Sunday, May 29, 2011

30DC: Day 5 (Difficult Times)

Today's post calls for me to talk about a time I felt like ending my own life.  To be quite honest, I've never really had that low of a low before because I have (thankfully) never been pushed to that point.  

That said, I have had some low points.  I think one of the hardest things for me growing up was always being single.  Yeah, it's not the WORST problem to have in life, I know, but still.  True, there had been guys who'd wanted to "be my boyfriend" and I went on dates and everything, but after my "boyfriend" in middle school I was single for almost 7 years.  That's a pretty hard thing to deal with psychologically while watching all your friends date and get asked to dances, etc.  For me, this was also made worse by the fact that I was overweight and didn't feel "pretty."  I figured it was my own fault that no boys wanted to date me because "Who'd want to date a chunky girl?"  I recognize now that my own perceptions of my body and negative self talk led me to project a negative image of myself... So, really, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.  But, that said, every time I'd try (unsuccessfully) to lose weight and fail, it just because all that more devastating because I'd managed to convince myself that keeping the weight on meant being alone and unattractive.  

I was so convinced that I'd always be alone that I even came up with back-up plans to fulfill all my other life dreams.  If I couldn't control meeting someone and having that dream, then everything else that I could control became a priority.  My big dream of being a professor comes from that.  Not that I don't still want to (or plan on) someday being a professor, but, back in the day, I figured if all I was going to have was my career than I'd better make it a good one.  I even made a pact with myself that if I turned 35 (or whatever age I deemed worthy) and was still alone that I'd adopt a baby.  I've always wanted to be a mom more than anything and the idea of not being able to have my own kids was killer.  As someone who's always been so career-minded and academically successful when I put my mind to it, the fact that we have no control over who/when we meet Mr. Right drove me crazy... mostly because I figured he didn't exist.  Or, if he did, I'd miss him due to my weight.

I recognize now that I was wrong.  Because I made weight the issue and because I was unhappy with myself and how I looked, there was no way I was ready to be in a relationship.  I didn't "attract" guys not because I was overweight, unattractive, uninteresting, or unworthy, but because I didn't put myself out there, I didn't think I was worthy of a relationship, and I didn't put out ANY positive vibes about myself.  Who's going to be attracted to that?  But, no amount of positive reinforcement from my friends and family or anyone else could change what I'd convinced myself to be true.

Even once I *did* successfully lose weight, it took a long time for those thoughts to go away and for me to get a better self image, to the point that it took me an abnormally long amount of time to realize that Jon was actually trying to pick me up and get my number when we meant.  Yeah, I met him once I lost weight, but there's NO way I would have even introduced myself to him if it hadn't been for the fact that my feelings about myself had started to change.  He's seen photos of me before and still thinks I'm beautiful... Clearly that wasn't the problem.  It's all in our heads.  Even now the negative self-talk creeps back in from time to time and I have to work to stay positive.  It's something we all go through for any myriad of reasons (weight, achievement, etc etc)

Anyway, that's a round about way of saying that my lowest point was when I finally told myself I'd never find anyone who'd want to be with me and then started to plan accordingly.  There's nothing worse that when you give up on yourself.  Ending your own life is the most extreme manifestation of this, but there are other ways we do it all the time.  Any time we say that we aren't "worthy" of something or we can't achieve something or we'd better just give up, it might not be suicide, but it surely ending any kind of growth that positive thoughts would have encouraged.  

So, there you go.  Day 5.  Quite the personal post, I'd say.  These prompts are so interesting because they really are showing me how far I've come/developed and who I am today.  What are some of your lowest points?  

When I turned 23, I was wearing linen pants

So, today is my birthday!  As of 12:01am CET, I am officially 23 years old!  This is actually the second birthday I've celebrated here in the Hexagon.  I turned 20 in Avignon back in 2008 with a party full of awkward tension and flaming shots.  My oh my it still amazes me to see how much I've changed since then!

As you can tell from the odd title, I think this change can be summed up by the way I rang in my birthday.  I was at Gambrinus, a really chill beer bar near my apartment that I'd never been to (sorry, Jon, I knew the second I walked in you would have LOVED it) with a group of friends.  More important to this story, as you can guess, is the fact that I was wearing linen pants.  

Linen is one of those fabrics that "doesn't lie."  If you've ever been overweight, you know what I'm talking about (coughcough that weird jersey-esque stretchy fabric).  When I was bigger, it was hard to find linen pants that were flowy and loose, like linen pants are supposed to be... So  I just stopped trying them on.  After my jeans success at H&M a few weeks ago, when I stumbled on these linen pants at H&M the other day, I finally felt willing to try a pair on.  MUCH to my surprise, the 12 was too loose in the waist and marginally too loose in the hips... and (though I originally thought they were a bit tight) Rosie convinced me that the 10s were perfect.  So, now I own linen khakis (and can throw out my size 14, torn Gap khakis that I have here).  

Anyway, the point here, is that these are pants I wouldn't have fit into and wouldn't have even tried on 3 birthdays ago.  Plus, because the band is the cutest part of them, I even had my tanktop tucked in... So there's no hiding your figure in that.  

I guess I'm just trying to say that I feel so much better now and it's milestones like birthdays that make you think about it and appreciate it.  3 years ago, I was here and upset because I was trying to date someone who was totally wrong for me, was feeling bad because I didn't like how I looked, and I didn't really see how any of that would change.  Now, as I welcome my 23rd year of life in with my new pants, I can say that I'm in a great place in my life with someone I love who treats me well and I'm so excited about the future.  23 is going to be a great year.  I have SO much to look forward to.  I can't wait for it to start!

On that note, off to bed.  A full day of celebrating 'Me' day on tap for tomorrow! ;)

Friday, May 27, 2011

30DC: Day 4 (The God Post)

From drugs to religion... we're covering ALL the taboo party topics aren't we? ;)

Let's get down to business then! First off, I would describe myself as a religious person. Christian, more specifically Presbyterian.

I grew up in the same church and really came to value the community and family feeling belonging to a congregation provides. I have so many people through the church that I've known for years and have really helped me to become the person I am today.

I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that I am a pretty relaxed Christian. Since I did grow up in the church, my belief in God is an inseperable part of me and I do like to talk about all kinds of religions and beliefs, but I'll never foist mine on you. I actually am personally really bothered by that particular brand of Christianity--it's just not for me.

When I went to college, I spent my first year really involved with the Presbyterian church on campus, a decision that introduced me to one of my dearest friends. Bethany just happened to be serving as a pastor at the church and although she decided to go back to school the year after, she and I are still incredibly close. She did make me promise that I wouldn't ask her to officiate my wedding someday. ;)

In France, church-going is completely different and--I know this will come as a shock--in French. As far as my experience here is concerned, French congregations lack the community/family/welcoming feeling that I feel is SO important for churches and Christians in America. Plus they're almost exclusively Catholic, which is fine, but not really my particular cup of tea. As a result, I don't go to church here.

Jon and I have talked a decent amount about church-going and religion. Although I'm not currently a VERY active church-goer, I am glad that we have similar religious views and that he's not anti-going with me to church. When we move to Columbus, I'd really like us to try and visit some churches and hopefully find one to go to... You know, if we wake up in time on Sunday mornings. It's always good to take that time, think about your week, and to become a part of a 'family' while you're far away from yours.

Overall, my view on religion is pretty relaxed. Personally, I think it's important to have something to believe in. Even if God lets us make all our own choices and if bad things do happen and are out of his control, it's important to me to feel like he's still watching out for us and will welcome us back once our time here's over. I can't accept that we'll never see the people we love again once they're gone. In the meantime, I am just trying to live a good life and to be a good person. I think God appreciates that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

30DC: Day 3 (Drugs and Alcohol)

Today's challenge calls for my views on drugs and alcohol.

First off, I love red wine. Well, and other colors too, but red is definitely my favorite.

I also enjoy beer. Especially those brewed at this establishment in Athens:

To be honest, I'm a pretty light drinker. I've never been a huge partier and now that I've started watching what I eat, I know that a million drinks are a billion calories... so that puts a damper on things.

I don't really like mixed drinks and I'm not a huge fan of hard liquor (much to Jon's dismay). I usually just stick to a good beer or glass o' vino.

I actually didn't start drinking until I was 19. Throughout middle school, high school, and the beginning of college, I was involved in (and then worked for) an organization called PRIDE Youth Programs, a non-profit based in Michigan that focuses on drug and violence prevention and leadership skills for middle and high school kids. It's an amazing organization and I truly believe it's one of the main reasons I am who I am today. It really helped me develop my own leadership and presenting skills AND figure out a bit more of who I am/was at the time.

This is probably a big reason that I never got into heavy drinking in college, even once I quit working for the organization half-way through sophomore year. Seeing what alcohol can do if you aren't careful makes me less interested in over-indulging.

That said, you'd think that my involvement in PYP would mean that I wouldn't have ever touched cigarettes or anything with a 10-foot pole.

Sadly no. When I moved to France in 2008, not only did I quit working for PYP, but I started casually smoking... You know, since everyone here does. When I got back to America later that year I REALLY cut back and ended up being a social smoker on nights out.

It took meeting Jon and starting to run to really get me to stop smoking. I never really did like the taste (it was just something to do with my hands really) so it was easy for me to give up. Although I quit because I am a slow enough runner as it is so I don't need bad lungs on top of it, I'm not going to lie, my main reason for quitting cold turkey was to help Jon quit. When we met, Jon was a much heavier smoker and the fact that I didn't smoke at all really helped him cut back (and then quit). Makes me really happy. He's already 7 years older than me (which kind of sucks sometimes), so I don't want anything to happen to him, especially not some type of cancer that probably could be avoided. So, thankfully, now we're both non-smoking runners... I'm not proud of having smoked, but I am happy to have quit... Had a random cigarette yesterday for the first time in 9 months and, happily, hated it and spent the whole time just trying to flick it enough so I could stomp it out...

That said, Jonboy does does enjoy a good cigar. ;)

Oh, and to cover all my bases... Hard drugs? No thanks.

To sum it up, I'm a beer- and wine-drinkin', non-smoking runner now. There's nothing I like more than a relaxing glass of red wine or a cold beer on a hot day (like this season in France). But, I just have to keep it all in moderation so I don't drink back on all those pounds I've lost!!! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

30DC: Day 2 (10 Years from Now...)

I really enjoyed writing Day 1 so I hope you at least got a kick out of it. Also, funny story, it happened to be the first blog post of mine that Jon's ever read. This is mostly due to the fact that he's just recently got on twitter so he can see if I tweet about it, but still... amused. :)

Anyway, time for Day 2... Where I'd like to be in 10 years...

First off, 10 years from now, I'd really like to be with this guy:

(Drinking wine together wouldn't be amiss either)

I'd like for both of us to be 100% out of debt:

So far, we're on track! Thanks, Dave!

I'd like to finally be finished with my degrees/certifications and have a real job:

Those are absolutely the three most important things for the next 10 years. I'm not going to lie, having to stay in school to do what I want to do seems to create more problems than it solves... but, hey, can't be helped. Even if I wanted to, there'd be no way for me to get a job doing what I want without at least another certification. Definitely makes life more complicated. That said, there are a few more pretty big things...
  • I'd like to think I'll probably be married 10 years from now.
  • I would like to be living somewhere that makes us happy, probably Auburn, but I really just want to be happy and together, whereever that happens to be.
  • 10 years from now, I'd like to already be a momma or be getting ready to be one. I mean, I'll be 32/33 10 years from now... sounds reasonable to me!
  • I want to be in a house (that's mine) and settled. I'm already sick of moving all the time. I'm even more sick of not being able to live together or control that at all. At least once I move back home in June I can start acquiring things I intend to keep.
  • In 10 years, I want to still be active with running, doing yoga, and hiking, etc outdoors. If I get my first half completed and like it, part of me thinks it'd be cool to try and one run in every state... or something.
  • I want to have kept my weight off by living a healthy, manageable lifestyle. If I have kids 10 years from now, one of my biggest things is that I want to raise them eating healthily and being active.
From where I'm sitting right now, if these things were true, I'd be one really content (and lucky) woman. Then again, who knows... could all change, I suppose. Only time will tell.

Regardless, with this list as a jumping off point, I think the next decade will be quite the ride... Looking forward to it. :)

PS- A few people mentioned that they were having trouble commenting on the last post... Apparently you have to be on the actual post's URL to see the comments on the bottom? Does anyone who uses 'Intense Debate' know how to change that?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 1 (Relationship)

Here we go!
Day 1 is about my current relationship.
I apologize in advance for how much scrolling this involves. ;)

This is Jon:

This is also Jon:

(He can be pretty goofy. I love that.)

Jon and I met on November 22, 2009 at this bar:

Like most "How You Met Your SO" stories, this was completely by luck/accident and the timing could not have been worse (or apparently more perfect).

We started dating "officially" December 6, after a romantic weekend of installing toilets, fixing showers, and playing in the snow:

I think given how our relationship has progressed, the fact that we decided to become a couple after a weekend of home repair is pretty fitting.

Jon is my very best friend. We make each other laugh.

He's introduced me and helped me get into a lot of new things, namely Auburn football, shooting, and running.

There were two months at the end of 2010/beginning of 2011 when we weren't together. I think it's safe to say that we were both miserable.

We came to our senses in February and things have been much better ever since.

He even came to visit me over here in France in April!

In the fall, we'll be officially moving in together in Columbus so I can start my M.A. and I could not be happier/more excited about it. Go Bucks!

In all seriousness, I can't say enough good things about Jon and our relationship. We did have a really rough patch, but we've worked through it and I can honestly say that, in my opinion, we couldn't be any stronger and happier for it. It's not been easy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. We just work really well together. I absolutely cannot think of anyone who could be better for me and I hope he'd say the same.

I know there are people who think that we shouldn't have gotten back together and aren't huge fans of us together, but I know in my heart that getting back together is one of the best decisions I've made in a very long time. Being in a relationship and figuring things out is hard work and takes a lot of time and open communication, but we're worth it. Hopefully the nay-sayers will come around once they see how happy we are together, but, if not, I'm just going to keep fighting for and focusing on what's important: us. We are a really good team, we love each other, and everything is just better when we're together.

In a nutshell, this is Jon and Nicky together:

I think we're pretty awesome.

30 Day Challenge!

I've decided as a way to get myself to be more consistent with blogging, I'm going to do the 30 Day Challenge! I'm going to try and get a post up every day, either about France/healthy stuff/my life in general or with one of the days of the 30 day challenge. As a result, this challenge will take more than 30 days for me to complete since I don't want to inondate you all with posts about my life AND the challenge.

So you have an idea what all you can look forward to hearing about, here's the list:

I'm pretty excited about participating, I think that there'll be some good things for me to talk about and hopefully this'll get me back into blogging more regularly!

Check back later today for the first post of the challenge! Let's get ready to rumble!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's the Final Countdown

Oh yes, yes, it is. Just wanted to write a quick post to announce that today marks one month until I leave to go home to America! I have lots to do with the 31 remaining days. Here are a few things to look forward to:
  • My BIRTHDAY on Sunday
  • 4 days in Barcelona with Rosie
  • Getting off work for the Ascension and Pentecost (Secular France, what?)
  • Sending in our apartment application for Columbus
  • Increasing my mileage with some nice evening runs
  • Enjoying the Provençal sun at beaches, parks, or even my patio :)
Just got to keep myself busy, focus on these last three weeks here with "my" kids, and make the most of this time... all while looking forward to getting home to AMERICA (aka Jon, family, friends, etc.).

Let's see what this month has in store! Ready, go!

Friday, May 20, 2011

#7daychip Chat: Food Tricks!

Quick post: My responses to last night's chat!!!

Q1: What is your best "go to" item to eat when you don't have any time to prepare something?

A banana or some other piece of fruit with yogurt. I'm really bad here in France at having to-go food in my apartment.

Q2: What do you eat for breakfast. Give at least two of your regular choices. Does it keep you full? 1) 2 weetabix with a banana, milk, and honey (sometimes PB) or 2) granola with milk and a banana.

Q3: What did you eat for lunch today? Do you eat that often? Yesterday's lunch was leftover pizza. I'm really struggling with being good while Taylor is here, but, no, I don't eat pizza for any meal that often.

Q4: What do you bring to eat when you are on a road trip? Granola, fruit, cut up veggies, whatever we can use to empty out the fridge!

Q5: If you pre cook food, what do you like to pre cook? Do you freeze it, and how often do you do this? Mostly soups and chicken breasts. I really need to do this more often, actually!

Q6: Are there any pantry items you try to always have in the house as a safety net for an empty fridge? Good grains like quinoa and brown rice, chicken broth, a few boxed soups, FiberOne bars (in America), and extra milk and cereal.

Q7 (final question): What would you like to cook, but need to learn how to? What is stopping you from doing so?

I love cooking and can't wait to get back home to my kitchen to keep trying out new recipes when I know I can find all the ingredients!!!

More later, off to the beach with Taylor!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A New Running Plan and Feeling Good

I know it's only Tuesday, but I'm feeling REALLY good about this week!

At the end of last week/this weekend, I wasn't feeling very positive about my body or how I was doing. I was stressed with apartment hunting and food and in a really negative mind-space. Then, after talking to a few friends who read the blog, getting some good comments, and reading a good motivational blog post (Thanks, Jenny!), I'm feeling worlds better. Everyone is right: We're SO much harder on ourselves than we'd EVER be on anyone else and, also, my feeling inferior due to everyone's positive blog posts is probably skewed for the same reason I tend to disappear when I'm doing poorly on my journey. Need to keep that in mind before judging myself based on everyone's apparent progress on Twitter, etc. :)

That said, I've been doing SO well this week! Last Friday I had an hour to kill waiting for the bus after giving my CM2 (5th graders) their English oral exam for the Education nationale and so I sat down and plotted out my mileage goals for now until July. Since I have TONS of time until the half in October, my current goals are: 1) to safely work myself up to a weekly 10-mile LSD and 2) to try and keep myself from walking at all during my runs.

In order to accomplish Goal 1, I plotted out the recommended 10% weekly mileage starting with a base mileage of 12. This week my goal is 13 miles and so on and so forth until I'm scheduled to hit my 10-mile LDR at the week of July 4th. I'm planning on focusing on my running until then and trying to mold my calorie intake into building some more muscle and fueling properly for my runs.

For Goal 2, I'm just trying to keep a steady pace and instead of walking trying to replace that "rest time" with a slower jog before picking up my pace. So far, I have had two consecutive runs (4mi and 3mi) where I've done that and it's been great! (NB: I do stop running to avoid getting hit by cars. FYI.) Not stopping to walk really makes me feel empowered and much more proud after the run is over. All good things.

A few photos from last week's 4-miler

Pretty sunset over the Rhône

In order to keep myself running, I'm also having to brush up on my positive self talk. I'm not one of those runners who "enjoy the pain" or any of that. For me, probably 50-75% of the time I'm running I'm thinking about how hard it is and how much my body would rather be walking. I don't do discomfort well. That said, I'm trying to positively "coach" myself like Monica @ Run, Eat, Repeat mentioned in a recent bl0g post. So far, so good. I just keep reminding myself that I'm stronger than I think I am and to remember how far I've come to get here.

Speaking of running, I gotta run now to go pick my very good friend Taylor at the train station! We've been friends since high school and she's getting here today to visit for a week! I'm so excited to see her AND get some runs in with a friend! Tay was a ballerina and a cross-country runner in high school and if you'd have asked be back then if I'd ever go on a run with her, let alone be EXCITED about it, I would have thought you were crazy! Oh, how times change! :)

See? Here's us (Tay's in pink) Junior year of HS at the cast dinner for Oklahoma! :

Yep, I was the old lady.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday: Why I'm Fabulous

Alrighty! It's Monday, so time for Kenz @ All The Weigh's Friend Makin' Monday!

If you've taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you're new,
please take a moment to answer this week's question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here and at Kenz's blog so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.

If you, my lovely readers, want to participate, post links to your answers at Kenz's blog too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it's time for this week's topic!

What makes you awesome? List at least five qualities/hobbies/habits make you cool and unique?

Let's see... it's always hard to think of great things to say about yourself without feeling like you're "tooting your own horn" as it were. That said, here goes!

  1. I could strike up a conversation with a rock. Seriously, just ask my family.
  2. I dress pretty well. My friends always say that I have a very specific style. It can be summed up with cool jewelry and scarves.
  3. I keep in touch. Yes, I'm that friend who sends emails and calls periodically to check up and catch up. It's made living in France a lot easier for my friendships, THAT's for sure!
  4. I'm nerdy. I use big words. I like being smart (if you don't count math and science).
  5. I like to host. I tend to be the "mom" of the group and love having people over and cooking. It's fun and I like taking care of the people I love.
What are your five?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Keeping My Word: 7 day chip disappointment... again.

I have problems pushing myself. I also have problems sticking with what I say I'm going to do. But, now I'm so in a rut with this I don't know how to find the motivation to change it. Every let down just proves the rule and I'm getting discouraged.

Case in point: this week's sugar-free/baguette-free 7 day chip goal. Did good for a few days, then got myself in a situation where I was too hungry and couldn't bring myself to be the only one out of the three of us not to get "the best ice cream ever" (Jean-Michel's assessment) that he wanted so bad we drove 60km from the beach we WERE (Salin-de-Giraud) to the town of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer to get a cone. The ice cream was amazing, but I knew that I was ashamed of myself when I didn't take a picture of the pretty colors to share with my blog readers. I didn't admit to anyone in the #7daychip group that I'd fallen on Day 3 either. I just quit tweeting so I wouldn't have to mention it. I was embarrassed.

At the gorgeous Salin-de-Giraud beach pre-sugar

From there, it became "Well, at least no baguette." Then, what happened? Rosie and I made cookies and I was going to eat dinner at hers so I was going to bring along a baguette for everyone... But, I ended up not going and was thus left alone with a baguette in my apartment. Complete and utter 7 day chip fail.

I am going to run tonight to at least make my weekly mileage goal, but I still feel like I've let myself down. More importantly, I've let the other tweeps down too. I'm so encouraged by everyone's successes on Twitter and via blogs that when I'm doing poorly, instead of getting on here and talking about how I'm feeling and feeding into that motivation and support, I just shut down and disappear for awhile.

I only have 5 weeks left here in France, so I'm going to try and make the most of it. Get my runs in, eat the food I want in moderation, and try and stick to some kind of plan. I'm going to try from here on out to be more honest with my blog and with my twittering. I'm really struggling for motivation right now and I hope reaching out to you guys will help me get it back.

On that note, my goals for this week are simple: be honest about what I'm doing, avoid food binges (if I'm going to have some baguette, I will have a SERVING of baguette and not half of one like I did this weekend), and get my weekly mileage in (more on that soon).

Thanks for sticking with me (and with the blog). Your comments, advice, and support, really mean a lot, especially since I know that my blog isn't as inspiring as others since I'm currently not seeing amazing losses or fabulous results. I know it's going to get better, I'm going to make it.

Whew! Time flies!

Ever since Jon left (or got here, really), life has been so crazy! Our relationship is better than it's ever been, and we're actually taking things to the next step when I come home... We're moving in together! I know that I lived with him in Athens before I moved here, but now we're actually choosing a place together in another city. A place that will be ours together, not me moving in with him or vice versa. It's a really awesome feeling, actually. Definitely a big step to be spending money together, but I couldn't be happier. That said, it's been taking up every minute of my free time.

The Monday and Tuesday after his return, I spent all day compiling lists of my first round of apartments and didn't give him much rest time before sending him up to Columbus the following Saturday to check them out. We're looking for a reasonably priced place that will allow us to bring the furry babies, so it's kind of difficult.

So far, we've just finished Round 3 and I think we've settled between two places. Both are in great parts of town: one is in German Village and another is in Victorian Village. Can't go wrong either way, in my book! Just looking and comparing all these houses/apartments/condos has me SO excited to move to Columbus and get back into the swing of my "normal" life while incorporating some ideas and habits from France, namely my new love of being able to walk or bike almost anywhere. With one of these apartments I would be a 15 minute bike ride (20-minute bus) from campus and really close to Columbus's 13.75 mile bike path called the Olentangy Trail. Furthermore, with both locations, we'll be close enough to bike/walk to get to the grocery and the pharmacy... I'm so excited!!!

I'm also looking forward to living in a city with a strong running community (and with a few dedicated running stores)! In Athens, Jon and I would have to drive to Cincy or Cbus to get new running shoes or equipment and to participate in most races. Now, we'll be close enough to get in on the action. I've already set up a profile on the Columbus Pacers running group and am looking forward to trying out their Saturday morning group runs (with pace leaders from 7:30 to 12:30 minute miles). It'd be great because it'll allow Jon and I to a) make new friends and b) run "together" while still running at our own paces. I'm also considering (depending on how the Pacers thing goes) signing up for the MiT (Marathoner in Training) program if I can get my mileage up and complete the half in October. I'm just so excited to take advantage of EVERYTHING this city will have to offer and the more I look at these neighborhoods, the more excited I get! PLUS, we might even be able to walk to the FOOTBALL STADIUM! AHHHH!

Anyway, this is what I've been doing with all my blogging time lately... Trying to contact landlords from France (thank goodness we have free international calling), trying to set up appointments for Jon to visit, and trying to keep our insane spreadsheet updated. PLUS, I managed to book a 3.5 day trip to Barcelona with Rosie. We leave in 16 days!

Time to crank it up for the beach body? Next post is on my running and fitness goal update... I've been okay lately, but stay tuned for more info... Now, off to catch up on your blogs!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day and my Mother's Visit

Whew! A break in the action to update! After a whirlwind week showing my mom and her friend Gigi around Provence, I finally have a chance to step back, breathe, process, and (as far as the scale is concerned) asses the damage. But, this post is not about the scale. This post is about how amazing it was to have my mom (and Gigi) here, even if they did leave JUST before Mother's Day, so I couldn't celebrate it with them.

Having my own apartment, especially in a foreign country, has really reinforced one part of my personality: I love being a host. I like having people over for dinner and I like having people come visit. Honestly, my disorganized self even likes the pre-visitor cleaning frenzy and all the other parts of the having people over ritual. Currently, I'm enjoying the aftermath of post-departure cleaning and general fatigue. That said, I had a blast showing Mom and Gigi around Provence. I hope they had a lovely and unforgettable time. :)

Instead of showing you all millions of photos of our trip, in honor of Mother's Day, here are all of the photos of me with my momma from our week together.

Waiting at the train station after meeting up at the Marseille airport

Whew! Made it to Avignon!

Checking out the city of Camon with some friends (unpictured)

Eating a fabulous lunch with old friends

Taking a boat tour of the Calanques in Cassis

PS-- I just found out that I'll be in Cincinnati all summer working at my old job and living with my mom: an exact replica (almost) of our first summer losing weight together, when I lost a majority of mine and she dropped 30 pounds! I hope living in the same house and trying out new recipes together will help us both motivate each other AND let us really take advantage of what looks like my last summer living at home. So, hopefully these fabulous photos will not only document our week together, but also serve as photos on our continuing WL journey!

In short, Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. I'm lucky to have amazing women in my life (that means you too, Gma) and am lucky that they're both still around for me to celebrate how much I love them. Both of them have worked so hard, set so many examples (both good and bad ;) haha) and formed me into the woman I am today. Love you both and, Mom, I'm so glad I got to see you!