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!

Back in Boston: Same But Different

I think yesterday was the best first day of school I’ve ever had.

And I think it’s because I felt the least anxious I’ve ever felt on a first day of school. There were still feelings of uncertainty and awkwardness in terms of the flow of my day, but there were also feelings of calm and peace. Praise God for that!

Our first day of classes here at Boston University was just one of many things that have been the same but different as I’ve settled back into my beloved Boston.

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Moving in was the same in that the ‘rents and I stopped by Super 88 for lunch after all my stuff was unloaded…

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I was so ready for my fave lemongrass chicken after driving three hours + carrying heavy things up the stairs

…but it was different in that I was moving into an apartment with kitchen things!!

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Also different — I’m not living with my fabulous roommate from the past two years, Jordan 😦 But I am with Megan, and I couldn’t be more grateful!! Rachel also lives down the street, which is a nice bonus 🙂

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I did NOT eat all that cilantro and basil in one go

I have the same bedding since freshman year, but my living space is quite different. There’s…well, space! In reality, I just didn’t overpack (for the first time ever), and I also forgot essential things like an umbrella.

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I’ve been overloaded with the same excitement that I always have when I reunite with old friends and meet new ones, but I also have a different sense of peace that I didn’t have at the start of my sophomore year. I’m not as concerned about impressing other people, and I think I have lessons in humility (← GREAT read) to thank for that.

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lunch at Panera with a friend

I am so thrilled to have FitRec again, where I can do some of the same moves and grooves I used to do last year (I ♥︎ bodyweight/luggage workouts, but equipment is fun too). At the same time though, I’m approaching FitRec with a different perspective now. I feel like I can be more creative with my workouts, since I lived without a gym for the past eight months, and I go into the gym with a “less is more” attitude. Like, I don’t need to squat, use the rower, and the BOSU ball in one workout just because they’re all there.

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Also different — Rachel convinced me to run with her. She’s training for a 10K and she’s still on her easy runs, so I can tolerate that.

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run 3 min, walk 2 min x3 // “If you can’t do that then you need to go to the doctor.” – Rachel

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Found this at FitRec on Wednesday. Peep the second line. Think I could pass for age 4?

I’m tempted to keep my same flakiness when it comes to committing to plans. “Maybe I’ll go,” said Alison always. JUST COMMIT. That is something different I want to work on. Like sleeping over at Rachel’s place on my first night here, even though I was falling asleep in my dinner beforehand.

Cooking at college is different, since I’ve always had a regular dorm and a meal plan, but that just means I can eat the same things I do at home now! It is different that I have to come to the apartment all the time now though. I almost never hung out in my room the past two years in college.

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leftover pho from Super 88 with all the herbs

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you know it 🙂

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the only plates I brought were these Rainforest Cafe ones, and I don’t know why

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my aunt’s homemade banana bread + pb

I want to attack this semester with the same diligence that got me through school up to this point, but I also want to look at my days differently. I don’t want to be busy just because everyone else is or because I want to feel like superwoman. I do want to be productive and live each day with purpose.

That may involve going on prayerful walks between classes, rather than stressing about printing the 13488705 pages of notes that everyone else already printed for gross anatomy (people went HAM, holy smokes). Also different — not freaking about what other people are doing for class.

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It’s okay if I have five or four or even three things on my to-do list. I hope to do those things well, take time to fill myself (prayer, exercise, proper meals, sleep), and take time opening my mind and heart to what others might need during their day.

I’ve always thought that I was being selfish, or at least indulgent, if I didn’t fill up my days with work, but like many a wise (wo)man has stated, we can take care of others and do a better job if we take care of ourselves. Thanks, Lyss and Jen for that reminder as well ♥︎ This doesn’t mean that we need to avoid hard, long days like they’re the plague, but allowing ourselves mental, physical and spiritual space is necessary to tackle both the good and bad days.

Lord, how can I best serve you today?

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on living each day well?

What is one thing you cooked this week?

Do you ever get overwhelmed at the gym? Or with seeing new people?

Universal Studios + Killer Brunch

And when I say “killer,” I mean this brunch could actually shorten your lifespan.

Monday

Our week started off on a delicious but entirely unhealthy note at Hash House A Go Go for an early brunch. Ben found this place on the internet, intrigued by the epic portions and ridiculous dishes.

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I ordered the mushroom, artichoke, sundried tomato, spinach hash, which came with two eggs and a biscuit the size of a baby’s head. And some melons for good measure!

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I ate all the eggs and veggies and a lot of the potatoes before having a whole piece of Madre’s banana pecan French toast.

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And then several bites of this heart-stopper that Ben ordered:

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SAGE. FRIED. CHICKEN. EGGS. BENEDICT.

I stop breathing just fathoming it, but it was darn tasty. Mashed potatoes, two huge biscuits, a large fried chicken breast (hey, healthy breast meat!), maybe four scrambled eggs, a tarp covering of cheese, and a special hollandaise that flowed like a river over it all.

Ben did a pretty good job with it! He nixed the thick layer of cheese + all the hollandaise on top of the cheese + a lot of the potatoes + I helped him with a lot of his biscuit (which was amaaaazing with the sauce), but he still crushed that beast.

We didn’t eat real food again until 10 pm that night.

After that brunch of a lifetime, Madre and Pop dropped Ben and me off at Universal Studios for the day! I’ve been several times in the past, but my main motivation for going this time was Harry Potter World, since I’m actually a fan now 🙂

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Of course, everything was decked out for the holidays.

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The weather was beautiful except for one spot of light rain during the day. Also, the lines were surprisingly quite short for most of the rides! I don’t think we waited for more than 40 minutes for any ride, which is almost unheard of for Universal at this time of year. Using the “single riders” lane for some of the rides also made things more efficient for us.

To Diagon Alley! (throwback to when I was here two years ago but didn’t know what any of it meant!)

“Lunch” for Ben and me was Butterbeer and ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s. I got the salted caramel blondie + apple crumble flavors in a cone, and they were both fabulous.

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What a nutritious day!!!

As I am reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix…

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Heh heh.

We made it to almost every single ride and show in the park, so we felt quite accomplished by the end of the day!

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After the “Macy’s Holiday Parade”, we phoned home (E.T. phone homeeeeee) and asked our parents to pick us up. It was so much fun to hang out with Ben all day and experience the excitement of being an HP fan in HP World!

Madre had some delicious dinner waiting for us at home at around 10:30pm, which involved ALL the fresh veggies (thank the Lord).

I stayed up late blogging, but I knew that I could sleep in a bit yesterday.

Tuesday

The sound of the maintenance guy in the house + lawn mowers + the sunshine all woke me up at around 9am, but I indulged in some lazy bed time with my phone. I actually don’t love doing that, but sometimes it just happens.

I did an 8 minute ab workout because I was feeling it and then headed downstairs to eat my favorite breakfast.

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overnight oats!

I worked on some job applications in the morning early afternoon (with a five minute workout in there as a work break) before Pop and I walked over to the driving range to hit some balls. (← Is that the phrase? Because I feel like it’s not.)

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Now, I don’t play golf. I don’t have hand-eye coordination. But when Pop invited me to the driving range (“It doesn’t hurt to know how to swing a club!”), I agreed. I’m glad I went, but MAN was I horrendous.

I sort of decently hit 3/35 balls. The other 32 either went ten feet in front of me or went somewhere with a piece of sod flying after it.

Then I showered, lunched, massaged, and got massaged. Rough life we have here.

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plus grapes, greens, and tortilla chips

The rest of the day involved some job searching, emails, attempting to work out (and not really feeling it), talking with the family, and eating dinner.

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Madre’s homemade pho — so good! plus leftover potatoes from Hash House and a leftover cinnamon roll for dessert

I learned that I do not want to eat a decadent brunch and ice cream for my body’s fuel, but I don’t regret my food choices. It was all a good ~experience~.

So tell me:

What is the most outrageous dish you’ve ever eaten/someone you know has eaten?

Have you ever been to Harry Potter World?

Are you good at golf? Help me, please.

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?

Virtual Breakfast Date

virtual breakfast date

…I would usually hug you before we sit down, but I’ve been sick these past few days, so we’ll nix that for now.

…I would be eating leftover green banana pancakes via The Healthy Maven that I made yesterday.

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topped with plain Greek yogurt, “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter, and peanut butter + glass o’ almond milk on the side

…I would ask you if you’ve been watching the Olympics. It’s funny; I feel like I become more sedentary as I watch ALL the sports all the time on TV. I’ve been enjoying the gymnastics, tennis, beach volleyball, diving, and swimming the most so far!

…I would take a second to fan over Simone Biles and Oksana Chusovitina, that 41-year-old gymnast from Uzbekistan who is STILL KILLING IT at the Olympics. Literally almost three times older than some of the gymnasts competing.

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I just want to finish everything I do in life with gymnastics arms from now on

…I would tell you that I leave for Ireland to study abroad in less than a month, and I have very few (if any) emotions about it. I tell people that I’m excited, which is half true, because I’m looking forward to the adventures and travel. But I’m also NOT excited, because I know how much I’m going to miss my family at home and friends back in Boston. I’m just gonna go and see what happens, honestly!

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I just need to start thinking about what to pack…and stuff like that.

…I would recommend that you read Kylie’s post about why she hasn’t weighed herself in 2.5 years. Whether you have a history of an eating disorder or not, this is a great read for anyone with body image issues (which is most of us living in an affluent society). Kylie rocks.

…I would tell you that my new veggie obsession is Thai “pun” (wraps, not funny puns). Lettuce + some kind of protein + cucumber + cherry tomatoes + Thai basil + cilantro + mint + spicy peanut sauce. The fresh herbs are ESSENTIAL.

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For this week’s version, Madre grilled up some lemongrass-scallion-black pepper pork patties. For her peanut sauce, she mixes her classic spring roll dipping sauce (similar to this recipe) with peanut butter to taste.

I’ve also had the combo on a big bed of salad greens.

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JUST DO IT.

…I would tell you that I think baking skills are a prerequisite for becoming a physical therapist. All the the treats that the PTs bring in to work are phenomenal. Like these cookies and cream cupcakes for someone’s birthday:

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oreo on the bottom, chocolate cupcake, homemade cookies and cream frosting, mini oreo on top

Other treats this summer have included cake pops, homemade chocolate chip cookies, the moistest (sorry) banana bread ever, and pound cake. #help

…I would perpetuate Asian stereotypes for giggles.

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Italian pasta originated from Asian noodles anyway

…I would tell you that I got to hang out with Daliza twice this weekend! She took me to the movie Cafe Society on Thursday night, which I really enjoyed (check it out in smaller, indie movie theaters!). It stars Steve Carrell, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Blake Lively.

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Then on Saturday I met up with her and our other high school friend Apaula to see our high school chorus teacher at one of his gigs. Fun to catch up with all of them!

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…I would gush over the weather we had last week and hope that it continues into this week.

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…I would tell you that eats at home recently have been on point. It’s been fun eating out these past few several weekends, but I loooooove eating home cooked meals.

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classic overnight oats

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Mom’s comforting meal on Friday night after a long, sick day at work: whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce, grilled spicy chicken, and fresh basil

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banana nectarine hot oatmeal with “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter

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classic avocado egg toast with sriracha

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delicious panini a la Madre: whole wheat roll with turkey, swiss, greens, homemade carrot and radish pickles, spicy hummus, and sriracha *drool*

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artichoke hummus that I finally popped open from Stowe, VT with baby carrots

…I would tell you that moves and grooves were low-key this weekend since I was sick. Thursday was yoga, Friday was rest, Saturday was Pilates + one day of the 100s challenge (sort of…I didn’t do all the sit-ups), and Sunday was some walking and random playtime on a playground.

…I would tell you that it’s already been a year since I went to the local Indian festival with Rachel! I went with Ben and Pop yesterday, where we shared some Indian grub and walked around the park.

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 …I would ask you:

Which Olympics sports are you following?

If you studied abroad, how did you feel before going?

What is your favorite way to eat vegetables lately?

Have you seen any good movies recently?