Today, I take the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge (Day 1)…

Today, I join the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge (click here to check out their website). We all have our ups and downs, we all have busy days. We all have meetings to attend, pets/plants/friends/family/lovers to tend to, deadlines to meet, hobbies to pursue, books/movies/tvshows to watch, and so forth. However, I felt this challenge would be perfect to allow me to take a few minutes out of my day everyday to realize what makes me happy.

According to the website, you can use instagram/facebook/twitter to document the 100 days or you can email your photos to them to keep anonymity. I chose the instagram option and you can follow @todaycommai, however, I have decided to all document these next 100 days via our blog. I’m starting my challenge today, February 27, 2014 and will (hopefully) successfully complete it on June 7, 2014. In addition, you supposedly will receive a booklet documenting the 100 days of happiness. Have you already joined the challenge? Will you join the challenge? What makes you happy? :) 

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Today, I lean in…. (#leanin)

It has been sooooooooo long! What have I been up to? Catching up on House of Cards, of course! Did ANYONE watch episode 1 of Season 2?!?!??! Let me just say. Wow. What else has been happening? I suppose just work, bonding with my friends that I have made over the previous 1.5+ years of living in the metropolitan area of the capital of USA, continuing to keep in touch with the lovely -arkies (what would I ever do without them?). Oh yeah, and I’ve enrolled myself into a linear algebra course at the community college near me.

IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE BACK IN A CLASS… with my textbook, my notebooks, writing utensils, backpack, and my brain. Hahaha, the things you thought you’d never miss like homework, quizzes, exams, annoying classmates (just kidding). It has made two of my otherwise Netflix/Breadcrumbs-in-bed-on-pj’s-weeknights a little more eventful. My experience over the past 3 or 4 weeks has reminded me of Sheryl Sandberg‘s Lean In (check out Charkie‘s Booktalk #3).

I remember sitting through a couple of classes with a classmate next to me continuously commenting how how to solve the example problems that the professor was going through. In my mind, I was pretty sure that he was wrong, but was unsure about how much “pretty” that entailed. I found that more than a couple of times, I just shrugged and said maybe or “ummm… I’m not sure.” I also found that if I did solve something with MATLAB or in my line-filled notebook paper, he’d be quick to jump to the conclusion that I was wrong. I also also found than more often than not (let’s say 99.99999% of the times), he was wrong and I was actually right.

I came back and discussed this with my friends and had that deja vu sensation. No wonder! I’d read about similar tales in Sandberg’s book! I’m fully capable of learning the material taught in class, however, why was I lacking the confidence that my classmate of mine had so readily stored in him? Interesting - I have indeed been holding myself back

Last night, my professor made a mistake on the board. I scanned through his calculations again to check again. I found myself starting to address this quietly to the classmate next to me. However, I realized that I’d never #leanin fully, so instead of leaning in towards my classmate, I leaned towards the front of the classroom and spoke with as much confidence I could muster. I was indeed right. My professor thanked me politely.

I know this is a small small event that does not directly address larger gender gap issues…So what if he got the sign wrong? However, for us to fully achieve our full potential, we’ve got to dig deeper into those inner layers of the onion. I realized that I had been holding myself back. Have you ever had such a moment? What are you #leanin thoughts? Let’s, as Sandberg calls for us to do, change the conversation from what women can’t do to what we can do. :)

And now I #leanin to my spicy buffalo chicken sandwich....

And now I #leanin to my spicy buffalo chicken sandwich at work….

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Today, blue is the colour! (And happy belated Valentine’s Day!)

I couldn’t think of another title and I have the Chelsea song stuck in my head so…sorry I’m not sorry. 

Anyway, hello all! I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s day! Even though that’s far away now, I’ll write a little about mine. My sister and I were valentines and our day was filled with donuts, sunshine, the apple store (unpleasant detour), a trolley ride, almond champagne, comfort foods, and dancing. It was pretty great! I have never really paid any attention to V-day but, for some reason, this one felt heightened…like I had to acknowledge it somehow. Anyway, here are some pics from the day’s adventures. I don’t have any clubby clothes…should probably get on that…but probably won’t!

Image Image

 

Anyway, amidst all the general meh-ness of the past couple of weeks, little things keep on brightening my day! One of my fave TV shows has come back after a year so I’m excited to fall into that abyss again. I’ve been getting good feedback on some of my script coverage, which is always nice. I baked Chai Tea Shortbread Cookies today! They were yummy, lemme know if you want a recipe! And, last but definitely not least, the sun has been shining so that literally brightens my days. OH, also, a friend of my sister’s made me a hula hoop for my b-day (they’re really into hooping and very good at it! They even hoop with fire!) so I’ve been getting better. I hooped for a good 30 minutes today! I need to work on getting my hips moving more so the hoop can move faster…maybe I’ll channel some Shakira :P

Have a good week, all, and if you have a sec, share with us your favorite Valentine’s day story from this year or years past (or the best alternative V-Day you’ve had!)

<3

Today, I feel like a medical detective.

A 67-year-old man, a heavy smoker goes to the hospital to investigate the origin of his chest pain. The lab parameters and blood gas values are: Na+: 138 mmol/L, K+: 4.8 mmol/L, glucose: 5.2 mmol/L, creatinine: 98 mmol/L, pCO2: 55 mmHg, pH: 7.32, actual HCO3-: 40 mmHg, BE: 4.2 mmol/L. What kind of acid-base disorder do you suppose? What could be the cause of the disorder?

Our physiology lab manual posed this and some related questions to prepare us for our acid-base balance experiment. The topic itself has been dense to study and wrap my brain around, so it was nice to see the knowledge applied in this direct, clinical way.

My diagnosis: compensated respiratory acidosis due to COPD.

Today’s a big day in college basketball! Duke is playing UNC in enemy territory. In the name of all the -arkies, GTHC, GTH!

Inside Cameron! 2010

Inside Cameron! 2010

Today, I’m channeling Dory.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Love that phrase. And it’s funny because my building is literally surrounded by Ellen’s buildings so I feel like I channel her energy a lot lol. She’s a pretty cool lady.

Anyway, the past few months are starting to catch up with me and I’m getting a little tired. But I’m trying to shake it off and keep swimming.

Things that are helping:
-daily iMessages with Char/Jarkie
-Chelsea beating Manchester City today (historical stuff, my friends)
-getting comfortable enough with people here to start making weird, random noises
-watching The Good Wife like it’s going out of style

I’m gonna try to make it out to the beach this weekend, though it’s been a little “cold” in LA recently, so we’ll see about that.

Also, if anyone knows of a cure for the travel-flu, aggressive strain (that doesn’t involve going somewhere), let me know. The bug has hit full force. Thanks, Char, for your Vienna post…. :P

 

Today, I still feel at home in Vienna.

For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.
- Simon van Booy

Last weekend, Megan and I met for a semi-spontaneous trip to Vienna! It’s about a 3 hour train ride from BP, and a slightly longer plane ride from Madrid. She doesn’t have class on Fridays or Mondays, and school’s about to start for me again, so it worked out really well!
My memories of the city are tinged by nostalgia and the summer heat: ice cream every day, walks in the park, strangers who took to me, the girl traveling without her parents. I was prepared for the possibility that the city wouldn’t have the charm and luster that lives in my memory, especially in the winter and with the changes that more than a decade inevitably bring to a person and a place.

Stefansdom then ...

Stefansdom then …

... and now.

… and now.

Anna and I arrived on Friday around noon, and took a subway straight to the hotel. One great thing about Vienna is that public transportation there is extremely accessible: every subway stop has an elevator, for example, which makes life there A LOT EASIER when trying to get around in a wheelchair.

Megan arrived shortly after, well-fed by the airline snacks on Air Italia :) We walked around the city center, including a visit to Stefansdom and Peter’s Church. Afterwards, Megan and I saw more of the city by ourselves. We tried to go to one of the cafés that her father recommended, but all of those had a least a step precluding my entrance. Accessibility issues still abound! However, it worked out for the best because we stumbled across a delicious Italian restaurant called Ristorante Sole. The staff there was so considerate, even taking pity on our indecisiveness and portioning our two entrees so that we could each have half. For dessert, we split strawberries with creamy mascarpone.

Well-fed and ready to see the city by night!

Well-fed and ready to see the city by night!

That’s when the excitement really started, though, because as we walked around, we found ourselves on the outskirts of a riot protesting a ball in the Hofburg. Megan and I tend to gravitate towards home before the night owls even take flight. It so happened that the entrance to our hotel was RIGHT in the middle of a crowd of protestors. Fortunately, the policemen deemed us harmless and allowed us to pass through the barriers.

On Saturday, we took a subway to Schönbrunn, the Hapsburg’s summer residence, painted Maria Theresa’s favorite color, ochre yellow.

We toured 40 rooms on the first floor!

We toured 40 rooms on the first floor!

The palace itself is only half the fun of Schönbrunn; its vast grounds include a zoo (with pandas!), rose garden, and paths for meandering.  We walked to the top of a small hill to see this view:

I didn't realize we were so far up until we got there! It was worth the cold ascent.

I didn’t realize we were so far up until we got there! It was worth the cold ascent.

After warming up in our room, Megan and I ventured out again for dinner at Café Landtmann and explorations around the city hall. The city hall is a gorgeous building, reminiscent of the gothic style of Duke Chapel.IMG_0793

There were at least 3 ice skating rinks set up in front of the city hall, and people were out en masse to skate and enjoy mulled wine and hot food.

There were at least 3 ice skating rinks set up in front of the city hall, and people were out en masse to skate and enjoy mulled wine and hot food.

Temperatures were frigid at this point, so we called it an early night again and relaxed in our room.

On Sunday, we went to the Albertina to see the newly acquired collection of Impressionist, Expressionist, and Surrealist art, entitled “Monet to Picasso”.

This Chagall painting was one of my favorites

This Chagall painting was one of my favorites.

Per Anna’s request, we had to to have Wiener Schnitzel (when in Wien …), so that was our mission in the afternoon. That was when the snow started to fall! It was enough to be pretty without becoming an inconvenience like the Snowpocalypse and Polar Vortex of the East Coast.
In the evening, Megan and I went to visit Stephi, an old friend of mine, at her home. It was really nice to see her again and meet her family. I had not spoken to her in quite a while, though she sends me Advent calendars every December! Moreover, Megan and I had just become friends in middle school before I met Stephi, so it was sweetly bizarre to introduce these two people who have been in my life so long.

Stephi suggested we go to Sunday Swing at the Leopold Museum Café, so that was our next destination, since the night was still young, even for us. At this point, there was an inch layer of snow coating the streets, making for a charming winter wonderland as we trudged out. The Sunday Swing was in full … swing… when we got there. I felt transported to the ’20s! The only downside was the thick smoke hanging in the air from all the cigarettes, but perhaps that contributed to the authenticity of the experience.

Monday was our last morning, so we went to see Karl’s church and a peak of Belvedere, but it was too cold and snowy, so we ended up getting hot chocolate and coffee in a bakery underground. :) Warmth and a friend – not a bad way to end the trip, after all.

from a temporary exhibit by the Austrian artist Sonja Gangl. Adieu, Vienna! Auf Wiedersehen!

from a temporary exhibit by the Austrian artist Sonja Gangl at the Albertina. Adieu, Vienna! Auf Wiedersehen!

Vienna wasn’t quite as I remembered it, but that ended up being okay. After all, I’ve changed a lot, too. Time has worn down parts of us, circumstances have enriched us, but we are still recognizable.

Today, I am glad to live in California…

Sure, I wish that my family was here, my friends were here, that I had a paying job, my own place to live, that Juan Mata didn’t leave Chelsea for the worst team ever, that I could travel and travel and travel, and that life was generally a breeze BUT one thing I do not wish is that I didn’t live in California. Southern California. Where, no matter how crazy life gets or how stressful things seem, you can just go sit on the beach and watch the sunset (for free!) any day you want. That’s where I find my zen, if I may. At this moment, after getting off the phone with my Mom who is lamenting over the possibility of a massive snowstorm, I am glad that I live here. (And that I live here with my wonderful sister.)

A lot has happened, friends, since I posted last. 2014 began, I turned a year older (YIKES), I started an internship (I’m learning how to read again…SO MUCH READING), started hula hooping (OMG so hard), met new people, joined a leadership team, and so on and so forth. I have to write all of these things down or I won’t believe that it has been almost 4 months since I moved here or that 26 days have passed by in January. I also have to write them down or I won’t believe that I’ve been doing things since I moved here.

Time flies. And it’s so easy to dwell on what hasn’t happened than to reflect on what has. Yes, I yearn for all those wishes I posted at the top. And yes, it hurts a little bit when I think too much of them. But I’m here and need to be as present as I can because cool things are happening and will happen and I don’t want to miss them when they do. 

P.S. My mom lectured me on how important writing on this blog was. Well, that’s a bit dramatic. But she did say that I need to keep writing. So I’ll try, promise. 

Thanks for your patience and, as always, thanks for reading.
<3