Remember Those Life Lessons You Learned When You Were 5 Years Old?

…Well we still out here learning ’em!

My heart is so happy to be picking up the pen again typing as I always do, except this time on my blog and not on my class notes! I honestly am smiling as I type this. How have the first three months of 2019 been for you? We’re already almost 25% of the way through the year; HOW ABOUT THAT!?

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I am currently eating a freshly fried clam cake (like a crab cake except made with clam meat) with one hand as I type this, so you know ya girl is home eating mom’s delicious home-cooked food. Boston University is thankfully on spring break right now, so I am taking advantage of the extra time to sleep, spend time with the family, and eat something other than overnight oats in the morning (as much as I love my oats).

I’ve been limiting my social media time as well for Lent, which has allowed a lot of extra time to think, reflect, and pray in that scary, mindful silence. This semester has been filled with many good lessons, as every semester is, but I feel like God has particularly brought me back to some timeless lessons that are likely on every elementary school poster in the nation.

Lessons such as…

Sleep is good for you.

OHHHHH, WHO KNEW!? I used to naively think, “What’s 7 hours vs. 6 hours of sleep? I still function just fine either way.”

Answer: The difference between getting 100% of my work done vs. getting 75% of my work done. The difference between remembering what I studied vs. not remembering what I studied. The difference between having the energy to be a kind and compassionate person vs. brushing past anyone who is in my way because I just want to get done what I need to get done. The difference between needing tea (I’ve been on that black/green tea train for the purpose of caffeine lately. Haven’t made it to coffee yet, but the drive for caffeine has commenced) vs. feeling spritely in my natural state.

I’m sure you get the point, because you likely have discovered the power of sleep early on in your life.

Think before you speak.

One of my greatest weaknesses is being impulsive when I say things. I’m not an impulsively angry person, but sometimes I say things out loud before thinking just to smooth over an awkward moment, to protect myself from contempt, or to avoid conflict. I do not desire to do these things, but the problem is… I end up doing them anyway because I don’t always shut up and THINK before I speak. I hate discomfort, and saying any words, even thoughtlessly, can help remediate that discomfort for a time. But we all know that can bite ya in the butt real hard, kids.

Silence and discomfort have been good for me in this respect. Not always having an answer has proven to be better than me opening my big mouth.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is a lifelong lesson that everyone needs hearing all the time. This one, however, hits me on a more personal and sensitive level currently, because I have been slowly but surely realizing that I have let down several people in my life who I love very much. I’ve been that gal who has taken advantage of others’ kindness, of the good things others provide for me, and of the time and care that others share with me so that I can be at peace. And those people keep giving to me and loving me, which is what makes it all the more painful.

Without going into the gory details (I say that as a colloquialism; there has been no actual gore involved), I have reflected that I need to be less selfish and more focused on how others feel. So it’s time for less talking, more listening, less “can you,” and more “how about you.”


As for the moves and grooves — they’ve been happening almost daily still, thankfully! These past few days have been rough because I’ve been eating a lot of junk food whilst spending time with friends and family, but c’est la vie, ya know? Some days when I’m in school, I only have time to do 100 burpees for time in my apartment; other days I get to do long strength workouts; other days I feel like running outside and up a b r u t a l hill near my home. And many days, I just walk, and that’s my workout for the day. I am grateful for the ability, knowledge, and time to move. Makes me happy.

And YOU make me happy for being here! Thanks for sticking with me and reading along. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday.

So tell me:

What are some basic life lessons you are still learning today?

What is the best thing you’ve eaten in the past week? I think the winner for me is the massive burger (wiiiiith bacon, cheese, guacamole, BBQ sauce, and coleslaw….) from Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage in Cambridge 😀

Tea or coffee?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Feel Like I Should Have Learned This A While Ago

I am currently watching a video for my ethics in healthcare class, and so far I’ve seen a C-section, prostate surgery and throat surgery in the past 15 minutes.

I’m not that faint of heart, but this is making my vision a little blurry.

Good morning! What a way to start this post, eh? Here’s a picture of an appealing breakfast to counteract those thoughts.

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Sorry if you don’t think Greek yogurt, banana, and peanut butter are appealing.

I am only a week into this Dublin study abroad program, but I am already wondering: “Why did I ever not want to do this??”

Believe it or not, I really did not want to study abroad for a while. The main reason was FOMO— I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun and friendships back at Boston University. I also didn’t feel a strong tug to study abroad, so I wrote it off as “not for me.”

In the end (obviously), I chose to study abroad in order to challenge myself. To learn about other people. To travel. To get outside of my cushy, mushy comfort zone of friends, family, and familiarity.

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although cheese toast with eggs and sriracha for lunch is pretty familiar 🙂

My reasons for coming to Dublin are not quite unique, but I know that my experience here is unique. Who will I meet? What will I learn? How will I grow? Will I even gain anything?

I won’t reflect too extensively today, but two things I have learned this week are that:

  • Sharing a kitchen with over 10 people is both an art and a labor of love.
  • Education should be driven by a desire to learn and become a better person, not merely by a desire to “do well.” I always knew this one, but I have only recently realized that I get so nervous for school because I feel pressure to primarily do well. Retain information, apply my knowledge after the course, etc.— all those were secondary thoughts to me. It’s sad, but it’s true.

I feel like I should have learned that latter point such a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always loved learning, but only selectively and usually outside of a classroom setting, where the thought of grades wasn’t oppressing me.

I still break a tiny sweat when I think of learning and writing about something completely out of my comfort zone, but that’s where the growth happens. And, as Fr. Mike Schmitz said, if I am motivated by gratitude (for the gift of learning) rather than fear (of not doing well in the course), then I can be free.

Free to think. Free to question. Free to innovate.

And on the kitchen topic, I actually enjoy the kitchen parties. Minus the dirty dishes and questionable amount of smoke that we produce in the kitchen. I contributed to the smoky room with my Irish grass-fed beef burgers (am I trendy yet!?).

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on multigrain sourdough toast with ketchup, mustard, sautéed onions, white cheddar and spinach + cherry tomatoes on the side

Lookit!

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Plus this classic thanks to Madre hauling over dried figs for me in her Mary Poppins bag.

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dried figs with Greek yogurt

All we need in this dorm is the laundry machines to be up and running. Patience is virtue, but dirty laundry is gross.

Lastly, I want to wish Madre a very happy birthday! I’m sure this lady is feeling twenty twoooooo ooo ooo! I love you, mama!

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So tell me:

Have you always been motivated by a desire to learn in school? Or have you had desires to “just do well”?

Have you ever had to share a space with many people? My four-person-family life at home is a premium.

If you’ve ever studied abroad, what was your main reason for going?

20 Things From My Life That I Regret (But Not Entirely)

I just finished a rather colorful bowl of oatmeal this AM.

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Sprinkles were welcomed onto my classic bowl of banana chia egg white oats, because I’m turning 20 today! Two decades and no longer a teen. I’d say that I feel closer to fully #adulting, but did I mention that a waitress gave me a kiddie menu in Vermont three weeks ago?

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I hope that all my fellow Americans had a lovely Memorial Day! The ‘rents and I took it easy. We attended our local Memorial Day ceremony, Mom and I went shopping, we all napped a bit, and some killer moves went down in honor of the fallen.

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the superintendent of my high school!

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salad with sautéed onions, mushrooms and chorizo (← new fave)

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Memorial Day 5/30/16 Workout

5 rounds for time: 30 pushup burpees + 16 alternating weighted pistol squats

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dinner was eel and Asian roasted brussels sprouts over brown rice (I LOVE EEL)

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new favorite late night snack: Greek yogurt and almond butter with dried figs

In honor of twenty years since emerging from the womb, I decided to make a list of twenty things, because that seems like a socially acceptable way to subtly scream on my blog that I have turned twenty years old.

I have learned plenty of lessons in these past twenty years, but instead of listing the lessons themselves, I am sharing twenty things that I regret doing/happening (but not entirely, because they’ve taught me that I am a foolish human being who constantly needs improvement/they’ve given me the best memories). So I do not necessarily condone all of the following things, but I am appreciative that God allows me to learn from mistakes.

1) Filming a plethora of home videos of my brother and myself dancing to Pokemon songs and Backstreet Boys.

2) Showing said home videos to my friends in high school and college.

3) Having a bowl haircut.

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4) Complaining to my parents that I didn’t want to go to Hawaii when I was seven years old because I had no interest in pineapples (they still dragged me along, thankfully).

5) Wanting to have hamstring muscles just like my figure skating friend when I was seven years old (the dawn of body comparison).

6) Waiting until the last minute on one of my elementary school math projects and getting a terrible grade.

7) Crying and getting mad at God because I didn’t get a lead role in my middle school’s musical, Willy Wonka, Jr. I got the part of an orange-faced, green-haired oompa loompa.

8) Any and every time I stomped through the house in an unreasonable rage.

9) Begging my mom to take me to buy Crocs. And Uggs.

10) Not paying attention to directions whenever my parents drove.

11) Not reading Harry Potter (and then the heavens rejoiced that she repented).

12) The whole phase of my life when I started wearing makeup and getting interested in fashion.

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blue eyeshadow and 10 lbs. of jewelry

13) Not keeping up with stretching after some time off of figure skating. It taught me early on that muscles do not stay flexible forever.

14) Counting calories and finding healthy living blogs that pushed my disordered eating further (but finding healthy living blogs was ultimately fruitful).

15) Discovering my love for nut butter. A blessing and a curse.

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16) Attending one high school Halloween party where there was a single handle of vodka, touchy people, and really bad lighting. But it taught me that I was not missing out on anything by not going to those parties.

17) Thinking that I did not want to study abroad because of FOMO (fear of missing out) at Boston. My friends who know what’s logical and good urged me to reconsider, and now I’m going to Dublin this fall!

18) All the times I did not engage in conversation with people because I did not think they were interesting enough or that I was interesting enough.

19) Not trusting in God’s mercy, which has plunged me into my darkest times yet ultimately brought me to my greatest joys after seeking Truth.

20) Not following politics. I need to inform myself more, but I’m also happy that I’m not stressing over the hubbub.

This was a lot more fun to write than I was expecting. And embarrassing!

Off to work now! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

So tell me:

What are some things you regret (but not really)? Can you relate to any of mine?

What did you do for Memorial Day?

Do you have any birthday traditions? Going out to dinner with the fam!

Friends Pushing Me to Be Better

I just ate a dinner of popcorn, Chex Mix, celery, chocolate cake, an apple, “gorilla dip”, and a singular chicken wing.

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#nutrition

Also, the only thing I watched from the Super Bowl last night was the halftime show and the Honda commercial with the singing sheep, and that was everything I needed.

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I love Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars, but did anyone else feel like the halftime performance as a whole was a weird combo?

Anyway, I have nothing more to say about the Super Bowl, so let’s talk about how my wonderful friends have been kicking my butt in the best way possible.

Rewind to Friday: I had biomechanics in the morning, a good lunch with friends, bible study, a workout, homework, and productive procrastination (working on a birthday gift for someone!).

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Two of my dear friends, Mai and Kelsey, are in my bible study, and listening to their perspectives and insights on Scripture and faith in general was so inspiring. Most of all, their willingness to share their own doubts and trials humbles me to face my own doubts and trials.

Saturday started off with a walk through winter wonderland to get to work (unintentional alliteration).

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I tried to pack more substantial snacks so that I wouldn’t be so lightheaded and cranky like I was last week at work, but I guess all the walking, cooking, and cleaning I do (and the fact that I end at 2pm) just does me in. Needless to say, lunch was again demolished.

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While I was studying, my pal Connor came up to chat with me for a bit, and he gave me nuggets of wisdom to deal with my academic stress. His words were simple and things I knew logically, but I still needed someone to tell them to me in order to internalize it. 1) Happiness is important. 2) Don’t stress out because other people have more knowledge than you. Do what you need to do, but there’s no good in comparing and worrying.

Good stuff.

Saturday night involved a workout, some studying, and Tasty Burger (!!!) with the best friend.

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A cheeseburger from this joint was on our food bucket list, and Saturday night was the night to crush it.

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We liked their milkshakes as much as we liked their burgers! The shakes were uber thick and creamy. Like, you had to work those cheek muscles to drink it through the straw.

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love at first bite

Rachel and I talked about our Lent resolutions since it starts this Wednesday, and one of my things to “give up” is makeup. I don’t wear a lot, but I do wear a little every day. I told Rachel with hesitance that I would give up makeup, but the next day I told her I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. She insisted that giving up makeup would be good for me, and that I shouldn’t cave just because it’s hard (it’s definitely not supposed to be easy!). I agree. Wearing no makeup will help me focus on my character and fight vanity.

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My roommate Jordan also gave me a great slice of humble pie when I told her that I’m not always early (and sometimes a little late) to things, especially if I’m meeting with a close friend. She told me that everyone, close friends or professional mentors, should have their time respected. Duh, common sense, right? But it’s easier said than done for me these days (punctuality is slacking). Jordan is 100% right though. I should never take advantage of my friends’ time just because I’m close to them.

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Lastly, my amazing friend Christina invited me to do mobile soup kitchen with her last night. I joined her and some other kind volunteers, but I knew that I wanted to make it back in time for the Super Bowl halftime show. Towards the end of the route, I started to get impatient and antsy to make it back to campus, but just watching how patient, considerate, and kind Christina was with all the people we met was a humbling and beautiful sight. A lesson in selflessness right in front of me.

I am constantly in awe of my friends and the beauty of their souls. God is definitely shaping me up through their example and words. And of course, so many bloggers push me to be better too. Thanks, guys ♥︎

Hope you all have a happy week! We’re kind of hoping that BU calls in for a snow day today…

So tell me:

Do your friends keep you “on track”?

What is one lesson you learned/were reminded of this weekend?

Thoughts on the Super Bowl/halftime show?

Best thing you did this weekend. Probably Tasty Burger with Rachel!

Spontaneity Can Lead to the Best Experiences

I’m not that adventurous.

If I say yes to doing something a little offbeat or spontaneous, it’s because I’m really going against my natural tendency. That natural tendency is to stick to plans or do productive things at home. Even in college, I can be a total homebody.

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my go-to excuse

However, during my last couple of days at home, I’ve agreed (sometimes reluctantly) to a few spontaneous ventures that I 100% loved.

It all started on Thursday morning with a spontaneous breakfast that I had never tried before: Julie’s egg white oatmeal protein pancake.

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I had been familiar with how much Julie loves this recipe for a long time, but I was always skeptical of it because the ingredients are egg whites, oats, stevia, and cinnamon. No blending involved. Hm.

Nevertheless, I branched out and made the monstrous pancake. First of all, just flipping the thing took 3 minutes. Secondly, I wasn’t very impressed at first bite, because it tasted like sweet egg whites… But the more I ate it, the more I enjoyed it. The peanut butter and banana helped, I’m sure.

Spontaneous breakfast — thumbs up!

My workout on Thursday was also spontaneous. I was kinda sore and really full for a long time from the mass of egg whites sitting in my stomach, so I bundled up, walked outside (per Amanda’s suggestion!) and headed towards the playground. When I got there I ended up doing a fun circuit workout using the bench!

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Spontaneous workout — thumbs up!

Lunch wasn’t spontaneous, but it was at a weird time of day (like, 4pm?) since I slept in and ate breakfast really late that day.

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flatout wrap with avocado, greens, honey mustard chicken, and artichokes (!!!)

I attended modern dance class at my old dance school on Thursday night, which was so fun. My good friend Susie (who was in dance company with me in high school) also attended the class asked if I wanted to join her for dinner afterwards.

My thought process: “I could go home and do some things on my to-do list. But that would be stupid and boring because COME ON, of course I want to catch up with Susie!!”

So we ate and chatted, and it was absolutely wonderful.

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We also ordered the same grilled vegetable sandwich, which was delicious.

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Spontaneous dinner date — thumbs up!

Yesterday brought about a few more spontaneous events. One was a lovely lunch date and walk with Madre! She wanted to take me to a cute patisserie in Greenwich, CT (where I spotted Food Network superstar Geoffrey Zakarian, who ignored me) called Aux Delices.

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It’s a pricey little place (classic Greenwich), but the food was well worth it.

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salmon salad, golden beets, wheat berry salad, and Italian tuna salad (#FishFriday)

Then we walked/jammed out/danced/snacked together.

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Spontaneous mother-daughter date — thumbs up!

I think the real kicker is this one. Our neighbors had two tickets to see Blind Boys of Alabama last night, but they offered the tickets to us since something came up and they couldn’t attend. I was about to say, “Aw thank you, but we have plans for dinner tonight.” But Madre quickly answered, “Oh! Thank you! Alison, you can go with Dad!”

Oooookay.

So we all ate a nice dinner at home together, and then Pop and I went to see this group that I had never heard of before.

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last sunny side eggs on avocado/cheese toast for a while! (drizzled with sriracha post-pic)

If you haven’t heard of Blind Boys of Alabama (like I hadn’t before last night), they’re a group of men who met at the Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s, where they first started singing together. They toured when Jim Crow laws were still in place, and they even performed for Martin Luther King Jr. benefits (how appropriate for this weekend in America!). HOW COOL!?

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I’d describe their style as bluesy gospel with a big dose of soul and a sprinkle of funk. They’re incredibly talented people!

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Verdict? Well, I was smiling and dancing in my seat the whole time if that says anything. I might have been the youngest one in the audience, but I was clapping and bopping my head just like the rest of ’em.

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Overall, I adored their music and their fun-loving, soulful character. Check out their grooviness.

Spontaneous concert — thumbs up!

Pop and I finished off the evening with classic yogurt bowls back at home.

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No-bake treat sampler on the side, compliments of Arman!

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Throwback to last year when Pop and I ate dessert together…

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Why did we decide on Greek yogurt over ice cream this year??? Beats me.

I’m going back to Boston today! Sad to be leaving home and blogging more than once a week, but stoked to be seeing friends and diving into the semester (← also nervous about the latter).

Happy Saturday!

So tell me:

Do you like spontaneity?

What was the last spontaneous thing you did and loved?

What was the last concert you attended?