PPD Anyone

 

img_6211I’ve been MIA for quite some time, but it was time that I needed to take for myself. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with postpartum depression (ppd) and I lost myself.

After having a baby your world changes, as many of you know. For me, I became so focused on my baby and his needs that I forgot about my own. I stopped doing things that I used to love to do, like hiking and spending time with friends and family. I completely isolated myself from everyone and it was just all downhill from there.

At first I did not even notice that I was isolating myself to the extent that I did. Slowly but surely I started to notice I was becoming sad, from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. The constant anxiety of always having to watch your child; making sure that they are ok and,to put it bluntly, making sure you didn’t kill your baby. One night after I put my baby to bed for the night I went down stairs and broke down. I cried for hours and that’s when it really hit me, I was not ok.

The next morning I made an appointment with my doctor and I was put on antidepressants. Before I had my baby I would have refused the meds and found a different way to deal with depression. But after having my son, I needed to what I thought was best for the both of us.

Let me tell you the first couple days on my meds I was a zombie. I could function but my responses slowed way down. I was the calmest I had ever been but I was not myself. After adjusting to the meds my sadness went away but I was still not able to be as responsive as like. I could not even be affectionate to my baby. So I did exactly what you are not suppose to do, I stopped taking the meds. (PSA DON’T STOP TAKING YOUR MEDS WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF YOUR DOCTOR!!!!) Luckily I didn’t go too coocoo bananas and suffer some severe consequences from stopping my meds. One good thing came from stopping my meds, I wanted to get in my car and drive.

Driving is my way of escaping. When ever I have things on my mind I get in my car and drive. Most of the time I don’t know where I am going, I just know that I will eventually reach a destination or I will get to a point where I turn around and drive home.

Before I got pregnant, I would always take spontaneous road trips that have led me to some pretty awesome places. So with the urge to drive, I dropped of my baby at his grandmas, grabbed a friend, and hit the road.

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After a five hour drive we made it all the way to Niagara, Wisconsin. We saw six waterfalls that day; all within 15 min or less of each other. Spending time hiking and sitting by the waterfalls made me realize that I need to get back to doing what I love. Of course 98% of my time is going to be spent on my baby, but the other two percent I need to take for myself.

As mothers, we are so harshly judged by society and other mothers for taking time for ourselves. But for our own fucking sanity we need to be selfish, if not for a day, at least a few hours. For me I need to take time and go hiking and travel again, for others it maybe getting your hair or nails done, or going to the gym. What ever it is you like to do, DO IT!

I never understood how important mental health was until getting ppd. After going through this for about five months I finally feel like I am getting back to being myself. I am able to manage being a full time mom and being Dai. I don’t have to pick one or the other. Going through ppd is difficult, going through any form of depression is difficult. From this experience I have a new perspective on my life and I make sure that I take time to check on my friends and family. Even the strongest of people may be going through a hard time, check on them. And if you yourself is going through a hard time and you don’t want to talk to friends or family, talk to someone anonymously.

Nation Suicide Prevention Hotline

(800) 273-8255

Available 24/7

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Elephants, Giraffes, Kangaroos… Oh My!

About one month ago I called my mother and told her about this place in Indiana where we could get up close and interact with elephants. I have not been on a road trip with my mother in years, actually more like over a decade. It took about an hour but I finally got the lady to agree and go on a 6 hour road trip to Indiana! I also asked my mother-in-law and cousin to come along for the adventure. It only took them 5 Minutes to say YES! To kick off my 2018 bucket list I brought my family to Paoli, Indiana for a day trip to Wilstem Ranch.

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After driving 6 hours through rain, sleet, and a blizzard, we finally made it to Wilstem Ranch! The ranch is a nicely secluded area surrounded by lots of trees and large areas of grass. Fun fact about Wilstem Ranch, Franklin Delano Roosevelt would go there to hunt pheasants and quail. He even announced his candidacy for president at Wilstem as well. IMG_0703

Anyhoo back to the elephants! the elephant encounter is an hour long. For the first portion of the hour the elephant caregivers introduce us to the elephants and give us their back stories. Wilstem Ranch houses three female African elephants; Makia, Lovie, and Lou. Makia (pictured left) is the matriarch out of the three and she is 44 years old. Lou is 34 years old and a fun fact about Lou is that she only has one tusk because one never grew. I do not have any pictures of Lou because there were not enough caregivers there to supervise three elephants. Lovie (pictured at the very top) is the youngest of the elephants, he is 33 years old.

Now I know that animals in captivity is a sensitive subject, but these animals are well taken care of. They have ten acres to roam on the ranch, they are bathed everyday, and they were not forced to perform tricks. On the Wilstem Ranch website there is a tab for The Elephant Enrichment Fund Inc where anyone can donate money to help give the elephants more activities, enhancements to their habitat, and for the overall wellbeing of the elephants. I will link the website below! As an observer, I could see the compassion and love that the caretakers have for these animals. One of the caretakers has been around exotic animals all his life and it is his passion to care for them. These gentle giants are so peaceful and such amazing creatures. Meeting these elephants is an experience that I will never forget. I am extremely grateful that I was able to experience this with my family, especially with my mother. After our interaction with the elephants we were off to see giraffes and kangaroos.

 Let me tell you about these two cuties, Jabari (left photo) and Bert (right two photos)! Jabari is the youngest giraffe, unfortunately I forgot how old he is, and Bert is 6 years old. When we got to the giraffes we had to walk in very quietly because giraffes spook easily and to my amazement they were standing in front right when we walked in. So in order to get the giraffes to come close to us they had to be bribed with carrots and let me tell you they love their carrots. Feeding a giraffe is like nothing I have ever felt before. Their tongues are super long and so slimy! My hand was covered in saliva from their tongues. Gross but totally awesome at the same time. Now we were not able to pet Jabari because well he just doesn’t want people to touch him, but we were able to pet Bert! Bert is so soft and very gentle. He was definitely cool beans and I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to interact with him! There were two times that we got to feed the giraffes, one was when we were eye level with them the other is down by their feet and letting them come down to us!

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The only thing that the caretakers did not mention is that the giraffes will drool like crazy on you if you are not paying attention! I was luckily able to dodge the saliva as I was trying to feed them. These guys are amazing!

After we said goodbye to Jabari and Bert, we went to hang with some Kangaroos! I have been around Kangaroos before when I was in Japan, so I was very excited to get the chance to interact with them again. As you can probably tell that my mother loved her experience. She got to pet, get licked, and smelled by the kangaroos. Seeing the joy on my mothers face while she was interacting with the animals brought me so much joy and I’m glad that I got to do this experience with her. Oh and as a side note to all my pregnant or nursing mothers out there, for warning animals can tell when you are nursing or pregnant so be prepared for an interaction like no other. A kangaroo started licking and even nibbled a little bit at my boob because it could tell that there is milk in there. You cannot see my face in the picture but this totally took me by surprise. I jumped up real fast once I realized what it was doing. This definitely had my family laughing at me and my mother-in-law got evidence for future laughs. Good times!

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Our time with the kangaroos was not very long but luckily there were other animals for us to see.

Like mother like daughter! We love snakes! This is Katie and she is a python! She was adopted from a circus and she now resides on the ranch. We were allowed to hold her because she is use to being handled by humans. Let me tell you she is soft and she is actually really sweet. I kissed a python and I liked it! So if you guys are looking for a fun adventure to interact with the amazing exotic animals I highly recommend Wilstem Ranch! Linked bellow is their website with all the information. Check them out!

https://wilstemranch.com/giraffekangaroo-encounter/

Texas or Bust Part 2

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For my last week in Texas the history lover and the typical tourist in me decided to go see the Spanish missions and the San Antonio River Walk. Texas has a plethora of Spanish missions and I was only able to travel to three of the missions because the weather was extremely rainy and cold. These missions are not only have an interesting history, the architecture and facades are breathtaking.

The first Spanish mission that I went to was the San Jose church. The San Jose church is a true beauty. The church was built in the 18th century and is still an attraction for the many tourist that come to San Antonio. The church still offers services, such as first communion, marriage, mass, and baptisms. There were no services during my visit, so I was able to walk around the chapel and look at some of the artwork. There is a museum on site that offers visitors the full history of the church and information on the impact the Spanish had on Texas. Out of all the missions that I visited, San Jose is my favorite and I highly recommend.

The next mission that I went to was the Mission Espada. Out of all the missions that I visited, the mission Espada was the only one that looked in ruins and made stare in amazement.

As you walk around the grounds of this mission, you will see maze like structure of bricks (as shown above). The structures are a little over 6 feet, with no roofing, and there are small door like entry ways. The structure reminds me of a small fortress. It was pretty cool to walk through. As you are walking through you come to a large open area of grass where you can see the outline of old brick where the original church was built. Unfortunately my silly butt forgot to take a picture of it.

The last mission that I visited was the mission conceptíon. This mission just as beautiful as the others that I visited but what I liked the most about Conceptíon is the bell towers. The bell towers just captivated me and I wish I would have been able stay and explore the mission a tad bit longer but unfortunately it started to down pour. If I ever make it back to San Antonio this will definitely be one of my first stops!

When the weather finally warmed up my hubby and I walked down the San Antonio River Walk. The River Walk is absolutely lovely and offers people not only an unclose view of the river but also beautiful plants, unique stair cases, and brick benches where you can sit and take it all in. If you would like to get out on the water, there are several different boat tours that you can take along the river!

img_2117 San Antonio is absolutely breath taking and offers a wide variety of things to do. I am so glad that I was able to go and spend time with my hubby during his season. This trip was a great way to start our first year of marriage!

Texas or Bust Part 1

 


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One of my first travels that opened my eyes to new experiences was my trip to San Antonio, Texas. My husband was working in San Antonio right after we were married and I decided that I would go with him. There is a lot to do and see in San Antonio, six flags, sea world, and the river walk. But aside from the usual tourist attractions are the hidden gems of Texas.

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The first adventure that I went on was to the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden. I was excited to see this because I spent some time in Japan; one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and respectful countries that I have had the pleasure of visiting. Although nothing can compare to the natural beauty of Japan, the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden came close.

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I had the pleasure of walking the stone bridges, looking at Koi fish, beautiful plants, and spending time by the waterfall with my husband. He’s not the really adventurous type and doesn’t really spend time in places like this, but I’m glad he came with me and experienced the beauty of the Japanese Tea Garden.

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Another gem that I found around the San Antonio area are the Natural Bridge Caverns. This was my first time visiting a cavern and let me tell it is a natural wonder.
My husband and I walked 180 feet under a natural bridge that was created by a sink hole. The cavern was filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Such beautiful formations I really wanted to touch but that is a third degree felony that I do not want on my record. Plus the oils on our skin and probably the bacteria that we carry stops the formations from growing.The natural formations are a site to see and I highly recommend them!

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After seeing my first set of caverns I wanted to see more. Luckily for me Texas is filled with them! Unfortunately my husband had to work and couldn’t go with me. So I had a solo adventure to Long Horn cavern.
I swore to myself that I would never buy a selfie stick, but with my husband not being there to take my picture I needed to get one and I’m glad I did!

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The Long Horn Cavern was similar to the Natural Bridge Cavern when it came to travel more than 100 feet under ground, but it’s the history of Long Horn that captured my attention. Long Horn cavern was at one point a speak easy! Cool right!? You can still see the lipstick and nail polish on the walls of the cavern! Can you imagine boozing and jazzing it up in a cave! The history geek in me came alive! There are pictures of the parties in the visitors center.

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Unlike Natural Bridge I was able touch the rocks in the cave without causing future damage. My favorite part of this cavern was the section filled with crystallized minerals. Some of the minerals were as large or larger than my head. My picture above does not to this room justice. Oh and I was able to touch these as well!
This cave was amazing to walk through. If you are tall or tall-ish, like myself, be prepared for bending over and ducking or you will leave with a souvenir on your head or you’ll wake up a hibernating bat!

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Oh yeah this cavern has a ton of bats. They aren’t your average bat, these ones are small and cute. The biggest one I saw was the length of my pinkie. I wish my husband was with me on this trip I think he really would have enjoyed this.

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Not Your Average Dai

gyp·sy
ˈjipsē/
noun
1. a member of a traveling people with dark skin and hair who speak Romany and traditionally live by seasonal work, itinerant trade, and fortune-telling. Gypsies are now found mostly in Europe, parts of North Africa, and North America, but are believed to have originated in South Asia.
2. a nomadic or free-spirited person.
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Hey guys my name is Dai. I was born and raised in the Chicago land area. I love everything about where I grew up, the food, the architecture, and the history. There is no other city like it.
I have always been the person who wants to get to know people, where they come from, and all the things that make them different from myself. I feel the same way about different places; whether it’s a different city, state, or country, I want to know what makes that place different from where I live. It just takes one spark to ignite your wander lust. My curiosity and need for a change of scenery is what sparked my wander lust.

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I graduated from Western Illinois University with a BA in history and a minor in art history. Coming from a city with so much history how could I not get a history degree. The past has always been fascinating. To be able to look back at all the different histories that I have studied, it’s hard to not want to travel and see other people and cultures around the world.

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I am married to a man that pisses me off like no other and makes me laugh to the point where I’m having an asthma attack. We have been married for a over a year now and so far so good! It is actually because of my husband that I have the opportunity to write this blog.

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My husband, his mother, and father came to America from Romania in 1999. His mother won the visa lottery and they gained permanent residency here in the U.S.. It is because of the visa lottery that I met and married my soul mate. My husband does PDR (paintless dent removal) for a living; to easily sum it up he fixes the hail damage on cars. In order for him to do pdr he has to travel to where it hails. We have been together for three years now and we have gone through three pdr seasons together and let me tell you it is not easy. Being a pdr wife is a struggle bus that I was not ready to ride. Having your significant other gone for months at a time is stressful; between the fighting, the time differences, and not being able to be in the same state; sometimes I just want to break down and cry (which I have done and occasionally still do).

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My husband has been to several states throughout the United States. It is because of my husband job that I have been able to go different states and countries that I have only dreamed of going to; Japan, Mexico, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, and California, just to name a few. When we first started dating I was not able to travel with him as much as I would have liked to. But after being married for some time and nothing to occupy my free time I will be traveling with him on and off throughout his season.