Visiting my cousin in Thailand in May was a wonderful adventure. We started in Bangkok, then made our way down to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangnan, before heading back to Koh Sam Roi Yat National Park, the city of Hua Hin, and ancient city of Ayutthaya. It was hot, really hot, you never stop sweating long enough for your clothes to actually dry, hot. The streets smelled, a constantly changing mix of distinct odors that were somehow worse than the ones I was used to in NYC. But for all of its eccentricities, Bangkok was a vibrant city filled with kind-hearted people. The suburban and rural areas provided an even better glimpse of a people who were profoundly proud, quietly religious, and always willing to help. Yes, even when that meant trying to answer your questions in labored tinglish (their version of Spanglish) or going out of their way to take you across town after you got hopelessly lost.
I was recently paid a really great compliment. I can be a perfectionist, and I’m usually embarrassed by this. To me the subtext is uptight, and that is something I never want to be. But my cousin said something the other day, something about the care I take in creating my life, and the way I see things as they could be. Suddenly attention to detail wasn’t so much a silly preoccupation as it was a testament to my attempt to make life beautiful in my own little way. I had never thought of it like that. But it seemed to give me license to continue to take too many pictures, then delete them all and take more, rearrange furniture ad nauseam, color code every closet I am allowed to enter, stop mid outing to take a picture of the sunset, arrange food before I serve it, write only to erase, and document all the little things that I find inspiring on this very fun, but not so serious blog.
On my recent trip to Thailand I was struck by the generosity and gratitude of the people. Really, the overall happiness. It is a struggling country in many respects, currently in the midst of tremendous political unrest. Yet, despite this, the average citizen seems completely content, almost strikingly so. On several occasions I had to stop and confront my own confusion. Were these people really extending such kindness to people they didn’t know, without the desire for anything in return? After a somewhat ill fated bus ride to the rural area of Koh Sam Roi Yot, we were dropped off on stretch of road that seemed to be particularly deserted. Suddenly we found ourselves at the mercy of the only other person around, a man who ran a small food cart, and did not speak a word of English.
After much discussion about the meaning of the word “taxi” we were informed through hand gestures and sad expressions that there were none. Suddenly, a family (complete with a grandma and a several infant children) pulled over and motioned for us to get in. We spent the next half an hour going back and forth charades style, trying to tell them where we were staying. For anyone who has been to New York City, you know, this is a LONG time to be discussing directions. But they never seemed annoyed or at all inconvenienced.
This family drove us around for over an hour, stopping every ten minutes or so to check their maps and converse amongst themselves. I realized while I watched them that if we didn’t find the hotel we would be staying with them. These people had in essence adopted us. It was amazing to me, and yet I didn’t think it should seem as amazing as it did.
In a fabulous joint effort on behalf of the family, they delivered us safely to our hotel, woke up the manager, discussed the situation and got him to take us to our room. After a series of thumbs up and other various universal signs to let them know we were safe and would be alright, we said an awkward goodbye. This exchange was something I will never forget, sure we had only known these people for a few hours, but they were genuinely worried about our well-being. Why? That is probably a question they themselves would never think to ask.
I’ve been running when I have time, but let’s be honest, who ever has time? So, in an effort to keep myself honest, I’ve put together an actual training schedule. I used the generic training schedule I posted a few weeks ago, and adapted it for May. Hopefully this is helpful for anyone else looking to start/continue running, or work on workout consistency. I know that’s the hardest part for me. The half marathon I will be running is taking place July 20th, so this is a bit early to start the 10 week training schedule but I know life loves to get in the way so it’s probably good to keep some wiggle room.
Someone told me recently that the new healthy lifestyle we promise to adopt as soon as January 1st hits doesn’t really get started until after the Super Bowl pizza and the Valentine’s Day chocolates have been consumed. I would tend to agree, but I have to say that I did try to get started, and I have, for the most part, been running every day. Not far, not fast. But I sweat, and that is what counts, right? I’m in a pretty good place, maybe a little off track now that the fridge is stocked with sweets, but I think I’m finally ready to officially start training. I can now run three consecutive miles, please don’t laugh, but no that wasn’t the case a few months ago. I’m ready to start following a training schedule, and after a little research I’ve found a few that seem simple and straight forward enough to actually stick to.
5k Training Schedule
Half Marathon Training Schedule
I dread the inevitable winter hand shake, because my hands are always freezing. The person then feels the need to stand there trying to warm them up while commenting on just how cold they are, this usually includes a reference to icicles. At this point I say something about how terrible my circulation is and attempt to escape. Yes, they have a point, I am always cold. Luckily, however, I am also usually armed with a scarf and wool socks. Here are a few of my favorite winter looks from women who manage to stay warm and still look pretty stylish.
A look at the street style from around the globe, as Fashion Week went from New York to London to Milan.
Fashion Weeks Street Style
New York, London, Milan Style