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?

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Challenged

I’m forgetting that the weather usually gets colder once fall hits.

I have to wear socks and sweaters in my dorm room, which currently seems like a foreign concept to me. Like, I can’t just be in athletic shorts and a t-shirt all the time now? I have to “keep warm”!?!?

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up cold overnight oats though.

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strawberry banana peanut butter overnight oats overfloweth

Also, who knew strawberries were so good in Ireland!? I feel like I already talked about this. Deja vu.

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Lunches have been looking mighty similar these days, but I don’t hate it. Eggs and veggies are always welcome in my belly.

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As are cheese and carbs.

Lunchtime is a madhouse these days, because we often only have a one hour break to come back to the kitchen, prepare our meals, eat them, and then walk back to class. Plus all the cleaning and maneuvering around 10 other people doing the same exact thing. It sounds like I’m complaining, but I kinda love the rush of “we all have to eat! NOW!”

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Food brings people together 🙂

I would say that the challenge of sharing a kitchen is nothing compared to the moral and mental challenge of my classes so far. It’s not that they are too academically difficult (yet), but all my courses (contemporary Irish society, ethics in healthcare, and healthcare practice and policy) have something to say about the Catholic Church and all the hot topics that surround it these days.

And I get it– just a mention of the Catholic Church stirs up a lot of hubbub.

Sure, I get uncomfortable in class being one of the two practicing Catholics here (especially because everyone knows that I’m a devout Catholic), but I’m loving every minute of it. Not because I want to get all defensive or play the victim, but because I need to be challenged in my beliefs. I want to know what others think of “people like me”. I need to dig deep into why I believe what I believe, and facing the (sometimes stinging) commentary of those who oppose my beliefs is one effective way of doing that.

(p.s. I’m not leaving the Church anytime soon.)

The best part? We all still get along and respect each other. And there have been a couple of very kind people who have shown their appreciation for my POVs, even if they don’t necessarily agree. This was especially comforting yesterday after I expressed my opinions in class, practically shaking with nervousness. (I’m not kidding, but I’m also not asking for pity.)

I might make a vlog expanding on all my thoughts later. My brain is exploding with thoughts and reflections all the time these days!

Anyway, let’s get back to food for some relief from this rather serious topic. Dinner this week has been pork chops with sautéed onions, potatoes with red pesto, and roasted broccoli. A delicious and satisfying meal. Yay for fats!

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Moves and grooves have been short and sweet. Except on Monday when I did a 50 minute Fitness Blender HIIT workout. Tuesday was 35 minutes of yoga + a slow and easy 12 minute lunchtime workout, and yesterday was a 100 burpee workout! 🙂

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that’s all the time it took! gotta leave time for stretching!

It’s nice to get in some kind of movement before I sit for 5-6 hours of class throughout the day. But sleeping is also a priority, which is why my workouts have been “squeezed in” so much lately. I’ve been waking up wanting to go back to sleep FOR.EV.ER. (whoa, that sounds more morbid than I intended).

I used so many parentheses in this post.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday! I will be playing Gaelic football and possibly some other Irish sports today for class. God help me.

So tell me:

Have you ever felt challenged in your beliefs in school?

What have you been eating for dinner this week?

Do you forget that the weather changes too?

What is your favorite quick workout?

I’m Lazy With Minor Tasks

The good thing about Skype interviews is that you don’t have to wear real pants.

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just don’t accidentally stand up during the interview if you choose to be pants-less

The bad thing about Skype interviews is that it involves technology, and technology fails sometimes. I had a planned Skype interview with my study abroad internship yesterday morning, but I was told that Skype wasn’t working on their end after 40 minutes of waiting, so I will instead be having a face-to-face interview with them when I get to Ireland.

Darn. I even cooked stovetop oats for fuel, got my war paint makeup on and everything!

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blueberry banana egg white chia oatmeal with peanut butter

I’m not really upset though. I’m looking forward to the in-person interview!

I also woke up stressing over the submission of my criminal background check for study abroad, which I had ordered and received in April. For whatever reason though, I never opened the envelope until two days ago? Thus, I never sent it in, which thankfully wasn’t a problem(I just scanned and sent it yesterday, no big deal), but it reminded me of how I almost didn’t get to start my job this summer…because of a criminal background check form that I didn’t send.

I consider myself a pretty diligent person with most things I do. Schoolwork, blogging, relationships, etc. However, I notice that I can be flat out LAZY with minor details.

It’s usually something that will take a grand total of 10 seconds to check/complete and that will benefit me, not at the present moment, but definitely at a later time.

Like opening up the damn envelope, scanning the forms, and sending an email. Five minutes tops. But for whatever reason, at the time, I feel like, “I don’t need to,” or, “It will take too long.”

Alison, you spend 20 minutes scrolling social media, STOP IT.

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I have to remember that the minor, menial tasks are what accumulate to achieve the end goal. I’ve definitely learned the importance of this lesson during my job this summer.

In other news, this salad I ate for lunch yesterday was the most delicious piece of earth I’ve eaten in a long time (weird statement).

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spinach, beets, roasted broccoli, grilled garden eggplant (salt, pepper, EVOO, made by Madre— fantastic), garden tomatoes, and leftover pork chop

The garden eggplant and tomato were from a patient at work! So sweet of them.

Lastly, I saw a shooting star last night on an evening walk while FaceTiming my friend! What a blessed way to end the day.

It’s already pre-Friday, let’s partayyyy!

So tell me:

Do you find yourself losing diligence with menial tasks (that actually matter) too?

Have you ever had a business video call? Did you wear real pants?

What is the best salad you’ve eaten recently? 

Being Careful With So Much Free Time + Recent Eats

Remember Facebook/AIM/Twitter statuses like this?

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Translation: “Someone hit me up, I’m bored as !@#$.”

For the record, I never posted statuses like this, mostly because “af” was a little too rebellious for me. I did post photos like this though…

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ONLY five years ago!?

…which are 100x worse in my opinion. This is NETC, the Italian class “pet”. I’m in physical pain looking at this/thinking about the fact that I posted this on Facebook.

Anyway, I’ve been trying not to fall into that “bored af” mode. I’m keeping busy by meeting up with friends, catching up on blog stuff, chores, errands, exercise, and reading. My planner is really helping me stay accountable for daily tasks.

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That being said, I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking for things to do sometimes. Living in this age, when I’m looking for things to do, I almost robotically turn to social media. It pains me to say that I don’t turn to a good book or calling a friend or doing something else productive, but it’s true. I open up Facebook or Instagram.

Katherine from The Peanut Butter Lover just posted an incredible reflection on how subconscious scrolling is the norm these days. I am most definitely in that camp, and as hard as I strive to be more present (said everyone, always), I can’t help but fall into the trap of the hypnotic newsfeed, especially when I’m not as busy like I am during school.

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Besides the problem of not being present, I have to be careful with how much time I spend looking at fitness accounts on Instagram. I’ve recently found myself watching minutes, half-hours, whole hours browsing various fitness accounts.

Please let me be clear. I only enjoy following fitness accounts that are uplifting, genuinely inspiring, and balanced (for example, @kaisafit, @shaunaharrison, and @fitphotographermom). When I’m spending time on such accounts, I’m not comparing my body to theirs or thinking about how I can burn more calories. If I was, I would certainly express that (honesty is the best policy on Moves and Grooves after all). I’m more so thinking things like, “How can I get to where they are? What exercises do I have to do to achieve that? Should I do that today even though I’m sore? I want to be that strong too.”

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Even though my mind is in a much healthier place when I’m looking at social media these days, I still need to be wary of the comparison trap. I have come a long way throughout recovery, and the major lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t need to be her. I know this, but I need to remind myself of it often.

I do believe that I can find fitness inspiration without disordered thinking, but I just have to be careful not to become so immersed in it. I have an obsessive personality, so I need to use my extra free time prudently while I’m on break.


Now that we’ve had a nice heart to heart (or, my heart to yours…), let’s look at some of the good eats from this week!

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A classic: toast, pb, banana, cinnamon + glass o’ milk

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spaghetti squash, tomato basil sauce, and grilled Italian chicken (carbs were had before and after :))

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new favorite: Kylie’s simple paleo pancake with peanut butter, Greek yogurt, cinnamon + glass o’ milk

I met up with my dear friend Fiona (from college) on Monday. We went to the outlet mall, ate some Shake Shack, and had our own heart to heart conversations. She’s studying abroad this coming semester, so I’m gonna miss her like crazy!

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“Concrete” at Shake Shack. I got vanilla frozen custard with strawberry puree and “crispy crunchies”.

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chicken, avocado, mixed greens, colby jack cheese, and sriracha sandwich to go

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good ol’ overnight oats topped with granola

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avocado, egg, cheese, sriracha sandwich + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

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clementines are off the CHAIN right now

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strawberries ‘n’ cream protein smoothie

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this was so good: quinoa, honey balsamic chicken, and roasted broccoli

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dried figs with Greek yogurt!!! bringing back the good stuff

Additionally, I’ve been eating leftover cookies that overfloweth in our refrigerator and caramel popcorn that my aunt gave us. It’s a hard life, eh?

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my aunt’s delicious oatmeal fruit cookie mini muffins

Hope you all have a great day! I mean it.

So tell me: 

What do you find yourself doing if you have too much free time?

Did you post embarrassing things on social media in your younger days?

Are you still eating leftover holiday treats? “New Year, new you” is not a thing here.

Have you tried any delicious recipes recently? I’m thinking that honey balsamic chicken and roasted broccoli will be regular recipes for us!