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There's-No-Place-Like-Home-Pittsburgh This blog, among many other things, has served as the most interesting "scrapbook" I have ever put together. It's the only one I've ever successfully kept working on for a long period of time and it'll probably be the only one to accurately capture such a unique perspective of my life and the world around me. I feel blessed to have these snapshot glimpses into this period of life, as it serves as a reminder of just how far we've all come.

When I started this blog, I was on a high of good fortune: a recent college graduate, a blossoming first year teacher who nailed her first interview, an overly ambitious blogger. (Well, maybe the latter hasn't quite changed . . .) Sometimes, if I have the courage to look back and read those early blog posts, I wonder who that girl is and how so much could have changed.

It seems like so many people have struggled since graduating almost two years ago--a product of early twenty-somethings, job insecurity, broken relationships, and that whole life thing--and I have not been an exception by any means. I hit my world's most massive roadblock back in August and nothing has ever been the same since, not even a little.

I tried. I really did. I wanted to make a life for myself in central PA, one that I could be proud of and one that was filled with positive memories and life-changing experiences, contributing to a future that was really going somewhere. I left Pittsburgh after graduation with these nervous hopes and an ambitious spirit, bittersweet that I would be leaving a home I loved, but anxious for the opportunity that lied ahead. Now when I read back through old posts, journal entries, and tweets, I cringe. I was gut-wrenchingly lonely and unbearably unhappy during that first year  just waiting for that moment when it all clicked and I had crossed over the peak. I finally reached a point of happiness late in the school year and felt great about the friendships I made and the decisions I made as an educator. Even when I made the ridiculously hard decision to break up with a long-term boyfriend, I had great people to lift me up and remind me that life continues to go on. I am so blessed to have had that respite because nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

It has been a painstakingly long six months, but the amount of growth I have experienced during this time has been nothing short of miraculous. This blog has been my savior in more ways than I can even express. YOU have been my saviors--you, my friends, my family, my readers. Whether you know what happened to me six months ago or not, you've been there for me and I cannot thank you enough. You've given me the confidence to make decisions--terrifying, risky ones--and given me hope to believe that I'm doing the right thing and that it WILL all be okay.

One of those risky decisions has been weighing heavily on my heart for several months now and I have finally gone through with it. Coming to this conclusion was not at all easy, but I did it and there's no turning back now. I have officially moved back home to my loving hometown, Pittsburgh, in hopes of opening up many more opportunities and surrounding myself with positive energy and comfort. Naturally, I am bittersweet and scared because I leave behind the world's most incredible friend and roommate and a group of insanely supportive friends and former colleagues. They have been my rock when I couldn't stand on my own and I am indebted to them. At the same time, I was drowning, stagnant, unhappy and as much as I tried to make that place my home (and believe me, I tried tirelessly!), my loyalty always remained elsewhere and my heart was already spoken for.  I come back without any guarantees for what's to come and I haven't a clue how long it will take to lock in a solid opportunity, BUT having been home for under 72 hours already, I know I made the right choice.

Of course, I never imagined that at 23 and having lived on my own for almost two years that I would be back in my parents' house, jobless, and walking towards a totally different profession (SAY WHAT?!), but I'm choosing to forget my slightly bruised pride and fully enjoy and appreciate every privilege and blessing that is made available to me. God has been teaching me so many lessons I never wanted to learn but were so necessary. God gives me everything I have and it's all His to take away; in either case, it is good. For in the end, it's not up to me. And for this always-want-to-be-in-control lady, that's totally terrifying to sacrifice. But I'm learning that He's a much better author than I ever will be and I'd rather He write my story.

There truly is no place like home.