January, so far

We are already halfway through January! I am genuinely shocked. I know I am not alone when I say that January normally feels at least 70 days long. Nonetheless, this month has felt pretty good… so far. I absolutely feel like I am going to jinx myself, but oh well.

Work has been busy, I’ve been doing plenty of running (ice cold, below freezing temps running), and school starts back up on Tuesday. Patrick’s making more and more progress in physical therapy and has taken to walking around the house with a hiking pole, which cracks me up.

Mid long run from last week. The second half of this run was in freezing rain.

In other news I set out to accomplish three aspirations for the month from my long 2022 list and I’ve already done all three!

I wanted to read a book from start to finish, do a coffee outside, and make one dinner extra special.

I started and finished Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea this month and it was excellent. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know there was a Spanish Civil War before World War 2. And Chile’s history? So much to learn! A Long Petal of the Sea is a historical fiction that follows the entire life span of two people affected/involved in the Spanish Civil War. It is tragic, but not in the way you’d outright expect. There’s also something about a book that spans an entire life that feels extra heartbreaking to me. I can’t explain it! If you’re curious, now I am ready What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I want to read another fiction when I’m done with Murakami’s book, so if you have any recommendations then let me know!

On Friday morning at around 6 am, I woke Patrick up and asked him if he had slept okay that night. We’d been talking about doing a coffee outside and Friday seemed perfect, but I didn’t want to force him up. I sleep like a rock, but Patrick sometimes wakes up sporadically. I had already packed up the coffee supplies and had picked a place, so when Patrick got up we just needed to bundle up for the cold. And it was… quite cold. I think this will be a little more fun when it’s warmish out and the sun rises earlier, but oh well. Patrick swapped the Aeropress for the Clever and I grabbed two muffins in case we got hungry.

We drove out to a scenic overlook on Washington Parkway, realized immediately that we should’ve brought headlamps, and got to boiling the water.

We’re going to go somewhere different next time (lol). The view of the Potomac is nice, but the sounds of rushing cars on the parkway just doesn’t do it for me.

Finally, two weeks ago Patrick really wanted to make homemade Indian food. I am always a little skeptical since we have very mixed results when we attempt it. He found a recipe for butter chicken and homemade naan, so we went for it. Truthfully Patrick made most of it, but I helped cook the naan! This is not a meal that we could casually make for people, at least not without a lot of practice. And we learned a lot about what we would do differently next time, but my god it was delicious. Like I was genuinely shocked by how good it was.

We normally avoid having both of us cooking in the kitchen at the same time since it’s so small, but we were both required for this meal. It ended up being pretty fun, despite the smoke alarms nearly going off since we used butter and not ghee. We ate at the dining table and I feel like we spent most of the time marveling at how good it was.

Now I am trying to decide if I want to find another aspiration on my list to focus on. I wasn’t trying to rush through them at all, I just happened to accomplish them pretty quickly!

I hope that January is treating you well so far. Stay safe out there!

Love,

Juliana

Parting words.

let’s rejoice, shall we?

You don’t need me to tell you these are strange times we are living in. I find that I fluctuate greatly day to day, even hour to hour, how I feel. Sometimes I feel okay, settled in, and able to do the things I need and want to do. Other times I feel antsy or frustrated and I feel overwhelmed by all the things and experiences I am missing out on. Spring is my favorite season and it’s usually when all my favorite events happen.

Birthdays. Adventures. The end of the school year. So much sun! Spring feels like a celebration every year to me. And while I am still excited for birthdays and Patrick finishing his PhD, it doesn’t feel the same. I want to kayak and have a party and grocery shop like a normal person! I’m sure you feel the same.

Of course, you feel the same. I’m also having a hard time finding gratitude right now. And I’ve sat with that realization for a while. It isn’t that there aren’t things to be grateful for or that I have no good things to say at the moment, but rather it feels forced. Yes, there is plenty to have gratitude about, but also, this sucks! And it’s okay that it sucks, I don’t have to try to erase that with positivity.

You feel?

That being said: it’s old news that this whole situation sucks. I’m sure we nearly all agree that a global pandemic is not exactly an ideal situation. So, while we are allowed to feel negatively about this whole shindig, we are also not going to dwell on it. And even though we aren’t dwelling on the negative, we’re not going to force positives either. Instead, we’re going to notice them as they naturally arrive and rejoice in them. Sound good? Good!

I’ll start, so you can see some examples of what I’m talking about!

Pre-Pandemic I was drinking an unnecessary amount of coffee a day. Like 3 cups in the AM when I woke up and then probably more in the afternoon. I knew I definitely didn’t need that much coffee, but I liked it. Well, I liked it until after the second cup, but I didn’t want to waste it so I forced myself to drink the third. It was sort of a waste of coffee and just tooooo much caffeine. Nowadays, I drink one cup of coffee in the AM and enjoy it far more. Then, I have an afternoon espresso (doppio). It normally takes the form on a very short iced latte, but recently I’ve been making affogatos (as pictured above) and it’s been awesome. Less caffeine and way more fun!

Need another example? I got you.

The muscles in my legs get uncomfortably tight if I sit for too long during the day, so I try to walk quite a bit every day. (I realize this is a massive privilege). Last night, Patrick and I were fitting our walk into the day in the evening and ended up still walking when the sun went down. I saw freakin’ fireflies!!! They’re here!!! I love those things. I want to just sit outside on someone’s patio and watch them flash around in the yard. They are a little joy.

This past winter I got weirdly into tea. I’ll never be a tea > coffee person, but I’ve learned to really enjoy it. I’ve been drinking it hot, but we’ve reached the point that it’s uncomfortable to do so. I also enjoy iced tea and I remembered someone on Instagram making sun tea many moons ago, so I Googled how to do it. Turns out it’s insanely easy. And now I’ve been enjoying iced decaf green tea! Plus it looks so pretty sitting out in the sun.

See what I mean? Nothing crazy. Nothing forced. Some of these things I’ve noticed in passing, some I didn’t realize until I was glancing at my camera roll. Y’all, this sucks. I know we’re all going to be good eventually, just probably not right now.

If you’re in that boat, I hope you find something to rejoice about. I hope you don’t sit down and force it. I hope you just pry open that part of your mind that notices the good things and see what comes wandering in again.

Anyway, I’ll have my mental crowbar at the ready since I know it’ll be a struggle to not let it close shut. If you find that you’re really struggling with your mental health, I would encourage you to seek out your local mental health authority. Many are offering hotline services for those in need of someone to talk to or who are in crisis.

I guess let my parting phrase be this: you’re not alone in this. Your feelings, wherever they may fluctuate in this experience, are valid. There are so many stressors in this time, many of which are out of our control and can feel insurmountable. Like we’re being asked to climb Everest without a map or an oxygen tank.

But you’ve been climbing mountains your whole life! I’ll see you at the top of this one.

Love,

Juliana

2014: To be fearless.

2014 is almost over. It’s unbelievable. It feels like just yesterday I was planning out my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions… So silly!

See last year I had one resolution. To be fearless. My goal was to do one thing every single day that was out of my comfort zone. To do one thing that scared me. Unfortunately, like many New Year’s resolutions, my exact idea was short lasted.

Luckily for me, it bloomed into much more than I could’ve ever hoped for.

2014 taught me many things. But ultimately, this year I learned what it means to be fearless. Contrary to what the word itself suggests, it does not mean having no fears at all.

No no no, what it means is to not let those fears into every nook and crevice of who you are.

I think that fear is healthy. And pretty dang incredible. It taps into one of our most primal instincts: fight or flight.

This year I learned how to look my fears, my demons in the face. And laugh.

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I did things I would’ve never thought possible for me. I met incredible people. I laughed. I cried. I smiled. I woke up every single day with a fire in my heart. On some days it wasn’t quite so bright. But I learned how to feed it.

I traveled. I adventured. I sought out adrenaline rushes. I crossed borders. I discovered my physical limits and pushed past them. I made incredible friends. I discovered who I am, who I want to be.

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I learned how to be unafraid. I learned how to live.

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I wanted to round up as many pictures as I possibly could for a visual depiction of my years, but I found it was hard to do so for two reasons:

1. I didn’t take many pictures. I embraced moments instead of capturing them.

2. Honestly, there are no pictures or words to describe this crazy, beautiful year of my life.

Nonetheless, I have some!

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And my personal favorite…

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It’s been the best year of my life. I can say that with no hesitation.

I guess as 2015 approaches, there’s one thing I want everyone (myself included) to remember…

The ticking of a clock. The flipping of a calendar page. A number changing from 4 to 5… None of that changes who you are. It doesn’t grant you another opportunity to start afresh.

And that’s because it’s all up to YOU. Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to keep being afraid of the life you’re leading?

You get to choose. You get to choose happiness. To choose a different path. To choose who you do or do not want in your life.

It’s yours. Get after it. No hesitation. No fear. Just choose.

As you count down the clock on the 31st, I hope you know that it won’t make anything different.

You have to make things different. How? You just do. It happens the moment you just decide.

Live openly. Live freely. Live fearlessly.

Love,

Juliana

P.S. When I was getting ready to fly to Portland, I was scared. Flying kind of terrified me. However, I decided to tell myself that I was not afraid. Over and over and over I repeated it in my head until I actually believed it. After that, it was truth. I wrote a poem on the plane and I always felt as thought it would be better spoken aloud, but I’m going to write it here anyway, because it helped me actually crush a very legitimate fear of mine. ABSOLUTELY CRUSH IT.

Haha, this is the whole journal entry:

“Bear Cub” 12.15.14 @ 7:33 p.m.. Somewhere over TX.

I like fear.

I like it because I think the only thing we’re actually afraid of is who we become when we are afraid. when we’re fearful. when we’re scared.

We turn into these people that we don’t want to be: pitiful, hesitant, stressed.

We let our fear consume us.

We let it eat us whole.

It doesn’t even need to chew.

One second we’re alive and well and the next?

The next second you’re in the belly of the beast.

No survivors.

Our fears are a seemingly incurable disease – destined to attach to a host and suck the life out of it.

We are those hosts.

Sometimes we think we’re safe.

We think we’ve worn repellent.

We think we’ve washed our hands.

But the fear is like a tsunami. A tidal wave. A riptide.

Your pool floaties won’t save you.

How discouraging. What a lost cause.

Not exactly.

You see, we all have the ability to squash our fears like bugs.

You know they say that if you’re ever being attacked by a shark – poke it in the eye.

Big bad Jaws will get his feelings heart and

will

swim

away.

When a grizzly bear is preparing to attack you, you’re supposed to go into the fetal position.

You’ll seem weak.

Like a baby. A cub.

The big, scary bear should

leave

you

be.

Because in that moment, you are not you.

You are telling yourself over and over:

“I am a bear.”

“I am a bear.”

“I am a bear.”

“I am a bear.”

When the fear us about to swallow you alive:

You are a bear.

You are a bear.

You are a bear.

I am a bear.

I am not afraid.

I am not afraid.

I am not afraid.

You tell yourself that over and over and over and once you believe it – fear sure as hell will too.

You are a bear.

I am a bear.

I am not afraid.

I like fear.

.

.

.

Because I am NOT afraid.

To succeed.

I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest quotes for the last hour because I had two cups of coffee after 4… While I was reading, this quote caught my eye:

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And it bothered me greatly. Maybe it’s because lately I’ve talked to a lot of people about what they want to “do” with their lives. Maybe it’s because after every conversation I’ve realized how little I think about the money I’ll make when I graduate and get a job. Maybe it’s because I don’t agree with many’s definition of success.

Because what does it mean to succeed? To have the money to buy whatever your heart fancies?

To be honest, that sounds plastic.

I think that, yes, success is different for everyone. But I also think that it should not be defined monetarily. And I think that it’s completely up to you whether you’re successful. It shouldn’t be relative.

Sometimes I think about my major. I think about what my first job will be like. I think about the work I’ll do. I think about the people I meet.

I don’t think about my paychecks.

Maybe you think I’m naive.
But here’s the thing, here’s what I want to “do” with my life:

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I’m not going to school to be rich. To have a large house. To wear the fanciest clothes.

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I go to school to help cultivate my ideas. To figure out what I can do to help.

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I see my glass as half full. Being filled. Until my cup runneth over.

I can’t envision my future self. I can’t see numbers on a bank account. Because I’m too busy with the now.

I can do something every single day. And to me, that’s joy. And in my opinion, that’s better that any kind of success.

Be Bold

Be fearless loving kind soft tough emotional powerful strong weak unstoppable smart thoughtful thought-provoking mysterious up-front giving free tame wild amazed amazing joyful serious optimistic realistic weightless.

Be anything you can as long as it’s you.

three things.

BME programming assignment #2

UGS research paper

BME midterm #2

One down and two to go! 

The research paper is due tomorrow and I am actually procrastinating by writing this, but I just don’t know how to write the darn paper! Bleh. I enjoy writing, but the topic I picked is BORING.

Anyway, this week is extremely stressful because I HAVE to do well on that midterm and the research paper has to be about 7 pages long… And I have the intro paragraph and that’s it.

The good news is I HAVE KNOCKED ONE THING OFF THE LIST! That program was stressing me out to the max. I cried while randomly walking around campus like 6 times today because I was so freaking frustrated. But I did it 🙂

The research paper isn’t really stressful, it’s just going to be such a pain to write! I may need to get a pot of coffee going for that… Haha!

My motivation to get through this week is that I am going HOME! ❤

I love going home. Really, I do. I love the people and even the drive! Instead of going straight down 290, I’ve found that from my apartment it is faster to take 21 to 71 to 290. It’s shorter, faster, and more scenic {because it takes me right next to Bastrop State Park!}

These last couple weeks have been full of tests and almost end of the semester anxiety. So I have found that it feels a little easier if I write down all the big things I have to tackle and watch them get checked off as I accomplish them. It’s always a big weight off my shoulders when I finally can scratch the last major obstacle off of my desk calendar and planner!

Coffee definitely helps me get through the crazy weeks. Today, Erica tweeted me a $5 Starbucks gift card through their new “tweet a coffee” program! I already spent it… Haha! On a tall, skinny, salted caramel mocha. It was pretty good! The Starbucks I went to was out of caramel brulee syrup, but the SCM was a nice substitute!

In other news, I’m skipping my calc discussion tomorrow to sleep in and do my calc homework at home. I feel like I’ve said this a thousand times, but the discussion is just not helpful for me whatsoever!

However, I am going to go to my 9:30 BME discussion so that I can kick my midterm right in the jugular. 

Tomorrow is also I casual training run. I’m thinking 5 miles after I get out of BME at 6:15. Last week I did that and it started to rain a little and I felt so hardcore. Haha! I need new headphones though 😦 One of the earbuds is broken, so it’s a little harder to get in the zone when music is only blaring in one ear!

Oh well! I shall survive!

Now I need to go fill up my water bottle and crack down on this research paper {again, BLEH!}

Talk to you guys later!

-Juliana