Hey hey hey! It’s that time again…Monday! A marvelous Monday it will be, too! One day at work, two days off, two days at work then the weekend! I could get used to this! 😉 Since it’s Monday, it’s time to hook up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday. Yippie!
As some of you may remember I talked about my future plans to travel to Philadelphia (here and here) So I thought for this week I’d talk all about my trip with you and share some of the pictures I was able to snag while I was gone.
I left early Monday morning in order to get to my toosh down to the airport on time. It was easy getting up early since I was having a hard time sleeping. So I got up, got my last minute things together, and headed out the door. This was my first time flying and traveling alone! I was super anxious and excited! I got to the airport in good timing…had my flight from Milwaukee to Chicago (which was so lame, seriously, I hate the idea of having a 44 minute flight) Then Chicago to Philadelphia! I took a taxi to my hotel downtown, dropped off my goodies, and then decided it was time to roam about! I got in by about 3:30-4 and wanted to check out the city right away!
Ah the Reading Terminal Market was so awesome. There were so many different vendors and goodies here. I could have bought so much stuff but had to limit myself. If I lived in Philadelphia, I think I’d come here all the time, seriously. Good stuff. After hitting the market up which was right behind my hotel, I started moving my way throughout the city.
The first area I went to turned out to be the ‘historic district’ so I got a chance to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Carpenters’ Hall, also a lot of other old buildings, too. It was really neat seeing the city come to life at night, too! I made my way back to my hotel after my outing to the historic district. I was pretty beat after a long day and wanted to relax a bit before bed. I had to be ready to roll and figure out where I was headed in the morning for the first day of my adjuster licensing class.
I got up Tuesday morning with plenty of time to get ready and then find my way to where I needed to be. Fortunately for me, I had a general idea of where the building was located and also knew it was just a short walk around the center square to get there. I got there in plenty of time…and made my way to the 29th floor where the Travelers’ Insurance office is and where we were having our course. The first day our instructor was nowhere to be seen! We were supposed to be there at 8:30am each morning and time was ticking and no instructor. The firm that was hosting the event had no idea where he was. We finally found out he was on his way but he didn’t get there til about 9:30. The poor guy overslept. But as soon as he arrived we got this sucker:
The Texas Property & Casualty Adjuster Licensing Course bible. Seriously, this thing was HUGE. This was my life for the rest of the week. Any type of insurance you can think of, I learned about…in GREAT detail. I was so fortunate, though, to have an instructor who was really laid back and a small class of about 7 others who were really all pretty easy going and relaxed people. This made the week go by so much faster than it could have and made the course really not that bad at all. Plus, our instructor was not a ‘drill sergeant’ and gave us breaks pretty often, too. When we broke for lunch the first day, we all headed to this little known place called the Morris Cafe a few blocks away. It’s a cafeteria-type place and gives you many different options to choose from. Apparently all the law students and lawyers in the area go here, and since many of the people in my course had gone to law school, they knew all about this place.
After lunch, we had fun-filled afternoon of insurance talk! All joking aside, the day flew by really quickly. We got out around 5. I headed back to the hotel to change and then hit the streets again to navigate through the city!
(This is the view outside of the office building we are taking our course at. Yep, that’s a giant clothespin!)
After roaming around for quite a while, I got pretty chilly and decided to head back to my hotel to warm up. I hit the gym then studied all of the information we went over that day. I was exhausted, so I went to bed pretty early. Wednesday was almost a direct repeat of Tuesday! Except we ordered in for lunch from the Corner Bakery. Mmm I got a super tasty salad!
The afternoon went super fast again and we got out early for the day! We got to leave before 4, so I quickly walked back to the hotel, changed, and made the most of the remaining daylight to walk the city!
I was having such a fun time roaming around, but knew I needed to get some studying in. So I headed back to the hotel, then hit the gym, with my big bible in tote. I decided I’d at least move so I biked for a while while I was studying. Then kept studying after I was done biking. As dorky or lame as this may sound, I actually didn’t mind having to study. I also was really enjoying the class. I kind of viewed it as going back to school again for a class and having to study. I always loved learning and taking in more information, so that’s what I viewed this as.
Thursday was another full day, the last day of new information. It was seriously turning into information overload at this point. So much new information and then having to try and remember all the old information from earlier in the week. We were invited out to a Christmas party downtown that a law firm was hosting, and then head out to dinner afterward, but I ended up declining. As much as I would have loved to go and be social and have a fun time, I knew that by the time I got back to my hotel I’d be exhausted and be ready for bed…with no time for studying. That was NOT a good idea the night before the test. So I declined. I really was a bit sad about this; I really enjoyed spending time with all the people in the class and the hosts and instructor. They were some really fun people. But I knew I’d regret it even more if I didn’t study and just went out and had fun. So I walked a bit of the city just to enjoy the warmer weather that was rolling in, then hit the gym again…biked for a half hour while studying, and walked on the treadmill another half hour while studying some more. After, I studied as much as I could until my brain just couldn’t process anything more.
Friday morning was time to check out of the hotel, which meant I had to haul my luggage with me through downtown to the facility which I was not too happy about. But I decided to change routes and go the less busy/occupied way than I normally did. I was carrying so much stuff with me since it was warm in Philadelphia and I wore more layers (i.e. sweaters and coat) than I could fit in my suitcase. Plus, I had my huge book to carry. I had a few obstacles and problems on the way in, but I finally made it! Still early, of course. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this here, but I am inevitably an early-arriver to anything and everything. If I know I need to be somewhere at a certain time, I will make sure that I’m there well before that designated time. People may not necessarily get it, but for me it provides peace of mind and less stress. If I have to end up rushing, that just gets my day off to a bad start and I end up feeling anxious for quite a while. So even if that means waking up a little earlier, I’m glad to do it just to save myself any unnecessary stress or anxiety.
Friday morning we had a group review, then it was test time. 150 QUESTIONS!!!!! My brain was literally about to explode by the time I was done with the test. We were given 2.5 hours to complete it and I used up almost the whole amount of time. It was a really hard and involved test. I knew that even if I didn’t do well, I’d rather know that I took all the time I had available to go through the questions and then go back to some that I was uncertain about or needed extra time with. I can’t remember the last time I felt so overwhelmed by information. Phew! We graded our tests and then each got called up to receive our grades. Anything over 70% was passing. I got called up first, followed by another woman in my class, since we both had flights home to contend with and he wanted to make sure we got to the airport as soon as possible, especially since we decided to take a cab together. So….I PASSED!!!! First time through, too! (If you didn’t get a 70% the instructor would give the test back and have you go through the questions you missed until you received a 70%, so it was really a sure thing you would leave the class passing, which was pretty awesome!)
I got to the airport in plenty of time, only to find out that my flight was delayed! But I just hunkered down and relaxed. It felt good to just simply relax after the week and after the mentally exhausting test I took. I kicked up my feet, listened to some tunes, and caught up on some blog reading and emails.
My flight from Philadelphia to Cincinnati was supposed to take off at 5:05, with an hour layover in Cincinnati, and then my connecting flight from Cincinnati to Milwaukee was to leave at 8:05. My first flight was expected to leave at 5:30. However, 5:30 was when the plane FIRST ARRIVED! They had to unload, get the plane ready, and then have everyone on the flight start to load up. I was getting a bit nervous. I never make flights that close together with such a small window of time for a layover, but that was the only option I had for a Friday night fly back, so there was nothing I could do. A lot of other people were getting very nervous and worried too, since there were several others on the plane who were headed to Milwaukee, or had connecting flights to Grand Rapids or Memphis that all had an hour or less layover between flights. We FINALLY got off the ground by about a little after 6. Oh dear. It was a full hour later than it should have (which if you do the math, gave me minutes after landing to get to my next flight!)
Everyone on the flight seemed to be really tense and anxious…which just made me more anxious, too. We finally landed at 7:45. They asked that only those with connecting flights get off the plane first and almost half the plane got up to go. So I was definitely not alone. But that just made everything more chaotic! We were on a small plane, so they put the luggage underneath the plane instead of having us store our carry-on luggage overhead. So once we finally got off the plane, we had to wait for our luggage yet, too. I was SO lucky in that my bag was the third to come up the ramp! I had to book it! I have never walked so fast in my life nor felt so nervous. I made it to my gate at about 8:00 and luckily there was a lady still at the desk. I MADE IT! Guys, I have never been so relieved before in my life! I really did not want to stay in Cincinnati that night and get home the next morning. PHEW! That was the closest I have ever come to missing a flight before. And it better be the last time, too.
The flight to Milwaukee went really quickly, and I made my way through the airport to where I needed to take the shuttle to where my car was parked in one of the remote lots. As I made my way through the terminal, I thought I saw a familiar face…and sure enough, the closer I got, I realized I was right! My co-worker, Michael, (who is like a second dad to me) was there with his wife! AND, he had flowers for me! I was completely blown away! It was after 8:30 and he went out of his way (on a night with freezing rain) to welcome me back home?!? I had no idea he had this up his sleeve! I emailed him from the airport telling him about the test, passing, my flights, getting home, etc. and I had no idea he was asking all the questions he was in order to know when I was getting home so he could come welcome me home! I seriously was so surprised! Plus, he made his son drive him, since he has a hard time seeing at night. Mind.blown. That was about the nicest thing someone could have done for me! They walked me out to the shuttle area, which I insisted they do (because he had wanted to take me to my car and help me scrape the ice off of my car) since I didn’t know how to direct them to where my car was parked and I knew the shuttle would get me there with no problems. So we said our goodbyes.
The shuttle got me to my car, and sure enough it was COVERED in ice. I started up the car to help melt the ice as much as possible and then within a minute, Michael pulls up and all three of them get out and help me scrape my car! I was so speechless! I couldn’t thank them enough for helping me out. It is a truly amazing feeling to know that I have people who aren’t family, but who treat me just like I am family. It is something that I don’t take lightly and will forever appreciate. He is in a class of his own and his family is just the same. It truly touches my heart.
I made it home safely by about 9:30, where I met my two favorite boys, Scott and Dexter. 🙂 The rest of the night was snuggle session with them both. The perfect end to a long, but wonderful week!
Saturday morning felt good waking up in my own bed. Scott and I took Maximus out for a walk in the snow! His first time taking a walk in the snow! We had a really nice time together. 🙂 The pup is definitely warming up to me!
The rest of Saturday was spent doing copious amounts of laundry, and running around getting all my errands done since we were getting a snow storm Saturday night into Sunday. I actually was looking forward to getting the snow. I think it’s so pretty to watch, plus on the weekends it’s a good excuse to stay snuggled inside all day 🙂
So in looking back at my trip and thinking about it all, I seriously could not be happier with how things went. This was such a HUGE trip for me, in so many ways. It was me, taking a chance on myself. It was me, not letting any fear or doubts hold me back. It was me, believing in myself. Instead of talking myself out going or coming up with a million different reasons why I shouldn’t go or wasn’t ready to go, I decided to just simply say yes! This was my first time traveling alone. But instead of get nervous or worried about it, I viewed it as a great opportunity to grow and be independent. I can accomplish wonderful things if I start believing in myself and give myself the opportunity to do so. So often I would sell myself short or doubt my abilities, but this trip was a complete turn around from that mentality. This trip was all about believing in myself and giving it my all. It was about learning that it’s okay to take a gamble on yourself. I learned that even the worst case scenarios in any situation are really not that terrible. Even if I would have failed, I could have taken the course and the test again. Even if I would have missed my flight home, I would have just taken another flight and come home the next day. When things don’t go as planned or as hoped, it doesn’t need to be a crisis or catastrophe. Just accept it, and move on.
This trip taught me to believe in myself and also showed me the importance of taking risks. It taught me that I am fully capable of handling myself and taking care of myself, that I don’t need others to get by. It also showed me just how much of a difference being healthy can make on a person’s life. I am so thankful that I am in a much better place with recovery right now. Had I been still really sick, this trip would never have happened. I would have been so in my eating disorder, I wouldn’t have been able to pull myself out of it enough to go. I would have been worried about eating with others, I would have been so in my head thinking about my weight, food, calories, and lack of exercise and sitting all day that I wouldn’t have been present; I wouldn’t have been able to learn anything in the classes I was in. I would have been constantly distracted with other things, unable to focus.
Instead, I was able to go and eat when I was hungry. I was able to order food while we went out with the group and be normal. I was present. I was living. I was able to navigate my way through the city all on my own. I was able to handle myself professionally with the others in my group and with the hosts of the class. I also was able to see my abilities and worth, aside from anything relating to my body or my weight. I realized my potential and my strengths. I didn’t compare myself to others in my group, many of whom have a law degree, reasoning that I was not qualified enough to be in that class with them. No, instead I thought that I made it to the same class they did by not having to go to law school, but by having the desire to learn and grow, by having my bosses have faith and confidence in my abilities and be willing to teach me what I need to learn. I am in a really wonderful place at my company and at this point in my life and I am so blessed.
It feels good to finally see the potential that I have and to really start believing in myself and my abilities. I used to always doubt myself and feel like I was not capable, but this trip was all about me learning to believe in myself and taking a chance. I can say happily that this trip proved to me that I am more capable than I have given myself credit for in the past. I can only smile now and look forward to my future. I’m in a pretty wonderful place and I have so much to look forward to!