Thursday, September 8, 2011

pill-popping and other coping mechanisms, Pt. 1

It's Friday afternoon in Phnom Penh. I'm sitting at Cafe Living Room, housed in a colonial -era building, trying to work out a few things about the research findings, trying to write. The page in front of me -it's minimized right now because I'm using my blog as a distraction, using "urgent" Skype work messages as a break - only has a few words on it. Oh. my. gosh. I'm sipping on a honey latte. It is delicious.

This morning, I went to yoga. It's rare that I have enough motivation to do any form of intentional exercise. Even the act of dressing for the exercise tires me. There was , however, a summer in Portland when I was obsessed with Bikram yoga (26 postures in a 105 degree room), and, for three months, I managed to do yoga three times a week. The idea at first sounded less appealing: me, sweating profusely, in a stuffy hot room with many other people who are also sweating profusely. Images of stepping in, even slipping on, a stranger's pool of sweat plagued my mind. Nonetheless, I was soon addicted. I felt so good that summer. A stranger even commented on how my skin glowed? Really? Was it the increased circulation? In sum, it was the best shape I've been in my recent adult life.

I tried yoga once in Phnom Penh, on the rooftop of Nataraj, with a small fan blowing and an orange sun setting in the background. I think. I do remember it was really warm, almost Bikram-warm. Through no fault of the instructor, I lost interest. It was also $9/session, and maybe I am cheap, but I shy away from paying Western prices in Cambodia.

Only recently have I seriously considered how I take care of myself. Fine. It's the shady NGO crackdown. It's the stress at work. But also I am getting older and I realize I need to put as much intention into taking care of myself as I do about other things, such as travel and dress-daydreaming.

The yoga this morning was done at the Flicks, which is a community movie house in Phnom Penh. They hold a morning session a few times a week, for $5/session. My muscles hurt. TheyAustralian instructor helped me do a headstand (i.e., he held my feet up for 3 seconds). It was good - I'll go again.

Another thing I've done to take care of myself is to take vitamins. In many ways, I eat healthier in Phnom Penh - I eat less processed food, I bake, roast, sautee much more, I almost exclusively buy fresh ingredients. And yet, I don't have access to all the foods I love eating. (No weekly sushi trips with Mami to nosh on seared salmon.) Cheryl's post on skin supplements piqued my interest, and, voilĂ , shipped those babies to Cambodia, on the cheap. As opposed to my firm job in Portland, I am in the field more these days, interviewing and meeting with households affected by the ADB Railway Rehabilitation Project. I don't mind more freckles, but my hair is parched, my skin so-so.

Oh, and the random picture: ice cream on a hot day in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a brief stop while on a stroll through the city with Ethan. These days, I don't skimp on small treats.

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