Exactly one year ago, I left for the trip of a lifetime. I decided to spend my summer in Italy. All in the name of change.
Italy was a place that I wanted to travel to since I was 16. I don't know where my obsession with the country came from at the ripe old age of 16, but I talked about going there a lot with my first love, making him promise me that we would go there together some day. I fell in love with the phrase "la vita é bella" meaning "life is beautiful" in Italian and wrote it all over my notebooks, myspace and facebook, once I got one. When I got my first tattoo (the little heart on my left foot) I wanted to get "la vita é bella" but knew it wasn't relevant to my life at that point. I told myself that once I traveled to Italy or maybe even lived there, I would get it as a tattoo.
At the end of my senior year of college, I decided to fulfill my dream. After spending 4 years of college with friends from the greek system, dancing on the collegiate dance team and dating a guy that I had fallen in and out of love with, I felt like I had really done it all. I needed to create change for myself, for my life post college. I went to Italy to find what really made me tick and to fulfill my dreams of traveling to an amazing place far, far away.
I flew out of Seattle on May 31st and really did have the summer of my life. I met friends from all over the world and really began to love myself and life again. Each day that I was there, I learned about myself, others and lived a life that really made sense to me. I never really got home sick and knew that what I was doing for myself was a lot more riveting than anything that I could have been doing at home. When it came time for me to leave Italy, I cried the whole way from Florence to Rome, where I was catching my flight home. I didn't want to leave.
I know you're probably wondering where all of this is going....
Well yesterday, May 31st, 2012... exactly one year from when I flew to Italy...
I had my last day at Nordstrom as a Personal Stylist. I have made the decision to quit my potential career in Seattle and return to Italy. All in the name of change.
After returning home from an amazing experience abroad, I knew that I wanted to go back and thought about teaching English as a means to get there but felt compelled to settle down a little, get a job and "pursuit growing up". I moved back in with my parents and began job searching. I interviewed for a Women's Active and swim wear position at the Northgate Nordstrom, with hopes of moving my way up on the sales floor to a Personal Styling position. During the interview, I really hit it off with the HR director and he suggested I work in the t.b.d/Savvy departments instead. I interviewed with that manager (a girl 3 yrs older than me from my sorority) and was given the job on the spot. As soon as I left the store, the HR director called me and said that they wanted to interview me for a Personal Styling position. I was beyond ecstatic! After interviewing again, I was given the position. Being hired as a Personal Stylist from outside the company was something that Nordstrom seldom does so I knew I was privileged to have my position.
I had amazing managers and made amazing friends. Girls that I spent a lot of time with at work and outside of work because we got to know each other as more than just coworkers. I think I may have had the most enjoyable work atmosphere ever. I had become friends with people all over the store. And when I told them I was leaving, there was a sense of sadness because of the relationships and bonds we had built over my past nine months there. But I knew something wasn't right for me...
Working day in and day out as a Personal Stylist at Nordstrom wasn't answering my dreams and calling at this point in my life. No matter the title I had, I still thought of Italy. I talked about it with all of my customers and friends at work. Many of them thinking that I was just a dreamer for saying that I was going to live there again. I needed to make a change.
I began researching teaching English abroad and attended an informational meeting about it in the Seattle area. From there on, I was convinced. It's what I need to do right now for myself in my life. I began talking about it with people at work and started to get so much support and positive feedback. Women who were in their 30's and 40's began telling me "Honey, if I could go back to 23 and do anything, it would be travel. Do it before you meet your husband, settle into your career and have children." The more I thought about it, the more I realized that they were right. Now is the time for me to pursuit this dream in my life. So I put in my notice at Nordstrom and I made a plan to return to one of my favorite places in the world. Italy. All in the name of change.
Now, I know that quitting your job and moving across the world may not be the right step for everyone and that you are going to have your opinions about my choice. But to be honest, this doesn't have to make sense to you. Because it makes sense to me. And no I'm not running away from anything. I know that moving across the world won't solve my problems, but if I had problems to solve, I'd start to work on them right here at home. I'm simply running back to a place that I loved and felt like I wasn't done exploring. And its something that I couldn't be more excited about.
All in the name of change.
Photo with some of my managers (left to right): Store Manager- Trevor Cobb. Regional Personal Styling Manager- Melissa Merrit. *ME*. Customer Relationship Manager- Jessica Stewart and Personal Styling Manager- Emily Auza
One of my Personal Styling coworkers and buddies, Britta Satterlund.
Me and my friend Lacey Marek, who worked with me in t.b.d and Savvy
Me, Allie Gotz and Lacey Marek. Some of the girls of t.b.d and Savvy.
Personal Stylists of Northgate. (Left to right) Amy Foss, Britta Satterlund, Me and Samantha Horvath.
On to the next thing...
All in the name of change ;)
xoxox Ashiee B