15 Months In – An Expat Update!

Hello hello world!

Well, it’s been a while since I posted about what James and I have been up to—in part because (again) it’s mostly been the boring stuff, like studying/working, eating, training, sleeping… Casual life stuff. That being said, there have been a few cool adventures we’ve been up to lately that are worth sharing.

The last weekend in August saw James’s first big endurance event, the three-day Hotter’n Hell Hundred, a mammoth effort across Friday-Sunday which constituted an event each day: a 20km trail ride on Friday, a 160km road ride on Saturday, and a half marathon (21km) on Sunday. Talk about some distance covered! No one will be overly surprised to hear that James did an amazing job, and it was a wonderful learning curve for him in terms of how best to approach future events… Fortuitous, considering that he has some doozies coming up.

I stayed at home studying on the Friday, but we were up just after 0400 on Saturday to leave the house at five: it was still dark when we arrived in Wichita Falls and I was ready to start eating my snacks! There were so many people present to do the ride, or variations thereof (as they offered the 100 mile as well as 100km, 75 mile, 50 mile, and 25 mile options), that finding a park was challenging, as was weaving through the thousands of assembled fluorescent lycra-clad bodies and endless lines of expensive, high-end road bikes. James set off just after 7am, with the morning clear and a bit cool, and his spirits high… possibly because of this corgi, which I know was responsible for at least some of my good cheer!

Getting excited as we got closer and closer to the kick off.

This dog was ready for ADVENTURE.

I met up with James at the 60 mile mark at about 11am, when he was looking cool, calm, and collected… and then reunited at the finish line, where, after having not eaten enough throughout the day, he was a little less so! Despite the tough day—as I said, some lessons were learned about the best way to approach the next event—we got James fed, saddled up, and despite a few cramps on the drive home, back safely to Lawton for some hot-cold therapy and a big-ass plate of homemade lasagne.

Sunday was another early start–rude, considering that we never get to sleep in during the week!–for James to run his half-marathon, which he crushed in just over 2 hours, sailing over the finish line looking cool as the proverbial cucumber and saying that he ‘had fun’ (what? Weird, I know).

Our very cool Hotter’n Hell James Montage!

All in all, it was a loooooong weekend, and I really needed a few days in the week following… But James not only had fun, he’s already prepping for the next one: his first half-ironman is next Saturday! In wonderful news for all concerned, James’s dad, Bob, gets into OKC on Friday for a quick visit with us on his way through on business; conveniently, Bob will be there to hang out with me in the spectator’s area and cheer!

In other news, we’ve been trying out some new looks at the dining table of an evening:

I don’t think it’s supposed to fog up like that…

As you can see, we’re practicing our mask placement and breathing through our mouths as we prepare our brains to get masked & snorkelled and explore the great blue! Our initial scuba diving certification is being run next week, and we’re excited! It is, of course, liable to make our lives a little busy: after some research and investigation, James decided that the standard of training available in Oklahoma City was higher than that in Lawton (hardly surprising really). We’re pumped to get this cert—BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO HAWAII IN JANUARY!!—but the evening classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday run from 6pm to 9pm… And are about a 90-minute drive away. So it’s going to be a challenging week!

James taking our pet armadillo for a walk: it seemed very happy to meet us!

It’s all-too-easy to forget to commemorate milestones in this long trip away, but we’ve been living in the USA for 15 months now: we’re at about the halfway mark of our 2.5 year sojourn in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, there are ups and downs—we miss beaches, and fish & chips, Australian food (like lamb!), and our wonderful friends and family back home—but all in all, I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance for this adventure together.

A short update for us, but I have yet another large essay that needs writing, and I’m sure there’ll be more news next week after our scuba learning adventures!

–Ana.

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