Things that I’m testing

Now that I am in a new decade, I’ve decided to put in place some new goals.  These aren’t replacing the ones I had previously from the new year, but rather an a new addition. I mean, I’m a year older, shouldn’t be more capable of achieving things? I can be handle more challenges right? And let’s be honest, I need to do things to take care of my health cause my metabolism is shutting down as we speak and I’m not going change my eating habits.

Yes, this is me admitting, that adding in more physical exertion to my life is somehow easier than portion control.

Here are the things that I’m going to try now that I’m in a new decade:

  • Actually hitting my step goal EVERY DAY. Yes, every day.  The first goal is to do it for 30 days straight. Let’s see what happens if I can actually achieve 11,000 steps every single day for the next 30 days.
  • If I can do this for 30 days, then I want to try to do it for 60 days.  Then let’s up it to 12,000 steps for 30 days, then 60, you get the drill.
  • If I can’t do it for 30 days, then I’ll just keep trying until I can do it for 30 days consecutively.
  • Drinking at least 32 oz of water during the work day. That’s not a lot. That’s 4 oz of water every hour. But let’s be honest, I’m terrible at remembering to stay hydrated. Let’s see if I can do this for a 30 days straight, then 60… see a pattern?
  • I want to hit my hourly step goal. Yes, I have an hourly step goal (thank you FitBit). It’s 250 steps an hour for 13 hours a day.  It’s not hard but I get lazy.

I’ll report back in a month on how I did.

Wish me luck!


Noodles, actually, top ramen

I’ve noticed recently that ramen is becoming a much more popular item in restaurants and everyone seems to love it.  It’s funny because I’ve had this conversation with my mom about how much top ramen, or curly mien (also loosely translated to curly noodles) has always been a major part of my life since I was a kid. Yes, I know, top ramen is not healthy for you and I probably shouldn’t eat as much of it as I do. But ever since I was kid, it’s been a staple for when we go camping and I’ve loved any version of ramen ever since.  So let’s be honest, the fact that I can now get top ramen and fancy ramen all the time, I am so happy.

That being said, my instant ramen is cooked a little differently than other ramens. I’ve noticed that most people may include an egg at most when they cook their ramen but for whatever reason, my family has always just used the ramen noodles as a base for an actual dish. Here’s how I love to cook my ramen:

  • Boil water
  • When the water starts boiling, add an egg so that you can get a poached egg in your noodles
  • Add the noodles
  • Right after you add the noodles, add in spinach (should be within the first 30 seconds of the noodles being added)
  • After about a minute 30, add in bean sprouts
  • When the noodles are cooked through, pour into a bowl
  • Add some stewed tomatoes
  • Add minced garlic
  • Add some seasoning
  • Add some hot sauce
  • Maybe add some artichoke hearts
  • Mix it all together and eat it!

To make it slightly healthier, cook the noodles separately in a different pot than everything else.  When the noodles are done, drain them and then add them to the other pot with the egg and vegetables.  It’ll help clear out some of the oil that comes on the noodles.

Growing up, my friends would do a combination of cheese and egg which was always delicious.

Do you have any favorite or creative ways to cook ramen?

Budva, Montenegro

After our full group reconvened on the bus, we made our way to Budva.  Budva is supposedly the place that the casino from Casino Royale is located but from my understanding, it’s not true. That being said, you will find a Casino Royale there in Budva that uses the movie as its claim to fame. That being said, we pulled up to Budva and it was by far one of the most interesting cities I’ve seen so far.

The city has a lot of money from Russia and you can see the influence from the money in the architecture which proves to be a crazy contrast to the rest of the city. You have the standard Old Town which contains old cobble stone roads and stone buildings surrounded by the wall and water. Then there are super modern buildings and in between you’ll find buildings that look like they came right out of the 80s.

Our bus parked by a giant building that looked like it belonged in Miami Beach in the 80s and then we began walking along the water to Old Town.  Our guide recommended that we eat in Budva because there were more options. Along the coastline are a bunch of restaurants that you can check out and look out over the coast from the decks. There were definitely significantly more options around Budva than in Kotor. I think with it being more of a destination for people with money, the holiday season doesn’t affect the businesses as much and things are actually open during the winter season.

Most of the tour group decided to go grab food and I decided to head straight for Old Town. I wanted to make sure I could do all my tourist things before sitting down to eat, and I knew that I could always just buy food and eat it on the go. I wandered Old Town and to be honest, it was actually significantly smaller than Kotor and so I was done with it after about 20 minutes. I even climbed the wall and looked out over the coastline and contemplated life, or at least I pretended to but really my stomach was starting to grumble and I needed to get food.

So I started back toward the restaurants that the guide had recommended and decided to stop at a seafood place. I walked into the restaurant and immediately turned around and walked out. The instant you walked in there, you could feel the cigarette smoke consume you and I personally do not do well with smoke. So I decided to check out a few more restaurants along the water but their menus weren’t interesting or they weren’t open. I eventually found myself inside of the gates of Old Town again and I saw an Italian restaurant that sounded delicious so I went there and walked in, only to turn back around again because yet again, people could smoke inside.

I ended up leaving Old Town and walking to a few of the hotels on the other side of the wall in search of a grocery store and/or a hotel with a restaurant that wouldn’t have people smoking inside.  Sadly enough, all the hotels allowed smoking where the restaurants are and when I finally stumbled up on a grocery store, they didn’t have any prepackaged foods that I could grab and go.  So I was without food after about an hour of hunting.

So I went back to Old Town, found a pizza stand and grabbed a slice of folded up pizza (also known as a pizza wrap) and made my way back to the coastline.

To be honest, there isn’t much to see in Budva.  I’m sure it’s a beautiful city but it didn’t feel that great to me. While it was super interesting architecturally, it wasn’t that eventful for me. I think that most people actually go there to gamble more so than anything else, but we obviously didn’t have enough time for that. I eventually, found myself at a little market where I roamed the stands and then eventually made my way back to the bus to get ready for the drive back to Dubrovnik.

Thoughts – RBF

Recently I was told that I have the worst case of RBF. Yes.  I have a mean face when I am just staring blankly into the world with zero thoughts. I think I get this from my mom. And, frankly, I am 100% okay with this. I don’t need to look overly friendly and approachable all the time do I?

The friend that told me this was driving by me as I was walking down the street.  And, this is actually the second time that this has happened. The first time, I had a friend walk by me on the street and I looked him dead in the eyes and immediately heard “wowwwwww”.  Only to realize that we were friends and I had just given the rudest look to someone I knew. To be honest, when we made eye contact – there was no part of me that processed who he was or what I was seeing.

You see, over the years of living in a big city, I’ve learned to zone out when I walk. I can make eye contact with every person I walk by but this does not mean that I process who I see or what I am seeing around me. I can’t help it if I look mean and unapproachable when I walk, but it keeps people from talking to me.  I don’t think I necessarily do it on purpose but I do know that when I am in my own head and walking, my eyes go dead. It is like there is nothing going on in my head and it’s usually because I am too lost in thought.

Or, sometimes, I am legitimately blank. Walking is therapeutic to me and helps me decompress from my day even if it is just for a few minutes. I use it as a time to focus on nothing and let the music take over all my thoughts but not in the sense that I think about what I’m listening to but rather it drowns out all my thoughts and I go blank. I think about nothing, I don’t day dream, I don’t process anything and it’s those few minutes where I can just exist. Nothing worries me, nothing bothers me, I’m not happy and I’m not sad. I know it sounds strange, but I love it.

I love looking off into the distance and not necessarily processing what I see. It helps rejuvenate me and let my mind just clear itself for a bit.

I feel like my mind is in a constant state of thinking and overthinking and then overthinking what I’ve already over thought. Does that make sense? No, but it makes sense to me. I dream so much about what could be, how else I could have responded to something, how I could have reacted. I have a bad case of would have, could have, should have. So when I zone out while I’m walking, it’s my chance to not experience the would have, could have, should have syndrome.

I gladly embrace my RBF all day if it means that for a few minutes a day, I can get some solitude and just exist outside of my head.

Kotor, the other side of the wall

After leaving the gates of Old Town, I made my way to the docks where all the boats were.  I wanted to see the water, see the rest of the city and stare back at Old Town from a different perspective. The docks of Kotor looked out into the water and the surrounding mountains and after the rain, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  There were some clouds still around just chilling around the mountains, still trying to censure things like it was their job. The sun was shining and reflecting off of the water and it was absolutely beautiful.

When I stood on the dock and turned back around to look at Old Town, I could see the church in the distance just overlooking all of Kotor as if it was taunting me for being too terrified and clumsy to walk up the rain covered steps.  Regardless it was still beautiful.

I took some time at the dock then started walking along the side of the road and eventually ended up at a park near where our bus was parked.  I stood there and took in the sights around me.  Kotor is small, and from what I could tell, not a lot going on while we were there.  Our bus was parked near a shopping mall which seemed to be the most modern and largest building around.  Otherwise, everything else was relatively small and it looked like you could walk from one side of Kotor to the other in just a few minutes.

I hung out at the park for a bit, people watching, mountain watching and then just overall staring off into the world and being so grateful that I had found this random tour last minute.

When it was time to head back to the bus, I crossed the street and made my way to the bus pass the canal.  Honestly, I think that this was actually a moat that was built around Old Town to help protect it but the water was so unbelievable reflective and green.  You could make out all the intricate details of the mountains in the reflection in the water, and it was beautiful.  Especially with the slightly overcast skies after the rain. I stood there for a bit, stared at the taunting church in the mountain and then made my way to to the bus where we ended up waiting an extra half an hour because part of our group didn’t realize that we were supposed to meet at 1215 and not 1250…

Next stop: Budva.

Kotor – Old Town – Wandering on my own

After our guided tour, we had about an hour left over to wander our on own.  So I thought that this was the best time to go find magnets for my mom and then actually let myself get lost in Kotor.  But there was one thing I absolutely needed to do before I could go on a hunt for a magnet worthy of my mother.

There were stairs along the backside of Old Town that led up the mountain to a church.  We were told that it was about a 20 minute walk up the stairs and you can get a full view of the entire city out to the water from there.  According to all the guides, this was the best view of Kotor that you could get. That being said, we were also advised not to actually do this walk because the stairs get super slippery in the rain and since it had been raining nonstop for a few hours, it would be super dangerous.

As someone who has been living in Seattle, I thought that this warning did not apply to me. So I started walking toward the back of Old Town until I found the start of the stairs up the side of the mountain.

As a Seattle-ite, I thought that I was in the proper shoes for rain and cobblestone steps. I thought that I have plenty of experience walking in the rain. I am careful.

These, in retrospect, are all stupid thoughts.  I started up the stairs which I quickly realized did not have any banisters or anything to hold onto.  I also quickly realized that there was no one around. And by no one, I legitimately mean no one.  No one else had tried to climb the stairs, no one else was a the top of the mountain, I couldn’t see anyone at the church and there was no one behind me. But instead, I continued on my journey up the stairs.  I managed to get up to about 20 steps when I realized that uneven cobblestone steps really were not a good thing to be climbing when they were slippery.  So I finally had some common sense and decided to turn around and start back down to go wander Old Town.

And then I fell. I slid down about 5 steps on my butt and managed to pop up immediately after. It was like those moments when I would go snowboarding and you slide for such a long period of time that you can actually get your feet back underneath you and pop back up. It was amazing and I wish someone could have seen it. Actually no. I take that back. I am so happy no one saw me slide down the stairs.

I managed to get down the rest of the steps without any issues except my bruised ego, my soaked pants and a few scrapes on the heels of my hands.

I continued on my journey around Old Town, walking very cautiously and being terrified of slipping on anything else the rest of the time that I was wandering around. I’m pretty sure people who walked by me thought that I was being a bit overly cautious on where I was stepping but it was better to be cautious that sitting down in a puddle which would have been the second time that day.

I eventually found myself a trinket shop, one of the few that were actually open, and purchased a magnet for my mom.  After that, I decided it was time to leave Old Town and check out the rest of Kotor before heading back to the bus.