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First of all, as of 3 days ago, it's been a year since I ran a marathon. But I'm still a marathoner. And a serious runner-I see running a good 1/2 marathon as better than just finishing a marathon. But that's just me. To each their own.
I don't know what brought this to my mind...but ever since spending the semester in Miami, I feel a very strong responsibility towards helping anyone/anything in Maryland. Sure, it's wonderful to travel and have new experiences and become acquainted with new perspectives, but being down in South Florida taught me, if nothing else, that we can't help others until we help ourselves. After all, Maryland is what I know best, region-wise. Having lived here my whole life, I understand life here better than I'd understand people anywhere else, and I'm in a better position to help them
I think that it's important to value what you have, instead of always seeking after greener pastures. I'm certainly not adverse to trying new things, but somehow I feel that it's better to do a couple things and do them well than to try and do everything. But again, that's just me.
Maybe it's just me trying to get ready for another round of the holidays, complete with relatives asking me "so, what're you going to do after you graduate? What'd you do with a history major other than teach?" I'll be ready to tell anyone who asks that I want to volunteer with Americorps in Baltimore and give back to the area instead of searching out exotic experiences elsewhere.
Does that make any sense? Maybe I'm too young to be so settled, but I don't think so. I've just learned to be grateful for what I have.

~Bethany
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Okay, dinner tonight in the Great Room made me *homesick* for Miami. Rice and beans and salsa music 'cause it was "Hispanic Night." Heck, we had that every day in Miami. Rice and beans almost every day and impromtu salsa music in the campus center and being a "hot commodity" as a minority. Palm trees and running over Biscayne Bay at sunrise and races with paella at the finish. Never mind that my church was painted purple. How can I feel homesick when I was only there for 4 months? I love St. Mary's and all, but there was just something about being in a big city in South Florida...
At least I'm feeling better now. And my SMP compares Key West and St. Mary's, giving me an excuse to go back to Key West, or at least south Florida, for Spring Break next year. Seriously, if Key West doesn't work, I'm flying down to Miami and visiting all of my friends there.
Errgh, I'd better feel good enough to run tomorrow. Nothing Monday or Tuesday and only 2 miles today. 2 miles??? I haven't run just 2 miles since I can't remember. But getting healthy again is more important than one day or another's mileage.
Okay, I have way too much homework to stay online listening to Jimmy Buffett. Back to the theory of history and African history and such.

~Bethany

back home

Apr. 23rd, 2004 10:38 am
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I'm back home, no thanks at all to the security at the Miami airport. It was insane-I got there in plenty of time-at least an hour and a half early-and I just barely made it on my flight. None of this was helped by the fact that I had luggage that weighed about as much as I do. Oh well. Once I got on the plane everything was cool. I love flying, just not necessarily getting TO the terminal.
Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. I remember that after my last flight I felt like things had gone a little TOO smoothly and I wanted something to mix things up a bit. Well, my shoulders are paying for that today. (Ouch, I think I got my workout in yesterday with lifting all that luggage.)
So I'm back at home, with nothing to do but IM anyone who wants to talk, catch up on pleasure reading and run (literally, run), my film up to be processed. Oh, and unpack those 130 pounds of luggage before the next 70 pounds arrive via UPS and FedEx next week. Fun fun fun.
But I'm home. As much as I'll miss Miami, my home-away-from-home for almost four months, it's good to be back. And I do NOT miss my roommate. Not a bit. And this spring weather feels fantastic. No more worrying about running around the heat, humidity and UV index, at least not for a month or two. It's a beautiful thing.

~Bethany
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My Jamaican culture paper is DONE-all it needs is a quick proof-read and to be printed. I just ran 6.2 miles and it felt good-I think taking the weekend off from running was a good idea. My history professor is going to give me the copies of the original 1870 Key West census that we've been working on all semester so I can use it for my SMP. James from InterVarsity is giving me a ride to the airport, so I won't have to worry about the supershuttle driver flirting with me. :-)
And besides all that, I have a pic of me on the pier at South Beach in Key West as the wallpaper on my computer.
What could be better?

~Bethany
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Spanish dance is over (sniff sniff). I'm really going to miss that class. I've come so far since the first day went I was convinced that this was impossible and that I'd never learn the sevillanas. Today was the performance final and I got to perform with Rachel, the other NSE student in the class. Much of what I've learned in this class mirrors what I've learned in Miami-that it's possible to participate in other cultures without looking foolish and out of place, that I can handle challenges I never imagined, that life is a celebration and should be lived as such, that AC is necessary in Miami. :-) Seriously though, I'm going to miss a lot of people in that class-Evelyn, Annette, Rachel, Anamari.
Just being out of my room all day yesterday reminded me of how many friends I have on this campus. In the course of a coupla hours, I saw Ana from the running clinic and the Carnaval race, a girl who sits behind me in Nutrition class (twice), Christina from chem class. I'm not just trying to throw around names to make people think I'm popular or something; I'm just remembering what I told Yen at the end of last semester before she went back to Hong Kong-something like if this many people are going to miss you when you leave, then you've been successful. I believe I've had a successful semester in Miami, despite some problems that have come up-namely roommate and suitemate issues and the Key West census project for history class.
I've been to South Beach four times and set PRs at three different race distances. I've been to Little Havana on a Sunday morning and a Friday night and I've seen the sun rise over Key Biscayne twice. I held an alligator, hiked over Calusa Indian mounds and went on an airboat ride. I probably know more about Miami's history than most people who live here. I've learned to love rice and beans and despite living in one of the most dangerous cities in the US, I've only felt even mindly at risk twice (by the downtown bus station at night and running under the metrorail). (It's all about common sense.) I've eaten at a Peruvian restaurant where leaving your purse on the floor is bad luck, and seen a live flamenco show where I learned that spoken language is immaterial if you understand the universal language of dance. I've made bunches of friends through InterVarsity, my classes and the weight training and running clinics. I now have unofficial homes in Turkey, Norway, and, of course, Miami.
But I STILL don't know Spanish! Street Spanish is worlds away from anything you learn in a classroom, by the way. I've had 4 semesters of Spanish and I still couldn't carry on a conversation with a native speaker.
Miami is a beautiful place. It's about SO much more than clubs and sunshine and palm trees.
And I only have a week left! :-(
Key West for 2 nights and 3 days for $40 plus food is pretty cool too. Hee hee.

~Bethany

PS-Leave me a comment so I know that someone actually read this. And if you know of anyone whose livejournal I should be reading, let me know.
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beans and rice
extra credit for trips to the Everglades, South Beach and Key West
salsa music on the radio
cultural diversity
Peruvian restaurants with yellow mashed potato thingies and pineapple-flavored soda
being a hot commodity as a minority
sunrises over South Beach and Key Biscayne
dodging palm trees while running
running on the beach
running around Tamiami Park listening to baseball games in Spanish
80 degrees in January
80 degrees in February
having 50 degrees be FREEZING
being asked if I'm from Canada when I go for a run in a tank top when it's 55 degrees
real Key Lime pie
flying in over the Everglades
flying out over the Venetian islands and Key Biscayne

...to be continued...

~Bethany
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the road of doom
riding on the bus back to campus after a long run or race
drivers that don't know how to drive
people that don't believe in please and excuse me
people who never stop talking on their cell phones, even during class
being this far away from the water :-)
chem classes that are cancelled half the time because the computer doesn't work
my suitemate's boyfriend being annoying and knocking on the door at 1 am and not flushing the toilet and generally getting on my nerves
my roommate keeping me up until all hours of the morning (I can't wait for a single!)
But read the above-this place isn't that bad, it's actually pretty awesome...

~Bethany
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In case you've heard on the news that the Everglades is burning, don't worry, I'm okay. This campus might look from the map that FIU is right on the edge of the Everglades, but we're a few miles away. We might have to evacuate (they already have a few miles southwest of here), but that should be the worst of it. The whole hall smells like a campfire though.
Okay, it's late late late and past my bedtime. Signing off.

~Bethany
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Let me tell you, live flamenco shows are AWESOME. More later, I'm really tired. It's definately past my bedtime and I ran 8 miles this (yesterday?) morning. Goodnight all. (Or would that be good morning? I'm not used to being up this late.)

~Bethany
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run on South Beach (check)
watch a live flamenco show in a flamenco club (check)
run on Key Biscayne at sunrise (check)
run all the way to the end of Key Biscayne (15 miles round-trip) (ran 15 but not quite to the end-still, check)
watch the sun set over Key West (check)
visit the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables

And yes, I'll get my work done. But that's pretty much a given, isn't it? Plus, this is all stuff I can ONLY do from Miami.

~Bethany
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Since Friday night's fiasco, I've done some thinking. It was more my fault than hers that I was so short on sleep. I've been staying up too late talking on the phone, using up night minutes. Not a good idea to stay up until midnight when you get up at 6, esp. not on a regular basis. No, it wasn't very considerate of her to turn on the TV at 3 am, but she did have the sound off and I'd never complained before. So in short, I'm going to chalk that one up to too little sleep and move on with my life...
I'm reaffirming my belief that you make your own happiness. If you are satisfied with who you are and what you believe, it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks. It's only insecure people who feel the need to defend themselves. I don't need to be perfect to be happy, and I don't need to explain myself to those who choose to judge me. All I need to do is feel justified in my actions. It's not selfish, but how can you take care of others if you don't know how to take care of yourself?
It's amazing what a good night's sleep, a church service and a few miles run can do.
I just found out that my friend Coleen's brother-in-law is getting sent back to Iraq. "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me/Let there be peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be." It really does begin on an individual level. And no wonder it's so difficult. If I can get in a fight with my roommate over such a trivial thing, then how are whole nations supposed to get along?
Time for dinner. I love how running makes me hungry all the time. :-)

~Bethany
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...That's what we've got in Miami right now. 75 degrees and 87% humidity. I can smell the infamous Miami rainstorms coming already. Yesterday's run was tons of fun, but not in the weather department. 83 and 70%+ humidity. Buckets of sweat and funny-smelling running clothes. I think it's time to do laundry.
But, anyway, I've been having an excellent week. My internet was fixed yesterday. I aced my Nutrition quiz Tuesday and my chem test yesterday. I had an awesome run, featuring an orange iguana and the biggest hill in Miami, in Tropical Park. I love the bus system here. Without it, I would be lost, or at least stranded on campus most of the time.
And tomorrow, I have my weight training class at 11 and an airboat ride at 2:15. Saturday I'm going for a long run in Coconut Grove and hopefully having dinner with my grandparents, and Sunday is all about the history class trip to Miami Beach.
Life is good.
Maybe they'll even have black beans and rice for dinner tonight. :-)

~Bethany

Quote of the day: The harder you work, the luckier you get. -Gary Player True in life as it is in running.
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Check it out! Woo hoo!

http://www.asiorders.com/view_user_photo.asp?EVENTID=3555&ID=6460149&FROM=photos&BIB=11227

~Bethany

PS-Now it's time for dinner and then bed-I'm getting up early tomorrow to go canoeing in the Everglades. Do you all hate me yet? :-)
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It's 70 degrees and chilly here and it's snowing up in Maryland. I went running outside today and was drenched in sweat in about 5 minutes. I loved it, except when the sunscreen dripped in my eyes.

And my internet on my laptop works now, thanks to the cooler than cool guy that was in the tech. services office at 11 on a Sunday morning. I'm on my new computer right now, having fun on IM. And yes, I got my work done before I got on. 40 pages for South Florida History and a chapter for nutrition.

Any other news around here? Well, I have my half-marathon in a week, so wish me luck. And a weekend after that I'm going to the Everglades with my history class. And the weekend after that I'm going to the Everglades with the other NSE students. And the weekend after that I'm going to the Everglades with my grandparents. And no, I won't get tired of it. Hee hee. I love it here. Real Key Lime Pie and sunshine and houses painted sunshine yellow. Miami is awesome.

~Bethany
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I had an awesome run this morning. I ran from the Vizcaya Gardens station to Key Biscayne and back-about 10 miles, 10-minute pace. The best part of it, though, was seeing the sun rise over the water. Even if it meant getting 4 1/2 hours of sleep and getting up at 5 am and leaving in the dark. There's just nothing like watching the sun rise over Miami. I'm telling you, the water really is that blue, and palm trees are not all the same.

As much as I miss everyone in MD, I do NOT miss the weather. I'm still waiting to get tired of 70 degree temps and everlasting sunshine and long for freezing rain and ice and below-freezing temps. I'll let you know if it happens, but don't hold your breath. B-)

I have a ride to church tomorrow morning, with this girl I met at IVCF last Thursday. I'm looking forward to checking out her church-it's supposed to have a very diverse, enthusiastic congregation.

And wish me luck on my South Florida history quiz Tuesday and the 5K race Monday. Another chance to get up at 5 am. Oh well. It'll be worth it when I set a new 5K PR.

~Bethany
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I must still look like a Northerner. A security guard along the metrorail path asked me if I was from Canada. Must have been the tank top I was running in-he thought it was freezing, I didn't think it was bad. It was probably 55 degrees, not toasty but not too chilly. I guess I'm not quite a resident yet. :-)

I had an awesome run today. I started off with the asphalt path under the metrorail south from Vizcaya. That started looking a little seedy (the barbed wire around the schools was the last straw) and the street crossings were getting irritating, so I turned around. I turned right in Coconut Grove towards the water, then ran on well-used bike paths and sidewalks until I got to Rickenbacker Causeway and Key Biscayne. That was the best part of the run-the bridge served as a hill, there were regular water fountains and I got to run under palm trees, along the water and see the Miami skyline. The best part is that Key Biscayne is really close to the Vizcaya metro stop, which is a straight shot from campus. So I'll be running there a lot-THAT was what I was dreaming of when I thought about running here!!!

Time to get back to work-I have reading to do for South Florida history and Caribbean culture.

Have fun skiing and sleeping and studying and whatever else you all are up to up there. Don't let the cold get you down.

~Bethany
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As I walked to class today, I realized something about the palm trees. Before coming here, I thought all palm trees were the same, but there are dozens of kinds just on this campus. Coconut palms like you see on postcards, ones with fronds more like fans, palmettos, tall graceful ones and short stumpy ones. Just as no two people are the same, no two palm trees are the same. And just like there are lot more kinds of palm trees here than I expected, there's a lot more to this campus than I expected.

I'm beginning to understand what diversity and multicultural understanding are all about, and what it means to truly get out of my comfort zone. It means being shaken up for a while, accepting that here I'm the odd one out here. It means accepting others and having a good attitude no matter what, because I'm realizing how much I don't understand about living here.

I guess I expected that coming here would be like going to St. Mary's, only in Florida. So much here is different and yet some things stay the same. I'm glad I came here, and not just because the weather is perfect.

Spanish dance is going to be interesting. Class today made me realize how much I have to learn here-I may have done 12 years of ballet and a semester of Modern Dance, but I know nothing about flamenco. Or the history of South Florida. Or the intricacies of Caribbean politics.

But I'm willing to learn. I'm trying constantly to be open to the way things are done around here. I'm at a big university in a big city and sure it's scary. But if change is scary, than not being able to adapt to change is even more so. You'll never know what you've got in you until you push yourself to your limits.

I know this is a bit long and rambling. Forgive me. I'm still trying to figure this place out.

~Bethany

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