Buena onda

For the past week, I have been living in my new apartment; I had to fly here to move in before my study abroad, and it was easier to just remain in the city before my trip. Unfortunately, however, my roommate could not stay for the week (damn internships and adult responsibilities). So I’ve been living alone. And I learned something about myself in the process: I absolutely loath living alone.

I’m a person of noise and social interaction. I think most of us are, even the introverts, social beings at our cores. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed morning conversation, or just another person’s presence. The lack of one has made me increasingly nervous for Chile, to a level I don’t think I’d be at if I hadn’t been living alone.

But, I leave tomorrow. Tomorrow! My four-month journey begins within a matter of hours. The next time you hear from me, readers, I will be in South America (don’t worry, I’ll be posting in English. I’m not that fluent yet). As they say in Chile, Buena onda! (“Good vibes.”)

The Brilliance of Simplicity

For the past few weeks, as some of you may know, I have been doing basically nothing; during breaks like this, I find myself binge-watching TV shows, reading unhealthy amounts of books, or trying to learn new things. You know. Better yourself, and all that.

In the time I’ve had nothing to do, I discovered Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. True to myself, I discovered the show multiple seasons into its production. The show began in 2012, and is hosted by Jerry Seinfeld, and it’s brilliant. 

Hold up, I know what you may be thinking: oh no, an advertisement for yet another show I haven’t seen, or I don’t have time for ANOTHER form of entertainment (which is ridiculous, when you think about it – we live in a society where it’s work to keep up with shows and programs). But these episodes are anywhere from ten to twenty minutes long, less than your standard (and sadly near extinction) sitcom, and you can watch them for free (ahem, legally) online on multiple websites. Seinfeld, it seems, is doing this just because it’s fun and just because he can.

Basically, when I say it’s brilliant, I mean it. The show has been nominated for an Emmy, believe it or not, despite the show literally just being a few comedians in various cars at various coffee shops.

The simplicity of it, I think, is what makes it so great. We live in a society where shows are more and more complex, with countless amounts of characters and special effects and everything possible to draw in viewers; which, for the most part, is great. I love that I can analyze and critique a television show based on quality, symbolism, or cultural significance. But sometimes it’s just too much. You know? Sometimes, it’s just too much. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is exactly what you think it is, and that’s why I love it. Back to basics, so to speak. 

The host himself hasn’t said how long the show will continue, because it’s more of a relaxed, “who knows, who cares?” sort of attitude, which fits perfectly with the show. I, for one, hope it continues for a long time. It is a breath of fresh air in the sometimes suffocating world of entertainment.

Vamanos!

I have exactly 17 days until I am boarding a flight to Santiago, Chile, to begin a four month study abroad (but, hey, who’s counting?). Like it or not, I have to pull my head out of the clouds, put it firmly on my shoulders, and begin thinking rationally about what I need to do before I leave the country.

And the list is overwhelming. Despite my months of preparation, little things keep cropping up – things I wouldn’t normally consider, like a ‘sleep sack’ of clean linens in case I travel in dirtier places than I expect, or an international adapter for my laptop charger. Et cetera, et cetera. I hastily bought a calendar-sized planner and have been jotting down everything I can think of, but I can’t seem to complete them fast enough. Stressful, right?

In a week, though, I will be home. My dirty, dusty city of Tucson, which – though it breaks my parents’ hearts not to say the city in which they live – feels more like home to me than anything else, because I’m attending university there. I’ll probably still be panicking a bit, due to my needing to move into a new apartment before Chile, but I’ll likely feel less stressed in my beloved desert.

I mention all this not because anyone cares, necessarily, but because my blog will be taking a shift. Before now, my entries have been primarily exercise/running based; which makes sense, considering I began the blog in training for my first half marathon. But for the upcoming months, my blog will be primarily travel-based. Logistics, academics, excursions, food, language, whatever is involved with traveling. It may be a guide for future travelers of Chile; it may be amusement for someone when cringing at the mistakes I will no doubt make; it may be assurance for my parents, no doubt reading this when I land in South America (yes, Dad, I know not to hike in the Andes alone), that I won’t do anything reckless or stupid.

Chile is a new experience, and like all new experiences, it will teach me and change me. It will be interesting from an academic standpoint, an exercise standpoint (of course I’m going to keep running!), and an emotional/psychological standpoint. How will this change me? How will I learn? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Forgive me for the long post, but now that it’s over: vamanos!

Freedom! Running! More Freedom!

To all my American readers: happy 4th of July!

This morning, I ran a 5k with my mom. It was dubbed the Firecracker 5k (even though there was a sad lack of fireworks at 8 in the morning). I woke up feeling nervous, convinced I had an ache in my knee and ankle, talking myself into heartburn. This race, I’d trained to run all of it, for the first time.

Not only did I finish what felt like the easiest run I’ve ever had, but I finished it ten minutes earlier than I originally planned. Running with my mom, I planned on jogging at a 12:30 pace; during the 5k, I kept at about a 10-minute mile!

Naturally, I am already planning my next race, which hopefully will be on Thanksgiving (it depends on the end of my study abroad program). I can’t wait!

How-To: A Guide to Reading

The absolute first thing you must do is make a cup of tea.

In order to read, you should always have a beverage with you. Ideally, in the best conditions, you will be sitting near a window on a cool afternoon with a cup of hot tea nearby. Of course, the circumstances will change, as reading will occur in all sorts of situations. You may not drink tea; in which case, hot coffee or an iced water will more than suffice. Either way, a beverage soothes the soul in the midst of a good book. You may not be in the vicinity of a window on a cool afternoon; that is fine, you may read anywhere and in any weather, but the best atmosphere for reading is that – or, perhaps, in a coffee-shop with a friend or two (who also have their noses in books, of course).

The next step is your book. Really, you should have this picked prior to the tea, but I digress; you may have a few options ahead of you, and want to decide while the beverage is brewing, which is perfectly acceptable. My book depends on my mood and the season: I find myself reading more horror in the winter months, and more self-discovery in the hotter months. You will be different, I am sure, but the book you pick has to be a book you will dedicate yourself to. Never, never read a book you don’t want to fully commit to. (There will be the unfortunate times of forced academic reading, but I hope you can find yourself lost in those texts, too, however reluctantly.)

You have your book. You have your beverage. What’s next, you may ask? What else you could possibly need?

The truth is you need nothing else. The idealistic circumstances, the atmosphere and season and weather and drink and mitigating circumstances you find yourself in while reading are secondary. Once you read, you will only see the book, if done properly. This how-to is unnecessary, really: all you need is the story.

Where and why?

Hello all! I have been following a blog about writing, and recently have decided to use their writing prompts. Not every day, because I’m not organized enough to blog once a day, but when I see a good prompt. Today’s is as follows: you have the opportunity to go anywhere in the world; where would you go and why?

My short answer is the Atlantic ocean. I can’t narrow it down to a specific place and, largely because of my nomadic tendencies, I don’t really want to narrow it down to a specific place. I love the thought of traveling by ship down the east coast of my country, around South America until I reach the southern tip. Maybe I would make a round-trip, ending on the west coast of the U.S. Either way, I’d be on a boat.

I have a fascination with the ocean, partly because there’s so little we actually know about it. (I’m not talking about just me, here – scientists know more about the planets and surrounding galaxies than about the ocean!) And although I’m sure I may romanticize the ocean and travel by ocean, I can’t stop daydreaming about it. So, long story short, my answer is no answer really: I don’t have a specific place I would want to be because the journey itself is enough, so long as the journey is by ship.

Freedom in a 5k

I’m one week away from the Firecracker 5k. Well, one week and one day, but who’s counting?

The race is with my mom, who also ran with me during the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. We have a new goal this time: no stopping. During the half marathon, honestly, my goal was to just finish within a reasonable time; I must have walked at least five miles, collectively. But we haven’t taken a break since the half marathon, running at least 4 days a week, and I have to say, it feels damn good.

Within the two months since my half marathon, I have cut down my time by a full minute.

And even though I won’t be the fastest – I’m still decidedly average in my running pace – I am immensely proud of myself for managing to improve that much in so little time. Only in running could I see this sort of improvement; my two closest loves are swimming and biking, and I can’t see improvement very quickly, nor do I have a decent way to gauge it on my own. With running? It’s easy. It’s simple. And, I’m happy to say, it’s getting faster.

Bring on the Firecracker 5k. ‘Murica.