Thursday, February 28, 2013

Almost on to the 4th Leg of the Journey!

I posted some pictures to document my time in Sydney a few days ago... as you can probably guess... I am on the go during this trip. I wanted to have time to think, examine, and understand what was going on in my life as I transition into a new stage of but I have been too busy living life to think about it all. Isn't that what this is all about?  

I have had a little bit of time to think in between eating, drinking, and sightseeing and have certainly thought about a few key things but haven't had a lot of time to document them. First of all, I miss Matt. This is everywhere I go. I might not think about it every single moment but life is better with him by my side and I miss traveling with him. A few moments when this really hit me... laying in bed after a long day of sight seeing, visiting with his best friend and his wife when he should be with us, on the wine tour today when we would have mingled with everyone, and many more. 

Visiting with one of his best buds was so nice, sharing our beloved stories, being able to talk about him on such a level, looking through pictures reminiscing about good times. Sharing stories of your loved one lost is vital to this process. I am so thankful that his friend opened his home to me and I was able to enjoy Bondi Beach with him and his wife. You are always welcome in San Diego or wherever I live for that matter! Namaste!

While I missed Matt so much at times, there were times that I just enjoyed life without thoughts of this or that or what I have gone through. The transition is happening and I am moving into the next stage of my life. I miss him greatly and will forever hold that in my heart but it's changing. Tomorrow marks the beginning of March and on the 9th it will be one year. Can't believe it... seems all so far away. On to Bali tomorrow. 

melbourne from the Riverfront bar

melbourne means lots of alleyways and lots of graffiti... i almost blend in!

me and my traveling mate, Kate, another A-town friend of Matt's on a wine tour of the yarra valley

literally swimming in bubbles!

a view of the yarra valley

my fav from the yarra... sparkling pinot shiraz from moet

city lites from a rooftop bar

another view of the yarra from chandon... cheers mate!



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

cheers mate!

time flies when you are having fun! the third leg of this journey is complete... more details to come later but wanted to at least post some pics of Sydney first... on to Melbourne!

the girls enjoying lunch at the icebergs

yep this is real! 

bondi beach after a sunday session

crazy pink flowers at the zoo

icebergs where i yoga-ed and lunched 

bloody marys midwest style

the sydney opera house!

watching footie with the mates

a real australian didgeridoo!

bondi lifeguard and my traveling mate (not really a lifeguard just a random traveler who pretended to be a lifeguard to jump in the pic)

view from Zumba class i took at the surf club

a real live kangaroo... they don't do much and act and look a lot like lila

i have a lot more gorgeous photos to post of the opera house, harbour bridge, and the botanical gardens but my brand new Mac Air is holding them hostage. to be posted once found! 



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hello Eastern Hemisphere!

I have arrived in the Eastern Hemisphere and it is amazing! My gracious hosts picked me up from the airport after the 14 hour flight early on Tuesday morning (yep you leap forward a day when you head down under). It was a beautiful day in Sydney and we quickly got out to enjoy it. They live about a five minute walk from Bondi Beach and it's breathtaking. Not only is the beach close there are tons of fabulous shops, restaurants, and bars within a few steps. We enjoyed lunch with mimosas at a cafe overlooking the beach and then headed to the beach for a couple of hours. Of course my midwest skin got burnt as the sun is intense down under especially since there is no Ozone layer. I have got to be careful! After enjoying the beach we enjoyed some wine and headed to dinner at a Thai restaurant  which was a little more authentic than my go to, Penny's Noodle in Chicago. 

I tried to get on the time zone here and slept in until I headed to a yoga class by the sea. My first yoga class in the Eastern Hemishphere! Although I was already red, I had lathered up with my SPF and unrolled my mat in a gorgeous spot in the sun overlooking the Pacific. It was an invigorating flow class led by a knowledgeable teacher who encouraged us to breathe in the sea. At the end of class before savasana, she encouraged us to sigh everything out... to let out whatever had happened that day, that month, or that year. I sighed... a lot. As I tried to let go of everything that has happened to me in the past year, tears started rolling down my face. I only hope that this trip allows me to let it all go. Not to forget everything that happened but to let it go and allow my spirit to be lighter as I move into the next chapter of my life. 

View from Yoga Mat



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Journey Has Begun! (Again)

The adventure has officially begun! As I write I am flying over the Pacific en route to Sydney! As always, I was busier than I thought and didn’t have a lot of time to write. Looking forward to some rest on the beach and time to gather my thoughts. I have been on this trip for a week and almost two days (depending on where I am in the Pacific and what time zone I am in) now and here’s what’s happened thus far…

My mom and I flew into San Diego last Saturday. We arrived to the sunny California weather and were eager to put the top down on our convertible. Most of the natives were complaining of the cold but my Mom and I were ecstatic about the warmer weather and enjoyed; running by the harbor, yoga on a rooftop, and of course driving with the top down.

I had set up many appointments to view apartments. I looked in many different areas and found a few great options. I will make the final decision of where to live and when to move once I get back in April. We also had time to enjoy some beautiful spots in SD including La Jolla and Coronado. There were plenty of delicious meals enjoyed as well.

I am so happy I stopped here first. To be honest, I was starting to wonder what the hell I was thinking; it’s a lot of work to move across the country! Once I got back to San Diego I knew why I had made this decision and I think it will be the perfect new home for me and Lila. It certainly won’t be easy reestablishing myself on the West Coast but I am confident it will be worth it in the end.

On Tuesday we headed up the coast to Los Angeles. I really wanted to drive up Highway 1 to enjoy the views. There were some specular views but the drive was very different than driving along Highway 1 between San Francisco and Big Sur where Matt and I got engaged which I hoped to relive. I know I will make it back to that spot someday. There was a long detour along the way to find In and Out Burger. Matt and I had almost missed our flight coming home from our engagement trip so In and Out frustration is now a definite tradition but worth it in the end.

My Mom and I arrived in LA a couple of days prior to the Zumba Conference and were able to take in some of the sights. The first night we dined at the restaurant of one of my favorite Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She wasn’t there but it was still fun to have dinner there and the food was excellent. The next day we took a Celebrity Homes Tour on an open air bus. This was of course extremely touristy which I usually shy away from but it was a blast! We drove through Hollywood Hills, the Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, and Melrose Place. There were no celebrity sightings but I think I have a solid foundation that the next time I go to LA, I know where to find them! Although, the few times I have come across someone famous (including the creator of Zumbe, Beto), I usually see him/her and think well they are just a normal person trying to walk down the street, eat their croissant, or enjoy the day and chicken out about approaching them because I don’t like invading their privacy. After all they are just like us right? US Weekly has the photos to prove it!

After a day of sightseeing the Zumba Conference kicked off. On the first day I tested for my Aerobic Fitness Association of America certification. I had prepared well and the day of review was excellent so hopefully I will find out I passed in a month or so. The next day I took a training to become Zumba Gold certified which is Zumba for seniors, special populations, and those that are new to exercise. I took the training from the creators of the program and they along with a few other instructors were simply inspiring. The class met a woman who teaches in her wheelchair and would put many of us to shame with her moves. I also met a lovely woman who is battling cancer. I had to say something to her. I shared with her that Zumba had been such a blessing my life and had helped me as my husband battled cancer. She asked me how he was doing as my eyes teared up as I shared with her we had lost him last year. She gave me a hug and we chatted about making the most out of each day. This woman is living that and she had an amazing energy. Zumba seems like a silly crazy fitness phenomena but it is so much more to so many people and I am proud to be a part of an organization that has inspired and changed so many lives. I am even feeling inspired to bring this to the widow community and hopefully share how much fitness has helped me in this healing journey and hopefully get some widows moving!

The remaining days were filled with tons of Zumba;  everything from a Fitness Concert with Pitbull, Dancing through the Decades, a Hip Hop Remix, and more Zumba-ing in between. The keynote speaker was Suzanne Sommers (yep Chrissy Snow) and had a lot to share with us about how she has remained so healthy into her 60’s. The last day of convention left my Mom and I exhausted barely able to walk our serparte ways to our terminals. We were so lucky to take this trip together and I know we will remember it forever. I was also very thankful to have her with me as I looked at apartments.

I am feeling much the same as I did with my last post. I feel so removed from my life with Matt. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss him but I don’t see him in every step as I moved through our life alone. I certainly wish we were crossing the Pacific together leaping into the future. As widows, we are constantly asking ourselves, is this what he would want me to do? Sometimes you just don’t know. Most likely because you never had to face this situation without him and you never really talked about it because that would have acknowledged it was happening. I know Matt would be happy that I am going to Australia to visit one of his best buds and he loved it down under especially since we planned to at some point take this trip together. The Bali part? He would probably think I was crazy but I think that was some of my charm to him. But then you realize that you are in this alone now and while you can use your spouse as a guiding force you have to make decisions that will make you happy. I am so happy I am making this trip and can’t wait to see what the next leg has in store!

Mom and I in La Jolla enjoying the beautiful weather 



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Transitioning to Plan B

I have tried to write this post many times in the past couple of weeks but the creative juices just haven't been flowing probably due to sheer exhaustion. As I sat down to edit my most recent version moments ago I realized what was happening... I don't think I have wrapped my brain around what has happened to me in the past couple of weeks. 

To shortly recap this; I quit my job, I packed up all my stuff, I watched my stuff be shipped off to storage not to be seen again until Cali in three months, I said goodbye to all my friends and the life I knew in Chicago, I watched renters move into our condo, I drove back to my temporary home in Ohio, and I officially became a nomad. Currently I am running around like a mad woman to get everything ready for a trip out of the country for two months. It sounds like it's all fun and very yogi of me to take off on this trip but the Accountant in me is steering this ship and there is still a lot to cross off the list. 

Moving was just awful. Moving in any situation sucks but this was double suck. I had already gone through a lot of Matt's belongings but I had to go through everything and determine on my own what to keep and what to bring with me across the country. I have way too much stuff and I now know exactly how much stuff I have in cubic feet. 

I said goodbye to my Zumba classes and it was very emotional. I learned exactly how much teaching has brought to my life. The funny thing about teaching is that you set out to teach someone else something and then they end up teaching you something. Amazing. I miss all of my students and can't begin to thank them for what they helped me through.

I spent a lot of quality time with most of my favorites in Chicago before taking off although sadly there were a few I wasn't able to catch up with before I left. As I sat with my best girl friends at a farewell dinner, it all felt surreal. How would it be when I couldn't call them up for a quick dinner down the street? Then I remembered that I would keep in touch with all those that I love and this wasn't goodbye. The great thing about love is the capacity to love infinitely There will always be a place in my heart for Chicago and all my friends there but there is also room to move on and find love for a new place and new friends. The more the merrier! 

The past couple weeks have seemed liked a blur much like this whole year and yes in three days it will be eleven months. Being here in Ohio so removed from our life and our home I can't help but feel in a completely different place. I am not quite sure how I feel about this yet. In three days I also take off for my trip. I can't wait for this trip to start, I've just got to get there first. 

Lila riding in the only remaining space in the car with all our stuff that didn't get shipped off