:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Moving Body, Mind and Sole (Jenna)

I’ve never written a blog before.  To be honest, it’s a bit more intimidating than I had expected.  I figured since I blab my mouth all day and have a bazillion thoughts running through my head, jotting a few of them out would be a cake walk (I love those, by the way).  Just when I think I’ve got plenty of projects going in my life, it seems just being an active COFFEE participant might just be another one.  So, here we go ladies and gentlemen.  Grab your mug and I’ll get typing.
I am moving to Hong Kong in July.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to Hong Kong before.  In fact, I’ve never been to Asia, period.  The idea of it sounds amazing to me.  It’s an endless list of new things to see and explore…dim sum, fireworks, junk boats, horse races, hiking trails, flashing lights, Buddhism, heat  & humidity, high-rises, metros, shopping, people, people and more people!!!  It was the first and only place that I looked for a job this fall and I’m thrilled to have landed it.
Now I’m no stranger to change and in fact, I welcome it (some ex-boyfriends even might say I like it a bit too much).  I’ve been moving around ever since I left the house at 18.  I’ve lived in four different Kansas towns, taught at six different schools, lived in five different countries on three different continents.  I love the challenge of a new environment…until now, out of nowhere I’m freaking out.  Asia scares me.  Not just a little, but Great Wall-size scares me.
I find myself thinking, “What the (enter expletive) am I doing?”  I love Holland.  My friends are here.  I own a house.  I’ll look like a giant there.  It’s a 15-hour flight from HK to Chicago. They eat things like insects and animal penis.  There will be pollution. And Chinese.  Have you listened to this?  Are you kidding me?
Thinking about the latter list makes me want to do these things:  curl up in a ball and sleep for hours, eat copious amounts of carbohydrates (simple, not those healthy complex ones) and drink red wine.  In fact, until about two weeks ago, I have been doing just that besides forcing myself to go to work and back.  I’ve been so unmotivated and so grumpy that I no longer can even stand myself. 
And then last week I snapped.  I’ve decided that the only way I can survive this transition is to throw myself into a strict routine of health.  Running, weights, meal plans, journaling & even a personal trainer.  It’s been nearly a week now since I’ve started and I’ll have to say, I’m doing better than I expected, but the weekend looms.  That’s when all the delicious wine and cheese comes out to tempt me.  I feel like a few sisters know what I'm talking about.
But I SWEAR that through this mess of stress of reorganizing my life one more time, that I’ll come through it a better (and smaller) person.  One week down and 16 more to go.  We’ll see how this story unfolds but for now it’s time for me to put on my running shoes and get moving towards that goal.


Wendy said...

Jenna! So excited to have you and your fresh perspectives and worldly knowledge here at COFFEE!

First off, the fact that you live and own a home in Holland is so cool. I would love to know more about that. What is your job that keeps you on the move so much? You mentioned teaching...is that it? What/who do you teach?
With all your meanderings and moving and penchant for change, you must be highly adaptable. So don't freak out. Hong Kong is going to be a serious adventure and if anyone can do it, you can!
I'm suuuuuuper excited that we can to be vicariously along for the ride.

As for the new diet/exercise regimen, it sounds like you're already kickin buns... I'm always so impressed by people that can just decide to become super athletes and DO it the next day.

Just remember that weekends are made for wine and cheese. You have to recharge your battery sometime. So give yourself at least a little break. ;-)

Steph said...

I'm fighting the urge to use all three of your names right now... I. am. soooooo. excited. that. you. are. here. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Welcome, friend. You belong here.
First, and forgive my bluntness, I've always been jealous of your ability to handle change, thrive on it even. I always knew, even when we were middle school youth group-ers off to Florida to find out life didn't center in Fort Scott, America, that you would be someone who would leave home and rock the world. And you have done that and then some. Awesome.
Second, your move to Hong Kong scares the crap out of ME!!! I see your pics of your world travels - Israel, Turkey, the countries of Europe - and I am so glad someone is seeing the sights and exploring the corners, and I'm glad I get to see it because I know deep down that I won't, and I'm oddly relieved by that knowledge. (I do want to see London and Australia someday, and maybe even Ireland. But if I don't, I'm totally okay with that.) Holland, yes. Hong Kong, OMG!!! Just like I know I'll never go there, I know you're going to find your niche in no time and embrace the culture and be embraced by the people. After all, how many nearly-6-feet-tall, legs-for-days, brunette beauties do you think live there? I'm thinking not too many! :) It's one more of many adventures, and I'm so happy you get to take it on and that I get to be witness to it. Good stuff.
Third, the working out is going to be amazing stress relief for you. I promise. It's one of the few things that's kept me sane through the big D process. Truly. No exaggeration. It's a healthy and positive outlet, and it benefits not just your mind but your body. That's win-win! Proud of you, girl, VERY proud of you! I gotta second Wendy, though, don't cut out all the stuff you enjoy. You deserve a reward (albeit perhaps less than you'd normally enjoy) for your hard work...
So glad you're here, SO GLAD. Awesome first post! Can't wait to see what else you serve up for us!

amy said...

Ni hao, Jenna! SO excited you are with us!

You know...I only have 2 choices I've made in life that I kind of regret. One of these is deciding not to do my student teaching in England. Ever since, I've felt drawn to travel beyond the USA's borders, but for one reason or another (timing, money--mostly money) have just not done it. It will probably be a future COFFEE project, and is definitely on my bucket list.

And! As a fellow getting-her-body-whipped-into-shaper, I will be right there on the sidelines doing cheerleader jumping jacks (or slightly altered versions of these, since I may not be able to jump that high with both feet in the air) for you.

Welcome, welcome, Jenna! Can't wait to read all about your progress and Hong Kong adventures!

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Jenna! I am going to just get it over with and yell out.... "JENNA'S IN THE HOUSE!" Okay, I don't know why I had to do that, but I just did.

Okay, now, rock on sister. You are amazing with all of your independence and no fear attitude about every new adventure you take on. I respect the heck out of you, and I very much look forward to all the wonderment ahead you have to share with us all.

As far as any physical goals you have to meet my friend (my sister's best friend for longer than not), I have absolutely NO doubt that you will kick ass and take names and barely break a sweat sporting a 6-pack to boot. You make it all look easy. Easy breezy beautiful cover girl. Brooke Shields really doesn't have anything on you, seriously.

Xoxo - oh and P.S. - I so agree with Wendy on the wine and cheese. Just say YES!

patresa said...

man. this post makes me sweat. moving to HONG KONG! that is fantastic and holy shit balls! definitely looking forward to spying on you while you make this leap.

you got guts, lady.

oh the stories you must have. the pictures. awesome.

have you ever read "tales of a female nomad" by rita goldman-gelman? crap. now i can't remember her last name. you're doing it way differently than she did it, but the quest to see the world is similar.

cheers to your new workout plan! centering and calming and empowering for sure. awesome.

glad you're here, jenna!

Katie said...

First, welcome Jenna!! Too excited to have you aboard! And second, if I put into actual words how jealous I am of your world-travelin' ways, it would come off as creepy and I might be discreetly asked to leave the group. So I won't do that, but I WILL say I am excited and nervous for you for Hong Kong! What a change that will be! The only experience I have with mass Asian culture is the Chinatowns in New York and San Fransisco. I don't know if the comparison is fair, but that's the only frame of reference I have. Both times I became so claustrophobic that I was sweatily trying to find my way out of the maze within minutes but kept running into store-fronts with the most alien looking fish squatting in the windows. Eventually I calmed down enough to realize that anyone willing to eat the fish that looked like those was a far more worldly person than I, and now I cautiously admire people who eat weird fish. And there's the moral of that story. World tolerance through food.

What I also came away with was an appreciation of how totally different and alien I felt, even for those few moments with the rest of the city's skyline all around us. So my admiration for you in jumping into that with both feet on their home turf has made me think you are one cool chick.

So, tally ho, cool chick!! Can't wait to hear all the details. And, from someone who is also on the eternal quest for fitness (one slooooow, cupcake-denial day at a time) I also admire the clear and concise way you have set out your fitness goals.

Ooooooooo, this a'gonna be fun!!

njenna said...

Thanks so much ladies. It's certainly good to be here and soak up all of your positive thoughts and energy!

Wendy, I am a teacher. I teach middle school science and math. I taught four years in KS before making the leap abroad...which was 12 years ago!

Patresa, I haven't read nor heard of that book. I must check it out :)

Katie, it's interesting that you said that about having a greater appreciation for those who live abroad. You know, I do too but I feel this when I am in KC. Often I meet people that have moved to KC from various countries. If someone has an accent, you can count on me asking questions. They are SO interesting! I met a taxi driver from Bangladesh, a stocker from Sudan, a JC Penney clerk from Jordan and a cleaner from Mexico to name a few. I really admire THEM and think about how difficult it is to assimilate and learn English (not to mention all of the trials that they've already overcome just to get there!) I'm not much of a linguist so I know how hard it can be. I cringe when I hear people say, "Well, they should just learn English!" It can be very hard and overwhelming and I can understand why some people just "hide" in the their little community and don't. I've been doing just that all over the planet! Plus, often those people weren't lucky like me and had all I needed (and then some) and a full education. Living abroad makes me see how crazy lucky we are. The are BILLIONS of people that would love to have a day in our life.

Katie said...

Jenna, yes! YES! I know what you mean, the "English" comment makes me just wince. I've been listening to coverage of the uprisings in Egypt and Libya and the fact that they can stop people on the street and under duress they are able to offer commentary in English makes me shake my head in wonder. Traveling with my husband to his native Germany also makes me realize how adventurous and intrepid other cultures can be in coming to the US to try to make a life. Axel speaks excellent English, and the culture shock for him was still huge.

Glad you're here!

blj said...

Welcome Jenna! Hong Kong! Wow! I'm so excited for you. It's going to be crazy different, but also crazy amounts of fun and excitment. I know we've barely just met, but can I come visit you? I'm with you and Katie... there's nothing like traveling and living abroad to put things in perspective and remember to appreciate what we have. I can't wait to hear about your experiences... eat some weird fish for me!! And enjoy your cheese and wine, you deserve it after all the hard work you put in this week and next week etc, etc.

T-Free said...

Ohhhhh, I can't wait to read all about your worldly adventures and healthy regimen. Welcome aboard the COFFEE train, Jenna! :)