Tag Archives: Emotional

And So I Said “Yes!”

Have a seat.  make yourself a nice cuppa.  Get comfortable. I’m going to tell you a modern love story.

Four years ago I got involved in a message board at a rather famous webcomic’s website.  I was playing games and posting about politics and generally being a typical citizen of the internet.  I made some friends and we all started hanging out together in an online chat room.  And it was there that I first started talking to my E.

 

I had just finished a long term relationship and was not looking for anything more serious than friendship.  He was still finishing up his Doctorate Thesis and wasn’t looking for anything past the end of school.  But we spent the nights and evenings talking about everything and anything.

 

Ideal vacations on a train through the outback, having dinner beneath the shadow of Uluru and counting the stars.  Singing songs from Broadway musicals and laughing when one of us (him) got the lyrics so horribly wrong.  This was all about three years ago. And then one night, something strange happened.  As we were saying out good nights so that I could sleep and he could make dinner, he slipped. And the words “I love you” came out of his mouth.

 

He panicked. I panicked. We both ignored it.  But then time passed and the words just seemed to be so very natural.  He slipped and said it again.  And then I slipped and said it back.  And then the whirlwind of absolute insanity happened.  Within months he was flying to the States from New Zealand to spend a week with me in DC. That time went far too quickly and we arranged to see one another in Seattle later that year.

 

And once that trip was over, my fate was sealed. It was only five months after having only spent three weeks total with him that I shoved my belongings into two suitcases and got onto the airplane to come to New Zealand.  I have been here for over 19 months and it’s like the time has both flown and stood still.  So much is happening in life that I could never have imagined.

 

Our happiness has only grown, our comfort is immeasurable, and our certainty unshakable.  So when we took the trip to the States this summer/winter it was not a surprise that he asked my father’s permission for my hand.  When we came back from the trip things continued as always.  But there was now an anticipatory excitement happening.

 

Then, about a month ago, I was daydreaming over rings online and E said to me, ‘let’s go out this saturday to look!’  So I found a few local jewelers that I liked their websites and found their addresses.  We went and spoke with a couple but the one gentleman in Devonport was astounding.  He was polite, professional, educational, and overall excited.  We left his store and looked around a bit more, but by the time that we got home, we knew that he was going to be the one.

 

So I started to tell E just what I wanted so hat he could call the jeweler, at which point E just told me to do it because I knew what I was talking about and he was clueless.  So I called and emailed the jeweler and we set up an appointment to come back and see him on the next saturday.

 

We got to his shop and he had spent his week searching for the stones for my ring.  I fell in love with them immediately.  E nodded and smiled and we decided on the ring and the setting. E and the jeweler settled on a two week period of time for the ring to be finished.

 

And so time passed. one week and then another. the days moved so slowly.  But then we got the emails from the jeweler.  Our ring was ready!  So this past saturday, October 20, we drove back to Devonport.  And my ring was there and it was gorgeous.  I tried it on and it fit absolutely perfectly.

 

And here is the next modern part.

 

I went to put the ring back into the box, so that E would be able to hide it and propose in his own time.  But he told me that I could keep wearing it, so I did.  We went and spent the afternoon with some friends at a campsite up north and then spent the rest of the weekend packing.  I kept offering for him to take it so that he could propose, but he kept telling me to leave it on. So I did.

 

And then, last night, after a particularly long night of playing Civilization 5 on the computer, we were getting ready to go to bed.  As we’re climbing tinto bed and settling into our customised cuddling positions, E said to me, “So I can’t think of how to make it a romantic surprise. I’ve been trying, but I just come up blank. So, do you want to get married?”

 

And so I said, “Yes!”

 

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Getting Back Up

Hi!

 

Have you missed me?

 

Well life has been a series of busy lately, and while all of it has been fantastic, none of it really lends itself to being ‘blog-worthy’.  Or at least, not in a way that I can think of just yet.  So what has been happening in life down here in kiwiland?  Well, let me tell you.

 

A couple weekends ago two of our really close friends got married.  It was an absolutely fantastic day, the ceremony went off just as was planned and the Bride and Groom had a great time.  I was so very happy to be not only invited but to also be a part in helping them plan and get ready for their day.  Having only known them for a few months, it’s truly amazing just how close we’ve become.  I can’t express enough or in the proper words just how humbled and grateful I am to the pair of them for allowing me to spend time with them and share in their joy on that day.  Love you both R&K!

 

This past weekend, another pair of our friends moved into their new house! And we, of course, helped them move!  Now, I know that does not necessarily sound like a barrel of laughs, and it was some hard work, but it was also absolutely great.  We got to spend time with friends, help them move onto their next big step, and generally just enjoy everybody’s company.  And while helping them move, unpack, and settle into their new place, I had time to look back, reflect, and focus on just how far this life that I’m living now is to the ones that I’ve lived before.  Doing physical labor, but laughing and joking at the same time. Everybody coming together collectively to help out, and then sitting around a table (which is gorgeous!) for a well deserved dinner.  I am struggling to figure out if life gets better than that.   The house is gorgeous, the couple fantastic, and our time spent together equally precious.  Congrats R&E!

 

What else, what else.

 

The job hunt is not so much a hunt as it is shooting arrows wildly into the forest in every direction, only to have them shot back at you with no points and no fletching. Not helpful.  But! perseverance will prevail!  Employment will be gained! Somehow.

 

Now, the biggest new thing happening to me personally is that I’ve committed to a Personal Trainer. Tom is going to be kicking my butt left, right, and sideways twice a week for 45 minutes.  After 7 months at the gym, and a significant amount of body tightening up, It was time to get even more serious.  I’ve got weight I want to, must, lose and it’s not going to come off on it’s own.  And while I’ve stuck with going to the gym at least twice a week for 7 months, I need something more. I need to keep pushing myself even more, harder than before.  I must lose this weight.  The rest of my life depends upon hitting that healthy moment and then keeping going.  And that’s not an exaggeration.

 

Today was my second session with Tom and everything went well.  Really well, actually.  But it was the last ‘exercise’ that got me into a contemplative mood.  Essentially all I had to do was lay down on the ground on my chest and then stand back up again five times, and then lay on my back and get up again five times.  Sounds simple, right? Wrong.  It was definitely not easy.  There was so much involved, just so much energy and movement and muscles.  It was by far the hardest exercise that I did.

 

Just like life.  It’s fairly easy to get knocked down time and time again.  It’s the getting back up that’s the hardest part.  And all of this, the man who is supporting me, the friends that I’ve found and love, and the gym, this is all part of me getting back up off the ground.

 

And this time, I’m going to remain standing. And then, start running.

Botany 10k Walk

Yeah.  You read that right.

 

10k.

 

Just about 6 miles.

 

And I did it. I set myself the goal and I completed it. Smashed it. Demolished and obliterated it.  I looked my goal in the face and I scared it into the atmosphere.

 

After crying, and whimpering and almost quitting, of course.

 

The day started out cloudy and overcast.  When we got to the race venue (which is really just a large mall/shopping center) we could see that a huge amount of rain had already come through earlier, and the sky looked to be promising more.  It was a bit brisk for a summer morning and the air was damp and humid.  So not the best thing to be walking in, but better than clear blue skies and sweltering heat.

 

The race started at 9am on the dot, there were just over 600 people there men, women, and children.  There were folks with their babies in strollers, a gentleman in a wheelchair and a father and his special needs son in a stroller.  And me.  I started off strong, matching my pace with a pair of older ladies and just keeping up.  but they soon passed me, and then more and more people passed me.  But that was alright, I was fine.  I knew that there were still people behind me.  I made it through the first 3k without any problems.

 

It was around the 3.5k mark that things got difficult.  My feet were hurting, my back was aching my knees wanted to give up.  I started to cry. I could not believe what I was doing to myself. What in the world had seeped into my brain to make me think that I had anywhere close to a chance to doing a 10k walk?  I hadn’t even hit the halfway point and I was ready to die.  How could I go around and do it again?  And then, just as I was hitting the absolute bottom of depression, the knowledge in my mind that I just could not do this thing anymore, E was there.  He had found the 4k point of the race and was waiting for me with fresh cold drinks (powerade) and encouragement.  I stopped my crying, picked my head up, and instead of turning into the finish line, I kept on going straight to start the next lap.

 

I was alone.  Completely and utterly alone.  There were no more walkers in front of me that I could see and try to match with them.  And turning around I was completely by myself.  I could see nobody.  It was just me and this course.  And the cones.  And the cars.  And so I turned up my music and I walked. And I walked. And I walked some more.  I cursed and I yelled and I chided myself.  I hated my life and everything that I was doing but I kept on moving.  Had to keep moving.

 

Got to the water station and looked at the kid behind the table, I jokingly told him that I thought I was last.  He confirmed that I was.  He told me to take a break, take a rest, have some water.  But I had to keep going, I had to keep moving.  I couldn’t stop, not even for a brief breath and some water. If I stopped moving then, I would have stopped completely.  And so I moved on.  Full of the knowledge that I was the very last person out of 600+ to be out on the course.  The very last.  Everybody was waiting on me.

 

And even that knowledge, and the fact that I knew that I would show up last and everybody would know that I was completely incapable of doing this, did not slow me down. I kept going, kept moving. Singing and dancing and walking and cursing and crying.  I was soon joined by one of the race helpers, those blessed people who get up early to stand along the route of the race and cheer you on in their bright orange vests.  She joined me to ostensibly keep me company, but also to keep an eye on me and make sure I didn’t collapse.  Also, my own personal traffic cop.  Because there were still intersections to get through and cars to avoid.  Let me tell you a personal traffic cop is a handy thing to have when all you can do is concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

 

One kilometer to go and there was my E again, waiting with yet another cold drink and more encouragement.  So for the last kilometer of the race I walked with E and this orange-vested race lady.  It was quite something.  And as I got closer to the finish line I was greeted by more race personnel and they all offered congratulations and adulation on my continued effort. I was last.  But I had still made it that far.

 

I turned down the roadway towards the finish line and as soon as I appeared in that area the remaining racers and their friends and family all erupted into cheers and applause.  The MC of the event, a guy from the local radio station, announced to everybody that I was coming down the home stretch.  He announced me by name.  And the applause and congratulations and approval got even louder as I crossed the finish line and the clock stopped.

 

2:00:41

 

I was hurried over to a chair where the race workers took off my bib and put it into the box for the spot prizes and they removed the timing chip from my shoe for me.  I was then allowed to move into the crowd, where even more people offered personal congratulations on completing the race, and they decided to do the spot prizes and the big prize drawings.  Oddly enough, we were joined by some friends.  They had done the 5k run and had no idea that I was even there, but they heard my name over the speakers and were surprised and happy.  The prizes were awarded and then we left to go home.

 

I hurt. My entire body was aching and I could barely form complete sentences. But I had finished my goal, beaten it to the ground.  I had told myself that if I could finish this race in under 2.5 hours, I would be happy.  I blew that expectation out of the water.  And I was still alive and still breathing.

 

The applause from the other participants was the biggest mix of emotions that I have felt in some time. Pride in my accomplishment. Shame in how long it took me. Embarrassment at the attention. Guilt that it took me so long and everybody was waiting for me before the event could move on.  But mostly just relief that it was over. And then pain.

 

It’s two days later and I can say that even though I have blisters on both feet and my ribs ache as though I’ve been dry-heaving for days, I am glad that I did it.  I set myself a goal and I achieved that goal.

 

Now, I rest a bit, get my feet healed, and then back at the training.  I’ve got another big race coming up next month!

 

This one’s only 8.5k though.  Only. Hah!

I Can Almost Reach….

The sky.

 

One of the first things that I fell in love with down here in New Zealand, other than E, was the sky.  It’s one of those visceral feelings that you get when you first get off the plane and look up, especially on a mostly clear but still fluffy cloudy day.  There is just so much sky up there.  And the color of the sky is so amazingly crisp.  And the clouds are so very close.  So very close.  At times it really does feel like you can reach up and touch them.

 

Now true, there are trees everywhere, and the land itself is so very green it could probably give Ireland a run for the money.  There are mountains and valleys, and parklands as far as you can see, with old stately trees reaching to the sun, their trunks thin and twisty.  But you look at them, even with the moss growing on the branches, and the multitude of wildlife and birds that you’re not used to and once again your eyes are drawn up and up and up to the sky.

 

It goes on for seemingly ever.  particularly if you’re standing at the top of a hill.  You can see everything on a clear day.  Sure, there are trees and hills and houses all around you, and the occasional tall office building, but all around that, there is sky.  And on some days, the color of the sky is unreal, unimaginable. You sit and you look at it and somewhere in the back of your internet filled mind you think to yourself, “This has to be photoshopped”.  But it’s not!  The sky really is that brilliant azure blue that you only usually see in children’s drawings and tourism guides.  And the clouds.

 

The white fluffy cumulus clouds that we learned about in high school.  The ones that mean fair weather, but could turn to storm clouds as well.  They are huge.  Fluffy and white and they go on forever.  They feel so very low, but they are still the same clouds that you know are not the lowest point (nimbus clouds hover lower if I remember correctly.  And of course Fog).  But they are just so very close.  And so very dramatic.

 

That’s right, fluffy bunny clouds are dramatic.  The way the light hits them, the way the curvature of the moisture has formed.  There is always a new way for the light to play against the clouds, and it does.  The air is cleaner down here, and the sky brighter, and the clouds more impressive.

 

I was driving over the Harbor Bridge the other day, well ok I was riding on the bus, and I looked out my window over the harbor and towards the city.  The skyline for downtown Auckland still causes me to catch my breath at times.  Something about it is just so very breathtakingly beautiful.  I don’t know if it’s just the SkyTower, or if it’s because the city practically rises up straight from the water, or because of the magnificent vast stretches of sky behind it.  Or if it’s some combination of the above.  But there it is again, the sky.  Any direction you look, it goes on forever.  I’ve heard people make these comments about Montana or Wyoming, but having never been there, I can’t make my own judgements there.

 

I can tell you that on a sunny spring or early summer day, when the weather is just right and the clouds oh so perfectly fluffy white and the sky is that cerulean blue that is considered to be almost perfect, on those days, it really does feel like nothing else in the world could compare to this place at that time.

 

Of course then the storm clouds move in and it begins raining buckets on your head, but that is going to happen anyway because we live on an island.

 

But rain! What about the rain?  Yes, we should talk about the rainclouds, the way they sweep in across the land and how if you know what direction you are facing, you can watch the storm systems moving towards you.  You can see the clouds forming and building and racing across the atmosphere, and even on a cloudy day where everything is overcast, there is still drama in the sky. The clouds build in layers upon themselves, and there are still shapes and forms amongst them.  And every now and then you get a spot in the clouds where the sun has broken through and there is glorious light cast upon everything.  And you can see the storm above your head and to your east, but to the west, there is sunny skies, and that beautiful blue sky.  Even as the clouds are racing overhead and you can feel the rain seeping into your skin, you know, there are sunny days still to come.

 

So while I love this county, and I do love this country, and I love the trees and the wildlife and the  people.  But the one thing that never fails to amaze me is the sky.  Photos don’t do it the true justice, since they only capture that moment.  To truly appreciate the New Zealand sky, you have to live it, watch it, be drenched by it, and then be dried by it.

 

One more thing that I love about New Zealand.

Rollercoaster

Man.

Life can be such a downer sometimes.

No really.

I start feeling like I can move up and on with things and life just pushes me back down with a firm hand.

sucks.

really.

but what can you do?

Get back up, off your ass, dust yourself off, and push back.

There can be tears, it’s ok to cry.

But don’t let yourself be kept down.

Fight.

Stand.

Win.

Ok, so this post started off to be just a normal post and then I started thinking about a roller coaster and I wanted to do a ‘typing format’ experiment, so I forwent my usual doubletap enter button and only single tapped it in order to attempt to give that first bit the look of a roller coaster. Up and down. Up and down. Not sure if it worked or not, but there you go.  e.e. cummings i am not.

But no, emotional roller coasters are a thing.  They happen.  You don’t have to be depressed to go through them. You don’t even have to be female.  Everybody has their good days, their great days, and their bad days. And their really bad days.   Last sunday was a really really bad day for me.  It actually started saturday night and just evolved into a massive mess on sunday.  My brain started focusing on everything that could go wrong. My visa application being denied. Getting hurt. Staying unemployed. Not finding a job that I enjoy. E coming to resent me because I’m not working. Losing focus on this weight loss.  Being overweight to begin with. being thirty and not having a clear sense of anything that I like other than cooking, american politics, and writing.  Also, classical music.  But what can you make all of that into?  A cookbook about american politics?  How would that even work?

But, slowly I got out of it. After bouts of just sitting down and crying for no reason, I slowly fixed myself.  And that happens.  To everybody.  Nobody is perfectly happy all the time. If they were, they’d probably be dead bone of the rest of us poor people would have shot them by now.  I am, in my life now, the happiest I have ever been.  I have a man who loves me, I have some goals that I’m working towards, and I have friends.  I am in so many ways ecstatically happy.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel sad at times.  That I don’t give into those voices in my head on bad days.  That I can’t curl up in a ball and cry for no real reason.  Crying is good for the soul. It cleanses.

What I’m saying is, it’s ok to have a bad day.  You need to have one every now and then.

And then, you need to get your ass back up off the ground, look those bad moods in the eyes, punch them into the oblivion, and focus on getting back to where you were before.   It’s ok to have a bad day. It’s not ok to let one bad day derail everything.

Also, Happy New Year!

Remembrance

of course I remember where I was that morning.  Like most 20 somethings on the East Coast I was desperately trying to ignore the sunlight coming into the window in my dorm room.  I was groggily trying to figure out why my phone was ringing. I hadn’t set my alarm, I didn’t have a morning class.  It was my mom.  Now, when you get a call on a tuesday morning just after the start of your second year of university, something is going on.  Mom insisted that I turned on the television.  Luckily I had one in the room because the roommate had a TV, but we hadn’t gotten the cable hooked up yet so it was a fuzzy picture on channel 3 or 6 or 9 that I got in.  Something was going on in new York.  I couldn’t really tell what.  Mom had to go, but now that I was up and watching tv, she felt a bit better.  My parents always had that opinion that if there was history on, I had better be watching it.  I’m grateful for that for the most part.

 

The picture quality was really crap and my brain wasn’t fully processing what had happened yet, just that something had flown into the world trade center.  Well ok, that’s happened before.  One of the flatmates came into the dorm suite talking about something happening in DC, but again, still half asleep university student.  I remember wanting breakfast. I mean if you’re going to be up at this ungodly hour in the morning, you should at least have some food in your system.  So I got dressed and headed over to the campus center, turning off the tv in my bedroom just after the second plane hit.  Still, not quite registering anything other than I wanted Mike (the grill guy in the food court) to make me some pancakes.  Dude made wickedly awesome pancakes. And maybe a fried egg.  Seriously, guy was good at his job.  So I walk downstairs, well ok, I lie. I took the elevator because I was living on the 7th floor and I’m not a very active person at this age.  Even today I would take the elevator for 7 flights of stairs.   All of the security guards on the front desk and the staff from the housing office are gathered around a TV behind the desk, their mouths open and their eyes wide.  But for me, all I want is pancakes.

 

So I trudge my body across the street to the campus center and there I run into Mike T from the theatre.  Now Mike and I have worked together in the theatre for a bit, and we had some summer classes together, we’re both english majors and he’s cute.  Of course he’s destined to become my best friend at University, but that all happens later.  He asks me if I know what happened, I mumble something about a plane flying into the Twin towers and I was going to get some pancakes.  Holy crap, I really wanted those pancakes.  So I offered to buy Mike some coffee and maybe breakfast (He was a commuter so he’d been conscious for at least a bit, but not yet awake since he’d only had two cups of coffee so far).  So we walk into the campus center and are stunned at what we see.  Everybody is standing around the ‘Pit”, a large area that looks down from the main floor of center onto the lower floor in a kind of mezzanine type fashion.  Down in the Pit there’s a big screen TV.  And this big screen TV is blasting in full color and sound that which I could barely see on my little tv back in the dorm room.  The Towers were both hit (Had I seen a second plane?) and they were both smoking and fire, and holy crap was that a body? And then it happened.

 

I was standing around the pit, my soon to be best friend at my side, surrounded by the other students of this urban campus of every color, religion, background, gender and we all stood and silently watched as the towers fell.  Well, the first one was met with silence, and then the crying started.  And we stood there, our eyes glued onto the television, still not believing what we were seeing.  This was some new viral marketing campaign for some new movie.  Next thing was Toby Maguire was going to swoop into the shot as Spiderman and save the day and the joke was going to be on all of us. No. The second tower fell and the place went numb.  Oh sure, there were people cursing, swearing, nobody could believe what had just happened.  We were staring in shock, stunned into silence and tears.  I think i might have grabbed hold of Mike’s hand or arm, but I don’t remember.  I also don’t remember how long we all stood there for, but I know what snapped us out of it.

 

Cal M, the campus’s events coordinator and head of Student Life stepped out in front of the big screen TV down in the pit.  At first there were yells at him to move, we needed to see what was happening in the world, but he quieted us down  and informed us that as of right now, there were more planes in the air and nobody knew where they were or where they were going.  Our campus was right across the river from Philadelphia.  On a good day from the 10th floor, you could look across the river and see old William Penn pissing on the city.  If they had attacked New York, what was to stop them from attacking the Liberty Bell? Independence Mall? The Naval Yard?  We were all told in no uncertain terms to go home.  If you lived on campus, go to the dorms. If you lived off campus, go home. If you lived on campus, but had someplace else to go, go there. But we were not to stay on campus, classes were cancelled and the school was shut.

 

I never got my pancakes.

 

I remember going back to the dorms, and gathering up some clothes, telling my flatmates that school was closed and that I was going to Jimmy’s house.  I passed on Cal’s message of “don’t be an idiot” to my flatmates, grabbed my cell phone (a delightful virgin mobile prepay) and headed out the door.  I climbed into my car and started calling Jimmy’s house.  His mom answered and I told her to wake Jim up and plop him in front of the television, I was coming home. I had just the one last stop to make before getting there.  For a few months, since April, I had been working part time at one of the grocery stores near Jimmy’s house as a cashier.  Well, we weren’t so much working as we were on strike, and had been for about two weeks at this point.  I wanted to make sure the people on the picket line knew what was going on.  They did, so I headed to Jimmy’s parents place.  I found him, and his mom, on the couch watching the television.  He was still in his pajamas and his hair was still in that awful state of bedhead that just was unfixable.  I dropped my bag in the kitchen and went and sat down.

 

I don’t remember really much else of that day, other than watching Television.  I can’t remember when it was revealed that the terrorists were arabs and not Timothy McVeigh back from the dead to live in my nightmares again.  I remember being confused, scared, and uncertain.  I remember sitting in that living room, watching the television until it became too late to stay awake.  And then waking up the next day and going back to the television. I also remember the days after “That Day”.  I remember going back to campus and listening to the angry Wrath of America and God speeches from my theatre mentor.  I remember all of our muslim and arabic students walking around campus in groups, for their own protection.  I remember the signs, and the posters.  And I remember that moment when the first plane in three days flew over the campus, and everybody stopping, staring, and forgetting how to breathe.

 

I remember going to the picket line a few days later, on the weekend.  I remember the people who had only a week before been bringing us coffee and pizza and sandwiches were now driving by, cursing at us, spitting at us, throwing water balloons and trash and whatever else they could hurl out of their vehicles at us.  I remember the yelling, the angry, high-pitched screaming confrontations of people who thought we were being selfish because so many people had died.  I remember the cashier with the voice of an angel standing with a bullhorn near her mouth and singing the National Anthem and every other patriotic song she could think of while being screamed at for being lazy and a whore.  I remember the huge American flags at half staff and attached to cars, being run ragged and tearing to shreds in the high-speed world of the interstates.  I remember classes starting up again, and the professors saying their pieces and then starting to lecture.  I remember starting work on the next show at the theatre, and I remember going to my dorm every night, thankful for the lack of a television.  And I remember the footage.

 

But I think that this is where I have to diverge from a normal “I remember” post.  I remember all of this, I recall it all as though it were yesterday.  But gladly, thankfully, it wasn’t.  No.  It was ten years ago.  My god I can’t believe that it was ten years ago.  The pain of that morning is still there, the terror of watching those buildings fall, the anger that was everywhere around, and the uncertainty, they’re all still there.  But as with most things in life, with most grief, the pain is less sharp.  There is still a tang of bitterness in my mouth, but it’s not the overwhelming searing ache that it used to be.  And, it was ten years ago.  Look at me, where I am now.

 

If you had asked me ten years ago where I would be today, let me tell you how different the answer would be.  I would have been Rabbi Sarah Priest.  A Jewish woman married to a Roman Catholic man who had gone to seminary school and was a Rabbi.  I would have been married eight years by now, and probably have had two kids.  We would have been living in some city, probably philadelphia and I would have a synagogue that I ran and still done work for a local theatre. Had you asked me about my future on September 10, 2001, that’s probably what you would have been told.

 

But here it is, September 10th, 2011 and I am not a Rabbi. I am not married to a Roman Catholic man with the last name of Priest.  I have no children, and I am not in Philadelphia.  I’m in new Zealand, with a man that I love and he loves me.  He’s not religious, and I’m more spiritual than Religious as it is.  There are no children, and no plans for any in the immediate future.  This was never where my life was ever going to go back then, but my god am I glad it did.

 

So yes, I remember.  and yes, I feel the remembrance deep in my heart and in my body.  No, I don’t think I will ever forget where I was on that morning, or the sequence of events, or the fact that I never did get those pancakes.  But I will also remember that for better or worse that day shaped my country, my family, my friends, and my life and all of that together with all of who I am has led me to be here.  In a country that I love as much as my own, with a man I love as much as life, and happy for the first time in about ten years.

 

For the first anniversary of this horrible day and thing, I can say that I will be better than I was on that day.  I will be happier than I was. I will be ok.

 

I can still remember without being depressed. I can still honor the fallen without wallowing in misery, and I can still live my life as I want to because even though it was a tragedy, life does go on.

 

God bless those who were killed, God bless those who showed up to help.  God bless those who are still struggling to find a place in this new world, and God bless those who are sick and dying because they did show up.  God bless the United States of America, and God bless this beautiful world.

 

And God Bless You.

Besties

There is always that one person that you can count on to be there.  The one person in your life that no matter how long you spend apart, you always start right back up in the beginning again.  A best friend, a soulmate.  Although most people now take soulmate to be strictly for love and marriage and other things, but it may not always be so.  I mean, sure there are soulmates for love, but there can be soulmates for friendship as well.  If I can love my friend and love my lover and love my parents all at the same time, it’s still love.  Different love, but it’s still love.

 

Shaun.

 

Of all my best friends in the world, Shaun is the oldest.  And I’m not just saying that because he is older than me.  But because we’ve been together the longest.  Fourth grade.  I was still pretty much the new kid from Philly, and he had moved from Dover and before that Michigan.  We were the outsider kids.  And the only thing the other one had.  We hung out on the playground and we made up our own world to tell stories in.  I don’t remember half the stuff that happened or half the characters involved, but we were quite the little storytellers, let me tell you.

 

So much so that most of our next few years, we spent every moment we could (when not doing other things like school work) writing a book.  We had it all.  Shaun would come up with the plotlines and I would fill in the holes with the characters.  He wrote the story, I gave it flesh.  We started this book at least three times that I can remember, and finished it, sadly, only once.  And that manuscript was lost to the years.  We would spend hours on the phone going over chapters and stories.  How this character felt about this and that.  And every year we would take a break from this and watch Miss America together.  Over the phone.

 

Yes. You read that correctly.  We would watch Miss America together over the phone.  You have no idea how truly awesome that was.

 

There were boyfriends and girlfriends and relationship fights, and the constant, insane instance from everybody around us that we were dating.  We swore and swore to them that no, no we were just friends.  He had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend, there was no way that we were dating, we were simply best friends.  Throughout middle school this continued on, until after 8th grade graduation, the horrible reality struck.  We were going to different high schools.

 

It turned out to not really be as bad as we thought.  We still spent time together, weekends and some school nights.  There were times when I would have piano lessons at Avenue Methodist and then Shaun would meet me after the lessons and we’d walk down to the waterfront behind the church and sit on a rock there and just talk for the night.

 

Every big moment in my young adult life, Shaun was there.  From the first major breakup with a boyfriend, to the first car accident.  I had been going food shopping for my parents in my little brown pinto.  I had gotten to the corner across from Causey Mansion and was all set to make the left hand turn. I looked left, I looked right, and I went.  But somehow, I didn’t see the large white station wagon.  I don’t know how I missed it.  But we hit.  Their front passenger bumper to my front driver bumper.  The next hour or so was a blur, I remember a few of the other kids from high school driving by and looking but not stopping.  I remember going into the house on the corner to call the cops and my parents.  I remember sitting in the cop car, talking to the police officer and looking out the window across the street.

 

And there was Shaun.

 

He had been coming back from church and had seen the brown pinto and lord knows I was the only person in town with that car so he knew it was me.  So they got home from church and he walked to the accident scene (only about 3 blocks-ish) to wait for me.  I saw him outside and started to cry, finally started to cry.  The cop and I finished up and he let me go over and Shaun and I sat on the grass while waiting for my parents.  He wrapped me up in his arms and just held me as the shock of what just happened and what it all meant started to hit.

 

Shaun has met every single one of my serious relationships. Every one.  The guy that I was engaged to back at University. The Guy that I moved to maine for.  Even Ee.  Shaun has met every single man in my life that has ever become a big part of my life romantically.  He has met them all.  He was home from University on Halloween weekend when I brought Jimmy home.  He was home for a visit from Michigan when Chase and I were down for a visit.  And he was living in Seattle when Ee and I were there last year.

 

To say that Shaun is a huge part of my life is by no way or means an exaggeration.

 

We realized, or at least I did, at some point after high school was over that we had actually been dating all of those years.  We had actually been a couple and that all of those people we kept telling them that they were crazy, were indeed not crazy.  We were.

 

They say, and I don’t know really who ‘they’ are, but they say that you never really forget or lose that first love.  It just grows into something else.  Shaun was my first and longest best friend.  Shaun was my first love and the first guy to ever make me care more about myself than what other people thought about me.  Shaun saved my life on more than one occasion and has always been right there when I needed him to be.  He is the best friend that I know for certain i will be able to see again in five or ten years and it will be like nothing has happened.

 

The hell that I went through the last year in maine, the trauma and drama of finding myself and building myself back up again, the numerous scars, were all helped to ease away by seeing Shaun in Seattle, hugging him tight, seeing him happy and seeing him smile.  Ee did a lot for my healing, and a lot for my confidence, but Shaun finished it off.

 

There is always a place in my heart and in my life for Shaun.  And there always will be.  I’m trying to think of the best way to finish this off without saying something that will set my world ablaze and will not make people go crazy.  But, The best way to end this, is the only way guaranteed to make people think I’m nuts.  But ohwell.

 

I love you, Shaun.

You will always be my best, closest, oldest friend.

You will always be the one reason that I am here now to type these words.

You were the first person to save my life when I needed you most.

You will always be a part of my heart and of my life, no matter how far apart we are.

I love you.

 

My Daddy

There’s all sorts of stereotypes and caricatures out there of the little Jewish girl and her Daddy.  Stories and tales and jokes made about the olive-skinned girl with the dark curly hair, the slightly prominent nose and those xdark brown eyes putting her hands on her hips, stomping her feet and whining in a tone that would make Fran Drescher shudder, “But Daddy!”  And of course the very next part of that story or joke or comment is that the Daddy in question folds and gives the daughter everything that she is asking for.   While I can’t completely deny that I did everything in my power growing up to get things from my Daddy, I can easily say that I never had to resort to such lengths.

 

My Daddy comes from a fairly small family, made smaller even by the family politics that he wanted to avoid. He married my mother and then promptly did everything he could to take care of her and his new family.  He worked long hours when we were growing up and made the hard choice to move us from Philadelphia to Delaware, away from his own mother, to help us get a better life.  We went to good schools, we never wanted for anything.  We were never hungry or naked (except for bathtime), and we went on vacation of one form or another every year.  A fond memory was when we went to Disneyworld for the first time (yes, the first time), My Daddy had set up a scavenger hunt for my brother and I to follow around the house, ending at the VCR where we pressed play and the information movie on Disneyworld started.    There were other vacations too.  Williamsburg, Boston, Cleveland, Scotland and London.

 

My Daddy made sure that while growing up I was being educated well.  I would bring my homework home and after finishing it, my Daddy would go over it with me.  Vocabulary words were always a favorite, as the usual task was to write the word out and then use it in a sentence.  But that wasn’t advanced enough for my Daddy.  Oh no.  The challenge was to use all of the words that week in as few sentences as possible.  I remember it driving my teachers crazy, but it was the challenge that my Daddy set forth for me.  Daddy had no problems helping me with reports, sometimes going so far as to teach me how to footnote and write in styles that i shouldn’t learn for years to come, just to make it a bit more challenging.  Mathematics were always a struggle for me, but I always knew that I could trust my Daddy to help me through them.  Whether it was a new approach to fractions (using a pizza pie), or just help learning my multiplication tables (A deck of cards), Daddy was always there to help me with schoolwork.  And when school became too intense in other ways, Daddy was always there.  The Principals of my schools knew my father and they knew better than to argue with him.  Daddy only became involved when it was necessary, like making sure the Jewish Holidays didn’t count against my absence records. Daddy and Mommy both volunteered every year when I was in the primary grades, coming in around Hannukah and Purim to give a presentation to the other kids in my school about what the holidays were and what they meant.  Daddy even took off from work one day when I was in the third grade to be our chaperone for the school trip to Washington DC.

 

My Daddy wasn’t just amazing when it came to school, but he was also supportive in everything else.  One of the rules that we learned quickly while growing up was that we could ask our parents anything, and we would get the answer.  There wasn’t a time growing up that I remember being treated ‘like a kid’.  Oh sure, there were moments where I was pretty childish, but then every kid goes through that.  But there was no questions that could be asked that would ever result in “you’re too young” as the answer. We had rousing dinner table discussions about everything, from school, to moving, to the assassination of JFK, there was no topic that was considered too adult.  I don’t ever remember having “the talk” with my Daddy, or my mother for that matter, but sex was not something to be hidden or not talked about.  We just never needed to have the talk, it was understood.  I remember the day that I woke up, I think I was just about to turn thirteen, it was two weeks before my birthday and I woke up and went to the bathroom like normal.  Only this time wasn’t normal.  The first person that I called was my Daddy.  I don’t know why, but it never even crossed my mind that it was unusual to do that.  I wanted to let my daddy know that not only would I be a grown up woman in our religion’s eyes, but in the eyes of nature as well.  Telling my Daddy never seemed weird, until years later some people commented that it was just odd.  Whatever, I say to that.  A girl should be able to tell her Daddy anything and have him understand.

 

My Daddy has been very understanding with me, especially as I got older.  I finished high school and went away to University.  I picked the campus that I liked, the school that I wanted, and my Daddy simply told me that he wanted me to be happy.  And when I failed my first semester so hard that it left scars, I called my Daddy and he understood.  He never once yelled, but simply said that I had to do better and he told me that it took him a few years to figure out what he wanted to do.  As the years went on and school continued and one boyfriend after the other rose and fell my Daddy would voice his displeasure, but he never did anything but that.  And his displeasure and disapproval was often enough.  My Daddy understood that I needed to get out of the wing, out of the house, out of Delaware to fully grow.  And so he let me go.  It hurt him a bit inside, but he let me go, because it was best for me.  My Daddy has always done what he determines is best for me.

 

My Daddy is my hero.  He let me discover life on my own and when it became too much, my Daddy rescued me.  He never once told me that I had to live with the mess that I had made.  My Daddy never once pushed me away into the darkness and left me to flounder.  When I thought my life could not get darker, when I was drowning in the inch of water left at the bottom of the barrel, my Daddy fished me out, dragged me to the surface, and saved my life.  He gave me a firm place to put my feet, a safe place to rest my head, and the rock to lean on while I tried to get myself back together.  Never once in my life have I ever said “Daddy I need help” and My Daddy hasn’t been there for me.

 

There’s a thing, with writers, that we try to find all the words to cover everything, to make it clear and true and ring deep into the hearts of our readers.  That’s a difficult thing to accomplish with emotions.  I could write the words, “I love My Daddy” and they would convey the emotional impact well enough, but not deep enough.  There are some things in this world that have to be felt, that have to be truly experienced to understand, not just read.  I am the woman that I am today because of My Daddy.  He raised me as best he could, did everything in his power to guarantee that I had every possible opportunity that I could have ever wanted.  He sent me to England with university, he took me to see stage shows, the circus, Disney on Ice, and a million other things all because it was good for me to have the culture (and because I asked).  My Daddy has suffered through Thundercats and through WWF.  All because it made me happy.  He has put me through University, helped me buy a car, rescued me from my own stupidity, and he has done it all while providing food, shelter, and security for the entire family.  My Daddy has finished his Doctorate and he takes care of his patients, working ten hour days, if not sometimes longer.  My Daddy has run a side business helping to educate urology nurses across the United States and sometimes Canada.  My Daddy has done all of these things, and still been there for when I needed to talk.

 

I have memories that will never fade, of laying on the couch with my Daddy watching football, or the Three Stooges, and eating pistachios from their shells.  Of my Daddy hugging me after my Bat Mitzvah, and of my Daddy hugging me one April in Maine.   Memories of my Daddy at my high school graduation, and of My Daddy driving us through the Scottish Highlands at night.  Memories of dinners at restaurants where it wasn’t needed to tell me to behave, I already knew how.  Of swimming pools in various hotels across the country, of talks about the craziest things from the time I was old enough to have memories.  I have never wanted for anything in my life that I did not get, eventually.

 

I’m far away from my Daddy now, living on the other side of the globe, a completely different hemisphere and time.  I am happy here, I am finally coming into my own being, coming into the point of being who I am.  I can’t give my Daddy the hugs that I would like to.  I can’t make him dinner and try to get him to work on his blood sugar.  I see my Daddy via skype on the weekends, and sometimes that’s enough.  Other times, I miss my Daddy and would like to give him a hug.  But I have to live my own life, make my own way.

 

Luckily for me, I had My Daddy to show me the way.

 

I love you, Daddy.  Happy Father’s Day.

A Good Life

I don’t think that there is too much more in life that I could ask for at any given moment.

 

Do I want to lose weight, yes.  Would that be the most awesome thing ever to get to a weight where I can be able to get around without sounding like i’m slowly dying a thousand painful deaths with each breath? Yeah, that would be pretty cool.  I am getting there, slowly, i’m getting better at making it up and around the hills and walkways around home.  the numbers may not be moving on the scale, but i’m feeling better.

 

I have a man who loves and adores me, he treats me better than I ever even dreamed I would be treated by any man.  He spoils me, he supports me, and he loves me.  And to be honest, there is not much else to hope for out of life other than that.

 

I still do not have a job.

 

But that became a bit secondary this past weekend when I got an e-mail from immigration telling me that my visa was running out in 45 days.  Insert panic here!!  So I did what any person would do,I called immigration.  sure, most people down here work through e-mail, but there are some things that just need to talked about with a real person.  Like the apparently very real possibility that I’ll be getting kicked out of the country.

 

So, what happened was that at the border, the customs agent had a difficult problem getting my visa to scan or get recognized, so instead of grabbing somebody to help her, she just punched me into the country as being on a visitors Visa, as opposed to a working holiday.   Insert frustration here!!

 

Easy fix though! Just head down to the branch office in the CBD and they’ll get everything straightened out.  So today, that’s what I did. And after waiting in the long queue for a bit, I got my paperwork all handled and my visa is now not only the correct visa, but it’s been extended from october to next february.  Of course i’m going to have to reapply for the work visa midyear,but at least I know we have some time to get our partnership thigns together.

 

Insert relief here.

 

So, that is taken care of.

 

Of course, in finally getting the visa taken care of, I have found out that legally I can’t work in a permanent position.  so it’s not even that the companies are covering their own behinds, I legally can not work for them.

 

Which didn’t soften the blow on friday any when i got the rejection email from the company that had actually interviewed me. That, on top of the absolute pummeling my good mood had taken from the visa notice and this was not shaping up to be a good weekend.

 

Enter the boyfriend.

 

He took me out to dinner on friday, we were going to go for Thai, but we found this little Italian place instead, and then we went to the countdown and grabbed some food things for the fridge (mostly eggs, because i’ve been going through them like they’re going out of style lately).

 

Saturday, we went out shopping in anticipation of colder weather.  I got a new shirt/tunic thing, some socks and a sweatshirt.  Plus a scale for weighing me, and a scale for weighing food.  A good day.

 

sunday, another meal out! I know, i’m spoiled.  This time to Tony’s Steakhouse in the CBD, and then a quick trip to Borders to take advantage of their sales.  I got a brand new cookbook for half price!  A good night.

 

 

So what is the moral of all of this?  Well, it’s mainly that even though I haven’t yet hit any of my goals that I’ve set for myself, I haven’t ruined them yet either.  And through it all, I have my E standing at my side, supporting me.

 

And right now, that makes this a good life.  and I’m ready for the next challenge.

Curriculum Vitae

To whom it may concern:

 

I’m an American woman, young though almost thirty, who has moved to these far shores on the off chance that life will somehow be better here than it was in the states.  I’m overweight by no small margin and though I am trying to change that, my willpower is not as strong as it should be.

 

I have skills in the dozens, but none of them the ones that you are searching for.  I can talk my head off about random obscure things, but I have no real capability to sell anything to anybody if I don’t believe in what I’m selling.  I can type fairly quickly, but I do often have to correct myself as I often type faster than my brain moves. Or I think faster than I type.  A mild case of dyslexia doesn’t necessarily help the cause.

 

I am friendly and cheerful, even on days when I want nothing more than to curl up in a corner and cry. I can put on a smile, I can do a little dance, and I can charm your socks off.  Even if you’re wearing stockings.

 

I’m a fast learner, but you have to be willing to take the chance on me.  Teach me a skill and I can use it to many different applications.  Just be willing to take the leap of faith.

 

Do I want to be your receptionist? Do I want to sit on my already large behind and answer the phones for you and take your messages and order the flowers for your anniversary so that your wife doesn’t beat you with a wooden spoon when you get home? No.  Not really.  But I will do those things and my job as well if you would only give me the chance.  I can do this job. I can smile as though my life and livelihood depended on it. I can be polite and courteous. I can make your customers smile and laugh while they wait for you to get out of the bathroom.  Just give me the chance.

 

Do I want to sit in a call center and take phone calls and deal with irate customers for eight hours a day? No.  But I will.  I will sit there, I will multitask. I will work my fingers to the bone to earn the money that you are so generously paying me for being a punching bag between your company and the general public.  Just give me the chance.  You won’t regret it.  I can turn an angry customer into somebody who is calmer, more sedate. I can turn a disappointed customer into a happy camper.  If given the chance and the freedom.

 

Do I know what I want to do? No. I don’t have a clue.  I’m going to be thirty years old. I just finished my Bachelors degree in English last year because I made some stupid life choices when I was younger and I paid for them.  I don’t have the education to teach. I don’t have the patience or the desire to teach. I have no real direction other than ‘not at home being useless’.

 

But I need that chance, I need that opportunity that somebody somewhere is going to see me, think that I have the raw material available to become something great, or even something just decent, and hire me. Train me. Teach and point me into a new direction. Give my life some meaning other than just the good suzy homemaker that I am.

 

I’m good at being suzy homemaker. I can cook and clean and organize. I can manage a house fairly well. I can ensure that there will be food on the table for less than $100/fortnight.  I can work with budgets, I can make things happen.  And I can make sure you will enjoy them.  I can organize and put things in their places and make sure that even if they’re not where you thought they were, you can still find them.

 

I can be useful. Helpful. I can be a morale boost, always with an enjoyable story or some other way to make you laugh, even on the worst day.  I can get things done and I don’t shrink from a deadline, I meet it head on.  Often at the last possible minute, but the project is finished and the project is outstanding.

 

So how do I take all these things about myself that I know that I can do, and sell you on me.  How do I make myself sound like somebody that you would be willing to train, to teach, to mold into the person that you’re looking for.  And do it in only one page?  How can I show you my education from a prestigious school, but not be able to apply anything that I learned of any value to your organization?  And how can I convince you that I can do all of these things I know I can do.  If you don’t even call me back for an interview?

 

I’m at a loss.

 

I don’t know how to sell myself in such a short space of time.  And I feel as though I’m far too honest to just upright lie.  Can I use Microsoft word? Of course I can.  Am I proficient? No.  I can’t make magic unicorns appear from the push of a button or two.  I can make Excel do basic spreadsheets, but beyond that, I’m useless. Gimme an hour or two to scour the internet and I’ll find a tutorial to help me through.  So how do I just lie and say that I can use them both?  I haven’t made a Power Point presentation since my senior year in high school.  And that was twelve years ago!

 

I know that I should lie. Or at least tell half truths.  You’ll never want to hire me for me.  Or at least for the me that you see on those pieces of electronic paper that I keep firing off to your offices and your recruiters.  So I lie.  I tell white tales and half truths to get you to look at me. Give me more than two minutes of your time.  Call me. Talk to me. Interview me and you’ll see I’m so much more than those two pieces of paper could ever suggest that I am.

 

Of course, in talking to me, you’ll realize that I lied.  You’ll realize that I can’t make Excel do pretty ballerina turns by the flick of a switch or the tap of a button.  I can’t make Word sing ‘Hail to the Chief’ every time you walk in the room.  But I can be taught, I can do what you want me to do.  So do you hire the lie? or do you ignore the lie and hire me?  for who I am?

 

I guess, the big question of the day is, how do I sell you on me, when what you see on that piece of paper isn’t really me?

 

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

ahlterra