The New Normal

I just want to start off by thanking you for coming to my blog and checking it out! I am starting this blog as a way for me to have a hobby and document my travels all over the world with my fiance Michael on his new adventure! But I also want to use this blog as a way of expressing myself and to write about other things I enjoy. Such as Disney, product reviews, cats, and new ways of living the best life.

In order to do this I feel like I need to write about the night that really changed my life forever, October 1st, 2017. To the average person it is just the first day of the month where pumpkin spice lattes are back and Halloween is coming, but to me it was the night I had my whole life flash before my eyes. You never think the things on the news you see of the tragedies that haunt our world today would ever happen to you. It’s a one in a million chance it’ll happen people say. Well it happened to me. I was in Las Vegas that night, yes THAT night. The night of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

It was such a fun weekend, my best friend Gina and I drove down to Vegas and was having such a fun girls weekend at the music festival! We had such a great time the first two days and we were already planning our trip back the following year to go again. So that Sunday came around and we didn’t even get to the festival until about 6:30pm because I wanted to see Big & Rich.There was a moment in their set that I will never forget, John Rich had everyone turn on the lights on their phones and we all sang “God Bless America” and it was just so peaceful. It is so hard to believe that only hours later it would turn into such chaos.  Then we watched Jake Owen and were waiting for Jason Aldean. Now we were standing at the side closest to Mandalay Bay and we were right up near the catwalk part of the stage. So there were no emergency exits around us. When Jason Aldean finally took the stages everyone in the crowd was so excited and the vibe was just so great. IMG_3416

At 10:01 I took this picture, it was the last one I took before the shots started happening at 10:05pm. We heard 3 shots that to us sounded like fireworks, I turned to Gina and said “What idiot brought fireworks.” It wasn’t until the second round of shots when I saw a girl three people away from me get shot in the neck that I knew it was real. The next thing we knew we were on the ground huddled together and an off duty EMT rushed to help the girl that was shot. We were on the ground for probably 3 rounds of shooting and when it stopped we tried to jump the barricade that was between us and the stage catwalk. I had trouble and the off duty EMT helped me over. I wish I could thank him every day. The shots rang out again and Gina and I waited on the ground in that middle area until it stopped then we jumped the other fence to get us on the left side of the stage where there was a potential exit. Shots rang out again and we waited on the ground. Then on the next break I grabbed Gina’s hand and we ran for our lives. I didn’t look down or around I just kept looking towards the exit and we ran. We made it out of the venue and as we did more and more cops were running in to help. We kept running down the street until we got to our hotel, which was luckily off the strip. I called my fiance Michael as we were running just trying to tell him what happened and to tell him I loved him. He told me later that he could still hear the gun shots through the phone as I was running away.

We made it to our room and bunkered down for the night, we had so many emotions run through us, but one thing is for sure we both did not sleep. The mixture of shock and adrenaline was too much to relax enough to sleep. We watched the news and called all our loved ones to fill them in. I tried for an hour to get ahold of my parents but they already went to bed. So I had to wait to talk to them. I was just so worried they would wake up, not look at their phone and see what happened and panic. We turned off the news when they started showing the cell phone footage, we didn’t want to hear the gun shots anymore. At around 5 am my dad woke up, called me and then woke up my mom. I got to talk to her which made me feel better, but when she turned on the tv and she broke the news to me that is was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history I was in total shock. I survived the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, it is still so weird to think about. As soon as the sun came up we started packing the car, we wanted to get the hell out of Vegas. When we walked out of our hotel room it was such an eerie feeling, we knew quite a few people at the festival were staying at this hotel and so when we passed them we just had this look of shock. The exit closest to us was blocked off by police so we went up to them to ask them the best way to get out of town. They saw our wristbands and were very sweet to us and informed us back ways to take. There were two bodies in the parking lot from the night before and they did not want us to see them, which we are very grateful for. We met this woman who was also from Reno there in that parking lot we had such a nice conversation and as it turns out we got to reunite with her this week at the local support group.

We made it home unharmed physically, but mentally there is still a lot of work to do. Gina and I went to therapy, but the volunteer ended their time so we no longer could go. I still cannot go anywhere where there are big crowds. I have panic attacks when I hear loud noises and don’t know where they are coming from. Every time I am in a public place I scan the area just to have an escape route planned if someone came in and started shooting. This is my new normal. Don’t get me wrong I am very thankful that I made it out of there, and I am very high functioning. There are just good days and bad days, certain triggers that get me. Gina and I recently found out that there is a support group in town made up of people from Reno that were at the concert that night and it was such a huge blessing to be able to go and see that I am not the only one still having issues. I ended up quitting my job because I just couldn’t focus to lesson plan anymore (I was a teacher) and I was just so anxious all the time. I am now working for a company called VIPKID where I get to teach Chinese children English online in my own home. It has been the biggest blessing. They do all the lesson planning and I get to just do what i love, teach. Plus its flexible enough I can still follow Michael anywhere in the world his new job takes him!

Despite all of this I am still a positive person, I choose to look ahead at all the fun events coming up in my life and face the challenges as they come. I know this post was heavy, but I promise it will get better. That is why I have decided to start this blog! it allows me to have a creative outlook and kind of document my life for years to come. So again I just want to thank all of you for taking the time to give it chance and to look for more from me in the future!


Sam ❤


3 thoughts on “The New Normal”

  1. Sam, Thank you for your amazing blog. You will help a lot of people by sharing what y’all had to go through- worst massive shooting. What a horrible event to go through..a nightmare. I hope you and Gina, and everyone who was
    there to enjoy the Harvest Festival, will find peace soon again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are no words for what you had to go through. If there had been some weird kind of sense behind the shooting, somebody wanting money, some war, some gang war – but this was just so – out of the blue! I am very glad you were not harmed physically and I hope that one day you can put the PTSD away. I can understand that it won’t be any time soon. Not with your gun-laws (I am German, we are lucky in this regard). Not with not enough people being entitled to treatment for mental health issues. Having cats is said to help with depression and anxiety. I hope it can help you relax, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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