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?

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Ireland Soon, But Boston First

So much for shorter, more frequent posts.

Time got away from me as these past few days have been a whirlwind (← prepare to hear that from me for the next year or so).

I’m currently in Boston visiting friends for the week, but nothing for Ireland is packed. A week from now I will be almost 3,000 miles away from home. For four months. Hahaaaa whaaaaat.

But it has been oh so worth it to hop from one thing to the next though. Seeing friends in Boston has been lovely ♥︎

Highlights from these past four days:

FRIDAY

It was my last day of work at the rehab hospital, which was bittersweet for sure. This job that I almost didn’t get turned out to be one of the most eye-opening, enriching, and challenging experiences I have ever encountered. It has also reassured me that I do love the field of physical therapy *sigh of relief*.

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my “I’m running late on my last day of work” breakfast

The kind folks at work bought me lunch from a local deli that they had been raving about all summer long. I got the “Nello burger”, which was a chicken burger with provolone, broccoli rabe, cherry peppers, and balsamic glaze. Very tasty!

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I also snacked on some corn bread that I baked for everyone. Then they gave me the coolest gift a future PT (or any health pro) could ask for:

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*angels singing*

DOPE SCOPE.

Other than taking blood pressure with it, I’ll just stare at the stethoscope and talk about the future with it. Maybe name it.

Later that night I did a quick 16 minute workout, ate a leisurely dinner with our family friends who were staying with us for the night, and packed for Boston, which took way longer than I expected; I totally overestimated my ability to pack for dorm life for a week.

I was also scrambling to ask friends for a place to stay, because I am a bad planner/great procrastinator. I promised to be an indentured servant to them. (Thank you so much, Christina and Lauren!! ♥︎)

SATURDAY

I was a little stressed and very exhausted on Friday night, which is a perfect combo for insomnia for me. -_-  I got a wee four hours of sleep before we headed off to Boston the next morning, but God is generous and allowed me to feel surprisingly awake. I even drove the first shift!

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peach banana overnight oats in a jar made my life feel slightly more stable

We arrived in (HOT) Boston at around 10 am, where we helped my friend move into MIT. Their buildings are asymmetrical and unconventional, just like the talented and off-the-cuff students who attend MIT.

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who needs rectangular windows when you can pretend you’re in an airplane?

Later on, the fam hit the road again for home. I dropped off my stuff at my friends’ apartment and grabbed lunch at Crispy Crepes Cafe. They serve crepes galore and… Middle Eastern food? A combo that I think should exist in more places.

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I happily ran into my friend, Lauren, and her mom, so I hung out with them for a bit. Lauren and I went to meet her friends at Super 88 later, where I picked up some dinner (which I knew would make for a really cheap three meals!).

Just look at how beautiful Lauren is for a second:

I told her that our face shapes are extremely similar. Aren’t they?

Dinner in the apartment:

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I thought about seeing friends later that night, but my body wanted to sleep at 8pm after a night of sleeplessness before. I tried to sleep at 8, but I only quasi-napped for an hour before giving up on sleeping (damn insomnia). I played around on my phone and read blogs for an hour or so before closing my eyes again, when I finally fell asleep.

 SUNDAY

I woke up, ate breakfast, and then took a nap right after breakfast. That’s the way to live a Sunday!

I brought my own oatmeal, peanut butter and a few bananas for the week, so I mashed those all together for breakfast. I found some almond milk in my friend’s fridge, so I poured a bit of that on top.

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But as soon as I took my first bite, I thought, “Nooooope.” Spoiled almond milk. I had to dump the whole thing 😦 Apparently, expiration dates on almond milk don’t mean anything if it’s been open for a while anyway. I didn’t sniff-test it, and I paid for it.

Take two, no milk:

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I’ve eaten weirder things.

After breakfast and a nap, I worked out at my favorite place by the river. I did a random bodyweight strength-plyo-cardio workout that was hard, but it felt great to move!

I showered quickly and then headed to the Catholic Center for Mass. I got to see and hug many friends there, which made me very happy.

Lunch at Gyro City with some of said friends:

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I demolished the whole chicken gyro (with a honey mustard sauce, ooo!), and I must have used ten napkins. I need to work on jaw maneuvers to minimize the amount of food I get on my face. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I have a hand-eye coordination deficit, so..

Later on, I met up with Lauren for some coffee shop chat.

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blueberry ginger scone

We watched a few episodes of The Office while I answered some blog comments and emails. Then it was Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen time, with a bunch of inspiring young people, including Lauren!

I got back to the room at around 9:30, where I ate another third of the Super 88 meal while FaceTiming Rachel (she’s coming today!!!).

MONDAY

MOVING DAY!! I helped Lauren and Christina move their stuff from their summer apartment to their apartment for the school year. It was sweaty and ridiculous, but it was a good workout at least? Teamwork makes the dream work, as well.

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the haphazard life of college students

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puppy therapy

Lunch was the last third of the Super 88 meal. WHAT A DEAL. I just ate it with a box of spring mix that I bought on Saturday.

My friend, Evan, brought me some of his homemade yogurt, which served as a delightful post-move-in snack. The yogurt is so thick and creamy, and I loved that it wasn’t super sweet, even with the raspberry preserves. Thanks again, Evan!

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he even put it in a hipster mason jar

Later that evening, I met up with my peanut butter pal, Christina (@foodietunes)! Check out her apartment view:

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ARE WE KIDDING.

The inside of her apartment is also beautiful. But the best part of it all was seeing her beautiful face and getting to catch up!

After that, I took a much needed shower before eating dinner with Lauren and our friend, Ben, at Chipotle. My second time at Chipotle EVER.

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I tried sofritas for the first time, and it was good!

When I’m in college, I don’t think about food as much, because I kinda just need to eat, go places, do things, and see people. Eating is necessary and is good for conversation, but no one really dwells on food when we’re all having a good time or super busy, which is nice and different from being at home by myself when I have too many options and opportunities to eat whatever I want.

Lauren taught us how to play a board game called King of Tokyo, which I won! (Beginners’ luck, or perhaps as Ben insisted, “The game favored you from the start.” It’s because I’m Asian.)

Lauren also let me use one of her face masks and nose strips, because seeing gunk come out of your face is girly and fun! Girl talk 1also always comes on the side 🙂

TUESDAY

After another weird breakfast, I said goodbye to Lauren, because she went home for the week before school starts for them next week.

I exercised a little bit in the room and started this blog post before heading to Mass. I got a nice footlong from Subway for lunch to serve as two meals (#bargaining) and ate it by the river.

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roast beef, pepper jack cheese, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomato, and honey mustard

Ahhhh I love this place!!

I went back to the Catholic Center to say hi and bye to Joe, since he stopped by for a bit. He promised me he would eat his vegetables in seminary, so I’m saying it here and holding him to it.

Then I asked my friend Nico if he wanted to come to the gym with me, and he agreed! We didn’t work out together, but at least we were working out in solidarity.

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Nico: “I look terrified.”

I hadn’t squatted something heavier than 36# in a long time, so I did Jen’s squat burpee ladder workout with 95#. I followed that up with some single leg deadlift with bent over rows, cleans and presses, jump lunges with a 10# plate, leg press, and kettlebell swings.

I ate an apple with peanut butter while typing up the rest of this post. Then I ate the second half of my Subway footlong for dinner (another great deal!).

Froyo and an evening walk with Nico, since all our other friends were either working or not here in Boston yet. But mostly since froyo and a walk with Nico sounded like a nice idea!

I am beyond thrilled to be here with friends. It’s also fun seeing all the baby freshmen getting stoked for their college journey (I say as if I’m thirty years older than them). I’m going to miss this city dearly this semester, but I’m excited for the adventures that God has in store for both myself and all my friends in Boston + family at home.

So tell me: 

College students: Does being with your college friends change your relationship with food in any way? 

Do you know how to use a stethoscope? Please tell me about other uses.

What is your favorite “bargain” meal purchase? Super 88 and Subway are pretty great options, I’ve found.

Beautiful Weekend in Stowe, Vermont

I feel like I went to Narnia this weekend.

I was only gone with my family for 36 hours, but I feel like I was away for a week! After finals ended on Thursday night, I stayed with my parents at their hotel, since Friday required an early morning wake-up call for my brother’s graduation.

I went to bed past midnight and somehow got myself to roll out of bed at 5:35 AM (mostly because I needed to pee), so I hit up the hotel gym for a super quick workout. My hair was still in nightmare world and my eye bags were fluffier than my pillow.

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2 minute warmup + 16 minute HIIT (24 rounds of 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest) + stretching:

  • burpees
  • side jump lunges
  • DB clean and jerks (20# DBs)
  • tricep dips/spiderman planks
  • tuck jumps
  • split jack lunges/alternating reverse lunges (20#)

The ‘rents and I got dressed up and headed to TD Garden (home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics!) for the graduation. The arena doesn’t allow outside food or drink, so we made sure to eat a good meal before being in there for 6+ hours. Subway looked like the best option at 7 AM.

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egg white, cheese, veggie on honey oat

But since we got to the arena two hours early to get good seats, I was hungry by the time commencement started, so I bit the bullet and bought FIVE DOLLAR in-shell peanuts to tide me over. It was either those or hot dogs for $4. Hot dogs in the morning. Need I explain my decision?

Anyway, the commencement was just peachy. Their speaker was US Secretary of State, John Kerry! His best line that made the crowd go wild was: “You are Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”

Congratulations, Ben + Northeastern Class of 2016!

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Afterwards, we were so ready for lunch. I got a Thai chicken salad with some sort of sweet dressing that was delicious.

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We filled our bellies and then promptly hit the road for Stowe, VT for a little family weekend getaway.

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We stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, which was just gorgeous. The skies were a bit gloomy, but there are some awesome mountains behind those clouds.

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The resort itself was huge and beautiful as well. It was such a labyrinth to walk through. We felt like we we walked at least a quarter of a mile just to get to our room!

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Since we arrived pretty late, we bolted for the hotel restaurant for dinner before it closed. ‘Twas a convenient but pricey decision.

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mason jars ♥︎ 

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salad with pistachios, cranberries, and grilled chicken

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apple crisp a la mode

The room had a kitchen and some artsy, rustic cutlery. A blogger’s dream.

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Ben: “Should I model it?”

Saturday was a near perfect day in my book. I slept in and then started the day with a banana and some nuts and a workout at the {amazing} hotel gym.

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dynamic warmup + 3 rounds of:

  • 15 close-grip DB chest press
  • 30 double unders
  • 10 clean and jerks

+ playing around on the Pilates ladder barrel

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Then we brunched at a local place called McCarthy’s. Super Irish, which is perfect as I prepare to study abroad in Dublin this fall 🙂

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I ordered the French toast special with two sunny eggs + bacon. Everything breakfast should be. {Side note: I decided not to bring my peanut butter on this vacation because I thought I should try to detach myself, haha.}

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I also shared a very decent portion of my mom’s Irish home fries and corned beef. KILLER.

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Ben and I dropped off our parents back at the resort and then headed out on an expedition to Stowe Pinnacle!

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I would say I built this, but that would be a lie

It was about 1.65 miles going up, and the incline wasn’t crazy steep, but it was, as Ben put it, persistent. ‘Twas a fab idea to have such a hearty, fatty meal an hour before this. We made it to the summit in pretty good time though— approximately 50 minutes.

Boy, was this view worth it.

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It was pretty comparable to the glorious view from Bear Peak in Colorado a year ago, except this time I could breathe because we weren’t at high altitude.

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There were these two golden retrievers up at the summit that were old, fat, and adorable. We couldn’t tell if they belonged to anyone in particular, but all they wanted was to be loved by all the people who made it to the summit.

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freakin’ regal

We trekked back down the mountain, which is less physically challenging but definitely more technically challenging in terms of not falling off the face of the mountain. I only slipped and fell on my butt once going downhill, which is on par for me. I really need to wear the hiking shoes I have.

When we got back to the road, Ben and I went on a quest for a maple “creemee” per my friend Courtney’s suggestion. A creemee is special Vermont soft serve ice cream. Unfortunately, we could not find a place that was open and selling maple creemees. Unlike other cities we’re used to, Stowe actually closes shops seasonally *gasp*.

Instead, Ben stopped for a craft beer and we took a Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. Not a bad detour!

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I got their banana peanut butter frozen Greek yogurt because that epitomizes my food choices // Ben got strawberry cheesecake and Spectacular Speculoos (so good!)

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Ben and… Allie’s?

What a great post-hike snack 🙂

We went back to the hotel, showered, and then headed to dinner with our parents at the Trapp Family Lodge (yes, the von Trapps from Sound of Music!).

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spring vegetable salad with an amazing yogurt sauce + some of my mom’s pancetta-wrapped chicken thigh and quinoa + a bite of Ben’s wiener schnitzel

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roasted carrots for the table to share

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cheese plate

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the BEST apple strudel a la mode! 

Full and oh so content.

Sunday (Mother’s Day!) started with Mass and breakfast at Cafe on Main. I was in the mood for a good sandwich instead of breakfast food, so I went for the turkey club. Tasty!

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Then we walked downstairs to the quaint Stowe Mercantile store, where I freaked out over their local peanut/almond butters.

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May or may not have bought three jars.

Four hours later, we were back in Boston, where Ben and I unloaded/loaded some things from our places. We ended our family time with a late lunch at Super 88! All I wanted was crunchy, fresh vegetables, so I ordered the tofu and vegetable rice noodle soup. Hit the spot so good!

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And then the fam parted ways. I’m back in Boston for one more week, which means lots of oatmeal for meals, which is perfectly fine with me!

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THIS WAS SO LONG. But hey, thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far, consider yourself bear-hugged.

Hope you all have a magnificent Monday! I am grateful for YOU.

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Vermont?

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor!

Have you ever fallen on a hike?