Hello From Somewhere!

travel blog

Hi friends!

It’s the beginning of a new week and I have no idea where I am. I’m writing this post ahead of time because Brett and I are traveling this week. The goal is to make it to Europe, preferably Rome, but we will take a what we can get!

My husband, Brett, works for an airline which means that we get flight benefits to fly standby. We aren’t guaranteed a seat on the flight and a lot of times we get stuck places. But I guess that’s part of the adventure!

This week we are trying to make it to Rome and hopefully by the time you are reading this we have made it. If you want to know where we ended up make sure to follow me on Instagram (@lifeofhayleyblog). I’ll be posting to my stories as often as I can.

I am so excited for this new adventure with Brett and can’t wait to share my travels with you when I return.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Where Were You On 9/11?

Where were you on 9/11?

Hey friends,

Today we remember all of the men, women, and children who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. 17 years ago lives were lost and changed in a ways that can never be forgotten. As Americans, we felt lost and scared but united in standing against terrorism.

I wanted to share where I was 17 years ago today.

I was in the second grade at my elementary school. I really didn’t like my teacher but had a few friends in my class so I was relatively happy. I can’t remember what happened before school or even what subject we were working on that morning.

What I do remember was my teacher turning on our little classroom TV. I thought it was odd because if we were going to watch a movie she would have rolled in the big TV from the library. She asked us to sit in our reading circles on the ground and read quietly to ourselves.

I kept glancing at the TV thinking that it was a TV show or movie. It kept showing buildings on fire and airplanes. I honestly just thought it was an action movie before I heard a scream from the classroom next to mine. My teacher had already left the room and I could hear her comforting someone as they sobbed. I didn’t understand at the time what was happening.

A couple of days later we found out that the teacher in the classroom next to mine lost a son on 9/11. He was working that day and didn’t stand a chance when the plane crashed into his building.

On 9/11 I always remember her scream and hearing about her son over the following days. I remember how our little town in Michigan gathered together in support of her family. It really hit our community hard and has made this day unforgettable for me and my classmates.

Wherever you are today I hope you are able to take a moment to remember all of the lives that were lost 17 years ago today and all of the families who are still hurting.

Do you remember where you were on 9/11?

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What Fourth of July Means to Me

fourth of july

Happy Fourth of July!

Today is one of Brett’s favorite days of the year and I always try to share his excitement! Our 4th always consists of spending the day at an Air Show and celebrating all of the men and women who fought or are currently fighting for our country!

I always think of both of Brett’s Grandpas on this day. His Grandpa Charlie died before we started dating but was an incredibly hardworking man. But his Grandpa Ed (Red) lives in Florida and I have got to know him well through the years.

When Brett’s Grandma passed away in December we spent a lot of time with his Grandpa. Ed pulled out his scrapbook that he created from his days in the Army and shared many stories about his experiences during World War II. It was heartbreaking to see how badly these memories still hurt him. He was injured and earned a Purple Heart which is a huge honor! I am proud to call him “Grandpa” and will make sure to pass along his stories to our future children.

It hurts me to watch him suffering from the loss of his wife and an injury that still he suffered during World War II. He lives alone now in his nineties while his whole family is in Michigan. The VA has done very little to help him while he risked his life for years for this country.

The Fourth of July means so much more than fireworks and barbeques. It’s a day to remember all of those people who represented our great country and fought for our freedom. All of the people who still suffer from the memories and heartbreak of war.

I am proud to live in the United States but I realize that it took a lot of suffering from others in order for us to enjoy this freedom. Today we should celebrate America and all of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Thanks for reading and Happy Fourth!

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Book Review – I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

I Will Always Write Back Book Review by Caitlin Alfirenka & Martin Ganda

 

Hey friends,

I am back with my first book review of 2018! One of my New Years resolutions is to read more so I figured I’d start out the year with a review of my favorite book of 2017, I will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives. I can honestly say that this book changed my way of thinking and made me reflect on the changes that I can make in order to give back to my community and make an impact.

This book was a recommendation on one of Jansen’s (Everyday Reading) blog posts. I was initially drawn to the book because one of my co-workers is from Zimbabwe and I have always enjoyed hearing his stories about growing up. He talked about the reason he went into Finance was because of the Financial crisis that occurred while he was growing up in Zimbabwe. He came to America to learn all he could with the goal of going home one day and using his experiences in finance to make a positive impact. This book goes into detail about the same Financial crisis that my co-worker experienced.

 

I will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alfirenka & Martin Ganda

 

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka with Liz Welch

 

The New York Times bestselling true story of an all-American girl and a boy from Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever.

It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin’s class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place.

Martin was lucky to even receive a pen-pal letter. There were only ten letters, and fifty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one.

That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.

In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends –and better people–through their long-distance exchange. Their story will inspire you to look beyond your own life and wonder about the world at large and your place in it.

 

Martin was from a small village in Zimbabwe. He greatly valued his education but his family struggled to pay for his schooling. Caitlin was your normal 12 year old from Pennsylvania. Her troubles included boys, clothes, and friends. They started writing letters to each other because of a school assignment.

It took a while for Caitlin to realize just how hard Martin’s life was becoming. His worries were vastly different than his. She would send gifts, $20 here and there, that would feed Martin’s family and send him to school. The books spans years and details the daily struggles, and what Martin had to overcome in order to get his education and take care of his family.

I read this whole book in under 24 hours. I could not put it down and I could not go to sleep until I knew that everything was okay. “Wow” is the only word that comes to mind when I think about the experience I had while reading. It was thought provoking, emotional, and I was honestly cheering Caitlin and Martin on as I read. I felt invested in the outcome of the book.

As an American, I know I am lucky. I am lucky to have grown up with a roof over my head, food in the cupboards, two parents with jobs, and a free public education. It is very easy to take all of these things for granted. We see the news and hear about the troubling times in other countries but we may never have to directly deal with any of these issues. This book puts everything into prospective.

I could say so much more but I will just leave you with this:

One letter changed Caitlin and Martin’s life. One book changed mine.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

 

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