Still Here

I had a whole something ready to type out, and it was going to be a really great follow-up to my post about being happy, and it was probably also going to be my thoughts on the How I Met Your Mother finale (because the internet *really* needs more opinion posts on that episode, am I right?).

However, life’s continuing to do its “lifey” thing, and I’m in the middle of several projects. I have a presentation this Sunday at the university, discussing medical school applications. I’m following that up with a quick trip to San Francisco for another presentation at the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education conference, which will cover mixed-race/multiracial identity development and the power of story-telling. And somewhere in there, I have to manage to move all my stuff out of one house, and shove it all into another house just a few miles away.

I am also…

…I clicked away from my update page and forgot what I was going to say.

I promise I’ll have a great reflective piece on this year’s CrossFit Games Open. (As soon as I tally up the Fantasy Open scores and report back to the winners.) I don’t currently have any great “single in the city” stories, so sorry on that front. I’ve been too obsessed (for lack of better words) with my technique and progress in CrossFit, as well as just generally enjoying my time back here in Seattle. Budgets are boring, so you don’t want to hear about that, but I’m thinking of traveling to the UK for a few days immediately after Christmas so I can celebrate New Year’s Eve with some good friends in Edinburgh.

Basically, life is happening, and April is shaping up to be super-duper busy, and I’ll try to be better at updating and just writing in general, although that probably won’t happen until my conferences and the move are all over.

Until then, keep being mindful, stay curious, and don’t second-guess yourself. (Pro tip: these are also words of advice for myself.)

A Study in Being

This weekend was a downer in many ways. For starters, I opened the CrossFit Open with a pretty sad score.

The CrossFit Open 14.1 WOD:
AMRAP10 – 30 double-unders; 15 power snatches (or ground-to-overhead) @ 55lbs.

The WOD began with double-unders, which if you recall, are one of three key elements that are holding me back. This is mostly my fault, as I spent about a year and a half not working on them; I have just started to really consistently work on double-unders in the last few weeks, so I was not expecting to do so well. Regardless, I wanted to do well. I can usually do a single-under followed by a double-under, so that was my method going in to the WOD. Naturally, I got tired mere moments into the WOD and started losing my rhythm. I just wanted to finish my first set of DUs and get to the bar because I’ve been able to snatch 55lbs. since last year’s Open; those were guaranteed reps for me.

I didn’t even complete three rounds in this WOD, and while I know this is a huge area of opportunity for me, it also just felt… well, bad. It wasn’t how I wanted to start the Open this year. Final rep count: 114. There are people throughout the world who have been doing CrossFit for a shorter amount of time, who had–before 14.1–never gotten a DU before, and then went on to string together sets in the double-digits. I wanted to scream and kick and punch my uncoordinated body when I saw those posts, and then I wanted to sulk in the corner while muttering to myself about how it’s just not. fair. However, that’s called being a poor sport, and it’s actually exciting for all those folks to have that kind of breakthrough in the Open! I happen to have a lot of coordination issues with these kinds of things; it’s not surprising that double-unders are taking me so much longer.

However, I am worried 14.2 will just be wall ball shots and chest-to-bar pull-ups–a sure-fire way to further crush me.

But, on the bright side, I spent Saturday and Sunday in open gym sessions, just working on my double-under timing. No huge breakthroughs, except for starting to fix the way I hold the jump rope and how slowly and high I need to jump. Of course, now I pretty much have shin splints again (huzzah), which is the result of being lazy and not taping my arches. Lesson learned.

Because I was so down on my double-unders, I let other things get to me. Even though I had a great time Friday and Saturday out with friends, I moped around during most of my free time, stressed about moving houses so soon. The new owners even came by on Sunday, and I was incredibly detached and depressing to talk to. How am I doing? I’ll tell you how I’m doing, which will go against everything considered culturally acceptable when conversing with strangers; the market is crap, you’re kicking us out six months early so I don’t know if I have the money saved up for another deposit, I just got the news that my student loan payments are about five times higher than I expected under my income-based plan, and I suck at the one thing I really care about right now, which is CrossFit. Also, I still can’t seem to meet guys that are interested in investing in me and vice versa. That, new owner who keeps remarking on how lovely and nice the interior of the house you are forcing me to vacate ahead of the mandatory sixty days, is how I am doing.


After that, I stayed in my sweats (which were actually just my workout clothes from that morning. Yes, I know, I’m gross, whatever, let’s move on), and sat on the couch and watched the Oscars. There are four things that can make me smile when I’m that bummed on life: Ellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Benedict Cumberbatch. (I don’t put Doctor Who on that list because that show usually makes me cry, as well.) See also: Benedict Cumberbatch at the Oscars.

My bad mood carried over into the morning, which started with me not even knowing what day of the week it was. Things slowly improved after a second cup of coffee, some venting to my co-workers, a slice of cake, and a really awesome workout tonight. (Strict pull-ups, unassisted? More than 2?? 16 total?! That’s a first.)

SEAtown CrossFit – 3/3/14 WOD
For time: 21-15-9
Kettlebell swings (44lbs.)Box jumps (20″)

Time: 8 minutes, 18 seconds

I felt like I pushed myself harder than normal. Maybe it was to overcome the blerch, and maybe it was to prove to myself that there are still skills I am making significant improvements on (and to remind myself that it’s because I’ve worked on them).

We all have our weaknesses. As I grow up, I’m learning more about mine. Some weaknesses take lots of time to patch up, and it can be difficult to remember that when it seems everything else is falling apart. I don’t want to say that it will all be okay, though, because that seems so passive and dismissive. No, it will be okay because I’ve learned to face things head-on. That’s what CrossFit and these last few years really taught* me.




*Also, British television is awesome. That’s another very valuable lesson.




My identity is ever-becoming.

I am acting strange because I am once again wrestling with who I am, what I want, what I love, where I’m going.

This move was necessary, a step to trigger the turbulence.

I’m sorry to my friends to whom I’ve sent a million messages, and I apologize that they’re so dramatic. But this is me. This is me processing. It seems, at times, dark and chaotic. And it is.

But the thing is…

this is me becoming better than I ever was before.

* And yes, of course this is a tip-of-the-hat to my favorite TV show.** Which also brings me to another point: I’m going to be on media black-out from Nov. 23rd through the 25th. I don’t have access to BBC America, so I’ll be catching The Day of the Doctor on the 25th, and I don’t want to hear any spoilers.

** EDIT: That should say “favourite,” I suppose.

The Week In

I’m currently sitting at my dining table, drinking what might possibly be the best hot chocolate I’ve ever made. Coconut milk, raw honey, cocoa powder, and a dash of cinnamon all together in one warming concoction.

I’m also currently sitting at my dining table in my new rental in Seattle, WA. I am Ardith Laverne, the young woman who is from many cities in the Pacific Northwest, but most recently from Portland, Oregon, which I left to move back to Seattle.

I knew when I made the decision to move back to Seattle that it would be tough. There are many things in Portland that I love. However, I also know that Seattle is where I need to continue my professional development, as well as the place where I can round out the remaining years in my twenties.

Someone at the gym tonight asked me if I split my time between the two cities after I explained my situation. I thought about it only for a second or two, and realized that yes, I do. Portland and Seattle are both home to me. It’s kind of difficult logistically, although it really isn’t that difficult. After all, on a map, the two cities are only inches apart.

I think roots are going to have to wait. There are so many different factors that can come into play, and I’m feeling like a leaf in the wind instead of a tree. I think a big part of it will be how this whole partnering business goes, so I remain open-minded to lots of different scenarios. In the meantime, all I have to worry about is myself, and anything can happen. (Exhibit A: moving back to Seattle.)

What I’m getting at–just over a week into my new situation and routine–is that I’m staring down the barrel of uncertainty again, but this time, it feels good. When I started my job search in the Seattle area, I asked for friends to think good thoughts. One friend wrote her thoughts out and shared them with me; she sent a message to the universe and said, “Only let this move happen if it is for the highest good.” In other words, let any move be only because the right things have aligned.

As a storyteller, I’m curious to know how this all turns out so that I can look back and turn it into narration. I want to retell the lessons learned, and I want to see how I learn to navigate my relationships in Seattle, Portland, and even my hometown. I want to explore my new city because it’s changed and I’ve changed since the last time I lived here.

But most of all, I’m hoping that this new chapter defies convention in many ways. I don’t like “normal plans,” and I have high hopes for the next few years. I have high hopes of finding beauty in strength, and finding out nothing is impossible, and that second-guessing myself never did me any good.

And on a related note, I PR’d my front squat tonight. 125lbs. (for 3 reps!). That’s my own body weight. And I got there by listening to those three key themes I just listed in the above paragraph.

If believing in those mantras works for CrossFit, well, I think it’ll work out just fine in life.


Cheers to the unknown.

Goodbye. Hello.

Goodbye (for now, but you’re not going to be rid of me), Portland.

Hello, Seattle.

Remember when I said I wanted to put down roots somewhere? Well, I decided maybe it wasn’t quite time for that. I instead decided that my late twenties demanded at least one more uprooting.

Roughly three years after saying goodbye to the Emerald City, I am back. I accepted a job at the University of Washington. I will be continuing my journey as an advisor (although it seems my new title will require me to call myself an “adviser”) with the School of Public Health’s Public Health Major. This all happened quicker than I expected, as I had originally thought about starting a casual hunt for my next position around October or so.

So. Here I am. All I knew is that I needed to be at work at 8AM on September 17th, and everything else was secondary. It all worked out, and I was able to say goodbye to many of my favorite PDX folks, then take two days to move into a new home and unpack for the most part before starting.

I was so lucky to start out with Clark College, and my love for the two-year college system and public education helped me learn and grow as a professional. I have solid connections at the two-year level, and I intend to continue being an advocate for our students, especially transfer students I may see.

I’ll miss my colleagues, my CrossFit HEL (please don’t get me started because I will cry), my quirky Portland house, the easy-going attitude that Portland embraces, and the “it’s ten degrees hotter today than in Seattle” summer days. I will strangely miss not pumping my own gas.

A few of my friends have already noted that I will likely spend many weekends and days off in Portland, and they’re right. That said, I am excited to be located in my core network’s city again; I am also happy to be in a place where the distance to my hometown is the same as the distance to Portland.

I am the type of person who now believes in a different kind of open door policy, one in which I will leave a place I treasure with the fully-intact option to someday return. I believe in the infinite strangeness of the universe, and to that extent, I believe I end up exactly where I need to be.

Here’s to the next step. Here’s to new adventures. And here’s to never forgetting that I am constantly becoming, that I am writing my own story.

Define Me

Dec. 29th

Prompt: Defining moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (The Year the Swallows Came Early @KFitzmaurice)

My theme for 2010 was “Believe in the impossible.” Given that, my defining moments began with my travels to Europe and eventually blended into moving to a new city to go to grad school. I’ve said it before, but I was anxious about both traveling alone to Spain, as well as moving away and pursuing graduate studies. 2010 was about not letting myself shy away from challenges.

I remember getting on the plane in April and settling in for the transatlantic flight. I remember being stunned that I was actually doing this. I would have freaked a bit more, but I was Xanax’ed out because I’m not a really great flier. However, I remember feeling proud of myself for following through with the plan. And after I arrived in Madrid, I learned how to get along in a country whose language I did not speak very well, how to navigate a huge city, and how to reach out and network.

Right before going to the airport, thinking, "What am I doing?!"

It was knowing that I could accomplish my trip and do it well also helped me as I left the big city for a rural college town. While grad school has been stressful at times, I’m happy with the program I’ve chosen and the people I’ve met. It’s definitely a journey, and I look forward to the next several terms.

Carrying positive vibes into 2011 will help me adventure more and make the new year wonderful. I have accomplished what I once thought to be impossible– so why stop there?

Making a Home Out of This City

One of my personal goals for my recent move to Corvallis, OR has been to make this place another city I can call home. I did it before in Bellingham (after some kicking and screaming– a.k.a., first quarter of college), and I did it again in Seattle. I like to think that I’m doing a fairly good job of settling into Corvallis now.

Yesterday was the residence halls’ move-in day, so my building was teeming with new residents and their families. I made the decision to open up the Honors College office on the first floor of the building in order to get a few tasks done, but I quickly realized that it was a nice place for a moment of Zen. Even with all the commotion outside, I was able to relax once everything was set up. Bonus: this office is one of my workspaces for the upcoming school year.

After hanging around my hall for awhile, though, I took a short walk to Interzone. I was warned that this particular coffee shop was the “hipster” coffee shop, but I really enjoyed it, and the coffee was good. Although I have visited The Beanery and liked that as well, Interzone is much cozier– and within walking distance. So, I think I have found my local coffee shop (for now). Although it’s no Stumptown, it will serve its purpose.

Today, I ran some errands downtown, getting to know my bank’s location and browsing at, well, Browsers’ Bookstore. I picked up two books in great condition for $10. Loved it!

To wrap up my off-campus “home hunting,” I went to the co-op and picked up a few things. Although buying at co-ops is generally more expensive, I am usually very happy with the quality of food I find there. I came home with a big bag of groceries and household goods, and I was quite satisfied with that content feeling, knowing that I have a local co-op to turn to, just like I did in Seattle.

Upon my return to the hall, I noticed that my floor was having a floor dinner at one of the dining halls. This particular dining hall serves sushi; I was a bit skeptical, but I love sushi, so I joined in. It turns out that not only is the sushi pretty good, but there’s a whole Japanese (and other Asian fare) grill in that hall. Chicken katsu? Korean BBQ ribs? Udon soup? I told one of the residents that the only thing missing was Filipino-style chicken adobo. Comfort food is pretty much at the tip of my finger (and if you have to ask, one of the other dining halls serves pho).

All in all, I’m pleased with this progress. Although I still miss Seattle, I am not resentful for having moved to Corvallis. I think that speaks volumes to the progress I have made in the past several years.

Now, it’s off to anxiously anticipate the season six premiere of How I Met Your Mother.

Leaving it All Behind

We still get internet at the old apartment. Yes, it’s official– my Capitol Hill apartment is my “old” apartment. Most of my possessions are now in a one-bedroom apartment on Oregon State University’s campus.

I’m going to grad school. That means leaving behind Seattle, old friends and newer friends, an underdeveloped romance, city lights, and so much more. But it also means new friends, new experiences, new landscapes, and new chances.

Doesn’t mean that I didn’t have several crying breakdowns over the last week. For an adventurer, I sure am emotionally attached. I’m still insecure about many things, even if I display outward confidence. That doesn’t mean I give up, though; it just means I have a lot to work on.

Here goes anything…

Tick, tick, tick…

No, that is not the sound of my biological clock. It’s the countdown of my last few weeks in Seattle.

My room is still largely unpacked. I have a U-Haul reservation. I do not know how I’m getting my car down to OR, nor do I know how I am getting back to Seattle for clean-up (and a new phone??) on the 30th and 31st. Nor do I know where I’m staying since I won’t have a bed.

But those are just details. I would rather spend these next sunny days relaxing, reading, having fun, and then cram the stress and panic into one weekend. I would also rather continue to live life day by day, rather than try and fit everything into a neat, tidy plan.

One of my former co-workers composed a very nice blog entry about a similar topic– change. He really hit the nail on the head, and I am now definitely sure I’m not alone in my restlessness. It is such a generational thing, which also explains why so many of us Gen Y’ers go through a Quarter-Life Crisis– our ways of thinking and our dreams don’t quite line up with “traditional” ways of doing things.

For example, after the most recent wedding I attended, I realized that what I want out of marriage is different than other couple’s hopes and dreams. While they may want stable, long-term careers, a house and mortgage, and children, I want someone who is okay with jobs that take us to all corners of the earth while building an impressive resume, renting cute apartments or houses in new cities every few years, and growing through discovery and adventure. Unconvention is the new convention.

I may not fully embrace the unknown yet, but I am getting better at it. I am still learning to let go of the “life plan” notion because that strict rigidity caused my spiral into unhappiness several years ago. I need change. I need uncertainty. I need adventure. And laughter. And companionship.

Life’s a journey, and I fully expect to have the best stories in the very end.

A Tale of Several Cities

Moving sucks. The psychological stress that comes with moving is not something I like to deal with. With that said, I have not been doing a good job of working on the logistics of my upcoming move to Oregon. I need to get a U-Haul truck and get heavy boxes in and out of the truck. I also need to either suck it up and learn to drive the stupid moving truck, or bribe someone to do it for me. And on top of that, I still don’t know how I’m getting my car down there.

But– as much as all of those details are awful, the reason I move is because my life is also moving. Think about it. Moving illustrates that my life is not that static, and I can point at it and go, “Hey! Things happened then! That’s why I had to leave [city] for [new city].” In honor of my upcoming move, here’s a small recap of all the moving I’ve done since leaving my hometown (in which I lived for 15 out of 18 years).

Bellingham, WA –  Why the move? I went to college. I left East Wenatchee for good ol’ B’ham. And B’ham gave me new perspectives on the world around me, brought wonderful people into my life, and it also got me a college degree. I became a bit more conscious of my own health and the environment around me, too.

Everett, WA –  Why the move? I got my first full-time “big girl” job. Everett taught me all about my weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Seattle, WA – Why? I ended my lease in Everett and realized I need-need-needed the city. After moving to Seattle, I was able to see in hindsight what I need to stay happy: friends, culture, and activities. Moving to Seattle was the best decision for me. My well-being was 1000x better in Seattle than it was in Everett.

Madrid, Spain – Why the move, you big ol’ crazy? I wanted to travel and I got a one-month volunteer gig. If I hadn’t moved to Seattle, I don’t think I ever would have gone to a city as big as Madrid. I knew what I needed to do to stay sane in the city– and I reached out, made new friends, and went out and explored. Although it was a short-term relocation, my time in Madrid taught me about my strength.

Corvallis, OR (coming soon!) – Why? I’m going to grad school. People I talk to seem to be concerned about my adjustment to small-town life. Fear not, I grew up in the Wenatchee Valley and know what it’s like to be in a smaller city. I’m a bit anxious about that aspect, but from what I can tell, Corvallis will still provide me with friends, culture, and things to do.

So, in conclusion: here’s to the future… soon. In the meantime, I am going to savor my last few weeks in Seattle– this city is downright amazing, although I have a feeling that there are many places that will feel like that to me.

Adventures, ahoy!