My blog is one year old!

A year ago today I posted an 190 word blog post, titled “Why am I a lion?”. My inspiration came from taking a baby Simba lion stuffed animal that my boyfriend at the time got me to Chicago, Illinois. That’s when I realized how freaking amazing lions are. They’re fierce and strong. Exactly like how I wish to live my life. “She Became a Lion”. A quote from that very first blog post- “I like to think of myself like a lion. Strong. Fierce. An over-comer. Yet, gentle. Because, everyone sees some shit in life. But, it gets better. As stereotypical as that may sound. Really… Everyone can find their lion. My inspiration just happened to… actually be a lion.

I ended that post like I’ve ended almost every post on my blog; with a quote or small, uplifting statement. That statement was “smile, you’re amazing“. fiftyLittle did I know that statement would lead to so many more.
Over the course of a year, I posted 50 times. I got this cool little notification from WordPress right after posting my April Goals update. Fifty posts, anywhere from poetry and posts about myself, to Simba traveling and whatever else random I come up with, all these posts make up my blog.

From my fourteen followers, my friends that regularly read my blog whenever I post on Snapchat that I’m “back at it again”, to my fantastic editor and countless drafts that have lived on my account or ages, that’s what SHEBECAMEALIONTWOmy blog is. It’s nothing big, nothing popular. Sure, it’s the link in my bio on all of my social media accounts, but that doesn’t mean anything. I’m super thankful to those of you that read my posts, those of you that express your excitement about reading my posts to me. All of you are so fantastic.

So, that’s where my blog has come in a year. But… what about me? Surely I changed a little. And change, I did.

If you would’ve asked me on April 9th, 2016 where I saw myself in a year, I could never have imagined where I am right now ever being an answer to that. My answer would’ve been somewhere along the lines of “finishing my second semester as a Music Education major in college and with my amazing boyfriend”. Never in my life did I think I’d be in the Netherlands, taking a gap year from school, and single. Not on April 9th, 2016 anyway.

Now, just because I said I never thought I’d be here, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. I may not have my boyfriend anymore, and yeah- it took me incredibly long to figure out how to be okay again- but I did, and I’m better than before. I am so thankful for the memories I was able to share with him, for the part of my life that he was… But it was without him that I learned to truly love myself. I have the best friends anyone could ask for. They go out of their comfort zones to make sure I’m okay… rescuing me from the side of the road when I slid on ice, telling me I’m amazing and encouraging me, and just being the helpful amazing people you are. I couldn’t thank Lauren, Kat, and Alex enough for always being my best friends. I may not be in college, or even in America for that matter, but that doesn’t stop me from realizing that being in the Netherlands can be an amazing experience. I’ve done so much that other people my age would never have been able to, I’ve seen family I haven’t seen since I was a little older than a toddler, I’ve done a bunch of really fun things, and I’ve definitely brushed up on my ability to speak the language.

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Oh, and of course Simba is here as well. He’s the little lion that started all of this, why wouldn’t he be?

In summary, I suppose I do kind of miss the idea of where I thought my life was going. But everything happens for a reason, and sometimes life’s just about riding it out and finding exactly what that reason is. There’s no shame in changing majors, re-thinking your friend group, cutting toxic people out of your life, or even completely changing who you are. Be you, be confident, break out of your shell.

A year ago today, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable going out in public and showing enthusiasm for something no one around me had enthusiasm for. Yesterday, at the Day of Music, I realized I no longer cared. I was happy to be doing improv and singing and being excited about music again, and I didn’t care that everyone around me thought the leaders of the workshop were completely insane for being so energetic. It was an amazing experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I couldn’t be more thankful for the people around me who have helped me realize this, who have pushed me to be the best me I can be. Lastly, I’m thankful for this blog- for being my creative outlet- for being somewhere I can go to write. I’m thankful that it’s helped people and that it makes people happy to read my thoughts. Here’s a little something from that very first blog post again:

These are my journeys, my thoughts, Simba’s travels, my poetry- well, I really just hope for this to be an inspiration to others. For others to find their lion. Or owl, gazelle, octopus, eagle, stork, anything. For others to keep fighting, to find life’s beauty, to be strong.

Here’s to many more years of happiness, figuring out who I am, and maybe blogging about it along the way!
And don’t forget to smile, because you’re amazing.

~E. ♥

Noah’s Lost Ark & Lions

This past month, my family visited an exotic animal sanctuary, called Noah’s Lost Ark.  I thought it was really incredible- especially because of the amount of animals they had. They had everything from miniature horses and donkeys to kinkajous and lions.

Noah’s Lost Ark, however, is not your regular petting zoo. Every animal that is there has been rescued from being abused, or simply being unwanted.

The lions were absolutely adorable. You can meet them here. Multiple have been named Simba, and I thought that was the cutest thing.

So, that was my trip visiting lions. They’re really pretty cool.

Stay strong.

-E.

I’m not a lion today.

I’m not a lion today. Or yesterday. It was 7 months and 9 days… But they were, what I thought, the most amazing 7 months of my life. It felt so much longer than 7 months… We always said forever and ever… 12-1-15 to forever and ever, to be exact. Well, I guess it was 12-1-15 to 7-11-16.

I miss him like all hell. We have so many memories, and it hurts to think about them. It hurts in general. Sometimes I’m okay, but I love him. And when you love someone, who stopped loving you, well, that hurts a little (that’s an understatement). The 222 days spent in this relationship were, well, some weren’t the best, no, however they felt blissful and perfect. And oh goodness, I was happy. I thought he was, too.

When we started dating, everyone commented on how happy he always was now. I guess that came to an end. I wish there was something I could’ve done.

I’m gonna miss it. I already miss wearing his class ring on a necklace around my neck. I loved wearing it… at some point he loved seeing me wearing it. The little red diamond, the engraving, jazz and “Carpe Diem” on the sides… wow. I still wear the ring he got me in New Orleans to ask me to prom with. That’s probably not okay but… I’m still in love with him…

I will miss our breakfast dinners, our sporadic driving trips like when we got fudge at that flea market. I will miss playing music with you, singing in your car… because you truly did improve so much. Music school is a great fit for you, and you will excel and do great things (me not so much, I’m still doubting. Again. Maybe music isn’t for me?).  I still love you.

I texted him and asked if he’s still reading the notes I wrote him. I wrote him ~365 notes as as a birthday gift. He said he did, but now he stopped. I don’t know what I expected, but that hurt, too.

I will miss watching Sharknado, cuddling on the couch. We never did get our Star Wars marathon day… We did watch Ant Man, Ferris Bueller, Grease (sort of), Bob Ross (I do believe “Forest Down Oval” was your favorite episode), and that Crackling Fireplace… (crackling). Hah. We played AirConsole too, and that quiz was fun. I think at some point we watched Criminal Minds, too.

Prom… Both proms were amazing. Thank you for being my date to them. Thank you for taking me to yours. Thank you for taking me to Perkins with the group after your prom, and then going to the Drive-In after mine.

I think I’ll miss your friends, too. They were nice. The one double date we did was fun (and yes, you have some incredible athletic skills on a trampoline. It was impressive).

I’ll miss our snapstreak, which was 221 today, I believe. And how much effort we put into those stupid little heart things that mean we were eachothers’ best friends for however long…

I looked back through my album of pictures of us and you on my phone today, and I realized you haven’t genuinely smiled in a while. It hurt coming to that realization. I miss that smile… That smile was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen… and it meant so much when it was about me, or for me.

I miss the smell of you, as dumb as that is. It’s engraved in my head, and I think I even started to smell like you a little. You always smelled so good… I loved that about you, too.

Oh and hey, you can eat my fruit snacks that are at your house now.

I’m gonna miss driving by the school and looking at your tire tracks in the grass by the curve of the road where we got stuck in the snow and had to get towed by AAA.

I miss playing “Headbands” or “Heads Up” (or whatever it’s called) with you, and our swan at Cedar Point was fantastic.

I miss breaks in between Stambaugh rehearsal where I’d “perch” up on my spot, and we’d sort of sit and cuddle. I also find it adorable that you broke off a little piece of the tree branch from the tree by my spot in the Stambaugh parking lot. It was so cute…

I’m going to miss our cuddles, and our kisses, and “the cheerleader”. I do miss our cuddles and our kisses.

I’m going to miss our booth, booth 19, at Waffle House. I’m gonna miss those late night conversations with Jeremy, as well as Kaj when he worked that shift. I even miss the little thing you did with the syrup bottles at IHOP, when you’d make them talk and make “sir-yup” jokes. I’m so mad at myself for getting embarrassed by that… it was so cute.

I’m going to miss your coffee addiction, and joking around about how much of an adult you are.

I’m going to miss going to concerts with you. The Packard band ones were fun, as was Boardman. And thank you for coming to my concerts, and playing in our jazz band (you’re an amazing jazz musician, too), and thank you for letting me come to your concert.

Thank you for coming to the basketball game with us, and then judging the pep band and commentating the game. It was a nice time.

Thank you for coming to Mill Creek Park for those lights… And when you said “All these lights and she’s the only one that lights my world”. That was quite.. amazing. And the “All this sugar isn’t nearly as sweet as you”. That one was nice, too.

Thank you for coming to church with me on Easter. That meant so much too, even though I know you were out of your comfort zone.

I guess I’ll never see the first act of “Meet Me at the Corner of Robinson and Crusoe”… I tried so hard. I rushed home from robotics to try and make it… I loved it, though. You’re such a talented actor. And thank you for taking me to dinner with the drama club those nights. And after your band concert, too. We may not have gone with your senior class, but we had a great time.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for the parades you did with my family and I. The Christmas one with the tree lighting was one of our first “dates”. It was nice. I still love that selfie of us.

Thank you for coming to the Wing Conference dinner. Thank you for coming to the Squadron Christmas party. All my CAP friends loved you. All my friends loved you… We were “goals“.

Thank you for allowing me to be your date to that dance your band sponsors. The Snow Ball, or whatever.

Thank you for your awesome music taste, and your sense of humor. I’ll miss both of those, too.

Thank you for coming to the quintet show, and the graduation party we played at. And then coming afterwards and playing Cards Against Humanity with us.

Thank you for always bragging about me. As much as I hate(d) it, it was kind of cute. You loved showing me off.

Thank you for taking me skating, at your favorite place, nonetheless. That date was perfect. And cute. Although… #TeamInlineForLife.

Thank you for letting me put my fingerprint in your phone, and making your password our anniversary. And your wallpaper was always the hearts on my car window (which are still there) and then me. First that one picture of me in the hoodie… Awe. Then the cute collages you made.

Thank you for taking me to that expensive restaurant. Even though I felt a little awkward in that setting, it was so beautiful. I hope you find a lifestyle that fits you, and you can achieve your goal of eating like that once a week. And thank you for taking me to the two story Barnes and Noble and Starbucks after. That day was a nice day.

And the movies we saw together… Pan (okay, maybe I’m scared of birds), Deadpool, The Angry Birds Movie, Zootopia (and Shakira…) and the Drive-In ones; The Jungle Book, Finding Dory, and Alice: Through the Looking Glass. Those were fantastic dates. I never used to be into traditional movie dates, but damn, they were pretty awesome. Especially the Jungle Book at the drive-in, when we cuddled in the back of your car. That was after my prom.

Thank you for getting me Baby Simba in Disney… I still cuddle him, and I don’t think I’ll be discontinuing his travels. I do enjoy blogging those.

Thank you for emailing me while I was in Texas. Yes, it was unconventional as all hell, but it worked. I got to talk to you.

Thank you for making a Pinterest and a Facebook. That was cute too. Because, yeah, I hinted it but they were your decisions, and you were so enthusiastic about it.

Thank you for buying me those earrings, the paper crane ones and the diamond-like ones. Both are for different things, but both are so cute and amazing.

Thank you for making me Paper Cranes. I guess we never did get to 1,000. But I think I have like, 27. That’s not so bad, either. They’re cute. I still remember when you said “I’m making a flock so I can fly to you”. That was so adorable…

Thank you for all of your clothes I ended up stealing/using/having. I don’t even know how to put this one and sound sane. Oh well, it’s a common couple-y thing, I suppose. Your green jacket, your gray zip-up jacket, your drama club shirt, your reading clinic shirt (which I totally took to Texas, along with your hat and pajamas), the R2D2 pajamas, and your hat (and then the other I ended up with, with the Alice pins...)… I loved wearing them. They smelled just like you, too…

Thank you for being the adorable nerd you are, for going on amazing factual statements I under-appreciated. For enthusiastically talking about your favorite games like Bastion and Transistor, and the new Pyre, even though you knew I really don’t game or even understand sometimes. Or your favorite soundtracks, like Darren Korb. Or your favorite streamers and Youtubers and all of that. Because I really just loved hearing you talk about things you’re passionate about. You were happy.

Thank you for always talking about everything, and making sure I’m comfortable and happy.

Thank you for trusting me, and always saying you would never lie to me. I don’t know if you did or not, but I’ll try to have faith you didn’t. Thank you for sharing things with me I know you wouldn’t with anyone else. I know so much about you, and trust me, that’s safe with me (and I don’t love you any less because of it, and I never did).

Thank you for taking me to Cedar Point with your sister and her friend. That was a fun day. I bought you that octopus necklace and I was going to do something cute with it, but I’m sorry. I may end up just wearing it- I need a necklace now anyway, and Octopi are pretty great.

Thank you for coming to my graduation(s), and allowing me to come to yours. I’m glad I had someone to share those memories with. The graduation parties, too. Ours were nice, and so was going to the one of your friend.

Thank you for keeping that damn cotton candy machine for so long. I know it’s a pain in the neck.. but you did it without the blink of an eye. Thank you.

Thank you for helping me babysit that one day. Our little walk was fun.

Thank you for always caring about me, (and I don’t know if you still would), but thank you for practically being willing to do anything to protect me.

Your parents are sweethearts. I’ll miss them too. Thank you guys for everything, as well. And thank you for planning that Disney trip. Sorry about the extra room you have now…

Thank you for getting my brother that Jelly Bean dispenser, and the Minecraft stuff. That was sweet.

Thank you for keeping my blog open in a tab on your phone. That is (was?) so sweet.

Thank you for keeping my snapstreaks while I was in Texas.

Thank you for getting those markers for my graduation party (you solved that super well).

Thank you for keeping saltines in your car for me.

Thank you for feeding my Monster addiction, really. It was nice to have an energy drink (or two, or three) here and there.

Thank you for coming into the room where I was making parade float decorations just to give me a kiss. That was really sweet.

Thank you for doing Relay for Life with me, and even going the extra mile and wearing a dress to raise money for our team… That meant so incredibly much and you handled it so well. And when we went to the house that night and we just cuddled all night, and neither of us wanted to get up out of that bed in the morning… I really thought there would’ve been more days in the future we’d wake up together like that.

I miss kissing you, and putting my hand on the back of your head to pull you closer. I loved your new haircut too, even though I was a complete bitch about it at first. I’m sorry… You really do look great no matter what.

Thank you for those nights at Inner Circle after our concerts. We played pool, and you single-handedly destroyed the opponents; mostly since I could barely hold the pool stick thing, and you’re just that good.

Thank you for that night at Stambaugh, when I was upset, and you flicked that cork grease at me to cheer me up… and then held my hand… and well, the rest was history.

I guess this post is long (the longest on my blog yet) and maybe unnecessary for the reader, but I needed this. I’m an upset, crying mess, and have been crying almost non-stop since 12:55 (the late one) on what just turned Monday the 11th. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep, and I feel like my heart was kinda ripped out. Oh well, maybe it was for the best. All good things come to an end, right?

I wish that I could wake up with amnesia
And forget about the stupid little things
Like the way it felt to fall asleep next to you
And the memories I never can escape…

‘Cause I’m not fine at all.

-E.

 

 

 

Cyber and San Antonio- The Ramblings

The 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy was a success. It may not have felt like it to me every day, but it absolutely was.

I can honestly say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into signing up for both the Cyberspace Advanced Course and staff. I thought it’d be simple, the cadets the year before made it look easy… right? Well, easy comes far from describing my week. Stressful, perhaps, but also not really. Let me begin with explaining all these pictures- and the stories along with them.

13569814_1133945366646688_1438685109_oThis picture to the left shows Simba sitting on what was my bed for the duration of the activity. To the right slightly below is a view the other way. Centered below is the female bay area, with my bed being the one with the giant red suitcase in the front. It was quite the comfortable place to sleep my approximate 4 hours a night once we got air conditioning.

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Below this text is a photo of the male barracks. There were more males than females, and this is only half of the beds the males used. There were about 50 beds in the male bay alone, and I know this because I did their bunk assignments. Thanks guys!
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And finally, this last picture is the lovely “tattoo” I got from a fellow staff member. I guess the friendships were near the top of the “best things of the week” list.

 

Now to continue on with my rambling about the Cyber Defense Training Academy…

Every day, including the staff training days, started off with PT. We would run a mile, or do the CPFT (Cadet Physical Fitness Test), or do some other horrific exercise like duck walks to the point where half of the cadets could barely walk the rest of the week. I may or may not have been included in the half that couldn’t walk… Oh well, what matters (to me, anyway) is that I was able to breathe while running the mile down in Texas (whoa) and I took two minutes off my time. I very much can confirm this map is very accurate in its representation of climates. death

We then would go to breakfast- I’d eat almost the same thing every day. Two hard boiled eggs with a pound of salt each (to feed my sodium deficiency!) and french toast. But, my dietary habits are for another time… or not. It isn’t too interesting. Other than the fact that I ate a corn dog and fries for dinner every day this year and last and I really want a corn dog and fries right now. I need to get my mind off of food… So. After that we’d go to the classroom and learn. The Familiarization Course would go to some secure facility I probably couldn’t name even if I remembered it, and we went to the IPSecure Building on base. The chairs were really comfortable, and we learned about Cisco Networking and encryption all week. The first day we actually got to “play” with the switches, which was really fun. It was stressful though, and my quiz scores weren’t up to my standards. The second day when I got my score back, I actually cried because I did so… not okay… according to myself. With lots of comfort from my friends and fellow staff, I made it. I got a 94% on my final, which was still one of the highest final grades.

I learned. Not just about Cisco, or computers, but about myself. On Day 0, the commandant gave a speech. He said something along the lines of “everybody fails, and you learn from your failures”. Not going to lie, I kind of blew that off. Until about day 4, that is. My scores started improving. I connected with my team. I got more sleep. I realized… without completely crashing and failing those first few days, and trying to push myself past exhaustion… I wouldn’t have found where I should’ve been. Because I failed, I learned and grew. For a long time, I’d been afraid of failure. I was always afraid that I’d be letting someone down, that I’d be letting myself down. Yes, striving for excellence is key, but sometimes it’s okay to fall flat on your face. Because that’s when you learn to get back up and brush it off, to keep smiling, and completely dominate in whatever you’re doing.

So, yeah. The 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy was a success. It may not have felt like it to me every day, but it absolutely was.

-E. 

Cyber and San Antonio (The Way There)

So, the next ten days I will be without my cell phone or any real way to contact anyone at JBSA Lackland in San Antonio, Texas- attending the Cyberspace Advanced Course and acting as staff for the 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy. This academy is a Civil Air Patrol National Activity, which I attended last year as well.

This year though, Simba came with me. Here are some pictures from the trip there.

It was 100 degrees when we landed here… Way too hot. I miss Ohio already. On top of missing the weather, though, I miss my family and my boyfriend like crazy. I’m sure these ten days will fly by. Right? I don’t know why I’m so stressed. It’s gonna be fantastic.

Well, babe, I know you’ll read this soon, I love you. Same to my family.

I’m going to continue waiting to be picked up in the USO Lounge now.

Be Brave.

-E.

Graduation and the Future

A cat in a cage becomes a lion” ~Indian Proverb

I guess you could say I was a cat in a cage. Constantly being told what to do, what to wear, how to act, and forced to do things like ask to go to the bathroom. The days of school lunches, waking up early, and annoying human beings pretending High School is everything are behind me. I was in that cage for far too long, but this past year I realized who I am. I realized my passion for music, and teaching music. I realized that no matter what people say, I will follow my dreams. I am going to college to major in Music Education, and minor in Special Education. Now, it may not make the most money according to some people- but I will be happy. And I will be the source of happiness for others.

Without music… without band in my life, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am. All the time spent in the band room, talking to my director while being an emotional wreck.. all the times spent cramming in hours of practice that don’t exist in a day for Solo and Ensemble competitions… The friendships I’ve made… The memories I’ve made… I realized- this year, I became a lion. I wasn’t the cat in the cage anymore. I wasn’t going through the motions anymore. I was happy. I stood in front of sixth graders and conducted a song for them in class- something I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do even a year ago. I was a member of multiple performing groups, including the local Honors Band and a quintet. I’ve performed Taps at least 5 times… Probably more. I was the echo for another phenomenal trumpet player, who is also going into music education. I learned to play every other brass instrument, and am starting to learn flute, clarinet, and ukulele this summer now that I will have more time. I played along with multiple other grade levels of bands in our school system- on various instruments.I got a card at the Senior Band Picnic from a freshman trumpet player I befriended. I swore I wouldn’t cry about being a senior… I wouldn’t be THAT person. But her card made me cry. She thanked me for helping her get to the level she’s at. It was the first thank you I’d gotten… and it hit me hard. My favorite 13324269_1112002138841011_1442581514_oband memory that I used at the picnic when asked by the Band President was being able to share the love of music, and help people. I realized right then and there I made the right choice. My boyfriend is into music education as well, and I can’t wait. Both of us constantly working on some variation of music? I can’t wait.

So, graduating was nice. I’m  ready to move on in life. No longer a timid cat, but a lion- ready for anything.

-E.

 

Civil Air Patrol Wing Conference

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This weekend was our Wing (state) Conference for the Civil Air Patrol; the United States Air Force Auxiliary. It was a pretty amazing experience.

I got to share a room with my best friend in CAP whom I only see about twice a year- and it was great. We worked out in the pathetic little gym the place had; a treadmill, elliptical, and about three and a half sets of weights, we stayed up until approximately two a.m. playing the game “Heads Up” on my Kindle, and we ironed our uniforms.

The next morning, we woke up late- we were under the impression that registration started an hour later than it actually did; but we got ready in 27 minutes exactly, and if I do say so myself, we looked pretty great. It was a fun-filled day, from teaching a class on Team Leadership with a friend from my squadron, to meeting Major Blaine Jones (former Thunderbird Opposing Solo pilot) and his wife Lieutenant Colonel Carey Jones, to making music puns with the Wing and Region commanders, to being awarded Wing Cadet Officer of the Year at the banquet- which my family attended with me.

And of course, Simba was along for the ride. It was an awesome experience, and an awesome weekend.

-E.

Lions and Tigers and Proms, Oh My!

Hello all 🙂

This past weekend, a high school phenomenon happened- more commonly known as Prom.

What is this “prom”?

prom [präm]

NOUN

  1. informal – NORTH AMERICAN
    a formal dance, especially one held by a class in high school or college at the end of a year.

Now that that’s covered, let’s get to the point of this blog post, shall we?


I’ve dreamed from a little girl to have a HUGE poofy dress. Well, for my senior prom, that dream finally came true.

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Babe and I before his prom.                                       Simba proudly wears “the poof”.


So, the irony in all of this? My prom’s theme was “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”. You know, the song by Elton John. From the one and only “The Lion King”. In case you need a reminder:

 

This was the bottom picture on our photo booth picture strip- along with a little lion.

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So yeah, prom was pretty awesome. Time with my favorite, lions everywhere, it was nice.

Simba’s First Adventure (The Windy City)

So, we left the school at 6:00 in the morning on Saturday. We slept on the bus until…

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Simba looks out the window at our first rest stop, in the middle of nowhere, Indiana.
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Simba posed for a quick picture wih our warm up for the clinic with the professor from North Western University.
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We stopped at KFC on the way there!
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Simba is enjoying a tour from our Gangster tour guide, “Johnny Three Knives”. (Thanks to Untouchable Tours)
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We ate dinner at the Navy Pier!
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Simba stayed in my purse while I went up in the Willis Tower, since I didn’t really want to explain a stuffed lion to the security people.
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Simba laughed at me because I got hair dye on the hotel pillow… I ended up leaving a large tip and an apology note.. heh.
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Simba’s favorite part of the trip was Millennium Park, and the giant Bean.

 

All in all, I’d say Simba had a pretty great trip. I did, too.