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Leaving Manhattan and the Journey Home: Part 2

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The bus ride home.

Hey, everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long. I have a lot to update you on, but I’m going to finish my tale of love and loss first (aka leaving New York City).

Oh, and for those of you who missed part one of this post, click here for the link.

Sunday

Wow. It’s been almost seven days since I wrote the initial post and almost two weeks since I got back to Howell, so some of this is actually starting to get blurry for me. What happened on Sunday?

Oh, yeah. Now I remember. Sunday was the day that we wanted to go up to Central Park. Sunday was the not-so-fun, definitely full of misadventures day.

It started out really well. Austin and I woke up and headed out by 10:30, ate breakfast at a freakishly nice McDonald’s in Union Square, and then did some window shopping. We started at the four-story Barnes and Noble, as well as the neighboring pet store (which had these adorable albino rats that he wouldn’t let me buy), and ended at a smoothie cart near the subway station.

First misadventure of the day. I wanted a milkshake. This is what I get for going to a smoothie stand in New York City and ordering a milkshake.

It tasted like mint. My chocolate milkshake tasted like toothpaste. And I had a pretty good idea why. Neither of us think the vendor washed any of her blenders before making our drinks. That means, you guessed it, my chocolate milkshake was made in the same mixer as a bunch of orange and yellow fruit.

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Austin on the High Line. Forgot to post that before.

Austin’s smoothie, luckily, turned out just fine. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until we were already well into the subway station that I realized the problem. Having already swiped in, it was too late to go back. Why do I never have any luck with milkshakes?

Anyway, we ended up in Times Square around noon, which was much earlier than we had planned. We checked out the Toys R Us, M&M Store, and this really sketchy card store on 38th and 5th. In my nine months in Manhattan, I never had to buzz into a second-floor store. Apparently, I wasn’t going to leave without having that experience. Austin found some Magic cards though, and I got a coke, so it ended on a positive note.

At this point, we were both really hungry, tired, and hot. It was probably eighty-five degrees that day, and we were walking to Central Park from Times Square. It may only be 12-15 blocks, depending on where you start from, but it felt like five miles to us.

We were both so grumpy that, when we finally got the park, we sat on the first bench inside the entrance, took a few glances around, and had the following conversation.

Me: This feels like it was a waste of time.

Austin: Isn’t this what Washington Square Park looks like?

Me: We should’ve just gone there this morning.

Austin: Wanna go home and read Shakespeare and Stephen King?

Me: Nothing I’d rather do.

So my experience with Central Park was a washout. I guess I’m really not a nature-girl.

We went back to the dorm and settled in with some books. I’m having trouble remembering if we went out again that night, but I don’t think we did. Other than getting dinner from the dining hall, I’m pretty sure we stayed in and watched a few movies…wait, no. We went out again. We went to Weinstein again. Now I remember. Austin had an obsession with that place.

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The sketchy card store.

 

After that we settled in for a few movies and fell asleep.

Monday

My last full day in Manhattan as an NYU student, and the day of my last final (in case any of you were curious as to why I stayed in my dorm with nothing academic to do, my American Constitutional Law final was Monday evening). I was a little emotional, and definitely nervous. I’d been struggling with that class all semester, and the final counted for the vast majority of the grade.

The day itself was mostly uneventful. We went to Weinstein for breakfast, then stayed in and enjoyed the quiet dorm (Sophia had already moved out, Mara had left for the weekend, and Juli was off studying for her final). I think we actually had time to take a nap, now that I’m thinking back.

My study group arrived around 4pm, after my professor had sent the final prompt. Our job was basically to identify the key constitutional issues in the prompt, then find Supreme Court cases to justify the answers to the issues. We had until 10pm to find the problems and write the paper. By the time I finished, it was 8pm and the group had left.

After my final had been turned in, we enjoyed our last night by talking and reading. The next day, I’d be leaving Manhattan for good.

Tuesday

I’ll admit, some tears were shed. Most of them out of frustration. Imagine moving into your dorm at the beginning of freshman year with an entire truck-bed full of boxes, and then having to move out with only two suitcases and two carry-on bags. (We did cheat a little though. We each brought two carry-on bags and no one noticed.)

Granted, I’d been throwing things away all year. You know how it is. After the winter months, your closet needs to be cleaned out. When the semester ends, your textbooks can go. Most dishes, pillows, and cleaning supplies aren’t necessary to take back when you’re moving home permanently. And I’d already brought a giant suitcase of decorations and belongings home when I visited my family in April.

But it was still a tight fit. Some things didn’t make the cut. Thank goodness for Kathleen Laturi, who brought home my guitar for me when her parents came to pick her up. Oh…I still need to call her to pick that up. Someone remind me. Thanks.

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The sketchy card store stairway.

And then it was time for check-out. Luckily for us, I enforced a strict 1:30 check-out time, even though our bus was set to leave at 3:15. Traffic in the cab was unbearable. I think we were only in line for 10-15 minutes before the bus started loading.

I think I still have my last picture of Manhattan on my Facebook page somewhere. If I can find it, I’ll include it in this post.

The bus ride itself was so much better with company. We played the Alphabet Game and the License Plate Game (we were on that bus for twelve hours and didn’t win either one). We were able to eat our really rushed meals together, and we were able to use one another as pillows. Neither of us slept much though. It’s hard to do that when you’re sharing the seat with someone else.

And then, I crossed that Michigan line. And now I’m here, writing this post to all of you. I’m home. I’m back. The journey is over…and so much sooner than I thought it would be. So I have a few quick things to fill you in on before I end this post, and I hope they’ll ease your mind.

1.) I am still waiting for acceptance into Michigan State University. I should know anytime now. I will be living at home and commuting 2-3 days a week.

2.) New York University released my financial aid statement this week. I was right about the jump in tuition. Almost a $2,000 jump in tuition, and an estimated $9,000 jump in overall costs. Their method of financial compensation? Sticking my parents with $14,000 in Parent PLUS Loans. Sorry NYU. I’ll tell you where you can stick it. (Sorry, angry Cassie here).

My last shot of Manhattan.
My last shot of Manhattan.

3.) I don’t feel any regret. I know some of you were worried that I would, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come home. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been focused and on my game. Of the five freelance jobs I’ve applied to, I’ve received four. I’m on track to make nearly $450 over the next two weeks from that alone. It feels great to be that on-target again. I think I needed my family to bring that out of me. I told my mom the other day that I don’t want to look back on the best three or four years of my life…and not have them in it. I know I did the right thing.

4.) I got my $1000 refund. It will be going toward my car in mid-August.

5.) I’m going to start training at the Kroger down the road as a cashier, until I can move up into an internship that has something to do with my career path. I think it’ll be exciting to have a job where everyone around me cares as much as they’re supposed to, because they’ll actually get fired and face some kind of penalty if they don’t show up or are caught on Facebook at work. I think it’ll be a good experience for me too, having a real job. How hard can it be to cashier anyway? (I can feel a blog post coming on. Just kidding, I’m not going to get myself fired already.)

6.) And last, but not least, my grades. Though I’m still waiting on my Journalism Ethics final, I can tell you that I survived NYU without getting a single CIn fact, I’m fairly certain I never got anything below a B. Investigating Journalism: B+. Comparative Politics: B. And that pesky Constitutional Law class that isn’t even meant for freshmen? B+. And thank goodness for that.

I hope that’s everything. I think it’s about time to get my new blog going and stop focusing on New York. It’s time to focus on my new life, my new goals and, most importantly, my writing. Let’s start sharing some of that, because that’s what my life is about. That’s what this blog is about.

Let’s have some Michigan Misadventures.

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Leaving Manhattan and the Journey Home: Part 1

11112480_1001065049904679_311166390790513244_oIt’s been one week since I arrived in Howell, fresh from my freshman year at New York University, and far too long since I’ve written an update.

This represents my first official summer post, and my first under the blog title, “Misadventures in the Mitten”. (I’m waiting patiently for my URL to expire so I can update it. Until then, bear with me. I’ll own the Misadventures in the Big Apple URL for another year. You have that long to get used to typing the new one. Be prepared.)

Let me start by telling you all about my last weekend in Manhattan, and how Austin ended up on 27th and 7th with an empty suitcase in tow.11180301_1003638556313995_4824207280135465901_n

In the midst of the hectic nightmare that transferring schools became back in April, my family and I had one major issue that needed to be resolved. How in the world was I going to get home with all of my personal belongings without one of my parents having to miss several days of work to pick me up?

The original plan involved a storage unit in New York and a suitcase full of necessities that would come with me on the bus ride to Michigan. However, now that I was coming home for good, the situation complicated itself.

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Austin was, thankfully, the answer to the problem. While talking to an extremely frustrated Cassie on the phone, he offered to take an extra suitcase, buy a bus ticket, and take the 12-hour road trip to Manhattan to pick me up. With that in mind, we planned a five day- four night trip in which he would stay in my dorm and explore the city (he’d never been anywhere bigger than Ann Arbor for an extended period of time).

I wish one blog post could fully explain my excitement for the weekend that Austin showed up. The last two weeks of school were held solely together by the glue that that daydream became.

Let me explain. It’s more than just a “relationship thing”. For almost nine months, I was completely alone in a huge city. While Mara and I became close, I left feeling that I had made very few true “friends” in my time there. There’s nothing worse than exploring Manhattan with no one to share it with except, perhaps, finding incredible new places and having nobody next to you to say, “Oh my god, how cool is that?” 

As soon as I knew I would finally have a visitor of my own, I filled the weekend with a slew of plans. There were so many things I’d been waiting to show a loved one from Howell and, finally, here was my chance.

Austin arrived on a Friday evening and stayed until the following Tuesday afternoon. This…is the story of that weekend.

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My phone rang at 3:45am sharp. I jumped out of my skin, answered, and checked my text messages as I listened to the frantic voice on the other end of the line.

“Dad’s gonna be late.”

My heart leapt to my throat. Late? Austin’s bus was scheduled to depart from Toledo at 5:50am. The next trip to Manhattan wouldn’t start for another 24 hours after. What did he mean late? 

“What are you talking about? It’s only 3:45. Wasn’t he supposed to pick you up at 4:15?”

“Yeah, but he hasn’t answered his phone. What if he isn’t awake?”

“Calm down. He’ll be there. Text Jack and see what he says.”

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Don’t worry, readers. He got there.

The next hour was a mess of text messages and brief phone calls. I didn’t quite stay awake until the bus left Toledo, but I stayed awake long enough to know they were going to make it. As soon as I felt certain, I collapsed back into sleep.

I guess you could say the rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully. Though I did get a call around 2pm, in which Austin informed me that his bus was stopped. Apparently, the driver left a passenger at a rest stop about sixty miles back. They spent twenty minutes deciding whether or not to turn around but, unwilling to risk fifty or sixty unhappy customers instead of one, the company sent a car to pick up the stranded passenger, and the bus continued on schedule.

Austin finally got to Manhattan at 7pm. I half-ran to the bus stop, running late because I had been on the phone with, well, him. I met him right on time, but he wasn’t in the best shape.

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Like I said, Austin has never been anywhere bigger than Ann Arbor for an extended period of time. This was New York City. The heart of New York City. He couldn’t keep his eyes focused on anything. There was just too much stuff. 

I never realized how comfortable I became in comparison to the tourists in the city until I was practically dragging my boyfriend through the streets while he clung to my arm. But don’t worry, he picked up fast. By the time we left, you wouldn’t have known the difference between the two of us. I think it must be like that for everyone the first time they see something that gigantic and that hectic.

After checking into my dorm, we wandered off in the direction of the High Line. If you haven’t already read, the High Line is a converted above-ground train track that is covered in vegetation, artwork, and plays host to some of the most beautiful views in Manhattan. It’s one of my favorite places in the city, and Austin absolutely loved it.

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But, of course, this blog is called “Misadventures” for a reason. Something had to go wrong. And it did.

First of all, it started raining. Well, sprinkling mostly. We had plans to go to the pier afterward, and I was getting depressed. Austin told me he was still willing to go, even in the rain. But I felt like the night was going to be ruined.

As I was responding to a Facebook comment moments later, I walked right into a concrete bench. Both of my knees were severely botched. Austin had to guide me down the nearest stairs, whisk me off to a CVS, and buy me $5.00 Band Aids and a huge bottle of water. At first, I was miserable. But by the time he was putting the Band Aids on my knees like I was five, I was laughing the whole thing off.

It figures I would do something that stupid. My knees forced me to limp like an idiot for the rest of the weekend.

We did end up going to the pier. I think I have some pictures of it that I’ll be able to post. It took nearly an hour to find it but, once we finally did, it was worth the wait.

Around 11, we got a cab, went back to the dorm, ordered pizza, and crashed.

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Saturday

We began Austin’s first full-day in Manhattan by exploring Washington Square Park. I showed him the library (which was apparently being cleaned, because there was no one there), played chess with him in the square, dragged him to the “Puppy!” store (where we hung out with a very depressed little puppy who apparently has some anxiety around new people), and took him to eat at one of our campus dining halls.

Finished by noon, we decided to check out Strand (the used bookstore I wrote about a while back). Outside on the $1.50 shelves, we found an incredibly useful Java textbook (Austin is studying computer science). Inside on the bargain shelves, we found the full works of William Shakespeare in a heavyset, leather-bound book for $12. Needless to say, Austin was pretty excited.

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Afterward, we went to the Halloween store that I’ve been avoiding for 9 months. And then, Austin found a card store that had practically everything he has ever been interested in featured throughout the room. You should have seen his face. Actually, you can. I took a picture.

When the shopping was finished, we went back to the dorm and got ready for the Mets game-

Oh. I should explain that part.

About two weeks before his arrival, Austin begged me to take him to a science museum in Flushing, Queens. The only issue was, admission was $14 per person and, get this, it was a children’s museum. But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I bit my lip and agreed to take him.

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Fast forward another week and through a very puzzling game of hangman, and I was told that the whole thing was a farce. Austin had actually bought us tickets to the Mets game in Citi Field for our four month (which is located in, you guessed it, Flushing).

The game itself was a lot of fun. We were given free fedoras as we entered the stadium and, even though we were sitting in the upper-balcony seats, we had an amazing view. Despite the fact that it rained and we ended up moving farther up to be underneath the overhang of the field, we still had a great time. The Mets kicked butt, too. We won 14-2. It was a good season to see them play.

After the game ended, everyone in the field either piled back into their cars or into the subway system. You can imagine the ride back into Manhattan was pretty miserable. I’ve never been on a subway ride that dramatically overcrowded, and we were on it for 45 minutes. Did I mention I get claustrophobic?

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Overall, though, we had an awesome second day. There were so many experiences in New York that I missed out on because I felt like I had no one to share it with. Once Austin got there, it stopped feeling so lonely (but it didn’t stop being too hot and too crowded…we’ll get to that in the next post).

Now. In the interest of time and avoiding a 3000 word post, I will be continuing on Part 2. See you then 😉

Thanks, as always, for being my followers. It’s great to be back.

-Cassie

Two Weeks Left in the Big Apple: What I Have to Share

As most of you already know, I’ve made the official decision to leave NYU. If you’re interested in logistics and information, please visit the video in which I made the announcement here. I hope it’ll answer any questions you might have.

In addition to what I’ve shared in the video, I have some new ideas to share with you in regards to the future of Misadventures.

I’ve already told most of you that the name will change from “Misadventures in the Big Apple: Small Town Girl in NYC” to “Misadventures in the Mitten: No Place Like Home”. I’ll also be giving the About and Howell pages a face-lift, as well as the theme.

Other than that, the format won’t really change. I’ll continue to share my misadventures with my followers, even during the summer. You can probably expect one of two posts each week, like you’ve been getting recently. You’ll notice a change of scene. Probably more pictures of bonfires, countryside, band concerts, and cooking excursions. Once school starts in the fall, you’ll be seeing class-related posts.

I’m also going to focus on writing a little more often about topics that I enjoy writing about, such as entertainment, politics, and current events. Prepare for some controversial viewpoints and some interesting posts. I’m getting ready to start sharing my thoughts about the world with all of you. I started this morning, with my post about “overprotective” parents. I hope to continue that.

As always, I want to thank all of you for your kindness and understanding. I have yet to hear a single rude comment about my transfer, or my decision to apply to MSU over U of M for their journalism program. Most of those who donated to my housing fund are willing to let me keep that money for the car that I’ll desperately need to commute back and forth to school. And nearly everyone has found something positive to say. I appreciate that more than you know.

We’re winding down for the year here in Manhattan. I have two weeks of classes left (technically four days of classes after today is said and done, and five days of work). Austin is coming to pick me up the weekend of the 15th, and I’ll finally have company on the bus ride home (cross your fingers that everything fits in two suitcases!). I’m studying ruthlessly for my two politics finals, and praying that the credits will count at MSU. If not, I took two extremely difficult classes for nothing this semester.

I went home last weekend to see my family in Peter Pan. And, not to shamelessly plug for the show, but if you live in the Livingston County area, you should definitely check it out. My dad plays Smee, my mother and sister are the light crew, and my brother plays Nana the dog and a pirate (don’t ask me how he does both). I’m extremely proud of them for how all of their hard work has paid off. It was definitely worth the ride home.

Other than that, I’m waiting for a response from MSU’s admissions office and getting ready for my final trek home. I’ve been told that I’ll know before June. Cross your fingers for me.

Love Always,

Cassie

A Letter To My “Overprotective” Parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

In elementary school, you were the parents who wouldn’t let me watch Spongebob Squarepants. Instead, you insisted that I read a book, explore the outdoors, or learn to play an instrument. I didn’t know who Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks were until after Dad had decided the show was too funny not to watch.

You were the parents who wanted to watch the Teen Nick shows before I did, dreading the day when I would begin attaching myself to Degrassi. You screened Drake and Josh, Zoey 101, and Hannah Montana. I never understand what the big deal was, even after Jamie Lynn Spears got pregnant and quit Zoey 101 to be a mother at the age of 16.

You were the parents who forbade me from going to a new friend’s house unless you’d met their parents first. Until high school, I rarely planned my own “play dates”. You wanted to know where I would be, and when I would be there. You wanted to know who was bringing me home. You wanted to know that an adult would be present. I would rant and rave that no one else’s parents cared that much. I was angry that you didn’t trust me. But you did it anyway.

You were the parents who never made college an option. College was an accepted part of my life. I never questioned or doubted it. I never stopped to think that there might be another realistic option for my future because I never doubted you. You’d begun to build that trust in me.

You were the parents who never had to tell me not to drink or smoke in high school because my biggest fear was disappointing you. You were the silent, unimposing reason why I never attended an underage drinking party. You were the invisible shield that kept me away from cigarettes and drugs. I never tried them. The way I grew up, it was never an option.

You were the parents who made dorming impossible because I quickly realized how different you were from other parents. I didn’t come here with a parent-approved fake ID. I didn’t think it was an option. You had instilled that moral in me. I can’t reverse that any more than I can reverse the color of my skin.

You became my friends and my allies when I became old enough to understand how lucky I was to be free from addiction. Because of you, I started my life with a clean slate.

You are the parents that teenagers abhor. The parents who require their grown offspring living at home to be back by a curfew, to share their whereabouts, and to help out with the housework. You are the parents that gave other kids a reason to make fun of me and antagonize me for not being able to be spontaneous. For always saying, “Hold on, let me text my parents first.”

You are the parents that grown children appreciate. You are the parents who became my friends. You are the “overprotective” parents. But let me tell you something else.

I am proud to say that I was one of the lucky few to be “overprotected”.

Homeward Bound: Getting Ready for Spring Break

Hello, blogosphere 🙂

I wanted to introduce you to a couple of new websites before I branch out and tell you about my upcoming trip.

First of all, don’t forget to keep checking culinaryadventureswithkatie.com for updated information about my sister’s experiences in the Culinary Arts program at Schoolcraft in Michigan.

Second of all, it seems the idea of blogging is spreading. A co-worker and friend of mine, Kirby Pate, has started his own blog, called The Kirby T. You can check it out by clicking here.

I also want to formally extend my sincerest apologies for failing to make “Recap” videos the past two weeks. I’ve had a hectic month so far, and I imagine the rest of the school year will follow in much the same fashion.

That being said, I apologize for interrupting your scheduled programming, and we’ll get back to the point of this post: My first trip home for the spring semester.

Assuming I survive two midterms, seven class periods, and fourteen hours of work, I will be on a Greyhound on Wednesday night heading back toward the mitten. I’ll be there for about a week and a half, which will hopefully give me just enough time to do everything and see everyone that I need to.

As an out-of-state college student, visiting home is bittersweet. While I get to enjoy a mostly bearable, semi-relaxing bus ride and I get to see my family, friends, and boyfriend, I also have to find a way to fairly split my time between them and then, in the end, I inevitably have to leave them again.

While I feel better and more comfortable in Manhattan this semester, I’m really looking forward to summer vacation and not worrying about classes 24/7. Academically, I’m doing much better. Socially, I’m doing slightly better. And homesickness-wise, I’m surviving. I know this will change in years to come, and I don’t regret my decision to stay. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t look forward to the time I get to spend in little Howell, Michigan. Especially when I have enough time not to have to constantly think about leaving again.

In preparation for my visit, I’ve spent my night doing laundry, finishing essays, studying for midterms, and cleaning out old clothes, decorations, and academic books. I think I’ll try to smuggle a few things home between this trip and my trip home in April. Otherwise, I’ll never fit it all in one suitcase to go home for the summer.

There is one other thing that I’d like to talk to all of you about. Housing.

I had made my official housing decisions but, last Tuesday, something interesting came up at work. I was browsing the NYU News page, and I stumbled across an article announcing that Brooklyn housing (usually reserved for NYU Poly students) will be open to all students and upperclassmen next year.

Now, I know many of you have concerns about Brooklyn. You may think it’s unsafe, too far away from campus, or promotes an entirely different standard of living. But I have to inform you that Brooklyn is mostly an extension of Manhattan. Moreso than Queens or the Bronx, Brooklyn is the burrough that is being industrialized. The two buildings that I am looking into are safe, sanity, and every bit as beautiful as the dorms in Manhattan. They’re also only a few subway stops away from school.

To add to that, Brooklyn is a safe area. NYU would not have dorms in an area that isn’t. Also, each dorm is only about a block away from a subway station. In saving thousands of dollars of dorming, I would invest about $120 per month on an unlimited subway-access card. This would enable me to go back and forth to campus as often as I wanted, and would actually decrease the amount of on-foot travel I’d have to do. Not to mention, it would open doors to exploring the rest of the city.

I love Brooklyn. If you’ve been following me since my start at NYU, you should know that already. I think Brooklyn is beautiful, a little more normal lifestyle-wise, and a much better fit for me. If I were to get an apartment New York, I would get one there.

It’s also much cheaper, and that’s the real clincher. The dorms in Brooklyn are almost $4,000 cheaper than those in Manhattan. If I make this choice, I won’t have a bill to worry about for next year. I can’t tell you how necessary that is for my continuation of school in New York.

After discovering the opening of Brooklyn dorms to Manhattan students, I also learned that housing prices are increasing. If not for this opportunity, I would be in a serious financial rut. I don’t ever want to be in that position again.

So, for those of you who have concerns, we’re going to have to get through this decision together. Because it’s not so much a decision as a saving grace for me. And I hope you can find it all in your hearts to support me and to continue on this crazy adventure with me.

Love, as always,

Cassie