Finding Our Comfort Zone

Finding Our Comfort Zone

We've been in Amsterdam for a week and I feel more relaxed here than I've felt since we left Kauai almost four months ago.  The sensation of having just taken a deep breath and exhaled came over me as soon as we arrived, which is saying something following 16 hours of flying and a 7-hour time zone change.  I've been pondering why that is while I'm riding along the canals of this gorgeous city or running through its numerous parks and I think the reason is threefold.

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Life on the Road

Life on the Road

Japan is our first destination where life really is different.  New Zealand and Australia are easy - everyone speaks English and but for a few cultural nuances, its really not that different than America.  While parts of Tokyo feel like New York City, it really is wildly different here, starting with the fact that we can't read the vast majority of the signs and information displayed throughout the city.  

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Nomads in New Zealand

Nomads in New Zealand

wo and a half weeks into our time in New Zealand, I'm happy to report that the country is as stunning as everyone says it is and that we are generally having a lot of fun.  I was a bit worried coming here because everyone we spoke to about NZ just gushed about how it is the most beautiful country in the world, we would want to move here, etc.  

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Travel Notes: Sydney

Travel Notes: Sydney

Sydney, you have stolen my heart.  Rob and I repeatedly remarked that it reminded us of favorite elements of other cities (e.g., set right on the water with numerous ferries like Seattle, quirky neighborhoods like Buenos Aires, warm weather like L.A.), but that Sydney possesses all of these attributes rather than just one or two.  You can work downtown and take a short ferry to a nearby neighborhood where you could swim and surf after work and all without sitting in hours of traffic (I'm looking at you, L.A.).  

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Hawaii Finds

Hawaii Finds

We aren't acquiring much aside from memories on this trip, but that doesn't mean I haven't been making notes about cute things we come across in our travels.  I found a few gems on Kauai, the first of which was Jonas Claesson's surf art, which I already shared.  Anna tipped me off that I should visit Kokonut Kids in Hanalei, which didn't disappoint.  A few of these brands I spotted there and a few I found elsewhere on the island.

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Trail Sisters

Chelsey and her kiddos visiting me and Blythe

Chelsey and her kiddos visiting me and Blythe

Chelsey and I first met at Molly's Restaurant in Hanover, New Hampshire.  Rob had just started his first year of business school at Tuck and someone suggested we should meet since we were both engaged to be married in Colorado in the summer of 2008, avid runners, and lawyers or lawyers-to-be.  We sat at the bar, chatted about our weddings, sized up each other's running abilities by comparing PRs, and instantly became friends.  I lived in Boston but spent many weekends in Hanover.  Whenever I was in town, Chelsey would should me another incredible running trail.  I've run in many breathtaking places, but I can vividly recall our fall runs through the colorful New England foliage with Watson (her trusty black lab) nipping at our heels and nothing compares to the sunlight streaming through the glowing leaves and the warmth of the sun when there is a chill in the air.

We only overlapped at Tuck for one year.  Chelsey moved back to Denver and we stayed in New England, but we kept in touch and when we decided to move to Denver in 2010, she was one of my first calls.  When I interviewed for jobs in Denver, we ran the evening prior to my full day of interviews -- and it turned out one of my interviews was at the firm where she had a summer internship.  Soon we were co-workers in addition to running buddies.

Like everyone, we both led busy lives.  The constant thread of our friendship was running. We might not have time for a boozy dinner or a movie, but Chelsey is the only person (literally) who can drag me out of bed when it is dark for a run and, more importantly, a conversation.  There are things you share on a long run with someone that you just don't share any other time - a comfort in the quiet of the trail, the nature surrounding you, and the safety of someone you know really gets you, acknowledges your vulnerability, and knows that sometimes the best response is no response.  With Chelsey, the miles just ticked by (and there were miles, many of them).

The kindness that Chelsey showed me is unforgettable.  I hope that I was a good friend to her as well, but I can only remember the myriad ways she has been the ultimate rock for me.  There is, of course, the every day support of a friend, but then there are those times when there is nothing to say but you need someone by your side more than ever - when we first learned of my infertility issues, when Quinn died, and when I had a miscarriage in the spring of 2016. In the midst of her own personal struggles, Chelsey was always there.  She was the first friend at my side in the hospital and she kept checking in, asking me to meet her to do things, and pushing me to realize that even though I felt like I couldn't go on, I could.  When I told her in the spring of 2016 that I needed something to take my mind of another loss, she crazily agreed to run a marathon with me in a mere six weeks.  After we signed up for the race, she came over at 4 am so we could log 20 miles together on a weekday before work.  She always knew to text just to say "hi" on days when I was feeling down or to drop a surprise note in the mail to lift my spirits.  And when we hugged at the end of that marathon in June and I had tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face (plus sore quads!), Chelsey understood.

At the finish line of our marathon, laughing so hard that we fell over - Chelsey set a personal record in her last marathon.

At the finish line of our marathon, laughing so hard that we fell over - Chelsey set a personal record in her last marathon.

When I think of myself with Chelsey now, it is in one of two ways: either we are on a trail run somewhere together (mostly at Apex, where we ran often) or I'm watching her with her kiddos.  She had a gift as a mother that I'll admire forever -- she could be silly and spontaneous and adventurous and it was so clear in every moment how much she loved her children.  She embodied the idea of living every day to the fullest in every aspect of her life.  And I think of her at night when I sing to Blythe and rock her to sleep and count myself the luckiest woman on earth to be here to rock my little one to sleep for one more night.

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Chelsey would be 36 today, February 24th.  She tragically passed away last August.

With Chelsey, just days before she gave birth to her daughter

With Chelsey, just days before she gave birth to her daughter