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Feelin’ 22

Luckily there was no major blizzard on my birthday this year (although it was pretty close!!)

I was so excited for the seventh this year because as a gift for Ian and I, his mom got us tickets to the Killers concert! We’ve both listened to them since probably the seventh grade so it was pretty exciting. I started off the day with a cup of coffee before the rest of my family was awake, and then once Morgan was awake we went downtown for Marylou’s coffee and to look at the canal. It was FREEZING so we sat in the car the whole time.

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I opened presents from my mom and got ready for the day- we left for Boston around 1!

After we checked into the Boston Park Plaza, we went to the Thinking Cup for, yes, another cup of coffee. I was over-caffeinated the whole day and was pretty happy about it. An americano for me (or coffee water as Ian called it) and a French hot chocolate for Ian! He normally wouldn’t want to sit in a coffee shop for as long as we did, but since it was my birthday I got my way 🙂

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Then we went back to the hotel to catch up on the Jaguars game and get ready for dinner and the concert! I honestly can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to, but it was a bit further from the Garden because everywhere near it had almost a 2-hour wait. Just a nice, healthy dinner for the two of us!

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I can’t even explain how awesome the concert was. The Killers are SO GOOD in person, and they played all my favorites (Mr. Brightside, Smile Like You Mean It, All These Things That I’ve Done, When You Were Young, …) and Ian knew the words to every song 🙂 I’m so glad everyone stood the whole time because it’s way more fun that way- We were there for over 3 hours but it felt like a half hour, it flew by!

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After seeing the line for the T, we opted to walk back to the hotel in the cold. I was glad we did though because we got to walk through Boston Common at midnight with nowhere we needed to be!

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Safe to say that this was one of my favorite birthdays yet, filled with all my favorite things to do, and favorite people to be with! I’m very, very lucky 🙂

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Washington D.C. and Hershey Park

I’ve left this recap waiting for way too long, but I remember everything we did so well because it was so much fun! Julia and I only had two full days to visit with Kayla, so we packed each day with stuff to do. It was great to see Kayla after leaving from Granada, we missed her so much!!

Our flight left Boston early on Saturday, so I left home extra-early, but I was excited and I knew Julia would be down to get coffee with me right when we got to the airport. The flight was so short and comfortable 🙂

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Since we arrived in D.C. so early, we pretty much had the whole day to head into D.C. and look at some of the monuments. I’ve seen the monuments before but they’re still so fun to go admire and take some pictures.

Although it was freezing we stayed outdoors for a long time! But eventually we went to another coffee shop to warm up and get a snack.

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I could have sat in there for so long, but we had plans to go to the Simthsonian. I love that most of the museums in D.C. are free to go to, it makes for a much cheaper trip!

After spending some time there, we went to see the White House, the front side! I hadn’t realized that everytime I’ve been to D.C., I was looking at the back of the White House, weird.

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Since I was with my friends from Granada, we wanted to get tapas for dinner and found a wine bar called Barcelona! It was a very pretty restaurant, and despite the cold we ended up sitting outside by the heat lamps and with the blankets the waiters brought us. We ordered a smorgasbord and four different tapas to try.

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We got back and had wine in Kayla’s hot tub- really living the dream 🙂

Sunday was all about chocolate! We went to Hershey Park, which had everything from lights to roller coasters to reindeer. If you ever go to Hershey Park, you have to get the hot chocolate because it was the best I have ever had! We asked one of the workers how they make it, and they told us it was just the mix and hot water – but it tasted SO much better than Swiss Miss.

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I actually almost went on one of these but chickened out at the last second…20171217_170345_Film2

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We didn’t need to leave until noon the next day, so we slept in and Kayla made cinnamon buns while we watched Home Alone 🙂

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The flight home was just as easy as the flight there, and pretty soon we were back to Boston!

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Friendsgiving and the Hot Chocolate Run

The Works does all their coffee for $1.80 and on Monday mornings I am all about it, so when I have time I gather all my things and head here for a few hours at the start of every week. This week I finally have the time to go because last week was assignment-heavy. But here I am, two 10-page research papers, 2 short essays, and and exam later – still breathing!

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On Saturday I ran a quick 2.5 miles and went to Northampton at 10am to pick up Molly and my bib numbers for the Hot Chocolate run the next day! We wanted to get them early because although you can get them the day of the race, it is always chaotic and stressful because this race has thousands of participants. I went by myself, since the rest of the UMass world is dead on Saturday mornings. It was surprisingly easy to find a free parking spot, and after getting our race bib numbers, I got  a coffee from Share Coffee Roasters. I went window shopping with took me all the way around Northampton. All their Chrismas decorations are up and I just love it.

After work, Molly came over and we went to Friendsgiving! I made stuffing, and she brought cinnamon bread. Julia, Molly and Joo hosted it at their apartment, and there was so much more food than I was expecting!! We had veggie casserole, mac and cheese, stuffing, rotisseri chicken, mashed poatoes, rolls, and sweet potatoes. But that didn’t even include dessert. We had Molly’s cinnamon bread, pumpkin pie, mini apple pie muffins (with a cinnamon roll crust), and pudding shots! We also watched Elf while we ate and ended up having so many leftovers.

Molly and Julia set up with Cranberry Moscow Mules table and they were really good!

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On Sunday Molly and I headed back to Northampton for the Hot Chocolate Run!!! We did it last year and it was so much fun, so we made sure it was on our agenda again for 2017. The best part about the race is that it benefits Safe Passage, a domestic violence shelter. This year they raised $615,000 to battle domestic violence! They took my picture even though I looked like I haven’t slept in 10 years…

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I didn’t plan on running the race very hard, but once it got started I was running faster than I normally would, races are too exciting. There were a few steep hills going through Smith College around mile 2, but I kept moving and ended up finishing in 25:41, which is 8:15 per mile. I was pretty happy with that after having not run much since the marathon. I got my new mug and went to wait for Molly. She said she felt really good during that race too!! Maybe the cold weather is good for racing.

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Before I went to work for the afternoon we picked up Lindsey and got breakfast sandwiches at Brueggers. I ate like total crap this weekend so I’m really excited to eat some vegetable this week and get back on track. The holidays are such a hard time for me to balance healthy eating, and I did not do great with that this weekend. But I still had a lot of fun with all my friends, went to work twice, and got to run a 5k, so I won’t dwell on it too much!

Have a happy Monday everyone 🙂

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Philadelphia Marathon Recap

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I need to write this all down before I forget everything! I RAN THE PHILADELPHIA MARATHON. That I will remember, but the little details not so much.

My training plan began way back at the end of July, when it was hot and sticky every day. I used the Hal Higdon Advanced 1 training plan, which I was nervous would be too much for me, but it was just challenging enough where I could tell I was getting better and stronger with longer distances each week. There was a long run once a week, which began at 8 miles and ended with 20 miles in the peak of training. I missed some workouts, I switched some days, but for the most part I followed the plan exactly.

The last two weeks of the plan were the taper. I thought I was going to love it- relaxing, eating a lot, and not running very much. I was resting, but I forgot that I hate to rest until that week came. I usually use running to get rid of my anxiety, but this was the one time that I couldn’t use it. But I trusted the plan and I was definitely rested by the time it was race weekend!

We planned a lot for the weekend before Thanksgiving- Ian got tickets to the Lehigh vs. Lafayette football game on Saturday at noon, and the marathon was the very next morning. It was raining all Saturday but still really fun because it is the oldest college rivalry in the country! Ian’s friends were all around to come with us, and I got a coffee to keep my hands warm while we watched. 20171118_132250_Film1

We left the game a little bit early to get on the subway to Philadelphia. It was an hour ride in, but much easier than dealing with traffic and parking, it also brought us right to the race expo which was super helpful! I had been nervous all week, but once we finally arrived in Philadelphia it was only excitement. I was talking so much (and shaking a little too). The race expo had our bib numbers, snacks, shirts, magnets, mugs, bags, headbands, socks, shoes, and anything else a runner could think of needing.

We ordered a pizza on the way back from the expo, I took a shower, and we slept at Kylie’s apartment that was only a short walk away from the start line. I thought I would be way too nervous to sleep that night, but I must have been really worn out from all the driving that Ian and I had already done that weekend.

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I fell asleep in seconds, and it only felt like a few more seconds when my alarm was going off at 4:45. I wanted to be up early to have a cup of coffee and a piece of toast with plenty of time before the start. Ian went with me to the start at 6:00, it was only a 10 minute walk but it was RAINING. It wasn’t supposed to, but there wasn’t much I could do, I just didn’t want to be too cold when the race began. Ian gave me a jacket to wear while I waited, but unfortunately I had to leave it behind when the race started. I waited in the porta-potty line until the race started, it was so stressful! As the race got closer, the lines were rearranged and people were starting to push and shove to get to the front. I finally got to the front and was able to get to the start line, with only 5 minutes to spare!

I took one picture before we began- 30,000 runners each with 26.2 miles to go! They sent us off in waves so people don’t trample each other, so the elites went off more than 10 minutes before me.

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My running hat flew off from the wind right at the beginning, and there was no going back for it unless I wanted to be trampled by a stampede of marathoners.

Miles 1-10 were actually fun! I know that sounds weird but there were so many fans lining the streets, and everything felt loud and upbeat. A lot have them had really funny and creative signs, my favorite was “run like someone just called you a jogger!” Once I got to miles 10-13 there were a few hills, but nothing major. At the time it felt like a lot because it was such a flat course.

Once I got to mile 15 I started eating some of the energy gels I was carrying with me, by this time I hadn’t stopped at any water stops (which might have been a mistake looking back on it…) and then we began the long out-and-back part of the course that ran along the river. I didn’t really notice how windy it was until I got to this point. The 6.5 miles to the turnaround point felt like I was running in place against the wind. This stretch really made me feel the pain that the marathon is all about. I started to stop at each water stop and take in some Gatorade. The Gatorade helped a lot, and I think the sugar in it kept me going from water stop to water stop. I have never gotten sore during a run before, but I guess there has to be a first for everything! Everytime I started running again my legs were screaming NO.

The two miles from 23 to 25 felt like an eternity. I felt like I was going to keep moving forever and never reach the finish. Luckily by the time I got to mile 25 the crowds were picking up again, there were more fans, signs, sounds and cheering! I took out my headphones for the last mile because I wanted to take it all in. People were cheering my name (it was on my bib number) and the excitement of reaching the finish got my legs moving a bit faster again. I finished in 4 hours and 16 minutes, starting off at about an 8:45 pace and ending at almost a 10-minute pace. I definitely hit the wall too early, but I finished and that was the goal! I also got cold immediately after finishing, but during the race I was sweating and seeking out shade whenever possible. Morgan said I looked pale because there was so much salt on my face.

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After crossing the finish line I was the most sore I’ve ever been, and following my family to the brunch spot was kind of a struggle. I also had no appetite, which was a surprise because I really only ate a piece of toast the whole day. Instead I kind of felt like I was going to throw up, so I ordered an apple juice while everyone else got breakfast sandwiches. After we went to take a few more photos, we headed out on our 6-hour journey home. On the road I got a steak and cheese sub, chocolates, and tortilla chips. I got hungry so suddenly and wanted all things salty! I was so looking forward to sitting on the couch for the few days before Thanksgiving and catching up on Stranger Things.

It was such an incredible experience, and it was so fun to have my my family, Kylie, and Ian come to watch and make signs! Philadelphia was very good to us, despite the cold and the wind 😊 I haven’t run more than a mile since the race, and I don’t really plan on it for a few more weeks (except for the Hot Chocolate Run, of course).

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Happy Place

I took a week off before I started work again, and now we’re in the full swing of summer! It’s hot and humid, but I try not to complain too much because when we get back to school it’s pretty much 7 months of COLD.

This little blog I’ve been writing is really fun, and I love to go back and see all the things I’ve done (especially while abroad), but to be honest I’m on the free plan which means I’ve used up almost all the space I was allotted with pictures and text 😦 My dad and I will hopefully be able to build myself a website before I go back to school, but it takes more time than I had thought, and we are busy! So this will be it for blogging for a little while, but I wanted to put on some pictures from the beginning of the summer before I forget 🙂

I’m all set with cold water, cold coffee, and ready to write.

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When I got home from Spain (a long two days of traveling), Ian picked me up at the airport with all my favorites: peanut butter pretzels, COLD coffee (finally!), and Take 5 bars. I was nervous about “reverse culture shock” but I have a lot to come home to, tons to do, and I feel totally happy being home. I’ve been able to run with my friends, take walks with my mom, celebrate my dad’s birthday, have fires with my friends, go to Chowderfest, watch fireworks, go to the beach with my family, sleep in late, swim, read a lot, visit my grandma, mini golf with Tristan and Amelia, take Ian’s dogs to the pond, and there’s still tons to do.

I missed you, East Sandy Beach!

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I missed my grandma too, especially the fantastic way she cooks bacon 🙂IMG_5104

Starbucks gift cards come in handy when you work in Mashpee Commons 🙂IMG_4936

We’ve been to the canal to run/bike a lot lately! IMG_4956IMG_4989

Nana at the beach 🙂IMG_4991IMG_4992

Chowderfest was so fun! I thought Mattakeese Wharf had the best chowder (2nd place), Ian liked the BBC best (3rd place).IMG_5062

Mrs. McCartney’s birthday was overcast but that didn’t stop us from playing tennis and going to the beach at least for a little!IMG_5075

Some of our 4th of July crew! We started out in Scituate for the day and ended up in Sandwich for the fireworks. The parking lot was closed so we walked about a mile to the beach, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Plus on the way back we didn’t have to carry all the wood with us.IMG_5119IMG_5129

Thai food ❤IMG_5145

And the San Diego cousins came up, we missed them!! IMG_5155

Low tide in Scituate = walking out SO far and still only being up to your ankles.IMG_5168IMG_5176

Lucky Finn’s cafe in Scituate has the best cold-brew coffee. Sometimes I miss the Quarter Deck, but if anything had to replace it I would definitely choose a coffee shop.IMG_5192

I always ask Ian if we can take his dogs for a walk somewhere, and we finally got to go to the pond 🙂 I don’t think he would have gone if Amelia hadn’t convinced him, but I’m glad we went because I got to see Ella with energy!! Ian said she doesn’t play fetch unless it’s in the water and he was so right.IMG_5222IMG_5227

I just think she’s so cute (and probably really sore now).IMG_5238

Father’s with Morgan! IMG_5285

Also, my marathon training began on Monday, and so far so good! Training right now is really hot, so I try to get it done early in the morning. I’m hoping that running in this heat and humidity will make runs feel so much easier when it cools down in September.

So far I’ve read 4 books I’ve read this summer, but I want to get to 8 or 9:

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And The Girl on the Train!

The past few days have been so humid, so when my mom went to work yesterday I dropped her off and went early to the beach to go swimming. It felt so refreshing to swim in the morning and to have the whole place to myself.

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Goodbye for now! 🙂 Hopefully I can find a way to blog again before the school year begins!

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Lookouts & Farewell Supper

I have the apartment all to myself this afternoon because Julia and Joanna wanted to do the Arab Baths before they left Granada, and I had already done them with Ian before. I needed to write a blog post and study anyhow, so the quiet is definitely a good thing for today 🙂 Today is my roommate’s 21st birthday so we are going to celebrate tonight! Our host mom bought a ginormous carrot cake (I wish I was a fan!) to have with friends too- it’s going to be a really fun evening.

Today was my last day of classes in Spain! Next week, we have finals and not much else planned. We’re getting to that point where we keep saying oh my gosh this is our last time crossing that bridge, or meeting these people after class, or hiking up to the Alhambra! There’s a lot to cross off the list before we leave, so we’ve been up to something after school everyday.

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On Monday, I had a really nice 5.1 mile run. I haven’t been running far lately, so it felt good to actually get a good run in. In the afternoon, my roommates and I walked up to two different lookouts- in fact the ones we came to on our very first day in Granada. Joanna won’t see them again (she leaves TOMORROW to see her brother graduate high school), so we did our walk before supper and before the sun went down. It was a pretty night and I’m glad she talked Julia and I into going even though we had big presentations to get ready for.

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On Tuesday we went to Carmen de los Martires, a free part of the Alhambra walking grounds. We found some new places and ended up walking around 5 miles! I had run 4 miles beforehand so I was really tired by the time I arrived back at the apartment.

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We saw a ton of peacocks (“pavos reales” in Spanish which means “royal turkey”). They were everywhere, I was so scared to go anywhere near them but everyone else was for a while and the peacocks didn’t really do much. They are way bigger than I realized, but I warmed up to the situation after a little while 🙂

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On Wednesday I ran 5 miles and then went to the park after class to study and read. I’ve only just started reading The Girl on the Train and it is so, so good! I was a little slow getting into it, but now I can’t stop reading which is a little sad because I don’t know what I’m going to read on the plane ride home. I was going to try and read it slowly but that is just not happening with the rate I’m going.

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The Farewell Supper for our program was at a fancy restaurant with a view of the Alhambra that night! It was the actually last time everyone would be all together. There was a lot of amazing food and we had the chance to talk to people we don’t hang out with all that often. Croquetas, fruit salad, kebabs, potatoes, and cheesecake were all on the menu!

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I’m clearly not too keen on leaving in a week:

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And yesterday after classes we were all going to meet up at Parque Federico Garcia Lorca to study and hang out. I hadn’t run yet, so I ran the 2.1 miles to meet everyone there and added on an extra mile along the river! I like point A to point B runs, they make things a little more exciting. We may have talked a little more than we studied, but we all knew that was going to happen!

Thanks for reading, have a relaxing weekend 🙂

Travel

Cádiz Beach Weekend

After a relaxing morning on Friday, we were finally off to Cadiz with our program! We have been waiting all semester for this beach weekend and I was more than ready. With finals next week, we have all been feeling the pressure to study a lot and finish up projects while at the same time trying to enjoy our last two weeks in Spain. It can be a hard balance to strike sometimes. Julia and I usually compromise by doing our studying at a new (or old) coffee shop.

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The bus ride was long, more than 5 hours. But we made it there in time to check into the hotel and watch the sunset, which was gorgeous! It seriously looked like a postcard. We walked down the beach as it was setting, and there were a lot of people out running. It made me so excited to go for my own run the next morning! Two guys asked me to take their picture of them running with the sunset and I think it turned out pretty amazing if I so say so myself 🙂 I wish I had it!

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I woke up with the sun around 8, put on my running clothes, and headed out! I had 3 miles planned but quit at 2.5- it was SO humid. I am not used to it at all and I was sweating profusely. I ran along the beach and it was so nice to break a sweat before they day began.

After a cold shower Kayla, Ashley and I headed down for breakfast and I was most excited for the coffee! They brought it fresh to my table with hot milk, it was a really nice hotel with a really nice hotel breakfast 🙂

We walked far down the beach afterwards, probably 2 miles each way. Kayla gave me her old fitbit, what a great pal 🙂 So I have been tracking my steps and it is so helpful to getting me more and more active! I definitely want to go on more walks during the day to hit my daily step goals. During the walk there was nobody around because it looked like it was about to rain (maybe that’s why it was so humid while running!) They sky looked so stormy and it started down pouring on our way back. Wooo beach weekend!! It was actually kind of fun being the only ones on the beach in the rain.

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In the afternoon the sun came out and it turned into the perfect day, so we all laid out in front of our hotel and the water. I started to finally read The Girl on the Train, we buried Joo in sand, and ended up going swimming even though there was a lot of seaweed at the front. I got taken down by a monster wave, and hit the bottom so it actually hurt pretty bad. I swallowed a bunch of salt water which felt horrible-I haven’t gone swimming in waves like that in a long time and I forgot how dangerous it can actually be! Safe to say we only laid out for a little bit longer before going to get water and take showers before supper.

There was another beautiful sunset on Saturday.

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On Sunday morning I skipped my run. The hotel bed was so comfy, so I let myself soak in the 4-star-hotel-loveliness until coffee time. I read my book in bed and watched the sunlight fill the room. And anyways, I was proud of myself for even getting out on a run the day before!

My friends and I met up at 10 to have a slow breakfast and yup, head back to the beach again. I will shamelessly admit that we did not do much else besides soak up the sun, walk the beach, and people watch. It was the perfect last trip of the semester to relax. It was so nice to just have time to talk about life and be with all the friends I have made this semester.

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We all grabbed a bite to eat before getting on the bus back to Granada! We had one stop for a mini hike in the middle of it to break the bus ride in half. We stopped at El Torcal de Antequera. It is a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range in the province of Málaga. It is known for its man-made looking landforms, and is one of the most impressive landscapes in Europe. It was so beautiful it looked fake!

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We got back to Granada to finish up some work before Monday hit us, and now we are in full-blown finals mode! Today, I gave a long presentation about the healthcare system in Spain, something I never would have thought I would have been able to do! Only 11 more days in this beautiful country!