Disneyworld, Miami, …and a Lesson in Gratitude

The past month has been a whirlwind of self-exploration, a lot of soul-searching, and a little bit of travel in between. I took a break from blogging to really focus on myself, my truth, and my frankly, my attitude.

I have to confess…I had been living pretty ungratefully for a while there.

So I wrote this as a bit of a catch-up: to reflect on what I’ve learned over the past few weeks, to share my lessons…and to show you my fun little vacay!

Get cozy! This is a long one.

So! I work as an admissions counselor for USC. This for the most part means I recruit for and represent the university in places all over the country.

So far I’ve been to Chicago, D.C., San Diego, Palm Springs, Monterey, and most recently Orlando.

I always stay at nice hotels, fly my airline of choice, and have every expense paid for by the university. Pretty sweet gig! I’m blessed to have it.

So this may all sound insane.

But I’ll admit, for the past few weeks I hadn’t had much gratitude for the job. All because (being restless me) I was living in the past, and the future…but never in the present.

I honestly got this job by the grace of God lol. + with a little help from some good friends.

I was working in a position I reallyreally didn’t like at a law school. The only good thing about the job was my awesome boss and the coworkers I adored…the rest of it, including the work itself, was my definition of torture.

Snarky and entitled professors, endless paperwork, micromanagement from the cold upper management that even my boss was scared of, and little to no opportunity for daily interaction–I was losing my mind in there.

Add to that another thing that was making me restless at the time: I had itchy feet and desperately wanted to travel.

In my undergraduate years I never got to study abroad. But the desire to explore and be adventurous has always been in me, so I really felt like I’d missed out on something.

So after about a year at the law school, I came across a program where I could teach in Colombia for free! I just had to pay my airfare and startup living fees, and I’d be off in a paid position, teaching English as a second language to Colombians under a government funded program. It seemed like the answer to my prayers!

I applied, was accepted, and got placed to live in Bogotá. I was so excited!

Panaromic view of Bogota
Panaromic view of Bogota

La Candelaria, Bogota

this was almost my home!

But within a few weeks, a situation in my family made me feel like leaving would be the wrong thing to do. I withdrew from my Bogotá placement and resigned to the idea that I wouldn’t escape my hellish job for an adventure abroad :(

…My USC position came in the nick of time!

It couldn’t have been more than 3 weeks later that a friend told me about the position, got me an interview, and I met the boss and got offered the position on the spot. My heart might as well have erupted with butterflies!!

see ya never, job that I hate!!

My current job has been everything I wanted it to be, and I love it. Having worked somewhere I despised, I have a deeper appreciation for the type of job that you get up in the morning and actually look forward to.

…But my feet are still itchy.

And this is where living in the
future comes in.

I recently decided joining the Peace Corps is a goal I want to achieve in my near future.

I’d considered it before, but immaturity, fear, and frankly, materialism, have hindered me from actually signing myself away for 2 years of relative poverty in a third world country.

But that was then. I’m ready now.

I’ve always been a restless soul, and once my mind is set on something it’s hard for me to focus on the now, unless I’m actively working toward my goal.

So in my restlessness, last month I caught myself starting to resent my job.

I felt like since I haven’t worked there at least a year yet, I was tied to it and couldn’t move forward with my travel (…as though I would be ready to just pick up and leave right away anyway lol).

Plus, I felt resentment for the guilt I felt at the thought of leaving the job around the one year mark–what if they think I owe them something, and it comes off rude to leave so soon? The idea that it might be more proper to leave after even longer than a year made me irritated…would it ever be “fair” to leave??

…Isn’t it funny how we create problems for ourselves in our own minds? Thinking back, all of that was created within my head. But the whole time I placed the blame for my concerns on the job itself.

Anyway, I began to dream of teaching English in Thailand, getting the certification that I would need for my Peace Corps program while also exploring an exotic new land. I couldn’t wait to get started on it.

And soon, everything else–like work–was just in the way.

I wasn’t living in the now. And I wasn’t living in gratitude.

But then, we went to Orlando.

the sunset over Orlando from the plane

Every year my department sponsors the largest conference for our field of study in America. This year it was in Orlando, at the Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin.

So we got to stay at Disneyworld! It was such a magical experience (if you ever go to Disney, I highly recommend going during the holidays).

swandolphinpalmtreesdowntowndisney1downtowndisney2FullSizeRender (3)


And best of all…we got to go to Miami after!

My coworker and I have a mutual friend in Miami, and she was nice enough to drive down to Orlando and bring us up to stay with her for a couple of days.

Needless to say, it was awesome.

I’m officially a huge fan of Miami. It had all the things I love on a vacation:

The Beach (a must for me)




Art (I was blown away at how colorful and creative Miami was!)








(my favorite photo from the trip…so cute!! #babylover lol)




amen, sister.

and of course–Food!!

image1 (1)

FullSizeRender (1)

I still have dreams about this spread right here…Morgan’s!



I left Miami comletely recharged, and realized that I spent no more than about $200 of my own money in the entire two week Orlando/Miami experience–including lodging and airfare!!

I also realized that Miami has been on my travel wish list for a while now, but for affordability reasons I’d yet to visit.

And I came to the conclusion that this job that I had been failing to appreciate made all of this possible. The nerve of me! lol

I was embarrassed of myself and my attitude. I developed a new-found appreciation for the now, and the blessings that are right in front of me if I would just look at them and stop looking to the future or the past.

I was reinvigorated with a desire to do this job well–better than well–for however long I’m still in it.

And so, just in the time for the holidays and this season of gratitude, I hope you’re inspired to also take a look at your present, imperfect though it may be, and see the blessings in front of you.




– ♥ Sade


4 thoughts on “Disneyworld, Miami, …and a Lesson in Gratitude


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