Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The 15K We Somehow Survived

Finish Line
So.  10 weeks ago I saw news of a 15K which would take place last Saturday.  I pleaded and begged boyfriend to do it with me, because lets face it, who wants to do 10 weeks of training when other important things could be done, like watching Two & a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls?  He reluctantly agreed, and so we began the 3-runs-a-week training program that I [clearly the professional] created.

All went swimmingly until Chicago happened.  We had been used to running in 85 degree {29 celsius} + high humidity, so running in 65 degrees {18 celsius} + strong head winds was enough to make our heads and ears hurt (us poor babies, I know).  We barely ran for two weeks and the week of our return to Caribbean running would be the same week as the 15K.

Boyfriend said no way was he doing it, the post vacay shock of the humidity would be enough to turn anyone off, but for some reason that only God knows, we decided to give it a go.

The race was said to start at 5:07 PM.  We arrived at 5:05, and as soon as we walked up toward the start line the runners had already taken off!  We began running at once, no stretching, no preparation, nada.  It was sunny and unbearable hot for the first half.  The route couldn't have been more boring, as it was just the same road back and forth, twice!  But we finished it and maintained our pace the whole way through! Never in my life did I think I would be able to run 9.3 miles, but I did it!

{Please note A's loving look}
Things I learned:
-Even if your race is somewhere with island time, try to arrive early.
-If you continue pouring water over your head, your cheap Apple earphones will eventually stop working.  Bye, bye, volume buttons.
-Remember that your photo will be taken at the finish line, try to look pretty.  {Should have learned last time}
-Don't eat ribs and a casserole for lunch before your 5 PM race. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Case of the Tuesdays

Its crazy how much can change at work when you're gone for two weeks.

Our headquarters store now has a new store manager who likes to micromanage, threaten employees, and order people around just because he thinks he can.  We do not get along to say the least.  And when you work in a small company, one bad apple is enough people to ruin your day.  If our jobs were in English (or if he even understood English), he would've been running for the hills last week, but since Spanish is not my native language, I become timid with him, and when I can't express myself I unintentionally give him the power [despite the fact that my position is well above his].  Wah wah.  

I've been blessed to never have worked with such a difficult individual until now, but I'm frustrated that it has to be in Spanish!  I applaud all of those who work in a language that is not their own!  Its hard.  I do not want this one insignificant person to continue ruining my day, so bear with me while I focus on all the good there is in my job:

-I recently got a promotion
-I am getting an assistant to do the work that I don't want to do
-I have a good relationship with everyone at work besides said person
-I'm home every day at 4:40 PM if not earlier
-I can eat ceviche for lunch everyday I wish with the market across the street :)


Its so easy to dwell on the negative 
and so hard to focus on the positive.  

If I'm learning one thing while living in the DR it is exactly that sentence.  It has become a constant mental training and challenge to not let negativity fill my brain, and if anything, this not so special person will help me defeat my personal challenge!  Cheers to difficult individuals. 

America's Latest Craze: No-Chip Manicures

As I sit here admiring my glossy nails that underwent a no-chip manicure 15 days ago, I can't help but worry.  After perusing the web to find a no-chip salon in Santo Domingo (yeah right, Tia), I researched the nail phenomenon and came across this article.  

And there is a striking resemblance to my real life
-The chemicals polish dried quickly leaving it impossible to screw up a nail on the way out of the salon.
-It has lasted two weeks already.
-It still gleams on Day 14.  I've never had shinier nail beds in my life.

But what does it tell me next?  THAT REMOVAL MUST BE DONE AT A SALON.  That DIY removal is not recommended and you're supposed to condition your nails daily?! Why didn't the nail tech tell me this!  

What the salons don't tell you is that Essie makes a great quality no-chip topcoat that you can buy for a fraction of the price and its removal is like any other ordinary polish.  I'm so glad that I hunted it down on my third trip to Target in one week.

Now if only I can successfully scrape off the chemicals and start with my new and improved version of this craze...  That would be bliss.

Monday, May 28, 2012

3 Things Chicago: Food

The Magnificent Mile - Michigan Ave
Last week I got back to the DR after two full weeks in the States!  It felt like the perfect amount of time - I was able to see a lot of friends and family, and wasn't completely rushed in booking appointments, eye exams, hair cuts, etc.  Boyfriend came with me for the first 5 days, which meant some sight seeing and lots of introductions to my favorite Chicago foods.

3 Things to Try in Chicago

Caramel with Almonds
I remember living downtown Chicago and the smell of Garrett's would linger in the air a block away from the store - it was a constant challenge to walk past Garrett's without stopping in for a bag.  Garrett's makes the best caramel, and a killer cheesy popcorn for those who prefer salty popcorn.  Despite what the cashier told me about it "losing its freshness" after a day or two, it was still amazing a week after gifting it for Mother's Day.  A perfect Chicago souvenir.  

Pizza at Due's
2.  Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
I've had pizza in all parts of Italy, but if I had to choose between a slice of Italian or Chicago pizza, I would still choose Chicago-style!  Chicago pizza is a thick pizza with a softer crust, and the tomato sauce is what you see on top of the pie instead of the cheese.  Pizzeria Uno's and Due's are the most famous places to go for pizza in Chicago - not to be confused with Uno's the franchise restaurant that has sprouted all over suburbia - it is NOT the same pizza.  

Greek Sampler at Pegasus
3.  Greektown Chicago
If you don't have a Greek yiayia to make you food from the motherland whenever you wish, then visit Greektown.  Its very small, only a couple of city blocks, but its filled with authentic Greek restaurants and small shops - even the Walgreens on the corner has signs in Greek!  Saganaki (a lemon-drizzled sizzling cheese that the server will light on fire) and baklava will never let you down. 

Until next time, Chicago.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Surprise! Chicago

I'm home in Chicago! 

I didn't tell many people I was coming, mainly because I wanted to surprise my grandparents.  And last night when I made it to their house, boy were they surprised.  The looks on their faces were priceless as they jumped out of their seats, although I think I nearly gave my grandma a heart attack!  We spent the next hour or so talking/laughing and they haven't changed one bit.

Me:  Papou, your hair is getting really long in the back.
Him:  Honey.  I'm bald.  {As if he's breaking the hard truth to me}  Why do you think I have so many hats? 

His sarcasm and ability to joke about anything never seem to die down.  Of course, yaya offered us food every 3 and 1/2 minutes, while papou told us things like, "Really, who could put up with 42 years of that?" while referring to my grandmother, so matter-of-factly.  They are in their late 60's and late 80's, and I love that I can still can have a good time with them.

Boyfriend is here until Monday, and I'll be here for two weeks!  
First stops on my list: Target and a proper haircut.  I can't wait.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Spa Day

Today I spent my morning at the spa.  
{Wish I said that sentence once a week}

Boyfriend has a knack at getting me good gifts, and for my birthday last week he got me a spa package, which is exactly what I needed!  Its been 10 months (MONTHS) since I've been to a spa, so today I soaked up every second I had with my cucumber-slice eye lids on.  I had a good sweat in the sauna (I even begged asked for more minutes there), got my dead body skin scrubbed away by a madwoman, had a facial with some painful extractions (who knew I had so many forehead zits?!), and finished the treatments with a very relaxing massage.  

When boyfriend came home today he told me I looked more shiny {this word has been changed to "glowing" in my head and I'm pretending its a compliment}.  And tonight we'll take the more calming Hatha style yoga class at our studio, which will be the perfect way to end a day like today.  

Gracias, mi melón. 

PS - This afternoon I learned how to eat a mango thats not yet ripe:  with salt and lemon juice! Yum!  Oh, the things I learn from this Caribbean boy of mine... 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hello May

Its been a week and a half since my last post - definitely the longest pause in my blog since its birth last summer! 

Things That Have Happened within the Last Week:

Birthday Girl
We celebrated my friend Anahi's birthday Peruvian style with ceviche and ají de gallina - if you haven't tried this dish you must!  Every time I have it I daydream about taking a foodie trip to Peru.

I started law translation work on the side.  Its just an hour or two a week when I feel like doing it, and it will give me fun money to pay for extra things like my yoga classes and salon visits.

A's nephews
We watched little boys play soccer on Saturday morning.  Its so funny to watch them because they sort of just run back and forth chasing the ball.

I had a meltdown because I'm on the verge of 25 {quarter life crisis} and sometimes it just feels impossible to live in this very dysfunctional country.

Lots of Clams
My very low key weekend involved too much eating.  We went to an authentic Spanish restaurant and had clams, patatas bravas, chorizo, and sangria.  My sangria consumption could be compared to that while living in Barcelona, because just the next night we had neon colored sangria at another eatery close by. 

Boyfriend and I ran the longest run we've ever ran in our lives!  7 miles after a huge pizza lunch; it felt like quit the accomplishment.  Only 2.3 miles away from our 15k!  Almost there. 

I attempted to quit my job but it just doesn't really happen - I was even told, "I don't care if you spend 3 hours on Facebook everyday, just please stay!"  

I am taking a very-much-needed two week vacation off of work and the Dominican way of life.  The countdown for 2 PM Monday has begun.

In the meantime, my birthday is tomorrow!  I am half way done with my twenties - not quite sure how I feel about that!