Friday, October 21, 2011

Luscious Ladies in Pink

A few weeks back I was invited to attend the annual Luscious Ladies in Pink event at the swanky Eastern & Oriental Hotel.  Of course, I jumped at this opportunity, found the pinkest shirt I have and joined Jeanmarie at the event.  This event raised funds for Breast Cancer in Penang.  I felt proud to be at this event, especially this year!  We joined Jeanmaire's friend Bernadette at her table, where I met a few more Australian and Kiwi friends!  Bernadette asked me to share my story with the table and I happily did!  This was one of the first times that I have spoke "semi-publicly" (I only say semi, because I didn't have the microphone :) about my surgery and my story.  I felt proud to share my story with the ladies about the importance of prevention and personal empowerment!  I can't wait to see my new friends again!  Here are a few shots from the Fashion Show and the event! 

I have big plans for next years event!  I hope to help plan and organize this great fundraiser!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Back to "Normal"

After 8 months I'm proud to finally say...

Today marks the end of my 8 month reconstruction journey!  I'm officially done!! Thank you to everyone who sent their love, support and well wishes during this chapter of my life. I want to thank Eric, my loving and devoted husband, who loves me no matter what I look like!  I KNOW that we will have a LONG and HEALTHY life together!
I can say without hesitation, this has been the best thing I have EVER done.  I'm proud to say that I have kicked breast cancer's ass!  I feel empowered and strong!  I am looking forward to sharing my story with other women and helping to empower them to save their lives!  What a HAPPY day!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just call me HEAD Coach

A few months ago, while I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with all of my "free" time in Penang, I decided I would try my hand at being a swim coach.  This seemed like a natural fit for me.  I've been swimming since I was 6 months old, when my mom took me to the YMCA and started me in lessons.  I feel like I grew up in the pool and started competitively swimming at 9.  Many of my summers as a kid were spent in a pool or in the lake. I remember one summer where my brown hair turned blonde from all of the chlorine or the next summer when I had perpetual "swimmer's ear".  My love for swimming has followed me to adulthood and all the way to Penang.

Back in August, I was in need of a purpose and some kid time.  After a few rough weeks of really missing Candlelight Ranch and the children that we work with, I realized that I needed to get some face time with kids.  I had been helping one of the kids at our condo with her swimming and her parents had been encouraging me to become a coach.  So, I emailed Dalat, the International American School here.  Their principal, Brian, and head swim coach, was super happy about my request to help coach.  He was especially shocked to find out that I'm willing to volunteer since I don't have a kid at the school. 

Practices started in mid September at TAR University where we swim in an outdoor Olympic size 50 meter pool.  The pool is huge and 50m is a long way, especially when you are 6.  On the first day of practice, coach Brian sent out an email to the rest of the coaches and named me, HEAD coach.  Seriously, I was a bit surprised but up for this challenge. My intention was to help coach the team and fill up a few days a week with water and fun! 

Since our first day of practice, I have enjoyed every minute of being "Coach Jenn."  I love watching kids swim hard, learn and have fun.  I have 37 swimmers ages 6 to 18 on the team.  We have kids from all different levels and everyone is getting better every day!  I tend to jump in the pool every practice to "demonstrate" a stroke or a drill and the kids love it! (The real reason I jump in the pool is because it's hot, but I don't tell the kids that)

Coaching has really solidified my passion for working with kids and providing space for them to learn and have fun.  I feel like I have "my place and my thing" here on this island.  I have big plans in store for swimming in Penang....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yoga Wednesdays

It's not a big secret if you know me, I love yoga!  Since I cracked my hip about 5 and a half years ago, when Fling, the horse, flung me out of the saddle over a jump, I've been practicing.  My yoga practice has grown and changed over the years but has always supported me where I'm at.  So now here I am in Penang, with lots of time for yoga.  Unfortunately, I haven't found too many yoga studios here that have classes at times that work for my schedule and my body.  I have been using almost daily and I love it!  I can chose the type of class I want and the duration.  If I feel like a 15 minute stretch or a 120 minute sweat-a-thon I can find it there. 

Despite my love for Yoga Glo, I've missed the community, kula, of being in a class.  Well just as the universe would have it, about the same time all of us NIer's moved to Penang, so did Meredith and her family.  Meredith is a yoga teacher and mother from New Hampshire.  Once I heard this I was so excited!  I couldn't wait for us to organize a class and practice.  Meredith teaches Bikram Yoga, which is generally practiced in a hot room, 105F and the same sequence of poses are done at each class.  Back in Austin, I attended one "hot yoga" class and thought I was going to die.  I left that class feeling weak and sore and swore that this type of yoga was not for me. 

Well, Bikram Penang style is fabulous!  We have traded in the heated room for an outdoor patio overlooking the ocean.  It's awesome!  The class is challenging and I sweat like crazy.  My legs are sore but my body feels strong.  We get to listen to birds singing and the waves crashing on the shore in savasana.  Today was our second class and I am so grateful to have found a kula to practice with here.  I will continue doing my regular yoga practice at home but I am really enjoying the newness of Bikram!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oktoberfest -- Penang Style

Last night Eric and I joined a few other NIers for some beer at a new German Restaurant, the Berlin House.

Before going out, we were discussing our plans for our trip back to Austin in a few weeks and how we can't wait to drink a large, cold and proper Spaten Oktoberfest draft from the Flying Saucer.  Well, little did we know that we could quench our thirst right up the road in Straits Quay.  For a mere RM68 each, we bought a legit liter mug full of Penang's finest Erdinger Dunkel.  Yum!