When You’re Feeling Off + Life Lately

It’s finally warm!

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Thank the Lord. It got up to a steamy 76*F on Tuesday!

HI. It’s been pretty quiet on Moves and Grooves lately, but it’s been a busy and weird couple of weeks. The weirdness was mostly attributed to me feeling very “off” in my faith life — prayer wasn’t the easiest, and I felt a lot of confusion, frustration, and guilt over some things in my life.

It’s not something I haven’t experienced before, but it’s always disorienting. However, I’ve learned to not depend on feelings or be driven by them all the time. This apples not only to matters of faith, but also matters of recovery, school, life in general. It makes sense (e.g. just because you don’t feel like sharing cake with your friend doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t), but feelings can be LOUD, so it’s good to remind ourselves that feelings are just feelings. We often need to follow what we know instead.

Know that God does not speak through confusion.

Know that God is infinitely loving and merciful.

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I’m not usually a pinterest quote person, but this Bible verse made it to my phone lock screen this week

And with God, every trial just yields more wisdom and peace. Holy Week has helped too! This year, it has been profound yet beautifully simple, and now we are all so ready for Easter 🙂

Let’s catch up though!! So much has been happening.

I went to my second spin class ever at Cyc with Christina (@foodietunes) last Wednesday. Once again, Sarah Gaines, founder of Fit University, taught the class and kicked. my. BUTT. My last spin/Cyc class was last year during Sarah’s first “tribe ride”!

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Christina texted me the night before:

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And so I dragged my butt out of bed to move my legs faster than they ever do, but I still couldn’t keep up with Sarah.

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I had squatted heavy for the first time in a long time THREE days before this class, and my quads were still crying by the warmup.

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Christina: “Can we pick you up?” // Sarah: “Not up here.”

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Thank you so much, Sarah, for a great class and for being an all-around inspirational gal!

After the Cyc class, I stopped by Whole Foods to get some yogurt, and this little fella was patiently waiting outside.

Corgis are my favorite kind of dog. They’re awkward, cute, and loyal. We need more men like that in the world.

Here are a couple solid dining hall meals I’ve eaten:

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breaded fish with seasoned rice and green beans

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empanadas on Latin night + salad

And I’ve been cookin’ up some fine things in the apartment as well!

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(from three weeks ago!) the last of the chicken + beans from the bomb enchiladas I made with cheese, avocado, and roasted brussels sprouts

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meatballs (actually, just mini muffin versions of this meatloaf), brown rice, cheese, and roasted paprika asparagus

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classics with a side of anatomy

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tomato, basil, feta, pepper, and olive oil

Last Sunday, Megan and I hosted “Assisi Night” for our Catholic friends. Essentially, it was an even that we made up because we’ve been obsessed with Assisi ever since we visited during our break while studying abroad. So we invited all our friends to hang out with us for an Italian food potluck, a movie about St. Francis and St. Clare, and good ol’ fellowship.

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the oddly large “T” is actually a tau sign, symbolic of the Franciscan order

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Dinner was complete with salad, caprese, focaccia, several kinds of pasta, and many desserts. Megan and I cooked most of it, but our friends came through with lots of delicious foods as well!

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this focaccia disappeared before the event started

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my attempt at cacio e pepe

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‘Twas such a fun night!!

Sunsets have been magnificent this week thanks to the clear blue skies.

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I wish I could go to a remote place so I could see stars too! (I’m asking for a lot, I’m sorry. I am very grateful for these sunsets.)

Exams, papers, projects, summer planning, etc. is all happening still. It’s a good kind of chaos.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter or just a joyful weekend! Eat lots of carbs for with me!

So tell me:

Do you ever have to ignore your feelings and go with what you know?

Two fun things you’ve done recently.

What are you doing this weekend!Easter and Marathon Monday, baby!

 

Assisi, You Have My Heart

I was woken up by church bells and roosters crowing in Assisi, and I had never been so happy to be woken up an hour early.

We arrived to Assisi at around 8:30 pm on Tuesday night. Megan and I had planned on taking the bus and walking to the hospitality house where we were staying, but we decided to split a taxi with two American men who were on our train. It was a smart decision, because Assisi’s streets are quite the maze. Plus it was dark and we were not in the mood to get lost after a long day of traveling.

We stayed at La Casa d’Ospitalità Maria Immacolata, which was the perfect place. Central location, super kind religious sisters, and beautiful rooms.

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We tried to find a bite to eat, and the best we could do at 9pm in our tired state was a €5 salad. I had this plus half of Megan’s, since she wasn’t feelin’ hers anymore.

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Our room had a balcony with a panorama of Assisi, which looked like this in the morning:

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GLORY.

I ate some breakfast biscuits and mixed nuts before we explored Assisi. Just like Padua, it involved a lot of church visits, wandering semi-aimlessly, and waiting for restaurants to open. 

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We loved it so much though. Assisi is a movie set. None of it seems real, but the best part is that it IS REAL. The buildings are rustic, and the signs look like Disney World tried to make a European Epcot exhibition. 

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Obviously, we had to visit the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Pictures weren’t allowed (there were two Italian guards with big guns outside, so I wasn’t gonna try to pull a fast one), but again, it was exquisite. St. Francis’ tomb was in the basement!! (Getting excited over dead people, I know.)

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We spent a good chunk of time there before going to a random (yet impressively high-tech) museum of a Franciscan mission to the Amazon, followed by the Basilica of St. Rufino. 

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Poor Megan was getting hangry, but we had 20 minutes to spare before lunch opened, so I tried to walk us to Rocca Maggiore (the fortress at the very top of Assisi) for a nice view. Too bad Assisi is really hilly and steep — great if you have energy to exercise, horrible if you’re hangry.

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The views were worth it (IMO. But I ate more than she did for breakfast too, so..). 

Working up an appetite for lunch at Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba was also worth it. My friend Joe recommended it to me, and the menu looked fantastic, so we went for it.

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Al fresco!

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They gave us a bread basket PLUS this onion focaccia, which was divine.

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Megan and I shared the beef tartare to start. We called them “raw meatballs”, but they were seriously amazing. There were black truffle shavings and some sort of yogurt sauce. 

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Then we both ordered the gnocchi for our main. It came with a lamb ragu sauce, pecorino cream, and CHOCOLATE! The chocolate definitely elevated the dish to a new and unique level. 

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Dead. This was definitely the best meal of my entire trip.

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We popped into a gelateria for lunch dessert, because…we were in Italy. 

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Each cup came with three flavors, so I went with caramel, mint chocolate chip, and pistachio. Weird combo, but I enjoyed it a lot. 

I was so full of good Italian food at that point, so we slowly made our way to the Basilica of St. Clare, where her tomb was located as well. Her body is partially incorrupt, which means it is decaying more slowly than usual and no one can explain it scientifically. Creepy crazy cool.

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We headed back to our room to change into something other than jeans, since it was actually pretty warm that day. I also needed to lay down on a bed and digest from lunch still.

Then it was time for a hike! We walked about 1.5 hours to St. Francis’ old hermitage, called Eremo delle Carceri, which I think means hermitage of the prisons? It was a great walk, but it was also a great workout. It was all uphill, so my hamstrings and butt were feeling it as I huffed and puffed up the double backs of the mountain.

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We were the only valiant walkers as many cars passed us by. #fituniversity?

Once we arrived, we walked around the beautiful and serene hermitage. We checked out the grottos and prayer spaces of St. Francis and his companions.

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We spent a good couple of hours here, marveling in the beauty and meditating ourselves. It was another good workout going down this trail…and then back up.

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STORY TIME.

We stayed so long at the hermitage because we wanted to go to adoration and vespers (both are special forms of prayer) at the chapel at 6pm. We knew it would get dark, but we figured we could get a cab or just walk with our phone flashlights back down the mountain, no big deal.

Adoration and vespers were lovely. I was exhausted, but it was so cool to be praying with priests and religious brothers and sisters at the top of a mountain in Assisi, where St. Francis once prayed.

Once the prayers were over though, we realized that it was pitch black outside and thunder storming… Not really great conditions for walking 1.5 hours down a mountain, eh? At first, I assured the priest that we would be able to get a taxi by the entrance of the hermitage, but when we got outside, there was not a soul in sight, and we knew there would be no taxis passing by until the morning. So we scurried back to the hermitage to ask the priest, Fr. Marco and the religious sister, Sr. Violet, there to call a cab for us.

God is good. Another religious sister, Sr. Elisabetta, and her friend were heading back down the mountain with their car, so the priest asked them if they would be willing to give us a lift, and they agreed! It all sounds very nice and perfect as I type this, but in reality, Megan and I were so frazzled and helpless.

“Guess we’re staying at the hermitage tonight.” -Megan

We are beyond grateful for such kind people though. We got to talk to Fr. Marco and Sr. Violet while we waited for our ride to be ready. All of a sudden though, the room started shaking.

Megan and I were just looking around like, “Hm, the room is moving. Must be some strong thunder or something.” But Sister Violet took my arm and calmly but firmly led me out of the room we were standing in to stand under a small archway.

We must have looked confused at that point, because all she said was, “Earthquake. Terremoto.” WHAT!? Megan and I are clueless. Thankfully, it was not a big or long earthquake.

Anyway, Sr. Elisabetta and her friend very kindly drove us back to town, where it started raining torrentially.

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If we tried to walk back down a mountain in the dark with thunderstorms, pouring rain, and earthquakes, I think we would have died. We are forever grateful for the compassionate and joyful people of Eremo delle Cercari.

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We ran into the closest open restaurant once we got out of the car. It was a random hotel restaurant, but we were hungry and it was pouring outside. I ordered the veal steak and side of grilled vegetables.

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I got the biggest stomachache after this, probably because I ate too fast and the meal was just very oily overall. Too many fats in a very short period of time after a long hike and a little stress was not a good combo.

By the time we finished dinner, it had stopped raining (thank God), so we walked back to our rooms to just be done with the day. But it wasn’t quite over.

I had just showered and Megan was sitting on the ground using her phone. The room started shaking again, and we looked at each other. We didn’t say anything but we weren’t taking this earthquake seriously, since the other one was so short and mild. But then the shaking kept going, and it was getting harder. Our eyes widened and we realized, “Oh, earthquakes are natural disasters and we should be concerned. !!!!”

All I learned in school was to go under a doorframe, so that’s what we did. We were totally fine, but the epicenter must have felt it big time. 😦

We felt one more shake while in our beds a little later, but nothing woke us up while we were actually sleeping.

The next morning, the sun was out and the view from our balcony got even prettier.

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I could cry.

We checked out of our hospitality house and moseyed our way down to St. Damian, which was a church rebuilt by St. Francis and used by the Poor Clares.

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Look at how touristy we are. Backpack/frontpack for me + hiking boots hanging off of Megan’s hiking backpack.

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Besides Megan mildly twisting her ankle, the walk to lunch was lovely, and these views from the bottom of Assisi were stunning. I could not take my eyes off this place.

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We ate lunch at Casa Norcia, which gave us some delicious pasta (naturally). I had the mixed salad + tagliatelle with prosciutto and hazelnuts. YUM.

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There were about 45 minutes to kill before the Mary of the Angels Basilica reopened for the day, so I blogged on my phone for a bit outside. The wifi was THE BEST in that area.

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Then it was time to catch our train to Rome. We both finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that evening, and we are officially HP fans now. It happened.

So we shed a tear because we left Assisi and because we finished the first HP book. Assisi is my new favorite place in the world, and my heart longs to return.

A few more adventures to share coming up!

Adventure Awaits

I am trying to fit my life into a school backpack for ten days.

We finished finals for two of our classes, and now we are off on our ten-day, mid-semester break! I guess you could say that Megan and I will be backpacking through Europe, which is crazy. I think it didn’t really hit us until now that we are traveling through Europe by ourselves for ten days, because we’ve been in Ireland (sort of) by ourselves for so long already.

Traveling through Ireland is very different from traveling through Switzerland and Italy though. We don’t speak Swiss German, and I haven’t taken Italian in three years. Plus, we won’t have data, so Google translate won’t always come to our rescue.

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But what’s adventure without some tourist sign language and getting a little lost!?

I may or may not have spent 2.5 hours writing out all the directions and details for just one day of travel.

These past few days have been all about cleaning out the fridge. Lots of eggs, leftover rice and pasta, and overnight oats!

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white rice, beef, tikka masala sauce + an egg on top

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avocado egg toast! ♥︎ 

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white rice, spicy tomato sauce, beef

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It says “end-of-life” on my paper because I was studying end-of-life issues for ethics, just FYI.

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whole wheat pasta with spicy tomato sauce, beef, and some goat cheese that a friend was trying to get rid of

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overnight oats never get old

Megan and I decided to rent the first Harry Potter book from the library to read during our travels, since neither of us have ever read the books.

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I am genuinely excited.

I am also currently eating bunches of spinach with my fingers dipped in hummus, so that’s where we’re at. Nothing out of the ordinary though.

Hopefully, I can keep you guys updated on the big trip as we go from city to city. I’m not bringing my laptop, so we’ll see how well posting works on my phone. If not, we’ll have a heck of a lot to catch up on when I return! If any of you have recommendations for places to eat or things to see in Zurich, Padua, Assisi, or Rome, hit me up 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend, whatever you’re doing and wherever you go. Pick up an old book that you’ve always wanted to read.

So tell me:

Have you ever backpacked through Europe?

What is one thing you’ve been eating repetitively this week?

Have you ever hopped on a book bandwagon extremely late?