Archives For April 2013

Now, I realize April hasn’t fully wrapped up just yet.  However, that one day is not going to make a bit of difference.  I have no idea why I bother setting workout goals for myself.  Every time I do a month of a workout challenge, I fail miserably! For some reason if I tell myself I have to work out, my subconscious refuses to let me, or I get ill, or a host of other excuses.  Of course, this was a targeted upper body work out challenge.  If I had set the bar a little lower, I could at least say I burned more calories than I consumed by walking/hiking/running every day.  The one upside of Dublin is all the lower body workouts you get without even thinking about it!

Needless to say, I have very little to report on the April home front, other than put this in the books as another FAIL.  I should do my self esteem a favor and stop setting the bar so high!

Let’s forget all about April and move on to May! I’ve decided to take May in a completely different direction.  For May, I plan to do a photo challenge.  I’ve seen people doing the 365 day photo challenge.  I’m going to stick to a 31 day photo challenge.  I’m not setting tight parameters around what the photo could be but each day a new photo will be uploaded to my Tumblr page: Eat, Drink, and Be A Merry Traveler.  Follow along and let’s see how much fun we can have exploring during the month of May!

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I understand that for most of you, I’m living the dream life: I moved myself abroad.  I try really hard to stay positive and to not “complain” about life over here.  So when I get the random, “Oh, but you live in Dublin, I don’t feel sorry for you” implication I am beyond irked.  Sure, you only see the happy adventures, but, I need for you to understand a few things:

1) I am not on a constant vacation; You might think I am, but underneath all the happy, fun stuff, there is a little thing called LIFE.  I LIVE here, which encompasses a lot of difficulty in that it is DIFFERENT.  Sure, I moved to a city with no language barrier, but I also don’t have a bank/supermarket/fast food chain on every corner.  (Trust me, there are days I just want to scream, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GOOD YOU HAVE IT.”)

2) I pay taxes in TWO places, and my tax rate here is over 50%. Odds are, you are only paying in one and paying less than half of that.  I should also mention that on top of this, life is generally more expensive here than it was in Nashville. Less after-tax money + higher cost of living = BIG adjustment (i.e. I don’t just go shopping every day.)

3) I still look at your life and get jealous; Yep.  Totally happens.  There’s a saying, “Grass is greener…” Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade this life, but I want you to understand that I still envy yours from time to time.

4) I bet you hate those 5 loads of laundry you do every weekend; I used to.  But guess what, I can’t do any more than two in a given day due to our washer/dryer system here.  And, I still have to hang everything on a line even after it’s been in the dryer for 240 minutes. (Yes, 240! You really should appreciate your 30 min. dry cycles.)

5) It takes time to do anything in this country; I can’t just walk into the bank and open an account;  I can’t just call up the cable company and have them at my doorstep the next morning; and I can’t just show up at a restaurant at 8PM and expect a table.  Trying to be adaptive to this way of life is certainly challenging.

Moving is hard no matter how you slice it and I have chosen to stay optimistic and only update you on the “fluff”.  But know that underneath the fluff, there are other not so fluffy things happening.

I do get to travel to some really cool places and see some really neat things.  All of these things I want you to experience too; Just don’t forget what I left behind to move here and try to have a little respect for that too.  I certainly would not have been able to make this leap without the love and support of my friends and family, especially my sister, who’s daily messages keep me going on the days I just really don’t think I can do it.  And to you, I say THANK YOU.

I believe there is a certain stereotype around public transportation in the US. By public transportation I’m referring to trains, buses, and subways.  I believe that taxis are their own animal and don’t meet my parameters here.

I’ve inventoried the places I’ve taken public transport, and the list includes San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. My experiences in the US have been mostly limited to subways and trains.  However, when I was stranded in NYC due to Hurricane Sandy, I did have the pleasure of frequenting the bus system.  What is it about public transportation, especially buses, that scares us as Americans?

My public transportation experience abroad has been entirely different.  When we first arrived in Dublin everyone kept telling us the bus system was quite good, and my initial reaction was: “Who takes the bus?!” Apparently in Dublin, EVERYONE takes the bus.  When we lived in our temporary accommodations, we just walked everywhere because we had no idea how to navigate the bus system (mostly because there was only one bus that came anywhere near us).  Now that we’ve moved, we have two bus stops literally right outside our doorstep and at least 6-8 buses that we can catch at any given time.  I’ve determined that as an American, sometimes I don’t want to give up that feeling of independence.  But you know what, I also don’t have to get angry at other stupid drivers here, either.  And for that, I think I’ll gladly give up  that feeling!

After three weeks and a lot of different buses taken, I no longer fear the bus.  I’ve made a new goal to ensure that I get the most out of this European adventure: To utilize all forms of public transport in all of the places I visit.  I’m finding it not only easy, but also very economical.  If I can navigate the intricate subway system in Paris (which is also in French and I don’t speak a lick of French!), I’m pretty sure I can conquer the rest of Europe as well! Who knows, maybe this adventure will help me once I get back to the US in the future.

Will you conquer your fears this year?

After weeks and weeks living abroad, I’m finally starting to see the effects of all the walking.  I got so excited about this, and the fact that you could walk outside without a coat (in the sun) for the first time since we moved, that I dolled myself up for a quick photo! The no-coat was short lived because it was quite a windy day, but I did manage to snap a good photo nonetheless.

Image

Outfit Details:
Sunglasses – Betsey Johnson (similar style here)

Sheer Top – Nordstrom super clearance find, brand details unavailable

Sweater – The Limited (alternate style here)

Skinny Jeans – 7 For All Mankind (alternate style/color here)

Shoes – Nine West (alternate style here)

Some of you might think I slacked on my 30-day challenges during February and March.  I guess you could say this is half true for February.  But, if you would, please cut me some slack — I had a GIANT move to plan/pack for!

Also during this time, Lent started and ended.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not Catholic.  However, I did grow up in a church that participated in Lent, purposed making us a better and stronger congregation and people.  This year for Lent, in spite of moving continents, I decided to give up chocolate.  On a few occasions, I found myself on Wikipedia researching Lent.  What did Lent really mean, how long did it last, could I cheat on Sunday?  There is conflicting information out there, I’m afraid to say.  And I wont’ go into it, because you are a big kid and you have two hands and know how to Google it.  All that said, I made it FORTY SIX days without chocolate AND survived a change in continents.  (My husband isn’t too happy because he took this to mean he also couldn’t have chocolate, though I never forced him into anything!)

OK, February and March justified, let’s move on to April.  What to focus on for April?  Oh right — upper body workouts.  Moving to Dublin, you’ve undoubtedly seen that I walk — ALOT.  On average, I’m walking anywhere from 3-6 miles per day.  My pants fit better, my legs look happier, and I all around don’t hate looking in the mirror — at least in the lower half of the mirror.  So for April, I plan to focus my attention on the upper half: arms and mid-section particularly.  I reveal to you, my April challenge: At least 4 days of upper body workouts, with workout being defined as at least 15 minutes of upper body toning (push-ups, sit-ups, etc.).

What do you think?  Will I be genuinely happy with the mirror on the wall come May 1st?  Stay tuned and find out!