What have I been up to?
Everything! I have been up to everything. One of the highlights of my week has truly become exercise. Funny, right? You would think that I would have gotten into this more in a place where the weather wasn't so unpredictable. Funny, how change can change you. I had been running back home off and on between my hectic schedule but it was never a priority. My exercise has become an absolute priority in my life because it keeps my head clear, my mood balanced and heck- lets be honest my body in shape! I am turning 30 and everything goes down hill after, right? So as of right now, I run 3 days a week and attempt to do some jillian Michaels yoga one day a week. She is totally mad by the way- totally mad. Most recently, as in Friday, I met up with two girlfriends to run. One just started 3-weeks ago, and the other has never really run outdoors. It was SO much fun. I remember when I was training for the half marathon with Kim and she was such an encourager to me. She could always talk so freely when we were running. I mean, I was busy dying. And now I have the ability to talk when I run and not die.. its amazing what a little time and dedication can do. But.. because its cold out, I must always dress appropriate. And if anyone was wondering, as of now I am still running in my 5 finger toe shoes. :)
Our semester has come to a close for classes and such for most students. Us PhD folks continue to push through until we take Holidays. Its really like a job- given 6 weeks vacation a year but otherwise you are at work. Yes.. Americans, I said 6-weeks per year like its totally normal. It is normal out here on this side of the pond. We should get it together :) During the course of the semester I have been working on a research project, co-teaching and taking what I like to call philosophy class. In other words, a class that constantly reminded me that the P in PhD is Philosophy! Yes, its a Doctorate in Philosophy. I have really enjoyed the class because its been a time to stretch my mind and help me understand concepts that I would have never even thought about as being important. I look forward to whatever class is offered next semester to us.
The staff have been really great at the University. My supervisors are phenomenal and so supportive. Further, the BSL team alone is wonderful and I have loved the relationships that I have developed with them. To be honest, its like you are staff member/colleague instead of a student. Its almost like we are all students-everyone is willing to learn from everyone. We had a "Staff/PhD" dinner at this really nice place. Where we had two Americans, two English folks, two Scottish gals, and 2 girls from China. We had several languages going on at the table, English, ASL, BSL probably some Chinese and the night was filled with laughter. Current motto in my life- "Laugh Lots"
OHHH!!! You mean you really didn't want to hear about running and school? OK! I will fill you in on the fun stuff. Where do I begin? I have become fantastic friends with Sara and Ilgin- Its kind of funny who you end up clicking with. I remember growing up and people saying having a group of 3 is always bad because someone gets left out. Well we are not kids anymore and we are smarter than most so we have come up with a way to be completely inclusive. Inclusion-serious buzz word. We have been on a group text now for months. I have not laughed so hard in a really long time. Many of you know that I was going through a really hard time in my life before making this move and wow- the laughter has helped bring me back to life.
And no- we don't just text each other. We have actually entered the real world on several occasions. One night we went out and saw Mansfield Park. Yes- you know the one- the Jane Austin one. Yes, yes.. the one where Fanny The name of the character which actually is the word for Vagina in this country falls in love with her cousin Edmund. I mean- I know this stuff happened back then but how difficult would have been to write the book in the same way WITHOUT making them related? Nonetheless it was a great show. And the actors did a fantastic job with the British accent. I wonder why.
The other night we went to see Gravity. Totally intense movie. I stopped breathing several times during the show and do not recommend people with serious heart conditions to see this in 3D. Before the movie we hit up a mexican food joint and had really loud girl talk that probably made the people behind us feel uncomfortable. Yet- when you are living in the present you just don't have time to worry about what others think. There was talk of Fannys and Periods.. speaking of periods.. these dots…. are not periods in this country. It is a "full-stop"- yes you must come to a full stop before continuing on into the next sentence. Learning all of the language bits have been interesting. Don't tell anyone that you like a man in suspenders.. unless you are into that type of thing. Out here its referring to a garter belt. hehehe.
Anyway, I love these girls. I know that I could call on them in a heart beat.
Here are some fun photos!
Oh so easily, I will tell you. First the backstory.
My cousin is studying abroad in Paris, France. I only knew this because her mom..which is also my cousin I think.. is friends with me on my Facebook page. I was in her wedding when I was a kid. Look how cute I was!
She met me at the airport and we then took a train and a metro to where she is living, and she is living in a very nice/posh part of town! Um hello Prada and Gucci and every other shop I can't afford. On arrival, she served me cheese and wine.. Nice first impression, right? Thats when you are like this weekend is going to be really nice!! We really just sat and talked to each other like we had known each other for years all while getting to know about each others lives. She is a really great young lady and I am so glad we reconnected. We then headed out for a late night dinner. This is where I ate escargot. Yup- I did it. I am proud to say that my adventurous side is kicking in and that makes me happy. Out of the comfort zone I go. We also walked around the city, we explored Paris by night. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame.. its beautiful by day and stunning by night.
The next day we hit up the Christmas Market, did some shopping, and ate our way through the city while taking in the sights. So glad this girl likes to eat as much as I do! On Sunday- we went to the Jewish part of town (I love jewish people.. not gonna lie- great culture, great food and the men are pretty attractive too). I splurged some more on my favorite olive oil face lotion, but this time I also bought the body cream, lip balm and eye serum trying to fix the eye wrinkles right now- will keep you posted. We ate some more, had coffee, watched some bocce ball in the park and then got touchy feely with Rodan's statues. SUCH a great experience. We had an absolute blast. Yay for family reunions and new friends!
Of course there is. Yesterday was St. Andrews Day. It was the official flag flying day in Scotland. Here are some fun facts about St. Andrew himself if you want to know who he is- Click Here!
So in honor of St. Andrews Day- I took myself to Hollyrood Palace. It was free to get in! I took the audio tour, took pictures of myself and had a great morning doing so. From there- I went to the market, to the store and then home to work. Remember, balance is important- I can't JUST have fun on the weekends and I can't JUST work during the week. That is not balance.
Then, my friend Rebecca one of the few Scottish people I know invited me over for dinner with some friends. We had a real Scottish meal! Mince and Potatoes. FUN! Of course it was served with wine, because thats what you do here. We then went to a Scottish Ceilidh in the middle of the street. It was fantastic. This wasn't the first Ceilidh I attended. I went to one a couple weeks back with the University. Gosh, another reason I need to be blogging more frequently. I have pictures and videos of that event and I will try to get them up soon.
Ha- yes I am doing so great. I haven't been this happy in years and I am embracing the moment. I am really trying to trust the process and know that I don't have to finish my PhD in a year! Just doing what I can every day and being proud of what I have accomplished and trying not to beat myself up on the days that are less eventful. I miss you all and in the spirt of Thanksgiving. Thank you for your love and support and know that I am so thankful for this new chapter in my life.