The Ultimate To-Do List

Picture is actually from 2014 NYE, but it seemed fitting here!

Picture is actually from 2014 NYE, but it seemed fitting here!

I’m not writing down New Year’s Resolutions this year.

I’ve decided – instead – to create a list that puts all my other to-do lists to shame: This is my combined “30 before 30/Cville Bucket List/Farewell America Tour.”

These upcoming milestones inspired my list:

May 17, 2015 – After two years, my husband Michal graduates with his MBA from Darden. I end my time working at the Women’s Center at U.Va. We leave Charlottesville, our home for the past two years and say farewell to our friends.

August 1, 2015 – We move to Seoul, South Korea! At the end of December 2014, Michal accepted a job offer. We had other options, but we decided to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as we’ll probably only be abroad for around three years.

September 16, 2015 – I officially say goodbye to my 20s. This last milestone isn’t as life-changing, but it’s still a significant moment to celebrate!

Based on the above, I brainstormed the following. (Disclaimer: Some of these items are less exciting than others, but I’ve included them in here because they’re either activities I’ve wanted to do for a while – or I just need to do them anyway before we move.)

Before leaving Cville:

  1. Visit all the breweries on Cville’s Brew Ridge Trail.
  2. Check out the hot springs in Bath County.
  3. Use my education benefit from U.Va. to take a class. -> Signed up for PR classes this semester
  4. Go cross-country skiing or snow tubing.
  5. Visit a cidery and meadery and do tastings.
  6. Go to a First Friday.
  7. Try out the remainder of restaurants I’ve bookmarked on Yelp for Charlottesville.

 Before leaving U.S.:

  1. Do a cross-country road trip.
  2. Hike national parks that Michal visited as a child.
  3. Go back-country camping.
  4. Go rock-climbing outdoors.
  5. Finish our wedding scrapbook. -> We’ll be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary this year! So it’s about time I complete it!
  6. Finish my Chicago scrapbook. -> After two years of moving away from the area, I at least have all the photos printed.
  7. Finish the Cville photo book. -> My close friends through the DPA and I have started to pool all our photos together from the past two years into a Shutterfly account. This one is actually the closest to being done!
  8. Cook a meal for my mother-in-law.
  9. Update my resume and LinkedIn profile -> Apply for jobs!
  10. Sew a T-shirt quilt. -> I have a box of shirts I’ve been collecting to make one – probably more – of these.
  11. Go to one last Yelp Elite event.
  12. Try workouts I normally would never do because of their intensity, such as CrossFit or a BootCamp.
  13. Try a mashup workout like Piloxing or Aqua Spinning.
  14. Grow my hair out really long, then cut it all off and donate it to Locks of Love.
  15. Find another TV series that Michal and I can enjoy together, and marathon-watch it from beginning to end. (The Wire is really the only show that we’ve ever both enjoyed watching together on a regular basis.)
  16. Sell/donate/throw out all of our belongings.

Before turning 30:

  1. Learn a new language. -> It’s going to be Korean.
  2. Complete this Book Bingo. (Thanks for the inspiration, Esther and Maddie!)
  3. Go scuba-diving or snorkeling.
  4. Keep up with daily devotional reading.
  5. Research a charity whose cause Michal and I are both passionate about and make a pledge.
  6. Try cooking one new recipe a week.
  7. Visit the Philippines with my parents, brother and Michal.

Want to join me on doing any of the above? Or got a suggestion for me to add to the list?

Looking back at London during a Darden GFE

One of the best pieces of advice that I could pass on to incoming Darden partners:

When your significant other/student goes on a “Study Abroad” type of experience through Darden, (Global Business Experience, Global Field Experience, a club-sponsored conference, an exchange program, etc.), consider taking the opportunity (if your schedule and finances align) to join him or her for a time – either before it starts, after it ends, and/or during part of the time the trip takes place if possible.

I joined my husband Michal during his GFE last semester, and I couldn’t have been more grateful.

At the end of spring semester of Michal’s first year at Darden, back in May, I couldn’t join Michal during his Israel GBE because it would have been too expensive for both of us to travel there, and his overall schedule did not allow much free time for us to be together anyway. It should be noted that the Israel GBE was an incredible opportunity for Michal, as it included a mix of cultural, business and classroom settings. Read more about Michal’s Israel GBE class here.

At the beginning of fall semester of Michal’s second year at Darden, back in August, Michal applied to more of these types of courses. One in particular stood out: a GFE in London and South Africa that was a consulting project for a Nigerian-based company. The trip occurred partially during Thanksgiving Break, and the company provided a travel stipend for Darden students in exchange for their work. With the ease of some of the financial burden of the trip and the timing during a period I would have been given holiday off of work any way, I couldn’t help but join Michal on his second global experience with Darden.

Michal and I decided to arrive a few days in the UK before he started working in London so that we could spend some time with mutual friends in Cambridge. We found an incredible Airbnb deal that included daily homemade breakfast with a friendly French expat family, and a location on the same block as some of the most popular pubs in town. (We frequented the Elm Tree, for its wide selection of rare Belgian beers.)

Michal and I enjoyed being able to walk everywhere: We toured all the well-known colleges of Cambridge – Trinity, St. John’s and King’s College. We punted down the River Cam so we could get a view of the Backs, and we even attended a choir concert at King’s College Chapel. Almost every moment felt like I was on the set of a Harry Potter movie.

Cambridge

After our jaunt in this quaint university town, we jumped into big city life in London with zest. We stayed at a little townhome-turned-hotel in the South Kensington neighborhood near Imperial College, where Michal would spend his time during office hours on his consulting project. While he worked all day, I visited nearby museums.

Our British friends, who we met back at Darden, recommended all the best restaurants and nightlife in London, along with provided some tips on how to maneuver through all the tourist traps. Of course, we ended up in the rain in front of Buckingham Palace and saw the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.

However, out of all the historic and famous places we visited in the city, my favorite memory with Michal in London was at the end of a long day of sightseeing. At night, we shared a bottle of wine in a dark cavern of London’s oldest wine bar, Gordon’s. Afterward, we walked nearby Embankment Bridge and took in the city and Christmas lights. (Side note: I absolutely adored London’s festive approach to Advent! We went to tons of Christmas markets/festivals, where I found the best Christmas jumper with Olaf from Frozen on it.)

London

Michal ended up going on to the South Africa leg of the trip without me, while I spent a little more time on London on my own before making my way back to the U.S., as it was cheaper to do a round ticket for me. Until that point, I had never explored a foreign city or traveled that much on my own. In total, I spent about a week in London, with the majority of the time by myself.

I’m so glad I took the chance of joining Michal on this experience because this adventure was like the Study Abroad that I ended up never doing while I was in undergrad.