Back to San Juan

I got back to Puerto Rico a few days ago, after my longest flying journey to date.  I started at 4:30 am on Monday (Puerto Rico time) and landed at 9 am Wednesday.  I did get a room and spend a day in Taipei with my 21-hour layover there, but other than that it was just airport terminals.  I thought I was going to toughen up mentally and overcome jet lag, but I’ve been battling it daily.  Fortunately I just go to bed and wake up early which isn’t that bad.


It felt weird to tell my cab driver that I live here in San Juan as he drove me from the airport.  I was only gone around 6 weeks, but I could barely remember my life here.  The weather, people, even my own apartment was different than my vague memories.  All for the better though.  


I thought it was going to be sweltering hot, preparing to sweat like I was after walking 50 feet in Bali.  Although the temperature is about the same as Bali, there is less humidity, and a consistent breeze from the ocean allowed me to comfortably walk a few miles yesterday.  There is activity and liveliness here in San Juan, but it’s much more peaceful than the stream of motorbikes coming from every direction in Bali.


I’m pretty good at adapting to new situations both better and worse.  It was almost awkward at first with daily maid service at our villa in Bali, but I quickly got used to being spoiled.  I started changing clothes a few times a day, using multiple water glasses, etc. as I knew that our staff would magically take care of everything by the time I got back from the gym every day.  Now I’m switching from a 3 story 3 bedroom 4 bathroom villa, back to my 1 bathroom apartment ( I do have 3 bedrooms, but not nearly the same size).  My place is better than I remembered though in a comfortable way.


I was neither dreading coming back, nor looking forward to coming back to Puerto Rico.  I think it’s because I had finally lived here long enough that I was overly used to some of the intangible things that make this a great place to live.  Walking by the ocean/lagoon, running into people you know around the city, perfect beaches, and consistent warm sunshine (but not too hot, except for the summer) daily is such a pleasant environment to live in.  The culture is also more similar to what I grew up with, and even though I might not know what all of the local Puerto Rican holidays are, they all involve drinking/eating/dancing which is fun to partake in.


I really enjoyed my time in Bali though.  So much so that I’m planning on going back for part of the summer.  PR and Bali have opposite seasons which is pretty ideal.  I like warm, but the winter (summer as it’s below the equator) sun was intense, as is the summer heat in Puerto Rico.  They both have some of the friendliest cultures I know of, and some unique qualities that are very attractive to me.


Since I’ve been back I’ve made some great changes (tbd how long they last, but really enjoying at the moment) to various aspects of my life.  I’ll list some of them here.


In Bali I fell in love with the training at Nirvana Strength Bali so much so that I lost my interest in CrossFit for the moment.  I have flexibility/mobility issues that have held me back from progressing in CrossFit for years that I never could figure out how to practically fix.  With gymnastics strength training I’m getting in good shape, and fixing my mobility at the same time.  The fitness that I’m gaining now seems to be truly “functional” (I can get into squats/handstands/etc easier now) which was one of the things that appealed to me about CrossFit.  Now that I’m back in Puerto Rico I train during open gym time using the following program from Reddit Monday/Wednesday/Friday:


On Tuesday and Thursday I’m alternating with these two great stretching routines I purchased for $10:


My shoulder mobility is much better than my lower body, so I’m focusing on those two for now (training towards a proper Pike and Pancake stretch), but I’m looking into integrating some upper body stretching for the weekend when I don’t do yoga.


Nutrition wise I’m stocked up with protein (fish/beef/eggs/protein powder when in a pinch) and vegetables (tons of bags of mixed vegetables that I can microwave, arugula, mixed salad, carrots) that I can make a few meals with at a time.  I didn’t buy any dark chocolate or other things that I know I have no discipline to not finish asap.  I do have apples and oranges for dessert whenever I feel the urge, which is usually 1-2 meals a day so far.  I don’t find myself needing as many carbs with the gymnastics strength training, I feel better when I’m taking less carbs, and I lose weight without effort when I’m eating meat and vegetables primarily.  I’ve tried to moderate with extra starches like sweet potatoes, but it becomes a slippery slope for me.  Having a piece of fruit (and knowing that I can) helps satiate the bad cravings.


I’m down to 10 minutes a day of meditation, but it’s consistent and enjoyable.  I was pushing myself with 30 minutes (and tried 1 hour a few times) for a while, but found that I started missing more frequently.  It was also a bit torturous on some days.  Meditation was becoming one of the hard chores of my day and I slowly tapered off.  Now that I restarted at 10 minutes it’s always good.  Sometimes I’m just getting into a flow at the 10 minute mark, but it’s nice to leave on a good note.  No matter how scattered my mind is on any given day I know I can get through 10 minutes easily and enjoyably.  I might slowly ramp up a bit more, but not until it’s as automatic as brushing my teeth.


I’ve been reading more short story collections (and back to writing some!).  Two excellent ones I’ve enjoyed are: “The Best American Mystery Stories 2015” edited by James Patterson and the sci-fi collection by Ken Liu “The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories”.  I also started Ken Liu’s fantasy epic novel “The Grace of Kings”.


As usual I’ve been procrastinating in publishing this (I started writing 5 days ago), but going to hit the publish button so I have no more choice.  Hope you have all been well, and look forward to updating you further in the near future now that I’m back home.

The first pic is one of my favorite local beaches in San Juan, Ocean Park beach.  The other two pictures are from Taipei.  The first is a toy vending machine alley that my picture didn’t do justice, and the other was me getting off the train and walking to my hotel at midnight on a Monday.  I went to eat hot pot and the place was still busy at 2 am on a Monday!  Very late night culture.


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