I’ve ran a total of 200 miles! – MazRuns600

Sport

I’m running a total of 600 miles for VSO ICS who are sending me on a voluntary trip to Kenya in September! I’m running everyday and adding up the miles to a grand total of 600 as that’s he equivalent to the width of Kenya, wowzaaaas. See more here 😀

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And read about
my first 100 miles here!

Now I’ve completed 201 miles, meaning I have 399 miles to go until I reach my target. I’d planned to have a little bit more completed by this date but I’ve had to force myself to rest at times to avoid injury. I’m so impressed and pleased with the support from everybody and the donations so far, so a massssssive, genuine thank you if you’ve donated. You guys are da best.

In 3 weeks I’ll be adding 26.2 miles as I’ll be completing a full marathon. Ahh even typing that freaks me out a little. This will be my first marathon but hopefully not my last. It’s the Isle of Man Marathon on 9th August which just happens to be my 21st birthday. So obviously donations are welcomed in place of presents 🙂 And instead of a boozy night out in the evening, I’ll probably be in the bath with blistered feet and sore knees..

The past 100 miles (basically since my last blog post about it) have been nice but challenging as I’ve done a few long runs including 2 half marathons. I’ve hiked, jogged and sprinted. I’ve listened to a lot of Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Strokes, SBTRKT, Mumford and Foals. I think its time to retire the indie/folk/rock and get back to my RnB and hip hop!

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Any marathon runners got any advice for me?! I think I’ll feel a bit underprepared until I can go and stock up on more gear back in England and actually train without the fear of passing out in the crazy heat. Yeah I’m still complaining about the heat, sorry!

Last gentle reminder of why I’m doing all this; for this fab charity VSO – ‘Voluntary Service Overseas  is an international development charity with a vision for a “world without poverty” and a mission to “bring people together to fight poverty“. VSO recruits professionals to work as volunteers, living and working alongside local populations in developing countries. Founded in 1958, VSO has sent over 50,000volunteers to over 140 developing countries.’

click the button to go to my JustGiving page;

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Thanks y’aaaaaaalll.

Mary x

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#MazRuns600

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The novelty of travel.

Murcia

To play while you read 🙂

I feel bad for my baby blog. Yep, lots of bloggers describe their blogs as their baby. I get where they’re coming from but mine is so neglected that if it were to be an actual baby, social services would’ve taken it off me weeks ago. But yeah I feel bad as it’s been put on the back burner whilst I’ve thrown myself into running and everything that comes with it as well as work, Kenya preparation and generally enjoying Spain. Anyway, let’s see if I can keep people updated for the next few weeks whilst I temporarily move back home and do boring adult stuff while everyone else is excited by the thought of a summer holiday.

That’s the thing with living overseas; I’m now getting into my head that it’s likely I’ll have to return to the bright lights of Welwyn Garden City for a month or 2 every summer or winter. This is to give myself to recuperate, see family, sort out my possessions, go to the doctor, make some money and plan my upcoming trips. Oh and see friends aha. This is a blessing and a curse as I hate the thought of not fully moving out (even though I’ve only been at home for about 5 months in the past 3 years!) but I guess it’s good to catch up with everyone/everything.

So I have a week left in Murcia, Spain, and I know it’s going to fly by. For everyone asking; I leave for Kenya on September 23rd so you have 2 full months to see my pretty face! As always towards the end of a trip, I’m having a reflective moment – mainly because I’m poor so am sitting at home doing a whole load of nothing. I’m thinking about the novelty of traveling and how I think it’s worn off. Most of my mates are now graduating and a lot of people are planning trips to exotic locations because of all this new found freedom they have. It’s cool but I can’t help but be a bit jealous of their excitement! It’s like anything else; once you’ve done it for a while the honeymoon period dulls down and it becomes more of a routine. You don’t wake up early and plan your outfit and make sure you’ve got your packed lunch ready and message all your friends before work everyday like you might have on your first day. Because after a while, going to work is just routine. It’s normal.

This is almost how I feel about traveling. It probably sounds dumb as each new place is different and I’ve only seen a very small percentage of what the world has to offer, but in my head most travel is pretty similar; like the actual travelling and preparation takes up most of your time and energy and the gorgeous sunsets, fun days surfing, bizarre meals etc that you post to your social media is a tiny part of the whole picture. I’ve been looking back at videos we use to make in Namibia and South Africa and things were just so much more exciting to us! Every little part of it was new and fun and now I kinda know how it goes. The getting up early for trains, flights and weird ferry journeys. Getting bitten by half the cast of ‘A Bugs Life’. Packing and repacking and then realising you have way too much stuff, repacking again 10 times. Arriving in a new place with the wrong currency. Not knowing the language at all or knowing enough to hold down a conversation but not knowing enough to form your desired opinion. Awkward opening hours and overpriced bars. Noisy guys in your hostel. Cheap clubs but full of creeps. Bloody selfie sticks.

Of course most of being overseas is ah-maaaa-zing and I like totally love the ‘GARP YAH’ life and slowly fulfilling my life goal of being a crazy hippy lady living in the forrest and braiding my hair. But sometimes I feel a bit ‘over it’. I’m not desperate to take photos, videos, keep a diary and every ticket stub I collect. I don’t care for a selfie in front of every landmark (That’s a lie actually) or telling all of my close friends where I am or what I’m doing in each new location.

BUT HEY I hope that just means I’m ready for a change.

Kenya will hopefully prove me wrong that travelling can get a bit same-y.

Kenya is going to be about others and less about my own mood so let’s see how it turns out. I’m excited for the new challenge and to be working in a big group. Who knows if they’ll be annoying me with their over-excitement for the trip and treating it like one big instagram opportunity or maybe they’ll inspire me with their energy and make me feel like one big ungrateful whiner. I hope they’re nice and have the same good intentions for the trip as I do!

I’m also thinking about life after Kenya. Many have commented that I’ll probably stay longer and be reluctant to come home, but due to visas and my general lack of money I doubt that’ll happen. I’m desperate to go Central America to surf, chill and improve my very very basic Spanish. Who knows if I’ll go through with it as my plans pretty much change on a day to day basis. I’d like to go with other people but not as a ‘oooh we’re travelling. Let’s pack our go pros and chocker necklaces!’. So any non dickhead takers for a year in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Brazil (olympics!) and maybe Jamaica please raise your hand…

Errrrm, I think that’s me done. Please let me know in the comments if you ever feel the same or even get what I’m going on about?! I’m super grateful for what the last 3 years have handed me and I’ve fallen in love with so many places I just think this weird lull in mood and motivation happens in my last weeks in a place. I really and truly love living in Spain but I’m ready to land back in the UK and for my dog to jump into my arms and watch Disney movies in bed without having to worry about crap wifi. And maybe even see a cloud or 2.

Maz x

 (me crying as I left Barcelona. lol maybe the novelty hasn’t worn off)

A night in Alicante

Murcia

Kloe, Jess and I took the bus to Alicante on Saturday to see Alex, Antonia (and her brother Alex who was visiting) and Betty – fellow erasmuserrrrs. The sun clearly didn’t want to say hey and we had rain and no umbrellas, cue using beach towels to get to Alex’s to get ready for our night.

I let Kloe do my make up and had actual eyeshadow on my actual eyelids like an actual girl. Kloe’s a make up wizard so managed to make me look half decent, what a star. I got a bit of apartment envy as the places in Alicante are so much more modern than our granny flats in Ye Olde Murcia… And Alex’s living area is probably bigger than my whole flat, not fair. We headed back to Antonia and Betty’s to pre drink and meet some of their friends. We had cups the size of our faces and more people to pre drink than the room really permitted. A few hours later we headed to Marmarela, a cocktail bar basically on the sea. I blanked out as soon as we arrived like everyone else because those cups really were ridiculously big, so don’t remember much of what it looked like but I know it was preeeetty.

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The place felt like a mini festival, was free to get in and the music was actually banging. Me and Kloe head banged for way too long and now have sore necks still 3 days later which is pathetic. The DJ kept looking back at me, if I gave him a thumbs up he seemed satisfied and got back to playing music, weird.

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We were all having a really good night until Kloe told me the police were there and drama had begun. I won’t go into detail but things just esculated quickly; a few were covered in blood, I heard a lot of arguing with the police in Spanish and then the ambulance arrived. Drama drama drama. This random ordeal went on until about 7am, then we rejoined at KFC, I ate the batter from other peoples chicken because I’m such a good vegetarian..

Anyway, apart from the unnecessary police & ambulance drama we had a pretty good night. The Alicante girls are so lovely so I hope I get to see them again at some point in the UK.

People are starting to leave Spain now because the term is over which makes me emosh, basically, I wish everyone lived in Hertfordshire so I could pop by for pesto pasta and rubbish games of ring of fire.

Mary x

Hiking in Librilla

Europe, Murcia, Sport

I’m sure most erasmus students in Murcia have visited the tiny and deserted town of Librilla already but as always I’ve gotta be late to the party (plus I only arrived a month ago). But no ones bothered by the old town church or endless orange and lemon trees, everyone comes for the hike up the hills to see this amazing view of the lagoon. Then to go down to swim in the blue water.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Courtney, Nina and I got the 20 minute train to the town of Librilla yesterday; Courtney kept telling us empty this place was, but she was so wrong on this occasion. People filled the streets, cars beeped us out of the way and everyone and their daughter was out and about dressed in their best church wear. We headed towards the mountains, maybe getting a little bit lost on the way but we were pretty chilled. Eventually we reached the path that we knew was going where we wanted. We passed endless lemon trees; seriously Spain loves their lemons. I picked a few oranges from a tree and they were almost definitely the best oranges I’ve ever tasted, a watch dog barked us away and we carried on up the hill.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Detouring again, expecting to see water and just ending up with views of the town and a whole lot of rocks, we backtracked and finally ended up with a beautiful view. And a load of guys in trucks maybe a hundred meters away shouting ‘guapas’ at us. The descend to the water was definitely a lot more difficult than our ascend for the beaut view (and mini picnic of pizza crackers).

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Jumping through long grass and avoiding massive dry bushes was easy in comparison to sliding a few feet onto our bums because of loose rocks. I landed weirdly on my ankle too and imagined dying there, with one yank and one South African in the middle of a quiet town in Spain, how tragic. But I was actually fine (dramatic thoughts). Somehow we made it down, all alive, to the water. I blew up my rubber ring (always totally at one with nature…), we stripped off and swam in the water crazy blue water. The ground is pure clay so it feels gross to go in at first but you get used to it. As it was time to get out I covered myself in clay because I’m all about that baby soft skin.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

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Getting out of our little lagoon area was actually pretty tough and the best way to do it was to just go go go without stopping even though the hill was mega steep. We were literally grabbing vines and prickly flowers to stop us from sliding all the way down.

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I may or may not have braved the barking dog to ‘borrow’ some oranges and lemons on our way back into town. Cue fresh lemonade when we got home. Nina and I were absolutely knackered when we got in and our plans of a late night out were replaced with moaning about our aching muscles and bitching about wacky Eurovision entrants. Over 8 hours of walking and swimming had caught up with us.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

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Anyhow, such an amazing and surprisingly tiring day.

Mary x

p.s. see all the photos on my flickr hereeeee

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

1 week in Murcia

Murcia

Everyone in Murcia comments on how there’s nothing to do here; it’s kind of true but part of the fun. You’re not overwhelmed with tourist attractions and worried about not fitting it all in. It’s just chilled.

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I’ve been here a week now, of course it feels like it’s flown by but then when I look at what I’ve squeezed in it makes sense that I was jetting off from England 7 days ago.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.24.36In my first week I’ve; moved in to a new apartment, been to 2 job interviews, met and taught 3 new students, done 3 hair braids, visited 1 beach, consumed my fair share of sangria and gross shots, danced to cotton eye joe with some crazy yanks, signed up to the gym, navigated my own way around most of the city, been to 1 student festival, booked tickets for another festival (aaaaye up years&years, 2manydjs, Morrissey etc!), dyed my hair, temporarily scared a few with my botched hennas, been rained on whilst trying to eat dinner, been woken up by the Spanish remix of ‘murder she wrote’, been woken up to the sound of continuous gunshots that turned out to just been weird play bomb things, been excited at the thought of Nina coming to visit, dodged rollerbladers, watched more than enough Louis Theroux documentaries, booked flights to attend an assessment day (planning my next move), seriously considered buying pet rats, met a bunch of new gals and guys (mostly english oops), people watched from my balcony, seen a double rainbow, sun bathed and generally had a wicked time.

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Don’t worry mum & dad (not that you ever would), I’m keeping busy.

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I don’t know what else to add apart from the fact that I’m feeling veeeeery grateful and if anyone wants to visit and join the LOLz (and you’re not a psycho…) you’re more than welcome to.

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Mary x

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First day at work & henna lols

Murcia
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lesson planning on my balcony

So I think my interview at the language academy went well the other day (as planned). They offered me around 5 different students with the potential for more and maybe even my own intensive class, woo!

The owners of the academy are literally the friendliest people ever and have even been helping me with other Spanish stuff, not work related. Which is super sweet of them.

This evening I had my first day (I mean hour.) of work teaching English with an older student, let’s call her Sue.

Sue is at elementary level and explained she can understand more than can she can speak, so we started off with the very basics before using shop role play and picture cues to practice describing other people, talking about her daily routines and buying clothes in a shop. I wasn’t really nervous but definitely apprehensive about my first lesson but luckily it went really well. We both relaxed and the hour flew by, Sue said she really enjoyed the lesson which was a massive sigh of relief for me.

I walked home, had a quick chat with mum (she’s in Mallorca with my dad and sister) and headed to Kloe and Jess’ for wine, milka, hair braids and henna tattoos. Let’s say we got a bit carried away with the temporary tattoos…


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plus more that I didn’t take pics of.

Mary x

Explain why you’re in Spain?!

Murcia

Holaaaa.

Next country – ¡España!

Paris update –  A lot of things mildly got me down in Paris; the prices, the weather, the day to day harassment, the difficulty of going out and getting home without waiting around hours and hours for a bus or the first metro. That’s not to say I didn’t love living there because I bloomin’ did. I can honestly say I’ve been lucky enough to live 8 amazing months in a vibrant city that most only dream of exploring as more than a tourist. I didn’t have a dull weekend, explored endlessly and feasted my senses to some of the best art, food and culture in the world. And that’s all before I even mention the friends I made. Without gushing on and on I just want to put it out there that since September I’ve made the best friends EVER. Seriously, where have these girls and guys been hiding my whole life?! We all shared this experience together and making friends for life is probably the best and most unexpected thing to come out of it. So thank you everyone who made me laugh, fall over in a club, smile, cringe or just relax and have fun in the past 8 months. Once in a lifetime trip.

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Anyway, after bidding au revoir to my pals I listened to Honda and changed the situation

Next step.

I’ve moved to Murcia in the South of Spain today to join Kloe (pal from Paris) and some of her friends for a few months. I’m renting a room in an apartment with a German girl and another girl from Bolivia. It’s not a huge apartment but there’s a large bathroom and living room as well as a balcony so I’m happy with it 🙂 And rent is flippin’ cheap. I’d choose chilling out here in the sun to paying 4 times the amount in a big city any day (I’m talking about you London).

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The job situation is very relaxed; I’ve been in contact with a few language academies to show my interest in teaching English, 2 seem keen so I’m heading to my first interview this afternoon to see if the loose opportunity they’ve offered me still stands! I’m feeling pretty positive about it so I have in my head that I’ll have some set hours by the time I leave the office.

My first 24 hours have been equally as chilled (mainly because the gals were mega hungover yesterday and I managed to catch up on about 2 weeks of interrupted sleeping). We ish watched Game of Thrones; yes I broke my GoT virginity, dunno how I feel about it yet – maybe too many nipples on show and not enough jokes and trips to the mall for my liking. My flatmates are super chilled and friendly and I’m loving having a balcony to people watch from. I went for a walk this morning to see my side of town (I’m over the river so a bit separated from what I saw last time) and did a little supermarket shop, no dramas as of yet. Kloe took me to the gym to sign up this morning so I have at least 3 months commitment to at least attempt to get fit again.

I’ve got some boring errands to run; getting a local sim card, sorting language lessons, paying the last bit of my deposit and finalising jobs but thats the fun of moving countries! I’m actually feeling pretty content with life in this moment (cringe cringe cringe); did I get ridiculously lucky or is it in my nature to make situations work to my favour? No exams, no debt, my biggest stress is that I can’t drink the tap water, everything’s in walking distance, my sisters a ferry ride away and the tequila is cheap.

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Bring on the next few months señoritas

Mary

besos

Todays mood – Florence and the Machine, Shake it Out.

Maz in Murcia

Europe

Holaaaa,

I think it’s fair to say I had been feeling a bit crap for the few weeks before these holidays; it was January, unbelievably cold, everything seemed more expensive than ever, I’d felt sick, I’d been working hard on a little side project and was drained, I was missing friends (and my dog, probably more than is socially acceptable), the school run was a big stress since the Hebdo incident and for most people the novelty of living in Paris had worn off. Obviously you’ve gotta expect that; you can’t always be amazed by where you’re living, you’d run out of energy. But once the magic wears off and the reality sets in you can’t help but imagine going somewhere else or starting something new. I’ve also realised that I’m a massive whinger. I find faults with everything because I just want it all to be perfect ALL the time. Hmmm unachievable goals eh. So, sorry if I’ve whined to you in the past couple of weeks, I’m over complaining now I promise! 

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Anyway, back to Spanish adventures! Murcia kinda went like this… 

 

I ran, shopped, we ate pizza for €4.50, listened to uptown funk more times than I can count, danced on bar tops (apparently…), cooked turkey burgers and wedges, walked into mirrors and got laughed at, ate tapas, danced to Prince, watched Gogglebox, put flowers in my hair, drank beer in 1 litre glasses, danced some more, had drunken walks home, drank too much tequila, borrowed a bride-to-be’s veil, got some free pizza, went to Alicante for the day, climbed a big hill, rescued a caterpillar, walked through giant mushrooms, visited an old castle, taught the Americans our English slang, learnt that Americans have so many different words to us, learnt that northerners have so many different words to us southerners (doofer?!), witnessed a pretty bright rainbow, sang, ignored street sellers, sat on the beach and left just as it was getting sunny, walked along the marina and lusted after luxury yachts, paddled in freezing water, went for a drink with a fellow WGCer, ate more tapas (cute deep fried squid), mocked segway goers, found our long lost left handed Leo friend, came to the conclusion that left handed Leo’s are the best type of people, went to the cheesiest student bars, laughed at it all the next day.

Basically Murcia was a big ‘Dafuq happened last night?!’ few days and I looooved it. Kloe was the bestest host to clumsy (& possibly a bit drunk) old me and her friends are the sweetest, funniest people in the world. I felt like part of their little Erasmus family after 3 days and I was actually gutted to leave. Miss Klo and everyone already. Not fair. 

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Mary

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LDN & journey to Murcia

Europe

Shopping in St Albans with Sheri, G and Aunty Doreen was well deserved; I hadn’t rummaged through TK Maxx in way too long. It rained, we went home and Sheri and I ended up going to see 50 Shades of Grey at the campus along with lots of 30 something women who’d obviously left their husbands at home to come and giggle at this ridiculous film. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet but I’ll tell you that we just laughed the whole way through. It was a major cringe fest. Rita Ora’s (non-existent) part was definitely a highlight for us…

On Tuesday we went into London to be tourists for the day (I honestly feel like a tourist in London now because i’ve forgotten where everything is. oops). We went to Shoreditch, Oxford Street, Knightsbridge and then back home from Kings Cross. Vapiano’s for lunch; the best salmon carbonara evaaaa.

Wednesday morning I was woken up at 3am by G and mum being angry at me for some reason. They dropped me off at Stanstead and I made my way through security. Stanstead is a miserable airport and my hour and a bit of waiting felt like forever. Plus point though, my plastic bag of liquids was used as an example to show the rest of the line (LOL thanks G). Then I was fully patted down at security and had to stand in a 360 scanner because my dungarees had multiple metal buttons and I probably looked a bit dodge because I had so many layers on.

Flying with Ryanair wasn’t the most luxury experience but I landed in Alicante and got a 5 euro coach to Murcia where my friend Kloe from Paris is living. I’m a bit rubbish at knowing where I am and it took me a few hours to realise I was in Spain and not France. It’s sunny (compared to London or Paris) and so nice to be in a new place again.

I have lots of photos to add to this post but I’m on my phone and it won’t let me, cry cry

Mary x