Friday, July 8, 2011

What about....

No matter where in the world you live, life takes on a certain daily routine. For some that can be a comfort, for others it can be oppressive. When I leave the routine I start to miss it. When I have been in the routine too long I hate it. My routine has become pretty set. Yoga twice a week, runs 2 – 3 times a week, very long bike ride on Saturday divided by an hour of horseback riding in between. Work takes up the lot of my day. Cooking, cleaning, hanging out with friends and cleaning their kitchens takes up the rest. For the most part my life has become predictable. This is what I loved and hated about the village, it was predictably unpredictable. Not knowing what each day was going to be like was exciting and strenuous at the same time. This level of unpredictability is what attracts adrenaline junkies to high adventure sports, I am not calling village life a high adventure sport but somewhere between that and everyday living. As I have come to learn, Lusaka is much more predictable than I could ever imagine and the unpredictable stuff is just inconvenient, not exciting. So as you might be gathering from this long diatribe, I have been a bit bored as of late and uninspired to write. That was until our trip to South Luangwa. I feel rejuvenated now. It was a wonderful adventure and has made me happy to be back in my routine and my daily ponderings. Many subjects have been mentioned and forgotten about; I just wanted to give an update.

Grad School

Several people (friends and family) have asked me about my plans for grad school; I kind of just stopped mentioning it. There were two schools I applied to, UMaine and UWashington. I got into both. I got no money from either. I resided to the fact that I would not go to grad school without the school offering money. UMaine has allowed me to defer my acceptance for a year, UWashington has not. An amazing professor at the University of Maine has taken on the task of finding funding for me so that I may be a grad student in his lab, he is going to nominate me for a first year student grant and is looking for other projects. He was even kind enough to say that finding money for me was his top priority, I am assuming this is not entirely true (he is a busy man) but so incredibly nice. UWashington has advised me to find my own source of funding as the Marine Resource Policy program is a professional degree and grants are not given to professional students. UMaine encourages students to work on a dual masters for marine resource policy coupled with marine biology, I am thinking of doing aquaculture instead of marine biology making me the first student with that combination (according to one of the grad students I emailed). UWashington found a dual masters unnecessary. I find the dual masters pertinent to combine policy and science. As you can probably guess by now UMaine has become my first choice. UWashington came in a distance last, besides being in a great city close to friends and family the university has nothing to offer me, which is unfortunate because it would have been so wonderful to be so close to friends and family again. It now looks like I will be starting school in September of 2012, which means I will need to find a way to make some money between October 2011 and Sept 2012, if you know anyone that is hiring please let me know…I can do anything, or learn anything.

Not drinking…Coffee or Booze

May 27th was the beginning of my 90 day challenge. I am 42 days in and still going strong. I love it actually. I wake up clear headed every day, except for days I forget to drink enough water and have a slight hangover, dehydrated feeling. My head is clear because I don’t need caffeine to reeve up my engines or overcome my two beer hangover. I miss the taste of coffee. Sometimes I really want a cup of coffee when I am struggling through the late morning or after lunch coma. A cold beer would have tasted so good with the pizza I had for dinner last night. But the feeling of being “clean” is so much better than temporary satisfaction. Having self-imposed rules is great, I don’t have to ponder if I really want a beer or not and usually giving in to the general consensus of the group to go ahead and have one. The answer is just straight no. From the to the end of a day, an evening, a party, a work day whatever it is, the answer is no thank you, tea, water, juice, coke? Turning down liquid lubricant does make a night of dancing hard on the knees however. When I was drinking the booze dulled the pain in my knees while I was cutting a rug on the dance floor and 2 am would sneak up on me weekend after weekend. Now I am luck to make it to midnight, if I go out at all, and if I do the rumba room is not the first place you will find me but more likely in the geriatric wing outside sipping tonic water talking to some random person about something unimportant.

Getting Fit

This is my friend Amy Sanford (yogi, runner and woman extraordinaire), I stole this from her facebook page, I hope she forgives me. I think this is such a beautiful picture and it gives me inspiration to keep at yoga no matter how inflexible I am!
One of the big reasons to give up coffee and booze was to lose weight. I am not sure that has actually worked. Yu Jin’s pancakes, Ruben’s pie, and Great-grandma’s cinnamon rolls might be playing a factor in that lack of weight loss but I don’t want to point fingers. I don’t work out as much as I used to in the village and well I simply just eat too large of portions. In an attempt at self-control I will have to focus on cutting back and cutting out sugar. The bad thing about drinking tea instead of coffee is the urge to put in a smidge of sugar into my tea which I never would of considered doing to coffee. I am really tempted to try decaf but I am not so sure how it will go over. Supposedly decaf isn’t entirely decaf and I don’t know if it will leave me feeling as dehydrated as regular coffee but without the pep in my step. In the mean time I still do yoga on Mondays and Fridays usually; run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and now Sundays; with a quick workout on Wednesday or just a day of rest. This schedule is not set into as I went to yoga tonight since we had a holiday on Monday and I was busy on safari.

Learning to ride

Believe it or not I get really scared to jump right into something that I thin could be potentially dangerous, like riding a horse. I like to ease into the activity and slowly learn every detail. As my confidence grows in the new activity so does my fearlessness. This is proving to be my methodology of learning to ride horses. I am afraid to fall of the horse while riding, get kicked by the horse when milling about, or something else I haven’t even yet imagined. I am starting to get a little more comfortable on my new friend Jill, but when we start trotting my legs start shaking and they start to hurt almost instantly. Just when you start to think your legs are strong enough you find a weakness. Building up these muscles will be the most challenging part to learning to ride. I am getting more comfortable sitting on top of the horse in a precarious saddle; I am just having a hard time keeping up with the rhythm of the horse because my legs get tired so quickly. I have another lesson this Saturday, hopefully it goes w

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