Life and other stuff

The calendar just keeps moving on! Of course that beats the alternative, so… I’ll take it! 🙂

Got through Open School for the Spring. Hooray. That is always a long day, so it’s nice to have it over, even if we were all like “It’s early this year!”

Last Sunday I went to Whippany, NJ to Jill Hennessy’s gig at the Ukrainian Cultural Center. It was probably my favorite gig of hers I’ve ever been to – super intimate setting and with only her on guitar and her keyboardist. You really felt every word even more than usual, so that was super cool.

After having to prove I’m me to the IRS, I got my refund, and so I have paid for my hotel in Toronto over Spring Break and booked all my excursions for the Italy Cruise. Cannot believe I am nearing the 90-day mark when I can check in and make my dining time reservations!! My excursions are…

  • Villefranche – Nice and St. Paul-de-Vence tour. The Nice part is reportedly a compensated drive, but we get wandering time in SPV which looks like a super cool place to explore.
  • Livorno (Florence) – Winery Tour in Tuscany. Since I spent almost a week in Florence a couple of years ago, I didn’t want to spend the time or money going over things I’ve already seen (though don’t get me wrong, Michelangelo’s David is pretty friggin spectacular), and this tour looks like it will be interesting. Plus, WINE! 🙂
  • Civitavecchia (Rome) – Shuttle bus to Rome and then touring around on my own. I’ve been assured by many people that it’s definitely easy to tour around on your own feet, and this way I don’t get stuck at the Vatican for two hours like pretty much any of the tours do.
  • Salerno (Amalfi Coast) – After much dithering and debating, I’ve decided NOT to do the private tour I was going to and instead will be doing the ship-based Capri on Your Own tour – we go as a group by boat to Capri and then I have 5 hours to explore.
  • Venice – Day 1 is a Murano Glass and Burano Lace tour which looks to be super cool. Day 2 is the Secret Venice Walking Tour. Again, awesome looking tour going where not all tours go.
  • Ravenna – A Ravenna and Mosaics tour.
  • Kotor – Montenegro Highlights which again looks awesome!

So super excited for this trip!! Pre-cruise in Barcelona, I am staying in the L’Eixample area and have a Flamenco show with dinner booked my first night, and a Gaudy tour cumulating with Sagrada Familiar followed by an evening tapas tour. Epic times!!

I’m also planning a trip to Disney World in the second half of August, so it’s going to be a summer of travel and celebrating a big birthday!!

Taekwondo continues to go well! I had the Belt Test for my Blue Strips today and passed, so yay!! I stayed to watch the rest of the testing including a teen testing for his Black Belt. His test was AMAZING and awe-inspiring!! And it made me say “Yeah… so not asking my parents to come when I test. They would be ok with watching most of it, but the sparring would NOT go over well with them (I gloss over it a bit in discussing TKD with them, though right now I am in the “baby beginner”  (my term) adult sparring class where I have dubbed myself the “beginningest beginner” in there. And after hearing what happened to one of our instructors – a Third Dan Black Belt – in the advanced sparring class, I am QUITE happy to stay in my “baby beginner” class for quite a while!). Maybe I could settle them at a restaurant or Starbucks near the dojang and as soon as sparring is over have someone text or call them to say come back for board breaks. Of course, this is probably at least three years down the road, so…

Oh, yeah. You read that right. My little eyes are set on getting that Black Belt. It’s always been in the back of my head, but I was unsure if it was even possible having started older. During our Midwinter Break week, I took advantage of the time off to go to the morning classes – which is almost all women (at least it has been every time I’ve gone). So lots of good influences and role models there. One day we were discussing age or something that my age came up – which of course elicited the usual “NO WAY!!!!” comments I get – and one of my instructors who is kind of becoming a mentor (I have a couple) to me at the dojang said “So you started just a year younger than I was when I started!” And then one of my other becoming mentors and I were talking in the locker room, and she was not only older than me when she started, it took her 10 years to get her black belt, but she did it! Then when I mentioned how running club teammates want me to go to the Gay Games in Paris in 2018 to the Master I see the most, he said “You can definitely do it! And not just Poomsae! You can spar! It’s plenty of time! I’ll coach you and go as your coach!” (The jury is still out on the sparring – see above – but I definitely love Poomsae!) So… Talking with all of them, hearing what some of the other women said – all positive things about what they’d observed with me – and really discovering that I love it helped me make a decision I’d been pondering for a while…

I changed from the “year-to-year” program where I would basically renew my contract every year to the Black Belt Program. With this, I will make payments for a set number of months to pay one lump sum that covers ALL my classes up to Black Belt. I still pay for my tests and doboks and stuff. But the classes are paid for – even if it takes me 10 years. 80% of what I’ve already paid got applied to the program, and that makes the monthly payments even a bit lower than what I’ve been paying with the year-to-year thing.

I am so excited about this!! I know it’s going to be a ton of hard work, but I feel like I can do it. The dojang is an incredibly supportive family – watching so many people come to watch the Black Belt test today proved that. And one of my mentors (who for the second test has made sure she had my marking sheet, and who I suspect will again ensure that she ties my belt on me at the belting ceremony), after I told her I had switched to the program and after she hugged me and teasingly said “So we’re stuck with you for the next set of years, huh?” reassured me that yes, all Black Belt tests have certain elements that are there but they still shape it to the person testing as much as they can. Again, still the toughest thing you’ll do, but there really aren’t two exactly alike.

So I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m super excited!!

So…that’s about it!! Don’t forget to check out Lost In Time GoFundMe Campaign to check out the movie and help support a truly independent film by an awesome female filmmaker, Kat Brooks!!

Peace and light!!

 

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