Table for one

It takes a good amount of confidence to go to a movie or restaurant by yourself. Many people feel awkward going out by themselves, but I rather enjoy it. Being in a long-distance relationship, I don’t always have someone nearby to do things with. And at times, an outing with me, myself, and I is just as fun as a date night.

One benefit of eating alone at a restaurant is the silence. You can really focus on your food and your thoughts. Lately I’ve been having trouble finding peace and solitude during my day. On my lunch hour, I often walk campus to find a quiet spot to sit and eat. It’s an increasingly difficult task. Students are everywhere, talking on their phones, blasting rap music, holding conversations full of foul language. And then there’s the train, motorcycles, and cars with deafening mufflers.

Some days I spend way too much time walking and exploring, simply trying to find a place where I can enjoy nature and be alone in my thoughts. It’s a struggle only fellow introverts would understand. In a busy world, it’s hard to find opportunities to reflect. At times I’ll find myself having a profound thought when suddenly it’s interrupted by the startlingly loud blare of a car horn.

So no, restaurant hostess, I’m not here to pick up a to-go order. I need a table for one. Let me enjoy the quiet, serene atmosphere of this cozy, uncrowded, hole-in-the-wall place for an hour or so. I have a boyfriend. I have friends. But sometimes I just like to eat by myself, and that’s perfectly okay.

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Girls on the Run 5K

13235639_10154933504668228_4858850113780936631_oOn May 14th my 12-year-old cousin Vivi did her first 5K race through the Girls on the Run program, and I happily served as her running buddy. Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization for grade-school girls that encourages healthy lifestyles and builds confidence. Vivi participated in this program for several weeks leading up to the run, and her training paid off. We finished the 5K in 27 minutes–not bad for her first rodeo!

My mom and I arrived at “Inspiration Village” (held in the fields behind the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge) around 7:30 that morning. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it was a beautiful day for a run…albeit, a little hot.

Various schools and organizations had tents set up for their girls in the program. A DJ was playing on a stage. There were several stations for the girls (and boys) to get decorated for the run, including colored hair spray and bandannas with individualized expressions like “just keep running” or “sunshine.” We also got buttons, and someone was selling tutus (but for the record, I made mine myself).

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Vivi, her sister G, and my aunt and uncle arrived shortly after us. There was a station for spectators to decorate posters, so my mom and G made some while me and Vivi got ready. Then at 8:30, there was a Zumba warm-up in “Balloon Field.” This activity was for everyone, so my mom, G, Vivi, and I all did Zumba. The girls were clearly embarrassed at my mom and I getting into the dances, which just made it more fun for us (hehe).

mom cheering

Mom & G cheering us on!

After the warm-up, I wasn’t just warm–I was already sweating! I hoped I could keep up my energy and have a good race; I didn’t want to let Vivi down. We lined up near the back of the race corral, and at 9 am we were off.

I explained to Vivi that it’s important to go slow at first, to avoid burnout. We weaved around walkers and slower runners, keeping a slow and steady pace. When we reached the first water station at mile 1, I encouraged her to go a little faster. She seemed okay, but she didn’t want to go faster. Not wanting to push her too hard, I kept the slow and steady pace.

As we ran, I explained some of my racing tips and tried to keep her motivated. At mile 3, when I was telling her to go her fastest, she wanted to slow down. When the finish line came into view, she wanted to–*gasp*–walk! She complained about a stitch in her side. But I refused to hear it.

vivi and sophie

Vivi & Sophie!

We reached the final stretch, and I told her to sprint. Out of nowhere she starts sprinting full speed ahead, leaving me in the dust and finishing a good 20 seconds faster than me. That stitch in her side must have miraculously disappeared!

I was very proud and impressed by Vivi, but I have a sneaking suspicion she could have done better. Next year I want G and my mom to run with us, and I’m not letting anyone slow down.

After the race, my brother and sister-in-law, who were visiting from out-of-state, came out with my niece Sophie. There were pancakes, fruit cups, music, and a photo booth at the post-race party. It was fun dancing with little Sophie, who just turned a year old.

photo booth

I love these girls!

This is a fun race for anyone of any age. Everything about it was adorable. I had a great time with my family, and I can’t wait to do this one next year!

 

Wise words from the blogosphere

Lately I’ve been reading a lot on other blogs, seeking wisdom and inspiration from the many talented writers out there. I’m not feeling particularly philosophical this week, so rather than writing something original, I want to share my favorite quotes from other blogs that really resonate with me (and maybe will with you too!):

  • On running. Yes, I feel crazy for signing up for a half-marathon (which is one month away, yikes!), but this running blog reminded me that it’s okay to be a little crazy. Because passion and crazy often go hand-in-hand. And people will always respect you for being passionate about something, whether it’s running, a great cause/organization, career, collecting GI Joes…anything!

What if we stopped there.  We wanted to try something new or achieve a goal not so much for the guts and glory, but just to see if it could be done, but we stop in our tracks because someone said You’re crazy.  Can you imagine if you heard the words You’re passionate, do it.  What a different world this would be. http://11315miles.com/

  • Click the link to this blog and read the rest of the list. Unless you really “have got it together”, this list of advice is for you (so, basically, it’s for all of us who aren’t Barbie or Ken):

Don’t give others the satisfaction of making you love yourself any less. http://waitingfordodo.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/some-advice-i-need-to-keep-telling-myself/

  • What is true beauty? Not perfection, but this. What a lovely thought:

Beauty is displaying all that you are like a canvas splattered with an array of colors. Even though it may look bonkers and deranged, that is why it is beautiful. Beauty is you. Beauty is exhibiting the good, the bad, and the messy.  http://jenuinelife.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/stepping-in-the-beauty-of-vulnerability/

  • On online dating profiles. Ever notice how hard it is to find a normal, decent, genuinely nice guy? It’s like they’re not out there! Which is why this quote is so perfect to me. If I ventured into the world of online dating, I’d probably put this in my bio… 

Normal seeks same. How hard can THAT be, RIGHT???? A bit about me… I’m pretty normal and well-grounded from life’s lessons.  My Energizers are Sun, Water, Music, Workouts… I feed myself with these and then Energize the world. http://datingwhatnot.com/2013/09/12/what-not-to-do-the-worst-online-dating-profile-ever/

  • On love songs. This is by far my favorite dating blog. It’s personal, fun to read, and perfect for strong, independent single ladies who still believe in love.

I want one of those relationships where the two people just adore each other. Where you have nothing but lovely things to say about each other, even if you’ve had a fight. Where words are used carefully because both of you are aware of the scars they can leave and the irreparable damage they can do. Where there is mutual respect and caring. Where both people do things for each other, just because. Where both people feel loved and special. http://27singlesydneyau.wordpress.com/