Sunday, August 29, 2010

In retirement

Well, all, I think it's been kind of obvious the past few months, but I've lost interest in blogging. It's been fun, but I've decided to retire this blog. Maybe someday I will make a new one. I am still going to read others' blogs and make comments, since I like hearing about you all.

Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Welcome Home

There has been something so calm about this move to North Carolina. I truly feel like the dust has settled a bit, in my life, and things are falling into place. And thank goodness, I nearly went mad last spring. I cannot even describe how nice to was to arrive in Durham, pull into our own driveway and slide our keys into the locks. Being in my house provides this calm that I haven't felt since we left our apartment in Chile. There's something so satisfying knowing that a place is yours.

This has been, by far, one of the best visits that we've had with my step daughter. I feel like our family has finally formed into a cohesive unit, and that finally, we've blended more than before. There's also this calm between my stepdaughter and me, a silent understanding. I know I'm not her mother, and she knows she's not my daughter, but we love each other anyway. I feel like the most important step in making our relationship work is finally focusing my love on her, and her finally feeling that she has my focus and love, to realize that we're not competing with each other for her father, but rather, that both her father and I are working together in our love for her.

And strangely, we really bonded during this visit over something I never would have expected. We bonded over exercise! Either during the mornings or evenings we walked together through the Duke Forest, along with our dog, and even took advantage of the fitness path which includes about a mile of fitness stations. Together we did yoga, played soccer, and even started doing the Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. We'd come home, covered in sweat, and run through the sprinklers in the yard, fully clothed! We talked about healthy eating, I even got her to start eating brown rice instead of white! She helped encourage me with my vegan diet. While at the beach we took walks looking for shells and would watch the sun set with evening strolls.

I don't think I've been this active for years!

And then, I've had a really lovely time meeting the new students and their partners from O.'s business program. Around 40% of the students are international, and I've enjoyed so much meeting people from all over the globe. I was a bit weary at first, but I've discovered that their partners (mostly women) are some of the most intelligent and interesting women I've met. I guess smart business boys have good taste! It's funny because I've been a completely sweaty pig the last few days, my complexion is horrible form the humidity, and yet, I honestly have just been feeling so calm. I can't get over it. I feel like I'm just in that place I've been trying to find. And I love it.

I know that eventually life will toss me some ups and downs, but for now I'm just enjoying sitting on my front porch, listening to the crickets, and swatting at the mosquitoes. For once, life's serene and I'm staying in this moment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Greetings from North Carolina

Guess what? I'm in North Carolina! We left Austin on July 8th, and I have been so busy I haven't had time to blog. Right now I'm writing to you from North Topsail Island, off the coast of North Carolina just north of Wilmington. We moved into our house last week, unloaded our container, then packed our bags again to spend a week at the beach with my mother before O. starts his MBA program next week. My Dad arrived in Durham the same day we did to help us unpack, then my mom arrived, and now my brother is on his way to meet us at the beach. F. and Simon have been troopers. It took us three days to get from Texas to North Carolina. We spent a night in Little Rock and then two nights in Knoxville, TN, where we visited the Smoky Mountains with some family I have there. Then we stuffed them back into the car to head to the beach. At least Simon has been having fun running on the beach and F. has been learning to body surf in the waves.

Our days have been so full that I have been falling asleep each night utterly exhausted.

I love our new house -- I'm going to write more about how wonderful it is later. Right now I just wanted to post a quick update about what we've been up to and say that I love my new home state!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I was too hard on Chile

Okay, I have a confession to make. I've been too hard on Chile. Too hard, because apparently, I hadn't really experienced the United States in its full glory.

I have lived the majority of my life in the North East. Pennsylvania is technically lumped with the "Mid-Atlantic" but I identify with its rhythm. I am, gasp, a north easterner.

And well, that's kind of a dirty word in the south. Texans say it with disdain, and a little long-time Raleigh resident birdie told me that North Carolina cannot stand northerners who come down into the triangle area and try to tell people how to do things.

But, living in the "south" for two years and just going through the process of buying a house in North Carolina, I can say that Chile, I was too hard on you. Way too hard on you. Why? Because after going through all of this, I cannot say that living in the southern U.S.A. is all that much more efficient, professional or better-performed than Chile.

The past three months have been terribly frustrating. I don't even want to get into it, but just to even sublet our apartment we had to practically beat down the doors of the administration office in our apartment complex to get them to do their jobs. Calling constantly, being really pushy. Few things they told us during the mortgage process in North Carolina ended up being actually true--I've come out of the process feeling utterly lied to and taken advantage of. Yesterday our bank sent us a letter saying our first payment was due August 1, then today, the DAY of July 1st, we get a letter saying it's due July 1. No one ever returns our phone calls or performs tasks when they say they will. My emails go unanswered. Today, the assistant in our leasing office promised me she'd put a paper I needed to sign on our front door. Tonight, we get home, nothing. Another morning I'll spend bugging them to do their jobs.

This crap reminds me soooo much of what day-to-day errands/dealing with people was like in Chile. Soooooooooo much.


What has this taught me? Aside from eventually wanting to return to my real patria, the north east, it makes me realize that problems we had living in Chile actually aren't unique to Chile. You'll find similar situations in many places,and I can imagine this sometimes happens north of the Mason-Dixon line, too.

I am going to try and love North Carolina with all my might. I am really going to give it a chance and I'm going to try and stop making comparisons, as I've been doing for years. But I just wanted to apologize to Chile, because I think I was kind of unfair. Sometimes, now, Santiago felt more progressive, sophisticated, edgy and urban than Texas and probably North Carolina.... :) Really.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Veganism

Dabbling in Ayurveda really made me start to question my eating habits. However, the diet just wasn't realistic because we tend to eat out a lot. So I jumped ship, and continued eating about 3-4 bowls of granola everyday, craving milk all the time. For the past few months, probably since January, I have had this uncontrollable hunger that I simply could not ignore. Attempting to eat healthy for a couple of days would be canceled out by trips to Wendy's where I secretly snacked on french fries and frosties.

So I decided to take a step back. When I lived in Chile the weight dropped off of me effortlessly. Despite my lack of "planned" exercise. What was so different? I thought. I ate tons of (fresh) white bread, ate out and drank alcohol all the time, and baked like a crazy housewife. There were three main components, however: 1) No car and thus walking a lot more 2) Smaller portions 3) Not as much dairy, not as much preservatives in the food (not as much processed food)

Milk came out of a box, which never seemed to have the same appeal as our milk here in the US. Cheese in Chile, as well, was boring and didn't interest me all that much, although it was still a main part of my diet. I ate dairy, but not nearly as much as I do here in the US. Actually, I attributed my initial weight loss after switching off of a vegetarian diet abroad to my tendency to substitute cheese for meat.

Lately though, my interest in meat has totally dwindled. I eat generally three things only: P.Terry's cheeseburgers, salmon and white chicken breast with absolutely no fat. However, even then I tended to shovel my portions onto my husband's plate and grab a bowl of cereal instead.

Yet, when my weight and diets simply haven't changed, and I have still been gaining weight despite my half-assed efforts, I just decided I needed a drastic change.

So I decided to become vegan. Ordered a copy of Skinny Bitch, stocked up on all kinds of vegan staples in Whole Foods, and decided to do it until I lost some weight.

Well, it's only been a week and I have no idea if I've lost weight because I don't own a scale. However, I've been going through some changes that completely shocked me.

I'm going to save you all the details, because they are pretty gross, but if you're REALLY interested ask me. But, after being off all dairy products for a few days, the patches of eczema that I constantly have on my inner elbows disappeared, as well as my constant canker sores that mysteriously form on my tongue. I, even, for the first time this summer, felt a lift in my depression and have been able to wake up before 4pm.

Then, I bought an almond cheese product which I had thought was completely dairy free. An hour or so after eating it, the red patches on my inner elbows popped out again, I felt a canker sore on my tongue, my ears itched, my throat hurt, and I felt really really really bitchy. When I examined the ingredients, I realized that this cheese contained a milk protein called casein.

Now, I was diagnosed, as a newborn, as being lactose intolerant, but a casein allergy never crossed my parents', or my mind. But now, after almost a week of being casein free, I feel awesome! More so than Lactaid ever allowed me to feel. I've been doing research about food allergies and realized that people often end up craving the food they are allergic to, which might explain why I'd been downing a quart of milk every two days.

This is what I love about being vegan:
1. It's nice to the animals. I luv da animalz.
2. When you make vegan baked goods, you can taste the batter without worrying about salmonella poisoning. Score!
3. It keeps stuff moving. Catch my drift?
4. I don't get horrible stomach pains or digestive problems like I did before.
5. I don't smell as much. Even after a week. Not as much bad breath or body odor.
6. It's a built in way to avoid most unhealthy foods.
7. There are tons of vegan products available at stores like Whole Foods. I don't feel like I miss anything that much because vegan cheese is pretty good, it even melts!
8. I don't have to eat as much! I'm not hungry like I was before!

:)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Closing on the house has been a mess. I'm not going into details because I'm trying to put it all behind me, but we're still trying to get all the paperwork up to par before we can close. Long story short, we're 7 days behind.

But, I keep telling myself that it's worth it!


I still cannot believe the kind of house we are getting. We completely lucked out. Having it be new construction, and in a neighborhood that's "up-and-coming"

Our kitchen strikingly resembles our kitchen in the Manuel Montt apartment in Santiago. Observe:
North Carolina



Santiago


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yoga Challenge, Ayurveda and my mansa guata.

Update on my 40 day yoga challenge: I have completed 18 classes of yoga in the past 20 days. Wait? Didn't know that I'm doing a 40 day yoga challenge? I was afraid to write about it on here, afraid to jinx myself. I didn't want to get everyone's interest and then fail. So I decided not to post about it on my blog until half way through.

And I'm surprisingly happy with my progress!

I am two classes behind due to the extreme pain I was in post Mirena insertion. I was insane to think that I would be able to go to French class, in addition to do a yoga class after I had the procedure done, as it was definitely up there with the worst I've ever felt. All I could really do was sleep and writhe around in the fetal position from 10am to 11pm when I then slept for 12+ hours. Miraculously I made it to yoga the next day, a Vinyasa class, mind you, but was back to feeling pretty horrible the next day and had to miss again.

This means I need to take 2 classes per day for 2 of my remaining 20 days. Tomorrow, I'm going to attempt to do a Hatha Flow in the morning and then perhaps a Hatha at night, maybe a more vigorous Vinyasa if I can handle it.

I also decided that 20 days in I would start a gentle attempt at an Ayurvedic Diet. I purchased this book and decided to try it out for a bit, as much as I can, to see how it made me feel. The diet is mostly what I would call "Indian Food" which luckily is one of my most favorite cuisines in the world. But I'm a bit afraid that the same repetition of spices will get old. Although, they are the same spices that are in Chai, which I've been obsessed with, for years, so I decided that it might be a diet I can stick to. For a little bit.

In all honesty, this diet seemed to be to be less of a "diet" than anything else, since a lot of the recipes in it are things I'd eat, normally, anyway. I'll be rolling out my own Chapatis, blending my own Lasse, clarifying my own ghee... I'll definitely post and write how it's going, and be honest when I can't resist a pizza night here and there.

During Exam crunch time, I'll admit that we were eating mostly frozen pizzas and P.Terry's burger stand 5 nights a week. I need to remove Cheese and french fries from my five main food groups. My poor diet has really taken a toll on my body. I officially have the biggest "guata" (Chilean for "tummy," or as I'd describe it... "gut") I've ever had in my life and we'll just say that I'm too bald in patches to wear my hair down anymore. I hate feeling like I do. While the 20 days of yoga has been a great reset to my body, I need to take care of what I'm putting in, as well.

That's all, really, for now. I also am perhaps the most excited girl ever about our new house... and I'll have to say that it's not only hard to get mortgages in Chile... it's pretty darn hard here, too, and it took us nearly a month to get our application up to acceptability. So, take heart, Kyle, you're not alone in that.