some back home for memories.


Once her boyfriend got home, we pretty much did the same thing: eat dinner, watch a couple of episodes of Friends, watched some funny YouTube videos, made some cookies and some bomb-ass ice cream, and called it a night. I was sad that the weekend literally flew by and that the next morning I was heading back to NYC. The anxiety (of course) began to creep up on me and I had to settle back down with my nightly routine. I was exhausted after the long day we had, so going to sleep wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. After having some ice cream, I was sound asleep.


Sunday, December 16th, 2018 – The Departure:

I woke up from my alarm that was set for 8 o’clock in the morning. Needless to say, I was exhausted and just layed there for another ten minutes until Tori got out of her room with Sasha. It was a chilly and rainy Sunday morning; we mostly spent it drinking coffee and talking about her trip to see her mother down in Florida for the Christmas break. We then got dressed and headed to the bus station back in Easton. We said our goodbyes, and told each other that we had to do this again, especially during the warmer seasons of the year. I went to get on my bus back to NYC, got on, and an hour and a half later I was back in New York City. Another hour later, I was back in my home.

I was immensely proud of myself for putting this trip together on my own. We made the plans to see each other in the month I took off after being really depressed and suicidal for awhile, and I knew that being around friends would help me feel better. I was also really happy that I was putting my “travel aspiration” into gear, because that’s all I want to do while I live my 20’s. I’m still so young; I want to be able to travel to so many places before I settle down, whenever that may be. I want to be able to look back and see that I did what I wanted to do, and I’m so glad that I forced myself to do something like this. This was definitely one of my favorite highlights of this year, and I can’t wait to go back to make more memories next year.


-Liz. (:

Blogust 2018: The Series, The Travel Diaries

Day 20: Day Diary of Old Bridge, NJ. 👼

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Saturday, August 18th, 2018: Morning – 6:15A.M.

I could hear my mother’s muffled voice calling out my name in my sleep. It felt like those days when I would dread to wake up so early for school and an extra 5 minutes felt like an hour more. I know this couldn’t be one of those times I asked for an extra 5 minutes. My aunt was coming from Jersey to pick us up at 7:15, so I knew how limited my time was.

The weather was gloomy and humid; two things I wished it wasn’t on this already dreadful day. Something felt weird in the air. It felt like Sunday for some strange reason, and I couldn’t get over the fact that something, just something was wrong today. I didn’t wake up refreshed like I normally do. I didn’t feel calm whatsoever. I felt the racing thoughts pumping through my mind. Then, it hit me after a week of nonchalantly speaking about it: today I am opening wounds that can possibly still bleed out. 

My grandfather didn’t want a funeral. The weekend before he died, his wishes were that he get cremated and that some of his ashes would be spread around the treehouse he built over a decade ago and that my grandmother would keep them. He also wanted a mass, which took me several google searches to find out what was even the difference between the two. The week he passed away, almost everything was beginning to get arranged for this mass, and the date was set: August 18th, 2018.

I woke up that morning thinking I grieved enough to pass the point of sadness. I thought I was going to be able to celebrate my grandfather’s life through memories and pictures and laughs. My grandfather would want us to remember him for the many things he was, instead of being sad that he was gone. I thought my family was ready for today as well. We all got dressed and pretty much said the same thing over and over again: “I can’t wait to get this over with.”

I could tell my mother was extremely anxious. In the time span from the time we got to my aunt’s house to the actual service, my mother had taken three smoke breaks outside my aunt’s deck. My grandmother was anxious because she was just tired of crying and being torn apart by her loss. Even going through the weird vibes and anxiety flowing through everyone under my aunt’s roof, I stayed optimistic. I remained positive, again trying to convince myself that I was over the grieving process.

Then, we left.


I had some anxiety going to the Church because I thought we were going to be late. My aunt drove the ladies to the Church while my uncle drove the boys. My aunt took a couple of wrong turns and time was passing. I feel like we were one of the last people to arrive, yet we were the most crucial part of the service because my grandmother had my grandfather’s ashes with her.

Walking into the church full of people felt as agonizing as walking down the aisle for a wedding. I mean, I’ve only been to one wedding in my life, and that was 20 years ago. I was only four. It just felt like the front of the church felt like it ran for a mile. But we entered the Church with my sister holding onto my grandmother’s arm. We were instantly greeted by my grandfather’s sisters and family who were very close to my grandmother. In the height of it all, my grandmother started crying. My sister started to tear. I started to tear. 10 minutes into the Church and I was already feeling the knot form in my throat. Easy there, Liz. You’re going to be fine. By the time we got to the middle of the aisles, my grandmother spotted her eldest sister sitting down and greeted her with a tearful hug. I had to look away until the encounter was done.

We had all found a row of seats at the front of the Church, presumably reserved for my grandmother and her side of the family like my mother, aunt, and grandchildren. A couple of relatives from my uncle’s side of the family also came to pay their respects, and to support my grandmother; especially my uncle’s mother who had just lost her husband due to illness just a couple of months before. The greetings and the hugs felt weird to me, not because they’re weird or anything, but I felt a major disconnect from my own body and what was going on around me.

I felt myself cave in. I felt myself slipping from reality more and more as we sat and waited for the mass to start. I saw the pictures on the screen of my grandfather; smiling, happy. I saw pictures of both my grandparents together, smiling. Happy. Familiar. It was a version of my grandmother I was used to seeing: happy, adding onto stories that my grandfather used to tell us, always the center of attention whenever my grandfather would joke on her constantly out of love, and present. I looked at those photos feeling as if I lost both my grandparents. I had to look away before I got too emotional. I was still fighting back the tears.

Looking around me, I had seen my sister look at the photos too. All I could see was my sister hold her eyes with tissues as she wept in sadness. I kindly had to rub her back for support, knowing that she needed at least someone to let her know that everything was going to be fine, no matter how desperately I needed someone rubbing my back telling me the same thing.

Starting the service felt like an eternity. The pictures kept circulating and the entire row of my family was just silent. I didn’t know what to do with myself; I wanted anything else than to focus my attention on the photos on the screen. I turned to my left and saw my 16-year-old cousin just crying and crying. I haven’t seen this boy cry in what feels like decades. I don’t even remember him crying that much as a baby, and even though there’s an eight-year difference, he was my first cousin, and when I was little, we were really close. Of course, with distance and age changed that, and it wasn’t recently on our trip to Pennsylvania when I got to have a decent conversation with him without feeling weird or nervous or whatever. Seeing him weeping caught me off-guard. In a sense, it brought my body back to reality: we’re at a mass for a loved one that many of us are forced to think about during this service, and people are going to grieve and cry.

I rubbed my cousin’s back the same way I did for my sister. I don’t know when my body thought it was its job to be the peacemaker of everything, but it was. Again, while also needing someone to do that for me.

Shortly after that, the photos stopped, and the service started.


For most of the service, I felt disconnected. I felt like the religious perspective during the service was something I couldn’t focus on. Yeah, it’s because I wasn’t raised with a religious background, and quite frankly I don’t understand points and certain aspects of it, but in a way, I was glad that I couldn’t. Again, I couldn’t allow myself to completely be vulnerable, especially with all of my family around. I teared up when I felt the most touched about the words said about my grandfather, but I honestly couldn’t hear anything else because I was tuning out for my own good, I was trying to protect myself from the pain.

It wasn’t until my grandfather’s grandson on his side of the family came up to speak a couple of words about him. Some moments were funny, and some were extremely spot on about how my grandfather’s personality was, and he closed it off reflecting on a memory that he holds dear to his heart and now interprets it into a whole new meaning.

Whenever there was a bee flying around and we would all get scared of it stinging us, my grandpa would always tell us that we shouldn’t be afraid of something that is smaller than us. And I believe that’s the message about life.

Reflecting back on my grandfather, he was ballsy, tough, courageous, and wasn’t afraid of nothing. He spoke his mind pretty much about everything, and that character reflects on the stories he would tell about the times he was younger. When it was his time to go, he wasn’t afraid. He took it still being brave, courageous, tough, and yes, even funny. He would always tell his grandkids to never fear anything, and I personally think that’s always going to be his life-long message to us as we go through this tough time.

Never be afraid of something that is smaller than you.

Sunday, August 19th, 2018 – Night – 12:36A.M.

As I write this, I think back to today and although I’m glad that the service is finally over and done with for the sake of having to reopen wounds that are not healed yet, I am glad that my grandfather can now finally rest and live in nature.

I will always remember my grandmother telling me the story of the first time I was introduced to my grandfather. I was too young to remember my biological grandfather, so when my grandmother introduced my grandfather to us, I apparently ran over to him and gave him a huge hug. I don’t remember this day for myself, but I know I will always keep that story close to my heart.

Rest in peace, grandpa. ❤


-Liz. (:

Blogust 2018: The Series, The Travel Diaries

Day 3: Travel Diary of Greeley, P.A.


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Saturday, July 28th – The Arrival, The Reunion, & The Toast:

I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t nervous to see my family. The last time we all got together was for New Year’s Eve, and the cold, freezing weather had all of us feeling on edge and irritated. That was exactly 7 months ago. We’d normally never wait this long to see each other, but for reason, none of us really spoke to one another the first half of the year. It wasn’t until my grandfather got sick in late-June. On June 24th, we found out he has cancer. On July 24th, he passed away. The day after he passed away, my family finally planned a trip to Pennsylvania to visit my grandmother for support and company during this difficult time in her life. I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t upset at my family for not making sure we all saw each other more often. I was very upset that it took a death of my grandfather to drop everything and come together. Nowadays, it feels like it takes a death to be reunited with family.

We left for Pennsylvania early in the morning; the drive to my grandmother’s house is almost, almost, a 3-hour drive; that’s if we decide to stop for a bathroom break which is always a yes. Throughout the car ride, I couldn’t help but think how this weekend was going to play out. On a normal occasion, we would be greeted by both of my grandparents and their dog, Foxy. We would eat lunch as soon as we walk in. To know that wasn’t the case this time around was weird; I didn’t expect for it to be what it was really going to be.

We pulled up to my grandmother’s property; you could hear Foxy’s little dog bark through the porch windows. We didn’t see my grandmother until we actually all got out and started to take our bags from the car trunk. My sister was the first to hug my grandmother. My grandmother immediately started crying and hugged my sister as tight as possible. I teared up watching them. I hugged her and I felt how heartbroken she was. I didn’t expect my grandmother to look the way she did; she’s normally strong and happy to see her grandkids. That same energy wasn’t there this time, and that’s when I knew I haven’t grieved my grandfather enough. I had more to think about as I was up there.

On a lighter note, I saw my first bear! He came around to eat some fallen apples from my grandmother’s apple tree in the back of her property. It only took 16 years since I’ve been going there to see a bear!

Later on in the day, my aunt and uncle wanted to take my grandmother out to eat for her birthday which was earlier that week. That’s another thing: my grandmother turned 73 last Thursday; two days after my grandfather passed away. For as many birthdays has my grandmother has left, she is left reminded that the man she loved for the last 19 years passed away just days before. I understood my grandmother’s wish of not wanting us to celebrate her birthday that weekend. We didn’t, but we did take her out to eat at a nice little restaurant in Milford, Pennsylvania. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was friendly, and it felt nice to be around family after so long. When our drinks came out, my uncle picked his glass up and simply said, “let’s toast.” We all picked up our glasses, and he said, “For Ray.”

That night, I felt a tidal wave of emotions hit me. Everyone was in their rooms already taking some time for themselves, and I called my partner to try to calm myself down. I hated seeing my grandmother so upset and so stressed out. I hated seeing my aunt and my mother worry about her. We all were, and after hearing some personal things throughout the day, everything was tieing itself in my throat. I had to take the advice of my therapist and not be afraid to grieve. Cry it out. The one who’s passed wants to be remembered. I thought I had grieved already, but it was different actually being up in Pennsylvania, in his house. Seeing all the pictures of him and my grandmother smiling and happy. It’s heartbreaking. It’s such a different stage of grieving that I never got to feel with a loved one.

Sunday, July 29th – The Deer Who Stared, The Silent Dinner, & “Yazy”:

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day weather-wise. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t humid; something me as a New Yorker haven’t experienced since… May? Anyway, I spent most of my day on Sunday outside either playing “Yazy”; a bootleg version of the game “Yahtzee”, or that triangle thing with the holes and the pegs… this thing. Anyway, I pretty much stayed on the porch for most of the day; I watched my sister give both my mother and my grandmother haircuts that afternoon. The boys in the family went mini-golfing for the afternoon, so the ladies (and Foxy) stayed in the house to relax. I was content and at peace for once in a really long time; maybe that was just the vacation speaking in me, but for once, I didn’t want to go back to NYC the following morning. Every time I’m in Pennsylvania, I’m a lot more calm and peaceful than I usually am in the city. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m escaping my reality when I’m up there. Maybe it’s just the beautiful scenery I don’t get to see often. To this day, I don’t know what actually calms me down up there.

While I was outside during the day, my sister had started to give my grandmother a well-needed haircut. Because we were waiting for the bear to come back out again since we first saw him yesterday, we were all looking out into the field on my grandmother’s property. Some deer came and went with her babies getting apples, but then one came immensely close to the deck where we were sitting and started staring at my grandmother. She had asked both my sister and me who the deer was staring at, and it was clear as day that it was staring at her. The deer didn’t look away until a minute or two passed. My family and I believe that when a loved one passes away, they come back to visit in some shape or form. We all had a thought that possibly maybe that deer was our grandfather, looking and checking on our grandmother and see how she is doing. Now there are some things I don’t believe in, but coincidences such as that are scary. My mother has made it known that whenever a pigeon would land on our windowsill and just stay there, she believed it was her father who came to check up on her. I don’t know what would my uncle come back as, but there have been times where I felt some sort of presence in my house. It’s really weird and freaky, but it’s calming to know that loved ones who pass can still check up on you and see how you are doing.

Since we are an Italian family, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have pasta as our family Sunday dinner dish. My aunt made her infamous meatballs and spaghetti sauce (in which she cooks almost all day like a real Italian) and by the time dinner was ready, I was starving. We all ate in the dining room as usual, but instead of there being 9 seats, there were only 8. Dinner was silent; it’s something we never experienced during a family lunch or dinner. Whether we are in New Jersey at my aunt’s house or we’re in Pennsylvania at our grandparent’s house, our family dinners were always talkative and funny. That reason, I soon realized, was because my grandfather was the one who would start off the conversation and who would crack all the jokes. Maybe it wasn’t the occasion to do that this time (we didn’t celebrate anything that had passed recently; no junior high school graduation celebration for my youngest cousin, no grad school graduation celebration for me, and no 16th birthday celebration for my oldest cousin). Dinner was delicious, but the atmosphere felt heavy, and I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt it. Quickly after dinner, my grandmother went outside to grieve on her own, and again it was hard for me to see her like that. Knowing after tonight she would be eating dinner on her own the following day after we left was extremely heartbreaking.

Monday, July 30th – The Departure & The Future:

The weekend trip to Pennsylvania was now coming to an end and it was now time to gather our stuff to head back to the city. It was a gloomy and chilly Monday morning; it felt like the type of weather you feel in the beginning of April or something. We packed all of our things, my sister and I played with Foxy for a bit, we had breakfast and by the time it was 8 o’clock, we said our goodbyes. The goodbye to my grandmother was extremely hard this time around; in the recent years, they’ve gotten harder. I knew that my grandparents were getting older and every time we got to see them was a blessing; I just wish we all knew that the last time we got to see my grandfather in person and in good health that we knew it was going to be our last. My grandparents never got to see any of us as often as they liked only because of busy schedules and the distance from the city to the countryside of Pennsylvania. Winters were extremely hard to get together because they would get an immense amount of snow that made it hard for them to come down to the city to see us. Anyway, this goodbye was hard because my grandmother was sad to be alone again. She has people visiting her every other day nowadays since my grandfather’s death, but there’s nothing like having your own kids be by your side while you’re grieving such a loss. Although it was heard to say goodbye, we made sure it wouldn’t be the last one for a really long time.

In two weeks, my grandfather’s side of the family is putting together a memorial for him in New Jersey. To pay our respects my family is attending this service, so it felt good to know that the next time we were going to see our family wasn’t just up in the air like it usually is. Although they are putting on a memorial, my grandfather didn’t want to have a funeral. My grandfather was a very honest man, he wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind despite what other people might take it. He believed funerals were all a sham; people would rather come and visit you while you’re dead than alive, and that’s the honest truth about life. He and my grandmother decided they wanted to be cremated, so my grandfather got cremated earlier this week. He told my grandmother that he wanted some of his ashes spread around the treehouse he built over a decade ago, and for her to keep the rest of them.


Life isn’t going to be easy for my family these next couple of months, and we don’t know how the future is going to turn out for us, but we knew that the memories we have of my grandfather will be a lot easier to laugh at than cry. We know that we will be able to make new memories and redefine some new traditions in light of this tragedy. In a sense, my grandfather brought my family and me closer, and that’s honestly all he ever wanted.

Rest in Peace, Grandpa.

-Liz. (:


The Travel Diaries, Topic Tuesdays: Raw & Personal

Travel Diary: Poughkeepsie, NY (Part II)

IMG_5080.JPGScreenshot 2018-01-15 at 12.05.07 PM

Friday, January 12th – Happy Hour & Arrival

The time was 4:30 in the afternoon. I ran around my house picking up the last minute things I needed before I left for the weekend. Packing to travel in the winter is difficult; you want to bring things that will keep you warm, but your bag is now stuffed to the top of thick sweaters, fuzzy socks, and pajamas. Losing track of time, I leave to meet up with my partner, Obie, at his job in Carroll Gardens. Since it felt like a Spring day in April as opposed to a winter one in January, I met up with him sweating and covered in rain. I met up with Obie and walked me to the bar him and his co-worker were drinking during lunch hour. I join them and have myself two slices of pizza and a glass of white wine like a truly classy and “boujee” woman. By the time we left the bar in the area, the time was 7:15 in the evening. Our train to Poughkeepsie was departing Grand Central at 8:29pm. After getting off of the train at Times Square to catch the 7 train, Obie and I began to feel the after-effects of happy hour, more so Obie because he had drunk a concession stand size glass of beer. We arrive at the platform for the 7 train and accidentally got out of the one already there, thinking it was going the other way. We were wrong and we had 20 minutes left to arrive at Grand Central, get our tickets, run to our track, and aboard the train. Somehow we got to Grand Central, got our tickets, I began running to the literal last track in Grand Central station, Obie caught up to me and we boarded the train at 8:26pm. We always catch that train on time. We found some seats together and we began to get comfortable; it was going to be a long ride to Poughkeepsie. Obie fell asleep on my shoulder and I fell asleep resting on his head. I’m guaranteed the young ladies sitting in front of us got a couple of shots of us sleeping like that. 

At 10:15pm, we arrive in Poughkeepsie. As tired as we were, we hiked up the hill to go to the infamous store of Poughkeepsie to gather our snacks for the weekend. After what felt like 20 minutes being in the store, we hiked back down the hill to go to where we were staying. When we finally got there, we were greeted by some of Obie’s family. I really enjoy being around the company of Obie’s family; they don’t treat me like an outsider or look at me any differently than they do to each other. In other words, I always feel like a part of the family when I’m with them. Although it was 11 o’clock at night already, we partied like it was only 8 o’clock. During the festivities, we played games, cracked a few jokes and laughed, and drank. We all decided to take one shot and Obie dedicated this shot in celebration of my 24th birthday. I totally forgot that one of the reasons we went up there was for my 24th birthday, so I was kinda confused at first. We all turned up until about 3:30 in the morning, which was absolutely crazy. Needless to say, we had a great and adventurous first night.

Saturday, January 13th – Movies, Music, and Much More

Everyone woke up around the same time of 10am. Me and Obie’s bodies were twisted all on the couch in the living room. One of Obie’s family members decided to cook breakfast for the entire household, which this weekend we ranked a good 9 of us. After everyone did what they had to do to recover from the previous night and its festivities, we all decided to spend some of the afternoon watching a movie. Tanasia and Shameeka, two of Obie’s family, suggested watching a suspenseful film entitled The Belko Experiment. LOng story short, it was described to be something like the Saw movies where an anonymous voice decides the fate of the hostages by putting them through difficult tasks. We watched the movie and my face was mostly buried behind Obie’s shoulder. It was suspenseful, it was gruesome, and it showed viewers that anyone is capable of doing anything when there are circumstances and consequences involved. Literally, one of the rounds in this game was that 30 people had to be dead within the two hour time span and if they failed, 60 people will end up dead. Even after watching it hours, even a day later, Obie and I are still talking about that movie. It was good, and I totally recommend seeing it if you like movies like that.

For most of the daytime, many of us did our own thing. Obie’s family went to run some errands, the kids played amongst themselves, and Obie and I stayed in and relaxed. BY the time everyone came back in the house, we were all getting ready to begin the Saturday night turn-up, which was deemed to be even crazier than the night before. More company came over and the music began blasting through the stereo in the living room. for most of the night, I was relaxing with Obie while everyone else relaxed with each other. After a while, we cleaned up the kitchen table to begin a game of Spades. Knowing Shameeka for a while now, I remember how well she played Spades when she used to play back in NYC in my partner’s apartment. I had recently learned how to play Spades back in July during my first trip to Poughkeepsie and discovered just how good I was. Before Saturday, that was my last time playing it, so I was a little rusty and I kept making minor (and major) mistakes that cost me and Obie the game. With Shameeka’s partner practically yelling in my air to intimidate me (and it worked for the most part), to them taking celebratory shots, we had to quit playing the second game because Shameeka had a bit too much to drink and got sick quickly after. It was a fun night, but best to believe Obie has me in-training for the next time we play Spades with someone. By the time she got sick, we all decided that it was time to go call it a night and go to bed. So we all did, and we did so quickly. It was a really fun night, nevertheless.

Sunday, January 14th – The Early Departure & Bae Time

We all woke up around 10am, still half asleep and feeling the effects of last night’s festivities. Because most of us were feeling extremely tired and my partner was starting to come down with a cold, we decided that we were going to have breakfast together and then leave around 12:30pm. We gathered our stuff and said our goodbyes, and those who were headed back to Brooklyn all went to the train station to catch the train. Side note: I never understand how we manage to make it within minutes of the departure. By myself, I could never. #AnxietyAttack. Anyway, we all boarded the 12:46pm train back to the city. Most of us slept through the train ride home, while Obie and I looked out at the view and spoke about everything and anything. The train arrived at Grand Central 30 minutes earlier than it was scheduled to do so, so we all separated and went our own ways. My partner and I ran a couple of errands in the area, grabbed some dinner and went back to his place for a little bit just to get absolute alone time with each other. He put me in an Uber around 9:30 at night, and I got back to my place around 10.

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I spent the remaining hours of my night reflecting on the amazing weekend I had in Poughkeepsie. Last night, I was the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I felt an immense amount of love this past weekend and for once, I felt like I celebrated myself and everything I was grateful for having. I am immensely blessed to have a man that treats me like a princess and makes sure that with whatever bad I am going through in my life, he will make sure that with him, it’s nothing but good and positive vibes. Another thing I kept thinking about was that this is the second travel diary I’ve written in January. This is how I want 2018 to look like: nothing but travel stories of going to places, whether they are far or near. I want to travel more. I want to be able to travel to different places and say that I’ve seen it. I want to see the world with my partner. I want 2018 to be the year that I begin getting a taste of traveling so by the time I am out of school and making money out in the real world, I am able to travel to bigger and better places. Trips like Poughkeepsie and Lacawaxen give me this want of traveling that I never really did have until just recently. Maybe its because I am getting older, or maybe it’s just the fact that I know life is way too short to wait around for things to happen. You gotta make them happen. 


Overall, my time in Poughkeepsie is one I am always going to remember, and I can’t wait to make more memories like this.


-Liz. (:

The Travel Diaries, TNTH's Anniversary Blogging Celebration

Travel Diary: Lacawaxen, PA.

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Saturday, December 30th, 2017 – The Arrival

Saturday morning, my family and I got our bags (and Christmas gifts) together and waited for my aunt to come pick us up. Nobody in my family that was going knows how to drive (and hopefully that changes this summer) so we usually have to get picked up by another family member in order to go to other states. I was really excited to go to Pennsylvania to see my extended family for New Years because we never rang in a new year with my mother’s side of the family. I was also very excited to get up and out of the city and enjoy a Pennsylvania winter where there’s going to be snow on the ground until possibly the middle of April. We left New York around noon and we were on the road for about 2 and a half hours. I know.

Pennsylvania Winter.

We finally got to my grandparents’ house around 2:30 in the afternoon and my god was there so much snow on the ground. It was also freezing because they do live in what is considered “the mountains” so it just felt like my breath was constantly being taken away from me. It was bad. We all ran inside, got settled in, and at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, we had dinner. I know. 

Because we don’t see each other before or even on Christmas, we typically do Christmas in January to celebrate Christmas, my cousin’s birthday which is in December and my birthday which is in January. This year, we did all of that while up in PA for the weekend. We all opened our gifts around my grandparents’ little Christmas Tree. It’s funny how many of the things we all got were really warm pieces of clothing because we all expected that we could use it while we were up there; I got a heavy blanket, a heavy sweater, heavy pajamas, heavy socks, pretty much heavy everything. I also got a couple of things from Bath & Body Works, a pair of really nice jeans, and a couple of gift cards which definitely came in handy. Then my grandparents gave me my birthday gift, and it was this beautiful navy blue coat.

I’m ready for the coldest of winters!

After opening gifts, we got the table ready to have dessert, which meant it was time for birthday cake. My grandmother made an all chocolate cake with a green cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. She also made some chocolate cream pie which was crazy because my mother forgot to make one for Christmas, so I was really happy for that. All in all, it was great to spend birthdays and holidays and celebrate them all with my extended family.

Birthday Celebration.

Later in the night, we all went and watched a couple of holiday movies that my grandmother recommended us to watch. One of them was good, but it began to get extremely awkward when my teenaged cousins (both boys) began to make inappropriate jokes about one of the movies, and honestly, it killed my vibe a lot. But other than that, we spent the night hanging out, eating a lot, and catching up.

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 – New Year’s Eve

The first full day being in Pennsylvania and honestly, by the time it was over, I was completely over being up there. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but as I get older I began to realize just how much I can actually handle them, and a day and a half is pretty much my limit. NYE always feels like the longest day of the year because you anticipate the new year coming and all of that, but NYE in Pennsylvania was brutally slow. At the start of the day, it was fun; my sister and I took pictures out in the snow because we’re two basic NYC bitches that don’t get to see snow like this. Despite it being frozen the first 5 minutes being outside, we managed to get some pretty nice snow pictures:

Megan taking landscape pictures.
Definition of a Snow Baby.
“Haha, it’s cold af out here!”
Beginning of the basic Instagram photo…
The result of the basic Instagram photo.
It says “NYE 2017” in the Snow. 

After we came in and defrosted from the outside cold, we had some lunch, Megan went to take a nap and I went to color in some adult coloring books in the dining room. Because my grandparents live in the countryside, there’s no cell service and no wifi either. I mean, my grandparents are pretty old, and they don’t want to invest in getting some wifi even though everyone says they should. Because of that, it’s very easy to get bored up there. What I do to pass some time is definitely do some coloring. Coloring passes about 1 to 2 hours, and then I would probably just go and hang with my sister.

As the night came and we all went to eat dinner and dessert (it’s a ritual to do both literally one another the other together), it was time to bring out the snacks and stuff in preparation for the new year. My grandparents were too tired o stay up until midnight to ring in the new year, but my family and my aunt’s family managed to stay up until the new year came in. My aunt’s family is… unique. Needless to say that something happened, and the family was divided for most of the night; my sister and I were with my mother, and they were in the kitchen playing cards. Because of the little things that began to add up across the weekend, my family was pretty much over everything and were ready to go to sleep and head back to Brooklyn the next morning. In some context, my mother’s side of the family does not live in New York and they live comfortably. My actual family does not. We also live in a city of diversity, so we don’t have any opinions on other types of people. These people, although my family, sometimes literally get me sick because of their one-minded perfect world lives. Like, I get it, you work hard for what you have and you’re doing great at it, but not everyone is as fortunate as you and not everyone is like you. There are different types of people in the world and it just makes you look ignorant if you don’t acknowledge that it does. Because of feeling like this and many other personal things, I got a little bit upset once the new year was here. I expected the night to be more than it really was. I guess I wanted to feel like I was ringing in the new year with positivity and love, and I didn’t feel it. It was there, but then it wasn’t. I went to bed telling myself that I would’ve rather been back in NYC with my partner, ringing in the new year with him and having a fun time.

But I digress and I am still thankful that I was around family ringing in the new year.

Monday, January 1st, 2018 – The Departure

Despite going to sleep at around 1 in the morning, my family and I had to be up and ready to head back into the city by 11 in the morning. We packed up our things, ate some breakfast, and allowed everyone to do their thing before we headed out on the road. In the meantime, I spent my time waiting in my room, hanging out with my grandparents’ dog, Foxy.


We said our goodbyes and headed on the road back to the city. I was completely exhausted from the night before that I don’t even remember much of the ride because I fell asleep through most of it. We got back to NYC around 2:30 in the afternoon, and that was that. I did enjoy my time up in Pennsylvania. My family and usually get to go up there doing the summer once a year, so it was great to have been up there during the winter time. When I was younger, my family and I went to Pennsylvania a lot of the times, especially during the winter time for Thanksgiving. Some of my favorite Pennsylvania memories come from those times. I’ve met some family I never met before, my step-cousin, Cara, and I used to put shows together for my family to come and see, all of the kids would go upstairs and blast music in the biggest room of the house and throw dance parties. It used to be extremely fun being up there and maybe it’s because we’re all older that we don’t get to do fun things like that around the house, but other than that, I do enjoy getting away from the city once and a while to just be around quietness and peace. All in all, I enjoyed my time there. Winters in PA are cool, but they don’t compare to the Summers up there. Hopefully, there’ll be a summer edition to this diary later on this year; we’ll see!

Coldest Winter by Kanye West.mp3

-Liz. (:

The Travel Diaries, Topic Tuesdays: Random

Travel Diary: Poughkeepsie, NY.


View of “Walking Across the Hudson”: Poughkeepsie, NY.

Friday, June 14th – The Departure

After spending most of the week preparing and getting nervous for going away with Obie for the first time, it was finally time to leave and start our 3-hour ride to Poughkeepsie. My bag felt like it was overpacked because, by the time I left, I felt the almost 20 pounds weighing on my shoulder. We met up halfway to Grand Central because – let’s face it – Grand Central Station is huge. When we finally met up though, I felt the butterflies in my stomach. This was my first getaway trip with Obie; and for an anxious person like myself, I’m always thinking the most impossible “what if” scenarios whenever I do something for the first time. Anyway, we got on the subway to Grand Central, and thankfully found the ticket booth. Obie and I looked up at the departure times and saw that The Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie was departing in 5 minutes. We looked at each other and booked it to Track 33; we made it just in time.

The actual Metro-North train ride there wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Obie was asleep for most of the ride, and I just listened to music while looking out at the view. It was cloudy on Friday, so when the train was near the Hudson River, it was foggy and cloudy and the water was calm and untouchable. I regret not taking a picture, but it really reminded me of the scenery of The Killing. Oddly, it was satisfying and beautiful to see. It was as beautiful as Obie described it.

By the time we got to Poughkeepsie, Obie and I walked over to the infamous store that he kept talking about when he went to Poughkeepsie previously. This corner store on the outside gave me some serious Pennsylvania vibes. Anyway, we got all the snacks that we needed for the night, all the drinks as well, and then we finally walked back to his niece’s apartment. When I tell you the apartment is possibly the most legit apartment ever… yeah. It’s a two-floor apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a nice little kitchen and dining area and living room. It was really such a chill place. She has two kids, so the kids have their own room, she and her boyfriend have the third one, so Obie and I slept in the living room on the couch. I don’t know we did it, but we did it. Friday we all just chilled and watched movies and rap battle and just macked.

Saturday, July 15th – The Sunburn and “Lituation”

8:57am: A Sleepy Obielocks.

Obie and I woke up around 9 in the morning, and we just relaxed and ate before we all decided to go to the park down the road with the kids. Not realizing it was going to be like 90 degrees, your girl had on a vest and jeans on. On top of that, the park that we went to had absolutely no shade, so I ended up with a slight sunburn on my face and my arms. I don’t know how the guys played basketball for 2 hours in that heat, but they were playing 2 vs. 2 with some other ball players in the park. I can tell when Obie gets competitive on the court; he moves more carefully and gets pretty rowdy, but it was a good couple of games. During the time I was sitting there and burning my skin off, Obie’s 5-year-old nephew, Cam, gave me a cute tiny flower. He is such a little sweetheart.

12:35pm: The tiny flower artsy picture.


Basketball Court in the Park: Poughkeepsie, NY

After being in the park for the entire afternoon, Obie and I were the first to leave to head back to the infamous store (we went in there like 5 times in 3 days, to be honest), and go back to the apartment. We automatically took our well-needed showers because hello – he was sweaty from basketball and I was sweaty from baking out in the sun. 

2:39pm: The best Obie pictures are the off-guard ones.

We both ate some lunch and immediately knocked out on the sofa together for a couple of hours… we’re that couple that sleeps most of our hours away together. Later that day, all four adults played Spades. Prior to this weekend, I’ve watched Obie play Spades with his friends back at his apartment and never played because I didn’t know how to play. So, Obie had to teach me and his niece’s boyfriend had to teach her. At first, I made some minor mistakes, but after playing a couple of games I was getting really good at it. I mean REALLY good. As #TeamCozy, we won most of the books in the game and now I’m slightly obsessed and want to play more. After that we all made dinner and everyone went upstairs while Obie and I chilled in the living room and watched some Netflix before quickly knocking out.

Sunday, July 16th – Relaxation & Going Home

Obie and I woke up around 10 o’clock in the morning and literally just relaxed until we couldn’t take the sounds of our grumbling stomachs. We both got dressed and went to the infamous store one last time to pick up a couple of goodies for our ride home later that night. Side note: Obie has been raving about these chips since this prior trip to Poughkeepsie and telling me how amazing they were. I finally got to try them and my god they are amazing. They are called “Rap Snacks”, specifically this flavor is his favorite. 

The infamous Rap Snacks from Poughkeepsie.

After picking us up some Rap Snacks, we walked to the train station to get our tickets just so that we don’t have to rush when we finally decide to take off. We then got some pizza to take back to the apartment and from there we just chilled in the apartment until it was time to leave. Again, we took like a 5-hour nap that afternoon, and by the time we woke back up, it was time to get our things together to head back to the city. His niece took us to the train station, and from there we got on. We were heading back to the city; the vacation was coming to an end.

8:50pm: Train ride back to the City.

We got back into the city at 10:30 at night, and from there we took the subway back into Brooklyn where Obie had called me an Uber to take me home. The Uber came, he kissed me goodbye, and the rest is history. I got home roughly around 11:30, and I was literally so tired that I ate some dinner and knocked out.

Reliving the weekend through this post is really making me think just how much fun I had this weekend. It wasn’t anything extreme, but I literally felt like I came back to the city as a brand new person. It almost felt like a cleanse; all the negative energy I had in me due to my surroundings and situations just washed off of me when I was in Poughkeepsie. I think I’ll always remember this weekend as one of the greater days I had in a really long time, and I hope from here Obie and I go on more trips together. We talked about going back to Poughkeepsie one day and do the things we didn’t get to do; one of them is to walk on the “Walking Across the Hudson” bridge. This weekend made me realize just how much I want to use my summers as a way to go on road trips and travel all over, and honestly, the only person I’d want to come with me is Obie. I want to see the world together with him. Cheesy, but so honest and true.

And that’s how my weekend in Poughkeepsie went.


-Liz (: