… to New York

Another Fall season, another New York trip. Steven, I promise I will visit over the Summer eventually.

I started working for a different company in January. This company provides an INSANE training budget per person/year and my manager was encouraging me to take advantage of it. I tired to steer clear of any Project Management training since I am CAPM certified (and a self-proclaimed certified badass) at PM but after my manager continued to decline my suggestions, I found myself signed up for an “IT Project Management” course. Hey, the IT part would be new!

The course was scheduled to be 3 days over the summer in NY but was cancelled last minute, likely due to a low class count. I had plans to stay with Steven for the trip; use my travel day on Friday, participate in NY shenanigans all weekend, go to training Monday-Wednesday, and come home Thursday. When the class was cancelled, we were BUMMED. However, I was able to sign up for a later class in October and luckily, that one carried on as planned.

Thursday, October 24

This day was stressful. I had been in Corpus Christi for work all week and got back around 2pm. I had to re-pack, catch up on the work I missed during the 3 hour drive, and hurry to Tomball. I also decided to get my hair cut because I was hating the cut I got a few weeks ago. The lady was so cool and talked me into a style I would have never picked for myself. It still scares me but I am glad I tried something new. I kind of love it! I also LOVE that all the blonde is finally gone. Go in for a trim and some layers, leave with 5 inches cut off.

We all stayed up late watching the Parent Trap (Lindsay Lohan version). This is an important detail for later in this post.

Friday, October 25 

I stayed at my sister’s house Thursday night before because they were going to generously watch Elliott for me for the week. On Friday, Jesssica and Justin left for work and I got the girls ready and took them to school. I think they loved having a little extra Gigi time in the morning and having me drop them off since we had never done that before. We listened to Taylor Swift and talked about New York. Olivia asked me to bring her back some chocolate.

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From there, I headed to the airport. Everything went smoothly and I even took a nap on the plane. I landed and Ubered to Steven’s apartment, arriving just after 6pm to see him waiting on his stoop for me. I dropped my bags off upstairs, greeted Topher (Steven’s 5 year old mini-Australian Shepherd), and we took off to The Richardson for drinks. The weather was perfect for sitting out on the patio and after a glass of wine, we started our walk to dinner.

During the walk, I told Steven that the Uber had passed a tattoo shop and made me think that we should finally get the matching tattoos we had been talking about getting all year. Steven had no objection and we just happened to be a block away from Rose Tattoo, a tattoo shop he liked so… we got matching tattoos! We each got an ellipsis tattoo on our finger. The meaning is 3 fold:

  1. We mostly talk on GChat so we are typing all day to each other and the ellipsis serves as a chat indicator.
  2. They are on opposite sides of our fingers (his on the inside, mine on the outside) because we are on opposite sides of the country.
  3. They are on the middle finger because… F it.

I had been wanting a Texas outline on my arm for a few years now so in effort to be financially responsible, I got that one done as well. The tattoo artist printed out a Texas outline and I said it looked a little narrow. Steven agreed and the guy said they all looked the same to him on the computer but for us to come pick one. We scrolled and found a big fat one we both liked. After printing it, the guy could finally see the difference between the two. We have both spent the majority of our lives in Texas, we know what it looks like. I appreciated his patience with us though. I am obsessed with tattoos and how they came out! My sister said I was officially the most tatted person in the family and while I did not know we were competing, I will take the win.

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After our spur-of-the-moment detour, we walked over to Sage for dinner. They have amazing Thai food and we chowed down before heading home. We tried to watch the movie “Yesterday” but we both fell asleep pretty quickly. n

Saturday, October 26 

We woke up super early because we had plans to travel upstate and go hiking for the day. As we got ready, we joked about forgetting we had gotten tattoos the night before (I promise, we were sober when we got them) and tried to get the Topher’s dog hair off of our sleek black hiking outfits. Steven picked me up the cutest North Face jacket because if we were not basic enough, the black North Face jackets would do it.

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Our plan was to be out of the house by 7:30am and in typical Jillian/Steven fashion, we were ready early. We took the subway to the Port Authority and was in line for our bus just a little after 8am. It was not scheduled to leave until 8:30am but we wanted to be able to sit together so we had to be in the front of the line. Everyone had printed tickets except for us so I asked an employee what the deal was and sure enough, we needed printed tickets. How dare we try to go digital! Psh. We had to leave the line to print the tickets at the booth and by the time we returned, the bus was boarding and full; we did not get to sit next to each other. I did not grab my phone charger or headphones when we left, assuming I would not need them. Now, I was stuck on a bus for the next 90-120 minutes with nothing! I turned my phone’s battery saver mode on, read my book on my Kindle app, and hoped the battery would make it all day.

We arrived in the adorable small village of New Paltz, NY just after 10am. Seriously, this town was adorable and the weather was perfect for hiking. It was about a 15 minute Uber ride to the Mohonk Preserve where we would spend the day. We purchased our tickets, grabbed a map, and headed out.

The hike was incredible. The initial path up was challenging (no wonder the guy at the tourist center told us it was called the “stair master”) but after that, it was mostly a breeze. The views were breathtaking. The leaves were colorful and crunchy. The rocks and cliffs were stunning. It was an amazing hike; some parts more challenging than others but always doable. I wanted to climb on everything; Steven only could tolerate so much of that!

Steven recently purchased a GoPro so we played with that and got some good snapshots. I do not know why they look blurry here!

When we passed a rock, Steven asked me who it looked like. I immediately said “Grandmother Willow from Pocahontas, duh” and he could not believe that I guessed what he was thinking. For one, it legitimately did look like Grandmother Willow.

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Our favorite part was Lookout Cove. It was seriously, without a doubt, the most stunning view. We sat up there for awhile, soaking the experience in. It was refreshing and exactly what I needed.

Our last stop was a lake by a resort.

We hiked for about 3 hours; my phone said it was nearly 17,000 steps. I know I keep mentioning the weather but we really could not have asked for a more perfect day to do this. It was gorgeous.

We had to wait about 20 minutes to get an Uber since we were so far out of town (after it took probably 20 minutes for us to even get signal to be able to request one) at this point (and we had not hiked back to the original point we started). As cars left the resort, we jokingly begged for them to take us with them to town! We were getting cold and hungry. The Uber driver had an USB-C cable and I was able to charge my phone for a little bit which was nice.

Our bus ride back to town was not until 6pm so we had some time to pass. We had lunch at Bacchu’s and visited the local brewery. By the time we had gotten to the brewery, we were exhausted. Steven messed with his phone and I got very introspective about my life. We were quiet mostly, which was fine, but the silence made me get into my head about things. I was thinking about social media and how I was glad to have deactivated all of mine. In some ways, I wanted to reactivate it because it is nice to be able to share photos like we had taken throughout the hike but at the same time, I love not having it. Not having it has helped me stop feeling like I have to portray myself in a way I thought people wanted to see. Not every picture or moment has to be shared with everyone and validated by my family and peers. I never felt true to myself with it and it apparently was kind of a big issue with my last boyfriend, which a part of me can understand. He was on social media but never misrepresented himself or used it an unhealthy amount (that I could tell) and I truly admired that about him and now aspire to be more like that. He lived freely and I wanted to do the same. It is great to not feel obligated to post things or interact in unnatural ways, but I do sometimes feel a little disconnected from people. I just do not think, at this point in my life, I can use it in a healthy way and be myself so it is better for me to stay away. Far, far away. Then, that train of thought spiraled into thinking about that particular relationship again. The fog in my brain got so thick with the emotional mess and everything else that I ended up foolishly texting him. I had only had one glass of wine so I cannot really blame that but yes, I know it was a mistake and no, he did not reply (nor did I expect him to). We broke up nearly 2 months ago so spending my time thinking about him and texting him was ridiculous and I hate myself for doing it.  It did not help that Steven and I had pointed out every attractive guy in the village; we are just 2 very love struck, hopeless romantics. All of it made me miss my ex more and more. By this point, I was not only physically exhausted from the hike but mentally exhausted from my own self. Oy.

ANYWAY… We walked around the village and stopped into some local thrift stores before heading back to the bus stop. The town had a bookstore with books on a cart on the sidewalk; it was cute. We had such a wonderful day but we were both ready to get back home.

The bus was a little late and while we did get to sit together, we got stuck in front of some very annoying people who clearly did not understand the concept of shared spaces or volume control. Steven had his headphones so he listened to music to tune them out and I continued to read my book, trying to ignore the incredibly dumb conversations happening behind me. I finished my book (my replacement for social media these days) just as we arrived back into the city; perfect timing.

We were finally back at Steven’s apartment by around 9pm. Steven ordered 3 kinds of dumplings and we snacked on those while finished our movie from the night before. We were both passed out by 11pm; I was shocked we even made it that late.

Sunday, October 27

We had grand plans on Sunday for Steven to go to the gym while I go to yoga. Then, we would meet for brunch and maybe go get facials or do something fun. Instead, we slept forever, ordered breakfast, took naps, and did nothing. It was perfect.

I watched Rocketman; great movie. I finally saw Uyen, Steven’s roommate, who had been having her own wild adventures all weekend. At one point, Steven and I left to go get mimosa supplies and that was basically all I had to drink all day (I tried to keep drinking water). They ordered food but I was not hungry so I snacked on edamame and blogged my Maryland trip from 2 months ago. They both eventually fell back asleep so I watched Welcome to Marwen and continued my blog. It was rainy outside so it was not like we had a lot of outdoor options anyhow. It was SO hot in their apartment (not just Sunday, but like… every day) so that was fun for me *sarcasm* I mostly just felt gross. PS I do not feel bad saying that here because I told Steven every single day it was hot in his apartment!

They were both asleep and I was finally hungry so I ordered myself some Thai food. I took Topher on a walk, too. It was a very lazy day.

Monday, October 28

We got up, ready, and out the door right on time. Steven had to return to work and I had my first day of the IT Project Management training I was in NY to attend (betcha forgot the original purpose of the trip by now). The training was in the city so Steven took the first leg of the trip with me and then we split. He was so concerned about me getting to the right place; it was cute. I did navigate Europe many years ago and phones are smarter now so I felt confident in getting where I needed to go. I figured out why everyone in NY wears black though; with all of the walking and hot it gets in the subway, you are dripping in sweat. Black hides the sweat!. It was brutal. When I finally got back to street-level, I enjoyed the frigid air and breeze between the buildings. I had plenty of time before class started so I stopped at Starbucks which was incredibly dumb because 1. I was already hot and 2. they are bad for you and writing my Maryland blog made me realize how much weight I had gained in 2019 and hot chocolate was just going to make me more fat. I arrived at the building somewhere in the Financial District and still had time so I sat outside, sans jacket, to cool off. I am pretty sure going from extreme heat to extreme cold is how people get sick. I felt dumb walking around and sitting there with my headphones, looking like a rookie for leaving my wireless buds at home. There were probably only 4 other people in all of Manhattan using corded headphones. Tourists, ammiright?

I went inside and found my classroom. There were 7 of us for the course and I was the only woman; this would be interesting. The view was kind of awesome.

I apparently was supposed to bring my laptop even though no information I received ever said that, so I managed most of the class from my phone like I true millennial. I liked school growing up so as awkward and lame as everything was, I was a nerd and answered questions and participated. Partly because that is who I am as a person, partly because participating makes the day go by faster, and partly so the instructor could move on to the next subject. I felt anxious most of the day though and did not feel mentally distracted enough which can lead to spiraling but I will get to that later. The instructor reminded me of things I had heard in the past but there was almost zero new information for me. I was hoping for more of an “IT” perspective on things but it was essentially a regular PM class. Oh well.

There was a Chipotle nearby so I picked that up for lunch and read my book in the lobby during our break. Even though I was hot as hell in the morning, I was thankful to have my jacket at lunch. Tough to keep up with what to wear in NY!  I had to pass about a thousand halal carts to get there which reminded me of my ex even more and that sucked. My ankles were really starting to hurt, too; I assumed from the hike but also (like the pessimist I am) assumed from all this extra weight I have been carrying around again. Womp womp.

Overall, the day went by fairly quickly. I took notes to pass the time and tried to ignore the one student who was not understanding anything and making everything more difficult. He released us around 4:30pm and I started making my way to the yoga studio near Steven’s apartment. The route was different than the route I took into the city but I had my phone and made it just fine. I totally felt like I stood out as an “outsider” but I am sure that was just me being overly cautious. I am supposed to be free now, right? Who cares if I stand out?

I made it to the studio, YO BK, and read my book outside until they opened. I had been there once before with Steven so sign-in was easy and they gave me a free class for being a Bikram instructor; just another perk of busting butt for 9 weeks at training. Class was really great but tough, physically and mentally. I did well, which usually happens after a small break, but that means I know I probably pushed myself too hard. My ankles and feet were hurting. It was difficult to look at myself in the mirror and for the first time in my Bikram yoga history, I wore a tank top during class. I think the only other time I wore a top in class was during my first one and it only stayed on me for about 10 minutes. I hate this weight gain. I hate it. I did not feel proud looking at myself in the mirror. Bikram Yoga brings out all the crap and that is likely why I have been avoiding going as frequently. I could not stand looking at myself. I felt disappointed for working so hard all those years and letting it all go to waste this year. Literally, just this year. I beat myself up all class about it. My tattoo was pealing and scared the hell out of me since I forgot it would do that. I also never considered how the hell I was going to put my hair up for class now that it was so short. That made it interesting. I liked the teacher, though, so that was a plus.

After class, I walked to Steven’s house from the studio. For once, a familiar route! I returned my mom’s phone call and managed to not get lost without my map open and in my face so that was a good sign. I showered up and then caught up on work emails and tasks. Steven made a healthy dinner for us which was exactly what I needed. My yoga high started to wear off around 9pm and I decided to call it a night. I got lost in my head again… I still wait for a text from him. I still want him to be waiting at my front door as I come up the stairs to my apartment. I know the damage cannot be undone (my own fault) and that my apologies mean nothing at this point but for some reason, I have hope and that hope is torturing me. For reasons I cannot explain on here, this breakup has been dragged out and painful. I have to constantly interact like everything is okay when it is not. My ex from last year was right in all the ways I and everyone else expected but with this guy… it was different. He was right in all the right ways FOR ME. I felt so much like myself. I felt free and happy. It was private and it was ours and I loved it. I loved him. There are so many things I wish I could say but I know they do not matter anymore. I feel like I failed at communicating and he failed at understanding. And vice versa. This is the hell I unintentionally put myself in almost every night. My brain will not quit because my heart will not let go. I tried to read my book as a distraction and eventually, I fell asleep.

Tuesday, October 29

After arriving so early on Monday, I decided to leave a little later on Tuesday. Steven had to get to work so he left before me and I got ready on my own. I curled my hair which ended up being silly because it was raining but hey, I tried. I was feeling the cut and the new trench coat Steven picked out for me, though.

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The commute from his apartment was about 40-45 minutes. The subway was just as hot and I was unfortunately wearing a sweater so as you can imagine, I was drenched. Being trapped down there, packed in with everyone, and warm/stuffy was making me all levels of anxious. I wanted to get off at an earlier stop just so I could get outside and breathe. I stuck it out, though, and essentially ran up the stairs to get outside when it was finally my stop. I slowed down and regrouped before starting the last leg of the trip (the commute was a 9 min walk, a subway ride, another subway ride, and then another 9 min walk). It was nice to be out on the streets with everyone and feel the hustle and bustle. I passed what looked to be teenagers in business suits (probably college grads) walking to their big boy financial district jobs and literal children walking to school on their own. I cannot imagine growing up in the city.

I skipped Starbucks and arrived at my building. I felt disgusting from being so warm and sweaty. There was literal sweat dripping down my arms. I sat outside again, sans jacket again, to cool off. This made me freezing cold so I walked to Starbucks for hot chocolate. I will never learn.

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I brought my computer to class and was SO distracted by it all day. It was difficult to not reply to emails and work on things all day. I still had to pay attention and participate in class but I wanted to get started on organizing my projects and doing other things. The instructor would spend WAY too much time on every topic but as Lindsay said, not everyone is as smart as us. There was no new information again, but still good reminders and I was getting ideas of things I wanted to start doing more of at work. The day dragged on a little more than the day before. I will still trying to participate but he would either not hear me or ignore me so I eventually gave up trying.

Next to Chipotle was a place called Just Salad so I opted for that for lunch. It was delicious and I would like them to open one near me in Houston, please. I read my book during break and the rest of the day was about the same as the morning.

We were dismissed around 4:30pm again and I headed back to the apartment. There was not enough rain to warrant an umbrella but definitely enough to want one. I was happy to have my trench coat to keep me dry, even if I was hot underneath. Someone slipped on a grate on the sidewalk so naturally I did not step on a grate the rest of the week.

Steven had a rough day and I was feeling blue so I stopped for wine once I got back into Brooklyn. I got us 2 bottles, just in case. I beat Steven home and took Topher on a 30 minute walk. He was out of poop bags so I felt horrible for not being able to pick up after him on the sidewalk. Luckily, no one was around to see it. If it had been grass, fine, I would not feel so bad but it was on the sidewalk! My bad. Steven got back as we were finishing up our walk. Topher was my best friend the rest of the trip, by the way. You take a pup on a long walk one time and suddenly he worships the ground you walk on. Love that Toph-a-loaf.

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I caught up on work and we drank wine and ordered a pizza. He ordered surprise desserts for us (mine was chocolate ice cream with chocolate Teddy Grahams; he knows me so well). Yes, I already complained about gaining weight 10x in this post and then had pizza, wine, and ice cream for dinner. He was sad. I was sad. We enabled each other. This is my problem; drowning in misery with no motivation to get out. We talked about all of our problems and joked about how it is a miracle neither of us have jumped in front of a subway train yet. We got drunk. Game 6 of the World Series for the Astros was coming on right as Uyen was getting back so we set that up and watched it. We used Chromecast to stream it from Fox’s website on my laptop using my Xfinity account. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Steven went to sleep and Uyen and I watched most of it. I called it quits around the 7th inning.

My brain tortured me again before I fell asleep: this time, reflecting on a moment that made me look and feel SO stupid. Someone had asked me about 4 months into the relationship how things were going with me and the guy. I smiled ear to ear, like a fool, and said things were going amazingly and that I was very, very happy. That things were perfect. Not 2 weeks later, he broke up with me. That moment replays in my head and heart over and over again. How dare I be happy. How dare I be confident. I should have never said anything. If I feel THIS strongly for someone who is supposedly not “my person,” all I can hope is that my feelings will be 10x stronger for the man who is “my person.” How can I trust myself though? I continue to be wrong. Either way, you can bet that I will never confidently tell someone that things are going amazingly again. I read until I fell asleep.

Wednesday, October 30

I started to get restless. I woke up and left later but still arrived with plenty of time. I figured out everyone’s secret though: they wear boots and coats but underneath, they must just be in tank tops. How else do they survive the subway??? I had a sweater picked out but opted for a tshirt. It looked ridiculous with my boots but it was raining again and I felt bloated (likely from all that delicious hot chocolate) and miserable so I did not care. I did not get any hot chocolate though, so that was good progress. 

It was our last day of training. The screen had been difficult to see and read all week but I finally had enough of it. I just gave up. All of our examples and exercises were based on hypothetical situations and since we all come from different companies who define “projects” differently, it was just a pain. Whenever he asked me for an example, I would provide one but then he would give input and it would frustrated me because he has no other knowledge of the situation. That should not have bothered me but like I said, I was beginning to feel restless and ready to go. My head hurt and I was anxious. I worked a lot and was getting frustrated at this one project that has been going on too long. 

Steven said the best salad at Just Salad was this buffalo chicken one so I ordered that for lunch. It was delicious and spicy. 

Our course wrapped up at 3pm. There was a guy completely cracked out on the subway. It was honestly a bit frightening. I hope he got to wherever he was going safely. The good news, though, is that by this point I was feeling very comfortable (minus the heat) on the subway so I was able to read and relax a little bit more. 

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Steven and I had talked about going to yoga together but I think we were both done. I got back to his apartment, walked Topher, then read in bed until I fell asleep. He got back around 5:30pm and I continued my nap after letting him in. City life is exhausting. 

When I finally got up, Steven said he had ordered halal for us. I ordered us dessert. Hey, at least we did not have wine this time. Steven went to bed and Uyen and I watched Game 7 for the Astros. We smartened up and this time logged into the Fox app on their Apple TV and it was SO much better. I took Topher for a walk during the 5th inning and painfully watched the rest of the game. Everyone in Houston was about 30-60 seconds ahead of us so Uyen and I had to be careful with our phones. Her sister and/or my friend would text one of us with something disappointing and we would know that something bad was about to happen! Spoilers. Anyway, the Astros lost. Disappointing. It was a late night but my nap helped me survive.

I read until about 1am when I finally fell asleep.

Thursday, October 31

My flight back to Houston was at 10am so I was up early with Steven. I had to pack; how do I always leave NY with more things than when I arrived? My skin was itching ALL night and keeping me up so I did not sleep well. I thought it was maybe because my skin was dry but when I went to get ready, I saw little bite marks all over my arms and chest. They looked like mosquito bites. Ouch.

Steven and I said our goodbyes. It was fun getting to spend a whole week with him and I appreciated him letting me crash at his apartment and invade his space. I ordered my Uber and was at the airport by 7:30am. I grabbed some breakfast tacos and worked until my flight. A guy at the restaurant, who sounded Australian, made a comment about how weird it was that Americans put eggs in their burritos and 2 teenagers who seemingly did not know each other, said “follow me on Instagram” as they parted ways. I love eavesdropping at airports.
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I picked up little “I ❤ NY” shirts for my nieces (and chocolate per Olivia’s request) and boarded the plane. I read a little and eventually fell asleep. I finished my book when I woke up, just as we were starting our descent into Houston. Perfect timing, again. For anyone keeping count, I read 3 books on this trip.

It was colder in Houston than in NY but I was prepared. I made it back to my car and then to my sister’s house to pick up Elliott. My brother joined us and we all had a fun Halloween. Justin made a great stew and the girls had fun trick or treating in their Parent Trap costumes. They would get into “Position 1” as we started calling it at every front door. Position 1 = holding up their torn picture so people would know who they were. I was a warm monkey. It is tough to see but in the bottom pictures, Olivia is holding a sock full of coins because she was Hallie and Hallie did that in the movie. Amazing.

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I did not officially make it back to my own apartment until 9pm so it was a LONG day. The worst part? Even after a great trip and fun night with my family, I felt empty when I got home. That is my life. Everyone says “make the most of being single” and “be happy with yourself” and all of that and sure, that is great advice but what is so wrong with wanting to come home to someone? With wanting to go on a trip with someone and share fun memories like this with someone? Even with just being at home and doing nothing with someone? Every trip feels tainted by my clinical depression and loneliness. I recognize I have my family and friends and I am thankful for them but what is wrong with wanting more? Normally, I would post a picture from Halloween on social media and say something amazing and sweet about the evening (which would all be true) but that would only be half the story; the other half being trapped in sadness. That is a good example of not being myself on social media and why I needed to delete it. Being myself would be telling people the full story and who wants that mess? I can be open and honest here, but not there.

It really was a good trip. I know I sound like a downer and sometimes I can be but I had a good time and am glad I was able to go. I was reminded of some valuable things during the training and had a great week hanging out with Steven. My other issues will get addressed eventually. I am starting to finally feel motivated to pick up the pieces and get myself together and with no personal OR work trips planned for awhile, hopefully I can stay focused and on track.

Until next time,

Jillian

… to Maryland

As you may or may not know by now, I am a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor. I spent 9 weeks in Acapulco, Mexico training to be able to teach this yoga that I love (and sometimes hate) so much. I was lucky enough to be assigned to the most amazing roommate during that time, Leah.

I am fully convinced I would not have survived Mexico without Leah. We each had our own friend groups and did our own things but at the end of the day, we would vent and laugh and cry with each other. We got closer as the weeks went on and as much as I wanted to be alone sometimes, I was so thankful to share a room with her and have her ear to complain to and her potato chips to snack on. Anyway, I will try not to bore you with our friendship but you can read about it in past posts if you feel so inclined.

Training was 2 years ago but let us flash forward to present day. Leah and I text every few months to catch up but had not had the opportunity to see each other again. It was probably May or June of this year when we were texting and I just decided, “screw it, I am going!” and booked my flights. I had a ton of miles with United that I had been saving up for nothing particular so I figured this would be a wonderful use for them. Booked! I was so excited that we were going to get to visit again! We needed to plan what we were going to do but the trip was still a few months away; there was no rush.

I contacted her studio, Bikram Yoga Works, and told them I was coming to take Leah’s class and wanted to know if it would be possible for me to teach a class so she could take mine, too. Ty, the studio manager, called me and we spoke for a little bit. Ty said they were a DIALOGUE studio and wanted to be sure I used the dialogue, too. I assured that I was 100% dialogue and Leah could vouch since we had studied together so much. Ty said if Leah vouched for me, then everything was good to go. She was so nice and accommodating; I liked the studio already!

The weeks went by and Leah and I planned almost 0% of the trip! Shocking, I know. I picked a random hotel near the studio (which ended up being perfectly located near the studio, her house, and her friends’ houses) and we talked about things we could do but we never really put together a plan. For once, I was okay with that. All I knew was that we were going to do yoga, teach yoga, and have an all-around yoga weekend. I had been absent from the hot room for a few weeks/months (a class every now and then) between being swamped at work, traveling for work, and a clinging to a struggling relationship so I felt like I needed a nice kickstarter to get focused again. Bikram Yoga is so wonderful and amazing but when I am feeling stressed or depressed, I get scared of it and tend to avoid the studio. I know the yoga will bring out the truth in my life and sometimes I do not feel strong enough to face it, so I hide from it. I hide from one of the few things that I genuinely love; how insane is that? I needed our yoga weekend. It would not be the yoga “bubble” I had for 9 weeks but it would be a perfect mini bubble to help me breathe for a minute.

Friday, August 30

I said goodbye to my boyfriend of almost 6 months knowing that we would likely break up, for the 3rd and final time, upon my return. He knew it, too, but neither of us were willing to say it in that moment. We had pretended long enough; what was a few more days? I did as I usually do and cried during the drive to the airport, cried at the airport, and cried on the plane. I loved him more than I have loved any other guy I have dated; I knew the coming weeks would be insanely difficult so I NEEDED this weekend. It would be nice to leave or return from a trip without tears and heartache. I look forward to that day.

My flight was scheduled to land with BARELY enough time to Uber to the studio and be able to take Leah’s 6pm class. The schedule had been discussed when I first reached out months prior but it had been so long that I think we all just… forgot… and Leah had to make some last minute trades with other teachers to get us both on the schedule for the weekend. Unfortunately, that meant she was only teaching Friday evening so if I did not get there in time, I was not going to be able to take her class at all. One of the main reasons of the trip was to be able to teach each others’ classes so we kept our fingers crossed and hoped for the best.

The drive was so beautiful. Maryland is so green. I love how every place I visit is so different. The yoga Gods must have heard us because I arrived at her studio just before 5:30pm. I jumped out of the Uber and hauled my suitcase up the stairs to the studio entrance. Leah was sitting at the front desk and leaped up to greet me! Neither of us understood how I got there in time but we were both excited. There was not a lot of time before class and Leah was doing double duty and working the front desk so she quickly gave me a tour and I got ready for class. Her studio was amazing! It was so spacious and welcoming. Leah introduced me to everyone that came in and everyone was so kind. I loved the vibe there. A lot of the studios I have been to have drama and bad vibes but her studio was special; I could tell. I hope everyone who goes there knows how lucky they are to have such a great space with great energy and that they never take it for granted.

Leah’s class started promptly at 6pm and it was exactly as I had imagined it would be. Like I said, we were roommates  and studied together so I had a sense of how she would teach but you never really know. She is an amazing teacher! It was my first class in a few weeks and she absolutely kicked my ass. That studio was H-O-T. I was drenched. I was dehydrated. I was emotional (yoga does that when you are already feeling some-type-of-way). Leah – you are an outstanding teacher and I glad I was able to get there in time to take your class! I love your passion, enthusiasm, encouragement, and knowledge! You exceeded all expectations.

We socialized with everyone after class then got cleaned up for dinner. Her best friend, Yazz, was joining us. They chose a nearby restaurant, Busboy’s. It had a cool vibe and the weather was so nice that we sat out on the patio. We decided to split a bottle of wine and share a few appetizers as our dinner. I had completely forgotten Leah was vegan so I was glad she reminded me when I suggested meat options. I was down for whatever so I had no issue with vegan options; vegan food can be delicious, y’all.

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Yazz is a yoga-pro and has considered going to Bikram training before so I did not feel bad that we spent most of our dinner discussing yoga. I usually try to avoid it as to not leave people out but Yazz knew just as much, if not more, than me so it was great. We could all probably talk about yoga forever. Leah caught me up on all of the latest in her life. When we text, we usually do not go into great detail about things but she was saving her juiciest stories for when I was there. Thank goodness because they. were. juicy. The drama was unreal. Leah is such a champ! Whether it was the wine or her entertaining stories, I will never know but we had a great evening. Eventually, they dropped me off at my hotel for the evening. It was only then, did I start to feel crushed again about the impending doom of my relationship.

Saturday, August 31

Leah picked me up bright and early the next morning so we could take the 7am class. Oy! We had grand plans to do a double (back to back classes) but neither of us really wanted to. Ambiya was teaching and I was looking forward to her class. She was Leah’s mentor and had visited Leah at training so I already knew her a little bit. Her class was great! Sometimes, I wish I can record a teacher and say the things they say but then it would not be “my” class; it would be a clone of theirs (womp womp). I loved Amiya’s class though. Leah and I both died at least 3-4 times during class and towards the end, gave each other a look that we both understood to mean “we are NOT staying for another class.” Hell. No. I was so happy when class was over and very ready to be out of the hot room; did I mention that studio is HOT? Whew. Somehow during the 30 minute break between classes, we talked ourselves into staying for the next class. We put ourselves in the back of the room and did our best; the second class is always easier in some ways and more difficult in others. We survived. I am glad we stayed to do a double! I was proud of us for sticking it out and committing to the original plan… even if my body was exhausted. The more frequently my brain could be distracted from the issues at home though, the better.

We cleaned up after class and picked up her friends Yazz and Danni to go to brunch. We chose Busboy’s again since they have a variety of vegan options. Danni also practices yoga and works at the studio so again, we talked all-things yoga among other things. I shared with them my relationship problems and they shared their crazy relationship stories with me. It is always a little scary meeting new people, especially when those people are all best friends and you are the odd woman out, but I felt like I had know them all for years. All 4 of were different in so many ways but we all got along great; very easy and natural. Having only really known Leah in a limited capacity before, I was thankful that everything was so smooth not only with us, but with her friends, too. That might sound silly but it helped make the weekend all the more enjoyable. Leah was very self-protecting at training and even though we were friends, it was obvious she did not open up fully. I had learned more about Leah in less than 24 hours than I had in 9 weeks!

After brunch, we made the short drive over to D.C. to be tourists for the afternoon. I mentioned my blog and they insisted we take touristy photos. It did not last long because we are adults and we forget.

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We started at the National Garden. It was hot as hell outside and humid AF inside but we are all hot yoga lovers and managed just fine. The gardens were lovely and we did our best to get some fun yoga pictures.

We snapped some pictures in front of the capitol.

Our plan was to walk around and wander into random museums until we were tired. We went into the National Museum of the American Indian but did not last long in there. It was too frustrating that there was not a lot of acknowledgement that colonists stole everything from them and the established government treated them like garbage. We got too political and had to go for our own sake.

We debated going into the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum but since Leah’s dad works for NASA and I am from Houston, we skipped it. Fun fact: Leah did not know there was NASA in Houston. I reminded her of the very, very famous phrase, “Houston, we have a problem” and she legitimately responded with, “Oh, I thought Houston was a person.” *facepalm* (Sorry, Leah. This was too funny not to share!)

The next stop was the Hirshhorn Museum. The one very cool. It had a lot of interesting artwork and experiences. The most insane one was a room full of large screens playing short videos. Kate Blanchett aws the star of each video but was in such disguise/character that she was not always noticeable. The most INSANE part of the thing was that as we were walking through, suddenly all of the videos synced up and were on a close-up of her character and saying the same thing. It was spooky and gave us all chills. I cannot even explain it.

It had been a long day and our parking was expiring so we decided to be finished. They dropped me off at the hotel so we could all go our separate ways and rest for a couple of hours. I tried to nap but once again, was alone and suddenly consumed with grief and sadness. I had a fun day so it was unfortunate that every moment I was lone left me feeling horrible and depressed.

Leah and Yazz picked me up a few hours later and we went to dinner at Sticky Rice. The service was awful but the food was delicious! We ordered way too much. The dumplings were probably the best ones I had ever eaten and for some reason, the restaurant served tator tots so we chowed down on those and the amazing sauce that accompanied them. Everything was so good. It had been a long day, though, so we kept the evening short. Remember, Leah and I had already taken 2 classes that morning and combined with the amount of walking around we did all afternoon… yikes. It was time to rest.

That night, I pushed him and we broke up over text (the first time was in person and the second was over the phone so this seemed like a natural progression). He insisted on waiting for us to talk until we were both back in town but I did not want to wait. I did not want it to happen ever but if it was going to happen, I did not feel there was benefit in having another face-to-face conversation about it. Maybe that was wrong, maybe it was right. I do not know. Neither of us actually had to say/write the words ending it, but we knew. It was a rough night.

Sunday, September 1

Leah picked me up bright and early again. Neither of us wanted to go to class; I was physically and mentally exhausted from the day before. We powered through! Poor Leah had to do another double because it was finally my turn to teach. We both took Maggie’s class and proving that the world was small, Maggie knew the owner of the studio I taught at in Katy. She went to teacher training with the owner’s daughter! Maggie taught a great class. Ty was not lying when she had initially told me the studio was a dialogue-only studio. I was nervous for my class and how the students would receive me.

Leah introduced me to everyone who walked in and some people looked a little apprehensive about a different teacher (which I completely understand). I was nervous! Her studio did not have a podium and I had never taught off a podium before. They also did not have microphones (which I hate using anyway) so I was nervous about “yelling.” There were 2 large columns in the room I was nervous about not being able to see around. The room was not carpeted which meant for 3 of the postures, the students would have to turn sideways and be on their mat instead of straddling it and I was nervous I would not set them up correctly. I did not know how to use the heat or the fans. Everything was different but I wanted the students to feel like nothing was. Not to mention, I was not feeling 100% present in the moment because of the breakup. I had not told Leah yet and it was weighing pretty heavily on my heart. I was worried I would not be able to give my all to the students because of it. My mind was elsewhere.

I wore my Texas flag leggings and introduced myself to the group. Danni secretly took video and posted it on Instagram later (sneaky). Class was great, though! I felt frazzled but because I had the dialogue to lean on, I do not think the students noticed anything different. Leah helped me run the heat and fans and I told the students to thank her because otherwise, I would have left it alone and they would have “died.” It was very bizarre not being on a podium since I am so short; it was tough to see everyone. I thought it was a great class though; the students there are obviously very disciplined and dedicated. I received compliments after the class so hopefully those were genuine and they enjoyed it! I was glad Leah got to take my class even though she had to do a double to be able to. She had the same feedback to me as I had to her: it was exactly how she expected it to be. All that studying together! We might not have known every detail about each others’ lives but we absolutely knew each others’ teaching style. It is funny how that happens.

I cleaned up after class and because the studio offered other services besides yoga, I decided to take advantage of them. They had Cryotherapy and PEMF and Ty offered both to me at a discounted rate (thanks, Ty). I tried Cryotherpahy first and wow, what an experience. It was 3 minutes in a -125 degree tank. I had to strip down to a sports bra and shorts and wear protective socks/shoes and gloves. I was used to being in a hot as hell room but this was… cold as hell! Freezing. Terri was operating it for me and she stayed and talked me through the whole ordeal. The 3 minutes went by fairly quickly; she was talented at distracting me via conversation. She was also very good at explaining to me all the ins and outs of Cyrotherapy and the benefits of it Y’all, it was cold. Terri gave me my robe before opening the door to free me. It was the most bizarre sensation leaving that tank! I am not sure I would do this regularly but I am glad I tried it at least once. I hate being cold. I recommend it if you want to try something new or have chronic pain but I cannot say it changed my life (although she told me stories of people who swear by it).

 

Next up was PEMF. Now THIS was something I can get behind. I absolutely recommend this because it completely healed my neck/shoulder issues I had been having for months. All I had to do for this was lay on a table. Seriously. Terri and the table did the rest. The table released electromagnetic pulses that are meant to heal the body somehow. If I thought the Cryo was a bizarre sensation, this topped it. She could control the pulse level and increased it until I felt it was uncomfortable. It was not painful in any way, just a bizarre feeling that I cannot quite put into words (I am not THAT talented of a writer). It was weird. She asked if I had any particular areas that were bothering me and I mentioned the issues with my left shoulder/neck. She placed an extra “pad” on that side to treat it. Normal treatment lasts an hour but because my flight was later that afternoon, I only did 30 minutes so Leah, Yazz, and I could get in a few last minute shenanigans before takeoff. If I knew it would be that amazing, I would have done the full hour. I am writing this post a full 2 months later and I still have not had any shoulder/neck issues since. 10/10, would recommend.

I said goodbye to the studio and thanked everyone for letting me practice and teach there all weekend. Leah, Yazz, and I went grabbed some Thai food for lunch before our next step.

On our way to the Baltimore Pier. On the way, we found some cool graffiti and decided to be basic yogis and snap photos.

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The pier was fun to experience and the weather was nice. We did not have a lot of time before I needed to get to the airport but I could imagine someone could spend the whole day there. It reminded me of Kemah Boardwalk here in Texas; a lot of random things to do, eat, and see.

The airport was nearby so they dropped me off after. We all said our goodbyes and I had an easy flight home. It was great to see Leah again and be part of her world for a little bit. It was great to embrace yoga again. It was great to get away. It was a fun mini vacation and I dreaded going home. I cried, per usual. I knew what was waiting for me (hint: nothing, anymore) and I wanted to run away from it.

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Thank you, Leah, for allowing me to visit and showing me around! Thank you to Bikram Yoga Works for the traditional classes and unique extra experiences (particularly for healing my shoulder/neck). It was nice to be back in a mini bubble. Leah, you and your friends are welcome to Houston any time!

Until next time,

Jillian