Monday, September 26, 2011

What am I running from?

For those of you who have followed my blog, I just finished another race!! For those of you who don't understand what all the fuss is about, I only need to explain that I'm terrible runner. Some people (like my husband) build stamina like a stroll in the park while others (like me) need several months of running just to be able to finish a 5K (3.1 miles) race.

About 10 months ago I finished my first 5K race. The plan was to register to run 5K races regularly so that I had something holding me accountable. Trusting my self-discipline didn't seem like enough. And boy, was I right! I didn't register for any more races and I stopped running.

Fortunately, I started exercising in general, so when I finally decided to run another race, the uphill battle was not as steep, even though it was still a battle. I finished my first race after 38 minutes and 31 seconds. This race took me 32 minutes and 29 seconds. It would be a huge exaggeration to say I'm a fast runner, but I'm happy with my 6 minutes of improvement.

Have I finally learnt how to enjoy running? No, not really. It's mostly painful and it takes me about 2 minutes before I wish I wasn't running. Do I prefere other forms of cardio exercise. You bet I do! There are many, many other form of endurance training I like more than running.

Have I though about giving up on running all together? No, I can't say I have. I might not enjoy the activity of running but I do enjoy the benefits of it. I've been to the gym regularly since the beginning of the year so I'm used to exercising. However, since I started running I've become better at it. Plus, it's a real calorie-torcher.

Many runners (I still don't consider me being one) claim that running is such a freedom and such a high, it's almost spiritual. I don't know if I'll ever experience that. But, if you want to give running a try, you really should, no matter how big of a hurdle it seems. You know how people say "If I can do it, anyone can". I'm usually not a big fan of clich├ęs, but you have to trust me on this one. If I can do it, anyone can!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lights out!

My husband is a very creative person and a creative person usually has creative ideas. At any given moment, we usually have at least one project we're working on. A while ago he presented a new idea, a challenge, if you will. How about 48 hours without electricity?

Last weekend we finally made it happen. The whole ordeal required some preparation. We had to agree on the rules, stock up on food and make sure we had enough candles.

From midnight Friday/Saturday to midnight Sunday/Monday
No electric devices, such as computer, tv, phones etc.
No battery powered devices, such as flashlights, radios, toothbrushes etc.
No use of lamps, microwave, stove, dishwasher etc.
No car
No hot water
Cold water ok
Fridge and freezer were not turned off, but couldn't be opened

Bread, Corn Tortillas, Canned Foods (corn, kidney beans, peas, salmon, sardines, spam), Air-dried salami, mushrooms, Laughing cow wedges, salsa, boiled eggs, crackers, beef jerky, protein bars, banans, tomatos, mango, avocado and  Snack Pack Caramel pudding

We stocked up on candles, candle-holders, matches, lighters and we duct taped all the light switches (which turned out to be a necessary on multiple occasions). I also bought a 1000 pieces jigsaw puzzle, as a temporary replacement for our PS3.

Long walks, biking escursion, tennis, running, hiking, picnic, swimming, playing cards, jigsaw puzzle, reading (books, articles and magazines), talking and eating.

In summary, we spent most of the weekend outdoors, we went to bed REALLY early, we slept 11 hours the night between Friday and Saturday and we had spam tortillas wraps. The biggest challenge this weekend was the freezing showers. If we would have done this for a week, I would have missed my computer and if we did it for a whole month, I would really miss hot food.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Swedish Diet Commercial

I friend just sent me this commercial. Apparently it's been running for a while. I'm lost for words. But I am smiling and kinda digging it. When tacky is so tacky it becomes funny, you have to embrace it. I especially love how this commercial made me research the product on Google to make sure it is actually sold at CVS. It is!

We are flooded with commercials everyday and it's rare that an ad is so interesting that multiple bloggers, before me, have written about it. Also, being a Swedish Scandinasian, I love how they went overboard with the stereotype. Are the blonds in the US not blond enough without using blond wigs? ;) I wish they would have thrown in a viking and a moose or two. My only complaint is the turkey. It's not really a thing Swedes do. And if it's going to be authentically blond, it should be authentic all the way!

Btw, this diet is unheard of in Sweden.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcomed to the United States

I'm now officially welcomed to the United States. How do I know I am? I got a letter telling me so. Last week something monumental happened. I received my Green Card. And over the past weekend, I realized I live in the United States.

I've been living in the United States for a couple of years now. I've created a home together with my husband and our home feels very much like our home. My visa status has allowed me to stay and live in the United States but prevented me from working. I used to really enjoy working, but I've also really enjoyed my years as an involuntary housewife. I've been looking forward to receiving my Green Card, mostly to regain power to decide over my own choices in life, weather it be working or not.

So, in my mind, the Green Card is a work permit. It allows me to apply for a Social Security Number, it allows me to work and it makes me a fuller member of society, with it's rights and responsibilities. But I came to realize it's much more than that. And it says so, right on the Green Card. In the eyes of the United States, I'm now a permanent resident. A permanent resident.

If I plan to leave the US for more than 12 months I have to apply for a re-entry permit before leaving. Not too long ago, my visa extension was denied and I was asked to leave the country. It's like inviting your self to a party, having the host throw you out but by the end of the night you're asked to move in and never leave.

The journey through immigration bureaucracy is difficult in many countries. Mine has been a real adventure, with ups and downs and a lot of suspense. But all is well that ends well. I imagine I could have grown resentful along the way, but the matter of fact is that I really love my life here and I'm just thrilled that I'm welcomed to stay and that I'm invited to explore even more aspects of life in the US.

I can't wait to go through the US immigrations next time I go abroad. Hopefully I'll be greeted by a officer who will welcome me home. Because the United States is where I live, it's where home is.