Friday, October 30, 2020

Life Lately | October


Monday, October 26, 2020

Coast of Maine


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Emerald Isle, iii


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Life Lately | September

Monday, August 31, 2020

Life Lately | August


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Life Lately | July

As mentioned in my June update, I left DC to spend a few weeks in North Carolina with my family. Ordinarily, a trip down to Raleigh means packing in visits to favorite cafes and bookstores and seeing as many friends as possible, but this time it was nearly the complete opposite. I saw few people aside from my family, and whatever visits I did make to local businesses were for to-go orders only.

In the middle of my time in Raleigh, my sister and I drove to Louisville, KY to visit our brother. While there, we took as many precautions as we could to distance ourselves from others and stay safe, and opted for spending the days in nature - Mammoth Cave National Park and Hoosier National Forest - rather than in the city. Traveling isn't the best choice right now, but it felt good to see family and spend time in new geography.

Through the extended time away from DC (and seeing people other than my roommate), I gained a clearer perspective on the habits I've formed over these last few months at home. While I was careful to maintain good pre-COVID habits like working out daily and sticking to certain work + sleep hours, I fell into a more restrictive mindset with other things. I tend towards organization and minimalism, but when left unchecked, these values can become the goal rather than the means to goals. Getting out of my own space for a few weeks helped disrupt those thought patterns, and I spent the rest of July purposefully choosing activities that took me out of my normal routine:

  • Spent a week screen-free in the evenings and completed a 1000 piece puzzle by myself
  • Had my hair cut by a professional for the first time in 7 years
  • Spent a morning walking around the Mall (I've lived in DC for nearly 3 years and can count on one hand the number of times I've visited the Mall by myself)
  • Visited a wetlands reserve
  • Made doughnuts from scratch with a friend (she did most of the work, I did the final few steps)
  • Participated in a virtual escape room with friends

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that nothing is certain. Rather than setting expectations for August, I'll simply say: here's to valuing what's most important and learning new things, no matter what happens.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hoosier National Forest

July 3, 2020

Snapshots from a day hiking Hemlock Cliffs in Hoosier National Forest, Indiana.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Louisville + Mammoth Cave, KY

July 2-5, 2020

After months of not traveling, my siblings and I took a roadtrip to Kentucky for the long holiday weekend. We set Louisville as our base and explored Hooiser National Forest in Indiana (pictures to come later) and Mammoth Cave National Park, opting for nature over the city as a way to see new places while still social distancing and being safe.

We wanted the weekend to be a vacation and not a frantic rush to see everything, so we kept our pace slow. We stayed in one half of a small duplex across the street from the Kentucky Derby and frequented the local outpost of Sunergos Coffee every morning. We ate late dinners in Louisville's East Market district and watched movies on the couch in the evenings. We earned blisters from our sandals while crossing the footbridge over the Ohio River, and I gained several hundred more freckles from all the time in the sun.

Kentucky isn't my favorite state, but the drive through Appalachia to get there was gorgeous, and the state has enough stunning nature, charming Southern cities, and good food to keep us happily occupied for a few days.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Life Lately | June

June was a heavy yet hopeful month. As the atmosphere surrounding racial injustice shifts from outrage to action, I'm hopeful these events won't fade into the chaos of the year but will lead to long-lasting changes. Taking action looks different for everyone - praying, listening to others' experiences, examining ourselves for any prejudice we hold toward our neighbors of color, donating to justice-centered causes, learning about culture and law and criminal justice, and protesting, among others - and all are important.

In other updates - the DMV area is slowly, slowly reopening. I have found unexpected moments of joy in ordering food from a real person at a real counter, visiting parks further away from home, eating at restaurants outdoors, and cautiously seeing a friend in person for the first time since March. I drove out to Fredericksburg, Centreville, and the outside edges of Fairfax County to enjoy different greenways than the ones near my home that I've walked dozens of times during this quarantine. Local travel is a big part of my normal life that's been absent the last few months, and it's refreshing to do it again, even if in a limited way.

I'm in Raleigh now, having left the D.C. area for the first time since January to visit my family. Working remotely gives the freedom to work away from home indefinitely, and I'm enjoying spending a few weeks somewhere else, with different trails to run and cafes to eat at and faces to see and people to talk to for the first time in months.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Building a Legacy

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Life Lately | May

Life continues to be slow. COVID carries on, cancelling all plans in its path and bringing a measure of caution into every activity. Yet things are slowly re-opening - local parks unlocked their parking lots a week ago, allowing me to run on my favorite trails again for the first time since March. I've taken advantage of the lingering daylight and evening warmth to grab cocktails to-go and sip them on my balcony with a book, enjoying the background sounds of neighborhood kids squealing and rackets smacking tennis balls and birds chirping across the street. I've dipped my toe into the baking world, making bread + biscuits + brownies each from scratch for the first time. I splurged on a dutch oven, solidifying a commitment to the intermediate kitchen arts.

Two and a half months of staying at home is like living in a world without FOMO for the first time, and with that freedom from external inputs comes new money habits. Without trying, I've saved so much money from not eating out or buying new clothes or traveling. It's an interesting thing, seeing how little I spend when there are no time gaps to fill or events to attend or people to impress.

As mentioned in April, I've spent more time thinking through goals and what I want to do with my time, and not just during this quarantine - what long-term projects I could start, anything creative that I've previously shoved to the backburner for a lack of time. So far I've cooked/baked more and run more long distance trails, but I'm stuck trying to determine anything more conventionally creative. And so perhaps that will be my goal for June, to find something worth investing time and creative energy in.
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