Monday, 27 May 2013

The Palau FIVE

Over the past few weeks I've spent a lot of time evaluating my life. What's important? My future? What I would like to achieve whilst in Palau. I've always set goals and been interested in personal development but I have never been particularly good at achieving them. I'm currently reading an Irish gents blog called Disrupting The Rabblement. I've found his blog useful to focus my attention.

For me, goal attainment has always been a funny thing. I'm pretty good at setting goals but I'm pretty crap at achieving them! Actually that's not quite true, its the less sexy ones I struggle to achieve. You the know healthy habits like exercise 3 times per week or eat 5 serves of vegetables everyday, blah, blah, blah! When it comes to the bucket list kind of goals, the ones you tick off your list and get a buzz out of when you finish, those ones I can do! Things like attaining my dive ticket, hike to Everest Base Camp and get braces have all been on my list. Tick, tick and TICK! All done! It wasn't that easy at the time but you get the picture. I guess what I am really looking at here is establishing some really strong healthy habits and embracing a positive, productive life. So I thought I'd use this blog as a forum to monitor my progress. 

Me at Everest Base Camp One Nov 2010

 So here they are- When I'm in Palau I want to:
  1. do my yoga practice at least twice per week
  2. dive at least once a month
  3. do a HIIT session at least 3 times per week
  4. become an early riser
  5. do something I  wouldn't normally do at least once per month.
My university placement students would be so proud! Goal setting 101- identify an action you wish to achieve, by when and how often.

1. Do yoga at least twice per week
I started dabbling in yoga about 14 years ago and for the past 5 years it has become part of my life. Before this Palau thing came up I had started toying with the idea of doing my teacher training so that I could deepen my practice but now I am happy to focus on just being a diligent student.

In Brisbane I go to a wonderful school, Brisbane Yogaspace and practice with some amazing teachers and students. There I learn about yoga philosophy, we sing, we dance, we laugh, I hear the coolest stories about Hindu gods, we twist into all manner of positions and most importantly we learn to honor our body.
Yoga makes me feel good. Physically and mentally. When I practice yoga I feel more grounded, physically stronger, happier and helps prevent old injuries from flaring up.

Even with this motivation I generally struggle to get to classes more than once per week. When things are going well I'll go twice a week but something comes up. I get busy. Life gets in the way and I drop off the yoga radar. I know that there is a weekly yoga class in Palau that I am keen to check out but I am worried that I will get lazy and the cycle will continue. So I am prepared. I have knowledge on my side. Books in my bag and a number of downloaded YouTube clips of my favourite yoga teachers on my computer. Now motivation please be with me!

2. Dive at least once a month
Palau has some of the best diving in the world. It's hot and tropical all year. People travel from all over the world to dive around Palau. So I'd be crazy not to make the most of living on the Island.

Recently I worked to overcome my fear of water, successfully attaining my dive ticket. You can read my post about that here. Having done so much hard work to get this far it's really important that I don't let that fear creep back in and continue to go diving and swimming.
3. Do a HIIT session 3 times per week 
HIIT stands for High-Intensity-Interval-Training. It's short and sharp. You get your heart rate up quickly, you sweat and by the end you want to die!

In the variation I do 30 seconds of exercise full on with a 10 second break. You might choose 3 or 4 exercises and you will move through these 3 or 4 times. So the sessions will never go for more than 20 minutes (and that would be FULL ON!).

For me it works because I can rationalise each 30 second work out, the exercise aren't complicated and it is suitable to all fitness levels. It's up to you to push yourself. For example, if you are starting out you may only be able to do 4 burpees in a 30 second set. After sometime this may increase to 8 burpees in 30 seconds.

There are a number of websites that offer free home work outs that I use. They are overly sexualised so I apologise if its not for you.  

4. Become an early riser
I've had a few months off work and even before this I had become lazy. I find it sooo hard to get up before 7 am. The other thing is that I train better and am much more productive in the morning. I really want to be a motivated, productive and happy person and I really think that a piece of the puzzle may lay in my sleeping habits. One of the blogs I read talks a lot about sleep and our behaviour, check that our here.

5. Do something I wouldn't normally do at least once per month and say YES more often
Part of us moving to Palau is about making ourselves available to new things and seeing what opportunities arise. If you want to progress along this path of development then you have to do things different and sometimes these things are challenging and uncomfortable; especially at first.

If I'm being honest, I am a little shy and insecure. I am more likely to decline an invitation or not ask something of someone as I don't want to embarrass myself or seem like an idiot. These thoughts are completely irrational, unproductive and hold me back. There's a large piece of urban art on a wall of an under pass heading into Fortitude Valley. I would see this everyday when I drove home from work. Credit to the Brisbane artist  Sebastian Moody. It says "The more I think about it the bigger it gets". I always related this back to my anxiety and unfounded fears.

I'm not sure how I'm going to quantify the last goal so I can monitor my progress but we will see how we go.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Palau's Remanent of WWII

So I was going through some paperwork today and had the TV on in the background when suddenly I saw a typical tourist shot of the Rock Islands in Palau. With my interest caught I stayed tune to watch a Dateline segment on a Not-For-Profit group called Cleared Ground who are working to rid Palau of unexploded bombs that were dropped in WWII.

People in Palau live with these devices in their own backyard. I've read a post about a 1000 pound bomb having to be exploded in a populated area. Cleared Ground has reportedly removed 23000 explosive devices in 3 years!

You can watch the actual Dateline segment here.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Lovely Love Story

Two weeks ago Nathan and I got married. That's right, we legitimized our relationship in front of family and friends. It was a beautiful autumn day (although it felt more like summer) and it could not have gone better. With all the planning and preparations the day went by in an absolute blur! Just quietly though I'm glad to have my life back!

Why did we do it?? 
No I'm not pregnant! Neither Nathan nor I are the marrying type. We had never dreamed of that 'big day' and quite frankly being the centre of attention gripped me with fear. As we progressed through the Palau volunteer process we realised that life would be soooo much easier for us if we were legally married. That's not to say that we don't love each other dearly and weren't previously committed to each other but now we have a piece of paper and jewellery to show for it! So in February this year we launched into action, planning a small wedding. I think we went into in a little naively but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

What I learned!
Weddings don't have to be expensive!
We were pretty fortunate that I had actually stopped working in February and was able spend a lot of time researching and running around doing stuff. I recently saw a report saying the average couple spends $50K on a wedding. SERIOUSLY!!!! I've no idea what they spend their pennies on! Overall, it cost more than we originally thought but I think we were idiots to think we could have a proper wedding and reception for THAT cheap!

We are so lucky and have some amazingly talented friends and had a number of friends do the photography and make the cake. I did the flowers myself, with the help of my sister. We also bought a lot of things online. If you have some lead time Pinterst, Etsy and Ebay are awesome resources. Pinterst gave me plenty of inspiration, ideas and how-tos. Etsy allowed me to create a personal touch. Ebay, well I just got cheap shit from there! Oh and my wedding dress; brand new, straight from the USA and reasonably priced! Please note: I did have to take my own measurements, made sure they matched the dress I was purchasing and had a local tailor made some minor alterations. Catering and alcohol were the biggest expense but it was worth it.
Lotus Hair Piece made by Miaettia Creations
Nathan & me in plushie form. Wedding Cake Toppers made by Saint Angel

Managing others expectations and saying No! 
One thing I wanted to avoid was the pomp or drama of a wedding. Since Nathan and I were committed to a proper wedding thing we wanted to make sure it was pretty stress free. We did everything in our power to keep the wedding small and stress free but never considered having to manage what other people thought or wanted for our wedding. At first I listen and tried to be accommodating but soon felt like the event had turned into something that wasn't us. After much encouragement from Nathan I soon learned to be firm and say NO! No without a justification. Just NO!This was probably the hardest but long overdue lesson for me to learn; hopefully I can continue to be a bit firmer in life.

Nathan loves surprises!! 
This is the video he put together on his boy's weekend away and presented it as part of his wedding speech. Here I was thinking I was the crazy one!!!

Friends love it when other friends get married!
Seriously! My girlfriends and sisters were great! They rallied around me the weeks before the wedding and made me feel so loved and special it was great!  Not that I needed a wedding to feel that way but it was nice to indulge just a little ;-)

So now it's back to packing and planning for Palau! Only 2 weeks and 5 days until we leave!