Travel

Now & Then

Lima

Flashback to 2014: First time traveling abroad solo and volunteering in Lima, Peru. Fearful, nervous, excited and full of wanderlust.

Flash forward to the present (2017): Been living and working in Saigon for the past (almost) ten months. Still sometimes nervous, excited and full of wanderlust but not so fearful anymore as I am about to embark onto the next adventure of traveling and exploring more of Southeast Asia. Aspiring to be more minimal and living out of a backpack for the first time (only a short 3 weeks, baby steps!). I’ve donated about half my wardrobe I brought here with me and I am ready to embrace the gypsy lifestyle. Funny how life can change so much in just three years.

These boots are on move and they are coming for you Vietnam! First up, Phu Quoc Island! Don’t worry mama I will keep in touch like always 🙂

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Saigon

Dien Chan

I have to tell you all about this practice I found here in Saigon because it is AMAZINGGG. So let’s rewind. Sunday morning, I’m exercising, actually trying to be healthy when lo and behold, I do something to hurt my back. It hurts to lie down flat, to move, to do anything basically. Backs are horrible things to hurt and for someone who has a very high pain tolerance, I was in agony. I couldn’t sleep, sudden movements hurt my entire back. Anyways, you get the idea, it was awful.

My first instinct as a person from the Western World is to find a chiropractor. It’s Sunday afternoon so most offices here are closed. I accept that I’m not going to be able to see someone about this until tomorrow so I lay in bed all day and watch Netflix.

Monday morning arrives and I am on my way to see a friend of a friend who practices Dien Chan. To be honest, I was a little skeptical about this whole thing, I didn’t know much about the practice and was in a severe amount of pain that I thought could only be remedied by some physical therapy. Give me that back stimmmm. I arrive, meet Simona and she starts our session.

Dien Chan is natural practice, originating here in Ho Chi Minh City, that “aims to restore the energy balance of the body by stimulating the body’s response itself and eliminating the disturbances”. It is similar to acupuncture but without the needles. Simona uses small tools to find painful points on your face, hands and arms that reflect other areas of the body that are in need of healing. She was able to find the points on my face that connected to the areas that were inflamed and in pain without even having to touch my back. SO AMAZING! As a Westerner I was honestly shocked. After only two sessions with Simona, I was experiencing no pain and am back to normal functioning. Crazy right? From not being able to move without sharp pain to no pain at all in two days. She is a true healer.

After this experience, I think I can genuinely see that our bodies really are a reflection of our well-being, especially our faces. You might think that the pimple on your face is just a pimple but it could be a sign of something completely different. Living in Asia for the past eight months has opened my eyes to the world of Eastern medicine and it’s amazing practices. From my experience, Eastern medicine is way more natural and, this sounds weird but, actually listens to what our body is telling us. There are signs but we just might not know it. I’ve become so interested in this particular practice that I am going to take Simona’s Dien Chan beginner course here in early October. These are the experiences that I more than likely would never be able to have if I was back home in Buffalo. Super stoked to learn more about this practice!

P.S. If anyone is ever interested in treatment and would like to see Dr. Simona, feel free to contact me and I can give you her information 🙂 Have a lovely Thursday y’all!!

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Travel

Flashback Friday: Harry Potter World, Universal 

I’m dedicating this flashback Friday to one of my favorite places….Harry Potter World in Universal Studios, Florida! As previously mentioned, I am a huge Harry Potter fan and so is my family so when I graduated from college, we took a celebratory trip to Harry Potter World!


As anticipated, this place is magical. As a full grown adult you can run around with a wand shouting spells at people and it’s totally normal and non judgmental. We even sat at a table in Diagon Alley drinking ciders and muggle watching one day. It was the best. 

The food at the Leaky Cauldron and the Three broomsticks is actually good for theme park food. We had a feast for the four of us and it was plenty. Butter beers were a must in the August Florida heat.

We stayed at one of Universal’s resorts which had many benefits: we didn’t have to drive anywhere because there are water taxis that will take you back and forth, we received a fast pass that let us cut some of the lines for rides and we had a pool to come back to during the afternoon heat.

One important thing to remember when going to places like Universal is to do your research! We went at the end of August when Florida schools were back in session so we avoided the big crowds and long lines.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not traveled and explored enough in my own country but I can confidently say that if the opportunity arose for me to return to Harry Potter World, I would go in a heartbeat. It is truely a magical place where childhood dreams become a reality. 

Happy Friday y’all!

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Saigon

Cu Chi Tunnels 

Hey yall! Happy Independence weekend from here in Vietnam! I’ve had the past week off of work for our quarter break and was able to do some fun, touristy things with new friends! This is my first attempt at a video blog so let me know what you think! Low quality video, high quality shenanigans. Next time I will try to use my phone👌.

Anyways, here’s a little bit of our time spent at the Cu Chi Tunnels! The Cu Chi tunnels were a big part of why the Americans were defeated during what we would call the Vietnam War. It is was amazing to see this historical site and the tunnel system that was used by the Vietnamese. These tunnels are so tiny it’s hard to believe people actually lived underground in these conditions. Crazy! Shout out to Eric & Austin for visiting and spending time with me this week, I had a blast! Even bigger shout out to my girl Meaghan Puff for making it all happen!! Wish you could have been here with us!

Lifestyle

Health Kick Hiiiiya!

I’ve been talking about how I’m going to get back into shape again and be healthier since I first arrived in Vietnam. Up until now, let’s be honest, it has not happened that is until now! After spending two weeks at home in Buffalo and gaining about 5-8 pounds, I am dedicating myself to a healthier lifestyle. I am going to do good things for my body and hopefully my body will do good things for me like not producing anymore kidney stones 😦

I am kicking off this new lifestyle of mine with a 10 day medicine cleanse given to me by a herbalist I saw here in Saigon. It was like something straight out of Harry Potter, such a cool experience! I am going to try my hand at vlogging and record this 10 day experience to share here so stay posted!

P.S. Has anyone tried this flavor of RX bars? They are delicious!!!! Tastes like a fruit roll-up but healthy which is HUGE. I wish I would have stocked up and bought more while I was home 😦 

Here’s to good health!

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Travel

Home Sickness is a B

Living abroad has it perks there’s no doubt about it but we all have those days when you just want to stay in bed all day and cry. Home sickness can be a real betch. Today has been one of those days for me and I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to cope. Here’s how I’ve made it through the day today and like many other homesick days:

  1. Making a to-do list for today and the week- It’s a great way to actually accomplish something and force myself to not just wallow in self-pity all day.  When you’ve got things to do, leave the damn apartment Kara and do something with yaaaa life. Writing this blog post was one of the items on my list so I can proudly say I have accomplished everything I needed to today!
  2. Exercising & Drinking a hot water with lemon- Do I want to do anything today? Absolutely not and especially not when I’m tired, cranky, sad, PMSing and wanting to be miserable. The inner Tone It Up girl inside of me was telling me that I should do something good for my body so I drank a hot water with lemon and forced myself to do some yoga flow workout video. I’ve been getting into Alo Yoga’s videos on their Youtube channel and so far I’m a fan. It felt good to be active since as I will describe below in #3, I ate a bagel sandwich and another half of a bagel with pineapple schmear 🙂
  3. Comfort Food- This is not the greatest or suggested way to cope with emotions but I never said I was an expert. I’m a human who likes to eat food and even more when I’m sad and homesick. If I was going to eat breakfast anyways, why not make it a New York style bagel breakfast sandwich to make me feel better about myself? Delicious and not nutritious but extremely pleasing. There’s nothing quite like a egg bagel sandwich made by my mama (hers are the bomb) but Saigon Bagel is a close second.

Alas it is Sunday night so that means I have made it through my day and survived this bout of home sickness. YAY! Little victories y’all. One thing I am going to aim to be better at after today is to set goals and intentions for the week and month. I started doing this a few months ago and as I became busier with work, I have failed to continue this practice. I want to remain positive and remind myself of my purpose for being here in Vietnam so I am going to be better at this. If anyone out there is reading this and has any ideas or ways they deal with their home sickness, please feel free to share! I would love to hear how others deal with that betch who sometimes always seems to find it’s way in. Night Night!!

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Travel

Buffalo Basics

Currently sitting at the airport waiting for my plane to arrive, feeling happy and sad at the same time. Spending the past two weeks at home in Buffalo with loved ones was a dream♥ I thought it would be weird going home for the first time since moving abroad but it felt like nothing had changed. The people, the places, everything was as I remembered (in a good way). I would summarize the past two weeks as a mix of old and new; Buffalo, or I should say Mick, staples with some new adventures thrown in.

Greatest highlight of the trip: Meeting my nephew Fishy baby!!!!Within hours of meeting him, he fell asleep in the arms and it was the most precious moment I’ve had with a baby thus far. Being an aunt is my favorite new job 🙂 P.S. I know I look real good in my Sabres pajamas & vintage ninja turtle t shirt. I can actually say I woke up like dissss.

I totally broke on my vegetarianism multiple times but I couldn’t resist at one of my mom & I’s favorite spot Tony’s. Our love for burgers, curly fries & ice cream never changes.

Another thing that never changes in Buffalo is the love for the Bills. They may be one of the worst teams in the NFL many years in a row but there is a special place in every Buffalonian’s heart for the Bills. We hit up the preseason game versus the Minnesota Vikings and drank plenty of Blue lights.

I wanted to check out new local noms while I was home so we went to Fry Baby Donuts on Elmwood to try the vegan donuts. They did not disappoint. The donuts are huge and packed with flavor. My personal favorite was the raspberry peach tye dye donut. The icing on the peach flavored donuts tastes just like peach rings. Amazinggggg.

We also totally stole Sarah from work and sat on the side of the road eating donuts and taking this selfie. The things we do for the blog 💁🏻

My mama & I made gnocchi for the first time together and they turned out to be a success! It was a lot easier than I ever thought and only required 3 simple ingredients: potatoes, an egg and flour. 

I could go on forever about all the fun I had these past two weeks so instead I’ll just show y’all some of my favorite moments. A picture is worth a thousand words right?

 

Now that I’m on my way back to ‘Nam, I am promising to (really) get back to the blog grind. That and getting my behind to a gym 😐. Good bye Buffalo & hello again Vietnam!

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