How to Survive….

a zombie apocalypse? 

or the attack of the in-laws?

I have been quiet, too too quiet lately… and no, I was not eaten by flesh eating monsters nor have I gone into a Vipassana stupor (though sometimes I wish I could). I probably had too much spicy food in Asia giving me mental diarrhea which led to verbal dehydration. Or it could be my bruised pinky finger from that tubing “accident” in North Carolina when I used my hands to break on the ice instead of just my feet thereby disabling my hands from typing on the computer.

No excuses.

I still had nine other fingers.

Or maybe, it could be that my husband’s parentS (take note plural form) are here… to stay… for FOUR months!!!

I remember writing about it when I had my first panic attack. 

After 3 glorious weeks of traveling in the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand (of course, I will remember to write about those…in the near future maybe), reality sets in the moment my in-laws start to bicker with each other at the airport when they were deciding what to eat for dinner on what was a very limited menu from the airport food stalls. I could sense my husband take a deep breath and give me “that look”.

After so many “looks” exchanged between hubby and I, and that does not include trips to the gym or the yoga studio, overtime at work, false headaches or hiding in my bedroom, it is now two months since they first set foot in America. Can you believe how fast time flies? Two more months to go!!!

In the two months since they have been here, I have not cooked a single meal in my own kitchen. My mother in-law loves to cook. She is a very good cook in fact. She is one of those born to cook to serve her family kinda woman. I, on the other hand, cook because there is no one else to cook the meals here. I cook because of necessity so who am I to question this cooking queen. Here, you take over my kitchen. I will gladly wash the dishes.

But caveat, by her taking over my kitchen, that means, I no longer sometimes can find my own stuff… or I find a recycled ice cream container here or an empty spice bottle there. Coming from a third world country, I think you get used to repurposing or recycling stuff (not that that is inherently wrong) but c’mon now, recycling meat styro containers??? Washing or storing used (and dirty) zip lock bags? Keeping boxes to bring back to the Philippines? Arghh…  yes, the frustration is there. Aaaand maybe a little annoyed.

My father in-law also likes to keep himself busy. He has so far, organized and cleaned our garage (I bet we have the cleanest garage in all of Florida!), trimmed and weeded our yard as needed, cleans both of our cars with my hubby and helps in walking our dog. Bam! Jealous, much?

So with everything that they have done and have been doing, all those little annoyances don’t really count much. Sure, there are times when I want to pull out all my hair from the weird stuff that my mother in-law does but I have decided to pick my battles. I can just continue to yoga my way out of my anxiety.

And then this….

 

 

 

Merry Me, Merry You!

That Traveling Nurse wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. Even during the hard and tough times. Even when I didn’t feel like having that Christmas spirit. Even when I thought I was being a grinch. I still managed to put up a decor or two. No, not the whole shebang Christmas tree presentation, no, that was too much effort. Just a Christmas stocking here and a simple wreath there sufficed during those bleak times.  Simple and quick. Anything to symbolize the season. A quick pick-me-upper.

This year is a different year. I am celebrating with the whole shebang in mind knowing that in the years to come who knows I might be that grinch again. We got a fresh Christmas tree and whenever we do that, that means game on! I decorate the inside, hubby does the outside. Sometimes he likes to go crazy with his light display too. Plus it is our first Christmas with Diggie, our adorable adopted canine love.

Not the whole world celebrates Christmas, that I am aware. Everyone is different and I respect that. But even if you don’t, I am still wishing you, yes, YOU, a happy, healthy, meaningful holiday with family or friends wherever you are in the world…..

Thank you for hanging out with me in 2016.

See y’all next year!!!!

xmas2016

Quickie Quad Quests: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

ATVs or all terrain vehicles… those powerful 4 wheelers, also known as quads, come in many different sizes and shapes. It is usually used for recreation driving off road in the dirt or mud, mostly, the dirtier and wetter the better the experience.

Though in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, an idyllic coastal community paradise where roads are so bumpy and full of pot holes, quads are a convenient means of transportation. So aside from the ATV rentals or ATV tours available, locals can be seen doing their daily business on their quads with a basket or crate at the backseat for storage.

One rainy afternoon after an amazing lunch of local food, we decided to explore the area beyond our hostel. Of course, the rain would make it harder but the sun eventually showed up and we were ecstatic! After three days, there was only so much yoga my hubby can take. He was kicking to do some adrenaline action.

It was our first time to be on an ATV. My hubby was driving and I was just perfectly content to be on the backseat. He had a quick driving lesson up and down the little road and in ten minutes we were on our way!

20160605_140817

 

The goals of this trip: to check out Montezuma, a hippie beachside town, and that huge banyan tree somewhere along the way. No other specific itineraries, just go and enjoy the drive.

As we drove south past the busy town center, houses and buildings became more sparse and the scenery turned more rural and green. Potholes and muddy roads notwithstanding, the bumpy ride amused us to no end. We thought we got lost several times because there was no one else on the road and road signs were hard to come by, but still, we carried on our way amidst tall trees and rolling hills.

 

 

20160605_144602

We made a left from Mal Pais, the town 5 kms. after Santa Teresa to get to Cabuya on the other side of the Nicoya peninsula. Watch out for the road signs here! From Cabuya, turn left and proceed to Montezuma, about 10 kms. A few minutes down the road will bring you to the famed El Higueron de Cabuya or the biggest banyan tree I have ever seen. I was super excited over this than getting to Montezuma, honestly. But before that, we had a false alarm earlier mistaking another tree for THE big one, it was pretty much a tall tree but not as big as I pictured it would be. As you can see, we were excitedly taking photos.

20160605_145349

 

 

Duh. Wrong tree!

 

 

So can you imagine my surprise when this ginormous tree came into view? I poked and poked my hubby telling him to stop, stop, stop, oh my God, oh my God… Wow!!! (umm, yes, really, I sounded that way)

No one knows how old this tree is. Right before we left, I whispered to the tree to stay alive as long as it can…

We went on and drove past hidden beaches, scenic coastlines and not a whole lot of tourists until we got to the town of Montezuma. Nah, it didn’t impress me that much so we just continued on driving. From Montezuma, make another left to get to the town of Cobano, 8 kms away. This was a bigger town, lots of people, vehicles and buildings. We reached this main intersection and we were not sure where to go, we might have missed the sign or something so this was where my limited Spanish came into play. I told my hubby to approach this kind looking elderly lady and I asked her “donde esta Santa Teresa?” She gave me a big smile and pointed to us the correct direction. “Muchas gracias!” Making a left at the intersection would take you back to Santa Teresa.

We reached town just before sunset, all in all it took us about 4 hours to drive around the tip of the peninsula. We did three river crossings (they were more like streams), and that was some splashy fun! My butt was sore and my legs were almost numb from sitting at the backseat even if we did stop at intervals to stretch. We ended our day eating pizza at a popular restaurant by the beach where there were lots of surfers and beachgoers frolicking about. A busy scene yet a relaxing one when people watching and sunsets are involved.

Do you like going on spontaneous adventures? Let’s go!

 

A quick bullet update!

  • Where is That Traveling Nurse? I am just right here!!! Staying quiet and flying under the radar mostly.
  • Been working a lot (plus overtime) translates to less travel for me these days. Ugh! On the good side, I am making extra money!
  • Less travel means not a whole lot of travel stories for my blog unless I dig up old trips which right now, honestly, I don’t really want to do.
  • Personally, a lot has happened to me and I could write about that on and on but that isn’t the “soul” purpose of my blog. Pun intended.
  • On second thought, I could write about it really because this is my blog and I can do whatever I want but let’s just say, I am running out of inspiration at the moment.
  • Like this nonsense update post for example, I am just forcing myself to come up with something because I simply feel the need to write. Kinda like forcing yourself to exercise because you know you have to.
  • I know I don’t have to explain myself to you but I have to actually hear myself say it. If you get what I mean. I am confused, yes, truly now!
  • This bullet trick makes it easy to quickly organize my thoughts, kind of like a list, a rambling list. And oh, how I love lists! And I love to ramble too…
  • I guess it is safe to say something new and exciting is happening to me in the next few days and I plan to blog about it (when I get the chance). I can’t wait!
  • I need to plan for my summer. I was actually looking up yoga retreats. Somehow, I need to tame that monkey mind. Has anyone been? Any suggestions?

DSCN0638

My very first panic attack

I don’t normally consider myself an anxious person, nor am I high-strung or a type A personality. In fact, I am the exact opposite. I pride myself on being cool, calm and collected, even more so than my hubby. I thrive in challenging situations, aka, travel nursing and traveling in general, I constantly seek adventurous and exciting things to do, I oftentimes have this nonchalant face that I would like to project when truly deep inside I am scared shitless and know nothing about what to do.

When push comes to shove, I am better at handling stress than my hubby. And he himself admits that. Sometimes though I get tired of pretending to be strong and putting up a brave front and would just like to have a good long cry in one corner of our bedroom. It happens, sometimes. And then I just stop, wipe away my tears, stand up and brush it off. No biggie.

So, thats me in a nutshell. Well, just a part, really.

But mention my in-laws and that can bring a slight tremor and a high pitch to my otherwise flat monotone voice. Mention them coming over to visit us in Florida and that can make my heart race and emotions upside down. Mention them staying with us for four months and that brings me to a full panic attack!!!

I didn’t know what it was at first. My thoughts were racing (not that they don’t) more than the usual, my mind was wandering elsewhere, my breathing was fast. I couldn’t keep still. Dark negative thoughts kept on clouding my brain. I felt so so lost and out of control. I was googling some psych stuff trying to find answers to what was going on. I tried to tell my husband about it but couldn’t really express myself. It ended up me being upset and mad while he went to work.

Hours later trying to find a “cure” to this severe distress I was having, I resigned and went to bed. There, I found sanctuary in the darkness and cried and cried. I was about to text my hubby that I needed help and that I was in a dark place (yes, it was dark in my bedroom) but suddenly, a thought just popped out of nowhere. Or maybe it was more like Elizabeth-Gilbert’s-revealing-moment-when-she-heard-“that-voice”-while-crying-on-her-bathroom-floor kinda thing, except that I was on my bed not the bathroom floor. Or maybe it was simply a lightbulb moment or the universe trying to whisper to me, whatever it was, it was there.

I paused and stopped crying, lifted both knees up, opened my knees out to either side and brought the soles of my feet together. Reclining bound angle pose (goddess pose).

goddess-298_0
photo from http://www.shape.com

I know the pose looks weird and funny but it is a great hip opener and a calming posture.

Now, I may not have mentioned here on That Traveling Nurse but I have been practicing yoga for a couple of years now, a struggling yogi so to speak who still cannot perfect the Crow and cannot do a proper headstand without having neck pains afterwards. But I try to be a good student and it really does give me some calm and clarity and much needed exercise. No, I am not vegan and no this is not a religious thing either.

10649969_10152641275503166_4223363561136435330_n
Me in Reverse Prayer pose

After becoming that “goddess” splayed in bed, I proceeded to do Pranayama breathing which is alternate nostril breathing. I recently watched a video on how to do it. If you like, here is the link.

I promise you after several repetitions, my restlessness slowly went away. That feeling of panic melted into nothingness and I can feel my mind emptying its thoughts while my breath was synchronizing with the hand movements. I eventually became peaceful enough to put me to sleep.

Bam! A yoga moment for me!

I’m not saying that the issue of my in-laws arrival has been resolved. Their visit is looming heavy and large like thunderclouds on the horizon but I am not there yet. I will only worry about it when I get there. Maybe a lot more Pranayama breathings is in my future. I refuse to pop a pill. I am not also saying that they are not nice people because they are, they are just my in-laws. I’m sure you can relate to that too and to some extent know what I am talking about.

Which brings me to conclusion that I am not the cool, calm, collected person I once thought I was. I have evolved. I am getting old.

Quotation-George-Burns-You-can-t-help-getting-older-but-you-don-t-4-20-90