Helsinki Holiday

I made it to Helsinki and was greeted at the airport by my friend, Nicole, who I know through improv classes in NYC. We chatted (me, grilling poor Nicole about Finland’s history, culture and politics), walked around central Helsinki, and ate some delicious pizza. I got to call my dad and wish him a happy birthday and sing the Swedish birthday song (yay!) to him, and then I sleeeept. And now I am going for a run to explore the islands here in Helsinki of Kulosaari and Mustikkamaa (yeah…I have pretty little idea how to pronounce those). Then I’ll be heading into the city to meet Nicole after work and go to the labor day festivities–tomorrow is Vappu, which is the Finnish/Swedish holiday to celebrate laborers. Apparently this is what we’re seeing:

So that should be fun. And then tomorrow, we picnic and celebrate. So I will be pretty immersed I think in Finnish culture/celebration, which will probably be overwhelming and fascinating.

I am struck, being here and thinking about past travels, by how many things are similar everywhere else except the US. There’s obvious things, like using different measurement systems (kilometers/kilograms instead of miles and pounds), but also less obvious things, like yogurt/milk combinations that I found also ubiquitous in Mexico (though I didn’t see that in DR; I didn’t even see much of dairy products particularly). Additionally, even credit cards here have PINs, which was the thorn in the side of a help desk lady yesterday at the counter of the bus I took to the airport in Stockholm. “Why doesn’t the US have PINs,” she exasperatedly asked. Uh, I don’t know, lady. Let me just go ask my banker friends who make those decisions….oh, not friends with them? Whoops. Forgot. Anyway, I’m off for run #2 in country #2, which should be about 5km (3.1 miles for all you Americans).

Track Running Happiness

I haven’t written too much about this, I think only one post last year, but I love me some track running. I haven’t been running a lot over the past year, but I’m getting back into it, and it is so refreshing. So. refreshing.

Yesterday, someone bombed the Boston Marathon, and it kind of hit me, but also I feel sort of numb. I just want to double down my insistence that security and safety are somewhat of an illusion. I am feeling fairly over feeling upset about something like this, because I just feel so helpless. And I just want to be happy. I’m exhausted. And I don’t feel bad really, just like this shit is apparently going to keep happening. I don’t really understand why. But I refuse to be terrorized. I feel awful for the people involved, especially those who were also involved in Newtown. But for real, marathon runners are the wrong people to try to terrorize. Runners are people who know that you have to just keep going. And there isn’t really a goal. I mean, there’s an end. But the goal is to keep going. Running taught me to keep going. It taught me that the next mile could be better, and that you get through the one that’s tough. I think that was all exacerbated because I had always seen myself as someone who really couldn’t do those things. I thought I was weak, and probably lazy. And then I trained for and ran a half marathon. So whenever I have those thoughts, I remember that even if in a given moment, I’m particularly lazy, that that isn’t some sort of essential part of who I am. Because I have the ability to not be that way. I can finish a half marathon.

So when I heard what happened in Boston, I immediately thought about my experience running in Nashville, and how incredible that was. What an amazing rush it is, and how spiritual and connected to humanity and nature and the world if feels to run in a race like that. And I think (hopefully?) what made me feel undefeated in this particular instance is that I know that that’s what everyone involved in the Boston marathon feels. That some bullshit like this is seen for what it is–an attempt to terrorize. And hell if runners are gonna let you terrorize them. That will only add fuel to their fire to keep going, to be happy, to push through the pain. From the response I’ve seen, I’m not alone in feeling this way. When Newtown happened, I felt like my spirit was momentarily broken. But this? This made me just want to laugh in the face of anyone who could even think for a moment that they could terrorize runners. Hah!

Up to Speed

So, I’ve got to admit that the past couple of months have been a little tough for me emotionally. I don’t have a great answer as to why that is, but it is. I’ve just felt pretty unmotivated, down, blech, whatever. A funk, if you will. Maybe I’m just processing things. Whatever. But I certainly think somehow running is related, because I’ve been pretty crappy about running. Some because it’s been hot, and then more recently because I’ve just not felt like going. And suddenly, it’s October and I’m running a 10K on Saturday! So I was freaking out a little bit about that, but I just did 4 miles, and I’m pretty confident I could’ve done the full 6.1 or whatever. So I’m just pretty proud that even though I’m feeling crappy, I’m not letting that be permanent, I’m not getting caught up in the cycle, as it were, and I’m confident that I’ll get back out, or, rather, that I will find my way out. I’m not pushing, I’m just finding that path through the woods. And though I do hope that I’ll see the path more clearly each time I’m in these woods, I’m just relieved that I am at a point that I really trust that I can find it, by myself or with whatever help I need.

Time to listen to a book on tape while taking a bath and then go to sleep.

Lucky lucky girl I am, so lucky.

Eve of My 26th Year

It is the day before I turn 26, completing the first year of my second quarter of life on this planet. And I’m feeling pretty reflective.

The past year has been pretty spectacular. I started running, ended the first real relationship that I thought would last, and re-started improv. And I have maintained the improv and running both for nearly 10 months, working on both of them gradually and with very little self-judgement about how quickly I’m improving; really doing each of them for fun, for the enjoyment of the moment. Tonight, I get to play in a Ladies Improv Event, We Might Just Kiss at the theater where I’ve been taking classes. I feel so lucky that I’ve had the opportunities I’ve had so far, and this is certainly one of them. I’m definitely nervous, but also really excited. Improv has I think certainly added more than I could’ve hoped to my life, and I’m so so glad I started taking classes. I’m looking forward to what more it will bring, socially, emotionally and artistically to my life.

Running has made me all around feel better about myself–my appearance, endurance, ability to push myself (but not too much!!) and my commitment to things, after successfully completing a half marathon. I’m pretty friggin’ proud of that, maybe more than I’ve been proud of anything else I’ve done in my life, because it was harder for me personally than anything else I’ve done. It took me committing, sticking to something that I most of the time didn’t really like, and even more difficult for me, not being mad at myself when I failed to reach a goal, but to just get back up and keep going. And I did it! So really really, I am proud of that.

Relationship-wise, I have just been trying to move on and distract. Never easy. I don’t think I’ve done an awful job of it, but it’s hard, and continues to be a challenge.

All in all, though, it has been a great year.  The first year I have felt really comfortable in my adult skin, I think, and settled into the idea that this is what adulthood is.  Not anything spectacular, but maleable.  I can make this something that I like.  And I can like what I make it.  I’ve recognized the importance of patience, and of listening to what makes me happy and responding to that, without judging it.

So Happy Birthday to Me, and onto another year, with more adventures.


Social Running

I took a little break from running after completing a half-marathon in Nashville a few weeks ago. And then I had oral surgery (dental implant), and during a recovery period, couldn’t run. So I ended up going a little over 2 weeks between running 13.1 miles and my next run, of 4 miles. It’s been beautiful–high time for running. Warm but not too warm. Sunny.

I realized something when in Nashville for the half about my running. First, I should note that I rarely have motivations that are not in some way social. Not necessarily directly and in a micro kind of a way, but more about being in a community, being part of something that is social. And I had thought of running as a way to maintain some of my friendships and relationships, a connection of that sort. But I hadn’t realized how much my running habits had, somewhat by nature of the city and community I live in, been social. I trained all on my own. I didn’t have anyone to go on runs with, and the only runs I went on while training were when I was visiting someone.

But I run at a track. And I realized I had been studying the people at this track, and the culture there. The middle of the track has a soccer field, and there is a Polish population north of the park where the track is, and a Mexican population nearby, as well as I believe Dominican/Puerto Rican (really, you can’t go far in New York without there being a Dominican or Puerto Rican population…).

So the Poles and Mexicans often are out in what seem to be pretty organized soccer games, and then there are the runners. The soccer players are regularly accompanied by their wives/girlfriends/children. So there are lots of kids playing around, acting as though the track is no different than any other piece of land. And the soccer balls come flying onto the track with some regularity. It is kind of beautiful, though I have been hit (really hard) by a wild soccer ball, which was somewhat annoying. But I realize that I actually sort of relish the mix of populations. Awesome. It’s what I love about New York. So my running is social. Just in a cultural exploration kind of a way.

Things I am doing this month

I made no New Year’s resolutions, so instead, I am making some February resolutions.

  • organizing & taming my articles

I have TONS of articles on Instapaper and Google Reader that I still haven’t read.  It’s hard to keep up when I get like, 200 every friggin’ day.  But I try.  So I want to cut down to those I really want to read, and read the ones I really want.

  • organizing & taming my passwords

I’ve been using LastPass for quite some time now.  If you haven’t used anything to store your passwords, it is pretty spectacular–it securely saves your passwords, personal information, etc in a portable (but secure!!) way.  I have a bunch of repeat websites and want to put everything into folders, as well as change some passwords that have been around for waaaay too long.  Fun times.

  • continuing to run

Running has still been going pretty well, but I need to maintain. That’s all!

  • taking improv classes


  • getting more shit done

This mostly pertains to work.  I just want to be on top of shit.

  • complete and submit my taxes

Nothing more to say here…

  • Visit NC

Next weekend, I’m going to NC to see my family, and pick out bridesmaids dresses for my best friend’s, Rachel, wedding.  Yay (?)! Also get to see one of my cousins, who I have not seen in 22 years.  Talk about a lifetime…PLUS I’ll get to go to a Carolina basketball game.  Spectacular!

  • Tweet

I’m really trying, in earnest, to make this Twitter thing make sense.  I’ve even attached it to my Facebook account (then you know I mean business, right??).  Follow along if you wish….

So. Amazing.  <3!!  If you haven’t watched, you should.  It’s definitely a little deliberate and slow, but hilarious and charming and pleasant.  Brilliant!

  • Clean

The apartment must be cleaned.  I don’t even want to express how ridiculous it is that that has to be on this list.  Whatever.  I buy toilet paper regularly.  That should count for something, right??


I am super excited about this most treacherously cold of months.  I feel so lucky that I have so much to look forward to, and have figured out a way to look forward to it.  Life truly is amazing.

I’m Back!

After a long hiatus, I have returned!! It’s a new year, and I’m ready to be writing again.

The past nearly year has certainly given me things to write about, but I have felt restricted, both because of work and because of maybe just growing older and feeling a bit more private, and that perhaps the internet does not provide that. But I’m throwing that out the window, in hopes with the hope that no one very important is reading my words. And that if they are, I will become famous and fabulous, a la Dooce. And if not, whatever. Life will continue. Hopefully.

So let’s see…since May, I have ended a relationship, recovered through the fantastic efforts of running and improv, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently went through surgery, my aunt was fatally hit by a bicycle and I just had really truly the most wonderful Christmas season that I remember.  I think I have become much more comfortable in my life, in my job, in my Self.  I feel confident (generally) about where shit is going, even if I really don’t know where I’ll end up.  I have, to some degree, simply been too busy to write, or at least too busy to write in a way I felt was adequately filtered.  So here’s to a new attitude of freedom.  I hope to just be more open.  Sometimes.  Oh!!! And most importantly, I got the iPhone 4S!  That’s super important.  So hopefully I can provide some updating on there.  Maybe even photos.

First, for the running.  I started running in August, as sort of an experiment, and then it ended up being a way to cope with the end of a relationship I believed would actually work (whatever that means).  It was an incredible help, and actually made the process pretty painless.  I started being proud of just being able to run 1 mile at a time, and I have now gone 4 miles.  Amazing, right?  I also am signed up to run in a half marathon in Nashville, TN at the end of April, which is super scary and super exciting.

We re-signed our lease, so I will be living in the land of the hipsters for another year yet, and that makes me so incredibly pleased.  I have been loving the hipster area, and my wonderful roommates.  I feel like I get this gift of being young, and I finally understand how awesome it is.

Improv.  I am saving the best for last.  I started taking classes maybe early August?  And I just began my level 3 classes this week.  It is so much fun, and I still get this knot in my stomach before performing, or even before I go to class, and it has been super rewarding to work past that, recognize it as just fear to work through, and get past that.  It has a curious parallel to running–both of them are difficult, but if you push through, so incredibly rewarding.  I do think they have helped me to live in the moment a bit more.  And running may have the chemical advantage, but improv is so. much. fun.  I feel like I get the awesome part of childhood (freedom! release! passion!) with the fantastic part of adulthood (money!).  Obviously, I still have certain responsibilities, but they are really truly limited.  I am so selfish in my life, and I love it!!  I know this cannot continue forever, but I just relish in it right now.  And that’s really cool.

I hope this finds you well also, and I do hope to continue the new year with more frequent updates.  Even if they are just about these new passions.