Trapped in Paradise – the DC Edition

Part travel blog, part philosophical musings. All tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness.


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Back to the grind (and the Winter Olympics)

Since it’s been almost a year since I finished grad school, relocated to New England, and started a new job, I figured it’s past time I started writing again. Life has gotten a little slower since school ended, and since I no longer have to dedicate each free moment to finding that elusive post-MBA job, I’ve found that I need to fill my nights and weekends with something other than Netflix and browsing trashy pop culture gossip websites.

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Typical productive Saturday morning

I’m strongly considering making the jump to a self-hosted domain, so I figure I’d better ease back into writing before I start shelling out the cash. And what better occasion to help get me back on the blogging train than the Winter Olympics?

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How about those drones!

I’ve blogged about the Olympics in the past, so this is a good re-starting point. Although I do feel like the Games have lost a little of their magic over the years. Whether that’s from all the doping issues, the massive costs that sends host countries into debt, or just from growing up in general, it seems as though the enthusiasm has dwindled a bit from when I was a kid. But I still love watching athletes from all over the world coming together to compete in sports most of us would never hear about otherwise.

Anyway, on to the good stuff!

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Admit it, you only clicked on a blog post about the Olympics just to see the shirtless dude from Tonga. I do hope for his sake that the oil was self-heating!

So I have a soft spot for South Korea since I’d been there several times during my time in the Navy, so I really wish I could have gone to these Olympics in person. I have no doubt that they’ll be great hosts, even with all the drama with their neighbor to the north. But alas, I had to make do with watching on Hulu + Live TV, which may not have been a good decision. I’m still in my 7-days-free trial period, but all this skipping, buffering, and sound issues are making me wonder if I need to explore other options. However, I’m not sure what those would be, since I cut the cord on cable sometime in 2014 and never looked back.

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Hulu’s IT support, probably.

A browse on Hulu’s forums confirms that I’m not alone in experiencing issues. I hope they’ll get fixed over the next few days, but I’m not holding my breath. For now, I’ll have to settle for alternating between the TV and the iPad (it seems to run a little better on the latter; the Roku lags behind and skips more for some reason.)

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Bonus: I got to see the wonderful Yuna Kim light the cauldron twice.

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I also got to watch those poor ladies climb that LONG flight of stadium stairs twice!

I’ve been bingeing all morning on ski jumping, snowboarding, and luge, and will probably continue to do so until the figure skating tonight. Apparently this particular luge track is really difficult? I feel like I’ve seen a lot of people hitting the walls during their runs. And I’ve found my new hero: Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, competing in his 8th Olympics at age 45 (!) and honored with a Polish rap song and at least two rock songs in Finland written about him. (My Finnish friend currently working in Helsinki confirms that Kasai is a legend over there.) I’ve been feeling old since my birthday a couple of weeks ago, so this gives me hope that I can still make it to the Olympics! I just have to learn how to ski jump, fear of heights be damned.

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I’ll settle for being cool enough for a Finnish garage band to write a punk song about me. We should all aspire to be this awesome.

 

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End of summer recap

Now that the busy summer is over, I’ve decided to take a look at my list of goals from a few months ago and see how I did. This should be hilarious.

  1. Find a place to do volunteer work on the weekends.
  2. Keep up with the blog. Maybe start a travel-specific blog.
  3. Sign up for a summer class, such as programming or something tech-related.

So these first three were a colossal failure. When I wrote this, I hadn’t picked up my second internship yet, so I had at least half of every workday to play around with. The second job took up the rest of that time (which I didn’t mind, because it was more experience for the resume) so that’s a resounding NO on the volunteer work this year.

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Yeah, yeah – rub in the guilt, why don’t you. GFY, random inspirational quote generator!

 

The blog – I really, really wanted to launch a new blog before the summer was done, especially since I’ll be living abroad during the next few months. I almost did it today, but then discovered that the WordPress hosting sites (at least the few that I looked at) were a little pricey after the initial “beginner” discounts ran out. Oh, to be rich. I admit that I haven’t looked around much yet, so the research continues.

4. Attempt to learn Hebrew in preparation for studying abroad.

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Learning by osmosis.

Let’s just say… this is a work in progress. “תהיה בריא” or something like that.

5. Consider freelance writing to earn extra cash.

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YES!! I can actually eat three meals today!

See #1-3. Again with wanting to start an official travel blog; I still have this dream of writing for a living, although I have yet to figure out how on earth to incorporate that into a business career. I wanted to use the not-yet-existing blog to get my name out there to start freelancing, but that may also have to wait.

6. Work on writing something for fun, taking one of the many novels I have mulling around in my head and actually putting it on paper.

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My attempt at being a novelist – 13 measly pages to show for it.

I tried! I started off so well, setting a goal at the beginning of the summer to write at least three pages a day (my pace during that one time I participated in NaNoWriMo.) But the two internships got the best of me, and what free time I had went toward the Hebrew studies. Oof. I’m really not doing very well at prioritizing my personal goals, am I?

7. Get my health back on track (which took a serious backseat in May, between finals and my health scare in China.)

 

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Yeah, this happened.

Okay, this one I accomplished! I started following a plant-based diet during the week (being very careful not to say “vegan,” lest I anger the hard-core vegans and end up with angry comments on my blog) and cutting out alcohol except during the weekends. This actually went a long way with helping me get healthy again. It’s not that I want to give up meat and dairy completely (hence the break on the weekends) but I wanted to eat more vegetables and experiment with healthier recipes. By the time Friday rolls around each week, I feel awesome! (I also really, really want an egg and cheese breakfast quesadilla with a bloody mary.) Between the new-and-improved diet and getting back into a workout routine, I found myself a few pounds lighter by summer’s end. Yes! Health was my priority, but if I don’t look like a complete cow by the time I go to Israel, I’m happy with that too.

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Those morning runs in the heat and humidity of Washington DC were tough, but the view made it a little more tolerable.

 

So what’s next (besides figuring out how to finally start a travel blog)? Well, school started for everyone but me. Since the school year at Tel Aviv University, where I’m doing my semester abroad, doesn’t start until late October, I’ve got some extra time on my hands. I’m taking advantage of it as best I can (especially since I won’t get a winter break – the Israelis only take off one day for Hanukkah!) so it’s off to the west coast to visit friends and family. And then… back to Asia!

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Glorious Hong Kong!

Yes, I’m taking the very scenic route to Israel. Two of my classmates are studying abroad In Hong Kong, so I’m going to visit them for a few days. I’m excited – Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities, and it’s been years since I’ve had the opportunity to visit. Also, I should probably a custom suit made (since I’m supposed to be a serious business professional now, so I should at least attempt to look the part.)