Category Archives: Music

Reflections from Nashville

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Phew! What feels like gust of wind, and my first three months of my post-MBA career have gone by. It all started with a move to Greenville in July, and has since included two trips to Michigan, visits to Charlotte and Columbia, a month spent in Nashville for field sales training, a quick weekend in Chicago, and now back to Greenville. I have been “on the move” throughout, living out of a suitcase, and tonight is one of the first times I have been able to sit and share some of my most recent stories. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have not sat down for more than 5 minutes to relax (besides sleeping at night) in over a month. That phase is now over though, and I am back to “normal” life.

As the hectic few months came to a close last week, I decided to capture some reflections during my flight from Nashville to Greenville…

Living in Nashville as part of my sales training was one of the biggest blessings for me. On the weekends, I spent some time exploring and learning about the culture, which helped me reflect on the lessons I have learned over the past few months.

My first lesson from Nashville is the power of resilience. I have never realized how resilient I am or can be until facing the past few months of struggles…from a shooting of a colleague in my apartment complex, to family health issues, to going through a new challenging work training, to ending a long term relationship after I learned that my significant other wasn’t the person I thought he was. With each challenge, I felt extreme stress…lack of sleep and appetite and spontaneous tears. At the same time, I felt myself grow closer to God, praying consistently, and keeping my focus on my long term goals of good health, happiness with friends and loved ones, and positive impact in my career. I have bounced back from each hardship, potentially with a few more wrinkles and dark circles under my eyes, but also a wider smile to express my gratitude on the good days.

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Country Music Hall of Fame

My second lesson after spending time in Nashville is…country music is a powerful healer. After watching live music almost daily at my hotel and on Broadway Street, I felt tempted to get on stage and pour my heart out. I toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman Auditorium, both of which told inspiring stories of the musicians from years past, who are no different than you and me, except for their incredible music talent. If you really listen to country music or just music in general, you realize how much you can connect with the artists as they sing about love, hardship, and daily life. I felt so connected to those performing, and at times empowered by their words, particularly about moving on from those who bring us down. One day you may see a country song written by me after all that I have faced lately :).

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Inspiration from the Country Music Hall of Fame

Similar to the country music lesson, I have been reminded how dancing soothes the soul. Nashville has no shortage of places to dance, and I took advantage of many of them. I have never felt so liberated to dance however I want whenever I want. While Nashville is known for bachelorette parties, I was happy to also run into a couple bachelor parties and had a blast. Every kind of dancing you could imagine, from salsa to line dancing to R&B, I was doing it. I have learned in yoga class that our hips carry a lot of our stress, so dancing helps us let go of that negative energy. So if anyone ever critiques your dance moves, just tell him/her that you are relieving stress and there can be no judgement :).

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Inspiration from the Country Music Hall of Fame

And finally…being far away from loved ones has reminded me the importance of a strong support network. I met the best community I could have asked for in my new apartment in Greenville. My friends from high school, college, and grad school have been there every step of the way through phone calls and weekend visits. I couldn’t be more grateful for them and many of you reading this post.

Nashville, and the country music that went along with it, was a strong reminder that I, and all of us, can bounce back from our struggles through the support of family and friends. We are often stronger than we give ourselves credit.

While a few more hours of sleep are in order now that I am back home in Greenville, I feel empowered and eager to start my next chapter. And I can’t wait to share more inspirNational stories along the way. The inspirNational me is back…using travel as an opportunity to reflect, become a better version of myself, and help others do the same.

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inspirNational Music: Under One Sky by the Tenors

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Next up on the inspirNational music playlist is Under One Sky by the Tenors. My boyfriend introduced it to me tonight and we have been singing along to the lyrics all night.

The song reminds us that we are all united throughout the world under one sky. The music video captures people from around the world singing the song, “under one sky, our dreams come alive.” It is so powerful to watch and reminds me of my one of my life missions to connect the world. Traveling the world reminds us that we have so much to learn from those who seem different than us. To many people’s surprise, one of the main lessons we can learn from others is how similar we are in our core values, our purpose, our basic needs, and our joys in life.

Watch the video below:

I hope this song leaves you feeling as inspired as it has made me feel. As I begin my last year in my International MBA program, I am excited to embark on my career journey throughout the world, ready to face the opportunities and challenges, and comforted by the fact that we are all under one sky.

What Makes Salzburg Magical?

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The hills are alive…with the sound of music! With the filming of the world-famous movie, The Sound of Music, there has to be something magical about Salzburg, Austria. After visiting Salzburg for two days, I can confidently say that it will bring an ear-to-ear smile to your face.

As you’re planning your to trip to Salzburg, I have the following recommendations to make your trip magical:

  • Go on The Sound of Music Tour! Whether you are a fan of musicals or not, The Sound of Music Tour provides you with picturesque views of Salzburg and an interesting history of the city. If you have seen and enjoyed The Sound of Music, you will love the dramatic tour guide who will share insider stories about the filming of the movie and will encourage you to sing along the way. I promise, when you see the mountainous scenes, you will want to sing “Do Re Mi” too.

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  • Visit Mozart’s home and birthplace. You will learn about Wolfgang Mozart’s upbringing in a successful family and how he became famous. You will see pianos and other instruments dating from the 1700s and letters that provide perspective of the era. You will also notice the Mozart family’s significant influence on Salzburg, with several restaurants and cafes named after Mozart. I stayed in a fabulous hotel called Hotel Mozart, which provided a quaint Austrian breakfast and was within walking distance of the main tourist sites.

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  • Walk and shop along river and the main streets for fashionable boutiques and great souvenirs. Great streets and pedestrian areas include Getreidegasse, Judengasse, Alter Markt, Waagplatz, Mozartplatz, Linzergasse, and Kaiviertel. You also will want to check out the local open-air markets near Mozart’s birthplace for local goods, books and foods. I tried one of the famous Austrian sausages with sauerkraut and loved it.
  • Go to Zwettler’s for dinner and try weiner-schnitzel, spätzle and beer. If you are hungry, you couldn’t ask for a hardier or more filling meal. The flavors are heavenly and filling, perfect after a long day of touring the city. The ambiance is friendly and German-influenced, with dark wood, rustic decorations, and large groups of people laughing over a pint or two of beer.
  • Walk up the hill to see Fortress Hohensalzburg. Even if you don’t have enough time to tour the fortress, you get a spectacular view of the city, and see what appear to be little villages within Salzburg, including cemeteries, homes, and churches.

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  • Check out the Beer Hall, which is ironically connected to a church. You will go back in time, seeing kegs with refillable mugs and local vendors selling food, surrounding a large open room full of long tables for people to gather. I had the interesting experience of meeting a few Michiganders. It’s a small world, and it feels even smaller and more connected in a beer hall.

All of these experiences combined into one trip make Salzburg a magical place, one that I will forever cherish.

inspirNational Music: Renegades by the X Ambassadors

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Next up on the inspirNational Music playlist is Renegades by the X Ambassadors. While I have listened to this song over the past several months, it was not until this week that I watched the music video on YouTube. I was very inspired by the song’s lyrics, as they remind us to fight through life’s challenges. And rather than viewing our lives as a series of challenges, viewing them as opportunities.

The music video begins with a dialogue of a blind woman and man. The man describes that when facing life’s challenges, “It’s not a matter of enjoying [life] more or less. It’s about enjoying it differently. It’s enjoying it through a different vision. Through another lens.” I’m reminded of the famous quote that “You can’t always change your circumstances, but you can change your attitude.” As we take on the week ahead, I hope that we can all remember to enjoy life no matter what we face each day. Carpe Diem!

inspirNational Music: Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah) by Andy Grammer

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Next up on the inspirNational music playlist is “Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah)” by Andy Grammer. I first heard this on Siriux XM Radio while driving to Atlanta to get my student visa for France. With all odds seeming to go against me in the visa process and my goal to study in Paris, this song reminded me to have faith and feel grateful.

Below are some of my favorite lyrics:

“And if there’s a man upstairs, he kept bringing me rain
But I’ve been sending up prayers and something’s changed

I think I finally found my hallelujah
I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life
Now all my dreams are coming true, yeah
I’ve been waiting for this moment

Feels good to be alive right about now.”

I’m inspired to have faith with any challenge I face. And this strong faith has helped me obtain my visa to go to France this winter! With a long weekend ahead and Thanksgiving with family and friends, it feels good to be alive right about now.

How to Study Abroad Without Studying Abroad

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Craving travel? Want to study abroad but you do not have time or your school program does not offer study abroad options?

Source: thestudyabroadblog.com

Source: thestudyabroadblog.com

I have realized in my international business program that it is possible to study abroad without actually leaving your campus or the comforts of your home. For students, studying abroad goes beyond traveling to a new country. How can you study abroad in your daily life?

  • Get to know your classmates. More often than not, universities are attracting diverse students from throughout the world. Your classmates can give you an insider view of international cultures and customs.
  • Get to know your professors. Similar to my note above, universities often recruit diverse faculty members. If you have a particular country of interest, you can reach out to professors to learn about their experience abroad and their research. Most professors love to share their experiences, particularly related to their research.
  • Listen to international radio stations. TuneIn Radio offers over 100,000 radio stations that give you with an international music experience. Hearing foreign languages in music is also an effective way to improve language comprehension when you are studying foreign languages.
  • Join university clubs that relate to your country of interest. For example, many universities offer salsa clubs, international sports clubs or food tasting events. I am participating in a wine and beer club to learn about wine and beer throughout the world.
  • Attend local concerts and events relating to international cultures. Many cities offer international performances, art exhibits, and more to develop cross-cultural understanding in the community.

All of these ideas help you have an inspirNational experience while living on campus, regardless of whether you are studying at your local university or a foreign university. What other ideas do you have to study abroad without actually studying abroad?

inspirNational Music: Warrior by Diego Boneta

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Next up on the inspirNational music playlist is “Warrior” by Diego Boneta. I first heard this on Pandora and instantly put “thumbs up.” I like the meaning of the song, which reminds us to be a warrior when “fear is all we know” and “it’s wearing down your soul” because “love [or good things] are on the way.” I’m inspired to feel like a warrior with any challenge I face.

Also, check out his inspiring story on his actor and musician website!