Permission

On this Memorial Day, let us never forget those who served our nation for the sake of our freedom and safety.

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A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

– Joseph Campbell

How was the weekend!? Or how IS the weekend (for those who have today off!)?

This weekend (alright, this whole week), I’ve given myself permission to embrace this period of almost zero obligations. I had to get over the phase of discombobulation of having nothing to do, but it’s been a pleasant week of acclimating to living farther from campus and relaxing.

Friday

There have been some errands and work in there too (keeps me sane TBH), like on Friday. I gave a campus tour, since a lot of BU’s tour guides are out of town these next few weeks. In classic me fashion, I was running late and had to speed walk for 1 hour to make it right on time.

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Luckily it was a beautiful day for rush-walking + touring!

Afterwards, I gave myself permission to do a quick 16-minute workout, even though I had all the time in the world and all the gym space in the world (three cheers for the summer lull!).

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‘Twas a fun one! 4 rounds, 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:

Then I nommed on the lunch I packed that morning (part of the reason I was running late). I gave myself permission to take my time to eat this. I’m sure some of you understand that weekday lunch is often more or less inhaled on many days.

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leftover peas and roasted broccoli + egg, avocado, pepper jack, sriracha sandwich + blackberries

I had big plans to get a lot Brideshead Revisited reading done for book club, but I got through thirteen pages before I gave myself permission to take a nap in the library’s armchair.

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never goes to the library during the school year // falls asleep in the library during the summer

Before going to the library, though, I tried being that person to read on the stationary bike at the gym, but doing that kinda nauseated me. That + gym music = entirely ineffective reading.

I was awoken by an announcement that the library was closing in an hour. Thankfully, my friend Ben welcomed me to hang out with him before dinner, because I was groggy and without anything to do (what a nice problem to have).

Lauren, Nico, Ben and I went to Shawarma King for dinner. I got the vegetarian combo plate, which had falafel, hummus, babaganoush (omg so good), stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, cucumber tomato salad, rice, and pita. HOT DANG. I finished 85% of it.

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Then we went to Athan’s Bakery for dessert! I got their pistachio gelato, which was the most sub-par gelato I’ve ever had, but it was still a delicious frozen treat.

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We finished the night watching the original Grease movie. It’s the best bad movie of all time.

Saturday

Overnight oats to start the morning!

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strawberry banana overnight oats topped with the last of my KIND peanut butter granola

This fueled another nice long walk towards campus…

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please interpret this art

…for another Saturday Spartan workout with Ben!

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Ben planned out this fun workout for us:

4 rounds:

  • run around baseball field
  • 15 triangle pushups (slightly inclined)
  • 2 flexed arm hang holds, any grip (15 seconds each or until failure ← definitely only held it for 5 seconds at some points)
  • 25 Roman chair leg lifts
  • 15 inverted rows
  • 10 step up hops each leg

Topped it off with 10 minutes of core work.

I packed a snacky lunch to eat between the workout and a meeting with my spiritual director (basically someone who teaches me how to better give God permission to speak to me through prayer and to work in my life — the most important permission I could ever give).

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rosemary Triscuits with pepperjack cheese + carrots with hummus

I gave myself permission to actually think about the taste of this snack (I guess people call it “mindful eating”), and it was 10x more satisfying than any other time I’ve eaten carrots and hummus/crackers and cheese.

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loads o’ popcorn

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I rushed through the popcorn and KIND bar, but they were still tasty.

I also gave myself permission to buy water from Starbucks for $0.27 because all the places where I usually fill up my water bottle on campus were closed.

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This was less about permission and more about a fundamental need for water. I am endlessly grateful for constant, easy access to clean drinking water.

After spiritual direction, I video chatted with my uncle, aunt and cousins for two hours. We had a beautiful conversation. Ugh, I love them. I got to spend most of the two hours outdoors before I had to charge my phone.

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The only downside was standing up and realizing that the bench I was sitting on gave me splinters all over my backside.

I picked up some groceries afterwards and gave myself permission to take an Uber back home instead of walking or taking the bus (the fact that an Uber was only $2.20 at the time was also a big factor).

Look what I found at the store!

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Burpee plants!

Back at home, I showered, warmed up some leftovers for dinner, and spent time with Christie’s boyfriend’s dog, Koga. I got a taste of the neediness that most dog owners talk about. It’s annoying in the most adorable way.

Sunday

I gave myself permission to SLEEP. IN. I slept until 9:40! I promised I’d make French toast for all of us in the morning though, so I quickly got to work on that.

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one whole wheat + one brioche topped with butter sautéed bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup, and slivered almonds + strawberries + glass o’ almond milk

Definitely taking full advantage of Christie’s pretty dishes and silverware for my food photos 🙂

I planned on running to the park ~4 miles away to meet my friends for a picnic in the afternoon, but my hip/quads/knee (!?) have been hurting these past few days, and running was a solid no-go yesterday. So I gave myself permission to pass on the picnic, walk home and do yoga instead.

The pain? Google says it could be some muscle tightness. Could be a labral tear. Hopefully not the latter.

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I forget what I did for the rest of the day, but in the evening I walked to campus for Mass, and my friend Evan kindly drove me home afterwards (God bless gentlemanly friends).

Chopped salad for dinner! (Read: Salad cut up with a pair of kitchen scissors.)

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spinach, feta, strawberries, avocado, sunflower seeds, and homemade honey mustard vinaigrette

Followed by dried figs with peanut butter and Greek yogurt. A classic.

Now I’m going to give myself permission to continue lying in bed and read Brideshead Revisited for real this time.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday/Memorial Day!

Give God permission. — St. Teresa of Calcutta

So tell me:

Do you find it hard to give yourself permission to relax?

What is one thing you gave yourself permission to do this weekend?

Any good books you’re reading? 

 

Summer’s Coming

It’s been forever and a half since I thought out loud with the lovely Amanda!

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what’s thinking out loud?

1) I am never not surprised that it’s almost May. What the heck!?

2) Last week was the “Easter Octave”, which means that the Church celebrated Easter for eight days straight, since the joy of the Resurrection cannot be contained within one single day. Let me tell you, I celebrated. With lots of alleluias and just as many desserts (I definitely had two desserts on several days).

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thanks for the cute cookie, Megan!

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Sometimes I went for a slightly more nutritious dessert, but nevertheless, I let loose with my sweet tooth.

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Amanda’s banana bread mug cake — one of my favorite things ever

3) The day after the Boston Marathon, I went on a beautiful run with my two beautiful friends, Kelsey and Sarah. You all know I’m not a huge fan of running, but my body didn’t want to do any sort of strength/HIIT or even yoga, so I asked Kels and Sarah if I could run with them after Mass on Tuesday evening.

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I would say that I was inspired by the Boston Marathon, but…

Kels: “Do you wanna run a half marathon with us?”

Me: “…ehhhhhhhhhhhh.”

For now, I’ll stick to spontaneous runs when I feel like it 🙂

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3) I didn’t sign up for a half marathon, but my friend Ben and I did sign up for a Spartan Sprint Race!!! We talked about it on Marathon Monday and decided it would be a fun thing to do this summer. I’ve always wanted to do an obstacle course race for fun, so the time has come!

Our training regimen is really coming together:

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Finbar is our priest’s dog

The Spartan Sprint Race is a 3-5 mile course with 20+ obstacles. Although I want to be relatively in shape for the race, I’m not really changing anything about how I work out right now. My mind and body are happy with my 4-ish workouts per week, varying based on how I feel that day.

But I’m SO EXCITED FOR THIS RACE! There’s also beer at the end I think, and I’ll be 21 by then 🙂

4) It’s strawberry season/the grocery store has strawberries on sale!

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5) Last weekend was filled with so much a cappella, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My talented friends Adrienne and Connor each had their last a cappella concerts of their college careers, and they were both phenomenal.

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Our whole Catholic Center fam came out to support like proud (and very loud) relatives. Adrienne and Connor, you guys are amazing!

6) I am officially in finals mode now (even though classes end next Wednesday). I am finished with regular exams and now just have one research paper for religion & medicine, a final for health policy, and a final for gross anatomy. Nighttime study sessions are all the rage these days.

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7) Should it be warmer than 60*F at this point in the spring? Boston will have one day per week when the temperature exceeds 70, but the rest of the days are still pretty chilly. I don’t even know what normal temperatures are anymore (going from Ireland ➔ Florida ➔ NY ➔ Boston in less than two months).

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There have been some gorgeous days, though, as you can see. I do like the mild weather too, so I guess I shouldn’t complain before the heat hits.

8) I feel like I haven’t been cooking as much in the apartment recently, but when I do, it always feels like I’m trying to use up as many leftovers/things in the pantry as possible. It’s never too shabby though!

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omelette with spinach, onions, lots of cheese, and ketchup

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salad with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, feta, and grilled chicken

9) Campus dining has had some pretty good hits too.

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Thai chicken salad + sandwich (roast beef, gouda, veggies, artichoke herb spread [omg so good!] on whole grain ciabatta) + apple

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breakfast-for-dinner at the dining hall: actually, this vegan breakfast burrito was just okay (breakfast burritos definitely need real eggs and bacon)

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Sarah got this delicious-looking Monte Cristo at breakfast-for-dinner night

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fantastic maple banana bread pudding a la mode (Easter Octave is over, but when do I ever not have dessert?)

10) This week was filled with a lot of goodness, but I also had rough patches. I realized that I always try to emerge from trials a little more perfect than before (which isn’t bad in and of itself — God calls us to be perfected in Him), but I end up discouraged and even surprised when I find myself in the same weak and confused state that [I thought] I had overcome before.

I needed to re-learn that, even when I feel confused, weak, or like a failure: a) it’s okay to feel that way, because I am a weak human being; b) I don’t have to try to fix myself before asking others/God for help to be better. I can’t fix myself once and for all. That would be trying to dodge this thing called life.

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Hope you all have a great Thursday!

So tell me:

Have you ever done an obstacle course race?

How’s the weather where you are? Rain all week for us :/

Which in-season produce are you excited for?

Two fun things you did this past week!

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?

“Dessert Rejuvenates Me”

My room is decorated!!

With wet t-shirts and damp underwear. They’re donning my windows, armchair, desk, and radiators because the laundry was finally installed in our dorm, but my exceptionally large load of laundry was not sufficiently dried in one dry cycle.

I honestly might go frontier-style and start washing my clothes in the sink and air drying them, since laundry will be at least 4.50 euros each time. Yikes.

These past couple days:

Wednesday

We had an orientation for our internships that will start in November, and one thing that the presenter said that struck me was, “It’s not always about what you do on the job. It’s about who you are and how you are.” In other words, in Ireland at least, it is just as— if not, more— important to be social and interactive with your coworkers as it is to be constantly diligent and focused on your tasks. Forming good relationships can be more valuable in your work experience than merely doing what needs to be done.

I know I can get so caught up in doing my job that I forget to talk to people or even refuse to go to social functions. But there’s so much more to a work/learning environment than burying your nose in the work, and I’m excited to really allow myself to do that here and find that balance between work and “play”.

I get it, universe. It’s not all about “just doing well.”

In other news, look at these bathrooms on campus.

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The vibe is, like, Hulk meets hospital. It also smelled strongly like Skittles, which was pleasant.

Lunches recently have been eggs in some form with butter and carbs in some form.

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Thursday

One of my new friends, Kendall, woke up (semi-)early to work out with me before our morning class. It was a fabulous morning too, so we did it outside. YAY. We did a 30 minute HIIT:

7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 burpees
  • 20 reverse lunges
  • 30 plank jacks
  • 100 high knees
[30 sec break]
7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 pushup to T
  • 10 broad jumps
  • 20 spiderman planks
  • 20 air squats
[30 sec break]
7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 side plank side crunch each side
  • 10 side lunge to knee twist each leg
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 20 split jack lunges
[30 sec break]
7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 in and out pushups
  • 20 sumo squat hip looseners
  • 15 plank to ankle taps each arm

The project manager on campus told us as we walked back to our dorm, “You know you’re making all of us feel guilty right?”

I wish I had answered, “JOIN US NEXT TIME!” But that would have been weird, so we just laughed.

Another Ireland lesson: Milk and yogurt expire much more quickly here than in the States. I almost poured curdled milk into my oatmeal yesterday and then I finished my extra sour Greek yogurt last night.

Lunch was 100% safe though.

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peep the potatoes with kerrygold butter, salt and pepper ♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎ 

The strawberries from the local grocery store here are also 5x better than Costco strawberries.

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The most frustrating moment of my Thursday was walking 45 minutes somewhere to pick up a bus card, but finding immediately upon walking into the office that the card machine was out of order. *heart drops to stomach* I hated the thought of wasting 90 minutes, but I loved the walk, and I even got to stop into a beautiful church to pray for a bit!

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This photo doesn’t do it justice. I walked in and froze for a couple seconds because I was in such awe.

We had our first Irish language lesson last night too. The professor is the sweetest and most joyful woman I’ve met in a while. The language still eludes me a bit, but it’s cool to learn about it!

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Leftover beef burger for dinner!

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split in half and eaten on top of toast with BBQ sauce, mustard, greens, white cheddar, and caramelized onions

This burger thing was the best culinary idea I’ve had in my 1.5 weeks living in Ireland (which isn’t saying much, given I’ve been living off oatmeal, chicken, and eggs).

Later, a few of us went out for dessert at Restaurant 104. They had “proper bread and butter pudding” on their menu, so I knew we had to go. And that’s just what I ordered!

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WITH raisins @Rachel

I also tried some of my friends’ sticky toffee pudding and [unpictured] “Death by Chocolate” cake.

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Everything was divine. When we all finished, Megan announced:

Dessert rejuvenates me. It’s my life source.

I’m so excited to be traveling Europe with this gal.

Now it’s Friday morning and I’m typing up this blog post! I need to do some schoolwork before going on a cliff walk later today. I did Blogilates’ Extreme Abs 3 (never gets easier) just ate some PB&J banana egg white oatmeal porridge to fuel the day:

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Have some good craic* this weekend!!! 😉

*craic is pronounced “crack” and means “fun”

So tell me:

What kinds of produce are much better abroad than at home for you? 

What is a recent frustrating experience for you?

What are you eating for breakfast this morning?

Do you like bread pudding?

Ireland: Where the Grass Is Greener

They don’t kid when they say Ireland is green.

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this is my friend, Kevin, loving life

I’m here in Dublin!! My red eye flight on Aer Lingus was pleasant and a lot quicker than I imagined it would be. Sitting for 6+ hours still made my legs want to shrivel up and fall off, but at least I got to sleep and eat the good airplane food (← never thought I’d say that!).

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fresh veggies AND fresh fruit!? AND KERRYGOLD BUTTER?

I listened to the inflight music selection, which included Adele, Ben Howard, and “Irish Pulse”. I did not actually listen to Irish Pulse, but I wish I did in retrospect. Like, electro-Celtic perhaps?

‘Twas especially sunny in Dublin when we arrived on Tuesday morning, which helped us to feel more alive after traveling overnight.

We also got a mini sweat session just by hauling our 50+lb. luggages around the airport, on and off the bus, and up a couple flights of stairs.
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Our campus is gorgeous!

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We had our information and orientation sessions, with a much-needed lunch in between at their dining hall.

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smoked colley (?), mashed carrots and parsnips, peas, potatoes, veggies, and an apple cobbler thing drowned in custard sauce

There really are lots of potatoes here. The dining halls serve them both mashed and roasted/fried. I can deal with that.

But since we have a nice kitchen in our dorm, we’ll all be cooking throughout the semester (yay!). We went to the grocery store in the afternoon, and I got two huge bags of groceries. Most people only bought one bag, and one girl told me, “You went HAM in there.”

Listen, I am good to go with what I have, and I only spent 60 euros for a lot of food + staples that will last a while. I’ll take “HAM” as a compliment.

I have yet to drink any booze here yet. My friends at home are probably screaming at me right now, but I just haven’t yet! I’m definitely planning on going out for some drinks and having some Irish whiskey, don’t worry. I just…napped through the first night when people went out to a pub for dinner. Whoops.

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Post nap: “I don’t know where the heck everyone is but I got dressed up anyway.”

I conked out at 5pm and slept through my 5:35 alarm until 7:40. I wasn’t mad about it, but dinner was a little weird, since I was lazy and not too hungry.

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spinach and (fantastic!) tomatoes with hummus

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a roll and kerrygold butter that I got off the plane haha

Our wifi doesn’t work in the dorms yet, so I went outside in front of another building to FaceTime Madre and do some other internet things before heading to bed at around midnight.

I wanted to move and groove yesterday morning, so I put on my gear and went outside to find a potential spot to work out, but there were too many people walking outside, and I didn’t want to be weird, so I just did an indoor HIIT workout.

{side note: I’m typing this in a sketchy dark corner outside to get wifi, and there’s a friendly man who keeps walking by, and I don’t know if he wants me to leave or not, but I’ll just stay until he kicks me off this bench}

Pre-workout breakfast (since I was a little hungry when I woke up) was a banana and more toast with another knob of kerrygold butter from the airplane packet.

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I am a big fan of this.

Post-workout breakfast was Greek-style Irish yogurt, which was a little thinner than what I’m used to, but still very good! I had it with raspberry preserves and peanut butter that my new friend lent me, since Madre is actually visiting this weekend and bringing me all my peanut butter then 😀 #spoiled.

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We had more touring and orientation things until 1 pm, when I was READY for lunch.

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We ate at a dining hall again since we weren’t anywhere close to our dorms. This whole plate was only 5.50 euros, and it was everything I needed. Simple, tasty, and filling.

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Then we had a scavenger hunt around the city centre (what they call downtown) of Dublin. Rachel told me that the Dublin transit system is horrendous, and she was right. I’m already terrible with public transit on the subways back in Boston and NY, but the Dublin Bus system makes me want to weep inside just a little bit.

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Maybe by the end of October I’ll be able to understand it. They’re double decker buses though, which is cool.

My scavenger hunt group found a guy on the sidewalk selling these beautiful-looking strawberries for 3 euros, so we bought them to share. Our reactions: “HOLY **** THESE ARE THE BEST STRAWBERRIES I’VE EVER EATEN.”

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So tender, sweet, flavorful, and fresh. I even ate the leaves because a) they were so small that I could barely hold onto the leaves, b) I didn’t feel like holding juicy leaves in my fingers, c) they can’t hurt, right?

Of course, we also chatted with handsome Irish musicians on the street. And they actually have angelic voices.

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Also, many people drop the f-bomb here very frequently.

At the end of the scavenger hunt, a few of us ventured to get some new SIM cards for our time here in Ireland (data usage, huzzah!). And then I was again starving for dinner, which I made back at the dorm.

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I snacked on a KIND bar while cooking up some chicken breasts, which I had on top of toast with white cheddar. Plus a salad and an unpictured peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I brought from NY  (thanks, Aunt Tina!).

Confession: A lot of people are out at a club right now because our tour guide could get us all in for free this one night, but I didn’t want to pay for transportation for the fourth time in one day and I know I will have plenty of time to go out when I truly want to (not just because it’s free to get in. still need those dollas for booze ya know). PLUS, it was good to stay in with a couple of friends and help one of them out with room lockout issues.

I really want to do a wine and cheese night. Mostly for the cheese, but wine is good too.

Thank you to those who made suggestions for places to visit! I am very grateful for this experience. Dublin is seriously stunning and charming, and the people are so kind. I’m also meeting lots of new friends! I’m excited for what’s ahead.

So tell me:

When do you say “no” to going out?

Where are the best hidden gems in Europe? I’m trying to make travel plans and would love some input!