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  • 5 Things I Quickly Learned Living Abroad.

    In January 2023 I packed up my bags and headed from Denver, Colorado to Copenhagen, Denmark to live temporarily in the Danes' capital city with my lover boy. Read some tips about living abroad, and get familiar with the difference between traveling abroad vs. making it home! 2022 was a bittersweet year for me. I moved to Denver, Colorado from my hometown in Ohio in March with whatever fit in my 2012 Jeep Liberty, and enough money to pay one month's rent. I didn't have a job lined up, but I was running on faith and bravery. I got to Denver, one of my best friends moved with me, and we settled into our downtown apartment. Within 2 weeks I was employed, settled into my space, and ready to take on the concrete jungle and rebuild my life from the one I left behind. We can dive deeper into the hell that transpired later in 2022, but to make a long story short for the meantime, shit hit the fan. I quit my leasing job for another property management job which ended up being a total fluke. I formerly substituted teaching back in Ohio, so I decided to do the same in Denver, and while it made me enough money, it didn't make me enough to help dig myself out of the hole that I'd fallen into accidentally. By December 2022, I'd been working 4 jobs, clocking out at 70+ hours a week, and just barely out of the negatives in my bank account. I'd lost nearly 20 lbs, and was the most depressed I'd ever been, to the extent that my signature catchphrase of "I cannot wait to wake up tomorrow" surely changed into "I pray I don't wake up tomorrow". It was literally the hardest season of my life, and I wouldn't be where I am today without my family, some supportive friends, and my partner, Will. Will and I met in our apartment building in Denver. He's originally from Indiana, and it turned out we grew up an hour and a half apart for basically our whole lives. Again, our love story is long, and I'll share that eventually, but the gist of our situation was that upon meeting for the first time over a year ago in Denver, Will had a six-month trip to Europe planned to live abroad which meant any chance of us starting a relationship surely wouldn't happen until he returned, and even then who knew. Our story is my favorite to tell, and eventually, I will, but to get to the part of me living in Europe with him, all you really need to know is that we fell in love, he knew shit had hit the fan for me, I was coming for a week to visit, and we decided it would be more fun if I just stayed here for those 3 months. I'd been an entrepreneur for almost 5 years, so I figured out how to stream in income while abroad, packed my bags, and headed to Europe. This is my first international trip ever, so here's what I've learned about traveling abroad versus living abroad. 1.) You don't need to know the language. Although it's a very cultured thought, learning a whole new language in such a short span is one tough mission. I'm not going to lie though, I spent hella time on DuoLingo attempting to learn Danish. I got down a few words like kvinde (woman), spiser (eat), drikke (drink) & a few others. Most people in European countries know English as their second language, so when it came down to needing to communicate, with a little patience I was able to chat with the Danes quite easily. If you've traveled abroad, you know that it's a challenge to understand the writing and conversations around you. However, living abroad takes that challenge up a few notches. You're not just ordering off a menu, or looking at Google maps to find the top Instagram-worthy destinations. You're filling out gym membership paperwork and trying to spell your name to someone who has different letters in their alphabet. You're also asking the postman for your address package and saying the format totally wrong. As someone who had never been out of the USA, it was a big adjustment at first. But now? I honestly love the fact I cannot understand 98% of the conversations happening around me. It makes me really aware of how different your experiences are when you understand the language. I was actually reading the book The Idiot by Elif Batuman while I was here, and it was such a fun read considering it highlights the existential crisis we often experience in life that isn't even sexual or personal, but pertains to our perspective on life and our surroundings merely because of language. I highly recommend this read. 2.) Public transportation in Denmark is incredible. The US needs to step it up. People still drive cars here, but it's not like it is back in The States. The majority of Copenhagen's citizens transport around the city by train, metro, bus, or bicycle. It's incredible! We clearly didn't have a car here, and while there are taxa (taxi) services, we opted in for the more authentic approach to navigating our new city. If you're briefly visiting Copenhagen, you should really look into the Copenhagen Card, which is a city pass to the metro and other destinations. With our abroad experience being more long-term, we opted for the Rejsekort , a refillable travel card for the bus, metro, and train. If you're not taking some form of public transport, you're riding a bike here. There are literally bikes everywhere. It's no wonder that the Danes are in way better shape than the Americans! 3.) Groceries don't last as long, but they're so much better for you! Honestly, to feed two people the groceries here we're pretty similar to those in The States, maybe just a smidge more expensive. The produce here is pricier than back home, and it rots a lot quicker too which to a stingy penny pincher would be deemed incredibly frustrating. However, the fresh produce here isn't contaminated with preservatives and chemicals like 90% of the food back home. I literally am so disgusted at the artificial sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives, and unnecessary garbage the USA FDA allows us to consume. You seriously need to start reading your labels! 4.) You don't always have to be doing something. Living abroad is a lot different than a travel trip. We still have to work while we were here, which made our schedule and routine much harder to combat. With an 8-hour time difference, we'd wake up at 10 AM here, head off to the gym, eat lunch, and by 4 PM our jobs were starting. Monday through Friday we had a routine of meal prepping, grocery shopping, normal chores like dishes (I am so sick of hand washing dishes), going to the gym, eating meals, and resting. We didn't have all the time in the world to be little travel influencers. On the weekends we'd wake up early and pack as much as we could into our Saturdays and Sunday's over the 12 weeks we spent here and honestly, that was plenty! Will and I would puzzle, read books, or binge-watch Yellowstone in our evenings. Sometimes it felt like all we did was stay in and mess around; he was on video games and me writing/creating random work, but other times it was just nice to reset and rest. Especially after the hell that my previous 6 months had been. 5.) Your native culture isn't always the best. Growing up in America, it's drilled into my head that I live in the "best damn land" there is. I quickly learned that statement isn't the truth. It's just some arrogant ploy some douchebag in the White House decided to convince the rest of the nation of. America has its perks, and I do love certain things about it. However, there's a lot that is super fucked up about American culture. I intend to really dive deep into some of these things in a separate blog post, and when I do I'll come back and link it here. In the meantime, it's important to understand this very important concept that I've uncovered living in one of the world's happiest countries, and yes, this is statistically proven. Not everything needs to be so hustle oriented. We don't need to genetically modify our food and pump it full of chemicals to meet quota. If we'd stop buying so much fucking farmland out from our farmers to have organically grown produce, we'd probably stop dropping like flies from cancer. If we would take the time to slow down and prioritize our time better, we'd stop having backed-up traffic on I-25/I-70 from car accidents if we'd crush the idea that we have to pack 100 tasks into our morning routines before flying out the door to make it to work. You're allowed to rest. You don't need to have six friends over every Friday for the socialite life that is glamorized on Bravo. You can embrace a little "hygge" (look it up) and mellow the fuck out. Life's not meant to be so goddamn serious, that's just the culture we grew up in telling us that our productivity measures our importance. Truth be told, I'm going to miss the hell out of being a Dane. There's so much I have learned in this experience alone, and I am really thrilled to keep uncovering it with you here in my blog. If you want to know any specifics, head over to my contact page and send some blog requests my way!

  • Welcome to My Blog!

    From personal stories, product reviews, and parading around the globe: soak it all up right here with me and my blog :) Hi, I'm Kaylista, and that's pronounced like KAY-list (like a grocery or to-do list) - UH. I was born and raised in Ohio for the first 24 years of my life, and then in the spring of 2022, I packed my 2012 Jeep Liberty up with only what could fit, and started life all over in Denver, Colorado. I feel like chatting about yourself to strangers is such a silly concept and while I want to just jump headfirst into a bunch of crazy topics on the blog, I feel like I should tell you more about myself, my career, my lifestyle, and whatever else is deemed creatively necessary. But First... It's important to chat about how I got here. As I mentioned before, I was born and raised in Ohio. The very top right corner of Ohio to be exact, in a small town called West Unity. My town had a population of like 5,000, one stoplight, and my graduating class had 50 kids in total to put things into perspective. While growing up in a super small town sounds like a Hallmark movie of close knit-community, it wasn't entirely that way. Growing up in a rural farm town usually coincides with almost everyone having the same conservative mindsets. Thus, making being myself really freaking hard because I have never fit into the box that those norms created, nor did I ever intend to. I enjoyed where I grew up, and I was thankful for most of the people who surrounded and supported me during such developmental years. My family was and always has been so close, not just geographically ( we were all about 15 minutes apart) but realationally too. The friends I had were lifelong friends, and I've managed to carry them with me into adulthood, but I've always valued my close knit circle and I have that to thank for the retention of those friendships. You know those old 2000's movies of the superficial popular blonde girl that nobody liked but was the head of everything and won all the things? That was literally my life. When I won Homecoming queen, nobody clapped. When I was elected class president senior year, people rolled their eyes. Through high school, I was involved in pageants; competing locally and then at state levels. By the time my pageant career ended, I was 22 and had been a 6x title winner from Miss. West Unity to Teen Miss Ohio State. I was on student council, served as class president sophomore and senior years, and I was actively a part of the volleyball and softball teams until junior year when I decided that work was more important than sports I wouldn't play in college. I'm not obnoxious or loud, but my personality is surely bold and big and therefore it left me rather unlike by most. I just wasn't afraid to be me, which was outgoing and eclectic. But in a school full of students who all marched relatively to the same beat, I wasn't particularly liked. Some said it's because I was a b!tch, but I say it's just because I wasn't willing to be caged. People mistook my honesty and authenticity for being a pretentious or rude, and honestly looking back I could see that stereotype but had people taken the time to really look beyond that, they would've seen that I was just trying to be free. Graduation came, I gave my speech in front of the community, tossed my cap in the air like the cliche movies, and said caio. College & Compromising... Fall of 2016 I packed my bags and moved to Athens, Ohio to attend Ohio University - my dream school! I loved Athens. The campus was beautiful with its brick roads and old architecture. The students came from all over and the cultural diversity was a breath of fresh air. I loved that everyone was free to just live and be. I was in a new place with new opportunities and possibilities and I did not take that for granted. By the end of the first semester, I was a tutor for the Bobcats' football team, making a lot of my new friends' giant linebackers and kickers. Talk about having backup when a boy broke my heart >:). Then I rushed for Greek Life and became a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, which we can chat about at a later date, can't 100% say that being a "guys-girl" makes for a fun time when you're affiliated with 150 other women. I'm not knocking Greek Life... entirely. It just wasn't the right fit for me. My real friends that I made were like family, and we all were just really accepting of our differences. I changed a lot in my first semester, leaving that "mean girl" status far far behind me. I really just started shredding old skin, and growing into the next version of myself. I struggled with a career path to choose in my studies, resulting in me changing my major over 5x in my undergraduate career. From Undecided to English Pre-Law to English Education, and then to Business and Marketing, I finally settled on Marketing Communications. However, life took a turn and I met a boy back home, my mom got diagnosed with not only one but two auto-immune diseases, and OU was telling me I'd be in school for another 3 years. So, I transferred from my dream school to The University of Toledo without telling my mom or boyfriend about my decision. I moved closer to home to be helpful, and of course, because I was 19 and smitten by a boy, to be closer to him too. I wasn't entirely happy about my decision, but it felt like the right one. To this day, I still think it was the right one even though I have some regrets. Fall of 2018 I went to my academic advisor at UT and told them I wanted out as soon as possible. Thanks to my tenacity, I had never had a semester with less than 18 credit hours, so we fast-tracked my academic career at UT to finish in one single year. Yeah, you read that right. I finished my 4-year degree a year early even after changing my major a handful of times. But the hard work didn't stop there. In hindsight, I compromised a lot from 2017 - 2022. I moved back to my hometown which I swore I wouldn't go back to, and I started building a life there with the boy I'd fallen in love with. Right out of college, in spring of 2019, I received a really great position at a local non-profit where I'd been positioned as the Director of Marketing, but unfortunately, that work environment was toxic and unhealthy. It possessed a lot of those conservative ideas that I hated and I ended up quitting after 3 months because I was having literal panic attacks in the bathroom. When I quit that job, I was making more money on the side doing photography anyway, so I pursued it full force. I was 20 and had no clue what I was doing but I registered an LLC and began to run a small business, all while simultaneously renovating an old farmhouse with my boyfriend of 3 years, and I was running myself straight into unhappiness but I was too naive and ignorant to notice let alone acknowledge it. Then... I've always loved love, and I've let it dictate a lot of my decisions throughout my life. Sometimes, love led me to be really stupid, and other times it led me to be insanely brave. I remember sitting cross-legged on the counter in January of 2021, perched in my mom's kitchen sobbing to her telling her how angry I was at myself for trying to fit myself in a box to be accepted by the community, my partner, and even sometimes my family and friends. It took over 3 years to acknowledge how far I'd fallen from the path I wanted to pursue, and by then I felt like it was too late to become who I once dreamt of being. I knew that I'd compromised everything I'd ever wanted for a life that seemed great on paper. When I was 18 I wanted to be a journalist who lived in a big city on the west coast. I was 22 almost 23 living in my same small town working weird jobs because what I wanted to do wasn't an option in a town with one stoplight. It also was never even an option to ask my partner to move away from the county we grew up in. It was settled, that house was our forever home and we'd build our lives around that. I was decisions away from an engagement, marriage, and children and I knew that if I continued to compromise I'd be 30 and divorced with children and insane amounts of resentment towards everyone, but primarly myself. So, by the grace of God, my boyfriend at the time was in the same boat. We ended our four year relationship a few weeks later and it was the most brutally bittersweet thing to ever happen to me. We left with a lot of love and respect for one another, but we knew we weren't the right fit. To this day I respect the hell out of that guy, and even though we didn't know how to love each other right I am so excited to watch us find the people who can and will because we both deserve that. (and I'm pretty sure I found it but that's a secret for another day ;) ) I cried a lot, and for a long time. I missed him and us and the life we dreamt about, but it was just because I was scared of the uncomfortability I was feeling in that season of singleness. I didn't catch onto that until I went through a lot of therapy and just allowed time to do its thang. I spent the next 15 months mourning the loss of my 18 year old self and her dreams, just as much as I mourned the 22 year old version of myself too. By the time I turned 24 in January of 2022, I was healed from my heartbreak and more sure of myself than I'd ever been. And Now... After I took my time grieving, accepting, and healing I packed my car and moved across the country. I left my family, my clients, my business, and my past behind me, taking what only fit in my jeep and my best friend of 20 years, Malorie. We moved into a 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Denver, and life got even crazier, but we will touch on that at a later date. For now, life's alright. It's not great, it's not bad, it just is. And I'm thankful for the "is" and the people in it with me. I am even more thankful for the story behind how I got here because it's a lot more than a stingy conservative hometown or a failed relationship. I mean, I don't see my therapist bi-weekly just because I wasn't well liked in high school or because a relationship cracked my heart. I've been through a lot, some battles I brought onto myself and some I never asked for; I have been fighting for decades. The biggest take away I want you to have from reading my backstory is just to embrace the change. Allow yourself to grieve old versions of yourself, and be kind enough to acknowledge that if you're still unhappy with your life that you have the freedom to change it if you try. My life now isn't about attaining a picture perfect plan. There's no steps in place, no procedures to follow, it's just merely being present and persistent. In this next chapter of my life, I'm shedding more skin than I've ever before and more importantly, I'm hell bent on breaking cycles, breaking norms, and breaking the chains that once tried to tie me down to something never meant for me to begin with. If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read and be here with me. I'm excited to share more stories about bravery, courage, authenticity, and gentleness with you as we navigate a world that so viciously wants us to be repressed. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on the tea, and send me emails from time to time if something resonates within you. Until then, xx. -K

  • The Best Side Hustle For The Self-Employed

    As an independent contractor, self-employed hustler, or someone just seeking extra income with a flexible schedule this side hustle brings home at least $100 a day! As an entrepreneur running my own creative business sometimes funds roll in heavy and other times things get tight! I love having this side hustle as a way to get some extra cash, but also do something that makes an impact and matters. Substitute & Guest Teaching in Your State! “Honestly, substitute/guest teaching is the best decision I made for myself and additional income. I get to choose what days I work, where I work, and who I work with!" Before you automatically say "teaching isn't for me!" and peace out, hear me out. Becoming a licensed substitute teacher was one of the best decisions I made in terms of earning extra income. Why I Started Substitute Teaching When I was in college, I changed my major 5 times. One of those major changes was to Integrated Language Arts and I intended to teach High School English. Well, I changed my mind again obviously, and never ended up pursuing teaching as a full-time career. However, in November of 2021, my photography business started to slow down for the winter, and money was getting tight. I didn't want to take on some part-time job for 4 months and waste a company's time training me only to know I would leave come spring when work picked back up. I asked around to friends and family, and my Nana Kristen, who teaches first grade encouraged me to look into substitute teaching. The demand for substitutes is exceptionally high all over the country and regardless of what state you live in, it's relatively really easy to get into it! How to Become A Licensed Substitute/Guest Teacher “Be original, show off your style, and tell your story.” I'm dually licensed in both Ohio and Colorado. I'm originally from Ohio, which is where my guest teaching career began. Back home, the process was a little simpler because I grew up in a really small rural area in Northwest Ohio. They required a Bachelor's Degree, FBI Background Check, Fingerprinting, and Licensure to begin. As for Colorado, because I live downtown in Denver things were a little more complicated. CDE (Colorado Department of Education) has a more extensive process because the Denver Public School district is really large. I underwent two rounds of fingerprinting, and another FBI background check, and then could attain my licensure online. And obviously, I have my Bachelor's too. I'm not entirely sure anymore and every state is the same, but a lot of states are dismissing the requirement of a Bachelor's Degree because of the desperation to get substitute teachers in their institutions. If you're interested, I recommend making sure you check with your state's department of education to ensure you don't need to have a BA or BS to begin! Investment & Pay When it comes to getting licensed and beginning, you'll invest roughly $150 between the license and your fingerprinting. However, depending on what state you're in, you can make that back in a single day of teaching. In Ohio, the school district I could substitute for paid about $100 per day. Here in Denver, my school district pays $160. These are only 2 states out of 50, but again, your Department of Education website will be able to rely on the amount you'd be paid based on your background, experience, and length of licensure. What a Day Substitute Teaching Looks Like When I first started guest teaching I took any and every open job that popped up. The primary purpose was for additional income, so I wasn't being picky just persistent. Furthermore, as a licensed substitute, I can teach any grade or topic. Therefore, I've been in Kindergarten classrooms and 12th-grade classes too. I've had an assignment for every grade level, and now know the grades that I do well with guest teaching as opposed to those that aren't the best fit. While the little kids and middle schoolers are cute, they're not for me. I love little kids, but it requires a different pace and patience that I don't possess. Like I said before, my Nana is a 1st-grade teacher and has been for decades. She doesn't enjoy teaching older kids, and I'm the exact opposite. I prefer high school because I think with my being 25, we are on a more appropriate scale. I'm really honest with my students and can talk to them like they're adults. I'm transparent in telling them when their behavior is inappropriate and giving them real advice because I was in their shoes less than 10 years ago. Because of this, I think they enjoy having me just as much. Plus, being self-employed and running a business, I'm busy and have work to do. When it comes to guest teaching high school, most students are pretty self-sufficient in their studies and have projects they can work on with a brief overview of the lesson plan that's left by their teacher. So basically, it's a study hall or silent work and I can work on my stuff too. With younger grade levels, there's a lot more teaching that goes into it and sometimes I'll throw myself a curveball and pick up a middle school or elementary assignment just for a change of pace. When you go to work that day, teachers usually have lesson plans thoroughly drafted up, so I recommend getting there 10-15 minutes before you should be to just read them over and familiarize yourself with any materials. Also, don't be afraid to ask a staff teacher for help if you're confused. Odds are they're happy you're voluntarily here helping their students learn! Why I Guest Teach Every Day When I first started substitute teaching back in Ohio, it was circumstantial. My situation in Denver has been a weird one, and while I work on growing my clientele out here I can make an additional income to support myself by teaching. Recently, I took on a temp guest teaching job. Temp jobs are usually temporary jobs that expand over some time. This specific school I'm currently at hasn't had an art teacher all year, so while they're interviewing to find one, I'm here every day with these students. I don't teach every day just because of the money. I very well could apply elsewhere and make more. I guest teach every day because these kids need me, just like they need you. Even if it's just for one day, you showing up to be there to support their education means a lot to the district, the school, the staff, and the students. Honestly, substitute and guest teaching is the best decision I made for myself and additional income. I get to choose what days I work, where I'll be, and who I'm working with! All of these are usually never an option for most people seeking a side hustle. Where To Start If you're looking for a side hustle or looking for a potential career switch into education I recommend trying out substitute teaching. I've provided some easy steps below for where to begin and what steps to take to get yourself registered and in the classroom! Explore your state's Department of Education website See if they require a Bachelor's Degree or not Register for your fingerprints Email the district center you're in to make a connection there if you need help! Complete the online paperwork Register for a 1 or 3-year license (I recommend 3, they cost the same, and its less hassle in the future) Start teaching! I hope that if you're someone like me looking for an opportunity to explore a new career, or just make extra money while making an impact this is an avenue you truly consider because I honestly believe you'd find yourself satisfied. If you've loved this post and are taking the next steps to becoming a guest teacher, send me an email or subscribe and say hi! I'm here to encourage and to support you :)

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