Wednesday Revelations: The Big One

Life update that is! The one I’ve been needing to do for a couple of weeks now. Hold on folks, its about to get crazy. 😉

I realize that I’ve hinted at a lot of things over the past couple of months. I’ve had to tell this story over and over again, in various forms, to different people who I spoke with at different points in it. I literally have friends who don’t know what city I’m in right now. So this post is as much for my in-person friends as it is for the rest of my lovely readers.

First of all, let me clarify – I’m in Baltimore! I’m here until at least the end of the year, maybe longer.

The beau and I moved into a new apartment in the city in June. Our plan was to stay through summer and if we didn’t have jobs, pack up and head home to CT to bunk with family. However, come the end of July we both had a number of job prospects. And so the pattern continued. We’d be ready to call our management company and start looking for new tenants…a job prospect would pop up…we’d decide to stay for “just one more month”…and the job would fall through.

It was utterly exhausting. And soul crushing at times. Every time I had to prep myself to leave a city I was finally starting to feel comfortable in, only to have my heart broken. Rinse and repeat.

The beau eventually got a couple of side jobs and I picked up an amazing babysitting gig. I wish I could show you the babies because they are utterly adorable and perfect and my phone is filled with photos of them. But alas, I read an article a while back about face recognition stuff so I’m paranoid to post said photos. Moving on…

The side jobs floated us. We both kept busy enough and though the money wasn’t great, it was better than relying entirely on our rapidly dwindling savings. But come September, we agreed for good that we’d give it one more month. Because this decision was purely financial, it had significantly more weight than our previous ones. I began the full grieving process that came along with saying goodbye. I needed closure because more and more Baltimore was feeling like the home I so wished it were during my MPH year. I had community—my support group, the handful of friends still in the area, and my second family that I babysat for.

Then, towards the end of September, the beau found out about a dream job opportunity in NYC, our dream city In a matter of weeks he applied, had two interviews, received an offer and accepted. We were moving to NYC. We decided he would move up first and I would follow at the end of October. As we began working our way through his bucket list, I found myself struggling more and more. Quite frankly it didn’t feel fair that I had to give up what little I had down here. I almost lost it during every Zumba class I taught as I looked at my students and was overwhelmed with a combination of pride and sadness. The beau and I talked a lot during these weeks as we made the most of what we thought was our last bit of time in Baltimore.

But alas, things couldn’t be that simple. Our plan to move up together fell through. On the same day, a good friend in Baltimore offered me the one thing I needed the most: time. And so the beau packed up his stuff, we did a farewell bar crawl, and the day after Columbus Day he set off on his next big adventure.

Within an hour of saying goodbye to him I had a job.

Seriously, I couldn’t write a story this good. Movie rights are available for the top bidder. 😉 So I relished my last few days of complete freedom, spent an amazing afternoon with the kiddos at the children’s museum, and began packing up for my fourth move in a a year and a half.

On the second day of my job (aka two Tuesdays ago), I received the sad call from one of my besties. The beau came down at the end of the week to help me move to my new home on Saturday and on Sunday we made the drive to NYC so I could catch a bus from there to RI where the services were taking place. Monday evening I flew back and the rest of last week was a flurry of work, doctor’s appointments, unpacking, and other obligations. I was running on adrenaline and lots of caffeine.

In between all of this I started physical therapy for a sprained ankle, said goodbye to friend after friend as they moved to new cities for jobs, and was showing the apartment and selling our furniture.

And that brings us to now. I’m loving my new position and can see myself working for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for a long time. I’m in my third beautiful apartment in Baltimore and getting to know another neighborhood. My roomie has a cuddly kitty and our downstairs neighbor has a super friendly dog that I have permission to visit whenever. My ankle is doing slightly better and I’m meeting new people. Oh and my days have purpose – to help cure cancer.

In other words, things are looking up.

I’m terrified to make any definite plans, given how great that worked over the past few months. So for now I’m focusing on being grateful for the gifts I’ve been given, especially being able to stay with someone as I readjust to the loss of my biggest support person. The nightmare called job hunting showed me more of what I want out of my life. And if I learned nothing else, I know I’m resilient in ways I didn’t think were possible. There were many times this summer when I wanted to just give up. Quite frankly, some weeks I did. I would sit and watch hours of Netflix and just avoid everything because the pain was overwhelming. But eventually I’d put the pieces back together

And that’s all we really can do, isn’t it? Get back up, take what lessons we can, and create a better reality the next time.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

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Views from the Balcony

I know…three posts in one week.  What up?!  #onfire 

Anyway, this weekend I took the opportunity to go through my camera (in case you couldn’t tell) and I found these photos among others.  There are some beautiful trees in my “backyard” aka the parking lot my balcony overlooks that I captured throughout the fall.  Now my view is a far cry from the lake view I had in Worcester, but it has its own beauty at times…  See?

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Yoga/beauty/life,
Kait xo

My favorite thing about Public Health…

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… is the fact that so many of these ideas which I held to be “on the fringe” … the dangers of chemicals in our food and consumer products, the idea that our egos chooses beliefs in an attempt protect us, the concept of writing down our desired outcome and having our actions adjust accordingly, and subconsciously … have long been accepted in this field.  These truly are my people.  And though I might take some of the ideas off to a more extreme place (specifically some of the persuasive communication theories I’m learning about), there’s something powerful to be said for a scientific-minded individual such as myself to finally be handed an abundance of evidence supporting that which she holds dear.  I can’t say I hate it.  😉

Oh Happy (Sun)day

I woke up in a homesick funk this Sunday. I hosted an amazing dinner party the night before but couldn’t shake feeling lonely and melancholy. It took a couple of hours to get myself up and out to go grocery shopping <–see what I mean about the melancholy? When do I NOT want to go grocery shopping?! but when I finally did, the Universe sent so many wonderful things my way.

See?

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Bright green ice cream bus.  <–bus > truck IMO

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A sale on my favorite chocolate!

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Free ice cream coupon…all because I asked why there was a bright green ice cream bus from Cali in a MD grocery store parking lot. 🙂

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Giant box of baking soda for less than $3. #win

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A big old reminder from the Universe that was waiting for me at…wait for it…a Mediterranean Festival I stumbled upon while driving to Wegmans. I wish I could have captured the smells and shared them with you. Alas, you’ll just have to take my word that it was amazing. There was even group dancing…it was perfect. 🙂

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Weekend Fun

 

It was a pretty perfect weekend…girl talk, life chats, rooftop adventures (and subsequent bruises), sleep overs, an entire day devoted to food (planning/shopping/cooking *sigh*), and a fantastic Passion Party.

As a side note…I absolutely love having WordPress on my phone so I can tap and go.  🙂

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Getting ready aka my sexy date for the night. 😉

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Blurry ballroom dance lessons, take 1.

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Take 2…even blurrier.

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Varsha always wanted to sing on a piano…Robbie just made that dream come true.

Piano playing.

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Rooftop + Washington Monument, take 1.

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..and without the crazy iPhone flash.

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Homemade fruit-and-nut sorbet. I ❤ my unofficial roommates. 🙂

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Battle wounds.

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One of my favorite places in Bmore – the bulk food room at the Co-op. #foodie

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Farmstand in Hunt Valley – another one of my favorite secret spots. 🙂

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I ❤ winter squash…especially at $0.80/lb. <–yes a victory dance resulted.

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Baby pumpkins!

Yoga/beauty/joy,

Kait xo

The Difference Some Months Make

I hope you all had a wonderful Labour Day weekend!    My weekend was wonderful…lots of Zumba, a girls night with momma, catching up with my former internship supervisor, and then a trip to NYC to celebrate the beau’s 24th.  Oh and lots of cuddling with this cutie in between.  By the time you read this, I’ll be back in class, gearing up for first term.

All in all my break was pretty darn good.  A part of me wished I could be in Bmore, exploring the city with my classmates but I definitely needed to come home (and not only because my car emissions were due!).  Between the shopping, the catching up, and the eating out, I kept fairly busy.  I also had a lot of space to think, reflect, refocus, and recenter (more on that below).  And, of course, I took a whirlwind trip up to the Worcester area and crammed an entire two years worth of life experiences into one day.  It may have been the best day ever.

Clockwise from upper left: Community Harvest Project where I volunteered last summer, new haircut from my MA stylist, ironic book display in B&N while waiting to grab dinner with the girls, and Kaybird!  Not pictured: visit with my friend and her babies, my amazing Chipotle bowl, my visit to UMass, and MYoga

Now about that “space” I mentioned above…

When I quit my job back at the end of April, I determined it was the single best decision I had ever made.  I proceeded to spend six weeks doing a whole lot of nothing.  For the entirety of May and half of June, I slept late, rarely dressed (except to change from pjs to workout clothes…and back again), and travelled around visiting people.  Most days, I sat on the computer reading blogs, watching Netflix, and checking Facebook/email/etc far too often.

And I loved practically every second of it.

I am so grateful I made the decision to take that time for me because I needed to decompress after working at UMass.  My visit there last week confirmed that for me like never before.  Immediately upon walking into the building, my body got tight and I felt stressed.  A torrent of emotions rushed my body: guilt, resentment, anger, regret, and even a little bit of hope.  All have their place and all are rightly associated with the hospital yet they are not what I want to be feeling daily.  Again I was reminded: you made the right decision.

Yet, while that lifestyle served me at the time, it clearly is not meant to serve me all the time.  I much of last week following a similar schedule to that of May and June, except by Friday, I was ready to be done.  More than anything, I was itching to cook again, to create.  I wanted to get back into a routine, a schedule that didn’t involve hours of TV, lots of snacking, and sleeping all day.

WHAT??

The very same experience that mere months ago fed my soul and rejuvenated my body had become a source of stress itself.  Maybe its because I’m used to a routine and its one that I enjoy.  Maybe I just like feeling accomplished at the end of the day.  Maybe I’ve grown mroe than I realized.  Whatever the cause, I was itching to return to life in Baltimore…to the crazy (ironically I just missed the ‘z’ there and was sorely tempted to write “cray cray” instead…I figured I’d spare you), to the busy, to the life of a grad student.

I miss my friends…I miss the hustle and bustle of the city…and I miss having a purpose and a goal for each day.  Hell, I even miss having things to do!  Who would have thought it?  Certainly not me.

The times they are a changin’, right?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Starting Anew

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First term is over.

Finals week was…tumultuous to say the least. I’ve never studied so hard or stayed at school so late before. But I pulled it all off and am happy to report that I ended summer term with a solid GPA. While I’m not letting myself get hung-up on grades, for $60k, I’m also not going to pretend that they aren’t important. In other words, while I’m shooting for all A’s, I’m not getting hung up on the process of getting them. At the end of the day, the connections I make with classmates are way more important.

I’m currently at my mom’s for a couple of days before doing a somewhat whirl-wind tour de New England. UConn, Worcester, UConn, Bethel, mom’s, NYC. *whew* In between I’ll be working on B School projects and finishing up (finally) Brothers & Sisters. I’ll also be doing a lot of soul searching.

I haven’t talked much hear about the trials of living outside of the city. You read about my adventures in taking the bus but even then I only hinted at my general unhappiness. In short, I feel distant and disconnected. I know I’m missing out on spontaneous adventures and group bonding. I also know there’s a lesson I’m supposed to learn. <;;–at least now I do.

Let me explain. Yesterday morning I went to my Zumba class at home. About 3/4 of the way through I was overwhelmed with this sense of belonging…of being part of something bigger than myself…of being exactly where I belonged (despite the exhaustion and general body achiness that comes from 7 hour drive). And I realized something else: I haven’t felt that way in Baltimore since my very first visit.

That realization almost knocked my off my feet. The tears came later but the emotion was raw. Plain and simple, I feel like I don’t belong. It’s not the people, it’s not the program, its the fact that I don’t have a community to call my own. I still haven’t found a yoga studio that fits me, I don’t have a job teaching Zumba…hell I hadn’t even danced in over 2 months! I do have amazing friends…almost all of whom live in the city or, if they are commuters, travel because they didn’t want to leave the community they already had.

And then there’s me…not quite the DC commuter, not quite the Baltimorean.

But I’ve spent weeks bitching and moaning about this…and I already told my landlord that I wanted out of my lease. I’ve looked at scores more apartments…I fell in love with one only to have someone else apply for it first. It broke my heart open wide. And all of this led to yesterday’s Zumba and the question I’ve been avoiding: will moving even matter?

Is it the 9-miles-that-feel-like-100 separating me from people or is it, well, me? <;;–or more precisely, my ego trying to hold onto the comfortable-yet-effed-up “I’m lonely” story. Until finals week, I would zoom home at the end of every day to go to yoga (at a studio that I don’t love) and then I’d stay home, regardless of whether other things were happening. When I started sticking around, I stopped feeling so alone. When I finally said yes to the sleepover offers, I realized people really did want me around and that no, I wasn’t an inconvenience.

So instead of focusing on getting out…running away, I’m turning inward. I’ve wasted too much of first term focusing on the negatives of my situation…and let a so many of the lessons I already learned fall to the wayside. My body, mind, and spirit suffered as a result. So now I’m shifting my mindset from one of blame and anger and resentment and disappointment and loneliness to one of openness…to the lessons I’m meant to learn, to the beauty in my space (because really my apartment itself does kind of rock), and to the growth I know I’m undergoing. I’m choosing to release, trust, believe, and forgive.

Not only because its easier <;;–albeit far from easy than carrying around the weight that is negative emotions, but also because I do believe that the best possible outcome will result. Now I just need to be ready for that outcome, regardless of if its what I’m expecting. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to look at apartments or take mine off the market…it does mean that I’ll re-shift my focus to caring for me, to making more of an effort, and to stop complaining about my situation and start LIVING again.

And yes, there will be a whole lot of dancing involved…I’ve got a bit of time to make up for.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Home

“Somebody famous once said that you can’t go home again, but I think you can. And there is nothing sweeter than going home after you’ve built a life that you love far, far away from that home. Going back is a touchstone, a comforting reminder of all that you’ve accomplished. But the most important thing is to never, ever forget what got you there in the first place.”

~~Beyond the Blonde

I read Beyond the Blonde years ago, but this quote has stuck with me (not only in my heart but also on my Facebook profile) since then.  This weekend it proved truer than ever before.

Of all the emotions I expected to feel upon my move to Baltimore, homesickness wasn’t one of them.  I expected nerves + anxiety + excitement + loneliness + joy + overwhelm but homesickness…me?  Never.  Too bad I was completely wrong.

Ironically, of all those emotions I’ve been feeling, homesickness is the one I’ve been dealing with the most.  It’s odd because, for those who know me, you know I spent a greater part of my young adult life avoiding home.  For reasons I don’t feel the need to share here, home was too painful, too stressful, and simply too much work.  If I went “home” it usually meant I was going to CT (my home state) to visit the beau.  I honestly never understood my friends who happily made weekend trips to their parents’ house.  It just wasn’t my life.

The past few weeks though I’ve been missing home like whoa.  I miss being able to see the beau whenever I want, I miss the spiritual community of my yoga studio, I miss my friends at the Trader’s in Shrewsbury, I miss lunches on the UMass lawn, I miss Kaybird, I miss my patients and my docs…I miss all of those things that make a “home” just that.

So this weekend I decided to be spontaneous.  Ten hours, 500+ miles, and $100 later and I had my taste of home.  It was oh so worth it and oh so necessary.

I told myself it wasn’t practical.  After all, I couldn’t leave until Saturday (Friday evening I had a yoga workshop here) and would have to come back Sunday.  But the beau was dog sitting at his parent’s house…which is two hours closer to me than his actual apartment.  And when I mentioned the idea to one of my classmates she asked, “What do you really have to do this weekend?”  Hint: I couldn’t think of anything.

Yes the house needed to be cleaned, homework read, and Downton Abbey finished…but did I really have to do any of these things?  When another friend brought up the whole “you’ve only got one life to live” point and that this was the last weekend before exams and assignments starting coming due, I knew I was going.

An awesome find in a NJ rest area

Friday I packed and Saturday morning I was on the road by nine, ready to be with loved ones, even if only for a few hours.  I was giddy (almost) the entire trip and when this rascal greeted me at the door, any hesitations or doubts flew out the window.

How can you say no to that face? Seriously.

We did little more than hang-out, watch TV, take Mable to a local park (where I practiced yoga in the middle of the field..such a good experience!), eat, and cuddle.  And it was the perfect dose of home + love that I needed.

When all was said and done, those 10 hours in the car didn’t feel so bad either (though my hips beg to differ).  On one end was the beau + the puppy and on the other was this new place I’m still learning to call home.  I was fortunate to hit minimum traffic and with the exception of some crazy weather (look at those clouds!), the drive was quick and easy.  Cheap gas in NJ didn’t hurt either.

New York

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This weekend reminded me more than anything to listen to my intuition…and that you can always go home.  Nothing about what I did was “logical” but it was right…it was what I needed.

When was the last time you did something you needed, logical or not?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Yesterday

Yesterday I…

met some fake friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time.

procrastination. fear. regret. guilt. let down.

struggled with my gremlin the whole damn day.

he told me I wasn’t worth it…was a fake, a hoax, a phoney.  taunted and teased…incessantly.

had detox brain fog that left me unsteady.

unstable. confused. worried

struggled more than I had in a while.

and wasn’t totally sure what to do about it.

found no solace in my yoga practice.

instead i felt disconnected, disheartened, lost and loney.

missed “home” more than I had in a while.

mom’s house, worcester, MYoga, my family, my friends.

fell into old patterns I thought I had left behind.

ones I thought I’d never see again.

was not my best day.

and it also wasn’t my worst.

I survived.

and today I started anew.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo