Bali or bail

The transitions out of LA, out of a job I’ve learned so much in, and out of the comforts of our cozy home opened a door of uncertainty, excitement, and sometimes fear. Nevertheless, I dove in fully with faith that things would fall into the places they were meant to be in.

With my position in LA finishing up and my future wide open, I have been thinking long and hard about what I want that future to be. I think downward dog has a part in it somehow… First stop was the group interview at lululemon last month! Part of the group interview encouraged everyone to set 10, 5, and 1 year personal, professional, and health goals (the worksheet can also be found on their website… hint, hint… Try it out! It’s life changing!). Thanks to this exercise, I was on my way to figuring out what I wanted my future life to look like. Or at least it allowed me to get started on designing the idea of that future.

In filling out the goal setting worksheet I asked myself what I love in life. What I’m passionate about. What I would do if I knew I couldn’t fail (another incredible credit to the lululemon site’s blog). This is a big question, one that we should all ask ourselves more often. What would you do with your life if failing wasn’t an option? Check out the goal coach blog post where I first read this intriguing question here.

I would do more with yoga. I mean, I already practice it, I love it, it makes me feel good, keeps me centered, helps me keep in shape, lowers my anxiety and stress levels, heals my back injury, and so much more. It is the one thing that I do just for me. A practice centered around improving my life both on and off the mat. That’s why I was at the lululemon interview in the first place, wasn’t it? I want to have better life balance, I want to blend a healthy lifestyle into what I do for a living, and not just incorporate it as a side passion when I have time.

After my group interview, I was invited back for a yoga class with some team members from the store. After that, I was asked to come in for a one-on-one interview with the store manager. That interview was just a couple of days ago and… it went as best it could have gone. I was offered a job as a Key Leader! The friendly and ambitious disposition of everyone at the company is a great start to my new career (hoping to build strong friendships like the ones I had the pleasure of knowing at USC)! The decision to take the job was easy… working for the young and unique company has always been appealing to me, and now it is a reality! Nevertheless, the dramatic change in direction as a career is as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. I can’t help but think of all the time I spent dedicated to public health, of my student loan debt from graduate school, and of other prospective global health opportunities I am putting on hold to join an entirely different culture and industry.

The move from LA to Melbourne has become so much more than a world adventure. Being here has allowed me space to question how and why things don’t have to remain the same in life. We create our own change. We drive our own decisions and actions. Fear of the unknown, failure, judgment stands in the way of some on the incredible pleasures life has to offer. Fear is sometimes there to protect us from danger, but mostly it just holds us back. Removing fear from the equation opens us up to endless possibilities… Possibilities of creating what you want in your life, and letting go of things that aren’t serving you. For me, in this time, it is a new career through yoga.

With this in mind and a lululemon job in the bag (yay!!!) I keep thinking about how to take this to the next level. I’ve been considering various yoga teacher training programs and have narrowed it down to three schools. Two are in Melbourne and I would take the course over a 10-12 month period, the third is a 5-week intensive YogaWorks teacher training program in Bali. I know what you’re thinking… 5 weeks in Bali! Sounds very Eat, Pray, Love of me! And mostly just sounds like an incredible experience, but this is about more than a trip to paradise. It is about diving deeply into a practice that has helped me immensely over the years, rediscovering who I am and who I want to be (at the risk of sounding like a quarter-life crisis). If I choose the Bali program, I’m choosing what appears to be the most challenging and most intense program of the three. Intense challenges usually prove to be the most rewarding as well. But I have to ask myself if I’m ready for this step, if I’m ready to discover, and if I’m ready to be gone for 5 weeks to take on this challenge.

In these questions lies an incredible truth… I actually think that it’s Bali or bail. If I’m not ready to dive that deeply then I should question my intentions of pursuing any type of training program. If I let go of the fear, then bailing on my dream is not an option.

I can’t wait for it to unfold!

This picture was taken in January 2012 at Big Bear Lake, CA. Standing in tree just feels right! Love that Gouda made a cameo in her argyle!

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Happy 7th of July Housewarming party!

It was finally time, time to invite our new friends into our house, only made warm by the 30-some bodies in the apartment and not the small heater trying to override the frigid weather outside. We (I mean Joe… all the credit goes to Joe) asked our guests to dress “American” in honor of the 4th of July holiday that just passed. I flew in on the 4th, so the day didn’t actually seem to exist for me, so it was nice to feel a little patriotic while creating star-shaped watermelon slices for my fruit salad! This was our début as hosts in our new city… and I think it was a success (although the cleaning of the aftermath was less desirable).

Impressed by our international friends’ keenness to mimic our American fashion (or lack of), we awarded best-dressed to our Aussie friends Pat and Sean! In close second, Ally from Ireland who found an incredibly patriotic American Flag tie-dye skirt for the festivities. But anyone who shows up to our party wearing a Obama jersey purchased in Ghana while on a bike tour around Africa wins in my book. We also had hearty servings of baseball caps, sweat pants, and sports jersey’s. Apparently this is what we look like America! Here are some pics to indulge you:

 

Back Home

I just got home from being home… yea, it confuses me too. Leaving LA the first time was a little easier knowing I’d return in a couple of months for work. The much-anticipated trip back to Los Angeles came along quickly and walking into my office building felt like a completely natural work day… almost as if no time had passed since I left over two months ago. I went back to LA to finish up my work projects at USC. The week went by quickly with some time to see friends and catch up with colleagues (who are obviously also friends… no sense in separating the two). I soaked up the sun and then said goodbye again. Being back was both hard and reassuring. It is hard to leave friends, family again but I wanted to come back to Melbourne. Not only because Joe was here eating instant noodles for two weeks, but because this trip meant cutting off the last commitment back in LA. With work done, I could dive into my next step in Melbourne without hesitation.

California dreamin’

Feeling slightly vitamin D deficient, I soaked up as much sun as I could during the times I wasn’t in the office (while being sun smart and using sunscreen of course). Since we liquidated our lives in April, I was car-less in a city that is just starting to know the meaning of public transit, so my amazing friends lent me their convertible car for the week! As I drove down the 405 with the top down, I wondered to myself how and why I never had a convertible in LA. Will be on the must do list when we return I guess!

I wish I had more photos from my meet ups in LA, but with no camera in hand and an iPhone with no service in the states, I was at the mercy of others for picture memories for the first part of my trip. I finally invested in a nice digital camera that paid off later on!

Dinner with the group! Some much-needed Mexican food and Margaritas!

Work trip to the Getty Museum during our tour of LA where I played tour guide to a group from around the Pacific.

Cutest ever (missed your Ry!) excited about their boxing Australian kangaroos.

The last frontier

Bring back state-side, I was able to get some much needed family time in (both with the Guintu and the Flores clans). My brother has lived in Alaska for the last two years and I am embarrassed to say that this was my first time up for a visit. The long over due trip took my parents, Tia Alicia, and I up to the beautiful last frontier.

The climate is harsh, the landscape is rugged, but South East Alaska it is an undeniably beautiful part of our country. With bald eagles nestled in the trees as if they were ordinary birds, salmon fishermen geared up in their Xtra Tuffs (the must have rain boot in Alaska… or gummies as they are referred to here in Melbourne), and black bears roaming the paved streets of town, Ketchikan has a lot to offer the nature obsessed. The vast rainforest reproduces on top of itself and the snowcapped mountains are the perfect backdrop to the picturesque town. It was an absolutely incredible place to spend time with family and take in all that the area has to offer.

  

Beautiful Bald Eagles in the Alaskan wild.

Grown Bald Eagle (left), adolescent bald eagle (right) waiting for salmon scraps near dusk.

Alaskan staple, Xtra Tuff rain boots. If you want to make a fashion statement then you’d wear yours with a cute dress!

An incredible sighting of a black bear with her two cubs on our first night in Alaska!

  

A visit to the Totem Bright State Historical Park full with a clan house and amazing historic art.

Ketchikan, Alaska is a port to many Alaskan cruises. But this special family treatment is hard to come by.

My bearded Alaskan brother was the perfect guide (and fishing buddy to my dad) for our Alaskan adventure. Pictured here with my awesome parents and me. My aunt, cousins and friends also helped make the trip an incredible memory! Thanks for taking the time to feed us delicious food and showing us your beautiful part of the state!