Tag Archives: beginning

365 days. 1000 km. 1 overly ambitious new years resolution

Somehow I let a friend convince me that running 1000 km in a year was doable. To be fair, she’s aiming for 1000 mi, but I have some small bit of sense about what my limits are. Plus, I measure my distance in km, anyway.

With about 52 weeks a year, that means about 20 km a week. And how am I doing so far, you might ask? Well as of 18 January, I had run a grand total of 0 km. But then there’s that moment where you say, ah feck it. Just do it. Or don’t do it. But then just shut up about it.

So suitably chastened, I gulped down my coffee, and got dressed. Since I have an iPhone, which only lets you upload music with iTunes, I used one of Spotify’s running playlists. I say “one of”, but as far as I can tell, they are all the same? Lots of Avicii, Not Avicii, David Guetta, and David Guetta remixing everyone else. But it all had a beat, so it worked well enough.

Shoes on, laces up, hoodie, legwarmers (which will fall down anyway, but that’s ok because I overheat when I exercise), and a huge deep breath before opening the door to the COLD.

My running app might be a bit inaccurate, as it logged me at a painful, and painfully slow, 5 km, when I’m fairly certain that route is only 4 km. But, as it’s the tracker, 5 km is what got recorded.

So. 5 km down. 995 km to go.

I’ll say this – it was hard, like it’s always hard when you do a thing you used to be somewhat decent at, but haven’t done in a while, and now you are not that great at it. But once you get over that and just get on with it, there’s a certain amount of peace you make with the discomfort and the pain and the oh-god-how-am-i-only-2-km-in??? Because you know, it’s just going to be like this the first few times, and it doesn’t matter how much you put it off. It’s just going to be like this. So either you just do it, or you just forget about the whole thing. But the worst is to just talk about how one day you’re just going to do this thing. Any day now. Seriously.

First run down. First run’s the hardest. 5 km at a time, slowly chipping away.

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on writing, motivation, and these cold and dark days

I woke up this morning to some snow on the ground. It’s only on the sidewalk and pavement, so the contrast between the startlingly green grass (it is called the Emerald Isle, you know!) and the bright white powder on deep black asphalt is striking. In a few hours it will be gone of course, but in the meantime, the sky is suitably grey, and it all just looks so cold.

Three days ago I posted that I would try to blog at least once a day. And then I went two days without posting anything. I have an excuse of course – I was trying to meet a deadline, and then we went out for dinner, and drinks (found a cute new pub), and a movie. And then I spent some time with a friend yesterday and you know, the days just get away from you. But in any case, excuses are excuses, and in the end I didn’t do what I said I would do.

So then of course, I’m spending some time this morning making up for it with two posts. I love to write. I do. I have so many thoughts in my head, and most of them aren’t worth the time it takes to put them down, but every so often, there’s that one clear thought that needs to be expressed, but it hasn’t quite crystallized, and I think – write. this. down. Even just in the act of writing, thoughts can become clearer. Ideas can deepen. And maybe even new thoughts and ideas can emerge.

But I never do. Or maybe I put a piece of it on Facebook or Twitter, and then leave it there, like some half-formed thing, thinking I’ll take it up again at some distant point, clean it and polish it, or take it apart piece by piece to examine and perhaps reassemble into something that more closely resembles the seed from which the idea sprung. But mostly, it just dangles there, like that time you wanted to try sprouting lentils, and you put them in water in to soak, but you did something wrong (are you supposed to change the water every so often? refrigerate? add salt?), and they sprouted, but then kind of got stuck between the seed and sprout stages. Cute, and tasty, and it worked well enough, but not quite what you were going for. And ultimately they disappointed, because you just didn’t do what you should have done.

You’d think winter would be a good time for writing. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where the snow comes down regularly and cleanly, I suppose you’d spend more time outside. But when the days get shorter, the nights darker, the sun struggles to break through the clouds, and the wind, oh man, the wind is just cold here. Well, then you find it a bit cozier to be inside, turn on the heating, snuggle into a blanket, make some soup…. and write? Or not.

But it’s 2015 now, so time for new beginnings. Time to re-dedicate ourselves to all those things we meant to do last year, or five years ago, or maybe one day in the future, only the future is now, so this is it, this year I’m going. to. do. that. thing. And I’m going to start today.

Well, tomorrow, anyway. There’s still a small smattering of snow on the ground yet.

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new year, new you

Maybe I’m a masochist, but I’ve decided to re-new my commitment to this blog. I’ve a whole host of travel posts to get up, plus I’d like to post more creative writings, as well as some reflections on current events, particularly in public health.

Since it’s still early in the year, I’ll consider this one of my new year’s resolutions: one post a day, even if some (oh who am I kidding – most!) days it is just a quote, or a picture. I’m leaving my old posts up too.

Some other new years’ resolutions:

  • run 1000 km in 2015
  • get back to weight lifting (2x a week)
  • yoga reboot (this one requires further exploration)
  • make some ice cream (with the ice cream maker)
  • 2 week Spanish immersion
  • learn something new (or maybe re-learn something from previously?)
  • get a job
  • write a novel
  • knock out the rest of the ones I haven’t seen: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/ireland/things-miss/#/0
  • accomplish one more activity on my 10-year plan

I’ve made a small amount of progress on one of these goals, but will be revisiting them more next week.

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blogging from the emerald isle

I’m blogging again. I’m fairly terrible at this. But when I was in Mongolia, I was mostly consistent about it, so think maybe I can be the same here. Mostly though, I’ve found tremendous value in reading other people’s blogs, and so perhaps one day my accounting of my experiences can be helpful to someone else. First up: a status  update.

On March 11th, I flew to Ireland. A few weeks before that, I left my job (of approximately 10 years) and became an independent consultant (note: if anyone needs a global health writer, hit me up). I’m in Ireland to undertake the process to be with my partner of 3 years, and am having not only the very personal experience of transition, but also the possibly more stressful challenge of navigating the bureaucracy to establish myself as a legal resident.

There is a decent amount of information on the internet, and some very nice people have posted the steps they’ve taken to make this work. I’m hoping to emulate their processes (tailored to fit my circumstances of course) and have the same success.

The goal is a de facto relationship visa. It will give me permission to stay (and work) for a year at a time. It is not an easy process however, and the first step is just figuring out what we need to apply. Stay tuned….

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back to the grind

So I have a whole slew of unfinished posts about Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, yoga, food, and adjusting to life back in DC.  But the big news for now is that I am back to the 9-5 working life… or maybe more like 10-6… 11-7…. or whatever.  This time around I’ll be working on a project a bit different than my academic interests, namely violence prevention.  It’s a huge topic and one I’m excited to tackle.  I’m particularly excited to be working with some incredible people.

But first, the daily slog.  Sitting 8 hours a day at a computer is something I haven’t really done in over a year.  It’s not easy to adjust back to it, especially when you already have attention span issues…  (which might explain why I can never update this blog in a timely manner).

Then there’s the whole HR/taxes/benefits deal, and don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to get health insurance coverage, but the options can be bewildering.   We often made jokes about the lack of options in Mongolia, but there is something to be said for limited choice.  I mean, there’s even research out there showing that people are happier and have less stress when they have are restricted in their options.   Making choices is a somewhat bewildering and paralyzing process these days.

The commute might be the worst part, though.  I am definitely not used to crowds.  I miss the wide open spaces, even in UB, a city of over a million people.  Now, I have to push my way on to the train (and it’s the least crowded line!)  and take deep, deep breaths.   Luckily, I move to a new place next week, and I can walk to work.

A routine is nice too.  Now I can plan meals, and yoga classes, and drinks with friends, and farmer’s market trips… which doesn’t really sound all that exciting, given that the past few months involved planning flights, and hotel rooms, and spa visits….  but maybe that’s what the 9-5 does to you.

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leaving on a jet plane

My departure from Mongolia is imminent and my travel adventure is about to begin.  I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends again, and spend time in warm weather.  I’m also excited about my “yoga holiday” – 2 weeks at a small yoga facility on the beach of Kovalam.

Definitely sad to leave here, but so grateful for a phenomenal experience and some amazing new friends.

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I’m rebooting this site with a different focus, looking at at travel, professional interests, and a little bit of personal reflection.   Currently, I’m in Mongolia, blogging at  Land of Blue Skies.  I also have a second project at Cereal and Milk.

In a month, I’ll be departing Mongolia and traveling through Asia for a couple of months before heading back to the US for gainful employment.   I’ll be blogging here about the experience.