Thanks and giving.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! I know I sure did: Ross and I headed to his hometown in Connecticut Wednesday evening and spent the night hanging with his family by the fireplace. Early Thursday morning we woke up to run the Mystic Turkey Trot! It was freezing cold, but it was definitely worth it! The race was a short 3-miler followed by a dip in the Mystic River for the braver souls (ie not me!) Next time though, I will come prepared with a towel and warm sweatshirt to change into (and probably a full body wetsuit).

After the race we spent the rest of the afternoon snacking, watching football and drinking beer with his brothers while his mom cooked up a fantastic feast! We had turkey and all the fixins’. My new favorite Thanksgiving sidedish? Mashed TURNIPS? Who would have thought? Oh my goodness, I can’t seem to get enough of those things! I even declined going for seconds on the mashed potatoes for these babies.

After dinner we sat by the fire again and watched Christmas/holiday movies and drank wine. Okay, I watched ONE Christmas/holiday movie before I passed out for the night. I was full and warm and so cozy… until 6AM this morning when I had to head into work in Boston! Working the day after Thanksgiving is tough; though I’m thankful I’m not in retail and dealing with the Black Friday craze. I’m also thankful that I’m stuck at work with one of my very good friends who is willing to work out with me at 2pm AND that the burrito place down the street is open 🙂 Oh, and that I am wearing my new cute race shirt from yesterday’s trot.

Tomorrow we will head to Cape Ann to do Thanksgiving numero dos with my family. Although I love my boyfriend’s family and had a wonderful time with them, there’s nothing quite like being home for the holidays! I especially can’t wait to see my niece Halle as always. It’s weird to think that next year she will actually be bigger than the turkey.

I wonder what Thanksgiving will be like in Costa Rica next year? I’m thinking a lot less turkey and a lot more rice and bean. More importantly…has anyone ever heard of Costa Rican Turnips?


Leaving “Home”

While I’m always a sucker for holidays, I’m feeling extra-sentimental this holiday season, knowing that I will be moving away from Boston, my family and friends and everything I have known and grown comfortable with for the past 27 years!

I’m making ample time for things like tree lightings (the Faneuil Hall one was this past weekend, and there are lots more to come!) baking, lighting holiday scented candles, putting up the xmas lights in my own apartment, drinking hot cocoa and apple cider, spending time with loved ones, etc.

One Confession: I’m having a really difficult time leaving the apartment. During college and after I always felt unsettled, I had apartments and roommates in several different areas in and around Boston (Charlestown, Cambridge, Brighton) and “home” was always my parent’s house in Rockport, everywhere else was just a place to live. That changed when Ross and I moved into our North End apartment and this September,and  just 3 short months ago I found a new “home”. It is close enough to walk to everything downtown Boston has to offer, yet it is off the beaten path enough that we don’t have to deal with crowds and tourists 24/7 (I have not yet seen the line to Mike’s Pastry’s extend down our street, although it wouldn’t surprise me). It always smells like pastries and pizza, there is a yoga studio 2 minutes away and I can walk or run to work. The apartment is a spacious 1 bedroom on the 3rd floor with a huge kitchen and a teeny-tiny bathroom that I have grown to love.

It’s hard to give up the comfort and loveliness of our new “home”, especially after having it for such a short time! We have found someone to sublet and hopefully we will be able to move back into this apartment in a year, if we do indeed move back to Boston (which is the plan for now, but who knows what changes a year in Costa Rica will bring!)

Whatever “home” is and this feeling that comes with it, I’m hoping that Ross and I will be able to find it in Costa Rica over the next year instead of just finding a place to live. The plan right now has us living with a host family in La Fortuna who has a detached bedroom and bathroom that the field director tells us will be perfect for a couple like us.

They say that home is where your heart is, and although I am planning on bringing that with me to Costa Rica I also know that this January I will be leaving a little piece of my heart in our North End apartment.


Morning Musings

Waking up early has never been my thing. It took my mother at least 45 minutes to coax me out of bed each morning in high school (she is a saint for doing this by the way) and things only escalated in my college and post-college years  (my alarm proves to be far less persistent and much easier to shut off and ignore than my mother). However, as much as I hate the waking up part, I LOVE the feeling of being up early once I’m up. Does that make sense? And the opposite goes for sleeping in, I love the feeling of sleeping in while I’m doing it, but once I’m up I usually regret wasting the morning.

While I’ve managed to get away with sleeping in and fitting in work and working out most days, life has just gotten significantly busier with preparation for the big Costa Rican move in January (see this post: if you missed the big update). Between Visa applications, travel clinics, learning Spanish and fitting in 25 hours of ESL volunteering in addition to my normal full time job and workout schedule, I just can’t afford to sleep in. This week I made a vow to change my wile ways of going to bed past midnight, going out too much and watching too much TV, and I must say I totally kicked this week’s ass 🙂

I managed to go to bed at a reasonable hour each night, making and eating dinner at home (Ross was a HUGE help with this) DVRing all my favorite shows (I have quite a fun Saturday night planned, on my couch) and getting up each morning by 6AM . This will also be great preparation for Costa Rica, since I hear they generally go to sleep early and wake up at the crack of dawn, and this will certainly hold true for my new teaching position there!

When I was marathon training I used to really struggle with early morning runs. I have discovered though that yoga early in the morning works a lot better for me! So I’ve been trying a yoga class early most mornings, and its effects seem to be keeping me calm even on the craziest of days. So on days when it’s working out super early, or not working out at all, sunrise yoga it is!

I’ve been pretty tired every night, but I’m feeling really great and productive for the most part. Today I slept in until 7 because I have my workout time set aside for this evening: Core fusion and Yoga at Exhale Boston, can’t wait! Then Ross and I are rewarding ourselves with a fancy schmancy dinner out at Mistral, a French restaurant in Boston’s South End. Happy Weekend and Bon Appetite!

What are YOUR fun weekend plans?

Nervous about moving to a a new country? Just breathe!

Fact:I’m moving to Costa Rica on January 6th. I grew up in a small coastal town just north of Boston (Rockport, MA) and have lived in Massachusetts my entire life. Needless to say, a move from New England to Central America is going to be a drastic change!

No, I am NOT moving to Costa Rica to surf (though I’m excited to try it!). My boyfriend Ross and I were accepted into a WorldTeach yearlong program. We are volunteering through them and working with the Costa Rican Ministry of Education who has placed us in a Bilingual School in La Fortuna. There we will be working with Primary school students (Kinder-6th grade) teaching English and Science in English.

Yes, I am nervous and scared and excited and overwhelmed and anxious and ahhhh! My Espanol is only at about a beginner’s level (I’ve taken some classes but never, ever practice it) and I have never lived with a host family or even formally taught before. I am completely throwing myself into something new and unknown. I am very happy to be doing this with Ross and getting to share this experience with someone I love. We have both always wanted to volunteer and live abroad, and now we are actually doing it!

So, this big life change is my lame excuse at failing at blogging (yet again). BUT the more I think about it, I need to get over myself and my excuses and get blogging! This is probably one of the most important times in my life to blog. It serves as a journal in the way that it allows me to jot down and release all my thoughts, feelings, emotions (virtual therapy!), it also will help my friends and family keep up with me while I’m gone (because I’ve heard the cellphone service in third world countries is really lacking these days J) and hopefully it will inspire others hoping to travel abroad, volunteer somewhere or just fulfill a big life dream (despite the obvious uncertainty and difficulties that come with it)

For now, I’m doing tons of yoga to keep my mind and body clear during this transitional time. I’ve been taking yoga classes at Exhale Boston and North End Yoga and LOVING them. Exhale has a great 7 day trial deal. Only $40 for a week of UNLIMITED classes (I’m trying their Core Fusion tomorrow for the first time and I. Can’t. Wait.)

Oh, and about that happy healthy stuff, I’m looking at Costa Rica as a new challenge for that! While I’m looking forward to the fresh fruit and delicious coffee, I’ve heard the main Tico diet of Gallo Pinto is way high in starch and rice and seriously lacking in the vegetable department. They also tend to fry a lot of their food… Perhaps I can also teach health and nutrition in English there in my spare time?