2,898 miles later…

I made it to San Francisco!!

I honestly cannot believe I drove all those miles, by myself!! Did I mention I was driving alone?

exhausted on the last day of the drive.

my road warrior aka my Jeep!

I made pit stops in Chicago, Omaha, Denver & West Wendover, NV (right over the Utah border.)

The Chicago Bean

Omaha Corn Field

Denver Rockie's Game

Peppermill Hotel + Casino.

I drove through DC, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada + California.

I drank countless cups of Starbucks, OD’ed on Subway sandwiches + tried real Chicago deep dish pizza.

Skinny Cinnamon Dolce + Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich.

Subway Chicken Breast Sandwich.

Gino's East Deep Dish.

This post is all over the place. But I am just a little out of it and so excited to be here, to get back to a normal routine and to start this new chapter of my life.

Back to regular posting, starting now! So excited to be back to normal and to catch up with you all!

Tell me what’s new! What have I missed?!


Jet lagged.

Traveling back from Iraq was the trip from hell not the easiest journey I’ve ever made. Let’s just say I’ve been out of commission since I got back on Tuesday night! (Read: I’ve been out of it! And keeping old woman sleeping hours.)

I got on a plane in Basrah (southern Iraq) at 8:30am on Monday morning, and landed in Amman, Jordan about two hours later. I then had about a 15 hour layover. Luckily I had a hotel room since it was such a long period time so I was able to go rest, check emails, shower, etc before heading back to the airport around 11:00pm.

My flight to Paris from Amman then left at 1:45am, which let me tell you by this point, I was delirious and I am not even sure how I got on the plane! Motivation to get back to the States I suppose! I arrived in Paris at about 6:00am and immediately found some chairs to try to get a little more sleep in, knowing I had about 6 hours to kill for my layover.

I woke up from my nap and saw that my flight from Paris to Washington had been delayed by an hour. Which I was not exactly thrilled about. The wifi at the airport hated me was not working, so  I walked around the airport, got some breakfast, did some duty free browsing, and tried to relax. I was really feeling the travel exhaustion at this point and I still had 4,000 miles to go!

Finally it was time to board the plane after another 45 minute delay. (My layover was almost 8 hours at this point.)  We got on the plane, I was ecstatic to find out I had the entire row to myself. We did the whole pre-take off checks, started to back out from the gate, pulled back up to the gate and proceeded to sit there for 4 HOURS!

One of the computers had somehow died and they had to replace it. Boy was I bored! I killed my Blackberry battery (thank you work for some entertainment) and then proceeded to read the in-flight magazine from start to finish about 12 times. Luckily AirFrance was kind enough to pass out some beverages wine which at least made me a little bit happier.

We finally took off, I watched about 5 movies, and we landed safe and sound at Dulles International.

I was so happy to be home!

It was definitely a journey, but it was an experience I will never forget being able to go to Iraq and see how things operate and function there. I will do a recap of my whole trip this weekend!

Monday, half training and eating plan commence! Get ready (oh wait, I should be telling myself that.)

How do you say Activia in Arabic?

Normally when I travel I really prepared ahead. I make sure I have all my first aid supplies, electronic cords, underoos, you name it. Well on this trip, since I was heading to Iraq, my strategy to remain calm, cool and collective was to not worry about leaving. Well, this resulted in me being quite relaxed, but also me not really being that prepared while here. Example A, I forgot my camera cord. At least I remembered my Luna Bars?

Oh Blueberry Bliss, I know we aren't suppose to choose favorites, but...

So, because of this, you are probably saying to yourself, “How do you even know I here than, huh?” I could have come up with this elaborate excuse just to get out of starting my healthy ways… but, thankfully, I have this high tech device called a Blackberry, which will be your provider of entertainment today.

I mentioned before there are “cooks” here. I say that lightly because often this means fried chicken for lunch (which I skipped today I might add, strange soup doused in hot sauce it was,) followed by pizza for dinner. Not good, my friends, not good. We are having a BBQ tonight, so I know it won’t be pizza, probably just meat, and LOTS of it. I swear, I’ve had more beef here in the past few days than I’ve had in the past few months. I’ll be taking a breather from it when I return to the States, I can guarantee you that. So since the cooks here are just so great, there are an plethora of condiments and other “essentials” to choose from to get you through your day and meals – all which almost prove I’m really here in Iraq. (And please, look past the BB picture quality, to see what really matters, the Arabic on the product 😉 )

That's right, Chocolate Milk. I may have tried this, and it may have been creamy and delicious. Maybe.

Hot Sauce! Basically, I use this to make everything taste slightly better.

Tea! Lipton at that.

No "real" coffee in sight... and just realizing I've been doing Decaf. No wonder I've been so sleepy!

So I haven't tried this. But I'm thinking it could be good... No judge!

Now this I do eat, perfect in the AM, plus you know they say it keeps you...

And finally, my diet staple... although I know. I should really give this up!

I always love seeing what products look like in other places. It’s just fun. When I get back to the States, a proper pictorial will be provided. Until then, its back to Arab Activia and Pepsi Diet (1 Calorie after all!)

Let’s get to know each other, shall we?

I’ve started this blog to track what I eat, track my fitness, and really just try not to bore the world with my little life in Washington, DC. But I have a confession to make, I don’t plan on starting tracking my eating till about next week. I know, I know you are thinking, what the hell? But I actually have a legitimate excuse, which is a great introduction for us getting to know each other (and by “us” I do mean the interwebz and myself because no one is around yet, maybe no one ever will be, but a girl can wish, right?)

Currently, I am sitting in a compound, typing this entry from Baghdad, Iraq! Let’s get a few immediate questions out of the way. No, I am not in the military, and no I am not crazy.

Here’s a little background:

I graduated from a small liberal arts college in the Los Angeles area in May of 2007. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and went on to another small school in Northern California,  Monterey to be exact, and got my Masters in Public Administration, focusing on International Management. I took lots of classes on Emergency Management, Program Management and Humanitarian Assitsance to be specific and eventually made my way out to Washington and found a job working for a government contractor (like the majority of people in this area!)

My job just happens to be a little unique, and I do project management based in DC for a variety of contracts around the world. My job is stressful, complex, and a constant love-hate relationship, but the travel aspect of it is definitely the best part of it. And while most people wouldn’t dream of wanting to go to Iraq, I am so happy to finally be here, albeit, slightly bored. Sitting on a compound isn’t that exciting of stuff. That being said, I love understanding from a field perspective how many guys do there jobs over here, and for that the boredom is worth it. Plus, I’m only here for a little over a week, so I think I can manage!

I have had the opportunity to travel to several places with my company including Jordan, Sudan, and Peru to name a few. I love traveling, and have even played with the idea of moving to “the field” as we call it. But for now, DC is where I call home, and we shall see what comes next.

I’ve always been active in life, I played soccer and tennis growing up, but I’ve always seemed to have a sweet tooth. I used to be very picky when it came to eating, but an ex-boyfriend of mine introduced me to the world of culinary delight and I haven’t turned back since. The problem I have: over-indulgence. I’m not saying I binge eat, I’m just saying that the balance I believe I need to loose some weight and just overall feel good is not where I at right now. And something needs to be done to change this.

With exercise I go through patterns of lots of gym time and no gym time, and again, I need to find that balance, and find things to do that I actually enjoy doing. I used to jump on the elliptical and call it a day. Speaking of boredom, right?

So with all the free time I’ve had here in Baghdad, I’ve finally decided it was time to just start a blog myself, after really enjoying and being inspired by some great blogs out there.

I am 100% trying to understand what I am consuming while here, and do some portion control, but as we only have certain foods available, I really don’t have the liberty of what goes into my mouth – that liberty is what the cook decides!

I decided to start a blog early while here before I jump in head first though to really start preparing myself and to start processing and brainstorming how I think I should go about doing this. I’ve got some ideas, so we shall see. I’m excited to jump on the fit train, almost as much as I’m excited to get back stateside! 6 days to go!