Day in the Life: Internship Abroad

There are only a couple weeks left of my Dublin study abroad experience, can you believe it!?

I shared a day in the life post a couple months ago when we still had classes all day, but now we are well into the internship phase of the program, which involves a full day (more or less) of work Monday through Thursday.

I intern at a private physiotherapy clinic that focuses on dry needling, manual therapy, massage, and Pilates classes. I am loving it! The people are wonderful, the patients are so kind, and I am learning a lot about the international physiotherapy scene. I even get to massage patients who are willing to let a li’l student knead them out.

Here’s what Monday looked like this week. This was actually an unusual day because we had a conference in the evening, which threw off the work hours a bit, but it’s still a general idea of what goes on.

7:55 AM – First alarm goes off. Snooze.

8:04 AM – Second alarm goes off. “I could get up now. But I don’t have to and I could use more sleep.” Reset alarm for 8:30.

8:30 AM – THIRD alarm goes off. Drag butt out of bed. Go to the bathroom, brush teeth, say morning prayer.

8:50 AM – Head to the kitchen for breakfast. There is never a day when I am not excited for overnight oats.

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so ugly, but the value is within.

9:05 AM – Decide that I should roast my broccoli that’s been sitting in the fridge for days. I get home late on Mondays (and especially this particular day), so I know I’ll be happy to have it already roasted when I get back at night.

9:30 AM – Start typing this blog post as I wait for my broccoli. (Somewhat unrelated: Ever since I read Paige’s post on her productivity secret, I’ve been using the “Pomodoro Method” to get work done this past week, and I am a believer! Definitely check out Paige’s post if you’re interested.)

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I use this pomodoro method app

9:45 AM – Broccoli is out of the oven. I taste test as always, no matter how hot it is.

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olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper at 400F for ~30 min

9:50 AM – Let the broccoli cool for a bit, pack it up, wash the dishes.

10:10 AM – Squeeze in a very quick warmup + workout. I was feeling energetic and willing to sprint, but you know me. I don’t actually run (plus I have my bursitis as an excuse), so I sprinted in the form of burpees with Lori and Michelle’s 100 burpee challenge. It’s one of my favorite workouts of all time!

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10:35 AM – Stretch and figure that I would be cutting it too close to shower before I need to leave to catch the bus. I’m not sweating that much…

10:40 AM – Comb hair, put on makeup, pack my bag, and put on a good dose of deodorant (I promise I am a hygienic person).

11:00 AM – Leave the dorm to catch the bus. I walk to a farther bus stop because the bus would take a little while to get to the closer stop anyway, so I might as well meet it farther down.

11:20 AM – Hop on the bus and pull out this honker of a book.

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People probably think I’m actually 12 years old, but HP is worth it ♥︎

11:40 AM – Hop off the bus and walk a couple blocks to work.

11:50 AM – Arrive at work. My bosses didn’t have too many patients in for the day since they were preparing for the conference, so my day involved helping them with the prep, researching for my paper on trigger points, and the usual desk duties.

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I also snacked on these “milk & cereals” flavored BelVita biscuits throughout the early afternoon. They kind of taste like coconut biscuits, which is a-okay with me.

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3:30 PM – The biscuits held me over quite well, so I had a very late lunch. ‘Twas this ugly-looking egg and sausage scramble that I had made the night before. It tasted like stuffing since I used the same sausage and herbs I used for Thanksgiving, so in other words, it was delicious.

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pork and apple sausage + one egg + egg white + sautéed onion + spinach + thyme + sage possibly?

I followed this with a big, juicy orange.

4:20 PM – Leave with one of the physiotherapists for the conference at a hotel in Dún Laoghaire (pronounced “Dunleary”).

4:40 PM – Arrive at the hotel and help set up and sort through all the logistics of the night. I ate a Cadbury caramel chocolate at some point. My supervisor told me, “This is the only kind of chocolate. America does sweets well, but they don’t do chocolate well.”

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I must admit that this stuff is LUSCIOUS

6:00 PM – Head downstairs to the exhibition tables for tea and biscuit hour (a fine practice which I’ve come to love in Ireland).

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I put milk in my tea and I don’t know why. It does nothing.

7:00 PM – Conference begins! It was hosted by a woman from Parliament with the Migraine Association of Ireland, and our physiotherapy company gave a presentation about myofascial trigger points as a potential source of migraines, which can be relieved through massage and dry needling.

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7:30 PM – We give our presentation to the first session. When I say “we” and “our”, I mean the owner presented and I was the guinea pig for dry needling. It was fun having a couple dozen people staring at my trap muscles twitching like crazy.

8:15 PM – Second session presentation.

9:00 PM – The therapists stick around to answer questions before we clean up everything and head back to the clinic to drop it off.

10:00 PM – Back at the clinic, where we unload everything. They kindly call me a taxi to get home.

10:20 PM – Get home ready for FOOD. I warm up my pre-roasted broccoli (*ding*) + leftover pizza from Sunday night.

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11:00 PM – Shower after reading blogs for a bit.

11:30 PM – Pray and head to bed.

So this might not be a true “day in the life,” because I don’t usually have work until 10 pm, but it was still an exciting day of interning!

So tell me: 

Three things in your daily routine. 

What is your favorite chocolate brand? 

Have you ever heard about trigger points as a cause of migraines?

“Booze and Grooves”

My friend Ben came up with it.

When I left for Ireland last month, he told me he expected my adventures to be titled “booze and grooves” and to disregard liver health. I’m only listening to his first suggestion.

This weekend we had a class trip to Northern Ireland! The history of division between the British/Protestants vs. Irish/Catholics is jarring yet fascinating. One of the first things our tour guide in Belfast said was, “This is the most dangerous part of Belfast… If a taxi honks at you, sprint back to the bus as fast you can. That’s the most important.”

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Illegal murals are a big part of the culture. They are all political statements rooted in the violent divisions that manifested only two decades ago.

I was that student who asked, “Are you being serious?” He answered with a straight face, “Does it look like I’m kidding?”

“No, sir.”

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But later he told us that he was kidding, and we all laughed (*nervous relief laughs for me*). We still couldn’t really open our mouths about religion or politics though.

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I must admit that I felt uncomfortable in Belfast for the first half of the day, but after visiting the peace wall, going downtown, and learning about the government at the Parliament building reassured me that peace is being pursued.

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They even served us afternoon coffee, tea, and biscuits during our break, which was the cutest. I am officially a fan of digestive biscuits dipped in tea.

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Witnessing and experiencing the city made for one excellent history lesson!

For dinner that night, a bunch of us went to Robinson’s and ate inside a “snug”, which we learned was the ladies’ corner back in the day, where we might have been served alcohol if the men of institution were feelin’ nice enough. Coincidentally, we were a bunch of ladies gathered in a snug on Thursday night. But we bought our own drinks 🙂

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I ordered the shepherd’s pie, which was more like sloppy joe with a lot of mashed potatoes on top, but I was fine with that.

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Pretty much demolished the whole thing. Then it was time to get wild and cuh-razy at the Crown Liquor Saloon, ooo la la.

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Megan and I had not bought an alcoholic drink in Ireland until that night, so we both bought Jameson Gingers and celebrated! Everyone else was probably more excited for us than we were for ourselves, but I appreciated the energy.

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Jameson Ginger is probably one of my favorite drinks that I’ve tasted in my short and limited experience with alcohol consumption, but it still doesn’t compare to the taste of ice cream.

So Megan and I enjoyed our drinks, but we’re more willing to put our money towards a happier cause— dessert. It was still super fun to actually go out with people (I’m such a square usually).

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We still went to bed before 1 am, only after watching an Irish dating show on TV.

On Friday morning, Megan and I grabbed breakfast at cafe approximately 20 paces from our hotel lobby. I ordered porridge with banana, honey, and peanut butter, and it ROCKED. The oats were cooked to a texture that was doughy and satisfying, and the addition of whole milk was life-changing.

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At first, I wasn’t sure if there was peanut butter in there because it was hidden by the banana slices, but after asking, the waiter said, “It’s in there! A surprise underneath. There’s enough for two in there.”

“Enough for two people.” I laughed when I finished the bowl, because that’s how much peanut butter I always put in my oats.

Megan and I went on a brisk walk around the city (brisk because we almost got lost) before our class headed to Giant’s Causeway!

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It was just as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher!

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The unique part of Giant’s Causeway is the rocks. There are tens of thousands of rocks shaped like hexagons due to how the volcanic lava solidified and cracked over the period of hundreds of thousands of years.

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But you could also choose to believe that giants did it. 😉

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photo from my friend Cassandra!

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PC: Cassandra

Yet another beautiful experience in Ireland.

Not a beautiful experience? Rushing to buy Irish stew with brown bread for lunch and having the butter packets melt from the heat of the stew all over your paper bag on the bus.

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Megan: “Butter disaster 2016.”

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The stew was delicious though!!

One pit stop on the way to Derry for the Games of Thrones fans:

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I don’t watch the show, but if you do, does this look familiar?? (p.s. my friends spotted the whole cast inside a bar on Thursday night!)

Next stop was Derry/Londonderry (depending on whether you’re a Nationalist or a Unionist). We toured some more murals and the big wall in the middle of the city. It was so nice to move the legs and witness some stunning views of the whole city.

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Our hotel was a 15 minute drive out of the city, so we settled into our rooms before taking a taxi back in for dinner. HOWEVER, everything on a Friday night was closed! Megan, Cristen and I wanted to go to a restaurant called Blackbird for a wagyu beef burger (per my mom’s recommendation), but they told us that they stop serving food at 5pm.

Wut.

Disappointed, we walked around to find another restaurant, but everything except the bars and some random fast food places had their gates down. So strange. We decided to go a chain chicken restaurant called Nando’s, which was still a good dinner!

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medium spice chicken on a super grain salad bowl

I was satisfied, and I had missed green vegetables. AND AVOCADO.

Then we wanted ice cream, so the waitress at Nando’s suggested Joe Jackson’s inside a mall down the street. I got the honeycomb and strawberry cheesecake flavors, which hit the spot!

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The night wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was still a delicious and fun adventure. We also successfully hailed a taxi back to our hotel, which was a win.

Also, we had to put key card into this slot by the door of our hotel room in order for the electricity to work. Different!

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Saturday morning, I ate a whole grain roll with peanut butter that we bought the night before for breakfast.

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There was a big gym in the hotel, so I took full advantage during our free morning. I was STOKED to be using gym equipment for the first time in a month!

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I warmed up and did three sets each of:

  • 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 20 jump lunges
  • squats (varying weights) + 20 squat jumps
  • 12 deadlifts (105#) + 30 side jump lunges

Then I did EMOM 10:

  • 5 squat cleans (65#)
  • 8 burpees over the bar

That EMOM absolutely crushed my entire being. I don’t often think “I’m dying” after a workout, but this one made me feel that way.

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I stretched my legs and did some lat pull downs, military presses, and tricep pull downs to finish.

Naturally, two days later, I still can’t move anything in my body.

A bunch of us ordered lunch at the hotel restaurant before hitting the road back to Dublin. It was a bizarre experience in that the service took so long and no one really knew what was going on, but we learned that the restaurant isn’t usually open and prepared to serve 15 hungry kids at that time, so everyone was just discombobulated.

The servers were very kind though, and the food was great! These fries…

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I ordered a toasted beef, brie, and tomato sandwich, which I ate on the bus.

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The rest of the day back on campus involved unpacking, roasting brussels sprouts, and jamming out to Disney music with my friends.

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Sunday morning was some play, but mostly work. We have essays due this week!! First, Megan and I went to Mass in city centre, which was a lovely 2.5-mile walk. Then we met up with Cristen at Brother Hubbard for lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve been to Ireland so far!

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I ordered the Turkish eggs menemem, which included herbs and roasted peppers on toasted sourdough. Best scrambled eggs ever.

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Megan shared some of her pulled pork with me too, which was so tasty.

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We walked back to campus, where worked hard for the rest of the day. There was a break for grocery shopping and dinner in there somewhere. And dessert! Megan and I picked up desserts from Bread and Butter on our way back from lunch earlier, so we used them as incentives to get work done.

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I’m always down for carrot cake.

I also got to FaceTime Rachel at night!

“Work hard, play hard” is a fun motto to live by, but then it reverses to “play hard, work hard,” and I’m really feeling that vibe right now. Time to go finish this essay! And hopefully some yoga to streeeeetch.

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overnight oats in a jar that I just ate 🙂

Hope you all have a kick-butt week!!

(p.s. apparently there have been some issues with the commenting system on my blog, so I apologize!! I’ll try to get the problem fixed ASAP!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Northern Ireland?

What is the coolest geologic phenomenon you’ve ever seen?

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? I need ideas for next time!

Two things you did this weekend!

Living Life Like the Little Ones

Thank you all a million times over for your love on last week’s blog anniversary post (and on every post, really)!

Pop and I made it back home to New York without any 7 hour delays, thank the Lord!

I spent the past three days with lots of family members, including lots of BABIES! (I’m that crazy lady who would like to hold your baby whenever you’re ready/in two minutes/now, please.) In case you missed the update last week, I was visiting St. Louis for my baby cousin’s baptism.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Let’s catch up!

Friday

Mom and I started the day with a rather delicious and filling {complimentary} hotel breakfast. This is what I ate every morning:

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Two plain oatmeal packets with honey, banana, and two little packs of peanut butter + a box o’ milk

As long as the breakfast trifecta is present, I’m all set.

Then we went to see my baby cousins!

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My cousin CC (bottom right): “Um, Alison?”

Me: “Yes?”

CC: “Um, I’m having so much fun!”

From now on, I’m going to announce when I’m having fun, just like that.

They took us to a farm/park close to their house, where we saw some Butterball-worthy turkeys, loud goats, majestic horses, and lots of bacon giant pigs.

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Meet Maurice. He’s bigger than you and me.

We worked up an appetite for lunch involving a Southern/Midwestern delicacy.

Chick-fil-A, chickadees.

I’ve never seen a fast food joint so packed in my LIFE. A line that never shortened, a drive-thru that was backed up, and not a table to spare.

I was bummed that we missed breakfast, because the #1 thing I wanted was a biscuit, but I tried some of their fried chicken with the special sauce, and it was pretty bomb. My main order was the grilled chicken wrap + “superfood salad” (a cup of kale and craisins).

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The afternoon consisted of some hanging out and errands. Another Midwestern stereotype coming to life:

Man at TJMaxx (with beard, cowboy hat, and southern twang): *stares at me for a few seconds* ”

Excuse me? What nationality are you?”

Me: (in my 200% American accent) “I’m Chinese and Thai.”

Man: “Chinese and Thai… Well. Welcome to the United States!”

Me: ….

Man: “I mean, you probably already live here..”

Me: “haha yeah… I live in New York.” *walk away slowly*

He seemed rather intrigued that an Asian was standing there in the flesh.

Moving on. Dinner consisted of…

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We ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory and ordered another St. Louis classic to start— toasted ravioli.

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I like their definition of toasted (fried). I ordered the Angel Hair Pomodoro (so I guess… not spaghetti), which was everything I was craving and more. Followed by a peanut butter cookie from the hotel lobby.

After picking up bro Ben from the airport, I ended the night looking like my own worst nightmare.

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moisturizing, hydrating, terrifying face mask + lip gel mask thing

I Snapchatted my friends telling them to sleep with their eyes open that night. Sorry if this traumatized you. I’m still recovering myself.

Saturday

In short, Saturday involved family time allllll day, leading up to a big barbecue at my cousins’ house. It started with a wonderful walk with my aunt in the morning, and the day continued with helping out in the kitchen and contributing my “famous” roasted sweet potatoes.

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Steaks, burgers, creamed corn, sweet potatoes, and salad. I had some of everything and an oatmeal raisin cookie a la mode + sugar high for dessert. Thank you to all who made it happen!

With all the excitement and joy of being around family, especially the little ones, I didn’t have the time or care to worry about healthy food and/or exercise. You eat, play, and just enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. It makes sense, and the little ones have it down pat. 

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 18:3-4

I’ve learned trusted that my body gravitates toward what it needs. If I need some butt-to-couch time, I will sit down and be a couch potato for a bit. If I want to let off some energy, I’ll go do something fun with people I love. For instance, the “big kids” went out for some frisbee golf at dusk, which was a blast.

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Ben, stop acting surprised that I’m taking candid photos of people

Sunday

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!

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The Sunday Mass and Baptism were beautiful (definitely cried tears of joy at some point), and the reception was lovely. God is good.

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Congratulations, Josephine and family!

After bittersweet goodbyes, everyone split ways. Dad and I en route to New York. Mom and bro Ben en route to Florida. We’ll see each other again soon!

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Asian cashew salad at Wendy’s in the Detroit airport for dinner

Back on the grind this week. We’ll get through it together.

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So tell me:

You and babies. What happens?

Do you ever use facial masks?

Have you ever played frisbee golf?

Have you ever eaten at Chick-fil-A?

Current Simple Joys

New England Patriots REPPIN’!

[Confession #1: I typed that before the game even started…for optimism. Confession #2: I don’t give a single care for football. I just like cornbread, chili, halftime, and a reason to be excited. Confession #3: I was reading blogs throughout the game last night.]

For those of you who either don’t live in the United States or just don’t know why people are talking about bowls being so super, there was a very important football game on TV last night. Or should I say there were a series of weird commercials with some football woven throughout?

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Plus twenty more handfuls of popcorn, another wing, funfetti dip, and microwave pizza rolls. QUALITY DINNER.

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In addition to the simple joy of being in Boston when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, this past week has brought about an endless number of other blessings that have been making me smile until I look Asian.

Oh wait.

current simple joys

  • Biscuits with honey butter.

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My friend Arianna taught me yet another trick of the dining hall. When they have “shortcake” for dessert, they provide plain biscuits. She takes those biscuits, pops them in the microwave for a few seconds, and then spreads butter and honey on them. Genius, yes?

  • Spotify. (Below is a shorter version of my entire list of songs on Spotify, in case you were wondering what I’ve been grooving to. It’s a diverse list 🙂 )
  • Celebrating birthdays {and funfetti cake}.

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Happy birthday to Erica! And shoutout to Jonathan, who nailed that funfetti cake like no other.

  • Going to the chapel for Mass in the middle of a busy day of classes.
  • Weird combinations that end up tasting delicious.

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Cottage cheese, granola, peanut butter, and applesauce. I’m laughing out loud because I know my friends are probably making barf sounds at this.

  • The unlimited dining plan— I can just swipe into the dining hall for a snack.
  • Human anatomy (seriously). 
  • Checking things off your to-do list.
  • Awesome wins for BU Hockey.

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  • Coming inside after being assaulted by freezing winds.
  • A man on the sidewalk sounding extra cheerful when he said, “You’re welcome!” in reply to my rather dull “thank you.”
  • Sandwiches. 

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  • Warm laundry. And when the dorm dryer actually dries all your clothes.
  • Feeling spent yet accomplished after working out.
  • Just talking with friends.
  • Beanies.

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  • When the dining hall has spotty bananas, so that I can take them to my dorm and freeze them.
  • Clear, sunny days and Boston terriers.

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  • Yet another snow day.

That’s right— BU cancelled classes today due to more snow. It’s kind of a joy and kind of a hassle, because it’s nice to have a day off, but…when are we going to have a full week of school? I’m a nerd.

Oh well, that means more time to have dance parties in my dorm room! It’ll be fun active rest because I feel my legs getting sore already from today’s workout (as I type this on Sunday night) ahhhh.

Have a lovely Monday, friends!

So tell me:

Are you pleased with the Super Bowl outcome?

Three of your current simple joys! 

What is your favorite app for music?