Good News, Bad News

What a week!

As the title suggests, things have been an ever-exciting cocktail of highs and lows. Life is a rickety wooden roller coaster, but fortunately, those are my favorite kinds of rides. Also, there is more good news than bad news!

Good News – Gross anatomy exams went so well last week! I am grateful for intelligent and motivating classmates/friends who helped me through that intense study period.

Good News – The men at the Catholic Center put on an incredible “Women’s Appreciation Night” last Thursday, complete with real plates and silverware, a three course meal, and SWING DANCING. Chivalry is not dead!

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look how dressed up they are!

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that bacon-wrapped chicken was bomb

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shoutout to Evan and Veronica for giving the swing dance lesson (and to all the guys for actually dancing with us – I tried hard to not be the leader 😀 )

Are we queens or what!?

Bad News – Megan and I have found SIX cockroaches in our apartment in the past two weeks. The first one was not cool, the second one was a problem, and the next four have been borderline traumatizing.

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And she really did leave a singular rain boot for me in the kitchen.

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As well as the delicious corn bread, which made matters slightly better.

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We finally just called Emergency Facilities yesterday, so they’re coming to fumigate the place today.

We’re clean people, we promise! We also tried spraying the place ourselves, but apparently, using bug killer spray on the perimeter of the floors just makes the roaches crawl on the walls and on top of the refrigerator (!!!????!?@#$!@#%!).

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How I currently walk around the apartment more often than not. Although, squishing the roaches is potentially worse, because it might attract more?? Whatever the case, Megan and I take at least 20 minutes to recover from each huge roach we encounter.

Me to Rachel:

Good News – We have a warm bed, food, and shelter. There are worse things that could be happening.

Bad News – Speaking of housing though, my roommates for next year and I are scrambling with apartment searching/landlord issues. GAH adulting is hard.

Good News – I have been drinking and eating delicious mango things.

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champagne mangos that go down like buttahhhh

Bad News – Last night I had one of those “oh crap I have so much work to do these next few weeks” moments. Naturally, I started writing this blog post in the midst of it all.

Good News – On Saturday, my friend Rebecca and I attended a free trial class at CrossFit Fenway! It was a pretty basic class, understandably, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the Crossfit “box”, and our instructor was very knowledgable and motivating.

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After going through the warmup + basic movements, our short WOD (workout of the day) was:

90 second max calorie row

1 min. rest

8 min. AMRAP:

  • 12 squats
  • 9 abmat situps
  • 6 ring rows

Nothing fancy, but it was fun to do it with a group. Other people at the gym were doing Open Workout 17.5 and I was wishing I could participate! Thrusters and double unders are two movements I can actually do.

Bad News – I think it would be fun to join CrossFit box, but it is expensiveeee and your girl can’t afford that right now. Also, our Fitness and Recreation center on campus is fantastic already.

Good News – I had my first workout/Bible study this past Sunday, and it was great! Four girls are in the group, and I take them through a 30-45 min. workout + a 30-45 min. Bible study based on Theology of the Body (trying to tie together that body-soul idea ya know). I’m really excited for it! The girls killed this workout I put together:

4 rounds (10 sec rest/30 sec work)

  • burpees
  • squats OR squats with overhead press
  • plank OR spiderman plank
  • side jump lunges
  • pushup to T OR plank to T
  • high knees

And then we had a good discussion about body image!

Bad News – It’s rainy all week.

Good News – I finally got to watch Inside Out, and I LOVE IT.

Bad News – I didn’t actually get to finish Inside Out, sooooo now I’m at a cliffhanger and I need to find another time to watch the rest.

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Good News – I watched all of Beauty and the Beast in theaters with Rachel on Friday, and it. was. magical. Wonderful animation and music, and Emma Watson is gorgeous. Highly recommend! (p.s. Disney is making a live-action Mulan movie coming out November 2018!!!)

Bad News – Eh, I’m done complaining. No more bad news.

Good News – I made and ate enchiladas for the first time ever last night. I bought a can of Hatch enchilada sauce from Thrive a while ago and finally put it to use with this recipe. They ROCK and I can’t wait to eat the rest of them this week!

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I hope you all have a great Tuesday! Laugh about the little problems and have faith that it will all be okay.

So tell me:

One piece of good news (you can share a bad one too if you want, but at least one good one!) 🙂

Have you ever had a pest problem?

Have you ever eaten enchiladas before?

 

Weekend Confessions

I feel like the primary purpose of this post is to let my parents know that I am alive and well. Hi, Madre and Pop!!

weekend confessions

Confession #1: I’m going to brag about the salmon and meatloaf I made at work on Friday. Even though I could only have small bites of each for quality control, I have decided that this was possibly the best salmon I’ve ever made and the best (also, the first and only) meatloaf I’ve ever made. Both of them had Trader Joe’s whole grain dijon mustard in it, FYI.

For the salmon: Season with salt and pepper. Rub a crap ton of the mustard + a good drizzle of honey all over. Top with a few dill sprigs. Bake at 425F for 12 minutes.

And I used this meatloaf recipe!

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the salmon looks burnt and the meatloaf looks average, but I promise they were so good! the mustard was all sweet and crispy on the salmon 😀

Confession #2: I almost lost my voice screaming at my first BU hockey game of the season. I hadn’t been to a game in almost a year, so it was great to be back in the “dog pound” cheering on our Terriers!

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we won against University of Maine 4-1 *high fives*

Confession #3: I’ve made more Irish friends during one week in Boston than I did in 3.5 months in Ireland. There’s an exchange student from Ireland who frequents the Catholic Center, so now I have a total of ONE [native] Irish friend who is my age.

Confession #4: I wanted to go to the gym at least once this weekend, but I never did. I’m pretty okay with it though.

Confession #5: I did do some interesting non-gym things like grooving to throwback songs with friends, running (!?), working out by the river at my favorite place, doing Blogilates that made our crooked floor boards creak, stretching while studying gross anatomy, and trying slider exercises with a paper plate!

Confession #6: Also instead of the gym, I did fun things like make/eat pancakes and watch The Office with my pals Ben and Rachel 🙂

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humungous banana and oreo pancakes

Confession #7: I ate at P.F. Changs (aka fake Asian food) and loved it.

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also we were starving, so anything tasted good // too hungry to eat it with chopsticks because that takes too much time #dontdowhatido

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‘Twas for my girl Domenica’s birthday (21!!!! check that sake in a wine glass). It was mighty fun hanging out with all these beautiful women!

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Confession #8: I ate chocolate cake and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can no longer say that I don’t like chocolate, I’ve just accepted it. It’s still not my favorite, and I wouldn’t order chocolate things, but I don’t dislike it.

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we got two “Great Wall of Chocolate” cakes to celebrate, and I was all about it

Confession #9: I ate carrot cake before lunch to celebrate my friend Louis’ birthday the next day. So many birthdays this weekend!

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“Like the liturgically significant candles?” – our friend, Pat, who made the cake

Confession #10: I don’t like to spend more than 10 minutes on dinner.

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Confession #11: Megan shared one of her chocolate pudding cups with me last night for dessert, and it was blissful. You bet I added peanut butter to that thing.

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Confession #12: I’m procrastinating getting my laundry out of the dryer, but I’ll go do that now.

Confession #13: I actually did go to confession this weekend.

Also, here’s a random picture of a breakfast that I ate, because I took the photo and the lighting was decent, and yogurt bowls tend to look aesthetically pleasing.

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Hope you have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me:

Two things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Did you watch any sports this weekend?

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?

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:

Alison wants to go to Canada and would be ready for bed instantly if she could have one superpower and I love her.

A post shared by Lauren Gustainis (@lgustainis) on

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.

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?