Arizona

90 days

A week from today will mark my 90th day as a Phoenician.  Things are starting to feel a little more “normal” these days. I don’t need a GPS for every single place I go to – I still use it a lot, but I’m starting to get a grasp on which roads are which.  I definitely would not have been able to move across country without the invention of the GPS (or any mapping program).  When I arrived in Arizona for the very first time, I was in the airport when my mom called.  When she realized I was in AZ – she said “how are you going to know where to go?” and I said “GPS.”  So thank you, creators of the GPS.

At work, I’m on a waiting list for a parking structure near my building, so each day before work and after work, I walk about 10 minutes to my car.  I finally figured out a straight walking route.  The first 10 times or so I was inadvertently walking in circles.  Thankfully I’ve caught onto the direct route.  I use this time to call my mom each and every day.  I speak to her more now than ever before – so I’m sure she’s glad about that!

Speaking about my mom and being glad – She, my dad, sister, brother-in-law, and nephews have all booked their tickets for Christmas in Arizona!  I’m very excited – it doesn’t even seem real to me.  I feel like I flew to another planet, and they were never going to come visit – but that feeling is WRONG (as DT says).  I’ve been on the hunt to find a furnished place for them to stay, but nothing seems to be working out.  It seems to be harder than it should be, but I’ll keep the faith that it will work out soon.

Speaking about working out – I joined a gym!  I’ve been wanting to do that, but haven’t gotten to it yet.  Last week I went to the Sedona with my new group of outdoorsy friends.  After the 4-5 hour hike, I felt completely out of shape and after looking at the photos I felt that I looked completely out of shape as well.  I need to change that.  I have no excuse not to work out even if it’s just for 30 minutes each day.  So I joined last Tuesday, started working out on Wednesday and have gone every day since.  Today I tried something new called Hydro Training – working out in a pool.  Fun times!  Made friends with a lady from Staten Island named Karen.  I have to say there is always someone from NY/NJ around to help make me feel at home!

I work a Tuesday – Saturday schedule so today is my Sunday, but it’s really Monday – my body and brain’s still adjusting to this new routine.  I have a few more things left on my to-do list, but I wanted to be sure I posted an entry today.  If I think of anything else to fill you in on – I’ll be back sooner than later!  🙂  Since I woke up so early to get to the Hydro Training session, maybe I’ll take a nap!  It’s hard to take naps when it’s always so sunny – I still have the mind frame that I have to be doing something every sunny day because they’re limited where I’m from!   …but being that it’s October 24th and 90 degrees, I’m starting to realize that I can have a lazy hour or 2 a day without feeling like I’m wasting the sun because I’m pretty sure it’ll be back out again tomorrow.

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Arizona, Deep thoughts

Choosing a President

One of the things that has helped me during this transition process across the country is having a place to congregate every Sunday.  Growing up, religion was never pushed on me.  We were expected to join our parents at church every Sunday.  I’m sure my parents prayed that we would continue to be faithful to the church, but it was never pushed.

Growing up I would never have guessed that I’d be glad my parents encouraged us to join them at mass each week.  It feels good to go to look forward to going to a place to clear my mind, remind me about what’s important, and has the same traditions of home.  Church is a piece of home and a piece of my family.  The church that I have liked the best is St. Benedict’s in Phoenix.  The second week I was there, the priest asked if there was anyone new so I raised my hand and announced I was from New Jersey.  Made me a little teary eyed to see a new parish be so welcoming.

You’re probably wondering if I got the title of this post confused with a different post and asking yourself why would I be talking about religion in a governmental post.  Since this election is EVERYWHERE, a couple weeks ago a presidential debate was taking place right after mass – so I wondered if the priest would dare bring it up during/after mass.   I thought about it – and when the mass concluded without any mention – I thought of course he didn’t say anything.  Government and Religion are two different things, right?

Well today we had a priest who actually went there.  Fr. Bill Faiella – He started off by saying, “It’s not in my job description to tell you who to vote for — Thank God for that!” 🙂  He went on to explain that there were some things though, that he wanted us to think about when we are making our decision.  He encouraged everyone not to look at one single issue – but look at the entire person and their being.  “Look at their values, programs, and behavior.”  It seemed like there was one singular thing he thought would sway certain people.  I quickly tried to think if there was one singular thing that Trump had over Hillary – and because I was glued to what the priest was saying I couldn’t come up with anything on the spot. I’m grateful that he eventually shared a story with us that made me realize why some people might vote for Trump.

He told us a story about a man who came to him and explained that although he does not agree with abortions, he doesn’t think it should be considered a crime.  The man said that he worked with women who have been through so much abuse and hardships in their lives and sometimes ended up pregnant.  This man felt these women have enough hardships in their lives and shouldn’t be forced to choose between having a baby or being put in prison.  The priest didn’t say this, but we all know that Donald has been saying that he thinks abortions should be illegal.  I’m so thankful that this priest made the bold move to let Catholics know that we shouldn’t be voting for someone because of one idea.

The priest then went on to say, no matter who wins or loses – remember this:  The Lord will either go through him or around him to make sure things in this world are right.

Amen.

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Arizona

My first AZ adventure: Kayaking on the Saguaro Lake

IMG_3406I’ve been living in Arizona for a month and two days, so it was time to do some serious exploring and meet new friends.  I spent some time during the past couple weeks researching activity groups.  I finally found this group called “Purposeeker” – and it was just right.  It was created by two awesome individuals and I’m so glad to have found them.  I saw that they had an upcoming adventure planned for Saturday, September 3rd – “Take Me Kayaking.”  I had never been kayaking before but always wanted to go.  It was perfect timing.  I started to feel a bit homesick last week, and I knew I’d need to book something fun for Labor Day weekend so I wouldn’t have time to get homesick again.

I got information from the site, but I wanted to get more of a feel for what this adventure entailed so I sent an email to get more information.  Fab got back to me quickly and let me know that it would be a great day and that the group would be about 10 people.  That was a perfect size – not too many people where I’d get lost in the shuffle – but enough people for a fun time.

On Saturday, we all met in Scottsdale.  I introduced myself to everyone and they were all very welcoming and friendly.  Laly, the other organizer handed out whistles (that she bought Party City) – in case we had an emergencies on our kayaks. Safety first!  🙂

We piled into Fab’s car and headed on the journey to Saguaro Lake.  The drive up was beautiful. Like most roads in Arizona – it was filled with beautiful mountains and cacti.  When we got there, Laly and Fab set up a beautiful picnic breakfast along the lake and under a peaceful tree.  We filled up on delicious bagels (loved that almond cream cheese!) and fruit.IMG_3390 (1)Kayaking along the waters was easier than I thought it was going to be.  It was surreal seeing all the beautiful, serene scenery.  A highlight for me was seeing wild horses eating along the water.

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We kayaked for about 2-3 hours total and we stopped twice to take a break and a dip.  I was so excited to take a dip in the salt water.  August is usually the month I’m driving down the shore to get my beach days in. This was the first August of my life with no beach days.  Maybe that also contributed to my homesickness!  Anyway, lucky for me my withdrawal was over after taking a dip in these waters.  So refreshing.  Note to self:  bring water shoes next time – the water was rocky, but it was worth it!  We were shocked to see what looked like seashells – definitely have to google that and see what that was about.  After snacking on sweet rice rollers, playing with the “riverweeds” and having a rock stacking contest it was time to get back in the kayaks.

IMG_3497Eventually, we made it to the end of the kayaking adventure and it was time to head back for our lunch picnic.  So glad this group likes to eat as much as I do.  I was contemplating bringing my own snacks, but I never did.  Thankfully, there was plenty of food and drinks all throughout the day.  The picnic lunch consisted of turkey wraps, chicken salad, cheese, strawberries, guacamole, veggies with dip, corn chips, pitas, and chocolate chip cookies.

IMG_3053After lunch, Laly led a group meditation.  We thought about all that we are grateful for and took time to send love to those we felt need it.  We took time to appreciate all the goodness in our lives.  We all had so much to be thankful on that day – especially the fact that we didn’t need to use the whistles!  Great day had by all!

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