Dreaming of My Next Hit

1 Jan

Week of December 16th
Finished up a Toy Drive at work for children in Guatemala. Spent Tuesday and Wednesday packing and prepping the bags to take to the airport (more on the trip below).

Week of December 23rd
HF mission trip. This week wrapped up my first mission trip with Humanity First for their Gift of Health banner program. Under this program, doctors and dentists from North America visit various countries and provide primary health care to the local citizens. A pharmacy is set up alongside a functional clinic where medicines are dispensed. Most often volunteers are in Medicine or work in a related field in order to utilize their expertise. I joined this trip as a general volunteer and took on various roles- assisting in the pharmacy, being an on site photographer and distributing toys that the students from my school (P.S. 11 in New York) had sent. In the five days, we set up mobile clinics in Santo Domingo Xenacoj and San Juan Alcotenango both of which are just outside of Antigua. Each day, we left the hotel by 7:30am and didn’t return home until after 7:30, some days even later because there were so many patients to be seen.
Trying to describe what it felt like to be in Guatemala, spend time with locals while helping and providing them access to primary headlights care is next to impossible. Even harder yet is the connection and the way you feel when the patients at the clinic are expressing their gratitude. It’s the kind of thanks that I don’t think any of us encounter very often. I keep thinking back to this one woman…she just kept saying “gracias”, giving us hugs and praying that God would bless us for what we are doing. The way it warms my heart- to the point where it is exploding with a rare kind of happiness. A happiness that only occurs when you are truly helping others. It should be considered a drug because I am dreaming of my next hit. I hope to go back this summer and get some

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The Week of Gift Wrap

9 Dec

Week of December 8th
Did you know that Barnes and noble offers free gift wrapping during the holiday season. Even more so, did you hear that there was only one barnes and noble in the whole country offering handcrafted bows? Well, myself and several others spent hours volunteering to gift wrap all week at Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue and 45th. In outlaw all we raised over $300 off of tips! Yey!
Five work days, four days of to gift wrap at Barnes & Noble while trying to fundraise for the leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
I had lots of helpers all week who came out to wrap and fundraise too! In total we realized over $400! Yey!

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Driving in Five

9 Dec

December 1st

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Not sure if it’s because I have been living under a rock or if I have just been driving in old, non-sporty cars but I drove in D5. Now, in a manual car, I get it there are five different gears. But, Never had I ever seen D5 in an automatic car. I had no idea it existed. Learn something new everyday (and do something new evey week).
Yey!
Thanks for the help this week Nilez!

Moose, Bears, Running through dark forests and entire cities, Green brains and lots of fun activities, OH MY!

6 Dec

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Talk about a long overdue update! It’s been crazy and nuts but I am finally getting this up. I’ve been keeping a weekly journal of things I have done but posting them….yikes not my forte.
Nonetheless, here are the new happenings for October and November sans photos….I’ll get my act together eventually!

October 6th
It’s been a few years since I have been on a family vacation… One really late night in Norway this summer, I decided to book a trip for the parentals and I to Alaska. Given the time of year, as in Denali is closed for the season AND the government shutdown, I was hoping to see and enjoy what am could but more so, catch a glimpse of the Northern lights. (Liz and I set out to do so earlier this years when predictions had them showing in NYC.) i kept an eye on the forecasts and planned all i could to make things more probable. For example, I begged the gate agent to make my seat on the right side of the plane in order to have a better possible view of the lights. I got on the plane and I could hardly keep my eyes open.
Anytime I awoke from slumber , slightly annoyed at myself, I peered out the window for minutes at a time (they say you need to look for a while so your eyed adjust to the darkness). I did this numerous times. I kept checking the flight path, we were almost as close tot theNor Pole as we were going to fly. I peered hard out the window, and kept peering and peering. Then, as though it was a figment of my imagination…I saw a yellowish green wave appear in the distance. It danced its way across the dark sky as I stood entranced. My heart was pounding, I wish my eyes could take photographs.

October 13th
It goes without saying that the trip was off to an amazing start with that Northern Light spotting. The weekend was great with some of the following highlights…I made it to a state not in the continental US, I saw a moose, For the first time, I drove through a day of various weather, from rainy to snowy to sunny, I stopped on the side of a road and had my dad fill up my CamelBak with fresh water coming right out of the limestone, I ran along the ocean for over three hours with some gorgeous scenery (and thoughts of how a wild bear was going to jump out of the forest areas and kill me) through forests, residential neighborhoods, under an airplane runway while watching the sunrise. Ahhh! So amazing, talk about a great 3day weekend!!!

October 20th
This week has been a little more low key now that I am gearing up for the NYC marathon! It’s less than two weeks away!! Eek! With that in mind, I knew I would have a lot of carboloading in my future. Personally, I like to also cut out caffeine and unnatural sugars. So when my besties, Nilez and Liz wanted to head to The Witches Brew coffeehouse, I knew it would mean some ridiculously delicious chocolate pecan pie. I can’t go all the way there and skip out EVER. So I took it as my last hurrah! I did however try a new espresso drink…the as pictured here. Delish yes! Best drink I’ve had at witches brew? Definitely not.

October 27th
So who doesn’t love some karaoke with friends? Well, I guess most people….is it more enticing if you are doing it in the privacy of your own home? A little better, right?!
Well, now, how abut a private room with some of the coolest people you know? Fantastic, right? Well, that’s what I did this week after work. Friday thanks to the careful planning of Tracy, thanks Tracy! Have I ever done karaoke and make a fool out of myself? yes! But, in a private room with a bunch of friends? Nope! Lots of fun, here is a panoramic shot I took before running off to My Inspiration Pasta dinner with LLS.

November 3rd
The ING NYC marathon.
Wow! I now understand why people say it is the greatest marathon in the world. There is no doubt in my mind that I will never run a marathon as amazing as NYC in any other city. The crowd support is unreal, the way you run down streets with people screaming your name, yelling encouragement, everyone cheering you on and the level of energy- something i wish i could bottle up and keep with me….The way in which NYC becomes a big bowl of love. Wow! One of the best experiences of my life!
Then, aside from all the random stranger support….I had coaches and dozens of friends out there cheering me along. A truly remarkable experience. And most of all, I was out there for nearly five and a half hours taking thousands of steps for Tanzila. Every step I run is for her, her boys and every other person out there who is effected by Leukemia and Lymphoma and all other cancers out there. It is thanks to sooo many friends and family members that I have now crossed the $15,000 threshold of money raised for LLS since last February. I hope that going forward I will be able to continue to raise funds because one day there won’t be cancer out there and it will be thanks to you.

November 10th
I did a few new things this week, including making some banana speculoos muffins. Yum! I hit up Brooklyn Boulders for the first time with Earthwatch buddy Jess and did some bouldering! Lots of fun (even though I stunk!)
However, I think the best decision for doing something new this week was going to a chiropractor. I have had a long and lingering pain in my neck since September. It has caused my shoulders to get really tense, a source of migraines and as of last week, I couldn’t even sit up straight…my body wouldn’t even let me! So I finally made it to the chiropractor and the difference it made was instant. Mobility was restored in my neck and I could finally sit up again! Yey! I have been telling everyone to go to a chiropractor, get your spine snapped back into shape, it’s amazing!!

November 17th
Thanks to the inspiring Earthwatch trip this summer, I was motivated to start a Bugs & Botany after school class. On our trip to Central Park today we did all sorts of fun things. As we walked around we came across one of these… One of the girls called it a brain fruit. I had never seen it before, and couldn’t argue with her!

After some investigating I.e. google search for “green fruit looks like brain” I found out it is actually an Osake Orange, yes, you read that correctly, an orange!!!!???!!! Go head, google it!!
We sniffed, proded it, threw a few against trees and decided it smelt like a minty cucumber meeting a honeydew. It oozed light green juices when squeezed, when we finally broke one open we found that it was full of seeds hidden deep within the flesh!
The website I found, states the edible part is the seed… They seeds taste fairly bitter on the outside and tasteless on the inside. Definitely one of the coolest looking fruits ever! It gives dragon fruit a run for its money!!

Week of November 24th
I finally made it to a strength training workout with Team in Training…I am a little ashamed to admit it took me five seasons to get there! There were many times I wanted to, and even lugged my workout gear to work but the incentive of bowling while working out was one I couldn’t turn away! So five lanes full of TNTers bowling and working out all at once. We may have had a couple of weird stares and flabbergasted waiters…haha, but fun things happen when you are part of TNT! Thank you Coach Mike for sponsoring and Coach Matt for the workout!

Stop, Drop & Relax

26 Oct

Yikes! It’s been a busy few months- finally getting to a September round-up! Enjoy! xx

Week of September 1st This summer has been one like no other. I have been traveling from one place to another all summer and the thrill of it all has me on a natural high. The more I travel, the more I fall in love. It’s an amazingly, vicious cycle. Nonetheless, this week brought the return of school and My new thing was to apply to become Jauntaroo’s, Chief World Explorer…the job includes traveling the world, stay where they say and do lots of fun new things all while volunteering…Uh, hello! Right up my alley! It’s actually the kind of thing that I tell people i would do if I won the lottery…I would quit my job, travel the world and volunteer every place I go. So this week, i made a silly video entry with Liz….it’s an opportunity of a lifetime which I knew I must apply for or I would regret 😦

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Week of September 8th I teach all the day, practically all day, everyday but this week I did a different kind of teaching. It didn’t have to do with reading, writing or math or any other subject area. Rather, it was in the kitchen. I taught Liz how to make a paratha, a flaky, buttery flat bread. Traditionally, when you learn to make different kinds of flat breads, you start by first learning to make the dough. Then, you progress to the dough balls and after that, making a roti. Once you get good at making it round and not the shape of South America….you are ready to graduate to Parathaville. Its a tricky place to be. the dough is extra soft with the added butter and often hard to maneuver with a rolling pin. Liz, however, sped through it all and went straight to making a paratha. She was a fabulous student and has made the best looking first time paratha I have ever seen. Congratulations Elizabeth, my best paratha student. 20131024-175357.jpg Week of September 15th I am pretty much a busy bee. I am always doing things… lots of things. This week, I just couldn’t keep it up. I needed a break. I cancelled all my plans for the weekend and just relaxed. Definitely the first time I have decided to do that in a veeryyyy long time. I must say, it’s not something I would do often….but, this weekend, it was glorious! Week of September 22nd I finally made it to the NYC class restaurant, The Russian Tea Room! Here, I indulged in Some Salmon Caviar and Russian tea, sweetened with sour cherries. I was not a fan of the former, but, the latter, definitely delish! The meal overall was really tasty and it has me super excited to visit Russia soon!

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September 29th This was the week that my lovely coworker Julisa asked me to join a 30 day cleanse with Mr. Shut Up and Train ! It’s an eat clean, workout program where you receive an email the morning of describing the challenge for the day. I’ve modified it a bit given I am gearing up for the marathon. But, so far, so good! That’s all for a quick and super late round up of September. Hoping to get my October update out reallll soon!

Berry, Berry Good!

10 Sep

Week of August 25th
Along with the family in London, we went to an Orchard in Surrey and went fruit/veggie picking. This is where I picked and ate the most delicious raspberries of my life, hands down. They were absolutely divine. The luscious pinky red flesh exploded with sweetness of raspberry that I have before tasted.
Even more special however was seeing these…

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Any guesses?
I will give you a hint…it’s a kind of berry!

Still not so sure? Never seen it before?
Yes, we’ll neither had I
It’s Blackcurrant!
And let me say, it was an amazing fresh Ribena!
Yum, go find some, they are great!

From One Pole to Another

21 Aug

Week of August 18th
I made it to the Arctic Cirlce! yes! Amazing! Thanks to Hege, an amazingly sweet woman I met in Antarctica I was able to visit the other end of the world! Wow! It has been amazing, with sheer aural beauty every way you look and no, I am not talking about good looking Norweigans, though those do exist 🙂
We camped out on a beach that looked as if we were in the Caribbean…it was spectacular.
Here are some photos!

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