Pay it Forward: Thank You Kind Man at Subway

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Dear Kind Elderly Man Behind me in Line at Subway,

I just wanted to say thank you for the tuna fish sandwich, SunChips®, and apple juice you bought for me earlier today after I got to the counter, only to realize I had left my wallet in the car. Although I left the stuff I ordered at the counter, then ran out to my car – conveniently parked directly behind Subway – to get my wallet, when I came back in, the cashier told me you had already paid for my meal. But you already left the store so I never got a chance to tell you that you are awesome, made my day, and we are lucky to have kind people like you in the world.

That is all 🙂

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Bring Roller Skating Back!

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“LET’S GO SKATING!”

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I woke up to those three glorious words a few weeks ago when Chelsea, one of my best friends from back home in New Jersey sent them to me in a text message.

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In a previous post, I mentioned how I bought a pair of roller skates several months ago in Raleigh. My interest in roller skating was initially rekindled after I had looked for fun activities to pursue in Raleigh and discovered the Carolina Rollergirls roller derby league. I thought, “I can do that! Roller skating and ice skating are among the very few sports I’ve always been good at!” Eventually, my ambitious dream of becoming a roller derby champ faded after reading about the time commitment the sport requires and hearing from numerous people upon mentioning this aspiration, “Uh, I don’t think that’s for you Christine. You’ll never survive.” Although my professional goal was shot down, I decided I would still purchase a pair of roller skates. What’s a better and more fun way to exercise than roller skating?

One Saturday afternoon, shortly after I had gone for a run, I set out on my quest to find a pair of skates and headed to Jellybeans Skate Center. Not only did I not realize how far of a drive it would be, but after making the 45 minute trek to Jellybeans, I realized that because I had taken my apartment key off my wallet for my run, I wound up leaving the key on my desk and locking myself out of my apartment. Before heading home, I texted my roommate asking if he would be there to let me in or whether I could meet him somewhere to borrow his key. When I finally got back to our apartment, he asked if I had been out running errands. “Well, sort of,” I said. “I went to buy a pair of roller skates!” I proudly declared. He began cracking up. “So not only did you wind up locking yourself out of our apartment, but you’ve been out all day buying roller skates?”

After proudly declaring to the social media world that I had bought the pair of skates, my friend Chelsea texted me, “OMG I WANT TO GET ROLLER SKATES TOO. THEN WE CAN GO SKATING TOGETHER!” Shortly after Christmas, I asked her what her favorite gift had been. “Definitely my new roller blades!” she said. We were ready to roll.

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The day after New Years, we went to the park where we skated for about an hour and a half. “Hey! My mom used to own a pair of those,” the man who took our photo commented, pointing to my “diner girl skates.” The weather was beautiful for January, a herd of deer were grazing in the nearby field, the sun was setting, and a group of ten-year-old boys began cracking up as a tripped over a rock and fell during the last few minutes of our skating adventure. It was perfect. It was only appropriate that we ended our adventure with a trip to Sonic to get ice cream.

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The sun setting at the park that day.

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Cheers!

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “What ever happened to roller skating?” or even, “Why doesn’t anyone go outside anymore?” or “I wish there was a more fun way to workout,” I hope that you will help us in the movement to bring roller skating back.

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What do you guys think? Do you have any fond roller skating memories? Anyone own a pair of skates or have kids who do?

 

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19-Year-Old’s Bucket List Inspires Thousands

Hi all,

I just came across this news article about Kaileigh Fryer, a 19-year-old girl who passed away in a car accident in Sydney, Australia last April. In her journal, Kaileigh wrote a bucket list with 49 items on it.

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Photo of Kaileigh taken from http://www.standard.net.au.

According to the article, Kaileigh and her list “has now inspired countless people around the world through a Facebook page which has almost 10,000 members. Only eight of the 49 items on the bucket list remain uncompleted, but at least two of these are on their way to reality.”

To find out more, check out the full story on Kaileigh and her list. You can also request to join the Facebook group honoring Kaileigh!

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Indoor Skydive

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When I first mentioned to someone I was going indoor skydiving, he responded,”You’re brave to go diving without a pool at the bottom.” Jokes aside, his quip offers a helpful distinction between outdoor (or, the jumping from a plane type) skydiving versus indoor skydiving. Rather than falling from a significant height, as with jumping from a diving board or out of a plane, indoor skydiving is like flying.

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The scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie and Grandpa Joe begin floating into the “fizzy lifting room” and are nearly sucked into an exhaust fan offers a helpful image of what indoor skydiving looks like – though ideally, without that horrifying outcome.

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I’ve been fascinated with the idea of indoor skydiving ever since I was introduced to the term, though my renewed interest in ticking this item off my list arrived with 2015. While the end of 2014 was filled with shamefully few attempts at blogging about crossing off various bucket list goals, I hope I can say something different by the end of 2015, thanks in part to one of my favorite gifts that my parents got me for Christmas this year:

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While looking over my activities and adventures list and writing down some of the items I hope to complete this year, I decided to research options I could pursue in North Carolina and was thrilled when I discovered an indoor skydiving location about an hour and a half away from Raleigh called Paraclete XP SkyVenture.

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My friend taking his turn!

To provide a better definition of indoor skydiving and what it involves, I’ll cite some of SkyVenture’s responses to FAQ:

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When asked “what is body flight?”: “Indoor body flight is the development of a skill, allowing you to fly your body in a controlled manner in a wind tunnel. SkyVenture wind tunnels are the perfect environment for the quickest development of this skill due to the professional instruction and quality of the airflow.” Before flying, my friend and I watched an instructional video, then were asked to demonstrate the proper body position.

When asked whether it is safe: “SkyVenture’s unique design, with its wall to wall air column and professionally trained instructors, allows flyers to safely enjoy their flight session. Your flight instructor is with you through your entire flight experience.” As I mentioned to my friend, our instructor had a calming manner, something that for me, who fails at most activities involving motor skills others describe as “extremely easy,” was largely reassuring.

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When asked whether it is scary: “SkyVenture is not scary; there is no jumping, no falling and there is no experience needed, you are simply floating on a column of air. There is no sensation of falling or anything that would make you feel sick from motion sickness.” One of the most relieving things SkyVenture does is offer images of children participating in the sport on their website. This technique provides a similar feeling to that of noticing a large number of children in line for the roller coaster you are about to go on and fosters thoughts such as, “If they can do it, so can I!”

If curious about the price: 2 flights of 1 minute each (the equivalent of doing two skydives from 13,000 feet), a flash drive video, and a t-shirt are $64, though there is significant discount if you go back! If you do the “buddy plan,” you get 3 flights of one-minute, a flash drive video, and two t-shirts for $89 each.

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If you’re looking for a fun gift for someone or to use some Christmas/holiday money on a fun experience, I’d definitely suggest looking into indoor skydiving.

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We made it!

If you are still nervous about going, I hope to offer some reassurance by reminding you that as someone who often shocks friends and family members with my extreme clumsiness and lack of motor skill (two recent examples include breaking a  glass mug, as well as knocking over an entire container of red sauce that spilled onto my parents’ white tile floor), even I was able to grasp this sport and had a blast doing it! In other words, you will be fine 🙂

Has anyone gone indoor skydiving before or hopes to go? I’d love to hear about your experiences or any additional questions you have!

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Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hey guys!

I hope the holiday season is finding you all well! Last week, I turned in my final papers and since then, have been enjoying winter break with family and friends. On the way home, I got to officially see Washington D.C. for the first time while visiting a friend on the drive home to New Jersey.

This week, I’m crossing some new items off the bucket list on a Florida adventure with mom. Never too old, right? The two previous summer’s I’ve gone to Disney, I was four and twelve years old, so it’s exciting experiencing Disney a decade later during the holiday season, as well as some rides I’ve never been on such as the Tower of Terror. Another first will be seeing the new Harry Potter theme park, where we will venture to this weekend. After we return, I’ll be sure to share some photos from the trip!

For now, here’s some previous Disney throwbacks:

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For all you Disney fans, anyone have any favorite attractions, locations, or restaurants you would recommend? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

I’d also love to hear about your winter plans and goals for the New Year. Are you taking some time to relax or going somewhere new? What are some things you hope to accomplish this year?

I look forward to hearing your updates!

– Christine

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Bucket List Goals for the New Year

Hi all,

After a painfully long period away from PLTL, I hope to share some updates, though more importantly, I look forward to hearing updates from you!

It’s been three months since I started grad school, though I am back home for the holidays until Monday. Today was filled with family, laughter, and bucket loads of food. Although I fly back to North Carolina on Monday, I’ll be back home in a few weeks for winter break and hope to share plenty of bucket list updates during that time.

A few highlights from the past few months:

– Attended my first North Carolina State Fair, where I enjoyed some fried Oreos and a quick spin on the Mouse Trap.

– Bought a pair of roller skates! Because what’s more fun than roller skating?

– Participated in a play reading! The play was written and directed by one of my classmates. Since some of my former roles include Mrs. Weasley, a tree, Dickinson from 1776, and Ross from Macbeth, it was fun to branch out (bad pun intended) and play a human/female part this time!

– Dressed up as Arthur the Aardvark and “The Cat,” proudly accompanied by Edgar Allen Poe and his other creation “The Raven” in Raleigh’s Monster Dash 5K.

With the new year quickly approaching, I figured now would be a good time for you all to share some updates and/or bucket list goals for the upcoming year! Any recent items you’ve crossed off your bucket lists that you would like to share? Big or small, what are some items you hope to cross off your bucket lists this year? Is there anything major you hope to accomplish? I am excited to hear your responses and to get back on track with more posts/updates.

I’ve missed you all and hope you’re doing well!

Christine

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Two Adventure Seekers Purchase BucketList.org

Hey all!

Check out this inspirational article published on The Huffington Post about an hour ago, featuring the two men who purchased BucketList.org. It’s a great story!

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Originally published on The Huffington Post.

Christine

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Woman Discovers Identical Twin More Than a Half-Century Later: Part 3

After featuring Paola Riviera’s story of her mother, who recently discovered she has an identical twin over fifty years into her life, on Project Light to Life, many readers asked for photos of the two women together.

Without further ado, here are photos from their reunion:

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Photos originally published on Paola’s blog LIVE.TRAVEL.BLESS.

Want the fully story?

Check out part 1 and 2 of the story on Project Light to Life (or part 1 originally published on LIVE.TRAVEL.BLESS).

For additional photos and Paola’s follow-up on their reunion, check out part 3 – including the entire story – on her blog.

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I’m Alive!

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Hi all!

Just a note to say that I have not dropped off the face of the planet, but have simply started my first month of graduate school in North Carolina. Regular content will continue on Project Light to Life as of tomorrow and I hope to update you all on some recent items I’ve crossed off my bucket lists.

Random firsts from the past month:

– First time living in a state other than NJ or Delaware.

– First time going to a NC beach.

– First time eating at Noodles and Company.

–  First time getting a driver’s license in a different state.

How has everyone’s September been so far?

Christine @ Project Light to Life

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Woman Discovers Twin More than a Half-Century Later: Part 2

About two weeks ago, I introduced you to Paola Rivera, who shared a story that normally, only happens in books or films. Over 50 years later, her mother discovered that, unbeknownst to her, she has an identical twin. If you are interested in reading Part 1 of this story, check out Paola’s account on her blog LIVE. TRAVEL. BLESS. or on Project Light to Life.

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Now that Paola’s mother and her mother’s long-lost twin have finally been reunited, Paola has agreed to first share this story with Project LTL’s readers. Below is Paola’s account of this reunion:

Full disclosure: it took me almost two months to sit down with my mom and get the full story on how the reunion went. For whatever reason, I thought that if we set out a time to get dinner and have this lavish evening with all of those words, it would make the experience seem even more grandiose than it already was. It turns out that a night on the couch with a replay of Young and the Restless murmuring in the background was all I really needed to soak it all in.

Surprisingly, after everything was said and done and my ears had finally been graced with the story of the reunion, I came to the realization that I had been listening to so much more than just a story of two twins reunited. I had been receiving little reminders about this breath of a life we are give and was sprinkled with inspiration to embrace every curve ball that is thrown our way. So, rather than boring you all with every detail of what my mom ate while she was in Europe and how many trinkets/nail files made of Czech crystal she came home with in the midst of meeting her sister, I decided to focus on what my mother walked away with from this reunion and the beauty she showered me with as she recalled it all sitting on a couch in the middle of America.

The initial reunion was (from what I inferred) everything you might be imagining it to be: my mom waiting eagerly in a café until a woman who looked identical to her started running toward her with tears streaming down her face and a determined translator following close behind. My mom told me that throughout the entire meeting day, she was still half convinced this wasn’t her sister, that somehow, this was all just fake. She giggled as she told me this, but I know there was a serious undertone to that somewhat naïve comment – although, I think I would be stuck staring at her until I could prove the genetics one way or another! The language barrier was a bit tough, but from the sounds of it, I don’t think it was any harder than practicing self control with the breadbaskets at every table. My mom told me how beautiful it was to just sit there and feel comfortable with this woman she had never once met before and how blissful it was to be walking down the cobblestoned streets of Prague hand-in-hand with this identical image she now knew as her sister. They didn’t speak about the past, because there is nothing they could have fixed – nothing they could have changed to make this moment any different.

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At this point in the conversation, I so eagerly wanted her to recite every detail down to the type of carvings in each bridge she crossed over. The more I tried to pry the swatches of the flowers and shapes of the architecture out into the air, the more my mom spoke about struggling with a language barrier and the sensation of having lived 57 years of a completely separate life than the one her own sister, let alone twin, had lived.

What was interesting to me, though, was that throughout most of this conversation my mother wasn’t speaking about herself – she was speaking about her sister. She talked about how much joy she felt knowing that Dagmar’s wish was fulfilled and that she not only found my mom after a lifetime of searching, but the unthinkable happened and they were able to meet. She spoke of how outlandish, yet incredibly easy it was to care so much about a person she had just met. I think the most heartbreaking, but at the same time, heartwarming comment my mom made was this:

“I never could have imagined how much it is humanly possible to miss someone after spending just four days with her.”

It is obvious my mom yearns for the day she can see her sister again and I can only hope that I will be right by her side the next time around. If you take anything from this story, let it be a reminder to not dwell on the past, to put others’ joy before your own, and to find beauty in the chaos that we call life. If you’re able to do those three things you’ll find yourself radiating a much more positive outlook and periodically reminding yourself that in the end, sometimes the storms you’re fighting through now may expose their own rainbows 57 years down the road…I’ve seen it happen in the most beautiful way.

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Pretty incredible, right? What do you all think of Paola and her mother’s story?

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