Tag Archives: winter

Getting through / Sobreviviendo

No encuentro una palabra que traduce bien el sentido de “getting through,” o “pushing on.” Si alguien tiene sugerencias avísame por fa.

Oh look! It’s another bilingual post! / ¡Oye! ¡Otro post bilingüe!

I’m just past halfway through my half-marathon training. That’s been fast, huh? I really felt good right up until week 6 of my 12-week plan. And then, just as I had anticipated, I got tired. I got busy. I lost the motivation to run. On top of that, and what’s probably my biggest fear/issue right now, my knees have started acting up. They get very fatigued, sore, and sensitive after my long runs (and when I say long, I mean anything over 7 miles). I’m treating them with a hot pack and using the elliptical instead of a treadmill or a trail for mid-length runs. But it’s discouraging. It also takes forever. If you don’t run under a 7-minute mile, distance running is time consuming! My body in general has been asking for a break. More sleep, more rest, less running, less worrying about how a cheeseburger will make me feel on my run the next day. So I’ve been trying to find the balance of not getting lazy, but also not hurting myself and pushing myself too hard.

Acabo de pasar por la mitad de mi entrenamiento para el mediomaratón durante los fines de marzo. Está volando el tiempo, ¿no? Me sentía súper hasta la sexta semana del plan de 12 semanas. Entonces, exactamente como anticipé, me cansé. Estuve más ocupada. Perdí mi motivación para correr. Sobre todo, y lo cual me preocupo más, es que me duelen las rodillas después de cada corrida larga (más que 10km). Las estoy cuidando con una bolsa de hierbas y arroz que se calienta en la microondas (que me la regaló mi mamá chilena), y en vez de correr las distancias medias durante la semana, uso la “crosstrainer.” Pero me desanima igual. Además, si no corras una milla en menos que siete minutos, correr las largas distancias cuesta harto tiempo. En general, mi cuerpo pide un descanso. Más sueño, más descanso, menos correr, menos preocuparme por cómo me voy a sentir el próximo día después de comer una hamburguesa con queso cuando corro. Entonces sigo buscando la balanza de no ser floja, pero a la vez no lastimarme y esforzarme demasiado.

Dusk at the law school. / Anochecer por la escuela de leyes.

Dusk at the law school. / Anochecer por la escuela de leyes.

Podría ser este invierno interminable, pero tengo una nostalgia impresionante para Chile ahora- o sea, a veces estoy tan “Chile-sick” (como homesick) que me da ganas de llorar. Cosas que ayuda: escuchar a la misma radio que escucho ahí (aunque toca música en inglés). Mirar una telenovela popular que no vi ahí (SOLTERA OTRA VEZ. Pero la encuentro muy bueeena!). Cosas que no ayuda: mirar a las fotos de los nuevos gringos de tu universidad que están ahí ahora para el semestre. Mirar a tus propias fotos. Revisar tus antiguos blogs. (Este último es lo peor.)

Maybe it’s this seemingly endless, relentless winter, but Chile is completely stuck in my brain lately. Things that help: listening to the radio station I listen to down there. Watch a very popular Chilean telenovela on YouTube (Soltera Otra Vez. It premiered while I was there the first time. It’s a hit.). Things that don’t help: looking at the pictures of the new gringos from your school who just got there for their semester. Looking at your own photos. Reading over your old blog posts. (That was a poor decision, friends.)

Full moons make me crazy. It's genetic. / Las lunas llenas me vuelven loca. Es una cosa genética parece.

Full moons make me crazy. It’s genetic. / Las lunas llenas me vuelven loca. Es una cosa genética parece.

Bueno, sigo adelante no más. Intento alimentarme mejor. Intento dormir más. Los días cuando hace buen (lee: mejor) tiempo, corro afuera en el sol. Descubrí nueva música. Y ya supe que iba a pasarme por una “ola baja,” entonces básicamente estaba lista. Disfruto de los placeres sencillos o pequeños: almorzar sin prisa con las amigas, comer pedacitos de chocolate, pasar unos momentos tranquilos en la Gruta.

When life gets boring or tiring or hard (and truly, my life isn’t hard), you just keep pushing through. I knew I would hit a bit of a wall, right around now, so I was almost ready for it. I try to eat (marginally) better. (Side note: Fat Tuesday is coming up. So…by better, I mean I eat vegetables with my indulgences?) I try to sleep more. When the weather is nice (read: above 25) I run outside. I found some new music. I think about the little things and enjoy them: long, unhurried meals with friends; my Dove dark chocolate I keep hidden in my desk; quiet, solitary moments at the Grotto.

Spring break starts soon. I’ll send you my love from the beach.

Después vienen las vacaciones de la primavera. Los mandaré saludos desde la playa.

Besos/With love,

Gaby

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Last Dance

Please tell me that when you read that title this song pops into your head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOpUfTi1keI. (Please also tell me that if that song does come to mind, you’re also under the age of 45. No? I figured. All right.)

Anyways. I hope that wherever you are, the weather is nice, or has improved relative to the polar vortex which dramatically gripped the United States this week and caused people (including us) to pack grocery stores and stock up on supplies as if the cold was going to last a week, not two days, and subsequently make them hungrier than normal. If you’re in Santiago, espero que no te haya afectado tanto este humo raro que cubrió la ciudad los últimos días. Usually I don’t whine too much about the winter until the volatile Midwestern spring is in sight, but I wouldn’t mind a beach vacation soon.

Washing dishes for ten minutes caused the windows to fog up like this.

Washing dishes for ten minutes caused the windows to fog up like this.

PANIC. Everybody panic!

PANIC! Everybody panic!

Big plus about the cold: it shut down school around here for two whole days, giving my brothers an even longer break, which meant that I got to spend more time with them! Look at all the awesome things that happened while I was here and not in Chile.

Winter sunrises are pretty spectacular, though.

Winter sunrises are pretty spectacular, though.

I am now at the end of my last winter break as a undergraduate. As I’ve said before, and which I will now say for the last time, declining the grant and staying stateside was 110% the right decision. I have no regrets about it. I do not feel like a life-changing opportunity was missed, and I think I’ve reaped far more benefits out of sleeping and enjoying my family than I would have gotten out of running around hot, smoky Santiago for a week. Lesson learned: trust your gut. If something is telling you not to do something, even though there’s a really good argument for doing it, just don’t. Let it go and know that there’s a good, perfectly valid reason you want to take the other road.

It just hit me the other day that this is indeed my last semester as a college student. Obviously I knew it was coming. But I hadn’t gotten that “this is IT” feeling yet. And then I did, once I filled out my application for graduation and confirmed how I want my name written on my diploma.

The key to making the most of this semester is to remember that this is just the last dance, not the end of the world. I want to end college on a high note, and get out while I’m still loving it and having fun. Yeah, college has been the best four years of my life- SO FAR. I hope to God that I am not peaking now! My summer theater camps use to end each year with the reminder, from Churchill, that it was not the beginning of the end. It was just the end of the beginning.

That is all this is. Graduation is a big, momentous occasion- not just to celebrate how fantastic the past four years have been, but also to look forward to what’s coming next. Although the job search has been challenging, it’s also exciting. Look at all of the possibilities! Look at all of the things I can do, once I get a foot in the door!

While I already know that I’ll be blown away by the speed of this final semester, and at the end of every week I’ll probably beg more and more for time to slow down, I’m just going to keep reminding myself that what’s coming next (especially when- not if, when- I get a job) just keeps getting better. I have gotten to where I am today by thinking positively and working hard. Working hard is key- because nothing will happen for you if you don’t try to make it happen.

So that’s what this semester is about: making it happen. “It”- the job, the thesis, the awesome celebrations, the best friendships, everything else- will happen. But it’s up to nobody else but me.

Okay. Good talk, guys. In other news, I baked bread!

Proofed. Not proven. Proofed. Right?

Proofed. Not proven. Proofed. Right?

This smelled AMAZING.

This smelled AMAZING.

Yeasted breads can be a little scary, yes. And this loaf was not perfect, as you will see in a moment. It didn’t rise completely during proofing, which is always fun. Then I couldn’t get the seam of the dough to stay closed, and the filling then bubbled up and oozed and burned all over the oven floor. Dad to the rescue once again! Nothing a little barbecue spatula and a fan couldn’t fix. Thanks, Dad!

Disclaimer: I’m not a food photographer and I shoot with my iPhone.

It looks really cute and pudgy now...

It looks really cute and pudgy now…

...and then it turned into this.

…and then it turned into this.

Ah, that familiar smell of charred cinnamon and sugar. Too common in our kitchen. I’m sorry, family.

I know. Delicious, right?

I know. Delicious, right?

But that wasn’t anything cutting off the wonky ends couldn’t fix! It was just about perfect on the inside. I’ll work on aesthetics eventually. For now, I’m happy baking things that taste good- even if they’re a small disaster on the outside.

Look at that swirl!

Look at that swirl!

You're darn right it makes good toast! Heavy, rich, sweet toast. And the layers pull apart like a dream.

You’re darn right it makes good toast! Heavy, rich, sweet toast. And the layers pull apart like a dream.

I found the recipe right here. Don’t worry if you don’t have a stand mixer. I did the whole thing by hand. You just mix and knead it for about as long as the stand mixer does. Easy peasy!

One last thing: as a blog resolution for the new year, I’m going to try and start writing every other week. Blogging is excellent writing and storytelling practice, and I’d like to recommit to it this year. I’m already accumulating ideas and will keep brainstorming and outlining a little bit at a time so that twice a month, I’m ready to write and will have something new and not pointless to share with you. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

With love,

Gaby

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Home for the holidays

Merry Christmas! / ¡Feliz Navidad! I hope that you are all enjoying some kind of a slowdown or a break right now, and that you have plenty of time to spend with your loved ones, wherever you are.

I came home from school on the night of the 21st, in the middle of a big snowstorm that ended up dumping about 8 inches of the white stuff in our neighborhood. The next day involved lots of shoveling. On the 23rd, I went shopping (I swore I’d be done by then), baked three kinds of cookies, and wrapped all of my gifts. In my head, I was going to be finished with all of those tasks by about 5 o’ clock. I finished at 12:30 AM.

Idyllic, until you have to shovel it out of your driveway. (Oh, why am I complaining? My family did most of it.)

Idyllic, until you have to shovel it out of your driveway. (Oh, why am I complaining? My family did most of it.)

Cookie baking started at 8 AM...

Cookie baking started at 8 AM…

...picked up again around 5 PM...

…picked up again around 5 PM…

...and finally ended around 11 PM.

…and finally ended around 11 PM.

The next morning, I did a little cleaning, prepped a breakfast casserole, and baked a coffee cake for Christmas morning. After all of that, the huge payoff was a slow and lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We like to draw things out in my house- wake up, make the coffee, maybe open the stockings, then eat breakfast, then open a few presents, then take a break to talk to family, then a few more gifts, then a break…and so on until it’s all done. We may have established a new record for longest Christmas gift-opening this year- not because we have hundreds of gifts, but because we take our sweet time. I will be doing the same with my own children and they will probably lose their minds.

No words.

No words.

Just about sums it up.

Just about sums it up.

In other news: I got the grant! And…I’m not going to Chile this time around. For one thing, flight prices went up and would exceed the entire award. For another (and more important) thing, it would just have been too much stress to organize a trip right at the end of finals week, and then be traveling for almost the entirety of my shorter-than-normal break. Conversations with no less than two advisors, my boss, my parents, and four friends confirmed my instinct that all of the craziness would not be worth it. So I’m taking a break and spending more time at home than I have since last winter break.

I knew barely a day into it that this was the right decision. I haven’t been this relaxed and relatively unoccupied in months. My life would be so incredibly hectic right now were I to be heading to Chile next week. This is not to say that I don’t miss everyone and everything in that skinny little country and that hot, bustling city I’ve called home, but sometimes you just need to stick around in one place for a little while longer. And for me right now, that place is here. I know that I’ll be back in Santiago one day. The links are too strong now for it to be any other way. But this was not the time. If I were supposed to be going, I would just know, and I would not have agonized over the decision, and it would not have caused me so much stress. Being an ambitious person makes it really difficult to say no to an opportunity like a paid international trip. But I also needed to realize that the bigger opportunity may have been this very vacation that I’ve got right now. Everything happens for a reason- and so far, it’s turning out very, very well.

Life is good, friends. I hope that you can celebrate the holidays a little while longer, even beyond New Year’s. If you’re Catholic like me, remember that Christmas doesn’t technically end for us until Epiphany- so don’t stop until then! Appreciate the time you have with your loved ones, and let them know that you’re happy to be there with them. Put away your phone and shut your laptop down for a while (…says the girl writing this on the Internet). Just sit. And smile. Think about how good this year was- and how much more awesome next year will be.

Wishing you peace, joy, and above all, love,

Gaby

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It’s on my to-do list

Well, that might be how this works now that school has started again. It has been around 2 weeks since I last posted. For the 20 of you who read this blog, I apologize if I have left you lacking something to do/a way to procrastinate. The reason I am writing this right now, at 11:45 PM when I have class in the morning, is because it is on my to-do list, and if I can’t cross it off it will drive me nuts. (I promise all my homework for tomorrow is done.)

I figured since it’s just about the end of the month now, it’s a good time to review how I’m doing on my New Year’s resolutions.

FOOD: Eh. Food has been okay. My food habits haven’t deteriorated, but I could do better. I am refocusing this week. I need to find a way to stop being so hungry at night. I eat dinner between 5 and 7, but I often don’t go to bed until 12 or later. Somewhere in those 5 hours I really want a snack, and I overindulge more often than I should. Suggestions are appreciated!

EXERCISE: I have recommitted to exercise. I’m solid on my cardio; I’m good friends with the new elliptical in my dorm’s workout room, and I’m going to start running on the treadmill again this week. I also walk pretty much everywhere, and I am now living on the third floor of my building- yay stairs! For this week, I will make a better effort to lift weights and work my abs.

BEAUTY: Two days a week, I have classes which require me to wear clothes I can get dirty and/or move around in. On the other three days of the week, I have more formal classes and my job. So I’ve been fairly professional looking on those days. And I’m trying to find outfits that I can wear for the other classes that I can change quickly (i.e., jeans to sweats, take a sweater off, etc.) so I don’t look like a total slob.

WORK BETTER: I haven’t had a lot of work yet, so I’ve been taking it easy- I haven’t been to the library yet, I’ll do stuff with the TV on, I’ll leave Facebook up in the background, and so on. This week, I’m going to try and get into the library, maybe with friends who want library buddies, even if I don’t have a lot of work. I know I will focus better when I am removed from my room. I just haven’t had the motivation to do that yet.

LIFE: I am saying yes more! I have been out and about on the weekends, nothing crazy, but I have been hanging out with new and old groups of people and trying to take advantage of things while I have the time. I’ve been to a hockey game, a free concert, the student film festival, an ice carving, a Chile reunion party, gone to Spanish Mass, attended a current events discussion- it’s keeping me busy! And I’m getting busier. I have various meetings and events every day this week. This is why I took it easy my first couple of weeks. The storm is coming.

I’ve also had to practice a little bit of patience. I did get a little bored during my first week, since I had no work but there wasn’t much else to do during the week. It’s also interesting coming back to old friend groups and not seeing as much of the people you just spent half a year with in a foreign country. I’ve had to remind myself that it’s fine, it’s perfectly normal, it’s nothing personal, not to see everybody and do something every single night.

And then the theme of big life decisions has started to come up again. I’ve been reminded of some things I really love to do, but I just don’t have as much time for anymore- like theater. But I don’t have time for it because I’m making time for other stuff I’m really excited about- like my Chile internship. It’s a really awesome situation to be in, actually, as much as it sometimes bums me out. I am taking a break from one thing to explore something new, something fun, something potentially powerful and life-changing. Something that could actually turn into the rest of my life. Unfortunately, we can’t always do everything we want to. We can only hope that we get to choose between awesome stuff, and that the best option or the “have-to” isn’t something we don’t enjoy.

Oh. I’ve also done a little bit of baking.

Brownie chip cookies! Specially made for the first day of classes and work.

Brownie chip cookies! Specially made for the first day of classes and work.

Carrot cake cake balls! Not pretty. But delicious.

Carrot cake cake balls! Not pretty. But delicious.

I’m hoping to make some banana muffins tomorrow night to bring in to work. I’ve got some dining hall bananas here smelling up my room, just about to perfect muffin/bread ripeness. We’ll see how that goes!

Chile-related thoughts: it’s been freezing here. The early part of last week was brutal. Chileans have no concept of how cold this actually is. I know, the damp cold they have in their winter is hard to shake because there’s no central heating, and it might be the coldest I’ve been in my life. But I never felt like my thighs or nose were going to freeze right off of my body after a 10-minute walk outside.

Also, the fact that it’s summer there and my host family is going on a beach vacation this week while I walk around in cold and slush makes me incredibly jealous. I mean, it’s 86 and sunny there every single day. We swing between the 40’s and -10, and rarely is there sun. Why did I leave? And why am I going back in their WINTER?!

The other day I craved some Chilean-style salad: for example, raw shredded cabbage and carrots, tossed in olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkled (or showered, depending on the mamá) with salt. I also wanted avocado, but that’s not just the other day, that’s like everyday.

I’ve been drinking agua de hierbas (well, Sleepytime tea) most nights. But really, I would just love me some plain agua de menta (mint) or manzanilla (chamomile) right now.

I had a dream the other night that I was leaving for the airport to go back to Santiago in an hour, and I had absolutely nothing packed. I woke up panicked. Goodness.

I will try to write a little more again soon! Please comment and leave me your thoughts. I love hearing from you- whether I know you or not!

With love,

Gaby

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