Three Month Whirldwind - DanaChirps

Has it really been over 3 months since I wrote a blog post? That’s easily the longest I’ve gone without hitting “publish.” Weird, but explainable…

After Brett and I moved back to the states from Bermuda late last fall, we moved into his condo in downtown Portsmouth, NH. It’s a grey, beer-drinking town with a funky art scene that I’m pretty sure boasts more plaid shirts per capital than anywhere else in the world. The restaurants there are top notch and you can literally walk to Maine or drive a traffic-free 20 minutes to Massachusetts. Brett had renovated his condo just before we moved to Bermuda so it was fun to finally get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

But there were several reasons why we ultimately decided to move out of Portsmouth. Although we were completely fine with the amount of living space, Brett’s condo didn’t have the storage space that we both wanted. I was working as a writer in Amesbury, MA, about a 30 minute drive each way. Brett flew and continues to fly in and out of Bedford, MA. Even with logistics aside, I felt “trapped” in Portsmouth and too far away from the city life that makes my soul come alive. And the independent woman in me (cue the Z-snap) loathed living in a place that was Brett’s - his town, his condo, his friends, etc. It’s hard to not feel like a guest in your own home/town with that set up. That’s not to say that he didn’t do everything he could to make me feel like it was “ours” - because he did and I love him for that. I just happen to be deeply passionate about living in a place I can make my own, that we can make our own.

We started looking for new places early on, initially out of curiosity. Thankfully, Brett’s best friend since forever is a (wonderful) local realtor and was happy to show us options. At first this process stressed me out beyond belief because I was already forced to leave Bermuda and move somewhere that wasn’t my top choice (though, it’s far from my bottom pick), I had never bought a home before and was terrified of the idea of planting roots (regardless of location), and I didn’t know the area well enough to know if I was formulating smart opinions. However, looking back, even as hard as it was, I am glad we did this because it helped me get to know the different towns quickly. As soon as I saw Newburyport, I loved it. (For the Richmonders reading this, imagine Monument Ave + The Fan but with a nautical New England vibe.)

Last March, Brett had dropped me off at an appointment and he went to tour a condo in Newburyport to kill time. When he came back to pick me up, he blurted out, “I found our place!” I told him to call the realtor to see if I can go see it since we were in the area. She didn’t answer. So he called his best friend (our realtor), who connected with the realtor representing the condo. It’s after hours. There were already four offers. So in true New England real estate fashion, we offered well above the asking price (so did the others) but sweetened the pot by offering a move-in date that we knew would appeal to the owners. And we got it. Yes, we put an offer on a house before I had laid eyes on it. I know, I know. Such a classic Dana move. But I trusted that Brett would never take the chance on being wrong with something as big as buying a home.

So we moved into our condo early July. It’s 2/2 and about three times the size of our condo in Portsmouth (which we rented out). We have been doing house projects ever since. So much painting. Pealing paint. Painting paint. Hiring painters to paint. So many coats of paint. Sanding. Patching. Ordering furniture. Sending furniture back. Hanging things on walls. There is a sense of urgency because it’s impossible to do stuff during winter and because living in a place that feels incomplete drives.me.batshit.crazy. We’re THIS close to having the place be presentable enough to have people over.

Although we are in the midst of approximately 12,000 house projects, it feels so good to live here. We have plenty of space, plenty of storage. We both love living in Newburyport. We are two blocks from the water and appreciate how it’s such a focal point in this town. The downtown is smaller than Portsmouth’s, but Newburyport is more open. There are tons of parks, trails, and paths which we take advantage of regularly. We are a five minute drive from the beach, Plum Island. There is a train in town that takes you to North Station in Boston. If we wanted to drive into the city, we can easily do so, too.

I have the space to do the things I love. The space to walk and explore. The space to think and write and paint. For the first time since moving back to the states, I finally feel like I can breathe.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Those of you who follow me on social media already heard this big announcement... Brett and I have moved to downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire! The past couple of months have been quite a whirlwind of events filled with ups, downs, interviews, stress, excitement, and pure chaos! Finally, things are settling down, whoo hoo!

When I moved to Bermuda, I did a FAQ post, that was really popular and helpful. I figured I'd do one for this move, too!

Why did you leave Bermuda!? Leaving Bermuda was bittersweet. What prompted the move was a phenomenal job opportunity for Brett. We always knew that living in Bermuda would be a short term adventure, and estimated that we'd be there 6-18 months. We clocked in just short of a year. We both feel like we maximized our time on that spectacular island, so we left feeling like "we did it." But make no mistake, we have every intention of going back to visit. It's a cheap and short direct flight from Logan which makes it pretty convenient (and realistic) to do so.  

What will you miss the most about Bermuda? I think the things I'll miss the most are the three things that I love the most about Bermuda: the natural beauty, the friendships I made, and the simplicity. Oh, and the grilled octopus

What won't you miss about Bermuda? The cost of damn groceries, that's for sure! Having to pedal bike everywhere - I enjoyed doing it sometimes, but having to depend on it is an exhausting lifestyle... especially when you are going grocery shopping! The anxiety of wondering if the taxi you scheduled is going to show. 

What does Brett do? He's a pilot.

What will you be doing? Since moving to Bermuda, I've been doing (remote) contract marketing work. I have been so fortunate in this respect, as it would have been very difficult (and unlikely) for me to get work in Bermuda since I'm not Bermudian (more on that here). Now that I'm back in the states, I'm applying for full-time marketing positions with companies that excite me. It's sort of a weird time of year for a marketer to get work as most companies are in budget season, and not spending a dime until Q1 of 2018, so I'm aiming to be gainfully employed by the end of February. In the meantime, I'll continue to stay busy contractually. 

You know it's cold there, right? This one makes me roll my eyes. Yes, it's been a while since I've done the whole winter thing... with almost a year in Bermuda, and 4 years in South Florida prior to that. Anywhere that isn't SoFlo is cold (to me). Essentially, any temp under 70, is cold (to me). So the way I look at it, is no matter where we live, it's going to be cold... and at least New England has other cultural aspects that make up for it. 

What are you nervous about? I wouldn't say I'm nervous, but I am extremely ready to work for a company again. I miss the scope of projects that simply can't be done by just myself. I thrive in chaos, and am eager to be in the middle of it again!

Brett grew up in this area. So everything is "his." His town, his condo, his friends, his family (all live in the area), etc. However, some of these things are also advantages. His friends for the most part have been extremely welcoming, and embracing - I am so appreciative for that, too. I look forward to being at a point where I'm invited to things - with or without Brett's attendance. ;) And overall, my independent spirit is still determined to make my own friends, and make this place my own. 

One thing that has been challenging to adapt to is the darkness. Essentially, in South Florida you get an extra hour of light, and what a difference it makes! Thankfully our condo is bright and airy. 

What excites you the most about Portsmouth, New Hampshire? We live in a condo in downtown Portsmouth. Portsmouth is funky, artsy, historic, and has phenomenal restaurants, and shops. We are 15 minutes from the beach, 10 minutes to Kittery (Lululemon outlet, take all my money!!!), 25 minutes to Newburyport, under an hour to Boston, and an hour to Portland... so there's a ton of areas to explore. New places to photograph, experience, and write about!

My mom grew up in Boston, so I also have some family in New England which is really nice! 

The food (particularly, seafood) is some of the best in the country. 

Similar to South Florida, this area seems to be into active lifestyles, and fitness which is something I totally dig!

And although I'm moderately terrified, I can't wait to try skiing! Honestly, I'm more scared about disappointing Brett if I don't like it (it's his favorite thing to do), than I am about actually skiing. But I figure even if I hate skiing, we can always be sure to pick a place that has a bougie spa for me to indulge in instead!

Overall, 2018 is looking like it will be a year filled with celebrations, and new experiences. I'm pretty stoked. 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

The Most FAQ About My Move to Bermuda - Dana Chirps

As promised, I've compiled a list of questions that multiple people have been asking me about my move to Bermuda.

"Why did you move to Bermuda?" My boyfriend got a job based here. He's a pilot, and flies private charters all over the world, mostly in the Middle East. With much discussion, we agreed that this was a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity that we had to take advantage of.

"Will you be working?" This question always makes me laugh. My answer is yes, of course. I don't post a ton about work related stuff in general, but I assure you there's a lot of grinding in between my beach pictures. ;) 

"What will you be doing?" Marketing - forever, and always! I had started a contract earlier this year that ended up not being a great fit (they wanted someone local, and I wasn't exactly crazy about what I was doing), so I have since expanded a contract with a company I've been doing work for (primarily branding and copywriting) for a while. I'm pretty stoked because I know the players and love working with them. I'm also doing some sporadic event marketing which should yield some pretty exciting trips and experiences. I'd love to add another (part time) marketing contract to my plate, so I'm keeping my eyes and ears out. I'm a girl who likes to stay busy! :)

"Where will you live?" Brett and I are renting a furnished one bedroom apartment in St. David, which is located in the parish of St. George. It's bright, and lovely. We secured it site-unseen, and it ended up exceeding the expectations we had formulated based off the photos we received from our landlord. So we are quite happy!

"Will you have a car?" Nope. Bermuda has a strict limit on the number of cars they allow on the island. We will be walking, and biking until we get a scooter (and scooter licenses). There is also bus transportation throughout the island which I'm sure we'll use on occasion.

"Are you nervous?" Honestly, the only things that make me nervous about this experience is getting around. Many places (like our apartment for example) are not on Google maps, and the roads are not clearly marked with signage that Americans would be used to. So learning my way around, and eventually learning to ride a scooter is what makes me nervous. Other than that, I feel excited, and optimistic. 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

The Plot Thickens - Dana Chirps

Whew! So many unexpected happenings (like that positive spin?!) have occurred in the last couple of weeks. 

Originally, I was going to be moving to Bermuda with Brett on February 4th. He ended up having to start his 30 day rotation (that means he is working 30 days in a row) practically right after moving me out of my place in Fort Lauderdale. We also weren't expecting that he'd be doing full (30 day) rotations, but that seems to be the case. We'll miss spending Valentine's Day together (not a huge deal to either of us). But we're also going to miss spending our anniversary together which is a bummer in my book. I wasn't looking to do anything remotely extravagant, but I was hoping to cheers to a great year with a beach picnic. We might miss his birthday (March 1), but we aren't not sure yet. He doesn't care about missing his birthday, but I'm a big believer that birthdays are meant to be celebrated! This experience definitely has given me an even higher level of respect for military couples who are regularly apart (a lot more than we are, and often under much more dangerous circumstances).

We're also getting the hang of the time zone difference - he's a pilot and flies to places like London, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai. I don't have as many distractions as he does (he's getting the hang of a new job and gets to explore when he lands for longer periods of time - as he should), so I think he is having an easier time adjusting than me - but we are both trying to truck through it.

I also had to decide if I wanted to still move to Bermuda on February 4th, and get there by myself. I decided not to since I wouldn't have a means of transportation, and a lot of places aren't on Google Maps. Plus it would give me a chance to spend a lot of time with my family, and visit some close friends - something I haven't gotten to do without a massive sense of being rushed in years. 

It's a very good thing that I ended up choosing to stick tight at my parent's place in VA while Brett finishes his rotation because the apartment we had signed a lease for very unexpectedly fell through. So we are on the hunt again! Although I was eager to get to Bermuda, I can't help but think this is one of those "everything happens for a reason" moments. And excitedly, we are finding some pretty fantastic alternatives. 

And then there's work. I don't really talk specifics about work on my blog. But I will say that although I started off optimistic, I have a feeling my gears are going to be shifting aggressively quite soon. But more on that later.

Ok, enough about the less than ideal happenings. Here are some of the positives that have occurred in the past few weeks:

  • Getting to spend significant amounts of time with my family, and dog!
  • Seeing friends, and their munchkins. My God, my friends have made some cool little babies.
  • To keep myself fit (and sane) during this month I signed up for 30 classes for $30 at Burn Boot Camp Short Pump. I go with one of my life long best friends, Emily, but have also made some new friends there! It's a warm and inviting bunch varying in skill levels. The workout is 45 minutes - each day has a different focus. It's a blast, and a solid sweat sesh. FYI to local mom's in the area - they provide free childcare during several of their class times. 
  • Although Brett and I haven't signed a new lease just yet, I feel very confident that we are going to come out on top of this situation. I'm really excited to see where we end up!
  • So we are missing a bunch of holidays together, but we aren't missing my birthday or cancer-free day, which is nice.
  • I've done an amazing job not shopping. Ok, fine. So I went shopping once. And I bought stuff only because they were amazing deals (we're talking a $16 bikini, people!). But I've been practicing self restraint like nobody's business. Packing those 3 measly suitcases of belongings is just around the corner. 
  • It's been so refreshing to experience the general friendliness of Richmond. It's cool to see people going out of their way to help other people.

All for now!

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

The Most Wrong I've Ever Been - Dana Chirps

View from the pool at The W Fort Lauderdale.

So Brett successfully (thank you sweet baby Jesus) completed his rigorous month-long training this last Friday for his new job. Right from the classroom, he went to the airport to fly from Dallas (where his training was) to Fort Lauderdale to help me move. He was happy to help me, but had asked for me to have most of everything packed since he would be getting in later in the evening. No problem. Right?

So after work, I packed my stuff with the genuine and honest attempt of doing enough work so that we would only have a couple of easy hours of packing left, ensuring a departure of 10am the next morning. After I was "done" I met up with some girlfriends at a seafood restaurant up the road on the intracoastal called "Coconuts." We wined and dined, and had a grand ol' time. My "last supper" was filled with everything I could have asked for: girlfriends, a water view, extra bread for the table, and hilariously inappropriate discussions... you know the ones where you and your girlfriends end up wondering out loud if guys have ANY idea how CRAZY chick conversations can get. Those are my favorite topics, and sort of a specialty of mine.

After dinner we thought about getting drinks somewhere while waiting for Brett to arrive (they hadn't met him yet), but then I remembered that I had plenty of booze at my place that I didn't want to pack the next morning. So down the street we went to my apartment to consume my excess libations. When my friends walked into my place, they each seemed to have some level of concern for my supposed lack of packing. Even then I still wasn't buying it, and quickly moved on to the :::ahem::: enlightening subjects of conversation that continued even as Brett walked through the door. Brett provided balance (or perhaps fuel to the fire) to our enthusiastic chatter brimming with estrogen by playing bartender and crafting some fantastic concoction of vodka and thin mints (standard things to have in ones kitchen, is it not?). He really is a keeper. 

At some point a couple of the girls had to scoot. So it was Brett, Kristen, Kate and I all standing in the kitchen when Brett realizes I hadn't packed my kitchen yet. I STILL didn't see what the big deal was - it's not like I had a ton of stuff! Kristen, suggested (a more accurate word would be "started") packing then and there. It was at that very second I realized I had been wrong about my packing, but I was still unaware of HOW wrong I was. A couple hours into this process, the group knew they were going to have to get me to get rid of stuff since everything had to fit in my small SUV.

Now you have to understand, I have zero qualms with getting rid of stuff I don't use, but I HATE wasting my hard earned money. And I was having to get rid of things that I actually used, and therefor metaphorically pissing money out the window (side note - I need a dramatic font, UGH!). My dear friends ended up getting me hammered (that's 3 drinks for this gal) so that I was more willing to part with all of the items that were not going to fit in my car. Yes, I realize I said one of my new years resolutions was to embrace simplicity, but damn, can't a girl keep her toaster oven?! The answer is apparently no. No she cannot.

Kristen and Kate left pretty late, and Brett and I did a little more work before passing out. The next morning the girls plus Kate's bf, Glen, came back and helped us to completion. We finished in the afternoon, celebrated with pizza at Mellow Mushroom, and then Brett and I finally hit the road around 3pm. I was SEVEN HOURS OFF - and that's with 4 extra people helping!!!

Sure, I've been wrong before. But I'm pretty sure this is the most wrong I have ever been in executing a plan, EVER. 

Luckily, the ride from Fort Lauderdale, to Richmond was much smoother than the packing. Brett drove all but two hours. The jury is still out on whether that was a chivalrous maneuver, or just his way of avoiding my artistic interpretations of lane changes. We stopped in South Carolina on Saturday night, and made it to Richmond late in the afternoon on Sunday. He met my parents, and Blue (the chocolate lab). Then the four of us met up with Moose (brother) and Lady Moose (brother's gf) at one of my favorite Richmond spots, Ginger Thai. After dinner he met one of my best friends and her family. The next day was chill since we both had work to do, and then he had to head home (he lives in NH).

Originally Brett and I were planning on heading to Bermuda this Saturday, but his new job needed him to start his 30 day rotation early, as in today kind of early. I still could have gone to Bermuda on my own, but given that the place we are moving into isn't even on google maps, not having any sense of direction, and no mode of transportation (other than my own two feet), we thought it was best for me to hang tight at my parent's place in VA until his rotation is done. 

Thankfully, it's just enough time for me to figure out how I can pack 3 suitcases of belongings for the move.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Some Realness - Dana Chirps

my escape from it all - fresh air. this is about 1.5 miles south of me on fort lauderdale beach.

The last few months have been completely, and utterly insane. Throughout this period of time, I randomly had a few people message me saying something to the effect of, "girl, it looks like you're living the life!" They were going strictly off of my social media. I found myself wanting to tell each of them (and sometimes doing so) that yes, things are good, but there's plenty of stress and struggle behind that very same Instagram account. As a part of the rebrand of this blog that I did back in August, I mentally vowed to myself that I would be a little more transparent on my blog - even if it meant it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. So, here it goes...

From about the end of October to the new year, my life was a total SHIT SHOW. Below is a list of some of what was on my plate. I might not have the timeframe totally accurate, and some of these are out of order. It was such a blur. I was on survival mode. I have only (very recently) begun to catch my breath. 

  • At the end of September my mom had to cancel her trip to visit me here in Fort Lauderdale because her father, my Papa, had made an unexpected bad turn in his health. It was weeks before he actually passed. I took some very last minute trips up north to be near family, and then to attend his funeral (he passed away October 20th). The loss of my Papa was devastating for my whole family, but I do feel as though we (especially my cousins) have become closer. However, the post you saw on my Instagram was me apple picking. 
  • At my Papa's funeral, I learned that my Aunt/Godmother (dad's side) had been moved to hospice due to her lung cancer caused from years of smoking. Another last minute trip up north was made with the intention of "visiting" her... but unexpectedly, that very same visit turned into saying goodbye. It was agony, but I'm glad I got to see her one more time. It was also the first time in five years my immediate family was all together in the same room, which was special despite the circumstances.
  • Around the timeframe my Aunt passed away (Dec 7), my Uncle -her husband- was diagnosed with lung cancer. But Uncle is tough as nails, has a ton of support, and is doing his part to beat this thing because he has motorcycle rides he wants to get to.
  • Somewhere in the midst of this... my boyfriend, Brett, was talking about a possibility for a job that would require us both to move out of the country, and move quickly. Ultimately, he got the offer and accepted it. This was very exciting, and I was (and am) elated for this opportunity for him, but in came the stress of moving.
  • I had to negotiate and fight the terms of my lease. Originally, I was told that I could not go month-to-month because that was against the terms of the lease. That would have meant I either would have had to move my stuff into a storage unit and find a place to live for a couple months (K, I'll forever owe you for even entertaining the idea of letting me crash on your couch), or I would have been asked to pay for an entire year's worth of rent for a unit that I wouldn't be living in for "breaking the terms." Thank God I read the fine print (pro tip, ya'll), and was confident enough to fight back. I was able to get my lease extended, short-term, and in a month-to-month format. I'm pretty sure there was a beach picture on Instagram. 
  • Knowing that this move was becoming a strong possibility, I knew it would be a lot cheaper/easier for me to sell my furniture and belongings instead of moving them. Cue the rodeo that is Facebook Marketplace. But thank the dear sweet Lord for aligning me with a few people, (one in particular - CS!) that became the new and rightful owners of the possessions that I was parting with. I feel like I could write a book titled "Sisterhood of the Traveling Couch." But using my ironing board, and long board as a dinner table has officially gotten old. lol.
  • Let's add job searching/interviewing for a rewarding and remote marketing position I could do in another country while already being more than busy with the actual job I was currently employed at... that was probably a crab legs for dinner Instagram post. 
  • And then actually giving notice... that was more emotional than I was expecting. Thankfully it ended up working out just fine. I was asked to fly back to Fort Lauderdale after Xmas/New Years to work just one day, which I thought was odd... but it ended up saving me about $175 (despite cost of ticket I paid for) because I didn't have to pay out of pocket for insurance for January anymore, so I shrugged it off and didn't mind it, despite the added hassle. This corresponded with a bestie selfie on Instagram during the flight back to FLL.
  • And just to make things a little more interesting, I was coordinating (and arguing with insurance), and then had that well-overdue surgery on my vocal chords on December 22nd, a $2000 procedure (after insurance). Christmas decorations post on Instagram for sure!
  • In order to wrap up my work projects in a way that put my boss and coworkers in a good position, and to give me enough time to heal from vocal chord surgery, I had to negotiate my start date for my new job. It was a conversation that started with massive anxiety ("what if I lose this opportunity?!" "what if I can't get my voice fixed!?"), but ended in relief. My new boss could not have been any more understanding and willing to work with me. Brunch pic on Instagram.

Did I mention all this took place during the holidays? The most wonderful time of the year, eh? I had reached a point where I felt like my brain was going to split in half, was mentally and physically exhausted, and suddenly found myself quite empathetic towards Britney Spears' 2007 meltdown. I'm not one to wish time or days away, but by the end of December 2016, I was definitely looking forward to a fresh start with a new year. 

Once I got to the first week of January, I felt like I had finally made it over the hump. Yes, my heart still aches intensely when I think about the losses my family has had, but it no longer feels as raw as it did. My Uncle is kicking ass, and putting cancer in its place. I have successfully sold all the big pieces in my apartment, and I'm donating what doesn't fit in my car when I move this weekend. My lease in Fort Lauderdale worked out, Brett found us a place to move into, and we successfully tag teamed to get his condo in Portsmouth rented out. Vocal chord surgery (and recovery) is already a thing of the past. I started my new job, and so far I'm really enjoying both the job and the team. I'm sleeping better (you can literally see the difference on my FitBit), I feel lighter (but am eating more), and no longer have any negative thoughts or stress lurking in the back of my mind. Life is good.

I really hope this post doesn't come across as "woe is me." I truly think my life is freaking AWESOME, and consider myself to be someone with a positive outlook. But when somebody younger than me had reached out to me and said my life seemed "perfect," it made me want to write this post to shed some more light into what was occurring in my life "behind the scenes." To compare your life to someone else's without knowing the whole story is a dangerous game, and I did not want to contribute to that.

Despite what social media profiles project - nobody's life is perfect, certainly not mine. Know there is almost always more to the story. 

 

 

 

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.