5/10/2021 I have been home for about two weeks now and it feels like I never really left. Kate and all of my friends - it's like I was never away from them. I do feel different within myself, though. Since Kate is at work all day and I only go to school in person Thursdays and Fridays, I spend a lot of time by myself during the day. It has actually given me a lot of time to figure out how to entertain myself and split up my days. I often start with some yoga and a fun breakfast. Sometimes I do online school with friends or read. I like to have some chill time where I just sort of relax and think about life and myself, which sounds ridiculous, but has actually been very good for me. Mondays are my most relaxed during the day and then I get pretty busy. Most evenings I have track and then dance three times a week, so those nights are very busy, but fun. I kind of like being alone. There is this sense of self-assuredness. Like, okay, I got this. I can cook for myself, and make myself study, and balance rest and going. It makes me feel confident.
Kate and I have also been having a lot of fun together. We like to cook together and watch I'm Sorry on Netflix at the end of a long day. We have also been seeing family friends a fair amount, which has been really nice. I think now that we are older and more mature it is easier for us to be with each other because we have more in common and can talk our way out of arguments and distress, rather than calling for mom and dad. This past weekend, I had my first track meet in two years, which was really fun! I am excited to improve and work hard this season. Kate and I did a lot, from driving back and forth, to prom planning, to cooking and cleaning, but it was really fun! Yesterday, we prepared brunch for our Mom's mom which was really nice and then we went to some friends' house to each wagyu beef bbq (Japanese style) and watch Frozen 2 - I have to say, the first one is better. :)
Book Series everyone should read: Court of Thorns and Roses
Top meals Kate and I have made:
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Pesto and Greens pasta with chicken
Thanksgiving themed salads
Veggie Frittata with Chutney
4/25/2021 I am back in Denver now! :) I am happy to be home and am so excited to spend time with my sister and friends and run track and dance, but this trip really was one of the best things I have ever experienced. My sister keeps asking me if I'm glad that I went or if I regret it at all. Definitely not. It was amazing. I learned some very important things:
-Home is not a place or a house. Home is a feeling, a person (or people). Home is this knowledge that you are safe and you are happy where you are.
-Alone time is good. Being still is good - mentally, especially. The biggest resilience we can build is in our minds and our trust that we will be okay and we will make it.
-I need few material things. Not many clothes, not many gadgets. I could have packed much less.
-Friends are the people who you wish were next to you when you are on the edge of a cliff in Ireland. Or the pier on a beach in South Carolina. They are the person who you think of and wish you could turn to with a joke or snide remark (haha).
-The South is not a bad place - that was my own prejudice and my own issues. It's not fair to make assumptions about a place based on its history.
-The way in which history is told says a lot about a community's ability to take responsibility for its past.
- I probably have the coolest, most supportive, most loving and caring parents I could have asked for. Thanks Mom and Dad. Have fun on the rest of your journey! Bear is thinking of you and your love. <3
3/24/2021 So, I really like Boston. The weather the last few days has been amazing. We have been running and walking around lots to soak up all of the amazing sunshine. I finally got to run in shorts, my favorite!! Monday night we took this amazing bread making class wherein we learned how to make French bread and cinnamon rolls. 12 baguettes later and 24 cinnamon rolls - minus three because we were hungry and it was late - our breads made it home via the T. :) Yesterday we did some shopping - a lot of boutiques with prices that weren't really in my ice cream shop summer savings, but still fun! I am noticing a bit of a culture shock now that I am back in the US, which is interesting because I didn't think that that would happen, but there is definitely a difference between Ireland and the US, especially because Ireland was so locked down and we essentially didn't see people for a month. I think the US has some work to do, but I also really love it - the diversity in opinions and cultures, the liveliness, the bustle. I guess I am an American girl.
3/17/2021 Let's see - it's been a while. I am sure you all know we are in Boston as the parents keep the blog pretty updated. I really like it here. It is weird to back in the US to some extent because we spent so long away from people, but I do have a newfound love of the US in a strange way. I think there are a lot of issues, but I love the diversity and, to some extent, the zero F's given ever. Like, Americans are here to have a good time. (sometimes it can be bad and go to far and sometimes we really just need to stop and get stuff done, but it is also kind of fun). I have been running and training lots here, which is amazing. New running shoes from the famous Heartbreak Running Company keep me speedy and I have starting listening to music again while running, which leaves a constant playlist in my head throughout the day. I have also been able to do some in-person dance classes and I have never been so thankful to leap across a room multiple times in a row!!
Top things we've done so far:
-running through Cambridge and Harvard
-eating a bowl of pasta in an actual restaurant
-picnic at the park :)
Also, if you haven't started watching all the Oscar nominations, you need to start! They are really good. So far we have seen Promising Young Woman, Nomadland, and Trial of the Chicago 7.
3/1/2021 I can't believe that it's March. We are in Dublin now. I love it here. The city is big, but fairly clean and nice. The murals and parks are amazing. So, so many parks. Today I did my 10 mile run up and through Phoenix Park, which is beautiful. We spent the day there yesterday, too, biking and such. It was packed yesterday because it was Sunday and the weather was really nice. It feels like spring. We have walked all over the last few days. We went to St. Stephen's Green, the Four Courts, all the churches. We have had some yummy food - we had some really good sandwiches for lunch today.
I have some exciting news - I qualified for State in Speech and Debate!! I am so excited. Last year I qualified, but it was cancelled due to COVID. This year it's virtual, so there's no risk of that.
2/24/2021 The last few days have been very eventful. I have been running lots - sore after hill repeats today! Yesterday Mom and I finished our potato prints. We have been working on series that includes the history of all different types of potatoes in Ireland and how they are best used with recipes to go along and prints to represent them. It was very fun!! We also did lots of baking. Our Hamantaschen for Purim failed because of a mix up with sugar ratios, so they look more like breasts. Lol, International Women's Day is coming up too.... We also made the graham cracker toffee from Christina Tosi's bake club. Our's were based on almond joy flavors. If you don't know who Christina Tosi is, you aren't living. She is my baking idol and I strongly suggest following her instagram to learn more. She is the creator and owner of Milk Bar and knows how to make delicious-ness with very few ingredients. After a baking extravaganza I had to work on Speech and Debate and do school, but after we had lots of dancing and Yahtzee!! Today, after our runs, we finally filmed our take on Jerusalema - the dance challenge. Check it out on the front page and YouTube! Then, we went for the final hike of our stay here as we are leaving tomorrow. It's been amazing in Castletownbere, but I definitely ready for a little change up. Dublin, here we come!!
2/21/2021 We just got back from an epic hike around Bere Island. It was so, so beautiful! We went around the island to the lighthouse, then followed the loop up and around the entire area. It was long, view-tiful, and finally a day full of sun!! I can't believe we only have four more nights here. I was talking with Dad earlier and we were saying how crazy it is that we literally haven't eaten anything except a home-cooked meal in basically a month. I am ready to go to Dublin and be on the move again for a while, but I definitely loved my time here. The views, the fires, the runs, the hikes, the shells. All of it. It's amazing all that can happen, while at the same time very little is happening. Haha.
I tried a new online studio for dance classes: Alvin Ailey - West African. 10/10. First class is a discounted $12. Highly recommend!
I have loved trying new dance types and classes while here and I can't wait to extend my repertoire even more.
2/16/2021 So, this week has been going pretty good. Lot of hiking and running. I started up with my running schedule designed by coach again, which has been going well so far. Yesterday, I had my long tempo run into town and then we did a really interesting loop called Garrinish loop. It is was all along the water and you could see these islands. We also made friends with some ponies, which was a real highlight. Last night I had my last beginner salsa class (improvers starts next week). I've really enjoyed trying a new style of dance and also started street dance last week. City Academy does great five-week series for anyone interested. Today we got up ate toast, I ran, and then we went for a really cool hike that had great views of Bere Island and the light house. It always amazes me how hilly every hike is!! The burn! I am cooking tonight - veggie chili and cornbread from my new cookbook by Olympic runner Emma Coburn (The Runner's Kitchen). I will let you all know what I think. Salsa video will be posted soon. Check it out!!
2/9/2021 My parents keep subtly (and not so subtly pointing out that I haven't blogged in a while). In truth, I have been doing a lot of other journaling and am blogging with a women's circle at the moment, so I just haven't really been thinking about this one that much. I really love Castletownbere. I think is my favorite place we have been at thus far. The views are amazing and I love getting to drive to do cool new hikes several times a week and explore. Yesterday, I had my tempo long run, so I ran into town and met Dad there for the grocery shopping and firewood pick up. I have begun to get back into the habit of a daily epsom salt bath, so that followed and then I had a leisurely day filled with reading, watching, homework, stretching, and my Salsa class. I'm really getting it now!!
Recently, I have been thinking about college a lot and where I want to go. I have several good options that would allow me to run as well, so I am feeling excited and good about the prospects. Guess we'll see in 2022!!
1/31/2021 I cannot believe it is almost February! We are now outside of CastleTowneBere. I really like it here, especially to run and hike and just sit on the back patio and look at the water. There are definitely fairies and leprechauns in the woods. I have started some more writing and drawing, which I think will be really good for me. I did pretty well at my first speech and debate tournament of the semester yesterday, which is exciting. Hopefully, I can make some improvements and raise my rankings!! I am reading a book right now called Ziggy Stardust and Me that follows a boy who is gay in the 70s in Missouri and is forced into conversion therapy. Very disturbing part of history and present time that I think should be discussed much more! Also, learned that Ziggy Stardust=David Bowie. So, that's awesome. Bring on the sparkles and face paint please!
1/18/2021 Well, I think I am a city girl through and through. I love Kinsale and am excited to try all sorts of new environments, but now that we are in Cork City, I'm remembering how good it feels to be in a metropolitan area. There is just a different feeling. It feels more alive. I really like this city. It kind of reminds me of a cross between Boston and San Francisco. Today we mapped out a great running route - kind of in the rain, but who cares? Then, we made more scones (I mean, come on). The afternoon was spent exploring. The murals, food stores, and coffee shops were abundant. We went to the English Market and decided we never needed to go to a Lidl's again. Forget grocery stores when there are cheese wheels, buckets of anchovies, mini jars of lemon curd, and deep fried burger patties from behind the counter. Admittedly, the last one grossed me out, but it's the essence of the thing, really. I also had my first salsa class in a 5-week series tonight. 123 - 567. Those counts will be stuck in my head all night. Online dance classes have been a godsend during this time. This one is through City Academy, in London. More steps to be learned next week, but I will keep you updated. Maybe a video will even make an appearance on the blog... Dad taught me how to make his famous marinara sauce this afternoon, a delicious start to the evening! To top it off, we watched 27 Dresses. I'm a sucker for a good romantic comedy and it certainly hit the spot for me. Just good enough to not be stupid and keep going. I mean, they can't all be To All the Boys... PS as we await the third movie (Kate and besties you know what I'm talking about) who else is going to rewatch the trailer a gazillion times just to pine over Peter K and Lara Jean's wardrobe??!!!
1/10/2021 I just finished the book Midnight Library. Very interesting and existential. I recommend if you are into fiction, but want something a little different and strange. Trigger warning: it does deal with suicide. Things here are going quite well. I think we are still recovering from out ten mile hike on Friday and day of running, cooking, and food shopping yesterday. Last night we did a dinner swap with our good friends and then ate over zoom. Delicious! The meal consisted of a kale salad with chorizo, roasted cauliflower, and a shrimp and fennel salad. Dessert was made by me: banana, PB, chocolate chunk cookies (credits to Christina Tosi). These are basically my favorite foods in one cookie, so I couldn't resist. This morning I woke up early and then went for a run around ten-ish, when the sun in finally out. I ran up along the water and found an old, abandoned boat that was pretty cool. Yesterday I saw porpoises. Mom and I made some scones for outdoor lunch with our friends. The clouds have really come out this afternoon, making it feel quite cold. It's funny how that happens here. I am very grateful for the opportunity to come here and see a different perspective on life. It's the small things that make me smile and appreciate this time; Our neighbor and I have been doing a little food trading the past few days - she just brought be some chocolate and breakfast egg muffins. Or warm tea/cocoa in the afternoon with an oat biscuit. Or the frost in the morning that looks like snow on the grass. Or runs along the water. Or puppies in sweaters. Even the frustration of being unable to find the last edge pieces in our puzzle. It all makes me smile.
1/3/2021 Welp, people. It's the New Year. Who knew I would be starting 2021 in Ireland??!! I am so thankful to be here. Every day it feels as though we do nothing, and yet everything. The amount of hiking, running, and exploring is incredible. I am so happy that I have parents who like do these sorts of things, together. I think that the New Year is always kind of ridiculous in terms of everyone acting as though some big change has taken place. I mean, you wake up January 1 and it's just another day. You keep moving forward. Similarly, I don't really like setting resolutions because I feel that they are usually self-deprecating, unrealistic, and not really that important. Losing 5 pounds or eating healthy or watching less TV or deleting social media. None of these things really matter. They don't embody a person's actual persona. I want to set some intentions. I want to live each day fuller and get outside of my head more. I want to listen to my intuition. Most importantly, I want to do what I want to do free of guilt or obligation. If I learned one thing in 2020, it is that trying to maintain control over every aspect of your life is impossible and will only leave you feeling like you've failed. It's time for me to learn to roll with the punches.
But, anyways, enough of my Ted Talk. Let's talk about something fun! In Kinsale they have these little fairy doors everywhere that are hidden in nooks and crannies around the town. I recently purchased one. The door is green, the fairy is named Basil, and he has a pet hedgehog. According to his scroll, his favorite food is avocado toast and his favorite flower is lavender. So yeah, this made my heart happy :).
12/29/2020 Well, it seems as though Ireland may go into a full on level 5 lockdown. This would mean that no one would be allowed to leave a 5km radius of their residence. I hope this doesn't happen, although I think we already follow this anyway. We have plans to head to Cork for ten days after January 17th and then head on to Beara to leave a little more remotely. If level 5 lockdown were to happen, these plans could be effected, which would be disappointing. However, I feel that the purpose of this trip for us is to really take time to just be and relax, enjoy ourselves, separate from the outside world. We should be able to do this wherever we find ourselves. We have done some fun things the last few days. We went on a 7.5 mile hike on Saturday, past Charles Fort and down to Lower Cove. It felt like we were literally on the edge of the world. The wind was so intense, I was scared I would blow away!! We have been running of course and baking and cooking, like always. There is an amazing chocolate shop, KoKo Kinsale, that we got treats from for Christmas and it has been fun to try those! We started a new book as a family, called The City of Bohane. It is very strange so far, a weird sort of dystopian, but I definitely recommend it! Pretty vulgar, so not for the faint of heart. All of quarantine I have been doing online dance classes with Broadway Dance Center out of NYC. Last night, I did a jazz dance party with Sheila Barker and I have to say it was one of the most fun things I have done in a while. I highly recommend these classes for anyone who needs a little music and partying in their life. Definitely keeps me happy.
12/25/2020 Happy Christmas, everyone!! I hope you all are having fantastic weeks. Over here we have been doing much of the same as usual. A lot of running, walks, baking/cooking, and reading. We just finished Snow, a book by John Banville that we read as a family. Very good, though slightly disturbing. I recommend this book or others by the author. He definitely knows what he's doing when it comes to writing. While here, I have gotten the opportunity to speak with two D3 cross country coaches who are interested in me running for them. Very exciting! With the SAT out of the way and running in college an actual option, I feel a sense of relief. Sometimes college seems like this huge thing that will never actually happen, a big buildup. It's starting to feel real and I'm quite excited! Hopefully, COVID will get all cleared up in time for senior year and college to come. I got to try my first taste of fish and chips here. We shared the catch of the day from DINO's the other day. Delicious! So fresh. I am sucker for good seafood and it's easy to find here, in Kinsale. So far, we are having a lovely Christmas Day. We woke up, read, ate some oatmeal, then all went for our runs. Such a nice and sunny day! After a snack and some baking, we did art, played games, and did some crosswords. We are going to FaceTime Kate and some friends to say hello and then I'm sure a delicious dinner will ensue tonight. Also, got some yoga in! I highly recommend a travel yoga mat if you like that kind of thing. My Mom's folds up and fits in all sorts of places and ways.
Foods I've tried this week that were new and delicious:
- duck pate
- black pudding (don't think about it too much, just eat)
- Jamaican Christmas cake (apparently it gets better with age! - similar to a spice/fruit cake or bread, a great afternoon snack)
- Cooleney melting cheese (my mom described it as roclette on crack aka heavenly)
- pear/goat cheese salad
12/22/2020 This morning I slept until 10 again. I keep having really odd dreams and waking up in the middle of the night. I wonder if it's still the jet lag? Yesterday was super cloudy and gray. It felt like it was 4:00 all day. I made scones with Mom, then, while they baked, went for run. Every run feels like a hill workout here because all of the roads are hills!! I like it though. Everyday is running weather because it's not too hot. After that, I came home and had a scone with some lemon curd. Delicious!! Highly recommend. I spent much of the afternoon doing art and reading. The book we are reading as a family is called Snow, an Irish mystery. Very good so far. Quite the set of characters! Then, Dad I went for a late night walk in the dark and rain to get him some clothes while his suitcase makes its way here. Please, airlines. Get it together! For dinner we made monkfish with kale and potatoes. The monkfish was new for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. After dinner, we watched the Downton Abbey movie. Oh, the dramatics!!
A note on the food here: Everything is so fresh. We have been ordering through a local market that gets different foods from all of the farms nearby and sells it from one site. Almost all organic and local. The bread has a crunchy crust, but always a soft interior. The veggies are rich in color and taste. There is even a special citrus lemon that is perfect for fish! Today for lunch I had a piece of toast with aged cheddar, sliced tomato, and greens. Dad said it looked like a Christmas sandwich. And the oranges. They're the kind that peel perfectly, leaving a sweet and clean interior! The seafood is simply to die for. As my family knows, I LOVE shrimp. Basically my favorite food. We had shrimp risotto for dinner the other night and the shrimp was almost decadent. It tasted milder, in a fresh and wholesome way. More reviews to come, but here are some fun snack combos to try that I have embraced while here:
-aged cheddar with avocado on a homemade Irish biscuit
-cheese sandwiches (literally any kind of cheese)
-fruit salad with lychees :)
-Irish granola with goat milk yogurt and blueberries
-Cadbury chocolate with mint tea (tastes like a thin mint experience)
12/21/2020 Yesterday we had a great time walking the Scilly Trail. It goes all the way to Charles Fort and then past - down to another dock for boats. It was the sunniest day we have seen in our time here. Everyone was out and about with their families soaking up the nice weather and being together. That took a lot of the day, but when we got back, Mom and I did some marble ink on Japanese papers to make into books and then we created a recipe for chocolate chip peanut butter tea cookies. So delicious! The recipe will be up shortly. I finished my second puzzle. This one was a doozy - double the pieces of the last one - but I made it. Who know puzzles weren't just for old people??
Running in Ireland is so much fun!!! The views are amazing, the hills kick my butt, and the sun is never blinding me (because I refuse to run in sunglasses). I started a new puzzle - double the amount of pieces of the last one... kind of struggling!! School is officially over and I so love not having to be on the computer, basically at all. Dad is finally here and we are all settling in quite nicely. Back home I could never sleep in, but I haven't woken up before 10 a single day here! Today, on my run, I say Santa and Mrs. Claus riding around on horses - something about Christmas here feels so down to earth and lovely. At home I always felt kind of left out around Christmas time. Here, it feels like I am experiencing something new and exciting! Can't wait for more adventures!! Also, shoutout to Melisa Harder for THE BEST playlist on the planet!!
Day 12/15/2020 Mom and I made it! I can say we made it safely, just barely. Immigration almost stopped us... but here we are, better than ever. Dad is coming Thursday because his father died, but Mom and I are here, settling in. Grandpa's funeral was lovely and his idioms will surely live on. It's copasetic.
Mom and I slept in and made some Irish porridge. After lots of puzzling and music we we went for a long walk. Kinsale is officially my new favorite place. The town is so colorful and cozy! For dinner we made a delicious salad with blue cheese, beats, chicken, leeks, lettuce, and potatoes. Now, on to some schoolwork, my tenth cup of tea, and some cheesy murder mysteries...
12/17/2020 Today is very rainy. Mom and I had a great day yesterday. I slept until past 11:00 (the first time in 2 years!!). Then, we made homemade granola :). We walked to meet Margie for a walk/hike around James Fort. It was so fun and beautiful alone the water!! The dogs were very excited to be out in the seaweed. It started to rain and I felt so cold. So different from the snowy cold in Denver!! We had tea outside with some biscuits before heading back. Mom and I went back through town. So cute!! All of the lights made my heart warm. After some appliance issues and shenanigans, we made homemade chicken soup and I finished the puzzle. Of course, all was followed by crazy British TV and some salted caramel profiteroles!!
This morning I went for my first run in Ireland!! The Frogg Togg suit kept me nice and dry! The wind is crazy here, but the views are worth it. I'm ready for these hills to kick my booty! Dad comes today :), can't wait to see him!!