Archive for ‘Random Adventures’

September 27, 2014

Bugs, Ex-Boyfriends, and Suicide

The title of this blog pretty much sums up my past few weeks. Here is how it went…

After a fabulous start, followed by a rocky middle, the Recovering Musician texted me a few days after our fourth date to say “he didn’t think he was in a place where he could really open up right now.” Pretty much all of his behavior since our second date illustrated this fact so I was not completely surprised. We parted ways amicably and I wished him luck in figuring it all out. (Yes, people actually break up over text these days. I’ve gotten used to it.)

A few days  later, still a bit raw from the mini-break up with the messed up Recovering Musician, I made the mistake of having dinner with my ex-high school boyfriend. This is a guy that I got re-involved with two years ago who then disappeared, repeatedly. We got in to the same old thing where thinks he can just pick up where he left off and talks about how we have these “roots” and talks about all of these things we will do in the future. I tell him he lives in a fantasy world. I point out of all of the things he has said and done in the past and how much he has hurt me. And I remind him that he will disappear in three days.  But because I was just a tiny bit vulnerable (and I had two glasses of wine), I let him him just smidgeon and a tiny bit of my heart thought maybe he had changed. He disappeared within three days.

Then I headed off to Montauk for the weekend with some new women friends I had met on my trip to Mexico last year. Let me remind you that my bug encounter in Mexico was kind of traumatic. So much so that I have not been able to commit to any vacations since….until I agreed to a long weekend in Montauk. Just a three hour drive for a couple of days, what could go wrong? Ticks!!!  Within one day of being home, I got an email that the dog that was with us was covered in poppy seed sized ticks, I found a bite on my leg, two other women found bites, there was a lot of worrying, a lot of laundry, and a trip to urgent care. We have since learned that these were lone star larvae that don’t carry lyme disease but could carry some other stuff, including an allergy to red meat.  So weird! I had a burger on Sunday before I learned this. It was delicious. I think I am fine.

Are you wondering where the suicide part comes in? That’s next (but we aren’t done with bugs!)

Tick week ended with suicide weekend. Another ex-boyfriend (this one from college) invited me to hang out with some of his friends who were coming in to the city,  but he said he wanted to talk with me about something before the night began. He told me his niece had taken her own life six weeks ago. Huge bummer. Since my own brother took his own life 11 years ago, he thought I would be a good person to talk to. I was (I think.) Then we had a few drinks and the night ended with what could be construed as a slightly more than friendly kiss (initiated by him!). This is not good because he is married. I am chalking it up to the many beers he had and the empathetic ear. Ex-boyfriends are dangerous. That won’t happen again.

The next day, I headed upstate to walk with my family in one of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of Darkness walks to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention (hence suicide weekend). A bittersweet day because it is a nice day with my upstate family, but you know, my brother committed suicide so that sucks and its sad. He doesn’t get to read about my bugs and ex-boyfriends and I don’t get to hang out with him…ever. I did learn two new ways to say “committed suicide”.  Apparently you are supposed to say “completed suicide” or “suicided”. Who knew that was even a word? No matter what you call it, it sucks.

So I got through all of that and took a deep breath and headed back to work. On Monday, I started to feel itchy on my head and all over my body. I was checking for bugs (lice, fleas)..nothing. I assumed it was dry skin. By Thursday, there were itchy bumps showing up on my skin that became red bumps on Friday. Really? Seriously? This could not be the ticks after all this time. This was something new. I was freaking out. I checked with my upstate family to see if they had any issues (lice, fleas)…nothing. This was something in NYC. Something in my apartment. Bed bugs from the train? Was the possible? Please no…

I remembered that there are bugs I see around my apartment from time to time. I had investigatephotod them online in the past and they were not bed bugs. I had put out ant traps last year and had not seen one in a while. Could it be those little things? Were they back? I busied my self cleaning my apartment and washing everything AGAIN (I just did this last week!) Then I saw one of the little bugs and I trapped it (and photographed it for you!) Then I found this tiny little centipede thing near my bed  and remembered I had seen those before too! I went to town on Google. (I have looked at probably 100 pictures of bugs and bites in the past few days.) This thing has wings, it is NOT a bed bug. I have concluded that this is a carpet beetle. I have learned that they do not bite, but some people are allergic to the prickly hairs on the larvae of these beetles that cause bumps that LOOK like bed bug bites.  I am apparently one of those people. Crazy!  I guess they like to crawl in to bed with you and the must crawl back out before I wake up because I have not seen them there.  The internet says pest control is not necessary. You just have to keep your apartment clean.  I can do that! (I was a little busy the past few weeks so things did get a little dusty and those buggers clearly took over!)

Here’s to hoping  that I have properly diagnosed the issue and that vacuuming and washing has nibbed this in the bud. I would really like to have an awesome bug free, suicide free, ex-boyfriend free week!!!

 

 

 

 

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November 6, 2013

In Limbo and on Vacation

Todos Santos 1It’s been about three weeks since I said no to my boss, turned down more responsibility and more money, and slowed down the train that has been taking me in a direction I don’t want to go. I am still on the train. I still have a job. Everything is cool with my boss. I just bought myself some time to figure out what to do next.

Things have gotten more crazy and stressful since I turned down the additional responsibility (how in the world I would have survived MORE work, I have no idea.) Luckily, I had a vacation planned. Not so lucky for the people covering for me back home in the midst of complete chaos.

But I am not in the middle of all of that chaos right now, I am in Mexico.

I didn’t think I had the energy for a fitness vacation with strangers that involves boats and sun (none of which are my favorite), but I was happy to get away from the chaos. These Escape to Shape trips are always an amazing experience, but a little exhausting (you can read about my former E2S trips to Sicily, Bali, and Hudson, NY if you are so inclined)

A typical day on my fitness vacation starts at 7:30am with exercise of some kind before breakfast and possibly climbing in to a van to drive to more exercise or adventure or shopping. We follow that up with lunch and more exercise, adventure, or shopping. We might have a couple of hours of downtime or a massage in there somewhere. We eat dinner at 7pm and are all wiped out and in bed by 9pm.

When I first arrived, I was feeling very stressed and anxious about tackling all of this exercise and adventure. I was exhausted and faced an onslaught of huge cockroaches in my room on the first night. I was not a happy camper.

Then I had a couple of yoga classes and got myself grounded and decided to look at this week as an opportunity to get in the right mind set start my next life shift. Yes, I am tired, but I am going to do it anyway. Yes, boats sometimes make me sea sick, but not always. It is a risk that might pan out in to a beautiful day with amazing experiences, or it might completely suck. There is no way to know unless I do it. Yes, talking to strangers can sometimes be boring or suck your energy but opportunity comes from expanding your horizons and your circle of connections. Yes, cockroaches are gross but they won’t hurt me and they are flexing my creativity as I have developed a whole process for capturing and killing them (side note: I wasn’t originally killing them, just putting them outside, but I think they kept finding their way back. Now I squash them. Sorry cucarachas.)

The group I am with this week is a very sweet group of women (and one sweet young man – gay, not a prospect.) They are easy to be with and one is even going through the same exact mid-life crisis as I am with her job. Our yoga teachers are awesome and have an amazing energy. Our fearless leader Erica is inspiring with her love of what she does every day.

I got my ass on the boat and some of it was not pleasant, but I did not get full on sea sick and I did see colony of sea lions in the middle of the ocean (pretty cool) and walked/swam on two different beautiful beaches on islands in the Sea of Cortez. That is an experience that I am very glad that I had. I am not, however, rushing to get on a boat again. I had to use a lot of yoga breathing and “appreciating the moment” to keep my cool through some very rough water.

I am more than halfway through the week and I said no to a couple of things (like boot camp class and a three hour hike in the blazing hot Mexican sun) but have tackled the rest and am surprisingly, finally feeling relaxed (the one hour massage I just had might have something to do with that.)

I might just return with the strength that I need to figure out what’s next and take it on. That is a tall order, but at a minimum I will return with some color and some beautiful photos.

February 2, 2013

Guten Tag!

I just got back from Germany. It was a work boondogle. I had no important meetings.  My boss just dragged me over there to “meet people.” I am not a huge fan of meeting people.  I am sure in the long run, it will lead to better working relationships, but in the short term, it was a nuisance. Here are my random observations of Germany (I was here once before 9 years ago and I barely remember it. So let’s consider this my first visit)

My office (which is a huge campus of 20 buildings) is so eco-friendly that most of the time, people work only by light through the windows (and it was very cloudy all week.)  They have the option to turn on the lights but they don’t. I feel like I spent the entire week in the dark! I pointed out to the team that they were sitting in the dark and they just looked at me blankly (I got a lot of that this week!) Is NYC unusually bright, perhaps? I need light. It was weird.

photo They have cute mini candy bars that look like this.

They eat pickles for breakfast and have an abundance of processed meats. That is awesome.

The food was very salty. I could not get enough water.

Speaking of water, what is up with the bubbles!  Not a fan. No gas is how I roll.

The Riesling is less sweet there. I wasn’t planning to drink, but the next point led me to be very bored at our evening events, so I did put a few back.

Germans are really serious. I know it’s not good to generalize, but I met way more serious Germans this week than not so serious ones. Small talk was like pulling teeth. I mentioned this to my boss and she said it is because they feel so guilty about killing all of the Jewish people. I was mortified that she said this out loud where people could hear her (we were luckily back in the US in line at customs). I just shook my head and pretended she didn’t say it. You know, like because we are so serious here in the US because we feel guilty about the slaves?

IMG_1148Those serious Germans are efficient and organized. Love that! At the airport, instead of piling up bins at the end of the security lane and having someone carry them back to the start of the line (how many times have you had to wait for someone to bring more bins?) they have a special conveyor belt for the bins that sends them back! How cool is that? I loved it so much I took a picture.

Everyone eats the same thing for lunch in our Germany office. I was expecting them to point out the sandwich line and the hot meal line and the salad bar. Nope. Everyone gets in the salad line first.  Then they all move to the main course line and can select from two options for the day (one vegetarian, one meat) and two veggie options. Then everyone grabs dessert (choice of two). Everyone eats in the cafeteria. You are not ALLOWED to bring food out of the cafeteria and eat at your desk. Not ALLOWED. This all takes about 45 minutes and they end lunch with “shall we get a coffee”? And then they get coffee and sit and chat for a while before going back to their desk. I, of course, skipped the coffee and went back to work. Fascinating. I have to say, it was kind of relaxing to not have so many options once I got over the shock of it.

It was too cold and rainy and windy to do much exploration…so my observations are limited to my office, the Marriot Heidelberg, and the airport. I think I pretty much summed it up.

November 3, 2012

Surviving Sandy in NYC

Natural disasters are pretty exhausting. I am extremely grateful to the universe that the Frankenstorm only inconvenienced me, but it was also stressful and humbling.

I spent last weekend preparing. Not as quite as obsessively as I did last year, but almost. I think most of us New Yorkers prepared less this year. (That won’t be happening again!) By Sunday afternoon, my laundry was done, dishwasher run, apartment cleaned, cabinets stocked with mostly healthy non perishable food and water, and batteries were procured. Then all I had to do, was wait.

At about 8:30pm on Monday night, I (along with all of lower Manhattan) lost power, internet, and cell service all at the same time. I couldn’t get in touch with anyone.

For about 20 minutes I was just stunned. This was what I was preparing for, but I didn’t know what to do!

I quickly transferred my most perishable perishables to a cooler with some ice packs, drank some Blueprint Green Juice for a vitamin boost, read a few back issues of Entertainment Weekly by candlelight, and went to bed.

The next morning, I slept in a bit. Why not? Still no power or cell service. I had proactively made iced coffee the day before and my half and half was still cold. Score! That cold coffee hit the spot.

I tried to meditate because I figured staying calm in a natural disaster is exactly what meditating is for, right? I was kind of distracted by my general state of “OMG. The power really went out, what should I do?” so that did not go so well.

Then I realized that I had no water and I had one flush left in the tank. (I learned during Irene that my bathtub does not hold water. “Miss prepared” had not remedied that situation since last year so I was kind of screwed.) At 11am, I decided it was time to venture out and see what was going on in the world and how long it would be before I could flush my toilet again.

In the flash-lit stairwell, I noticed my neighbors carrying buckets of water for flushing from the basement. Sweet! In the next 24 hours I made at least 8 trips up and down 7 flights of stairs in attempts to get my toilet to flush. I have a two gallon tank (that is two trips) and my toilet sometimes needs at least a double flush. “Sometimes” is apparently “always” during a natural disaster. Good times.

I thought that IF the power went out, I would just relax, read, eat the food I had procured, and chill out. This is not what happened. I am used to being connected and having all of my basic needs and desires met 24/7. I might have thought I was prepared to go without all of that, but I wasn’t. I worried about updating my family, friends, and co-workers. I worried about about how other people were doing. I worried about how long my food would last and how fast I could eat my perishables. I wondered when I would be able to wash my hands again (but was grateful that I had accumulated a massive number CVS hand sanitizing wipes at some point.) I realized that I could cook on my gas burners, but I couldn’t wash dishes. Then I realized that I couldn’t just whip up a box of mac & cheese because I would have to use my drinking water for that. THEN I learned that I could not even make frozen pizza or kale chips because the oven needs electricity to ignite the flames. None of this was relaxing.

I was starting feel a tiny bit unsettled about all of these discoveries so I reached out to my upstairs neighbor friends to see if they what they were discovering. Key natural disaster takeaway – lean on your friends and be super grateful if you have them.

I learned from my upstairs neighbor friends that we had a mutual friend who miraculously had power 17 blocks north so I headed there with them to get our basic needs met. So, so, so lucky to be close to the “power zone”. Taxi’s were not super easy to find.

We ate two meals in the “power zone”, showered, caught up on NY1, and then headed home to sleep.

The next morning, after a few water trips and learning this would go on for 3-4 more days, I caved in and decided to move uptown with another fabulous friend until power and water returned today. Again, so so lucky to have friends, power in half of Manhattan, and nice people who asked their livery cab drive to stop and pick me up to share their ride uptown with them.

My city is doing an AMAZING job at getting things back up and running. My building staff is also AMAZING and took such good care of us. People have been working around the clock to get us all back on our feet and I am very grateful to all of them. Not everyone is back on their feet though, and a lot of people have it a lot worse off than me. My heart and thoughts go out to people who don’t have friends to lean on, who have lost their homes, who can’t afford hotel rooms and taxis, and who still don’t have power or water or heat as it starts to get colder here in NYC, New Jersey and Connecticut. I am also reminded of the many people in the world who struggle to get their basic needs met on a daily basis, not just after a natural disaster. Like I said, humbling.

This afternoon, I walked through Whole Foods in Union Square and was shocked to see the shelves fully stocked with fruits, vegetables, and most frozen/refrigerated items, less than 24 hours since power was restored. I was actually holding back tears because I felt so emotional that people went to such lengths to make sure we all had food when we returned home. It might be a little bit about making money, but I decided to believe it was about helping each other out. That is what I see when our city hits hard times. We pull together and help each other out. I really think that is just what a lot of people do, and we have a lot of people in NYC, but I also think I live in the greatest city in the world.

As I bundle up for a cold night in front of the TV with no heat or hot water, I am feeling grateful for everything that I have (like lots of warm clothes and blankets and a heating pad) and will rest up so I can help people who are not as lucky as me tomorrow!

October 26, 2012

I Detoxed Again

Two weeks ago, I took a 7 day break from work, television, gluten, alcohol, coffee, processed foods, and NYC. I headed upstate to a cute little town called Hudson, NY for a week of meditation, exercise, massage, healthy eating, one on one nutrition sessions, and a little bit of life coaching. A week for the mind, body, and spirit that was right up my alley.

Let me tell you, that when I got back, I felt like Wonderwoman for many days. After exercising 5 hours a day (yoga, hiking, and Pilates) I had muscles pop up that I completely forgot I had. My skin looked amazing. I felt refreshed, and pretty zen. (Don’t worry, I was not wearing this outfit around town, but I would have looked great in it if I had.)

Since I no longer have a personal chef and someone handing me a daily schedule that includes 5 hours of exercise, it hasn’t been quite the same since I returned, but I have made some changes.

I made kale chips twice and only burned them the first time.

I switched to popcorn popped in olive oil (instead of corn oil) with a nutritional yeast topping instead of Parmesan cheese.

I did the first of my (maybe) weekly one day juice cleanses to reset my system after my college women’s weekend which included french fries, non organic turkey sausage and not free range eggs, pasta (whole wheat!), wine, and some super yummy deserts.

I bought all of the ingredients for whole wheat sesame noodles and then realized I need a blender to make them so I now have a lot of ginger that I don’t know what to do with.

I bought chia seeds and put too many in my water pitcher and they took the whole thing over like aliens. (Did you know that the seeds used to make Chia Pets are actually super good for your digestive system? I am still not sure exactly what the right ratio is for this super healthy chia water, but if you figure it out, let me know.  You can also make chia pudding with them, which I will probably never do.)

Side note: If I hadn’t written this blog post, I never would have known that Barack Obama Chia Pets existed. This is something I could have lived without knowing.

I replaced my post-dinner Annie’s Bunnies graham snacks with organic dates, a delicious and sweet treat!

I have stuck to my pre-detox daily meditation practice and have almost completed month #2! Go me! I am still not sure when I will transition from 20 minutes of thinking to 20 minutes of not thinking but I will keep plugging away.

On a less positive note, I have exercised once in the past two weeks, but I do walk really fast everywhere I go!

I don’t totally feel like Wonderwoman any more, but I feel pretty good, and I have definitely decreased the toxins in my day to day life.

Tomorrow, I run….

If you want to check out this fabulous detox program for yourself (because I barely told you about it), visit my good friend Erica’s web page, Escape to Shape. I have traveled with Erica to Morocco, Italy and Bali. There is no better way to travel or detox, I assure you!

And if you happen to be passing through Hudson, NY, you MUST stay at the Hudson Merchant House run by my new friend Roy (and his partner Mike.)

April 8, 2012

A Yoga Hike Through Central Park

I just went on a “yoga hike”.  Yup, Hiking Yoga is a thing.  A legitimate, copyrighted business started by this guy named Eric in San Fransisco. I was lucky enough to join the founder, Eric (a very pleasant, outgoing guy) on his second official Hiking Yoga trip in Central Park this morning. He is starting up a branch of this business here in NYC, training instructors to lead “yoga hikes” every Saturday and Sunday in Central Park and Prospect Park.

So what is a “yoga hike”? Well, you walk for a bit (maybe 1/2 mile) and then stop and do some “yoga poses”.  I put “yoga poses” in quotes because it felt more like stretching than yoga. There were a few poses that I did not recognize (they may have been specially designed variations to compliment the hiking) and some partner work that is not in a traditional yoga practice. It is also hard to get good alignment when you are on the grass or an uneven rock surface (in sneakers) and even harder to be fully mindful when you are watching kids doing an Easter egg hunt behind you on the grass. There are probably Hiking Yoga locations outside of New York city that are less crowded and allow for being slightly more “one with nature”.

It is, however, always amazing to exercise outside. And in NYC , it does not get better than Central Park.  I was spoiled by doing Yoga outside every day in Bali so this sounded really cool. It got me out of the house and ALL the way up to the park, which does not happen often enough. It was a beautiful day, I caught up with a friend I had not seen in while (because you can chat while “yoga hiking”), and I got in about 3 1/2 miles of walking and some stretching and pseudo-yoga.

Personally, I think I will keep my yoga and hiking separate in the future.  I love them both but would rather focus on one at a time.   I recommend Hiking Yoga to anyone who wants to mix up their workout a bit or who needs motivation to take it outside. Definitely a cool thing to try if they have it in a city near you.  (Find out here.)

March 18, 2012

Yayasan Kasih Peduli Anak

There has been a request for additional information about the orphanage that touched my heart in Bali. Yayasan Kasih Peduli Anak was established in 2007 to help the children living in the streets in Bali. The yayasan (the Balinese word for a non profit organization) started as a school, and over time, the founder started taking children in to live with her. Putu Etiartini now has a small staff and about 20 children living full time in the officially licensed orphanage and continues to run a school for kids not living in the orphanage as well.  (The picture above, from the website, is of the beach school for kids that do not live in the orphanage).

We only spent an hour with the kids, but they were so well behaved and sweet (and very flexible!).  Our yoga instructor was wonderful with the kids and asked a few of them to go up front and each lead the class through a sun salutation.  She tried to have them do it in English but most reverted to Balinese.  It was adorable.

During class, we were asked to help the kids with backbends. I approached a group of boys and said “who needs help?” and the sweetest little boy said “me!”  As is turns out, he can’t do backbends because he broke his arm and it was set incorrectly so he can’t straighten it, ever.  This broke my heart, but he was cheerful and had a modification our yoga instructor taught him that he could do.

The minor frustrations of my life (like my TiVo not recording the The Vampire Diaries or my knee still hurting a tiny bit from my surfing injury), are nothing compared to what these kids and so many other people in the world are dealing with on a daily basis.  I have been feeling more grateful for everything in my life since I returned.  I guess that explains part of the peace I brought back with me from Bali.

The yayasan is currently collecting money to buy the building they are renting. If any of my blog readers are interested in donating or would just like to learn more about Yayasan Kasih Peduli Anak, you can visit their website here.

March 17, 2012

Back from Bali!

I am slowly emerging from my jet lag stupor so I can tell you about my amazing trip to Bali! I am not a big vacation person.  I am usually ready to leave shortly after I arrive anywhere and spend half my trip counting down the days before I can leave.  On this trip, I was sad to come home!

This was my third trip with Escape to Shape. The group was unusually small, seven in total, which was the perfect size group for me, and I loved all of my travel mates. Desa Seni, the resort where we stayed was beautiful.  We each had our own huts that were surrounded by organic gardens and rice fields. It is hard to describe the vibe and beauty of the place. I would go back to Bali, just to stay there and might not leave the grounds. The food was amazing and the staff was so friendly and sweet.

The resort has two open air yoga studios surrounded by beautiful flowers.  Needless to say, it was the most amazing place I have ever done yoga.  Our yoga teacher was fantastic.  I am a Vinyasa flow girl, but I embraced the Anusara practice and definitely benefited from a focus on my alignment. We had a class every day, and I loved it. I even worked on inversions, which scare the bejesus out of me!

It was a Bali miracle that I got to do any yoga at all since I suffered a surfing injury on the first day there!  How I managed to twist my knee falling off a surf board, I am not sure, but it only caused me pain when I walked and I took a lot of Advil.  I did manage to get up on the board before I had to quit. I was very grateful that my vacation was not ruined on day 1.

On day 2, we took a fascinating trip to the sacred Giri Putri Cave on the island of Nusa Penida (about a 1 hour boat ride from Bali).  You crawl through 70 cm hole to enter the cave but inside it is HUGE and contains 10 different temples (and a few bats, which should have been eating the mosquitoes but left a few alive that managed to find me!).  Our Balinese healer guide walked us through offerings at each temple which involved flowers and water getting splashed on you.  At one point we had buckets of water dumped on our heads, twice.  We did not get a lot of explanation for what was happening, but it was definitely authentic and there was a lot of cleansing and praying going on.  I didn’t connect spiritually to this experience (can you tell?), but it was pretty cool.

On day 3, flying across the world, fighting the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes, and running around Bali caught up to me. I made it through yoga, a beautiful lunch in Ubud, and a stroll around the Sacred Monkey Forest (there are a lot of sacred things in Bali) but then had a bit of a travel breakdown. Instead of shopping, I camped out in a cafe and re-hydrated with two large coconut waters while my hosts convinced me that I did not have Denge Fever, I was just tired and acclimating to a new climate.

On day 4, we got to hang out at “home” do Yoga and Pilates and just chill out, because it was raining.  Awesome day.

On day 5, we ventured to the another famous temple at Uluwatu and watched a traditional  (and touristy) Kecak dance. (Which I just learned from Wikipedia means Monkey dance.  I clearly didn’t ask enough questions while I was there.). We had dinner at a seafood BBQ place on the beach.  Everyone there was Balinese.  I loved that these trips include just a little bit of required touristy stuff and mostly unique/authentic experiences. Our diner started out a bit uncomfortably with a pack of local dogs copulating near our table on the beach. Luckily, it started to rain and we got to go inside.  The whole thing was pretty hilarious.  Once I got over the fact that the fish really looked like fish, and I recovered from the dog show, it was delicious.

On day 6, we visited a swank beach club for lunch (to get a feel for where many tourists stay in Bali. I preferred our eco-village) and then did a little more shopping. This time I had more energy and managed to buy a few things.

In the evening, 20 kids from a local orphanage come to do yoga with us.  Our yoga instructor had been teaching them once a week and wanted us to meet them and hopefully support the orphanage (which we all did).  They were the sweetest kids.  It was an amazing and emotional experience to spend time with them.  If nothing else on my trip gave me perspective, this experience did. (Read more about this in my post: Yayasan Kasih Peduli Anak)

On Day 7, we had one last yoga class and delicious lunch and boarded our planes for the long journey home.

I didn’t have a traditional spiritual connection with Bali, but in my own way, I did. I left my comfort zone.  I overcame the obstacles of sun, heat, bugs, and boats. I had a more positive attitude than I normally do and made the most of my time there.  I was completely unplugged for a week, which I really needed.  The women I was with said I “blossomed” on the trip. I am not entirely sure what they were seeing but I do feel a little different, like there is a little more peace inside me.  If that’s not spiritual, I don’t know what is!

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February 26, 2012

Bali for my Birthday

For my 43rd birthday, I am going to Bali. Why Bali?

  1. I wanted to do something exciting for my birthday
  2. Escape To Shape was going to Bali around my birthday
  3. It seems like a magical, peaceful place where I can completely separate and get a different perspective on  life
  4. It sounds really cool to tell people you are going to Bali (this is half the reason why I ever go anywhere)

I have traveled twice with Escape to Shape and it is now my favorite way to travel.  (You can read about my trip to Sicily here). Erica and Francesco plan a perfect vacation so why would I plan one myself? It is just hitting me now that I am visiting my second Eat, Pray, Love location. Not planned.

My days will be filled with yoga, Pilates, cultural tours, hanging out by the pool, and delicious food with, most likely, single women about my age who can also afford to have someone else plan their vacations for them.  You can read more about what is in store for me here on the Escape to Shape Bali page

I am not a fan of the sun, sunscreen, sweating, bugs, disrupting my sleep schedule, or leaving the island of Manhattan.  This trip is taking me WAY out of my comfort zone. That was the plan for 2012. Why not? Since I have spent most of this year working (in my comfort zone), I am glad I put something adventurous on my agenda, kind of.  I am also a little scared.

I will be traveling for 24 hours to get across the world.  I am a little bit nervous about this but I am borrowing a travel pillow and I heard my airline has a selection of 40 movies I can watch at my seat (score!).

I have, of course, been obsessively planning what I should bring for months. I have spent quite a bit of pre-vacation money on clothing and sun/bug protection.  To my defense, what one wears in Bali is very different than what one wears in Manhattan and this is a complicated vacation.  I need workout clothes, touring about the island clothes, and a clean, post shower evening outfit every night! I try to be flexible about re-wearing clothes, but I am expecting everything to be covered in sweat, sunscreen, and bug spray. I am a spoiled human being.  See why I need some perspective?

I did have a mini freak out on Friday when I was reminded that there will be mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes love me and they apparently carry Dengue Fever in Indonesia.  I did not need to know this. I have since acquired an environmentally friendly-ish bug spray AND backup wipes with Deet in case I need to go hard core. I also spent about $75 on the most expensive sunscreen on the market, to avoid the sun poisoning I got on spring break on college, and a travel size aloe vera, just in case.  I then obsessed over purchasing an official sun hat to backup my workout hat because, at times, need full 360 degree head coverage. It was a busy weekend.

In addition to running around acquiring things, I have been putting the many things I have acquired in my suitcase.  My largest bag is filled to the brim so I have no room for anything I might buy (gifts for my family members for example)  This is not good.  I will have to obsessively think about what I can remove for the next four days before I leave (a perk of packing in advance.)

January 12, 2012

I Just Mingled

I would like to state, for the record, that less than one week after my false start in kicking off the new me in the new year (aka my disastrous failed attempt to meet new people), I have redeemed myself.

Tonight’s event was easier because it was a NFTE event for the Young Professionals Group. Since I am on the NFTE board I automatically had a discussion topic. Since most people there were younger than me I could put on my “older and wiser” persona so I was not intimidated. I also knew two people there but they work for NFTE and had to work the crowd so I could not cling to them.

I was a tiny bit nervous, but I went and I rocked it.

I talked to to five complete strangers. None particularly interesting, and there was a lot more listening than talking, but that is something I am way better at anyway. I am an awesome listener. It is a good skill for a mingler.

Mingling is definitely an art. You have to decide who approach, know how to break in, wait for the right moment, and most important take the opportunity to break away gracefully. Then, of course there is the actual conversation. It is no coincidence that mingling and drinking usually go together!

Next week, I am attending a three day work conference where I will really get a chance to flex my mingling muscles. It’s in New Orleans so there will be drinks!

This evening, I am going to relish in my quick reversal and appreciate being back on an upswing.