Thank Yous

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life! These are in no particular order (So don’t worry if you’re at the bottom of the list, my love for you is still exponential!!). I just sat down and started writing what I wanted to say, so here it goes:

EVAN – Thank you for being the best brother anyone could ask for, and for your general awesomeness. You really are the only person I’ve known since day 1, and only twins can say that! I’m so happy I got to grow up with you and I will miss all the talks we’ve had sitting on the counters in the kitchen. You are one of the most kindhearted people I know, and I’m going to miss you every day!

MOM – Momma, thank you for being the first strong, independent woman I was introduced to, for instilling those same traits in me, and for allowing me to have a dream and follow it. I’m going to miss our Sunday morning coffee dates on our uber comfy couch, but if I find a cafe with a comfy couch, coffee, and internet you’ll be the first phone call I make! Thank you for breaking a societal norm (being a loving mom, having a successful career, and being a great friend all at once!), for your support and faith in my judgment, and for loving us unconditionally!

DAD – Thanks for the daily phone chats, your ability to drop everything to talk to us whenever we need it, and telling me I could grow up to be whatever I wanted (including the several year stint when I thought I wanted to be a dolphin trainer). Thank you for your love of movies and books, for running around the Piermain house with us on your shoulders even though it resulted in sprained ankles, and for being the best dad in the world and loving Evan and I an inexplicable amount!

LIV – You are the closest thing I have to a sister! Thank you for your spontaneity and beautiful, positive outlook on life, for your love of travel and exploring new places and cultures, for that insanely contagious laugh, for your love of cafecitos!!, and for always being there to talk, laugh, cry, analyze, and habla de chisme! Te amo con todo mi corazon! and I wish you could come on this journey with me!

ANGIE AND THE GIRLS, plus Josue 🙂 – For becoming my “second mom” at such a young age, for raising 4 beautiful children, for always being able to smile and laugh in any situation, for teaching me my first Spanish words with those cards that Dad probably made you make for Evan and I, and for introducing me to Saved by the Bell, a crucial element in my childhood. I wish I got to see all of you more often, but you are family and I miss and love you all!

GRANDMA LUCY – I have no doubt you will be with me every day on this journey! I can just see you telling Dad that if he’s not going to follow me around then you will! Thank you for your endearing stubbornness and unshakable independence – both of which I gladly inherited! Most importantly, thank you for your scrumptious lemon ice box pie :). We miss you every day.

PAPA WOODY – I’m not sure how you would feel about my trip, but I have a feeling you’d be telling me to go and have the time of my life and then scolding Dad for letting me go. If you’re up there – tell Dad to stop freaking out. I wish I had known you longer, but I know how much you loved us and I am so thankful for that.

NANNA and PAPA– For always making their grandchildren feel welcomed in their home, for those wonderful scooters, and for ensuring that Evan, Vaughn and I were lathered with bug spray before we spent hours wandering around in the woods. Nanna, thank you for teaching me how to drive, and, most importantly, teaching me that ‘drinking water’ cures all ails (although it’ll have to be bottled in most of the countries I’m visiting!). Papa, I’ll be sending you postcards from everywhere I go so that you can share my trip with me!

JIM – Thank you for encouraging me to take this trip and follow my instinct, listening to all my months and months of plans and ideas when you certainly didn’t have to, for being able to make me laugh to the point of tears (although that’s not that hard to do :)), and for being there for me unconditionally.

MAGGIE – Thank you for being my southern salvation. You are the reason I made it through school and it’s so hard to believe you’ll still be there while I’m wandering the globe. Thank you for your dry, cynical humor and your fabulous BSing abilities – I’ve learned so much from you in the last 3 years. I promise I will make it to Chicago once I’m home!

JOANNA – Thank you for being such an amazing friend. You are such a beautiful and intelligent girl and I know you are going to become a fabulous doctor one day. Thank you for always having the best advice, for skipping class with me in high school to go to the beach, for your corrupting ways ;), and for always being there.

LIZ M. – You are just amazing! Thank you for being a wanderer like me :). For loving music and traveling! I love that our friendship comes in doses – a little bit of Vandy, a little South American excursion, a little bit of NYC, with 6 months in between. No matter how long it’s been we always jump right back in! I’d say you are probably the most likely to visit me during my trip, and I’m ready and waiting for your email that says you spontaneously bought a ticket!

AMANDA – Thank you for being home this summer! I loved our little one on one dates :). You are gorgeous, smart and dedicated to everything you do! I love being around you because you’re so carefree and relaxed which helps my anxiety ridden self mellow out when I need to. I will be thinking about you all through Bali!!!!

VICTORIA – You crazy, crazy girl. Whenever I need a little dose of wackiness you are the person I call. I love that you are always laughing and smiling, and such a sweetheart! I can’t wait to see you on TV one day and be famous by association ;).

COLIN – Thank you for not turning me down when I asked to be your partner for Debate freshmen year – I’d say we’ve come along way since then. Although I do not see you enough, I know I can always call you when I need to laugh. Since we already share a love of southern slang and Waffle house, we’re pretty much soul mates, but now that I’ll be experiencing Asia our friendship will reach a completely new level. Thanks for all the budget Asia advice – you and Lonely Planet are my life lines.

KIM – I’m so happy we became such good friends so quickly! You are such a beautiful and interesting person and I know you are going to do something amazing after school – I can’t wait to see what it is! Have a fun year in Nashville!

JR, MCLAIN – I couldn’t leave the two of you out! I have known you both since 4th grade and you are brothers to me. Thanks for always being there for a laugh :). I think a more ridiculous version of Europe is in store soon.

LIZ, JOHN, RYAN, ALLISON – I wish I saw you all more often, but I’m so glad that we are family! Liz, I am so grateful for your support and enthusiasm for my trip. People like you are the reason I built up the courage to plan this journey and go on my own. Thank you so much for making me feel proud and excited.

EILEEN, SCOTT, VAUGHN, BRAD – Thank you for all the fun summer and holiday memories! I wish we lived closer, but I will be thinking about all of you during my trip. Hopefully I will have some great stories at Thanksgiving. Miss you all the time!

THE CHINEA/RICHMAN FAMILIA – Where do I even being with this craziness?! My second family and my ONLY familia latina. Thank you for treating me like your daughter – I love you all so so so much! Everyone in Asia will know what a Carmen cap and a Carmentini are by the time I return.

THE APPLETON FAMILY – You have always been so sweet to me and made me feel comfortable in your home. You’ve made me feel like part of your family and I am so happy for that. Thank you for everything!

THE MULTISA CREW – Thank you for becoming my family, I miss you all so much! I’ve never met a more wanderlusting group of people, and I think we have the world covered this year. Keep me posted on your lives and let me know if you’re heading in my direction!

MARY A. – Thank you for being the voice of reason and encouragement at a time when I really needed it. I am so glad that fate brought me to your doorstep. I would not be on this journey without your help.

I almost forgot MAX!!!! Ohhh how I’m going to miss my cuddlefests with you! I wish it wasn’t so dangerous to bring you to Asia… 😉


4 comments on “Thank Yous

  1. Christina says:

    I am first cousin’s with Carmen, Olivia’s mom. We met at Olivia’s home a couple of times. My daughter is adopted from Vietnam. You may have met her last weekend at Natalie’s welcome home party.

    I adopted Maya in North Vietnam in 1998. I stayed in Hanoi. I felt safe then and I expect not much has changed in that part of the world. I don’t know if baby girls are still being abandoned there and/or left at orphanages. Maya was at an orphanage. She was very healthy and clearly loved by the staff, which told me alot about the Vietnamese culture. Don’t forget to check in with the U.S. Embassy wherever you go!!!

    I love what you are doing and I admire your courage to do this on your own at such a young age. It will change your life and it will enrich the lives of those following your trip on your blog. Be safe and have a wonderful trip!

    • batesla says:

      Hi Christina,
      It was so nice to meet you last week. I just arrived in Vietnam and the people seem very friendly. I am going to Hanoi later this week for 5 days. It’s so interesting to know that your daughter is from there. I also think it’s incredible that you adopted Maya – I would love to adopt someday in the verrrrrry distant future. Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me and support the cause.
      Best, Lauren

  2. Brian Huff says:

    Hello Lauren, I am a neighbor and friend of Liz Woodhatch and my 12 year old daughter Jillian is good friends with her daughter (your cousin?) Alison.

    I think what you are doing is fantastic and we can’t wait to hear about your travels and work. Thanks for posting the reading list – We’ve read and passed around Three Cups of Tea and The Places In Between, but it seems there’s much more to know.

    I have a friend currenlty working in Vietnam – if you need any assistance with local info, I’m sure he’d be glad to help.

    Cheers, Brian

    • batesla says:

      Hi Brian! Thank you for the support! I’ve read Three Cups Of Tea, and I thought the mentality behind education in the book was so innovative. If you’re interested in women’s issues at all, or would just like to know more, read Half the Sky. It is by far the most convincing, accurate, and inspiring book I read about the struggles females face around the world. The book also explains the solutions which is something most authors shy away from. Thanks again! Lauren

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