30 Before 30 After 30

I have seen a couple posts from the bloggers from my age group talk about their “30 things to do before 30” lists.  I will admit I never had one.  I think part of it had to do with the fact that I was planning a wedding (only to turn 30 a week later) and my birthday wasn’t really high on my priority list.

While I am now in this new decade of my life (and let’s face it – the party is really getting started now!), and I didn’t have a list of “must-haves” to accomplish before hitting the next decade, I thought I would look back at all the accomplishments I have done in my 20s. So here’s:

“30 Things I Did Before My 30s Only Telling You Now After I Turned 30.”


30 Before 30 After 30


1. Rose House

Rose House was owned by my roommate’s parents and we moved in our sophomore year at Indiana University (IU).  It was the first time truly living without any form of adult supervision.

Granted, I gained my “freshman 20” because I celebrated my first attempt at “adulting” by eating whatever the hell I wanted – which was super delicious, but also super unhealthy.

2. Ballroom dance

I joined the Dancesport team at IU that year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, it caused my grades to tank so I couldn’t do it for long. But it came in real handy later when it was time to do another dance course in preparation for our wedding 😉

3. Germany

I had been to Germany before when I first went to Europe at age 17.  But I was actually staying with friends in Luxembourg and took advantage of driving the 30 minutes into Trier, Germany. But this trip thrust me straight into the heart of the Land of Beers and Pretzels.  I stayed with my two aunts (who lived near each other) and met my cousins Mareike and Saskia (who were 11 and 7 respectively at the time and also came to my wedding).

It was also this trip that I realized that I wanted – nay, needed – to learn how to drive a stick-shift so that I could eventually learn to drive on the Autobahn (see Ages 24 and 27).

Here are the girls at my wedding 😀

Look how grown they are!!!!
Look how grown they are!!!!


4. Spain

I was a junior in college at this point and took advantage of studying abroad.  I loved it but after four months decided that I couldn’t live in Spain.  As a Spanish major, as well as a so-called Heritage-Learner, living here really helped cement my being fluent in Spanish.  I definitely recommend studying abroad – it was great!

5. Morocco

I studied in Sevilla, Spain – a mere three hours from the Spanish border where I could take a 30 minute ferry into Morocco.  I really wanted to go but all of my other American friends wanted to go to Lagos, Portugal.  Beaches are cool, don’t get me wrong.  But we have beaches in the States….we didn’t have Morocco!  It was the first time I really said, “Fuck it.  I’ll go by myself.” So I found a tour group and did it!

6. Rome

As a Catholic, it meant a lot to not only go to this Holy Roman City – but I also got to share this experience with my mom 😀


7. Graduating from IU

I am a first generation college student.  While I am part of the most educated generation in American History – it was still a big deal in my family.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Spanish 😀

8. My First Job

I graduated from college in 2009 – right in the middle of the housing crises/recession.  At this time, only about 30% of students from my graduating class even found jobs.  I was part of that lucky % when I landed my first job at a local pharma company in Bloomington.  It was the industry I wanted in and they welcomed me with open arms



9. Abner

I bought little three-month-old Abner when I met him after taking my niece and cousin to a local pet shop when they were visiting me in Bloomington that weekend.  It was love at first sight and my love for this little creature grows every day 😀

10. Peru

Having a Peruvian mother has meant that I have been to Peru a number of times.  But this was the first big international trip that I paid for by myself.  Granted the ticket was paid in flyer miles but the rest of the trip was paid for by yours truly.  It was the first Christmas and New Year’s that I spent away from the family these photos serve as a reminder that I need to return pronto!

11. My First Apartment

This was my very first really adult apartment! I loved it! It was the first time I was living on my own – well, I had Abner so did that really count?  My friend Lizzy had helped me move….and discovered just how much fucking tea I owned.  I believe her words were: “If I have to open another box only to find that it is more tea, I will strangle you.”

Good times….


12. Percy

I bought my first car after my darling car of 9 years Augustus (nickname Gus, a ‘95 red Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme) finally got to the point where we couldn’t fix the air conditioning anymore. I know #firstworldproblems right? Well, I had Abner and we would drive often between Bloomington and Indianapolis – I couldn’t afford to not have air conditioning in the hot Indiana summers.

I had always been interested in MINI Coopers and after some coaxing by one of my friends (as well as a little quick training in a parking lot at a local church), I decided to try a stick-shift.  I had sooooo much fun! I eventually test drove an automatic but knew that a manual was for me.  The day I bought Percival (whom I called Percy), my dad had to drive him home for me hahahahahahahaha. But I then started the month long process of coming to Indy every weekend and taking Percy out (this was in January, by the way) and practicing until I felt comfortable enough to leave Gus behind and finally take Percy to Bloomington.

And that’s how I learned to drive a Stick.


13. Operation U.K.

This was the next big international trip that I did.  I had talked with my friend Anna-Sofia (the witness at my civil wedding) and had promised that I would visit her while she was living in London.  When I finally bit the bullet and decided to come, I found that my friend Lucy was in Edinburgh, Scotland for the entire month of August for the Edinburgh Fringe.  Once I added Scotland to my to do list it only took an extra moment to add Ireland, too.

It was a big trip that I organized and took by myself.  It was such a magical time and I hope to take T to these places in the future soon.  This trip was the whole reason I created this blog!

If you are interested in my adventures from 2011, click on any of the following:

Ireland: HERE

Scotland: HERE 

England: HERE 

14. Chicago

Shortly after my UK trip, I had cabin fever and knew that I had to get out of Bloomington.  Fortunately, a head hunter was sniffing around work and asked for recommendations for a Microbiologist.  I recommended myself and within a few short months, I had the job and by the end of the year, I had moved to Chicago!!!!!

15. German classes

I took about 2 years of German in college and tried my hand at continuing my education alone through Rosetta stone.  The company I had moved to Chicago for was based in Germany and offered the Chicago employees free courses through the Goethe Institute.  Needless to say, I took advantage!


16. Thorsten

I met T when I was 26.  He had come to my place of employment during our maintenance in order to work on one of our filling lines.  Not going to lie, I was totally hitting on one of the other Germans with him (until shortly afterwards when I found out that he had a girlfriend – then that shit was a no-go).  But T and I hit it off really well anyway.  He was my go-to person whilst organizing my being their own private tour guide of Chicago (he was the only one with Whatsapp).  And since then we never stopped talking to each other.


17. Germany, Part 2

I went to visit T in October.  It was a big five week trip that included 2 weeks with him (meeting friends and family) and three weeks with my work for training.  It was during this time that we decided that we really wanted to try and make this work.  So I went to the head of Microbiology and told him the situation and that I wanted to transfer to Germany when possible.  He was certainly on board with it and within a few months – offered me a position!

18. Autobahn

T and I had spent a long weekend in Italy just off of Lake Garda – it was not our first road trip together but it was a great opportunity for T to show off other lovely parts of Europe besides what we found in Germany.

On our drive back, T asked me if I could help him out and drive on the Autobahn.   I immediately jumped at the chance to cross off another item on my bucket list but as soon as I got behind the wheel – I realized that I had no idea what km/hr meant in miles……I lasted for about 30 minutes having absolutely no fucking clue how fast I was going.

A few weeks later, I had to drive a rental car for work and there was no second driver.  I had to learn to suck it up and very quickly learned how to drive on the autobahn! Now it’s a piece of cake!

19. First German job offer

In March of 2014, the head of the Microbiology department for my company in Germany asked to do a video conferencing.  I had a feeling of what it was about but they wanted to make sure that we were face to face (in a way) before giving me the news: I got the job!

20. Moving to Germany

On May 30, 2014 – just a few weeks before my 28th birthday – I said goodbye to my parents in Chicago and was welcomed by T in Frankfurt and thus started my Germanic adventures (and Abner’s, too!)


21. First Mountain

On my 28th birthday, T took me on a three countries in four days trip.  We went to Switzerland, Austria, and (of course) Germany.  One of the sights to see – Pfänder in Bregenz.  It was my first real hike up a mountain.  This may not have been a big deal to a lot of you…..but I come from Indiana where it’s unnecessarily flat.

22. Work

Here I dived tremendously into my new job and my learning curve of new language/new culture had skyrocketed during those first six months.  It was crazy! I learned so much and there was a lot of growing pains – but in the end, I definitely came out better for it

23. Snowboarding

T is an avid snowboarder.  Every year – he looks forward to seeing snow on the alps because it meant snowboarding, goulash soup, Apres Ski, and drinking.  I knew how important this was for T so I tried my hand at skiing and failed! Skiing and I just don’t jive, but I wasn’t ready to give up.  After playing around with T’s snowboard, we decided to try this route and I found it really fun! Still terrifying, but at least my body had a better idea of what the hell it was supposed to do, which meant I could improve!

24. Engaged!

T and I took a trip to the west coast in the end of March/beginning of April 2015.  The plan was Vegas, Grand Canyon, and the L.A..  It was at the Grand Canyon that T popped the question!  I was so happy, I cried like a bitch! Tears of joy!!!

25. Driver’s License!!!

I managed to finally get my German driver’s license! It took a lot of work but it was a hurdle that I am proud to have crossed!

sample test 5


26. Luck Dragon

For my 29th Birthday, T was a rock star and took me to the Bavarian Film Studio in Munich so that I could fulfill a life-long dream: to ride a Luck Dragon!!!! (In case you’ve been living under a rock: Falcor from the Neverending Story!)


27. Civil Wedding!

After a ton of paperwork, traveling to Frankfurt, and meeting with the registrar’s office – T and I signed the marriage certificate in front of friends and family on October 9, 2015. It was the first big step in REALLY cementing my life in Germany (as well as with T).

28. Showing the Parents around Germany

This may not be a big deal, but it was for me.  At this point, I had been living in Germany for well over a year and it was an opportunity to really show them my life here.  They also got to see how far along I have come with the language.  Overall, they were so happy to see me settled and happy and that my life here is pretty damned good 😀

29. Showing my Immediate Family around Germany

A big chunk of my family came for my wedding and it meant the world to me.  I was so excited because of the very same reasons mentioned in #28 – I got to show them how my life now.  I also like to think that I planted the seed in a lot of them because they all want to come back and I love it!

30. Getting married….again!

Ok so technically this was the church ceremony and technically the second part of our wedding that started back in October.  T had asked me if I was happy after all of it….my response? “Well, I married you twice didn’t I?”  Our church wedding took place a week before my 30th birthday (or as T called it: my expiration date haha).

Phew!!!! Ok so I had to pad the list a little bit in order to get my 30 but all in all I think it’s safe to say that I did some pretty awesome stuff in my 20s and I am just only getting started!

Here’s to being in my 30s!

Until next week!

2 thoughts on “30 Before 30 After 30

  1. This was a lovely “stroll down Amnesia Lane” (name that movie??), and I loved reading it. What an adventure you’ve had! That is so funny that T called your 30th birthday your “expiration date”. That’s exactly what M and I called MY 30th birthday (quite some time ago, ähm….) Fabulous pictures, too! 🙂

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