From “Oi” to “Hi”

It’s a funny feeling coming back from time abroad. You’re immediately flown out of the comfortable and thrown into a new culture, a different language, new sights, sounds and people. Then all of a sudden you’re comfortable again in your new environment. Your ears get used to the foreign language, you start to feel at home even though the food, the businesses, the people, the weather is entirely different from what you’re used to. But you have no other choice but to get comfortable because you just sat on 3 different planes for over 13 hours and are halfway across the world now.

It really is a beautifully, scary thing to think about how quickly the human body and mind becomes acquainted and unacquainted. How it feels connected and then entirely disconnected.

I remember so vividly walking off the plane in Sao Paulo, Brazil thinking, “Holy crap, I’m not in America anymore!” NO ONE spoke English. I was by myself in a foreign airport and the culture shock hit me square in the face. I was clearly far from comfortable but at the same time it energized me, challenged me to step out and get familiar.

When I arrived in my final destination, Curitiba, my stomach had butterflies as I followed the crowd to pick up my baggage and attempt to find my host who was supposed to be standing at arrivals holding a sign with my name on it. Sure enough, she was there and she embraced me with a hug that allowed a few of the butterflies to fly away.

I had no time to decide if I should trust her or not. I just trusted her because she was all I had. On our way home from the airport she started to point out landmarks and we started to communicate. Her broken English with a strong Portuguese accent was initially hard to understand and my perfectly American English was difficult for her to comprehend. But we quickly learned how to communicate effectively. I started using hand motions, posing questions in different ways, speaking slower, repeating. And I suddenly got used to her accent and could understand what she was trying to communicate. Those unfamiliar landmarks, that were at first almost too much for my eyes and brain to take in, started to become normal. We’d pass things multiple times and I’d remember, “Oh that’s the theater that used to be an old gunpowder factory!”. The street signs and names on buildings started to make more sense based on context and familiarity of words.

Curitiba, Brazil was starting to feel like home.


Theater that used to be an old gunpowder factory!

I associate the term “feeling at home” with the people you’re surrounded by. If you surround yourself with people you love, people you feel connected with, people who make you feel comfortable, you feel at home. Not a geographical location but a feeling of connectedness and belonging. That’s what “home” feels like.

It happened so quickly in Brazil. Living with a family just made me feel like part of their own within days. Brazilians are some of the most gracious, hospitable people I’ve ever met. I just feel in love with life there.


Enjoying a traditional Brazilian BBQ

Just as soon as my mind, body and spirit felt acclimated with my new surroundings, it was time to go. Rushing into familiarity and connectedness and rushed right back out of it.

My amazing host, Ivete dropped us off at the airport and we said our “See you later’s” through teary-eyed hugs. A week I would never forget with people I would never forget.


My host, Ivete and me at the Botanical Gardens

Just as quickly as I was immersed into the Brazilian culture, I was thrown back into American culture. When I walked off the plane in Toronto, Canada, a security officer asked me a question in English and for a moment my brain wasn’t telling my mouth to speak because I was so used to not understanding what was being said. I had to tell my brain, “Carly, you can use your words now!” I could suddenly do all the same everyday things I normally do like answer people’s questions, order coffee at the cafe, start small talk with someone at the airport. All things that were impossible in Brazil without assistance.

“It is a strange thing to come home. While yet on the journey, you cannot at all realize how strange it will be.” – Selma Lagerlof

I really knew I was back in America when I landed in my final destination, Detroit. My dad was there to pick me up in his Chevy Silverado pick-up truck. Yea, not a thing in Brazil.

In the days that followed my return to the States, I was surrounded by family and friends for Thanksgiving holiday and the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game (Go Bucks!) and I really do love this time of year but it just seemed like too much. I had just learned so much about a new people, a new place, a new culture and I was yearning to share it with others but reality hit. You really can’t get much more American than Thanksgiving, eating until you can’t possibly eat another bite. And football, screaming at the TV over a silly game that somehow causes young and old men alike to suffer from multiple heart palpitations  within a span of a few hours. From one extreme to another.

Not only was I thrown back into American culture way too quickly but I also started to realize how disconnected I felt from all my friends and family in the States. What had they been doing the past week? What did I miss? I feel like a bad friend. Oh gosh, do I even have friends? I also began to think about my responsibilities at work. Crap, I still have that job I need to pay the bills. 100 emails?! How will I ever get caught up? REALITY HIT.

Day by day, I start feeling more acquainted and connected to my new, old environment. I feel more comfortable with reality and start to re-connect the pieces of my life that were so quickly obliterated in Brazil. However, as I put together the pieces this time, they fit together in a new way. I’m not in Brazil anymore but that experience will never leave me. Before I left, I was missing pieces. Now, I move forward into the life God has for me, bringing with me just a few missing pieces that He allowed me to bring back from Brazil. Missing pieces that will continue to shape me, grow me, teach me and hopefully allow me to influence others.


A Look Back at 2014 in Blog Life

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog! It’s so exciting to look back on 2014 and reflect on all the life experiences I’ve had. I also didn’t realize how many different countries my readers came from.

Have a very happy New Year!!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lessons from Half Marathon Training

Since this blog’s titled EnduRANce, I thought I’d actually write a post about running. I’ve been training since June for the Nationwide Children’s Columbus 1/2 Marathon in October. I train with an amazing group of friends and runners every Thursday evening and Saturday morning who are also fundraising for my current place of work: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. 

Here are a few things I’ve learned on my training journey:

1. Running allows for deep thought. 

Most people run and listen to music or run and talk to someone. I usually run and listen to the same 11 songs that are currently on my iPhone over and over again. However, sometimes it’s nice to leave your iPod, texting conversations, favorite music, the world, etc. behind for a bit and spend some time thinking about your life. I’ve done some of my deepest, reflective thinking during my long runs. This past weekend I ran my longest mileage yet, 11 miles, with nothing on me besides my car key. It actually felt pretty amazing to run with me, my thoughts and nature. Try it sometime!

2. The human body is an incredible machine. 

God has blessed the human race with an incredible body. One that can run miles upon miles, endure military bootcamp, push itself past physical limits, recover from a serious illness or injury or sit on the couch and eat chips all day. Training for my half marathon has exposed me to runner’s incredible stories of perseverance like running 100 miles in 42 hours. That’s insane! When I participate in races, even 5k’s, I often get emotional watching so many human bodies fight to keep going. I don’t know what it is but it just gives me the chills and makes me feel so strong and thankful for the body I have! We have a choice to take care of our bodies or slowly destroy them. Taking care of them leads to greater blessings!

3. Running is a great way to see new places.

As dreadful as a run on vacation sounds, it’s a great way to see a new place! I not only ran around a beautiful lake in Cadillac, Michigan during a family vacation but I also have done my fair share of sightseeing in Columbus on my own two feet! I take every chance I can get to run somewhere instead of drive. It’s much cheaper and better for you. Plus, nothing beats discovering a new place on foot. Maybe even take time to stop and smell the roses! 


4. Training for a half marathon means eating dessert guilt free.

Who doesn’t love a rich and decadent dessert every once in a while? I have a major sweet tooth and I don’t feel as bad about that considering I just got done running 10 or so miles. It might catch up with me in 20 years but for now, I feel okay about indulging in an ice cream sundae or this incredible Mexican brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (pictured below) on occasion. 





5. Training can lend itself to new friendships

Through my involvement in a training and fundraising team, I’ve not only been able to run for a cause greater than myself, I’ve also been able to meet new people and develop new friendships. What’s better than making new friends while getting fit? It’s pretty easy to make friends with a runner because you instantly have something in common. Plus, running’s usually better with a friend to keep you motivated!

That’s about it for now! I could go on but I don’t want to bore my readers and I’m ready to bed. Running all the time makes me tired!

The Case of the Floating Nike Flyknit’s

As I waded through my dark, damp (very damp), apartment with my roommate and a kind neighbor, I was pleasantly surprised to find my beloved Nike running shoes floating on top of the water in my flooded bedroom. I picked them up and they were bone dry. 

You might be asking yourself why my shoes were FLOATING in the first place. Well, I moved into my new apartment on a Saturday. I moved out of my new and very wet apartment on a Tuesday. That Tuesday was also my second day of work at the Ronald McDonald House! 

This is why I moved out: (to an apartment on the UPPER level!)

flood room columbus

My room after the flood

flood living room

My living room and kitchen after the flood

I was able to salvage most of the belongings in my room except for my mattress and bed frame. My roommate’s mom did countless loads of laundry to take the smell out of my roommate and I’s wet clothes and sheets. The bottom drawer of my dresser was pretty well saturated but for now, it’s cleaned and still opens. It eventually will need replaced. 

My roommate and I got rid of most of our food and the living room couch was destroyed. Other than that, we salvaged all our kitchen gadgets, including my new stand mixer! Phew!

The incident occurred around 6pm on a Tuesday evening. I was relaxing in my room on my computer when everything happened. My roommate was still on her way home. I first noticed the rain when I looked out my window and saw my poor, BRAND NEW car getting pelted. I snapped a photo planning on sending it to my family. Shortly after that, I heard water running. I thought it was just my roommate using the sink. Much to my dismay, it was water gushing into my apartment through the cracks in the door. My first thought was to stuff towels under my door so the water didn’t get into my room. That thought escaped me fast as I realized the water wasn’t stopping anytime soon. I quickly grabbed my purse, bookbag and laptop, closed my roommate’s door and headed toward the exit. I tried opening the door but it wouldn’t budge. The water pressure was so forceful it probably would have knocked me on my butt anyways! 

The water level up against my door

The water level up against my door

Next thought, I’ll jump out of the window. Next thought, there’s a screen on the window. Final thought, I’ll break it because I’m going to drown. So, that’s what I did. I shoved my purse and bookbag out and lifted myself up out of my living room window. 








The street looked like this when I stepped outside: 

flood street

Notice my Honda Civic, the water only inches from leaking into my door! I was more worried about my new car than anything in my apartment. 

Fast forward. The fire trucks arrived and were able to calm the water rushing down the street. I was also able to get my car onto dry land. Several other apartments were affected so the whole neighborhood was out trying to figure out the situation. The water level finally lowered and my roommate and I were able to wade through our flooded apartment to find anything we needed for overnight. Several residents who lived on the upper level helped us carry things to our cars. I was so thankful and overwhelmed by the support of the neighbors! My roommate and I ended up staying at a friend’s house before moving to a new apartment the next day. 

Looking back on the experience, finding those dry Nike Flyknit’s reminded me that no matter how bad you think a situation might be, there’s ALWAYS, ALWAYS something to learn and something positive to take from it. On that day, the simple fact that my running shoes were dry and clean made me happy. 

Now, I’m sitting in my clean, dry apartment on the upper level relaxing after a 3 mile run in my Nike Flyknit’s that once floated in the filthy water of my flooded room. 

clean room

My new, dry bedroom!

I also have a beautiful dry room and a comfy bed to sleep in thanks to my generous Aunt Ruth! I am so thankful for my friends, family, strangers, The American Red Cross, my co-workers and God for getting me through this tough experience that ultimately taught me a great lesson and humbled me. 

Taking on the Windy City

One of the greatest destinations for advertising professionals: Chicago!

I just spent 4 days exploring the city and different agencies with Ohio University Advertising Association. We had the unique opportunity to network with hundreds of professionals in the industry while enduring the bitter cold Chicago weather.

Would I ever work in the Windy City? Eh, that remains to be seen but spending the long weekend there proved to be tons of fun. I enjoyed playing the role of both a future advertising professional and a clueless tourist.

Check out my adventures below:



Doing a handstand 120 stories above Chicago in the Willis Tower!



Ohio University Advertising Association ready to tour StarcomUSA



Giordano’s Famous Deep Dish pizza…absolutely delicious



Experiencing the Bean at Millennium Park for the 1st time

I Scream for Ice Cream in Pittsburgh


During my summer in Pittsburgh I tried to visit as many different ice cream shops as possible. I had so much fun exploring different neighborhoods and venues but eating the ice cream was the best part….obviously. I visited a variety of places from a classic parlor to a hometown walk-up establishment. Take a look at my ice cream adventures below and the shop that impressed me most!



#1 ice cream shop for overall experience

Klavon’s in the strip district is an old school ice cream parlor with old candies and other nick knacks on the inside. They had several unique options including a 20 scoop sundae! I stuck with the one person sundae with caramel and marshmallow sauce along with some Reese’s cups. The only thing I didn’t like about this place was all the options were very traditional and I like to try really different treats. Overall it was a great family-friendly shop.



#1 for BEST ice cream

This was probably one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I don’t usually like waffles but anything’s good with ice cream. The waffle was WARM, covered with chocolate and peanut butter sauce over vanilla ice cream. I was in ice cream lover’s heaven! I can’t resist something warm paired with cold, refreshing ice cream. I found this waffle ice cream food truck at the Jazz and Ribs fest after running the Color Run in Columbus, Ohio but the owner was actually from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. It’s a must try!



This is a brownie sundae from Sugar & Spice Parlor in Pittsburgh. I didn’t go inside but it’s a fun retro-style parlor similiar to Klavon’s. Once again the warm paired with the cold made this a real  treat for me. It was a close 2nd to the waffle ice cream sundae. 



Talk about one RICH milkshake! I visited the Milkshake Factory on Carson Street in Pittsburgh a few times to enjoy their half off happy hour on Wednesdays. First, I tried the peanut butter fudge milkshake and this is a bear claw milkshake. It had little chunks of almond swirled in chocolate! Both were very decadent and delicious. The Milkshake Factory offers 55+ milkshake flavors. They also have sundaes and gourmet chocolates. It’s a great place for a chocolate lover!



One of the last things I  tried was a Blendini from Rita’s. Rita’s has multiple locations in Pittsburgh but I had never heard of it before now. This Blendini had Italian ice and vanilla custard blended with Reese’s cups. It was unlike anything I had ever tried before. Adding the Italian to the custard created a unique texture different from regular ice cream.

That wraps up my ice cream adventures in Pittsburgh this summer. If you didn’t already notice I have a taste for peanut butter and Reese’s. I can’t get enough. I visited a few other ice cream joints over the course of the summer but  didn’t document all my visits. Now go find some ice cream in your area and try something different!


My Last Days as a Brunner Intern


Thank-you card from the media team

Today was my going away breakfast at Brunner. The whole media team gathered together for bagels and donuts and they each took the time to write me a thank-you note. I also had my end of the year fall TV presentation and everything went really well. I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in my life! Below are a couple of paragraphs I put together as I reflected on my internship experience this summer in Pittsburgh.

My summer internship experience at Brunner was valuable, challenging, rewarding and frustrating at times. I interned in the media department, initially having an interest in pursuing a career in media. This internship challenged me to act in a professional way and taught me the importance of communicating to other employees effectively. As a media intern, I was presented with a variety of tasks from reaching out to client representatives to gather information to researching and putting together a presentation about upcoming fall television programming. In addition, I helped enter avails as part of the pre-buy process for Bob Evans, updated information on several excel spreadsheets,  collected and consolidated added value for Bob Evans television buys and organized intern visits to Pittsburgh area companies. I was also fortunate enough to be invited to numerous meetings where potential business partners came in to present their capabilities. Through the meetings, I was able to grow my knowledge of different types of technologies and platforms available to advertisers.

After spending several weeks in media and learning more about the day to day tasks that each employee had to accomplish, I found myself questioning whether or not media was the area I really wanted to focus on. Although every member of the media team worked exceptionally hard every day, I struggled to find the passion and interest in media that I thought I would have. I wanted to be more creative rather than going by the numbers. Therefore, I asked my supervisor to set up a job shadowing afternoon in the public relations department. I was very thankful to have the opportunity to explore a different department within the agency that required more multi-tasking and creative thinking. I truly value my experience in the media department because I not only learned a tremendous amount about working at an agency in the real world but it also challenged me to explore other career opportunities and departments within the agency.

Reflecting upon my experience at Brunner, I left work some days feeling frustrated after not having enough work and other days I wanted to go to bed immediately after work because I was so exhausted. Overall, I feel honored to have been able to intern at such a prestigious agency like Brunner. I could tell that every employee had earned their spot at the agency and worked hard to get where they were. I learned an incredible amount about media and I also learned that media might not be everything that I expected it to be. I am so thankful to have had this experience early on in my college career in order to adjust the direction of my career path.

Not only was today a HUGE day for me at work but my sister is currently in labor with my 1st nephew 4 hours away in Toledo! I’m really bummed that I’m not there to see the little bundle of joy when he arrives but I couldn’t be more excited to become an aunt!


My sister with a smile on her face after her epidural

The Family gets crazy in Pittsburgh

This past weekend my Mom, 2 aunts and Grandma came to visit me in Pittsburgh. At first, they were overwhelmed by the big city and the crazy drivers. By the end of their visit, I managed to convert them to Pittsburgh fans!

We had such a hilarious, frustrating and heartwarming time. We did everything from walking in a 5k to honor the disease my grandpa passed away from to sampling numerous (probably too many) flavors of Martinis!

Here’s a quick snapshot of our whirlwind weekend in Pittsburgh:

The Family on Grandview Ave.

One of the 1st  things we did was tour my summer house and check out the view from Mount Washington. They weren’t fans of the hike  up the mountain. Nothing like the flat lands of NW Ohio.

Walking a 5k for Grandpa

Saturday morning we walked in the 2nd annual Violet Rippy 5k for Pulmonary Fibrosis. My grandpa passed away from the disease several years ago. Despite a few tears, we shared some special moments together on our walk.

Seviche for dinner

Saturday evening we dined at a Latin-American inspired restaurant called Seviche. Not only the best peach sangria I’ve ever tasted but also some great, unique food.

Next, we saw Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women in the Cultural District downtown. We got discount tickets because I’m a poor college kid 🙂 The play had us laughing for an hour and a half straight!

Outside the theater

We finished our night at Olive and Twist and tried some crazy martini flavors including cake batter, cookie dough, fruit loop, s’more and chocolate covered pretzel!

Sampling our martinis

Although my family can sometimes get on my nerves, I’m stuck with them so might as well love ’em. I had a great weekend showing them around the city and introducing them to new things!

Now on to finish up my last week as an intern at Brunner and my last week as a newcomer to Pittsburgh.