So I guess it's time to bring you up to date on What I Did Over the Summer. I took six weeks off, and had a life-altering experience. I went to an Archeological field school in Ireland, to work on a project called 'Castles in Communities'.
We (around 70 of us) worked in a tiny village called Ballintubber, which is home to the remains of a medieval castle. It was rainy, cold, muddy, warm, funny, hard, fun, tiring, overwhelming and utterly wonderful. We were embraced by the people of the village. On our days off-site we hiked the most beautiful and ancient sites in Ireland, we wore the same gross clothes for days on end, and we developed blisters on our blisters. We shared houses, bedrooms, germs, friendship, stress, music and food.
And it's the food that, as a nutritionist, that I specifically want to mention. As you probably know, Ireland is famed for its spuds - and little old Moi, who has learned over the years that the starchy stuff just doesn't sit well on a 5 ft 2-inch frame, somehow got sucked into the vortex of their sticky, dense, carby, crack-like appeal. The Power of the Potato!! They were so good! Mashed, roasted, fried - many times our evening meal consisted of potatoes two, or even three ways. My guilt lasted about two days. I was like a junkie for that white, fluffy stuff.
By the time it was time to leave the project and come back to work, I had not only succumbed to the spuds, but to the other starchy delights of the world. On the last day, with my bags packed, waiting to go to the station and back to the USA, I found myself sitting in the kitchen of our shared house, eating a sandwich, made with white bread, butter and mashed banana. It was a surreal moment, as I realized the drug-like addictive powers of these pure carbohydrate foods.
I arrived home ten pounds heavier, and twenty pounds wiser - this experience taught me that the brain will manipulate our behavior, and for some of us, 'everything in moderation' is just not useful advice. For some of us, we just have to sigh and let go of the starches/wine/gummy bears/potato chips or whatever our individual weakness happens to be. Wave them goodbye and wish them well. Along with the extra poundage.
I must add though, that getting back home and into my regular routines has taken care of the ten pounds - thankfully, old habits die hard, and that goes for good habits as well as bad. Whew.
Anyhow, here are some photos of my Irish experience, including me looking a little deranged on a hike to Maeve's Tomb (she was an ancient, powerful queen). Her tomb is vast and beautiful, and the locals still carry stones up the hill to place on the cairn, and honor her. She must have been quite the woman.
I have other work-related news, and will post about that soon.