to run, and watch The Office

Well, March 18th has come and gone. It is 4 days later, and as I run around chasing after the kids I nanny, I can hardly even feel a hint of reminder in my legs that I did in fact run 26.2 miles on Sunday. Quite a few people have already told me that this is what happens when you are 24 years old, and if I were, say, 30 or 40, I’d still be hurting. I’ll consider myself lucky and consider doing it again next year.  Yes, the experience was that great.

I was never actually “hurting” after the race, though I couldn’t walk very easily for the six hours from the finish line to my bed and a glorious 11 hours worth of sleep. I limped along all afternoon as my left knee refused to bend naturally and the rest of my legs wondered why I was still trying to stand up.

I finished 26.2 miles in a whopping 6 hours 7 minutes and 18 seconds. A far cry from the 12.5 minute miles I would have loved to maintain (my pace ended up being 14 minutes and a few odd seconds), but hey — I finished!! Rounding the corner of the last mile to see the Pacific Ocean to the right of me and listening to the Sigur Ros song “Hoppipolla” was hardly short of epic. I may have shed a few tears. And then some more once I crossed the finish line and made a few phone calls. And then some more once I met up with the rest of the Love Without Boundaries team and we all relished in our success and subsequent happiness.

We did it- we raised money for Love Without Boundaries. We ran to raise money for kids who need medical attention, and money got raised. And the beauty of it all is that just because the race is over, the money doesn’t need to stop coming in.

So here I leave my final request in written form for some more sponsors for the beautiful kids over in China who have no family and cannot speak for themselves. I claim myself as one of the voices for these kids, and I ask you once more, if you have seen all my requests on here and Facebook and the like over these past few months and haven’t yet considered donating to Love Without Boundaries, that perhaps today you will? The page to donate on my behalf is still up here (and on the side of this blog) if you’d like to do it that way (these funds will specifically go to benefit Heath and his multiple surgeries), or you can check out the Love Without Boundaries website and find many other reasons to donate.

Here I am after the finish line. Medal in hand, blanket to keep me warm, and my spiffy Love Without Boundaries shirt telling the world why I ran. Thanks for all the donations!

*** *** *** ***

Jeremy and I celebrated the marathon day by watching the season 4 premiere of The Office (a day later, actually, but that’s of no consequence). This episode, first aired in September 2007, is called “Fun Run,” and it is when Michael makes everyone in the office run a 5k for a charity he made up while feeling bad about hitting one of his employees with his car earlier that morning. I found it enjoyable and extra comical to watch after having run my race the day before, and found myself laughing at all the events in the show that I could parallel with my own life at this time-

Carbo loading: Michael eats an entire plate of fettuccine alfredo just minutes before he attempts his 5k. He feels sick to his stomach not too far into the race, and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to run on a full stomach of pasta. Carbo loading for me involved eating a meal with pasta (alongside many varieties of vegetables), once a day for a few days leading up to the race. I also got rid of all cheese and most other dairy from my diet for the weekend of the race (and wine- no need to get anywhere near dehydrated before running a marathon). A plate of fettuccine alfredo is a BAD idea before a run. Nice try, Michael.

Water stations: Michael claims solidarity and refuses to drink any water while he’s attempting his 5k. He ends up in the hospital for dehydration as a result. My experience with the water stations? I walked through every one of them and had at least one cup of water at every mile. The odd miles also had an energy/hydration drink, and I took one of those every time I saw one as well (after doing research before the race to be sure it was not filled with bad ingredients, naturally).

Raising money for a charity: With Meredith in the hospital with a fractured pelvis due to being hit by Michael’s car, he is then overjoyed to find out later that as a result of her hospital visit, Meredith is given a precautionary rabies shot as many animal bite incidents are brought to light. Michael immediately takes credit for “curing” Meredith of rabies and decides that the office will host the 5k to raise money for rabies. An oversized check gets made out to “Science,” and is ceremonially given to a “nurse” who is there on an hourly rate. Michael asks the stripper nurse to be sure the check gets put in the right hands, and the race begins. Thankfully, in my experience I was raising money for an actual cause, and all the donations went straight to Love Without Boundaries. No big checks, no stripper nurses, no ceremony- the money was only spent on the kids.

That basically sums everything up for now. If only races did not cost so much money, I’d be running the Hollywood Half Marathon on April 7th. Until next time, thanks for reading these wandering thoughts of running and the other.

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the new year post

Good morning to all on this first day of 2012! I hope you all enjoy this first morning, and that as the days of this year turn into weeks and months, any goals you set last night will be put into effect and met.

I’m not one for New Years resolutions, and to be honest I didn’t even think about them until right now as I am typing this, but my mind is still set on March 18th when I am to be running the Los Angeles Marathon in honor of baby Heath. I am sticking with that goal and will continue to set more as I get into the meat of the year and have a better idea of where my life is headed. Please see the sidebars to the right of this post to read more about how you can help me support Heath through running this marathon.

2011 turned out to be one of those years that makes me laugh, thinking back on it all. I have been put in circumstances that I never expected to be in, and have been living each day one at a time, because that is all there is room for in the thought process of everything that is happening.

July: After traveling home from a trip to Los Angeles and being awake at a late hour of the night that I typically am sleeping, it was jokingly suggested by my mother over the phone that I sign up for the Los Angeles Marathon, with the intent to raise money for Love Without Boundaries. (The “jokingly suggestion” being because I was not a runner.) I was just tired enough to say “ok!” And two days later my name was on the roster. Once again, please see the sidebars to the right of this post, or click here. I would love your support as I pursue this endeavor.

August: Moving from Lexington, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California was one of the biggest changes in my life this past year. I’m a country girl at heart, I prefer a slow-paced lifestyle, and I hate driving in traffic. But to LA I went, and by God’s grace I found a job just a month after arriving.

November: Watching my parents pursue another adoption, and traveling to China to bring Levi home was another huge change in my life in 2011. This was entirely unexpected by all of us, particularly the fact that my parents were called to adopt a 14-year-old boy.

December: Arriving back in Los Angeles from China, I found that my employers decided to move to Florida. Five days later, they were there, and two days after that, I found myself in Florida as well. I never expected that a move to Los Angeles would turn into a move to southern Florida, and I don’t anticipate this being a long-term move, but at the same time only time will tell where I am supposed to be.

With all the unexpected changes in 2011, I’m looking at where I’ll be in 2012 just a day at a time. I’ll keep on steadily training for the marathon, including heading out for a run in just a few minutes. That is all that is certain now, we’ll see what else the year brings as the months go by.

Happy New Year from the Witzers!

再见 (for now)

For the next few weeks, please find me and other members of my family posting on our family’s travel blog.

Amanda and Mom are leaving for India on Monday the 21st, I’ll be arriving in Pennsylvania to help with the kids and last minute everything on Tuesday the 22nd, and Dad and I and the three little ones are leaving for China on Saturday the 26th.

Already posted to the family blog: our itinerary for in China travels, and a letter we received from Levi a few days ago (graciously translated for us by a family friend).

I have a week to brush up on the Mandarin that I’ve been intending to brush up on for the past seven months … we’ll see how well this goes. It took me looking in my Chinese-English dictionary to remember what characters represented “good bye” (as seen in the title of this post).

Until next time friends, witzerland.wordpress.com is where I’ll be!

from March 3, 2010

In honor of bringing another boy into our family, here is a story about my youngest brother, Cody:

Family dinners in our household feel “normal” to me, but I have some sort of idea that visitors to our dinner table could feel like they are in a different world. There are typically anywhere from four to nine people eating dinner together, and there is lots of movement, laughter, chatter, yelling from time to time, and a terribly untrained puppy running under all of our feet.

My parents’ dinners often get interrupted by Cody, who always seems to need to use the bathroom in the middle of his meals.

With that, here is a scene from one of our more recent dinners:

Cody runs into the bathroom, just down the hallway from the kitchen.

Cody: “I’m done!”

 (we continue eating)

Cody: “I’m Done!

 (again, we continue eating)

Cody: “I’M DONE!!!

Dad (sitting at the table): “What do you need, Cody?”

Cody: “Help me!”

Dad: “What do you say?”

Cody: “Please!”

Dad: “Please, what?”

Cody: “PLEASE CAN YOU WIPE MY BUTT?!”

Cody’s learning to use his manners, a little at a time, when he feels like it, but leave it to him to find a way around forming a sentence that’s appropriate for dinner time.

From Qingyundian to Martha’s Vineyard

How did I end up here??

Yes, I am in Martha’s Vineyard. I am in the beginning of my next exciting adventure of 2008. What am I doing that is so exciting? I am studying the music business. Really, I am in the (pseudo) music business. Today I got matched with 3 musicians as their personal manager for the next 100 days (well, after we sign the contract next week). I am a manager? I have 3 people to take care of? What am I getting myself into? 

I really actually couldn’t tell you what I am getting myself into, but I can tell you that I am beyond excited about this. Music and China are my greatest passions, aside from the One who gave them to me (and family). I had my China adventure this summer, I am having my music adventure as I write this. I am part of a program involving only 28 other students and a few staff and all the expensive musical equipment I could EVER dream of.

My China days are NOT over. I will be back again, I am definitely sure of it. I am in contact with a few families who are adopting kids from New Day. I would love to keep in touch with more. If you find my blog by searching the Internet for New Day, PLEASE do not hesitate to contact me!!! I have pictures and stories that I would love to share. 

Perhaps I will continue to update this blog with my music managing and engineering and producing achievements. If I have time. I suppose I do now have three other people’s schedules to manage and keep track of on top of my own. It is going to be quite the busy next four months, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store!!

Until Sometime,
Bekah

Qu Mei Gua le

(That pinyin may be entirely wrong. I tried.)

I am home, after 20 hours of travelling. I arrived at my house around 8:00 last night, and here I am, tired but awake at 6:30am. I’ve actually been awake since around 4:00am. 3 hours of sleep last night. 4.5 cumulative hours of sleep during that 20 hour travel period. Yes, I am tired. And I am craving Chinese food. But I’m home, and I’m safe, and it was easy getting back to the states. So, no complaining!

This blog isn’t finished yet, I’ll update it again within the next 2 weeks or so, so please keep checking back! I want to get my bearings together and tie some strings in one last post, and upload more pictures. Until then, please check out the scrapbook page of New Day’s site. You will find updated pages that have lots pictures of what I did with the kids during my last week. Hopefully that can satisfy any of your curiosity until I post again and upload my last batch of pictures. Some have already been updated, the link for the third picture album has all new pictures, as of a few days ago. Enjoy!

Xing qi er, qi yue shi wu hao: Zhu wo sheng ri kuai le

Well if you can understand mandarin pinyin, the topic of this blog entry is laid out clear. If you cannot understand mandarin pinyin, the title is as follows: Tuesday, July 15: Happy birthday to me.

And what a birthday it was.

I was asked by a few people throughout the course of the day if I had any significantly memorable birthdays. When I turned 17, I was in Wyoming, working at a camp and living in a one-room cabin with two other girls. I went to bed the night before my birthday, and was woken up at midnight by probably 20 people in that one room singing happy birthday to me. They had decorated my bunk bed and all crowded into the room, and I slept through the entirety of it, and they pulled off keeping it a complete surprise.

When I turned 20, I was in Virginia, and it was the day before leaving for China (this was last summer). I was with the group of people I traveled to China with, and we went on a hike that day. One of the guys carried a violin up the mountain we were hiking. We went up to the top of Spy Rock, and here we were on this gigantic rock formation, above all the trees and far from any sign of man made structures. I stood on that mountain barefoot and played the violin. That was a very memorable day that just so happened to be my birthday.

And here I am, in China, and I just turned 21. And it was definitely a birthday worth remembering. I’ll give you a run-down of the events that coincided with my birthday.

The day in and of itself was very normal. I went to work. I had my lunch break. I went back to work. At lunch, however, I was surprised with a birthday cake. And then I was sung to twice: once in English, and once in Chinese. Now, if you’ve never seen a Chinese birthday cake, then allow me to enlighten you. First of all, they are decorated incredibly intricately and are so beautiful. Mine was a two layer cake, and the white icing was mounded on. The top of the cake had pandas and trees and a waterfall flowing down onto the second layer. Here’s a picture to do some more of the talking for me:

(picture to come soon)

So the cake is beautiful. But that’s not the end of the amazingness that was this birthday cake. There is this candle. It is a flower with eight petals. On the tip of each petal are the actual candles (they don’t match the number of candles to your age). When you first put the candle in the cake, the flower is all closed up, and the wicks of all the candles are twisted together. Then you light the wicks. And so they untwist from each other and the petals all fall down to open the flower, and the center of the flower blows out fire for a few seconds. And then the flower plays the tune of Happy Birthday. And then the flower doesn’t stop singing the tune of Happy Birthday. I’ve been told that said flower will keep singing for over 48 hours. I didn’t keep mine long enough to find out, but I did hear it in the trashcan quite a few hours later. I need to get some of those candles to bring home with me.

After I cut that cake up and everyone who was in the dining hall got some, I brought the rest of it over to the Foster Home and shared it with the kids and the nannies. Seeing the kids eat my birthday cake just may have been my favorite part of the day.

After work, a crowd of us piled into an 11 passenger van and drove 5 minutes down the street to a restaurant that I have never eaten at. (Note to reader: after reading that sentence, please do not mistake the word “crowd” for being “11 people.” Yes, the van comfortably seats 11 people. But we, however, fit 19 people into that van. And two more people followed behind on a bike.) I love eating at Chinese restaurants. Not American Chinese restaurants, but the ones here. It’s not a “one-dish-per-person-that’s-all-you-eat” deal. You order many, many dishes for the whole group. And you have a tiny little plate and a tiny little bowl in front of you, and your chopsticks. And then the dishes get put on the lazy-susan that is in the center of the table. And you spin the lazy-susan around and eat to your heart’s content. We had some fun dishes, including one that tasted like potato sticks, and a hot bread that you dip in sweet sauce that is one of my personal favorites. I will miss real Chinese food when I leave this place again. I was sung to again while we were at the restaurant. I think they sang in Chinese that time.

That was only the beginning of the celebrations, as I came to realize soon after. My lovely friend Anna planned some fun times in the courtyard behind our apartment complexes. And she invited all the students from New Day’s English school to join us. Initially, we were tossing a Frisbee around. However, we got yelled at by a Chinese man because there were lots of little kids running around and he said it was dangerous and we would hurt someone. So that was the end of Frisbee. But that was ok, because then we just had fun making fools of ourselves, playing ridiculous games that I don’t think I would do in any other circumstance. Like, remember that game when you get with a group of people and you all put your hands in the center and grab random people’s hands and then you need to untwist yourselves to make a normal circle? Yeah … we did that. There were 27 of us, so we made three groups. And all the people in the courtyard (which was a pretty hopping place) probably were making fun of us. Lots of staring was going on, at least, but it was so much fun.

And there was more cake in the courtyard! My dear roommate Caroline made a chocolate cake. And it was absolutely wonderful. And there was more singing! I forget if it was Chinese or English at this point. And then something that I will always remember (though I was completely embarrassed at the time, due to the fact that I am not a huge fan of individual, specific attention from a large crowd), I somehow ended up in the center of a large circle of the English students. They decided that they would each come up to me and say “Happy Birthday Bekah” in their province’s dialect. There was lots of laughing and smiling and a bit of awkwardness, as I didn’t know how to react to multiple people approaching me and talking to me while everyone else was watching and listening, but it was a beautiful moment for sure.

There was more fun times in the courtyard, including dancing the Electric Slide to some Chinese ballroom dancing music, and then I was tired, so back to the apartment I went. However, I ended up going out again after I got back in. It was a beautiful night, so Caroline and I had some good conversation outside, while being started at and probably talked about by most of the people walking by us. The little kids were especially curious as to why these two foreigners were sitting on a couch on the side of the street. We had one lady approach us and give us her Mary Kay card. A little girl did everything she could to make watch her and her crazy antics, while her grandmother tried to keep her away from us, because she was very much getting right into our faces. And then one of the nannies from New Day came by and sat on the couch with us. Through her little English and our little Chinese, we had a small conversation that led to her inviting us up to her apartment. So, we followed her up, and met her 15-year-old son, and sat in her living room and talked about our ages (I told her that it was my birthday), and favorite foods, and what times we go to bed and wake up, and the personalities of some of the kids at New Day, and the weather, and she taught us a few dance steps. We ended up being there until 11:00. We had kind of run out of things to say in Chinese, and she had run out of things to say in English. I think that simple moments like that make my heart the most happy.

The next day at lunch, around 11:57, I determined that it was still my birthday in the states (for a whole 3 more minutes), so I ate an ice cream bar. And then it was the end of the 36 hours I could call my birthday.

So, as far as memorable birthdays goes, I believe this one tops the list. And when I get home next week, I know that if I hint enough at it (hint, hint, hint), I will have some of my mom’s amazing homemade chocolate cake. Birthdays are not complete without it.