Stand Clear of the Closing Doors: NYC Subway Culture

Look ya’ll!  We made it to Wednesday!  And I think all of us New Yorkers can agree that between the weather and the politics and the tourists and the usual day to day grind of work and home life, the city has been it’s usually frustrated self and then some.

If you’ve even traveled through New York by subway, I’m sure you will be able to relate to this post. Underground is a whole different culture, playing by it’s own set of rules, with it’s own set of problems and frustrations.

As someone who lives here and travels by train several times a day, I’ve seen a lot of strange and annoying things… and I’ve smelled even stranger. I thought a piece on “train culture” would be interesting and would give me a chance to share some of my top favorite train experiences.

Mostly, it’s all about the people. Sure, sometimes the MTA system screws you over and never tells you your train will be out of service or running local when it should be express. Or you get stuck in a tunnel without cell service- so you can’t tell your boss you are gonna be late for that important meeting… but some of that wouldn’t be so bad if you were just able to sit in piece and deal with it alone. Instead, you are surrounded by people, tons of strangers… all trying to get to someplace.

The weather, the time of day, the temperature outside and inside the car, all of these affect the commute and the people on the train. I’ve seen full out fights start because people won’t move into the center of a car and someone else can’t get in, so they push and shove and piss someone off.

It’s not always bad, thank goodness. When men stand and offer their seat to women, when someone holds the door cause they see you running to the train, those that you share a moment with when there is a crazy homeless person on a screaming rant and the train has stalled out in the tunnels. Remember that post a few weeks ago, “OH the 1 Train”? While I seriously disliked having to stand and have that guy hit on me the whole commute, the girl I ended up chatting with later and the other passengers who shared in a laugh at my facial expression was very fun.

Usually though, as soon as you descend down those stairs underground, the rules all change. We fight for seats, we push and shove to get into a crowded car, and we all deal with annoying things. Here are some of my favorite subway irritating moments… at least to date. Pictures and “definitions” are all mine… as are the titles themselves for that matter.

The Poll Hog:

Definition: Leaning a large portion of one’s body on the center polls that are meant to over a place for multiple people to hold onto when standing on a moving train and offer stability so one does not fall and the train lurches down the tunnels.IMG_1333.JPG

 

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I only understand this one when the train is nearly empty or you are the only one standing. But when you are one of many on a crowded train—DON’T LEAN!! Suddenly there is so many fewer options for everyone else to find a place to hold onto. I’ve been one of 10 people holding onto one poll before, but in the blink of an eye, one person can hog a whole spot and the rest of us might just be outta luck. I don’t know what makes some people feel so entitled as to do this!

Man Spread

Definition: Taking up more then one seat per-person. For men, most often accomplished by sitting with legs spread. For women, most often accomplished by allowing ones purse to have a seat of it’s own.

I’m sorry if it’s uncomfortable, or you really don’t fit in the seat, or you don’t want to keep your personal belongings in your personal space… but you don’t need 2 seats on the train. What? You don’t want someone sitting next to you… or you think you are better then everyone else and you need more space? Oh GET OVER YOURSELF!! It’s rude, it’s also unslightly. And then glare when someone brave enough comes over and squeezes in. In a city where everyone thinks they are entitled either because of who they are wearing, what they do, what they Don’t do, how old they are, and on and on… it’s almost expected, but totally annoying. And I know, it the spots were reverse and I were taking up 2 seats… well, it wouldn’t last long!

The Chicken Wing

Definition: Someone who holds onto the bars and totally forgets where their elbow is… or that they have one at all? Or that it MAY be in someone else’s face! So it reminds me of something like a chicken wing, just flappin’ around wherever.

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I experienced this one for the first time last week. It’s early on a Tuesday morning on a packed train, and I’m sitting in my seat (totally minding my own business) maybe falling asleep every few minutes… when I open my eyes and just a meer 4 inches away from my noise is some mans hairy elbow! Like it’s RIGHT THERE! And shift of my head, his body, or the train will send it smack right in my face! What got me was that the whole trip, he never seemed to notice how close his arm was to me or that I couldn’t move. This could have been remedied if he chose to pull his arm closer to himself, hold the bar a little higher, or angle himself another direction. As it was, I get this great picture and stayed awake the rest of the trip!

 

At Crotch Level

Definition: I think the name really says it all.

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These are the people who stand right in front of your seat (if you are sitting) and don’t bother to angle their bodies or hold on the to bar with one hand and turn sideways… NO, they stand square in front of you and we… if you are sitting your eyes usually fall right at crotch level. Then of course, as the train rocks and rolls down the tracks, they may swing closer or further from your face. Mostly it’s just awkward and uncomfortable. I understand, you have to stand, I’ve been there. It’s totally cool (but I’m glad to be sitting) just, like, I don’t want to be looking there for the next hour of my commute!

 

 

The Screamers… and all those Loud Talkers

Definition: People who treat the train car like their own personal living room. They talk, fight, laugh (cackle), scream, cry… or don’t stop their bratty children from screaming and crying… and don’t for one moment seem to care if it’s bothering every single other person stuck on the train with them.

I have had to look away or close my eyes and restrain myself from glaring at so many people, or worse- from saying anything. Especially mothers with screaming children who act like it’s totally fine that their child is crying at the top of it’s lungs and make no effort to silence them. This is about as bad as the adults who carry on for the whole world to hear. Don’t you care about your privacy at all? I mean, even if you don’t… just shut up! Or use your indoor voices! It’s not that hard and it makes the whole time on the train so much better for everyone.


These are some of my favorites… that are funny, worthy of a definition, and that I can get a pretty good picture of. The list of annoying, frustrating, and unique things on the trains also include, but is not limited too: the incredibly smelly, the drunk, the good the bad and the ugly musicians, the dancers (yes, like the kids who blast music and take up the whole isle to dance and usually hit someone in the face), the starers, and the napping (those lovely people who fall asleep and tip onto their neighboring passenger).

There is always something interesting

What have you encountered on a NYC train?  Anything fun that you’d like to share, please comment!  As always- follow, share, like, comment, etc!  And check out the Official Instagram for the blog @runlivelove_blog

Always,

C

5 Reasons to Have a Travel Buddy

My dearest friend Savannah recently posted a piece on the amazing perks and benefits of traveling solo.  Read it here and check out her entire blog while you are at it!

While I am fully on the same page, solo travel looks like it can be amazing, I thought why not take a few minutes to write a counter piece to hers?  Just for blogger fun and to show case another side of traveling.


My amazing roommate (and great friend) Megan and I have been taking to the skies quite a bit in the past few months.  While she has traveled solo, I have yet to leave the country on my own- one thing at a time!  Between our 10 day trip to Bali and our quick but exciting weekend excursion to Scotland, we have come across a lot of good reasons to travel with a trusted travel buddy.

1. Double check that packing list::  Traveling with someone means you both have a build in bag checker.  Are you notorious for overpacking?  Always forgetting the basics?  When you are packing for a trip with someone else you have the amazing added benefit of a second set of eyes that can go over and through what you packed and make sure you have all the basics (socks?  toothbrush?) and your are not over doing it (for a 3 day trip do you really need 5 pairs of pants?).

Knowing you have what you need makes every trip that much less stressful!

2.  Personal photographers::  As much fun as it is to take selfies at every scenic spot, or never be in your own pictures, or walk up to other travelers and ask then to take a picture of you… when you have a travel buddy, you can take turns getting just the right shot of each other.  You both have build in photographers!  Today so much of our lives are wrapped up in social media, how could you live if you didn’t post just the right shot on Instagram?

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3.  Try new things::  As Savannah mentions in her post, when you are traveling solo there is no need to compromise on places you want to go, things you want to eat, mountains you want to hike, or scenes you want to see.  But on the other hand, when you travel with someone you can push each other to see new sights and try new things.  The borders of your comfort zone may be shifted a little, but usually it’s for the best and you may get a chance to explore something totally new that you never though of!  When we were in Bali, I may never have thought of taking a cooking class or swinging into a waterfall, but I did (thanks of Megan) and those may have been some of the highlights of the trip!

4.  Watching your back::   Safety in numbers.  And if you are traveling in a pair or group you are not alone.  Personally I have yet to have any sort of situation, but I feel more comfortable knowing I have someone who knows where I am and should I not come home, get hurt, or act to strange… it’s good to know someone should notice and take action.  Traveling with a buddy you also have someone to watch your bags when you stop to use the restroom or step into a fitting room.

5.  Second opinions::  “Now do you really need that shirt?  It’s like the other 2 you got yesterday…”  Yes, traveling with someone means you have someone to run decisions by.  Should we spend the day at another temple?  Do you need that shirt?  Maybe we should eat someplace else?  You have someone to bounce ideas off of and continue to push your boundaries a little.

Having a travel partner also means you can split checks, take turns thinking of plans and making arrangements, split the responsibilities of trip planning in general!


Megan and I have started taking turns picking our next travel destinations and that’s great too, cause I wouldn’t think of doing 10 days in Spain & Portugal (2018…?) and maybe she wouldn’t have thought of Bali, but we are sure glad we went!

OK, so your thoughts?  Travel solo, travel with a buddy?  Share your experiences and let’s see where we end up next!

Always,

C

New York Living 101 *

*Disclaimer, the following are thoughts, tips, and advice from my personal experience. Results may vary.*

So, I believe last week I promised a NY life tips post… And here it is… I hope I remember everything I want to say! (Sorry, no pics). :-s

Transportation
If you are new to NYC, the subway system can be an intimidating thing, but once you learn it and adjust to the vibe of it all, it’s a great thing to make use of.
-Study a map (but don’t to it in the subway, know where you want to go ahead of time so you can move quickly and smoothly in the station and on the platform.
-Know if you want Uptown or Downtown. Lines and directions are clearly marked… Do read the signs!
-Express or Local… What’s the difference? Well from what I’ve experienced, local trains stop at every stop along their line and express only stop at select stops. Express trains get you to your destination faster, but if your stop is not an express stop … Things can be frustrating.
– Be aware of weekend schedule changes as well as service changes due to construction or maintenance at select stations or select times. Signs are usually posted, but this can really mess up your trip!
– Leave with enough time to get from point A to B. Allow for train delays and foot traffic.
– Always have your MertoCard!
– Lastly, keep to yourself and keep all your personal belongings with you at all times.

FOOD
If you are walking as much as I am, which in this city is kind of a given, you get hungry! Staying well fed and hydrated can help keep you healthy and ready for the city.
– Stay hydrated… Drink water! Not just coffee…
– Eat healthy food… Maintaining a balance of all major food groups. Fruits and vegetables can be hard to buy because they are price and spoil quicker, but still important.
– Maybe don’t eat out everyday… It can really chew a hole in your finances and personally I find it fun to go to the grocery store and prepare my lunch before work.

Personal Time
Regardless of your job(s) or lifestyle… It’s important to remember to take time for yourself!
– New York has tons, and I mean tons, of public parks with running/walking/biking/skating trails, tables and chairs, spacious lawns, and amazing views. Take advantage of these as places to relax, excessive, or both.
– Make an effort to meet up with friends or coworkers to socialize.
– Enjoy a morning/afternoon/evening in with your favorite book or movie and a cup of tea… Stay in, don’t put on those 5 inch heels or your contact lenses… Give your body a rest.
– Find a yoga or dance class or running trail and be sure to set aside so,e time for your health and wellness.
– I’m not saying every day… But some time every week will keep your body and mind fresh so you can always perform your best 🙂

What else…?

– Get used to always being around a lot of different people
– Adjust to the noise and smells of the city
– Be prepared to walk… A LOT!
– The pace of this city is always set on High… And it will keep moving by you– Keep up!!
– I discovered this… The more preconceived ideas you have about New York, the more it proves them false, or at least partly false. Be open minded.
– Yes it’s expensive… I’ve found it really makes me consider what I buy and if I really need the, or just want them. Save and treat yourself to something really special once in a while.
– Wear your walking shoes and carry the fancy heels! Otherwise you really do end up beating up your expensive shoes and your priceless feet. Put on the good shoes when you get where you are headed.
– More or less keep your gaze to yourself… It’s not that New Yorkers are all rude as much as they have things to do and places to be. There are so many people and you see so many things you may never have thought you would see– just don’t respond and move on.

Does this help a little? In the past month and a half I’ve worked to make the transition from tourist to New Yorker. To not get overly distracted by bright lights and store fronts, but to find the lovely small hidden places, where you can see NYC for what it really is– home to many many different people– always a step ahead in fashion perhaps… But home.

Well, I must be off to work soon… I’ve written this from a cozy green seat in Bryant park, smack dab below Times Square. I hope you all enjoy and look out for another post very soon with all the excitement of my life! Haha

<3always,
Christiane

Remember- Don’t look up.

Live from Scotland 

Well, made it to  Edinburgh! Actually we got in yesterday but its been non stop exploring and adventuring… And after not getting any sleep on the flight across the pond, it was a very long day.   So while, it’s well past 11pm over here, it’s just getting to be evening back home and what else would you all love to do but read a blog post from yours truly.  

I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. I can promise there will be some good pictures to go along with my babbling writing! Please forgive any typos or layout mistakes, WordPress on an iPad is very difficult to work on… Anyway… Off we go-

Upon landing, navigating the tram, and  getting into the city center, we found our hostel and got checked in.  We pre-booked beds at Castle Rock Hostel (full review coming soon) cause Savannah was staying there, and it’s literally right outside of Edinburgh Castle… So my view comic or going at any time is sorta kinda AMAZING!

View of Edinburgh Castle from the front door of my hostel!


And speaking of Savannah, once we were checked in and on the wifi, we found each other and started off on our first adventure.

Chris, Savannah, and Megan with Edinburgh Castle in the background


The first stop on this adventure, lunch. And a drink.  Even after 2 small bottles of wine on the initial flight over (oh I have so much to tell y’all about international carriers and flights, it might be a 2 part post) and a 5 hour layover, I had hardly slept and airport snacks will only get you so far.  When someone recommends a place and we get aids out if we show our hostel card you say YES! First stop- Fiddlers Arms for a drink and some food. The Drunken Roommates and Savannah had officially come to Edinburgh.

Our faces may not be pictured, but I think our drink selections give us away 😉


After being properly fed, it was time to explore Old Town and see what’s in the neighborhood.

View from Edinburgh Castle. Literally, there’s home!

Little stair cases and alleys or “close” wind all around connecting main streets and looking amazing.

Literally just some pretty building fronts along a curving road in Old Town


Gorgeous, right??

We ended the day with my favorite, GIN! Yes, we found a place that specializes in all sorts of different gins and tonics. Basically you can build your own and I chose a combo I’ve never had before and may never have again, so it was time to enjoy– Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic. I don’t think that  right now I have the words to describe the amazingness of this, so just enjoy looking at it and secretly wishing you had one in your hand this Friday evening!

Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic

Today we did a 12 hour bus tour of the Scotish Highlands, Urquhart Castle, and Loch Ness.  Maybe we saw Nessie, maybe we didn’t… That’s for another post on another day but I’ll just say, there will be a lot of sheep and castle coming your way!


Have a Scotland experience to share?  Enjoy, can’t wait to hear from you!
Always, 

C

Tips to Travel: Let’s Pack

Packing

Not one of my least favorite things, but not something I’m the best at either.  I always pack way to much and have a seriously heavy bag.   “But I don’t know what I’ll want!” I always say.  Or I’m traveling by car and can throw things in till the very last minute.  

Now I’m off on my second ever international trip and I figured it was time to talk about my travel bag and packing technique. 

I’m writing this from the Heathrow London airport, but let’s look back to packing for my Bali trip.

Well, this time it was different.  I get one carry on bag and I get to be in Indonesia for 10 days.

Pack light. Pack smart.

That’s the focus here today.  (Have I mentioned this is my first trip out of the country?  There are things to pack that I didn’t even think about at first, thank goodness for guide books!)

Well, where to begin.  Let’s start with the bag.  I’ve been saying this whole time I don’t want to be that little white girl tourist with my neon pink and orange Vera Bradly cotton duffle… so getting a new piece of travel luggage was essential.  I didn’t want wheels so backpack it was.  I talked to friends who travel more then I about brands and did my own online research into bags as well as retailers- to make the most informed, practical, and economical decision.  I settled on Osprey brand, the Porter series.  It’s a backpack that opens and packs like a suitcase (not rummaging to the bottom for things) and the straps can be tucked into a pocket so it turns into a duffle.  There are external pockets for easy access to travel essentials and electronics.  It’s water resistant and “Carry-On” approved size- for most major airlines- so basically everything I wanted in a bag.

What’s going in this fabulous thing?  Well packed clothes and toiletries specific to this trip.  As it’s December- it’s cold in New York and, ummhmm, Bali is in the tropics… so the seasonal clothing is very different.  I’m planning on purchasing a fair amount of things there- harem pants, sarongs, dresses- but some things- shoes, undergarments, yoga cloths- will be coming along from day one.  Toothbrush, toothpast, mouth wash, lotion, the works will all be neatly packed in my airline approved clear quart size bag.  I’m exploring something new for this trip- bar shampoo- to cut back on things that are liquids and save room, as well as bar soap.

I’ve been torn between using Packing Cubes or Vac-Pack bags to neatly fold and store clothes during this trip, or just kinda throwing stuff in and hoping for the best.  … Ok, no I wouldn’t do that, but is it worth it?  Packing Cubes- they come in different sizes and neatly hold your clothes- which can be sorted by style and size.  The cubes usually fit neatly together in the bottom of your bag and can be stacked with ease.  Vac-Pack bags are a serious space saver.  Even if you think you are packing and folding tightly- get clothes in one of these things and roll or “vac” out all that extra air- and it’s like you have nothing in your bag.  They can lay flat in the bottom of a bag and a zip-lock like quick release makes it easy to access your things.

I guess we shall see and I’ll be telling ya’ll about it when I decided!

(Ultimately I went with one Vac-Pack bag and one storage cube. Everything else just neatly folded)

Let’s talk electronics and chargers for a hot second.  No, computer will not be making the trip, iPad is a maybe.  Phone, does anyone travel anywhere without one anymore?  For all devices, remember your charger and cords!  Not all electrical plugs are the same- so an international charging converter is a MUST.  

I took a page out of Savannah’s play both here, and got a cute but inexpensive little bag for all my chords and chargers.  This way they can all be in one place and easy to get to.    In general I like to separate things into their own little bag, then nothing is just loose in the large compartment of my main bag.

Guide books and maps will be coming along, of course, as well as a journal.  

The more I’ve begun to travel, the easier it has become to pack appropriately and neatly.  I’m off to Scotland for 3 days, so I’ve packed much lighter then Bali but I’m still ready for adventure.
I’ll post Live From Edinburgh once I’m there!
Always, 

C

Tips to Travel:: Travel Bug

Travel Bug:  A strong desire to travel and see new places… It’s almost as bad a the flu!

Ok, maybe not the flu, but sense I returned from Bali back in December, I’m dying to take to the skies again and go someplace new (which as we know is just about anywhere for me).  So of course Megan and I started a list.  A list of places we would like to go and things to do, which includes but it not limited too Spain and Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, England, and many more.

As I picked Bali as a long trip, Megan get to pick next- and it’s decided -Spain and Portugal will be the next extended trip (within the next year-ish, fingers crossed)!

But what do you do when your very dear friend is hostel hopping and performing around Europe and you want to get out of the cold bleak winter of New York?   You pick a city on their tour, book a quick flight and a nearby hostel, tell your job your are taking a long weekend, and find your travel duffel.  #EdinburghBound


The Travel Bug can be contagious.  You see other people traveling and taking amazing pictures and having wonderful times and you just HAVE to get in on the action!  (Have you checked out my friend Savannah and her blog while she hops around Europe?)

Travel with friends so you have someone to take all this great pics of you and to enjoy a morning coffee with.

Travel in the off season if you are looking for better rates and don’t book the first flight you find, check for different deals and airlines.  Deals are out there if you are willing to take the time to hunt.

Hostelworld.com has become my best friend when it comes to looking and booking accommodations.  Don’t go for those main stream hotels, staying in a hostel or home-stay will save you money AND give you an amazing way to connect to the people, country, and culture you are visiting!

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Remember your guide book!  (I promise this will be a whole post on it’s own sometime soon), but when you are headed out on an adventure it’s always good to have one in your back pocket.  Preferably a guide book that has been read, dog-eared, and loved on a little.

 


You can catch this bug fast and symptoms can include irritability, wonder, feeling frigidity, and a strong desire to do something kinda drastic… like cut or dye your hair, buy something big, or… wait for it… TRAVEL TO A NEW PLACE! 😀

Where are you headed on your next grand adventure?  We are all ears!

Always,

C

 

Adopt Don’t Shop

Do any of you remember back in your high school health class days?

(what does this have to do with “Adopt Don’t Shop” the animal rescue and adoption slogan?…. I’m getting there)

Well, back in my high school health days, 1. I absolutely hated the class (sorry Mrs. Bowen)  2. At one point during the course we had to “adopt” egg babies to learn responsibility and what it’s like having a child (although an egg is nothing like a kid I would imagine and we were still gonna spell with people… so again, sorry!).

ANYWAY.  I hate kids.  (there’s a lot of hate in this section sorry [not sorry]) So the last thing I wanted to do was have an egg kid and pretend to take care of it for the grade.  Like I was absolutely against it.  I realized young that it went against my personal morals and beliefs.  I didn’t want  kids and I wasn’t going to have someone tell me I had to.  I know it’s an egg but the principal of the thing!

I had to do the assignment…  so I HAD to come up with an acceptable alternative to an egg baby.

THINKING

THINKING

I would adopt a egg kitten.  I very young kitten that was alone and needed to be fed every 4 hours by a syringe, that needed to be watched all the time cause it could eat something, and would hopefully sleep….  MY sort of perfect come back to a child.

The project was approved and so began my 1. school career of manipulating projects to be what I wanted and 2. vision for an adult like where I had NO CHILDREN (sorry friends with kids, I don’t understand your life choices) but I did have a beautiful little white kitten.


Fast forward about 15 years…. and KITTEN!

I could basically stop right here, swamp you with kitten photos, and make my point.

But that wouldn’t be fun to read (I’ll still bombard you with pictures though).

I’ve always wanted a cat of my own.  For the past several years I’ve wanted a little white girl kitten to name Tiffany (yes, like the jewelry company and deck her out in teal and blue) Carpathian (if you Google “Carpathian Kitten Loss” you will understand).  I’ve waited for the right time, with the right people, the right apartment, and the right financial situation… and it’s finally come true.

I started following a local New York kitten/cat rescue and foster Instagram accounts a while back, thinking maybe I’d volunteer or come across a kitten I loved (check them out on IG @littlewanderersnyc).  The latter happened.  I’d just gotten back from Bali and found out one of my roommates was moving out.  So of course to was scrolling on Instagram to take my mind off the stress that would be coming my way (lol) and I came across a post about these 2 little white kitten sisters who were up for adoption.  It was 10:30 at night and I literally emailed the adoption inquire link right then and there.  They got back to me in minutes with the form I needed to fill out to start the adoption process.

OK, form filled out and emailed back in…. waiting, waiting, waiting.  A whole week and nothing.  I was concerned, was I not FIT to adopt?  Was the kitten already going home to someone else? So I emailed again… and they were just behind due to the holidays!  Alright I can work with that.   I keep waiting and after the new year the gears start to turn.  I was actively following all the action on Instagram and talking with several different people at the adoption group.  One woman had the kitten, so we talked about what she was eating and how to trim claws and choose litter.  Another woman was the accountant and we coordinated to get the adoption fee, so stamp needed as she lived 3 blocks away(!) talk about local.  And someone else about the organization and the history of the kitten and particulars of adopting.  This kitten and her sister had been through a lot in just 4 little months.  They were rescued from the stairwell a crack house where they were being sold for drug money (so the tail goes) and there were malnourished and infected and not looking good.  You would never know if you saw them now!

Finally it was all said and done.  Kitten was healthy, fixed, and microchipped.  She was active and playful and ready for a furever home.  Meanwhile I had gone and ordered 5 different toys and scratchers and collars and food and litter and a bed and a box and a carrier and a blanket and basically anything else I could think of that this kitten would need or want.  With of course, as much as possible being in teal or sky blue.

On a Thursday after work in the middle of one of the most frustrating weeks of my year, my fabulous roommate picked me up and we adventured into Yonkers to retrieve the kitten.  We arrive, we play with the cat, we take a “Going Home Furever” picture and just like that we are back in the car, kitten and all.

Now I spend my nights and days off playing with mice and feathers on a string or being forced to take a nap cause I’m pinned down by a little white fur ball.  Tiffany is friendly, playful and totally curious.  She’s not a cat that will run and hide from people in the apartment and once I got a nail trimmer I started looking like a happy cat parent.

So between Bali tales and running experiences… I’ll be sharing the adventures of Tiffany Carpathia or “Ms. Tiff”!

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Have you adopted a pet?  Cat person or dog person?  Just think she’s adorable?  Keep checking in!

=^*^=

Always,

C

Loving a Memory

I was in love with something that didn’t exist.  Maybe it existed at some point in time but not anymore.  For years now I’d been holding onto a dream, a fleeting memory that had failed to keep up with the times and was no longer reality.

How many times do we do this?  Remember something or someone as they were in some distant time and fail to see how it’s changed.

This failure can promptly smack us in the face when you run headlong into that person or place and are shocked to find you hardly recognize it.  There are familiar landmarks but everything that you had been holding onto in your mind is no longer.  Why does this happen?  It’s a way of coping, a form of hoping… trying not to grow up and change.  Wishing things would go back and be just as they were turning a time when you thought everything was perfect and just what you wanted.

As I grow up and confront more and more in my life, I’m learning to accept this change.  We can never go back.  We can never be something that was in the past.  People change and so do places.  One can walk through the halls of their high school, but it’s not the same high school as when they were there.   One can see a familiar face and rush in for a familiar embrace, only to find it’s hardly the same… that person has years and experiences on them and they are not the same person you once knew.

 

Looking at it from the other side, I’m no longer the person I was 6 months ago or 13 years ago.  Views, values, priorities, relationships, goals, dreams and desires… it’s all changes.  Does that mean I’m a terrible horrible no good very bad person?  No, but if others can’t accept the changes it sure seems that way.

It’s February after all, the month of obnoxiously large teddy bears, chocolates, diamond, and hears.  All the commercial ways we say “I love you”…  and here I am talking about change and loss.  But these go hand in hand.  So why bring this up?

Well, because it’s important and I’ve been running into it right and left over the past few months.  It doesn’t mean any of us are becoming bad people, but maybe it means our paths are going different ways.  Perhaps they will intertwine again, maybe they won’t, but we will always have the memories.  And as long as we remember the memories are not the present or the future, but a beautiful past, we can happily hold onto them.

All of my fiends from 10 years ago are engaged and getting married or still in school.  They all have someone and I don’t.  But I’m traveling the world and racing hundreds of miles against myself.  How can I relate to them and they to me?  What we have chosen to prioritize has set our lives in very different directions.  Can we find a balance?  Can we still find common ground without just taking about the past?  Maybe some of us can… others no.  There are people in my past that I can’t even be in the same room with and others I can see and it feels like no time has passed.

Is it best to let them fall away?  Or do we fight to hold onto something that may never be again?

With only just hinting at my life stories, I’ll leave this here for you to think on and apply to your own.  The short story- Don’t fall in love with a memory, fall in love with the present and try to keep up.

Always,

C

Bali Files: Trekking and Cats

Doesn’t that just sound like 2 of my FAVORITE things!?  And of course 2 totally unrelated things that we found in Bali.


Trekking, there was actually a lot of trekking on this trip, but something I was looking forward to the most was hiking the Campuhan Ridge Walk just ever so North of the main drag in Ubud.  I’d seen pictures on Instagram about it and seen it mentioned in the guide books… now we were here and I wanted to find it and go on an adventure… getting my own amazing pictures!

What I wanted was to take on this trek without a guide.  I can find a trail and walk along it without paying someone to do it with me.  Besides, I would rather pay for a day adventure I can’t get to on my own two feet… like the waterfall from last post!

Thank goodness I had a copy of the Lonely Planet guidebook to Bali & Lombok… because it detailed out very clearly exactly how to find the start to this trail, which was sort of the hardest part.  But once we were off and going, it was a clear trail to follow and an absolutely breathtaking view!  We could see mountains shrouded in clouds far off in the distance, houses hidden in jungle leaves, farmers working in the fields below, and just green as far as the eye could see while listening to the river rushing far below.

Honestly I really can’t do this experience justice with words.  So here are a bunch of pictures from the trail— jungle, mountains, rice fields, trees— basically true beauty in Bali.


Cats.  We all know how I feel about cats.  I love them.  So of course when we stumbled across “The Cat Cafe Ubud” after yoga class one day, I had to go.  We planned it for breakfast the next day.

We arrived in the morning and like any self respecting cat, they were all snoozing on various comfortable perches.  This cafe is home to over a dozen domestic kitties who ended up there for various reasons- abandoned, found, of there sense they were kittens.  Most cats were long haired Persians, but there were a few short hairs as well.

Anyway, so we arrive and of course are the only ones there with a bunch of sleeping cats.  We agree to not feed the cats, step on the cats, annoy the cats in any way, be overly loud around the cats, etc etc etc and we order breakfast.   The whole time being completely ignored by the cats.

That is till the food arrives… then send in the fuzzy monsters (jk, not monsters).  But really, we were suddenly surrounded by furry inquisitive faces that wanted a taste of our food… and they were not shy about it.

Honestly I think they just wanted to cream that my pancakes were soaked in and Megan’s coffee, cause they were pretty uninterested in the green juice!  Typical cat.

Have no fear, no one fed the cats and we left without sneaking anyone in my bag to take home!  I know there are cat cafe’s in New York, but something about not having to fight off snot nosed kids or wait in line for a tiny plate of food, made enjoying this cafe in Bali even more… well, enjoyable!

Have you been to Bali?  What was your favorite adventure?  Share here!

Always,

C

Bali Files: Sidewalks and Waterfalls

I know I’ve kept ya’ll waiting!  But 1 month seemed to go by so fast and I don’t even know where to begin sharing all the adventures and stories from Bali.  675 pictures later… I better have some good stuff to tell and fun sights to share, but where to start?!

Let’s start with the 4 big important things:  1. no one got sick  2.  no once got hurt  3. got back into the country without issue  and 4. got to work Monday like I never missed a beat.

Now of course it’s basically snowing in NYC as I write this and I’m serenaded by the sounds of snow plows instead of tropical birds and rain showers… but whatcha gonna do?


Ok, I’ll pick two fun things to share this time and just keep doling out stories, tips, adventures, and photos for a while!


Sidewalks and waterfalls.  These two things have nothing in common expect that I encountered them in Bali and lived to tell about it.

The sidewalks in Ubud are interesting.  They are a series of raised blocks of tiles that run above (and cover) the water run-off… I’m tempted to say sewer, but as it didn’t smell like sewer I’m not gonna say that.  Every 3rd block of tiles or so was loose… the closest thing to a man hole, from what I could tell, that would allow one to access this water run off area and remove blockage… but the tiles were loose.  And if you stepped on this panel of loose sidewalk tiles it would shift and tilt and wobble and if you weren’t careful while walking… As Megan put it, “You will fall through the sidewalk, into the ‘sewer’, and DIE.”

Ok, maybe we were being a little tiny bit over dramatic…. but it made for some great laughs while walking all over the city.

That is, if the removable panels of sidewalk tiles were even there!  Sometimes there would just be a big gaping hole in the sidewalk for you to jump over or strategically skirt around and be cartful not to walk into traffic.  Other times there were just little holes… as we would have cracks in the sidewalk… these were cracks with nothing underneath them… so  we call them holes!

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On one of the day long treks we went on, GitGit Waterfall was one of the planned stops.  The guide book (always trust your guide book, ALWAYS!  Post on this later) said it was a must see, a tourist attraction, and a beautiful twin waterfall in the mountains of Bali.  So OK, sounds like something cool to see. The driver drops us off and points to a sign that leads down a questionable ramp and off into the jungle, mumbles something about getting a guide separately, tickets, and that he will be at the exit…. then off we go.

Not gonna lie, it was a little sketchy.  Not like South Bronx, East St. Louis, or some parts of Atlanta sketchy… but like OK off we go into the jungle with practically no signs and no line of tourist… ok.

But off we went and SPOILER ALERT, this was probably one of the most memorable parts of this trip.  So off we go hiking along and you can hear the waterfall long before you see it.  After paying the what-seemed-rather-expensive “entrance” ticket to get to the waterfall (meaning handing 100,000rupih to a woman sitting on an unmarked bench) and managing to wander into someones living room (I mentioned there are like no signs for were to go to find this waterfall, right?) we found the bridge that led over some rocks and right to the base of the first tier of the waterfall.  There we found some other visitors and… wait for it….img_9275

A ROPE SWING!

 

No line, no health and safety release waiver, no net… a rope tied to the top of the cliff that you could fetch with a stick and swing on into the waterfall and then plunge into the pool below!  Time to break out the bikini!!

Ok, yes mom I’m sure you are panicking and slightly freaking out, but everything was totally fine and amazingly fun!  This is totally not something we would be able to just walk up and do anywhere in the states.

So we took a few turns and a lot of videos before handing the rope off to another group that arrived, then wandered over to another pool to splash around in and OF COURSE… take more pictures.  Cause how often do we get to swim in a waterfall! in Bali!

And so, sidewalks and waterfalls.

Of course there is so much more to share, but I like this format- picking a subject and talking about it.  So there will be more!  (essentially most of the upcoming content, but I don’t think you all will mind).

Any questions about the trip?  Let me know!

Always,

C