Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Can't

There are actually a few things I want to say around the word "can't" and how it's been annoying me lately, but I'm actually going to write backwards and share about how I finally accomplished a "can".

There's this dog park near our apartment that Kai and I go to almost daily.  Being a Husky she needs to sprint it out at least once a day, and since she gets along well with other pups, dog parks are ideal.

Every Friday there's a 'dog adoption fair' for lack of a better words. Usually roughly 20-30 dogs (sometimes kitties too) are tied up/penned up outside of the dog park, with workers from the organization taking donations, helping the pups get adopted, or fostered.  After a few conversations with different volunteers there, I learned that this particular organization works through a foster network where the dogs go to homes for the week, and then back to the park every Friday to potentially be adopted by random or intentional passerby's.

The cycle makes me a little sad but on the plus side, being in an actual home might be better than being in a shelter. But then again who knows how long some of these dogs are passed around until they finally get adopted.

Anyways.

Friday rituals

Kai and I usually walk through and say hello to all the dogs, go play in the park, say bye to the dogs, go home, Last Friday there was a group of puppies tied to the bench, and one in particular caught my eye. Kai sniffed her nose, they said hello, and then we went on our way.

I had been telling myself for awhile that I would foster one.  We have the resources, I have the time, and we have a dog who loves all other furry creatures.... Kai even has an extra crate that is easy to pop up when we need it. So I couldn't help but think about that puppy a few more times throughout the day, specifically when I was leaving a coffee date with a friend.

So, I walked by the park on my way home... and she was still there...



Long story short, that's basically what happened. She was there on the bench, it was starting to rain and she was shivering.  Her two sisters she had been with were gone, and she looked pathetic and scared.  So I signed a paper in Hebrew probably promising I was competent or perhaps signing up for some cult who actually knows, and we went on our way.



I did it because I can. Not because we want another dog right now (eventually) or because I thought it would be easy (it's not, we quickly learned she wasn't potty trained) but because I can.  And while the first couple months here have been about 'adjusting' and 'settling in', 'getting comfortable with surroundings'.... I think I'm over that.

We are settled, we are happy, I've made our house a home.  And it's time for me to start turning some of my can'ts into cans.  I didn't necessarily think that would start with bringing home a random dog that keeps getting mistaken for a cat, but hey no one plans for these things.


So I'm going to try my best to get her adopted.  Starting with the semi-absurd amount of money we shelled out to our vet to get her the shampoo she needed for her skin issues that has left her with some missing fur.  Last night I baked them banana strips for dessert (basically dehydrated them at a low temp in the oven) as she's under-weight, and is going to eat like a Queen while she's with me.  Over the course of the past four days, I've gotten her semi-potty trained, (sometimes) sitting for treats, and shifting from being scared of Kai to being best buds. It's been fun, and while fostering can be emotionally hard, I feel really good about the decision to grab her and run last Friday.

More specifics around this mindset shift next time (I think), but for now I wanted to tell the story about Roo. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, that's her name.  She came without one, so we call her Roo because of her big ass kangaroo ears.


Anyways, if anyone in Tel Aviv is reading this and wants a cuddly four-month old adorable puppy whose crate trained and semi-house trained, hit me up.  If anyone is the U.S. wants her, it'll require you visit us first :)  

Happy hump day!
-Kait

Friday, December 9, 2016

Five

Once upon a time when I thought I was a real blogger and tried to link up with other blogs and become internet famous (not really but kind of) I used to do a "Five Things Friday" post, every Friday.

Personally now that I write whenever I want, about whatever I want, I enjoy writing much more, but I do think a Five Things Friday post is in order for today. Sound good?

1. I almost constantly have sand in my running shoes.

As my long runs are slowly becoming longer, I have been seeking out different running routes. While I love running the boardwalk along the beach, it's a stone surface and honestly I'm so paranoid about stress fractures that sometimes I think I can feel my bones screaming at me when I run on it.

So, I've slowly transitioned to throwing a few miles along the actual beach in there, on the packed down sand, just close enough to the water to feel the danger of possibly soaking my shoes with a surprise wave...


Which is awesome, but I pretty much always end up with a pile of sand in my shoes by the time I get home.

2. I have an irrational fear that a cat is going to attack me.  They are everywhere, always. Sometimes I'll look up and there will be one sitting on a wall, glaring down at me.  I just have this ingrained image of a cat randomly jumping at my head and going apeshit.

There is absolutely no reason to be sharing this but I just had to put it out there.

3.  My Our car is here!  It arrived in Israel about ten days ago, but the process of actually getting it to Tel Aviv and getting it registered and all that crap is taking forever.  Fingers crossed we can drive her by next week...

4.  I'm less paleo than I used to be.

This is random, but I've realized over the last month or so that I need a little more grain in my life than I've allowed in the past. I used to be pretty aggressively paleo during the week, yet now I'm much more prone to adding brown rice/quinoa to dinner, having some oatmeal with my breakfast, eating five pitas while out to dinner etc.  I think it's a good balance that my body needs, especially as my running mileage continues to go up.

5.  I think our dog is getting more Christmas gifts than me.

Which is fine, because some of her gifts benefit me :)  At the top of the list that Amazon is throwing our way is a running leash that will go around my waist. I've heard running further distances with dogs while holding onto a leash can mess up your gait (probably doesn't help if your dog psychotically chases pigeons) and so I'm interested to see if this leash helps us become better running buddies.

For the record, this is not Kai.  This is a random meme.

I'll report back on that one.

Anyways, there's your mindless Friday read if you were looking for one.  Have a fabulous weekend.

Cheers - 

Kait

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Crossfit Tel Aviv

It's pretty crazy to me that we are coming up on four months of living out here. A third of a year?? Time flies.

I like to frequently take time to reflect and make note of what's worked, and what hasn't. What was harder than I expected when moving to a new country, and what was easier than expected.

It surprised me how difficult I found starting at a new gym to be.  It wasn't like in the past; I wasn't going into crossfit with zero experience, and (for the most part) I felt confident that I knew what I was doing.


I don't know if it was the occasional language barriers, the overwhelming-ness of the move as a whole, or what.  But for the first several weeks, every other time Andrew and I had plans to go workout at a certain time, I had an aggressive internal battle with myself around why I didn't want to go.

Yet the quote 'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone' has continued to hold true throughout this transition, and the gym was no different. It took awhile, a few moments of awakening, but it began to get easier.


One day while walking home from a workout in deep reflection, I realized something important.  And it's obvious, but it's something that I lost grasp of somewhere along the way, and I think it's something we as athletes all need to be reminded of.

The "rules" of crossfit aren't just something that are sacred to your gym, or your region, or even your country.  The rules and expectations of crossfit apply worldwide.

You cheer on every last teammate - even if you know damn well they may not know English - clapping works right?  And you don't put your equipment away until every teammate has finished the workout.

 You will continue to be pushed outside of your comfort zone, whether you are a new or old athlete, and you don't take that personally.

And there's no feeling sorry for yourself.  Which believe me, I had moments where I tried.  The extreme attention to the details of lifting form took me awhile to get used to (and not take personally) and eventually I've slowly come to appreciate and value it.

But I won't lie, there were frustrating moments that had me on the edge of tears.  

Slowly the coaches are getting to know me; when I'm being a baby about heavy weight and when I actually may need to scale.  Just last week I was encouraged to do Grace at Rx weight (which as a side note, figuring out what I'm actually lifting in Kgs vs. Lbs has also been a struggle) and I surprised myself by finishing under 7 mins.


Yet if I've really been shown anything the past four months, it's been that the one thing that sets CrossFit apart (worldwide) is the instant induction into a community that cares about you.  Whether you fluently speak the same language or not, have the same president or not, have the same goals or not.  Without what has come to be the safety net of a little gym on the beach to go to every day, be greeted warmly, and work with others towards getting better... this move would have been a hell of a lot harder.

Cheers - 
Kait

Friday, December 2, 2016

Community

It's funny, because I almost published this exact same post after I first moved to Baltimore.  I even went back to my drafts to see if I had saved it; I'm sad that I didn't.

When you move to somewhere new you kind of get used to feeling invisible. Not in like a.... oh poor me I'm invisible feel bad for me sort of way, but simply because the odds of randomly running into someone you know when you in fact don't really know anyone is... low.  At least for the first month or so.

I'm out and about several times a day between part-time work, going to the gym, running errands etc. My doormen probably know me as the tall American who talks to her husky and wears shorts during 'winter.'  Yet outside of them, typically while walking the dog or lugging home ten tons of groceries in my backpack... I'm pretty much in my own little world.  Especially since I don't understand the language surrounding me 90% of the time; I just kind of zone out and do my thing, sometimes even sing country music out loud in hopes that it will catch on.

I run Kai along the beach on M/W/F mornings -  and by run I mean I usually am either sprinting, or dragging her at a snails pace as she tries to hunt pigeons. I'm really glad that I left my headphones at home this past Monday and opted for the Mediterranean waves soundtrack, because otherwise I might not have heard this -

"Kait!"

I pulled Kai to a screeching halt.  "WHAT no one here knows who I am and Andrew is at work this is confusing", said my brain as I turned around, half expecting to have misheard my name for perhaps some Hebrew word.

But alas, it was a fellow gym member who had recognized me.  Instantly I grinned and waved and then let Kai continue to drag me along.

(That stupid grin lingered for at least a half mile.)

Like I said, you just kind of get used to not running into people, not having random encounters and catch-ups with acquaintances. But when that starts to be broken - when you build those relationships, force yourself into awkward get-to-know-you situations that you may hate in the moment, but know it will eventually pay off...

When you start to randomly be recognized, and realize hey maybe I'm onto something here... it's pretty darn cool to slowly see the rise of what may be your next community(ies).


As a side note/plug, right here is also reason four million as to why I love crossfit - whether you want to be noticed or not, you'll be noticed, and accepted into the gym fam  :)

So yeah, I just wrote a blog post about how being recognized in public made me happy.  To wrap up, other things that make me happy: it's December, and it's actually cold and rainy here today.  Mother Nature must have taken my post earlier this week personally.

Happy Friday!
Kait

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

winter

This past long weekend, we had a fab opportunity to hop over to Madrid, Spain.  Flights were cheap, and friends of ours from Baltimore (who now live in Germany) suggested a Turkey Day meetup there awhile back.

So we were like sure, why not??

Madrid totally surprised me. I pretty much had no expectations going in, outside of knowing we were attending a Flamenco show for Thanksgiving Dinner... and that our friends Brian and Sarah would make better tour guides than we ever will.

Travel pals

I'll spare the rambling about the beauty of Madrid and the surrounding countryside (although I easily could write paragraphs about it) because I think I prefer that my travel posts offer more than just describing the trip, and more of the emotional side of it...

We both packed about thirty ten minutes prior to our cab picking us up for the airport on Wednesday night - I literally was just throwing random things into my suitcase and hoping for the best.  Luckily I glanced at the weather and noticed lows there were in the 40's, and that we should probably pull out those things that we haven't had to use here in TLV yet... what are they called again?

Coats.

Sure enough, the weather was crap.  Crap is actually the word I would have used six months ago... but after 3+ straight months of only sun, and temps in the 70's and 80's, I actually really really loved the weather.


Fun fact that most of you probably know but some of you may not - I really adore winter.  Always have, always will.  The snow, the cold that comes with it, the ice.  The bulky clothes, the skiing/sledding/snowball fights, hot chocolate - I could continue this list for days.

So yeah, I'm missing my winter a little bit.  I keep hearing from locals/people who have lived here for awhile - just wait, winter will come and it's going to suck.

Well, it's about to be December 1st and I'm still waiting, because I'm pretty sure I took the dog for a run on the beach in shorts and t-shirt this morning.

So anyways - back to Madrid. I rocked my winter coat and boots most of the trip, and loved every second of it.  The light drizzle and slight chill seemed to add to the enchanted-ness of such a gorgeous city, and the occasional wet toes were easily fixed by a few glasses of sangria.


Never in my life (outside of skiing in Michigan at age 5) have I gone on a vacation intentionally to somewhere colder; it's always been off to the beaches. But I loved every second of cold, dreary Spain, and it made me excited to plan our next cold weather trip, whenever that may be.

OK you probably have better things to do than read about how I tie my emotions to weather. I probably do too.  Have a great hump day!

Cheers - 
Kait

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Things (part II)

I know I've already brought up a few things I miss from the U.S., as well things I love about Tel Aviv, but I've got a new list that I've slowly been compiling so bear with me.

Like any country, there are different trends and routines that Israel has seem to embraced and adopted, etc.  The fixed-price coffee cafes are awesome and super reasonable, and I'm going to be honest and admit I'm a little obsessed with all the girls wearing boy jeans trend right now, simply because they look really comfy....

But today I want to talk about things that Americans are used to that aren't really 'a thing' here in Tel Aviv...

- Exhibit A: (and what inspired the brainstorming of this list) - Brunch

Now, you can find some brunch options at a few restaurants around the city, and a lot of places do all-day breakfast.  Yet it's crazy to me that the concept of bottomless brunch hasn't really been embraced here.

You can find a few all-you-can-drink bars at a flat rate - any time of the day, which we have yet to try. But man I'll admit that I miss the occasional solid brunch option - which is why it was pretty amazing when one of our friends hosted one of her own this past weekend.



- Exhibit B: The casual wearing of workout clothes while running errands.

I realize I probably definitely tend to prefer wearing workout clothes more than your average girl to begin with... but on my Target runs back in the day I saw PLENTY of other humans rocking their gym gear and/or sweats while out running their errands.

Not a thing here.  Not even a little bit.  It makes me stick out like a sore thumb and furthermore look like a hobo compared to the trendy outfits the girls here seem to be wearing 24/7.

Of course, that doesn't detour me from doing it.  It just helps to scream 'I'm an American' as I walk down the street in search of chicken broth (which is also oddly hard to find).

- Exhibit C:  Uber.

There are actually a FEW when you open the app, but rarely used and I've heard it's unreliable here.  The ease of Uber back in the States has us all super spoiled.  There's another app called Gett Taxi which is almost as easy but for some reason I don't like it as much... I think because it's actual taxis?

I guess I've just learned to enjoy hanging out in random stranger's personal cars.  Especially when they offer you free candy and chargers, which 100% contradicts how we raise our children.

- Exhibit D:  Pre-packaged margarita mix. 

Not a thing.  I've now searched several stores and they just don't sell it - probably because cocktails really aren't as big of a thing either. Liquor is substantially more expensive, but you can usually order a marg at most establishments; and we've found a few solid ones at Mexican restaurants.

We even found one Mexican Restaurant that said they would be willing to sell their margarita mix to us... but the confusion they expressed when we inquired about buying it made me realize we sounded desperate and weird and therefore I've resorted to simply making my own healthier version with sparkling water and lime juice.



NO I DON'T DRINK MARGARITAS REGULARLY, it's just my favorite cocktail OK. Jeez. Judge harder.

- And lastly, Exhibit E: The word sorry.

I've heard a few people mention (maybe a joke maybe not) that there's not actually a word in Hebrew for 'sorry.'  Which makes me question how Justin Bieber's song Sorry would then be translated.


But seriously - I typed it into my Hebrew App and there doesn't seem to be a singular word for sorry, but instead just the phrase 'I'm sorry.'  I belong to a few Tel Aviv Facebook groups so that I can stay hip and in the know with what's going on, and I actually once saw a thread about how Israeli's hate how many people they now hear saying 'sorry' out on the streets.

I will agree that the word sorry is definitely overused in the U.S.; almost as an awkward filler word.  


I almost just reached for the same jar of salsa as you at the grocery store OH GOSH I'M SO SORRY. 

But in my American opinion, it's perhaps a bit underused in Israel.  But who am I to make that call - you live and you adjust.  You start hosting your own bottomless brunches, and the next time your dog lunges at a stranger's shopping bag on the street because she thinks it's actually a toy of her own, you don't apologize you just keep walking.

Just kidding I would never do that I promise.

Anyways, there are my recent realizations of things in America that aren't things in Israel.

Cheers- 
Kait

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kilometers

Oh hey.  Happy Friday!

Let's talk running, shall we? It's been years since I've written a race recap but this one will be different than any I've ever written, so stay with me.

This past Wednesday was two firsts for me: my first race outside of the U.S., and first night race.  The Tel Aviv 10k.  They say over 25,000 runner showed up, and man what an experience it was on many levels.

The race experience itself = awesome.  Very well set up - tons of festivities at the finish, the course lit up with lights and DJ's, typical finishers medal, all that jazz.

It was also pretty cool because we (Andrew and I)  ran the race with two of our friends from our crossfit gym - both who had never ran in a race before.  So in my opinion, they picked a pretty fun race to make their first (and they both did fantastic).  Plus it was through the enchanting city of Tel Aviv, which is more alive during night hours than any other time.

But let's talk specifics here, because this is where things get interesting.  For example, we actually had no idea how to get to the start of our correct heat... as everything was in Hebrew.  Thank goodness for bilingual friends.

So we manage to get to the start, the gun goes off and like most races the starting area itself is very congested and slow moving.  However the congestion didn't clear for quite awhile.... and by that I mean, I felt I was weaving and trying to find space through almost the entire course.  Which for the first few kilometers is fun right? I had the race adrenaline going, was dodging and cutting people off and plowing over little kids and simply put, racing bliss had me running too fast.


So first rookie mistake if I was a rookie but I'm really not anymore, so to be blunt, first stupid mistake was starting way to fast and scurrying around like a caged hamster just set free.

However.  adrenaline slowed and hills starting creeping up and I became more aware that I didn't feel fantastic anymore... and we were about halfway through a 6.1 mile race.

Realizing that I was slowing down, that my legs hurt, and that I was getting passed, I came to three conclusions in my head as to why this race was different than any other I had recently run.

1.  Heats were in no way followed, people started whenever the heck they wanted to (including myself) and therefore runners weren't as spread out throughout the course as I was used to.
2.  I am not as fast as I was a year ago.  This is true - miles simply have not been put in, and the phrase 'we hardly trained for this' was thrown around a few times leading up to the race.
3. Israel's population is overall faster relative to the U.S.

^^ Now that may be a bold statement, and I don't have hard facts to back it up outside of what I've observed these past three months. Israel is the fittest country I've witnessed to date - extremely low obesity rates - and therefore, I would honestly bet that race paces in this 25,000 person 10k race compared to a similar-sized race in the U.S. are overall faster.  Just a hypothesis.

Anyways - the combination of the three above observations made this race one that will sting for awhile - in a good way.  Then add in the fact that all course signs were in Hebrew - and I blew by the first water station being on the complete opposite side of the road and not paying an ounce of attention - and that was just the icing on the cake.

Finishing time is up for grabs - my watch malfunctioned at the start and started too early, and times haven't been posted online yet, but I'm thinking I sat between 47 and 48 minutes, which put my pace in the high 7's.  But that might be generous to be honest.




I took a minute afterwards to vent to Andrew about how crappy the last few kilometers felt, I didn't have my racing legs, blah blah blah cry some more Kait.  There aren't excuses, just facts, I'm not the runner I was a year ago.

But the beautiful part that I love about running? The more you work on it, the more progress you're bound to see.  And it just so happens that half marathon we signed up for is 98 days away, as of today.  So let's see what I can pull together in three months, eh?

cheers to the freakin' weekend - 
Kait


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Eats


Coming up on three months of living in Israel, I can now confidently answer some of the questions like, "What has been the hardest parts of the transition?"

One of the harder parts that is a shorter, more light-hearted answer to give you is, food.

Let me caveat with - Tel Aviv has some amazing restaurants and food - which is part of the problem. The first month and half we were eating out a TON due to:

1. excitement and wanting to try new things 
2. lack of knowing where to buy certain foods
3. not having most of our kitchen stuff yet i.e. blender crock-pot etc.

Some prices were a bit shocking at first - some because of cheapness (produce) and more because of costliness.  Packaged foods are definitely on the higher side; which is why we now order most non-perishable items from Walmart or Amazon.

We live close to Carmel Market, which as I mentioned above has a fantastic array of all kinds of produce.  The exchange of cash initially intimidated me, but I've grown use to the mild pushing  and yelling and force myself to at least buy the majority of our produce there on a weekly basis (they also have great wine deals there on Fridays so that's a plus).

Carmel Market (on a very empty day) - Source

That being said, the emotional experience of grocery shopping also was a shock at first.  

Kait WTF do you mean grocery shopping is not an emotional experience.

For me it is was; I've always LOVED grocery shopping, nothing like finding a quiet evening at Trader Joes or Whole Foods with no lines and tons of samples, know what I mean?

Probably not but that's ok, just don't judge.

So yeah, grocery shopping for awhile (until maybe like.. last week) actually gave me a good amount of stress.  95% of labels are in Hebrew, and while sure I can stand there taking pictures of the labels with my phone and using Google Translate, the self-conscious part of myself simply wouldn't allow it.  And consequently, I brought home some kind of weird tomato salad instead of salsa, butter instead of cheese... the list goes on but we will stop there.

It's just more of a... get in and get out here are your groceries now go type of experience.  There is no 'thank you' from the cashier once you pay, they hand you the receipt and you leave. Which for awhile was hard for me to not take personally, and I always felt like I was leaving the store with my tail between my legs.

However a good indicator that I'm slowly becoming used to the sometimes abrasiveness/bluntness that is part of this culture:

Riding my bike down the sidewalk just yesterday - Israeli man clearly screams at me in Hebrew for riding on sidewalk - I smile and keep riding.

Two months ago that interaction would have sent me close to tears.
But now... sorry bro I'm not looking to ride down a major city street and get sideswiped.

Anyways, back to the food thing.  I think Andrew would agree, as of the past few weeks, we've finally found more of a happy medium with cooking healthy meals, having morning smoothies, etc.  Meals definitely look different than what my go-tos were back in the States, but it was a good change that has forced me to explore the boundaries of healthy eating options.



Having our crock-pot arrive a few weeks ago has been a huge help, sweet potato chili fulfilled my fall craving, and this week I concocted a balsamic veggie chicken stew thing that got the thumbs up from Andrew (and Kai who I found trying to lick some off the counter).

Anyways, there are some rambles on food - here is the link to the sweet potato chili if you're interested - I highly recommend it (it calls for beer but I omitted that).

Cheers - 
Kait


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Paws/Pause

I realize there's a lot going on in the world right now so I decided I needed a time out from the madness, and pause to write about why today is important to our little Eggers clan -

Kai turned 1 today!
you better believe I baked her some pup-cakes

As I write this, she's aggressively digging in the couch trying to hide her newest toy (a stuffed squirrel) that she picked out at the pet store as her birthday gift.  She still has 100% puppy in her and more energy than Andrew and I put together, making it pretty hard to believe that she's already a year old.

To prevent this from turning into a weird obsessive ode to my 1 one year old dog, I'll keep it short and sweet.

First and foremost, this girl has been an absolute blessing hands down.  It was a semi-rash, sudden decision that we made back in March to get a dog, yet we have never once questioned the decision; we actually stand by the idea that it's one of the best we've made so far.   She's forced us to be more responsible than we probably have wanted to be at times, but she's taught us so, so much.

how Kai & Dad dance :)

She's ripped up our couch multiple times, eaten some of my favorite skirts, and thrown up more socks than I can count... and we love the crap out of her.

Day 1 - March 19
On top of all that, I seriously can't imagine making the move here without her.  I have probably said that to Andrew about once a week since August 18th when we officially moved here.  The adjustment has been crazy and certain days have been long and lonely - but never *that* lonely, because I always have a paw to hold or fur to shove my face into. We've learned a lot together - where the stray cats hide, where the best coffee stands are, which convenience stores welcome dogs, etc.

Not to mention she's been quite the conversation starter with random strangers on the street/at the dog park, etc. Husky = Husky in Hebrew, so that helps.

Anyways, Happy Birthday Kai. We love your crazy self, and love bringing you along on all of our life adventures :)  

Cheers - 
Kait 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sports

Well I was planning on writing about food or something along those lines today, but then the Cubs won the freaking World Series and seeing that half of my readers are from Chicago, I figured I might as well write about something a little more relevant than a chili recipe and boost my page views.

Cubs. Wow.  Love it.



It's such an odd experience watching sports live out here in good ole' TLV.  We went to bed shortly after 11 pm last night, knowing that if we wanted to see the end of the final World Series game live, we would be setting the alarm for 5 am.  Luckily we have a husky who hasn't adjusted to the time change (our clocks fell back an hour last week) so she started stomping around on our bed hungry for breakfast around.... 4:45 AM.

Well we might as well get up and watch history in the making - right??

So instead of watching games with beers in hand, we watch games with bedhead and strong black coffee. Let's just hope our elderly neighbor next door didn't wake up to our screams of despair around 5:30 AM when that two-run homer was hit to tie up the game.



Shortly after the win was secured, we cheers'ed (is that a word?) our coffee mugs and Andrew headed off to work.  On the plus side, I got to watch some of the post-game interviews without the nagging thought of "I should probably go to bed now or I'm going to be a zombie tomorrow."

Instead it's more like, "I should probably start my day now, get out of my PJ's and be a productive member of society."

The second oddity is, baseball isn't a thing here.  Something I'm slowly realizing (approaching our three month mark) is that one of the things I really love about our good ole' US of A is that overall, we LOVE our sports probably harder than any country (outside of a few soccer-specific mad houses). The overzealous enthusiasm for the game of  baseball/football/hockey/soccer/insert favorite sport here is something that's impossible to recreate here - and probably in most countries.

First instinct upon winning was to throw on some red and blue and high five our door man on the way out of the building.  But the World Series probably doesn't even translate to anything in Hebrew if I had to guess.


So yeah, it's a little weird.  
Not bad, just different, and makes me appreciate our culture in that regard.
And appreciate the fact that we even have the ability to watch the games over here.

Wrapping up - congrats my Cubs fans.  You've been waiting 108 years and unless you're a Cleveland fan, there's no way you could watch that game and not smile out of the sheer joy that win just brought that team, the fans, and that my city.

Source: @ABCnews

And if you're a White Sox fan (like me) I hope you can suppress any negative emotions you may have, if you have any, and just be happy.  And if you're a Cleveland fan, I'm sorry.  And if you don't even care about baseball and are wondering why you just wasted five minutes reading this - I'll write about food or weather or something next week.

Cheers amigos - 



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sweat (part I)

I won't lie, I've been putting off this fitness post for... roughly two months now?  Funny too, since this blog originally started out as a running/health blog back in the day.

I've been putting it off because my general emotions towards fitness - running, crossfit, swimming, sometimes yoga, etc - have been super bumpy as of late.  And I think that's somewhat normal right? We all get really into certain things at certain times of life, get turned off by certain things, decide to try new things etc.  We get hurt, we get burnt out, whatever it is; relationships with fitness can fluctuate a ton (as all relationships can).



I love taking care of my body, and challenging it - this has always remained a constant.  But the months throughout this past summer had me in a weird spot.  A slump, if you will. A conversation I had right before the move actually had me saying, "Actually to be honest, I'm in the worst shape I've been in a LONG time right now."

Now let's pause and define: "Being in shape" means something different for every single person. Everyone has different expectations and visions for the words "I'm in shape" - and for me, it's not just about being able to fit into my pants.  I'm kind of strict with the standards I hold myself to (sometimes it's too much, I'll admit) and so what I mean by saying this is, my running mileage was VERY low, and super slow.  Normal activities were just a *little* harder than they should have been, and when we found ourselves running the stairs outside our new gym week two of arriving out here, it was WAY harder than how I ever remember running stairs in the past.

How equally convenient and awful that these stairs are next to our gym

I love fitness, I believe I always will.  I so enjoy pushing my lungs and my muscles and my mental willpower to its limits; I love the challenge of hard things. One of my favorite motivational quotes has always been, "Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing" and therefore, I hate the fact that this summer I found myself half-assing it through workouts and runs.

There are plenty of excuses I could rattle off - sure.  Injuries, dealing with a new puppy, preparing for an international move.  But the fact of the matter is, people do incredible things, every day, with much bigger things on their plates.

So there's no excuse.

Anyways - the point of this post - there should always be a point, right?  The point is, I'm finally re-grasping once again what's important to me in the health & fitness realm, and slowly crafting some goals.

Last year on Halloween, I was able to run a 10 mile race at a 7 min. pace. This year, current state, I'm really not sure I could hold that for 5 miles.  However, we have a 10k night run coming up here in a few weeks, so I guess that will be a good chance to see where I stand.  And then base running training off of that - as the Mr. and I both recently signed up for the Tel Aviv Half Marathon in February.

except we are doing 13.1

Eek.

Time to start upping that mileage.

Yet I would be remiss if I didn't talk crossfit; it's what allows me to run the distances I want to. If I've learned nothing the past two years when it comes to working out and my body, it's that healthy running doesn't happen with this 5'11'' frame unless I've got the muscles to keep it going strong. And man, am I believer in the importance of strength training (specifically crossfit style) - and how well it pairs with endurance races.

So of course, we became members of Crossfit Tel Aviv day 2 out here, and as motivation and comfort-levels increase (and I go more consistently) I am slowly seeing progress. Even if a workout of snatches and burpees over the bar knocked me on my butt last night - quite literally.

Wrapping up; back to those goals.  They're not quite 'Hang on the fridge' worthy yet, but they're in the making, and I'm excited about it.  I identify as a lot of things, but as far back as I can remember an athlete has always been one of them.  I lost that a little bit recently, but am pumped to feel it starting to come back.



So there you have it, way too long of a post babbling about things you might not necessarily care about.  But if you do, keep your eyes open, I'm hoping to starting talking sweat a little more consistently on here.  I'm huge on tackling new things, setting lofty goals, and talking about stuff that inspires us all to be a little bit more badass.

Cheers -
Kait

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Backwards

Fun fact: Our pup Kai turned 11 months this past week, meaning she is officially in her last month of 'puppy-hood'

Kai @ 4 mos - the first day we got her

Speaking of Kai, have I mentioned that she's a huge spaz?  I wouldn't call her uncoordinated, but she does gets distracted super easily.  Her biggest spaz-moments usually happen on walks and runs - something will catch her eye, usually above or behind her.  She stops looking forward, but keeps walking forward, and then runs straight into something.

Scenario from our run this morning:

- Run past another puppy on the beach.  We say hello to puppy, keep jogging.
- Kai decides to look back at the puppy, seeing if perhaps puppy is following us home.  We keep running forward.
- Kai runs into large wooden pole, very startled and momentarily confused.

It's always hard not to laugh at her in those moments; the things she has run into are absurd (sometimes it's me) and there are usually people around who witness it and then look at me like 'what is wrong with your dog?'

good question

The simple answer is, she's looking backwards too often.  

Why am I telling a story about how my dog is a ditz? Because I got to thinking after watching her plow head first into the pole, and realized that there's really not a lot to gain from looking backwards.

Yes, now I'm getting a little bit deep.  Looking backwards is distracting, and usually results in either 1. getting thrown off track and/or 2. Not trusting what is forward.

"Fall" here now has me day dreaming and reminiscing hard.  We've hit a beautiful point in TLV (correction - it's always beautiful) where mornings are dropping into the 50's and it feels fall-ish. The cooler air has me flashing me back to autumns that I've had in Illinois, Colorado, and Baltimore.

Yet looking back like this typically gets me emotional and occasionally sends me yearning to be back in that past situation; back in consistency, and comfort zones.  But the reminiscing game simply isn't very healthy, as I think it takes away from the beauty of current situations. These crazy journeys we are all on has us walking forward for a reason. No matter where you are in life, there is simply more to be gained by embracing the present, and trusting the process.


That's not to say looking back on memories isn't a wonderful thing.  I just think there's perhaps a difference between clinging and longing for the past versus valuing the past, and putting trust in the future. Because if you find yourself looking backwards for too long, you may miss a stair and end up face planting on the marble floor - just ask Kai, who was set on watching the pigeons take a bath this past weekend.

And in the meantime, I'll work on getting Kai to stop with the glancing backwards so often on walks. Although I'm pretty sure that this metaphor doesn't necessarily apply to her - she's always happy, no matter where she is or what she's doing.


The things dogs can teach us.

Cheers friends - 

Kait

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Travel

Up until 2016, Andrew and I wouldn't have really considered ourselves travelers.  Domestic travelers I suppose, as flights to Denver and Chicago were fairly consistent.  Belize this past February marked our first 'international trip' as a couple, then followed by this move.

This past weekend was a three-day for Andrew (Columbus Day) so we jumped on Google Flights a few weeks ago (we love Google Flights - it lays out in a map format what airfares are to what cities, whichever weekends we are looking at) and saw that flights into Larnaca, Cyprus were dirt cheap.

We then snagged an Air BnB for roughly $40 a night, patted ourselves on the backs for finding such a deal, and then were like "Hmmm I wonder what there is to do in Cyprus."

More than you think.  

Northern Cyprus AKA Turkey
Quick fact on Cyprus: the island is divided North and South - The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern part, and Turkey occupies the North.

The more we take trips together, the more we learn what works for us.  We aren't really the pair who will/can lounge on a beach for hours at a time, sitting still is harder for us unless we are winding down for the evening.

So last week I made a list of everything I thought we might enjoy there (Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor are my BFFs when it comes to planning trips).  We knew we wanted to see both North and South, so research had to be done as to what was involved with the border crossings, etc.

I'm not writing this as a "Why you should visit Cyprus post" but if you are curious, I recommend seeing both parts of the island, as they each have different 'feels' and a lot to offer.  We drove from the North to the South in roughly 2 hours, and the drive is very beautiful along the coast.  The country has everything from ruins, castles, beaches, hikes, wineries, even a brewery (which of course we found).



But really I'm writing this because I think traveling can be stressful, and it's important to find a balance along the way.  I'm usually one for schedules and itineraries, while Andrew is a bit more adventurous fly by the seat of your pants type of guy.  We are slowly finding a great balance right in between the two mindsets for trips, and I would say Cyprus was our most successful weekend away so far in regards to that.



Outside of the fact that Andrew quickly had to learn to drive on the left side of the road, and almost hit a pedestrian within the first hour.

I think a lot of people plan trips with friends and/or their sig other and envision a perfect, happy scenario.  It's never going to be perfect guys, there will always be curveballs when it comes to travel.  They will shut down border crossings and your phone (GPS) will die and your husband will momentarily have to talk you off a ledge.

 Just expect the curveballs, and it makes it a little bit easier.



We are by NO means travel experts, but it's just something that recently became pretty evident to me, and I wanted to share. With flights to Europe so cheap from Tel Aviv, we are definitely going to try to embrace quick weekends away as we find deals, so perhaps more travel posts to come?

Anyways, Happy Friday Eve!

Cheers -


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Compare

Solitude is a kind of a funny thing.  I think sometimes the word can tend to have a negative connotation, but it's not necessarily bad right - everyone needs some alone time.

However it's fascinating to me how everyone needs different doses of it.  I have friends who hit a point where they just NEED some alone time to recharge, reset. I think I fall more in the middle of the spectrum, I enjoy some solitude, but too much of it and I start to get in my own head.

I didn't really want to write about this, because it's a little bit sensitive and personal and honestly maybe border-line childish? And while what I'm about to say might be a big huge DUH, I don't know, I kind of want to talk type through this.

Too much occasional alone time has led to too much occasional social media time, which in turn has led to me playing the comparison game.  It's almost humorous, because I used to YELL at my friends when they would do it.  But in a recent conversation, the tables turned.

Basically, I disclosed that I was considering unfollowing a handful of people on social media because their lives were making me sad.  Not because their lives themselves were sad, but because of what they were constantly portraying.

Some of you might be reading this and are like, "Wait hold on though Kait, you're posting pictures of the beach every other day."

Touché.
However, my life is not a beach.

I took this last night, isn't it pretty!

Social media can really suck man. It can suck because, it basically allows people to paint whatever picture they want about their lives.  And rarely is someone going to choose to display a bad day, a sad day, an argument had, etc.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not unhappy.  Please don't read into this post. But let's be real here, we are all struggling with different things, we all have problems, there are always a variety of challenges.

Basically, I had to be forcefully reminded of this by my friend, like I suddenly had a maturity level of a brainwashed 16 year old whose only goal in life is to be part of the cool crowd.

Is that still a thing anymore? I hope not.

So I'm posting this as a reminder, mostly because I needed the reminder.  Pictures, and statuses, and videos - they don't fully represent that person, or their life.  And while it's awesome to be able to share the beautiful and happy PARTS of peoples' lives from over 6,000 miles away, I need to cut out the bad habit of looking at those parts, and assuming it's a whole.

Wow, that looks like an awesome weekend they had. I'm pumped for them!

End thought. Stop there. Don't start comparing, leave it at that.
It's actually a good rule for life as a whole - not just social media.



I hope this doesn't somehow offend anyone. It's simply exactly what I wrote.  Actually, if it does offend someone, I'm not sorry; this is just another part of social media.  We all have the ability to express ourselves however we want (outside of nudity, that's pretty often blocked still) - and this is just me expressing a recent struggle.

ANYWAYS, love you all.

-Kait

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Things

We finally got a vacuum yesterday.

Yes, we have been living in a very sandy city, with a husky, without a vacuum for five weeks. This is what the vacuum container looked like (originally empty) after 20 minutes of vacuuming.


It's funny the pleasure that small things and items can bring when your life is suddenly severely simplified and revolves around completely different agendas and goals. Once cleaning was complete I stood in the middle of our apartment for a few minutes just observing the cleanness of it, letting my accomplishment soak in.  It's the little things right?

A few weeks ago, our air shipment arrived that was majority my clothes (LOL sorry Andrew) but also a handful of kitchen utensils/appliances.  And it was glorious, because suddenly having a French press allowed me to stop having to go to coffee shops every morning - where simply ordering a 'cup of coffee' is not a thing.  You order a cup of coffee, they ask what kind - Americano, Cappuccino, Macchiato?

Just normal coffee please?
Coming right up, says my French press.



The arrival of the blender suddenly allowed breakfasts on-the-go for Andrew, which will become even more joyous when our protein shipment arrives.

A wonderful friend out here with a car even dragged our jet-lagged butts to IKEA the first Sunday we arrived (yes, Israel has IKEAs - a few actually) and suddenly our all-marble apartment became a little bit cozier with a few rugs.

The last of our belongings are on a boat somewhere; honestly, probably in the middle of the Atlantic if I had to guess, and odds are with the customs process and FIVE Jewish holidays in October (some even multiple days long) we won't see any of it until November.  Which is fine, we came to terms with that awhile ago, but I'll tell you what when that stuff gets delivered, I may just shed a few tears of joy and bury myself in our couch for a solid ten hours.

I realize it is semi-superficial to place too much value in THINGS, but I also believe in the midst of big life changes, the familiar can help reduce the panic.  Sitting down this morning and having a cup of American (Dunkin Donuts) coffee in my familiar mug that was a wedding gift, it's simple, and it's comforting.

Another girl (woman, if we are being formal) actually moved here with her husband the same day that we did, and I've had the blessing of getting to know her well, as we share very similar struggles and our emotional ups and downs seem to coincide week by week.  I'll spare babbling on too much about it, but in summary we agreed upon this:

The ups and downs of life - in our case right now, adjusting to living in a foreign country - they don't necessary make sense.  I can be perfectly fine, and a few minutes later find myself crying over an Instagram picture because I miss my friends, or because an employee at the restaurant gave me a weird look.


The ups and downs of life don't have to make sense, so if I want a vacuum cleaner arriving yesterday to be part of an up, well then damnit it will be.

Cheers -
Kait

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Four

Today is our official four week mark of being in country.  Blows my mind, it's absolutely flown by and been a blur.  Realizing that today was indeed 28 days, I decided to pause for a moment and do a little bit of general reflecting, which I shall divide into two categories.  I realize these lists might come off as somewhat superficial, but don't lie to yourself you would have some sadness about moving somewhere without Targets too.

Things that don't really bother me that I thought would:

1. Lack of my familiar stores.  I basically lived NEXT to Target back in Baltimore, and made several quick runs there a week since they literally have everything.  So Target, followed closely by my favorite grocery stores such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods - I really thought I would have separation anxiety.  Don't get me wrong, I miss them... but there are more options here than I realized, and it forces me to explore the smaller shops that I wouldn't necessarily go into if I had a big Target-like store out here, close by.

2. Making friends.  My past two moves the process of making friends semi-consistently broke me down into tears; I HATE the slow-moving process of it, I'm just not very good at it.  I still don't love it, but have learned to be more patient with it, and I think I'm a little better at it the third time around.

Friends at the beach last week :)

3.  Lack of a car.  There have been times when I wish I had one, sure.  But walking around the city has taught me a TON, forced me to be more active, and in general probably gotten me more comfortable, more quickly.  Our car is being shipped over here - eventually - but we most likely won't see it until mid-November at the earliest.

4.  Shabbat.  When I say I thought it would bother me, I don't mean the religious practice itself, I mean the fact that roughly 75% of the city shuts down from sun down on Friday to sun down on Saturday - a large chunk of our weekend.  I thought that would really limit us in regards to making social plans and outings, but so far we've found way more options of things to do/ways to be creative than expected; and I've actually kind of come to love the slowness and quietness of Shabbat.

Things that kind of bother me that I didn't realize would:

(let's define the word bother super mildly, these things aren't ruining my day, more so I'm just surprised that I even noticed them)

1. The cats.  Soooooo many stray cats.  Now don't get all up in arms, I'm not like a cat HATER (well some of them really piss me off because they hiss at Kai and get all aggressive with her and she's like what I just want to be your friend!?) but there is always cat food scattered everywhereeeee. Which is cool right, because there's this crazy organized effort throughout the city to take care of all the stray cats, but not so cool when your dog is obsessively hunting down the cat food, occasionally eating it, and then getting awful gas.

This guy guards the gate to our apartment, I've named him Kelly

2. A lack of fall.  I was well aware that there wasn't going to be a 'fall' out here in the sense that the leaves aren't going to change, and it's not going to get cooler until closer to November.  But I think even more than the temperature change, I miss the celebration of fall, and all things pumpkin.  And I'm not going to lie I did this today:

Secret Tel Aviv is an awesome Facebook group where you can pretty much find out about anything

3. LaCroix.  LOL SO BASIC, I know, but I miss it.  There are a few sparkling water options in large bottles, but minimal flavors, and DAMN I just miss grabbing an ice cold can of LaCroix and crushing it when I'm thirsty.

4. The time change.  I want to cheviot this with, I actually kind of like and dislike our time zone difference from the U.S. - so this could have made both lists.  Mornings are nice because they are super quiet, my phone doesn't typically light up with any alerts (unless it's another Israel-resident) until late afternoon.  I get a lot done, and can kind of be disconnected when I choose to be.

However, I am big on keeping in touch with people, and doing it well.  So when my Baltimorians start waking up around 2 pm, Chicago around 3 pm, and Colorado around 4 pm, it's sometimes waves of texts/facetimes/snapchats all at once.  And evening for me is typically workout time, dinner time, and then Andrew time, so I can't always be on my phone a ton, depending.  Which is where I've found frustration that I wasn't anticipating.



I'm not saying this at all to discourage anyone from reaching out to me - I love hearing from everyone, and being thought of.  

So there they are, my four-week thoughts wrapped up in two lists.  I hope they aren't read as me sitting here complaining, I just enjoying sharing the randomness of some of it, and wouldn't be surprised if I re-read this six months from now and laugh at myself.

Enjoy your Friday Eve my friends, I'm off to the dog park with hopes of avoiding all cat food along the way.

Cheers - 
Kait



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mornings

Fun factOut of the 14.3 million Jewish people in the world, 43% reside in Israel. 

Mornings in Tel Aviv are super quiet; it's actually my favorite part of most days here.  6:30 AM walks are usually with only a select few dogs, traffic is light and the temperatures are beginning to stay cooler and cooler while the sun is still rising. 

Weather this time of year is absurdly consistent; it's basically the same. exact. thing. every single day.  A few clouds in the morning, then clear skies the rest of the day, highs in the mid-eighties.  We've been told a few different things in regards to what fall and winter are like here (opinions vary depending on what people are 'used to' for winters) but from what I can gather it will stay fairly mild, and we won't see snow unless we venture towards the mountains - sometimes even up in Jerusalem.


Another reason I have grown to prefer mornings here is kind of a selfish one - no one randomly approaches me on the street and starts speaking to me in Hebrew.  Now let me preface that with, I'm extremely grateful that Tel Aviv is such a friendly city, and that every fifth person on the street wants to know 1. what kind of dog Kai is 2. how old she is or 3. directions to somewhere.  (Top three reasons I'm usually approached).

As a sidenote, even having headphones in does not detour people from approaching me... I try it daily.

But recently  I've shifted from feeling confused when someone approaches me in Hebrew, to now kind of annoyed.  Not with them - but with me - because I know VERY little Hebrew, and even if I did I can't help with directions yet. My response always makes me feel like a brutish ape - usually I kind of grimace and half yell "WHAT" and they either quickly switch gears to English, or they keep speaking Hebrew and I have to put on an I'M AN IGNORANT AMERICAN AND HARDLY EVEN KNOW ONE LANGUAGE face and ask if they speak English, in English.

Roughly 80% (of who I've encountered) do.  The amount of languages most people here can *fluently* speak actually simultaneously blows my mind, and leaves me feeling super incompetent.  It's not a secret that most of the world seems to know at least enough English to get by, yet (majority) of American's notoriously never pick up another language - not very well at least.  And I guess I had never really formulated any feelings around that until I actually immersed myself in a culture where it mattered.

Example: I heard a girl at the beach the other day quickly switch from Hebrew, to English, to Portuguese. 
Sigh.

It's unrealistic to declare that I'm going to be fluent in Hebrew by the time we are done here - Hebrew is a super tricky language, and even learning the alphabet system would be a feat for me. However, I am now much more dedicated to learning basic words and phrases to get by.  So far I know... roughly five words (can we count Mazel Tov?).  Current state learning is simply using a pretty cool app on my phone, but I think we both may eventually move to a tutor once or twice a week for awhile, as that's a resource that's available to us.

Anyways, those are some of my thoughts on the week.  If anyone reading knows some Hebrew and wants to give me some pointers, I would appreciate it.

Have a fabulous day, cheers - 
Kait