21 Years

21 years… that’s quite a lot of memories, experiences, lessons, joys, and times to be treasured. I have been blessed in so many ways throughout my life and am extremely grateful for everyone and everything in it. So, in honor of my birthday this year, instead of 21 shots (oh jeez), I thought I’d write out 21 things I feel grateful for past, present, and future.

  1. My mom and dad. I am half of each of them and life wouldn’t be the same without them. They have provided me a wonderful life thus far guiding my path, bringing me up in faith, and showering me with love and opportunities.
  2. My three younger siblings: John, Gemma, and Peter. I am so lucky to be their big sister and to have the memories of growing up together. 
  3. My friends… (you know who you are!) They are all scattered around the world but each one means so much to me and life would not be the same without any of them!
  4. My childhood home. The first 10 years of my life were spent there and only happy memories blossomed from it. 
  5. My elementary school. I owe all I learned and who I have become to the education I received and all the wonderful teachers who helped me grow there. Plus the countless field trips, fairs, and friends made.
  6. Soccer. Since I was 5 I’ve been part of the best team sport out there which taught me about teamwork, kept me active, and boosted my confidence.
  7. Girl Scouts was also a wonderful group to be part of teaching me life lessons and values.
  8. Living with both of my grandmothers. At the time, I disliked it because it was an enormous age difference but now I know just how special it was. I’m lucky to have them both aged 93!
  9. Vacations spent in Santa Barbara, CA. The best of times. Enough said.
  10. All my relatives: aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family. They make life more fun and it’s even more love to go around.
  11. Attending St. Luke School in Indiana. At a big transition in my life, it was a positive atmosphere for me and I made good friends almost immediately.
  12. My long hair. I’ve never cut it short for a reason!
  13. Camp Tecumseh. 3 fabulous years of going to the best sleepaway camp on earth. I gained so much from my experiences there building my faith, friendships, and skills.
  14. My very first trip abroad. Going to France when you’re 15 years old is unforgettable and totally impacted my life.
  15. St. Francis High School moulded me into the person I am today, teaching me valuable lessons and academia, and providing me countless opportunities.
  16. My health. I’ve been blessed in this way and I’m very grateful.
  17. My Horatio Alger Scholarship Award. Hands down changed the course of my life forever. 
  18. Chapman University. The school who made it possible for me to return to my beloved home state of California. 
  19. Kappa Kappa Gamma. I’d always wanted to be part of a special sisterhood and have gained a lot from my membership.
  20. Grenoble, France. The best year of my life. Can’t even begin to describe how it’s shaped me.
  21. God. I am eternally grateful to be loved by Christ, to have Him move in my life, and to show me the way. I’d be lost without Jesus.

There are still so many aspects of my life I am grateful for. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead of me and what God has planned. For now, I’ll take each day a step at a time and keep pursuing my dreams. This year as a 21 year old will be the end of my year long study abroad journey, an opportunistic summer, and my senior year of college. Definitely a year of change, reflection, and growth. 

On my 21st birthday, April 13th, I was surrounded by my good friends in Grenoble and was showered with love and positive spirits. The night starting the celebration I was with friends at a local fair and went on the scariest ride ever. I woke up to a spread of croissants and a fresh jus d’orange in my residence’s courtyard (the perfect start to any morning!) I then went on a short run. The whole afternoon was spent at my favorite castle Chateau de Vizille where my friends and I had a picnic of bread, wine, and cheese, soaked in the sun, and did handstands. In the late afternoon I spent time with my study abroad group where I was served cake and treats. I took a long nap and almost slept my birthday away when I woke up energized and had a fun party with friends. It may have not been the typical American 21st birthday bash but it was utterly French, memorable, and perfect for me! Happy 21st to me! 🙂


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