|Maple the Pup|
1. Jessica Serrano, whose kindness comes through in every aspect of her life - with family, with her job working with children, with her dog, and especially with my cousin, Gilen, who holds a very special place in my heart.
|Gilen and Shaun|
3. My cousin Gian, and his awesome partner, Liz. Like all of the Guenthers, Gian is like a brother to me and I couldn't be more excited for him and his new path, a path that won't be easy but will be complimented by Liz, who has one of the most level heads on any person I think I've ever met. Gian teaches me to keep an open mind especially when called to a career that is meant to be completely selfless and of service. And I'm grateful for Liz who though she has a level head that I can connect with, she also likes to shake it like a salt shaker.
4. Gary and Kerrie and the four amazing little girls who embody the spunk, the athleticism, and the charm of their parents. I'm grateful that no matter how long I've been out of California and away from home, when I text Gary that I'm in need of car insurance immediately, he calls me back willing to help out (after he gets a few good razzes in). Dependability is something the Guenthers are not in short supply of. And I'm grateful to Kerrie for her honesty and humor which often go hand in hand.
|Lauren & Maple|
6. Gail and Guy - aunt and uncle extraordinaire - who are really more like another set of parents- the ones that believe in tough love but also that mama-bear-tribal love that teaches family is first, always, no matter what.
7. My brother, Shaun, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Lauren, who have been so supportive of Mike and I in our transition back. These two teach me all the time that there is always more room. The heart never fills up. There is always room for more friends, more puppies, more families, more wine, more Simpsons. They have opened up more than their homes to us, but also throw us invitations to their circle of friends all the time, and have trusted us on occasion with their greatest treasure of all- Wally!
|Dee and Morgan|
9. My Maid-of-Honor who hates being publicly called out on social media. But for giving me patience and honesty and helping me talk things out like a damn professional. Her opinion really should be worth its weight in gold because she deserves a lot of money for the shit she comes up with.
|Me and the Boys|
11. Mike's family, who teach me that there is always more room and there is always more food and more wine! The Bacchiones and Zellers love nothing more than to spend time with each other. They have a family bond that is infectious no matter how near or far I am from them.
12. Jeff and Erin, who I feel like have become some of Mike's and mine closest couple friends. I am grateful to them both for their humor and their temperament, but even more so their curiosity and zeal for life, something we all can get down with - whether it's dancing in a Turkish alley with a gypsy, roadtrippin' across the country to help a brother out, or staying up late talking in an airbnb in San Francisco the night before big job interviews. I love these guys a little more deeply every time I see them.
|Julie and Laurel|
14. The life I created in New York will forever be a part of me, as well as the friends, experiences, subway rides, and restaurants that come with it. I still have not said goodbye to you, New York, and I don't think I have to. I honestly feel it is just goodbye for now.
15. Traveling around the fucking world. Even though I have been struggling to get back on my feet, I wouldn't change a thing.
16. My mom who teaches me to just keep moving.
17. My dad whose endless support in my life and especially since coming back has made my "struggle" more of an esoteric one than an actual struggle. I'm grateful he has opened up his home for me and Mike and I'm so grateful for this time with my dad where we actually sit down and have dinner together as if we are making up for all the ones we lost when I was in New York.
|Mike and Me|
19. Maple - my pup. I have wanted a dog for a long time and I think this one actually found me. She is teaching me patience and humility, a much needed dose of it.
20. And lastly, I am grateful for my health and my body, especially the latter which I so often like to criticize. I don't have the nicest bod in a bikini, but I'm stronger than hell.