Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup III

How many of my wrist and finger muscles are working as I type this right now??

Gross anatomy is on the brain. Luckily for me, I have all spring break at home to study! #turnup.

Each time I come home is a different experience, because I learn more and grow more every time I go back to school. I think this is a good time for the next part of “Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup”! (here is part I and II)

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1) When I was taking the train from Boston to NY to come home for spring break, I ran into a guy from my high school who I was kinda friends with back in the day. I was so surprised to see him that I said his name out loud in disbelief, half regretting it because thereafter I would have to talk to him.

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But it wasn’t weird. We caught up on life and had a pleasant train ride together, because we’re adults (with quasi-sheltered lives still) who can talk to each other like adults, despite the awkward high school world in which we once lived.

2) I’m over mirrors. Like, I guess I need them to make sure I don’t have spinach in my teeth and that my hair is at least a 6/10, but coming home to big mirrors is a reminder of why I was so obsessed with my body image.

At my apartment this year, I don’t change in front of any body-length mirrors, so I don’t really have time to “body check” (checking for chubby spots/muscles/imperfections, which can easily become an unhealthy habit). I have learned that the availability of big mirrors increases the likelihood of body checking, so I have also learned to be more deliberate in not dwelling too long in the mirror (striving for humility and self-esteem!).

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My advice to anyone who has trouble quitting body checking: do what this cat does.

No I’m kidding. For real: try to only have a full length mirror by your front door, so you can only check yourself when you’re fully dressed and ready to leave your place. Don’t let the mirror steal your joy!

3) I’m not afraid to challenge some things that my parents say. Not because I want to be a rebel, but because I want us all to find and know Truth. This goal allows our arguments to flourish in understanding, rationality, and trust in God, who knows better than any of us.

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4) Lent is showing me that I really am attached to peanut butter…so it’s good that I’m giving it up for 40 days. It’s hammering home that idea that food is just food.

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5) The family and I went to the Maryknoll Sisters’ annual charity concert again this year, and I was really getting into those classical pieces. Orchestra concerts, in my mind, were always the “bran flakes” of all events—fine but just meh. This year, although I’m no music connoisseur, I appreciated the music, the performers, and even the spectators more than ever. I don’t love classical music now, but I just appreciate it for what it is. This applies to a lot of other things/people in the world too.

It also didn’t hurt that the orchestra ended with a fantastic Lion King medley.

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Mini desserts are also a bonus.

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the pignoli cookie in the middle was the BEST

4) Despite all these new things I’m realizing at home, some things will always be the same. Like how my body seems to want more sleep and more food than ever when I’m at home.

Madre’s cooking is rocking my world per usual.

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Pillsbury crescent rolls are my childhood literally rolled into buttery, flaky parcels of goodness

6) Pop and I also went to go see a movie in theaters just like we did last spring break! This weekend we watched The Shack, based on the book by William P. Young. We both loved it! It has unmistakably Christian themes, but I think anyone can learn a lot about why tragic loss/evil happens from this movie.

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7) I really need to stretch more. These muscles aren’t getting any more flexy on their own!

So tell me:

An example of how you’ve learned to appreciate the “bran flakes of life.”

Thoughts on body checking in the mirror?

Have you watched any good movies lately?

Two things you did this weekend!

And Just Like That, I Got Busy

Leave it to me to make a 12-credit schedule feel like a 20-credit schedule.

I feel like the busyness dial went from 1 to 100 in the past week, but I cannot complain. I don’t have that much time to write this (sleep is calling), but I thought I’d share some of the things that are filling up my days this spring semester!

I bought a 5-class pass for a modern dance class in Cambridge, since the dance class I usually take on campus was under-enrolled this semester. I don’t care that I have to pay extra and walk 35 minutes to and from the dance class, because this girl wants to DANCE.

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walking with this view ain’t bad

Last week, a couple of my dear friends were sick up the wazoo, so they needed a lot of TLC. My friend Sarah and I made Rachel loads of chicken noodle soup. And then poor Sarah needed some Gatorade and crackers a few days later… 😦

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Megan is a fantastic roommate for many reasons. She cleans things when I’m not around, helps me study for gross anatomy, and teaches me how to properly use chopsticks, because I’m the worst Asian and have never actually used chopsticks correctly (I cross them when I use them).

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this method never worked for me until last week when a Pennsylvania Irish girl taught this Chinese-Laotian banana how to do things right

She also shares her desserts with me.

brownie pudding in a crockpot, black raspberry ice cream, and a buttercream frosting sugar cookie from a box that her mom sent her ♥︎ 

And lastly, she doesn’t judge me when I eat banana something for the 3rd time in a single day.

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banana bread mug cake via Running with Spoons

I went to the dining hall for the first time in eight months last week, and it was fun being in the world of endless buffet again.

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I am working again, which involves cooking up a HURRICANE for my bosses. Last week I made them meatloaf, salmon, baked chicken parm, tuna salad, barley risotto, and roasted veggies. Yes, it did take forever. Yes, I did taste every single one of them.

I will be killing more trees this semester than I ever have in a single semester. Gross anatomy requires all the printing of notes and all the flashcards.

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Megan and I had a Dublin reunion with our lovely friend Cristen this weekend! She goes to a different school, so we met up in Boston for an Italian lunch. (Megan and I miss Italy so much.)

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Megan and I were pretty darn hungry, so we split a meatball panini + side salad…

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…and ordered our own pasta dishes. I got the spaghetti all’amatriciana (tomato sauce with pork cheek, onions, and pecorino cheese HOLY MOLY). 

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it was so good catching up with Cristen! 🙂

Other reasons why I fail as an Asian: I had no dim sum on Chinese New Year. Instead, I ate pasta, meatballs, and pizza. #identitycrisis?

National peanut butter day was last week, and I didn’t even know until Cristen texted me to remind me. Every day is national peanut butter day to me, so it all melds together.

I’ve gotten a couple great gym workouts in this past week + some much-needed yoga/walking days. Check out this intention wall in our gym!

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And all the diversity of intentions…

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“cry less” … “← same”

We had a SEEK reunion on Saturday night, and one of the activities was eating pizza with RULES. We were all numbered off 1, 2, or 3. Ones couldn’t feed themselves their own pizza, twos couldn’t touch their own beverages, and threes couldn’t touch their own napkins. Everyone had to help each other. I was a one, so Fiona and Rachel kindly fed me my pizza (which made me slow down significantly and appreciate each bite).

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“pizza me”

There have been a lot of meetings with some great people and one okay dog.

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our priest’s dog making himself very comfortable behind Rachel in the middle of our meeting

Apartment living has been a little more time-consuming than dorm life, but I’m loving it.

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Although I have to remember that I’m not grocery shopping for a family of four anymore. I may have bought a huge box of salad greens that could feed 10 people. Hence the green in every food I make these days.

Lastly, I’ve tried to make time for reflection, prayer, and good conversation in all my days. I could take the extra hour (or two) to study, but I know that I will not be well overall if I continuously go without filling my soul.

Alright I really need to go to sleep. Hope you all have a great week!

So tell me:

What’s been going on in your life!? (I haven’t been great about responding recently, but I read all your comments and appreciate them so much!)

Did you celebrate Chinese New Year or national peanut butter day?

Do you ever wonder, “how the heck did my schedule get so full!?”

The Real Harry Potter World {Edinburgh, Scotland}

You guys rock.

Thank you so much for all your support and input on last week’s post ♥︎ Having a loving community is a gift that fights half the battle.

But it’s been a good while since we’ve caught up! The highlights of this past week include:

1) Celebrating two birthdays of people in my study abroad program. Last week was one with an ice cream sundae party. I brought the peanut butter (and original) Oreos, naturally.

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On that note, I’ve been eating a lot more chocolates than usual here in Ireland. I say I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but Cadbury has a way of making me [literally] eat my words.

Last night, a few of us went out to dinner for another birthday at an Italian restaurant. I got the linguine with meatballs in a tomato basil sauce. Mm.

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Happy birthday to the awesome ladies!

2) Finishing our last final on Friday. Oyyy that was a cram exam, but I think we all did well. Our professor went pretty easy on us, thankfully.

3) Visiting Edinburgh, Scotland!

Megan, Cristen and I packed our knapsacks and set off for Scotland on Friday evening. We started with a 20-piece chicken nugget order from Burger King to share at Dublin Airport for “dinner” first. Twenty pieces for only 5 quid! This is why fast food is a problem.

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But I had not eaten meat this processed and non-filling in so long, and I LOVED IT.

We had just an hour-long flight before we landed in Glasgow. Flights were oodles cheaper into Glasgow than into Edinburgh, but we still had to pay a little over £16 and 2 hours to get to Edinburgh from Glasgow. You could argue that “time is money,” but even the return flight times from Edinburgh weren’t great on Sunday, so I think we ultimately made the right decision.

(Plus, I had more time to read Harry Potter.)

A trip isn’t a trip for Megan and me until we run into some public transportation issue the night we arrive at our destination city. This time wasn’t so bad, but we took the last local bus in the wrong direction, so it took us probably 45 minutes more than it should have as we had to wait for the bus to turn back around.

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adventures with the front pack return

At least Cristen was still smiling. Megan on the other hand was crying and drying her tears with [clean] cat socks.

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she’s actually only crying because something was in her eye

The bus driver was very kind though, and he let us camp out on the bus for the whole round trip.

We finally arrived at our Airbnb pretty late at night, but all things cheered up (for Megan at least) when we discovered that the hosts had a nice cat.

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She was living her BEST. LIFE. I’ve never seen Megan come alive like this.

Sleep was short that night because we had to be up early for our day tour of the Highlands! The days are so short here too. The sun rises at 8:30 am and sets at 3:30 pm, so we entered and returned to Edinburgh city centre in the dark on Saturday.

This awesome breakfast spread from our Airbnb host put a little pep into our morning though.

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We took the Highland Experience Tour, which took us to Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, Loch Ness, Inverness, and the Cairngorm Mountains. It usually does the route the other way around, but since daylight was limited, they started with Glen Coe and and ended with Cairngorm Mountains, which we thought was wise.

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allllll the haggis at one of our short pit stops

After a couple hours of snoozing and listening to our Scottish tour guide, we arrived at Glen Coe.

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“Three Sisters – Faith, Hope, and Charity”

The history of these places is fascinating (even though I was a sleep/daydreaming for half of it, the parts I caught were cool)!

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our tour guide, Stuart, with everything Scottish you could ever imagine

Ben Nevis as the sun went down:

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Commando Memorial

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I’m gonna miss all the sheep in Ireland 😦

We had our longest stop at Loch Ness, so we grabbed some lunch.

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chicken, mozzarella, pesto sandwich

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very sub-par carrot cake, but it was still carrot cake!

Then we went in search for the Loch Ness monster (aka Nessie).

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idk why I made myself so vulnerable to Nessie here

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There were some trails we hiked up that may have led to lookout points of the lake. We started on them but didn’t have time to finish them, but it was still SO nice to move the legs after sitting on the bus all day.

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Thereafter, the sky darkened quite quickly, so here was my last photo of the trip — Inverness, the capital of the Highlands.

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the RIVER Ness

It was kind of humorous coming back to Edinburgh, because although it was pitch black outside by 5 pm, Stuart kept saying things like, “If you look out to your right, you’ll see ___. It’s a little hard to find it in the dark.”

Poor guy was probably just obligated to say those things, because there was no chance we could see anything at that point.

We arrived back to Edinburgh at around 7:30 pm, so we searched around for a restaurant (NOT a pub) for a while before choosing Mum’s, a cozy British comfort food restaurant.

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We needed to go to a British/Scottish restaurant because Cristen and I were dead set on trying haggis. If you don’t know what haggis is, read here (unless you’re extremely queasy with weird foods).

Mum’s fortunately had an appetizer portion of “haggis, neeps, and tatties” (aka haggis, parsnips, and potatoes), so we all shared that.

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it also came with gravy on the side

It’s not bad at all! I like it, but I don’t love it. I would eat it, but I wouldn’t order it. It tastes like pate + shepherd’s pie. That doesn’t sound like the worst thing, right?

My main course blew the haggis out of Loch Ness the water though. I got the venison and redcurrant pie with veggies and chips, and it was everything I had been wanting in my 3.5 months in Ireland/the UK.

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I didn’t think I would be able to finish the pie, but I totally did. The puffy crust was absolutely perfect, and the stew underneath was savory and seasoned just right.

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Mmmm the wannabe-British-speaking part of me was comforted for sure (p.s. I have no idea how to speak in a Scottish or Irish accent still).

Cristen also ordered a glass of rosé for us all to share at the end. I had one sip. Not my jam.

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We finished our night with a short stroll around city centre and the Christmas market right before it closed.

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We knew we had to come back to see it in full the next day!

Sunday morning, we got up fairly early again to go to Mass in city centre at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Then we met up with my friend Mayu and her roommate, who are both studying abroad in Edinburgh. Mayu and I know each other from high school and haven’t seen each other since graduation!

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We met up at a cute French cafe called La Barantine Victoria, where I had vegetable quiche and peppermint hot chocolate.

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It was so good catching up with her for a bit and meeting her friend!

After we parted, Megan, Cristen and I meandered our way through town via the Royal Mile.  There were a couple guys who were playing the bagpipes on the street, so our Scottish experience was complete.

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Edinburgh is such a cool city. The buildings are all old, gothic, and kinda dark, but it works. It’s not depressing; it’s mystical. (Fun fact: J.K. Rowling lives in Edinburgh, and you can definitely see the HP inspiration in this city. Maybe that’s why I love it so much?)

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We made our way back to the Christmas Market eventually, which was teeming with people of all ages, craft stands, and food stands.

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Megan and Cristen got some treats for themselves (including fudge and sugar roasted almonds), and I got these mini pancakes (of Dutch origin apparently) with Biscoff cookie butter drizzled overtop.

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These were so delicious!!! Freshly made, doughy, and satisfying.

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They’re ebelskivers, I think!

We ventured into SantaLand at the Christmas market too, but it was really just toddler land with overpriced rides.

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It was such a fun experience though! We definitely felt the warmth and excitement of the holidays 🙂

Other stops of the day:

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Edinburgh Castle

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we didn’t have time to go inside, unfortunately, but the view from the top was still magnificent!

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we didn’t have time to hike up Arthur’s Seat, but you can see it in the background!

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I also purchased a Scottish wool stole (large scarf) at one point during the day

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how thrilled do you think this new HP fan was to be petting a tawny owl in Edinburgh!?!?

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the moon hangin’ out at 3:30 pm

Before we departed Edinburgh for Glasgow airport again, we stopped by Oink for some pulled pork sandwiches to take away per our friends’ recommendations. Megan and I bought one each to eat at the bus station.

Warning: Vegans/Vegetarians/Animal Lovers, shield your eyes.

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I got my pulled pork with BBQ sauce and onion sage stuffing on a wheat bun. This was delicious!! Super cheap too!

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We said goodbye to the wonderful city that is Edinburgh and then headed “home” for Dublin. Real home is coming in just four days though, and I can’t wait 🙂

So tell me: 

Have you ever been to Scotland?

What is the weirdest animal-based dish you’ve ever eaten?

Have you ever been to a Christmas Market?

Two things you did this weekend!

Virtual Brunch Date

If we were having brunch…

…I would sit down with wild hair, out of breath, and slightly overwhelmed. But look at all this brunch! Megan and I have adopted a tradition of eating brunch in town after Sunday Mass. It’s always a heart-healthy affair highlight of the week!

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two weekends ago at Herbstreet: “breakfast of champions” cassava rosti with smoked salmon, spinach, avocado, a poached egg, and capers — top notch.

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yesterday at San Lorenzo’s: crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise + char-grilled asparagus, tomato, arugula, and home fries 

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sorry and you’re welcome for this photo

…I would tell you that I cleaned my plate both weeks.

…I would tell you that our good friend from Boston, Briana, who is studying abroad in Spain, visited us in Dublin a couple weeks ago! Of course, we had to get some bread and butter pudding with her 🙂

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…I would tell you how pleasantly surprised I am with the Dublin Zoo. A few of us went two Fridays ago, and we had so much fun! It was pretty cold, but a lot of the animals were out to say hello. But we were reminded very easily that zoos are mainly an attraction for people ages 5-13.

“Moooom! MOM. Mooooooooom, look!!! It’s a TIGER!”

I was just as intrigued by the tykes as I was by the animals, tbh.

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ostriches are the most fabulous/terrifying creatures

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…I would tell you that, although I didn’t miss peanut butter too much in Switzerland and Italy, it was good to be reunited with my fave when I got back to Ireland.

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…I would tell you that the weekends are not just about brunch. Dessert is also our idea of a good time.

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post-zoo, pre-dinner crepe with banana and salted caramel + vanilla ice cream

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spiced pear ginger cake a la mode on some random night

…I would tell you that I’ve also been cookin’ up some colorful, more nutritious foods. I basically cook one thing to eat for lunch/dinner the entire week. Some say it’s sad and boring to eat the same thing every day for five days straight, but I don’t mind at all.

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beet and goat cheese salad with balsamic

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two weeks ago: whole wheat rotini with sundried tomatoes, basil, chicken, and garlic (best thing I’ve cooked here in Dublin!)

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last week: white jasmine rice with chicken, peppers, and Jalfrezi sauce

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salmon salad (greek yogurt, spicy mustard, cracked black pepper, and raisins— don’t judge, it was good!)

A lot of eggs also.

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goat cheese, spinach, eggs, ketchup on toast

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avocado, goat cheese, mustard, spinach, egg sandwich

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classic avocado toast with eggs

Would it be more economical to invest in an actual hen at this point?

…I would tell you that I am enjoying my internship at a physiotherapy clinic so far! Some of the highs:

  • I get to observe some of the sessions and compare physiotherapy in Ireland to physical therapy in the States.
  • The people at work are super kind and fun.
  • They play Boyce Avenue all day at the office.
  • I get to wear long athletic pants and sneakers (BLESS).
  • They dry needle and massage me for educational purposes.
  • I get to participate in the Pilates classes.
  • I can take the bus (and read Harry Potter on the ride) OR walk if I’m feelin’ it.
  • The owner of the clinic bought me a superb doughnut one day last week.

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I don’t even like chocolate, but this was amazing

Some of the lows:

  • Sometimes the desk part of the job involves more sitting than my butt prefers.
  • I made an extremely poor choice of footwear one day last week…

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they were squelching with water by the time I arrived at work — completely saturated

…I would tell you that dry needling is not common in the US, but it is in Ireland, and I kinda love it. It’s like aggressive acupuncture? A super thin needle is inserted into your myofascial trigger points (your muscle “knots”) repeatedly, and the muscle grabs onto the needle and releases, causing it to “break up” the trigger point. It’s a sore process during and afterward for a day or so, but it works!! She did my traps and calves. Yeeeeeeeesh.

“Your calf reaction is pretty intense.”

Yeah, I felt it.

…I would tell you that I laid low this weekend and loved it. I barely did anything on Friday after class. I wasted time on my phone, ate pizza and gelato with friends, and watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with Megan and Cristen (I’m such a fan now. A whole new world has been opened unto me.)

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dinner at Milano: dough balls with garlic butter to start (yeah, it’s everything you want)

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Roman-style thin crust pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions, red onion, spinach + a salad in the middle — divine.

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I sense the holidays 🙂

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mint chip gelato at Gino’s!

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a bite of Megan’s pistachio gelato cannoli — so pretty!

…I would tell you that Megan and I wanted to WALK on Saturday, so walk we did! Almost 10 miles just around Dublin city centre. We learned that TJMaxx here is called TKMaxx and that Burger King’s chicken fries are actually delicious.

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Comes to Ireland. Goes to Burger King for chicken fries.

And God bless Megan. As we walked back home after several hours of semi-aimless window shopping, she said, “Let’s make scones tonight!”

So we did! We picked up the ingredients for less than €5 and got 12 scones out of this recipe. This is dangerous, friends. DANGEROUS.

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we made a few cinnamon swirl, a couple plain, a couple chocolate chip, and a couple cinnamon raisin 

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These were freaking fantastic (on their own OR with butter OR with butter and jam), not gonna lie. Comparable to, or even better than, all the other scones we’ve had here in Ireland!

We also made Irish flapjacks, which are not pancakes. They’re oat bars with golden syrup, brown sugar, and butter.

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“It’s like really unhealthy granola.” -Megan. AKA your dream that you try to suppress.

Shhh. Let it happen.

…I would tell you that moves and grooves have been happening as they may. Recently I’ve felt pretty tired and sore overall (probably lack of sleep for no good reason), but that just means that workouts are even more fun and appreciated when I feel up to them!

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…I would apologize for this being so long and for being bad about blogging recently. I am always so appreciative of the loving comments and support!

…I would also thank all those who shared their thoughts and feelings with me regarding my random vlog yesterday, “Why Am I Catholic?”

…I would ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast/brunch this morning?

Tell me two things about your life lately!

Have you ever tried dry needling or acupuncture? 

Itty Bitty Pope Francis

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, but a little bit of pizza, pasta and Pope Francis never hurts (unless you’re gluten intolerant).

Where did I leave off in part one of Rome adventures? Saturday!

I woke up early-ish again to meet another one of my seminarian friends (stop rolling your eyes), Kevin. We broke the fast with cornetti again as we caught up on a bunch of stuff. I hadn’t seen Kevin since I was in high school in New York!

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I could get used to meeting people at St. Peter’s square in the morning

What I can’t get used to is finding people in St. Peter’s square mid-morning. I didn’t agree on a specific spot in St. Peter’s to meet up with Megan and Ceara after I had breakfast with Kevin, so it was like real life “Where’s Waldo”.

Eventually, Megan and I ran into each other amidst the sea of people, and we were reunited. Ceara’s friend, Sonja, joined us for the day too! We bravely decided to tackle the long line for the Musei Vaticani. The bravery is mostly for facing all the people who harass you to buy tickets to skip the long line into the museum.

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The wait wasn’t horrible though! Maybe an hour tops? That being said, the museum was absolutely packed. I feel like the whole museum is really just one giant line to get into the Sistine Chapel.

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The art is magnificent, don’t get me wrong! I’m happy that we got to see all the great artists’ works through the centuries and millennia.

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But let’s just say… I’m glad we got student discounts on our tickets. It’s a lot of stimulation with all the people and intricate artwork, and if you’re claustrophobic, skip this museum.

After a good few hours at Musei Vaticani, we were ready for lunch. Specifically, pizza. Ceara led us to a great place called L’isola di Pizza (The Island of Pizza), which sounds cheesy (no pun intended), but their pizza crust was the BEST.

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I went with the classic combo of cheese, tomato, and basil (it was different from the margherita though?), and although I wish it had more basil, I totally demolished this. That thin, crispy crust was everything.

Then it was time to walk walk walk in the beautiful weather yet again!

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With a stop for gelato, necessarily. Frigidarium take two. This time I got the famous Frigidarium flavor (a rich caramel flavor with some chocolate swirls, chocolate biscuit pieces, and that big chocolate biscuit on top!) + saffron pistachio!!!

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This was my favorite cup of gelato of the entire trip.

We took the bus to The Basilica of St. John Lateran and La Santa Scala (the Holy Stairs on which Jesus was condemned that were somehow removed from Jerusalem and brought to Rome by command of Constantine’s wife??), where we spent some time looking around and climbing the stairs on our knees while praying in remembrance of His condemnation.

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Basilica of St. John Lateran

It’s weird that I “got used to” this kind of view whenever I entered any church in Rome.

We took our time walking back up towards dinner, stopping by the Colosseum again to chat and watch the sun set.

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It was fun chatting with the girls about faith agreements/disagreements and cartoon crushes as we strolled through ROME. Agh, that will never not be cool to me.

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Eventually, we made it to a place that Denis recommended for dinner called La Vittoria. I wasn’t crazy hungry, but I still wanted pasta. This might have been my favorite pasta that I ate in Rome (but second best pasta in all of Italy after the gnocchi in Assisi)— spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce, bacon, and hazelnuts. I think I had a salad before this, but that’s not as exciting as pasta.

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It doesn’t look that great from the photo, but I promise it was. The bacon added a lovely smokey flavor that made my heart sing (probably cry too, but…). We stayed at the restaurant until it started closing up, which was the longest we had stayed at a restaurant during our whole trip. #TheEuropeanWay

The next day, Ceara, Megan and I had a light-ish breakfast of two last cornetti per person. We basically had to, because our Airbnb host gave us vouchers for free breakfast at a nearby cafe every morning. If they insist, ya know?

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this one was filled with custard, not gonna keep any secrets here

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and this one had a touch of apricot jam on it 🙂

After a little time to digest, we walked over to a church just outside Vatican City for Sunday Mass.

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Not only was the Mass in English, but the priest who celebrated, Fr. Gino, was from New Jersey (go northeast and tristate area)! He actually came up to us right before Mass started and asked us where we were from. He then proceeded to start the Mass and gave Boston University a shoutout in front of the whole congregation! It was no papal audience, but we were still super honored and excited.

Sonja met up with us after Mass, and we all squeezed our way into St. Peter’s square to see a special someone…

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CAN YOU SEE HIM!?

It’s your boy, Papa Francesco giving a sermon on the readings of the day and praying with all the people gathered in St. Peter’s square, which he does every Sunday at 12:00 pm when he’s in town. We were so happy to see him!!

I knew he’d look small being so far away, but I didn’t think he would be that small. His voice was amplified though, so we got to hear his tender, grandfatherly voice. I just wanna give him a hug.

Afterwards, we slowly waddled our way through the crowds to get to lunch at Da Vito e Dina. Megan split a supplì (fried rice ball with cheese inside) with me because I had been hoping to have arancini at some point during our Italy travels, so the supplì was the closest match on our last day. Good choice.

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For my last pasta dish in Italy (*tear*), I had the seafood gnocchi, which was very salty but very delicious.

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For our last gelato run, we chose Old Bridge, which is what one of my other seminarian friends recommended back from the States. The quality of the gelato was just as good as Frigidarium, but I think I liked the flavor selection at Old Bridge better. HOWEVER, I still liked my second Frigidarium experience best of all.

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At the end of the day though, it’s gelato in Rome, so I couldn’t lose. I got the biscotti, arachidi (peanut), and coconut biscuit flavors. All so good! And again— €2 for three flavors. I weep coming back to Ireland/the US.img_5254

After our last meal in Rome, we walked towards a park for some last views of the grand city.

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Sonja and I also got our yoga on!

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St. Peter’s one last time. ♥︎

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Then it was time to get our bags from the Airbnb and head to the airport. It was a little stressful finding the bus from the train station to the airport, but we eventually found out what to do after some flailing and confusion.

My airport dinner was a decent vegetable sandwich.

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Our flight was filled with rowdy Irish tweens, but I made my first Irish friend! He’s super tall, well-read, and 17 or 18 years old. Haha.

Since then, we’ve been back in Dublin doing our internships and continuing some class work. I’m SO BEHIND in catching you up, but I have officially finished reviewing the most epic trip of my life.

Praise God.