Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Love Makes Fools Of Us All

But it makes bigger fools of some than others.

So, here I sit at the kitchen table drinking my tea. It's my ninth whole day here and so far, well it's been mostly shit.

We started out alright. The first day when I arrived all was good. He was sober, we had a lovely dinner, and then things started to go downhill. He had a bottle of something that first night and slept most of Monday, although we did talk for periods and he fixed me stuff to eat. Then Tuesday all seemed to be looking up. We got on the bus and rode to the police station to register my visa and we were like a couple of teenagers. We stood next to each other on the bus and it was a bumpy ride so I put my hand behind me on the bar and his hand was there so we secretly held hands, so to speak. The way he looked at me, the way he lead me around...it was perfect. But then I didn't have my insurance information with me and we had to leave and would have to go back to the police station by Thursday.

It was terrible rainy weather and he prefers to walk, but he's much faster than I am so it took us forever, it was very unpleasant, and he grumbled a little. Finally, we got to the bank and I paid the registration fee and then he said we should go to ZAGs, the office for applying for marriage, but my feet hurt, I was tired cold and wet and I really wanted to get my phone working so I could text mom and everyone back home. So, we decided that we'd do ZAGs the next day, as we had to come back anyway.

This is where I should have known better. As we were walking we came to a store that sells Kristall, a high quality brand of vodka made here in Belarus. He said he wanted to get some for me to try. I said I don't think that's a good idea. I said I'm afraid the same thing as last time will happen. Of course he said it wouldn't. Did I know better, yes. I thought, ok, it will be a little test. So we went in, got vodka, and I got some champagne to drink because I love Soviet Champagne. Then we went to MTS so I could take care of my phone and he went out to smoke.

Warning bells were going off!!

Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought, he's out there taking a swig. I came out, we went next door to a store that sells clothing and suits made here in Dzerszhinsk and looked at a suit for him. I thought he was acting a little strange. When we left he said that weren't any more buses and that it was a long walk so we should get a taxi.

We walked over to the taxi stand and I noticed he wasn't walking in a straight line. When we got home, I looked in the bag and sure enough a bottle was missing. I asked where did the bottle go, and he looked at me as if I were stupid and said there was no other bottle, he didn't know anything about it, it wasn't his fault. In that moment I understood that yes, it was gonna be like last time. Offended, he went off to sleep.

Later he of course wanted more and ended up drinking at least half of my champagne. All day Wednesday he was pretty much asleep and I said to him at some point that I had to go finish my registration and that I really needed him to get his shit together. Thursday, I finally got him out of bed and I could tell that he was pretty hungover but at least he was out and we were getting stuff done. On the bus, he said that he had to get off and go help a friend who was an invalid and he'd meet me there. I kind of panicked and thought I hope I can figure out where to get off!

Well, I got the police station ok and waited. And waited. And waited. I only have internet on my phone so I couldn't call him but I could still text like I do normally through Skype, which as it turns out would be pointless. After an hour, the man who we had seen about the registration came out and asked if I had gotten registered and I said no that I was waiting for my friend. He motioned me to come in because they had a short work day and technically were off the clock in ten minutes. He tried calling Alex and all we got was a busy signal. I explained to him that we had gotten on the bus together, that he had gotten off to help a friend and that we were supposed to meet the station.

All we were missing was Alex's signature. Sigh. So we went outside to see if we could see him and the man, Sergei Anatolievich, asked me if I knew how to get home. I said no. He said do you have money and I said yes. He asked If I knew the address and I said yes.He said, come on, I'm leaving anyway, I'll drive you home. Then he said do you have a key and I said no, but his mother lives not far from him, I can go there. He said ok, took me out to the car, opened the door for me, talked to me the whole drive and told me not to be upset, everything will be ok. I wanted to cry just because I couldn't believe how kind he was.

Well, Nina was a bit surprised when we showed up at her house but she took me in and fed me, gave me her key and sent me on my way. When I got back they was in the outside of the door and Alex was lying there on the little sofa inside the entryway, dunk.

I was livid.

Since then he has continued drinking. I know he hates that he has hurt me, but the urge to drink overpowers any desire to not hurt me. Mom has been urging me to change my ticket and come back home, but then a few days ago I got a cold, and now have an ear infection. I don't really want to try flying internationally with an ear infection and cold, and by this point we're looking at probably upwards of at least $1000 to change my ticket.

Sadly, I have gone from hope we can salvage some time together to not caring as long as he leaves me alone and I can rest.

And that, in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, is the rest of the story.

Did I handle everything right? I'm sure not, if there is a right way to handle such things. Am I done with him? I don't know. Now I know that some reading this will be like, what the heck, just dump him, but sometimes it's just not that easy to actually do.

Of two things I am sure, that I love him and that he loves me. Whether the Beatles were right or not, remains to be seen.

Oh, and yesterday when Nina went with me to finish my registration, Sergei Anatolievich drove us most of the way home. There are kind people in the world.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bump In The Road

Well, we started out really well...

Because of last time, I had this nagging fear that he would be drunk at the airport again, but he wasn't! We had a nice dinner with his mom (though I was a little disheartened when she brought a bottle of vodka) and then talked for a bit before I went off to sleep.

This is where things went south.

He had done really well not drinking for a couple months, and then when I finally got here and we had vodka at dinner, I think he couldn't hold out anymore. Isn't it ironic, that doesn't drink until I get here. Ha!

Needless to say, I've been quite disappointed. But I also know he's been really trying and alcoholism is a dirty bitch!

I've been struggling with what to do. Obviously, there will not be a wedding on this trip, and my first thought was to leave early even though it would cost a fair amount of money, but here's the thing: how can I leave someone I love in the time they need me the most? I mean, if it was cancer and I got tired of holding back his hair while he vomited would I just up and walk out? You may say those are two different things, but alcoholism is just as much a disease as is cancer.

You may think I'm stupid, and I'm not totally convinced I'm not, but I don't think I can just toss someone aside when they are at their lowest. All the pain I see in his eyes, begging for help...I can't walk away from that as long as he really does want help.

I'm still not sure of anything right now, but this is what I'm going with at the moment.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Let The Adventure Begin

Well, here I am.

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go... Whoa, sorry. Just had an Armageddon moment.

Packing was done a little bit ago, and I just finished writing the last of my postcards to be sent. (Check out https://www.postcrossing.com) Now I am taking a minute to sit and relax. 

This moment has been coming for what seems like an eternity. As I predicted earlier in the semester when I thought I would never make it through, I have woken up and thought "whoa, shit! How is it here already???" But I am ready! I think... How ready is one ever for anything, really?

Later today, my much fatter than I had hoped self is hopping on an airplane and heading to Belarus. Not just that, but I will be spending 20 days with my best friend and soulmate. AND I am marrying my best friend and soulmate!!!

Surreal!

I truly never thought I would actually find someone, because I thought I could never be with the one I really wanted, but here we are, 17 years later and we are getting married. I feel so lucky. I found a man who is so kind and caring, so sweet,  and with whom I love to just talk for hours. I could not imagine life with anyone else.

We have had some rough patches, but I think we can build a support system that will enable us both to flourish.

Here's hoping!

Alex, I can't wait to start our life together. I can't wait to be immersed in your love. I can't wait to feel your warmth next to me. I can't wait to laugh and talk and be silly together.

I love you.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

One Week!!

Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod!

One week from today I will arrive in Belarus! One week from right now I will most likely be lying cuddled up with the love of my life!

Most of the time I am just super excited, but every once in a while I think "is this really happening?" I mean, I always hoped that I would find someone, but I never really thought it would be more than a dream.

Well, that's not exactly true. I always felt in my heart that Alex was the one for me, but it just seemed like it was impossible for us to be together. And I also wasn't 100% certain that he felt the same way. I never stopped wondering, as I went about my daily life, what it would be like to have him in the car with me, going grocery shopping for me, sitting at home on the couch with me. Now I will actually get to experience all these things.

I think that I have everything rounded up that I need. I have one apostille with statement of single status, one passport with visa, and one birth certificate, just in case. I also have a dress, necklace, bracelet, earrings, hairpiece...etc.

Other than packing and a few last minute errands this week, all I have left to do is wait. That and get a massage, meet with friends for coffee, and get a mani/pedi. :)





Now I need to figure out my hair...

Cut Me A Little Slack

That's right, I'm talking to you, self. You need to cut yourself a little slack.

Two weeks ago I came to the decision that I just couldn't keep going the way things were. I had four or five papers/essays coming up in the next 3 weeks, my boss was quitting, and I am trying to prepare for a trip overseas to get married. Something had to give.

I didn't want to, but I decided that the best decision would be to ask my instructors for an incomplete  so I could have extra time to finish my work, all the while feeling that I had failed because I should be able to handle everything--what is wrong with me.

Really? If I was talking to a friend I would be telling them that they are only human and they need to take care of themselves, too. Why don't I cut myself the slack I cut others?

This last week was really stressful at work, and I think a semester's worth of yuck was tipped over by this week and I cried at my desk on Friday.

So, I really need a break and when I come back, I am going to do my darnedest, since I can't do anything about some stuff, to just make the best of things.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy my time overseas, enjoy my new adventure in life, and work on finishing up this semester's work.

Breathe...








Monday, November 23, 2015

I've Come A Long Way Baby

I was sitting on my bed finishing my tea before going to sleep the other night and I felt a little swell of emotion. Life has been rough for awhile now, and I realized that I never cried after the MRSA or the car accident. Wow! As I sat there, I thought to myself, "self, you've come a long way."

In the past I would get so overwhelmed, even with fairly small things, but apparently I am becoming desensitized. Actually, I choose to believe I am becoming a more solid person, and someone who gets less flustered when life keeps pelting her with lemons.

I have never enjoyed being the hyper emotional person that I am, but I know that it is part of what makes me so compassionate and empathetic. I don't want to lose that, but it wouldn't be a bad thing to not be constantly falling apart.

As I sat there, I was proud of myself at how well I have handled things as of late. Instead of my world falling apart, I get mad, bitch about it, and decide that there's no point in letting it ruin my life.

Go me! I'm pretty proud of you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crash!

So, I got some really good news yesterday and was really excited as I was driving home. I was on my way to a meeting of our little Sherlock club and life couldn't seem to get any better.

But then...

I was driving down Center where the speed limit is 45. There is a drive coming out of the Wal-Mart parking lot and there was a pickup waiting to turn left, and then a maroon car pulled forward. I thought that the person was just going to roll forward to see better, but then I realized that the car was still moving.

I hit the horn, hit the brakes and the car just kept rolling forward. I couldn't completely swerve to the left, but right at the end I started to turn toward the left to avoid hitting the car head on. The collision pushed me into the left lane and the other car up onto the curb a little. That car was able to pull up in the grass and out of the street.

After I got over the initial shock, I tried to pull my car over more to get the rear of my car out of the right lane but I could only move it a little. I felt something kind of snap and it was barely moving. The guy in the pickup truck pulled over and his wife went over to check on the little old lady and he came over to check on me. His wife had called the police.

I was shaking. After it happened I called mom and said "I've been in an accident in front of Wal-Mart. I'm ok."

We waited for the police, got all information shared, got the car towed and then went on to the Sherlock meeting. Karma finally came around in a good way--I ordered a glass of wine and got extra because it was the end of the bottle!

Insurance agent was closed today, so tomorrow I will have to deal with all of that. But the car is all cleaned out and ready for whatever.





Monday, November 9, 2015

Live and Learn

Well, sometimes you do something and inadvertently upset someone you care about. And sometimes the fact that you have upset that someone blindsides you and knocks you completely off your feet.

Today I find myself bewildered. I don't even really understand what happened, but it seemed to have quite far-reaching consequences. Now I find myself so upset that I've been holding back the tears and shaking.

Don't get me wrong, it's nothing life or death, and I'm nearly 100% certain that I am more upset than my friend. It's just one of those times when you learn that sometimes you need to be careful what you say and what you joke about.

It's unfortunate, but people are people and they mess up. I'm sure things will be ok in the end, I'm just sad that a great weekend came to such a sad end.







Sunday, November 8, 2015

Reunited And It Feels So Good!

Wednesday I got off work early to drive up to Wisconsin and attend the last two days of the Wisconsin Library Association Conference. It was really like a mini vacay and I wanted to go mostly because my bestie Bob (her name has been changed to protect the record) was going to be there and we haven't seen each other since SOIS hit Washington D.C. in 2013. (OMG! I can't believe I didn't make a post about that!)

We met Thursday morning when I finally made it to the conference. We went to the State Historical Society Tour, which was cool, albeit really warm!!! Then we shopped a little on one of the breaks and hung out all evening. I had to drive back to my uncle's house in pouring, scratch that, torrential rain but did make it back...finally.

Friday we attended morning sessions and then went to check out a store in Madison that had lingerie, books, sex aids/toys, and some cool jewelry. There was a creepy man there when we first got there, and then two uncouth and rather vulgar ladies came in, but it was a classy store with some neat stuff. I got myself a book there that is kind of a devotional like book all about becoming self confident and learning to love yourself.

We went out for fish fry on Friday night and had a great time with Unkie Dave and Aunt Mary. We chilled at home with some UV Blue and lemonade, put on fake nails (which didn't last long) and then went to bed. I called Alex for a few minutes before going o bed, and whoever was recording our conversation screwed up because after a few sentences the line dropped on his side and I heard a repeat of his half of the conversation twice before I hung up and called back,

Unfortunately, Bob's friend and mentor was in need of help, so she left early Saturday morning and we didn't get thong out, but I'm glad for the time I had with my boo. And I did get to go the Harley shop.

Fun time, and a much needed break. However, I am now procrastinating and not doing my homework... :\


Wisconsin State Historical Society reading room



Edith Head sketches for Grace Kelly outfits in To Catch a Thief

Cool Elevator

Tiara?

Fascinator?
Beer being bottled at New Glarus Brewing
Need I comment?

My new "devotional".



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Reclaiming Power

This whole getting married thing has made some of my old insecurities pop up. Yes, I know he knows I'm fat. Yes, I know he loves me. There is still something deep inside of me that won't quite let myself believe that fat (for me, does not apply to others) does not mean ugly or not good enough. I just keep trying to overcome it.

I read a post on social media about women who had reclaimed the word fat for their own and taken the power away from others who try to use it as an insult. So, I'm thinking to myself, how do I do that?

The only thing I can come up with is to just start telling myself what I actually am, over and over until I maybe start to believe it. So, here goes. Again.

I am fat, but that does not mean that I am not good enough, that I am worthless or that no one will love me. In fact lots of people love me. And I am more than good enough. So I hereby strip "fat" of all its negativity and chose to see it as only an adjective, and I am so many others:

I am smart.
I am creative.
I am kind.
I am fun.
I am compassionate.
I am spunky.
I am beautiful.
I am awesome.

I am me, and the only one I need to please is myself.

My body may not be what I want it to be, but I can change that. It doesn't make me any less of a person.

So, this will be an interesting time in the near future. Learning not only to love myself, but learning to let someone else love me as well.




Friday, October 23, 2015

The Only Settling Here Is My Fanny...




The other day a post from Plus Model Magazine came across my Facebook feed. 


It was one of those times when your internal zinger goes off--like your brain is standing there pointing its finger at you saying "girl, I told you so." 

                                               

It brought back a lot of memories. I don't know if anyone ever uttered those exact words to me, but I've heard something pretty close. Like the time I was standing on the street in Moscow waiting for my classmates to go in for class and a woman came up to me and asked if I was married. I said no and she said it was too bad, I would never find a husband being so big. And I have such nice skin, too.

I have come a long way in how I feel about myself. I can honestly say that I no longer hate myself, but I cannot honestly say I love myself--my body. I'm working on it. Now I find myself in a strange place. While I am thrilled to be getting married, it is causes a real mix of emotions. I am really excited, but I am really nervous. It might be hard for some to imagine, but we haven't even kissed yet, and I am really nervous about being intimate.

On the one hand I am thrilled that he says he loves me, no matter what my weight is, that it is not important. It gives me warm fuzzies. However, on the other hand I don't really believe him. In fact, sometimes I think I feel almost sorry for him. Maybe it will be different when we are not 5000 miles away, but right now I am frequently really spazzing out thinking about being naked...

Insert rolled eyes, laughs, or other "you're stupid" comments here, but that's how I feel.

So, yesterday on my feed I see this blog post on Plus Model Magazine's feed: My Boyfriend isn't Settling for a Plus Size Girl. Reading was such an affirmation to me. I just have to constantly keep telling myself that there is nothing wrong with me! Yes, I have a few health issues which I am trying to address so I can be happy and healthy, but my worth as a person is not measured by either the number on the scale or the number on the tag in my clothing.

I think that letting someone love me is going to be one of the biggest challenges in my life. I've spent most of it not letting people, expecting that they couldn't, love me.

OK, Alex, bring it on baby. Love me like it's going out of style. And I'll try to let you.




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

FOOOO!

I've been in a pretty bad mood since Saturday. I talked to my boy toy and I'm not sure what was going on for sure, but I was a little irritated. That put me in a bad mood and I couldn't get my homework going. I wanted to call again on Sunday (the phone line had gotten cut off Saturday) but A.) I had an 8 page paper to write, and B.) I didn't want to be in any worse of a mood while, trying to write my paper.

Writing went pretty well, but I didn't get the paper turned in until a little after 11 p.m. I got to bed around 12:20. Mom had to go in early, and since she still has to change my bandage, I had to be showered and ready for her to change the bandage before 7 a.m. Also, I had gotten up around 2 not feeling very well. So, I laid down till 7:30 and then went to work.

Then, yesterday as I am finishing grading my students' first test, I come across three students who have plagiarized. :( This is the first time in 5 years that I have had this happen. That I know of...

That kinda just took the little wind that was in my sails and knocked it right out.

This week is another screwed up week at work. My boss is gone three days, and today I was the sole employee until 2:00. Not even any student workers.

Some days you just really want to throw in the towel. This would be one.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Two Months!!

Today marks two months since he proposed!

Time is going so fast. I hope we can get all the visa stuff and other paperwork in order. Speaking of visas, I am planning to leave two months from today to head over that way! Woohoo!

This will be an exciting trip! I am going to spend a few days in Belgium with my awesome Russian friends, and then I am going on to Belarus where I will hopefully tie the knot!!




Let's hope it doesn't go like this...

Or this...




Sunday, October 11, 2015

Be Healed!

AT LAST!

I finally feel like a normal person again. Today, for the first time in two weeks, I took a shower all by myself! I washed my hair! (Something that has only happened about twice in the last two weeks.) I still have kind of a gaping wound, but it is healed enough that I can move fairly normally.

AND...

I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, apparently, and Tuesday I broke out into a rash. Everywhere! I mean E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  And also yeast infection on my backside. Finally, finally, finally, I am pretty much back to normal!

YAY!!!!!!

So, I am now trying to catch up on homework. I already felt like I was behind before completely missing a week, two in theory. But, one step at a time.

And, on the positive side, only 68 days till I get to see my man! (If things go as planned.)

Woohoo!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

He's A Keeper!

I called my man today. He was feeling better and he wanted to know how I was. It took a while, but I finally explained to him about the MRSA and why I was in the hospital. He was a little concerned after I sent him a text saying I was on narcotics...which I was, but that wasn't really the right term in Russian...

He was thrilled because he finally received the package I sent him (originally back in February) which came back to me and I sent again. I actually split it into two parts this time. I made him an apron and some dish rags, a scarf (knitted), a photo book, sent him a new dictionary, and a card from last Valentine's Day. I also sent a scarf, apron, dish towels, dish rags and pot holders for his mom, a scarf for his brother, if he chooses to part with one, and some chocolate.

Stuff I made for his mom. (My mom embroidered the towels.)
Apron I made for him.
Scarves and dish rags I knit.
Other stuff. (Except the mug...it broke on the way back the 1st time.)
He thought it was sweet that I made everything and he was really impressed by my sewing skills. I thanked him and explained that I'd been sewing since I was ten and that sometimes I made my own clothes out of necessity. Now there are lots of fat people, but when I growing up it was difficult to find clothes that were big enough and that were not old lady-ish.

He told me that he really liked the card I sent and that it meant a lot. He said that I often told him how  kind he was and such things, and that he probably needed to say those things to me more often but that I really was a wonderful person. *feels*

I just about melted.

We went on and talked about other things. I was having trouble formulating thoughts because I am still fuzzy from my stint in the hospital, and he laughed and said "Are you half baked?" He had seen the movie Half Baked when it came out and thought it was funny, so I apparently reminded him of that. Ha ha.

Then somehow we got on the topic of kids. He said that he knew he had told me before that he loved kids, but he wasn't sure if he wanted his own, but he realized that maybe he had just never found the right woman. Now as he is getting closer to 40, he thinks that the girls he had been with before just weren't really the type to be a mother or that he would want to be the mother of his kids. He said that you have to have 100% trust and faith in that person and that I was the only woman who he did, 100%.

O.M.G.

Talk about what every girl dreams of hearing. I realized, yes there will be hurdles, and no everything will not be a bed of roses, but I found one of the sweetest guys ever and I continue to be amazed by him. I feel truly lucky and like we were truly made for each other.

I can't believe this is happening to me.






Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wash Your Flipping Hands!

I am home today feeling much better than I was, although, that's not saying much.

Last Thursday I noticed a lump in my right armpit. One of the things I inherited from my father is oily skin and a tendency towards infected follicles, so I just figured that it was a big zit. But it really hurt. It was about the size of a small marble when I went to bed Thursday. Friday, it had about doubled in size and hurt like heck! Mom tried to open it up, but we just got a little blood and that was it.

Friday night we had decided that after the parade on Saturday morning I would go to Urgent Care and have them look at it. I participated in the parade, went to lunch and then went to the Urgent Care at the new hospital building. We got in pretty fast, a nice P.A. numbed it, lanced it, and said she figured it was MRSA. She asked if I wanted some pain pills and gave me Keflex (an antibiotic).

When the numbing shots wore of, it just kept hurting. I wondered why it was hurting so bad and when I went upstairs to get ready for bed at about 11:00 pm I discovered that the lump on my arm was about the size of a baseball.

It hurt really badly by this point. So, we loaded into the car and went to the ER. Here was our first surprise, they said the P.A. had called earlier and told them we might be in later. Funny, she never told us that. We sat in the ER and waited for a little over an hour. I had been holding my arm up pretty much all day, and it hurt like a son of a b*tch. Finally we got in and this doctor whom we had never seen before, and who was really weird, took a look at me.

By this point, mom was pissed off. It didn't help that this doctor was short with mom, scolding her for removing the packing even though she tried to explain that she had be instructed to change the packing by the P.A., and was so rough in handling my arm that I ended up sobbing. He just squeezed on it and rammed the gauze into the hole until it hurt so bad I thought I was going to at least throw up, if not pass out. H prescribed a new antibiotic because he couldn't figure out why the P.A. would prescribe Reflex if she thought it was MSRA.

I waited another half hour for a shot of Morphine (which did nothing for my pain), an antibiotic shot, and a shot of stuff so that the Morphine would not make me puke. At 2:45 a.m. we went home.

Mom went to get my new antibiotics Sunday morning and when I got up to take it, we discovered that the lump was now the size of a grapefruit and still hurt like a s.o.b. Almost in tears again because of the whole saga, we headed to the ER.  AGAIN.

What I haven't mentioned is that we spent 15-20 minutes at Urgent Care and both ER visits giving them the same information about what had been going on, meds, etc., every time! We were actually this close to going to another hospital.

So, we got the ER at 11:30 is a.m. they got me in a room and then we waited... Mom told me that at 1:00 p.m. we were going to leave and go somewhere else. At 12:58 a really nice, and competent, P.A. came in. She took a look, got me an IV started and got me Fentanyl. HALLELUJAH! They gave me a round of IV antibiotics which took two hours, and then they took me right into surgery.

Where there was a one inch incision, there is now a 2-2.5 inch incision. The MRSA had apparently tunneled in my arm. They kept my in the hospital on the blessed pain killers until Wednesday when my white count was finally normal again.

So, three days of strong IV antibiotics, and good progress healing later, I am home chilling until I get the ok to get back to work.

MRSA is found everywhere, as are other strains of Staph, so all I can say is wash your freaking hands people!!!!



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Am A Gummy Bear

No, I'm not really. Though sometimes I feel like one. Anyway, I have been kind of stressed out the last two weeks and last night I just needed something feel good, so I rediscovered an old favorite and also listened to a new favorite.

So here for your listening pleasure, an old fave:



and a new fave:



Enjoy!




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

One Month Already?

Some people, ahem, Jasmin, think I'm being stupid because I said that today was the one month anniversary of him proposing. I just replied to her, you just wait until it's your turn and then I'munna be all like "shut up!" :P





Yeah, I'm gonna try to not be that girl...I said try...



Sunday, September 13, 2015

Little Girl Dreams

So, Jazz and I had a really fun day at the Bridal Forum!! We looked at all kinds of flowers, photographers, DJs, food, venues and dresses. But most importantly, we ate CAKE!

What little girl, or big girl, doesn't dream about her wedding day? Ok, so I'm not sure how, when or where, but I still am enjoying daydreaming!!

Thus far I know that I really want a photo booth at my reception. I also know that I want a very elegant, kind of retro, figure hugging, lacy gown. Of course, I'm not sure what I will be able to find in my size, or what size I might be at the time of the big day. I like this dress Trumpet Mermaid Scoop Neck Court Train Tulle Lace Wedding Dress. Or this one from http://www.modwedding.com/.

As for a place, I really like Rollins Mansion.

I love peacocks, so I want peacock themed decorations and colors. I want these shoes and accessories like this. Peacocks, books, calla lilies...ahhhhh! I can see it now. Beautiful, elegant, romantic.

I can't believe it, I can't believe I'm getting married...someday...somewhere.

While I'm not sure of much else right now, I am sure about him. I've never been so sure about anything.

My head's in the clouds!



I'm twitter-pated!

P.S. Thanks for spending the day with me Jazz!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Girl's Day Out!

While I don't know any of the details--how? when? where?--I am trying to plan ahead a little, and I am trying to enjoy this time.  So, my work bestie and I are going to a bridal show on Sunday!

I've always wanted to go to one of those shows/conventions so I asked Jazz if she would like to go. You know, there are some people who are always the bridesmaid and never the bride...well I've never even been a bridesmaid. I was the flower girl at my uncle's first wedding, but that's it, so I have very little wedding experience, except for going and sitting and watching everyone else be happy.

Sunday, Jazz and I are just going to go and have a fun time imagining and daydreaming and most importantly... eating cake!

http://yourweddingiowa.com/bridal-forum/

Bring on the sparkles!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Grr.

Today just hasn't been the greatest day.

You know, the crappiest parts about a really long distance relationship are the obstacles in communicating. All you peeps out there who can call your love bunny any time you want, you see each other several times a week, you text one another stupid selfies...don't take it for fucking granted.

I have always been ok with writing letters--there is something so romantic about handwritten letters. And this summer I got pretty spoiled because I could almost call whenever I wanted. Now the semester has started and my schedule is not as flexible and most days when I get off at 5, it is 1 a.m. there. So, I have to wait and call on the weekends.

That's all great in theory, except that now I not only have work, I have a class to teach, and I have two classes worth of homework and an internship to do so sometimes the weekends are pretty booked too. Last week I thought "Oh boy!!!! Three day weekend!!! I can call Sunday AND Monday!"

Yeah, no.

I tried calling Sunday...no answer. Frowny face. Well, there's still tomorrow, I think. Try calling today, he answers, but can't hear me. Call again, no answer. Call cell phone, no answer. Call home again, no answer.

Pissy face.

On top of that, there are a few people who keep expressing the same concerns and I feel like I just go round and round with them. Ugh.

Someday! Someday, he will be here and I will go to bed at night with him by my side and he will be the first thing I see in the morning. If won't be perfect, but maybe it will be good.

In the meantime, I have some fantastic señoritas who keep me going! Lins, Jackie and Jazz, I couldn't manage without you!

Well, excuse me, but a very large glass of wine is calling my name.

Everything will be ok.





Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Twitter-pated

It has been very interesting to see the various reactions I have gotten from people when I tell them that I am engaged. Many people have been somewhat cautious, telling me that I should be cautious and that this is not the way they would pick for me to go. A few people have been very happy for me.

I really understand why people are telling me to be cautious and possibly wondering if I've lost my marbles after what happened last spring. I get it, I really do, but I also know how he and I have spent many hours talking about what happened, talking about what could be, and just talking. I know he has issues, so do I (though mine are perhaps not as obvious and may not seem as serious), but he has also come to a realization that life can be better and that he wants to make it better. Yes, there are going to be lots of hurdles, but I have to at least give it a shot. I can't spend the rest of my life wondering.

Sometimes a person just needs someone to believe in them. If that's the case, I must find out.

In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying the feeling of being newly engaged!

We talked on Sunday for about three hours. After two, the conversation turned serious. He asked me if I was coming in December, and said that if I was, he was going to take me by the hand and never let go. I tell you, it was kind of surreal when he started talking about weddings. I mean, isn't it usually the girl who starts talking about weddings?

So, after the warm fuzzies of hearing him say that he had been thinking about this for a long time, that he should have said something so long ago but that he was a fool, I said that we still had a few problems. A little nervous, I mentioned that if I came there, there would not be enough income for me to pay all my bills. He agreed and then I asked if he would consider coming here. He expressed his fears and then agreed that he would come.

I have been walking around, smiling to myself, giggling, and feeling absolutely twitter-pated! No matter how this all turns out, it feels pretty wonderful to know that someone wants to spend their life with you.

I feel like Aurora, waltzing through the forest.

Ok, so maybe this is not the way I've dreamed of things happening, maybe this is no Cinderella story, but if I end up with the man I have loved for so long, and if we can be happy together...what more could I ask for? This is my story. Cinderella can keep hers.






Wednesday, August 26, 2015

He Likes It

17 years ago today I met a young man.

We became fast friends, almost immediately drawn together, like we had known one another our entire lives. Of course he was cute, but that was not at all what drew me to him. He was nice, very gentlemanly, and sooo funny!

He knew my host sister, and was in the same class as her then boyfriend. He worked at a little store that was only about a block from my host family's house, and I would go, almost everyday, and visit him. Very often I would spend two hours there talking with him. Apparently I had quite a reputation at the store. Ha! No, they just all knew who I was.

I didn't realize at first, and then later tried to deny, that I had totally fallen in love with him. It took me so long to realize it because it was just so natural for us. We were what we were. We were good friends who, through copious amounts of hand gestures and a broken mix of Russian and English, would talk for hours, sometimes in the store, and sometimes going on three hour walks.

He was the first, and probably only person, around whom I felt completely comfortable. For the first time in my seventeen years I didn't feel self-conscious. I never thought about how fat I looked or what anyone else thought of me. And somehow, even though my Russian was almost non-existent and his English was not very good, we still understood each other. It's almost like we understood each other on a cellular level.

Well, after about three months I gave in to the fact that I was smitten, but I never knew if he felt the same. I knew that he really cared for me, but I didn't think it was as more than a dear friend.

Fast forward 17 years.

Of course we wrote letters and talked over the years, except for a period of about five years where we kind of lost touch. When we picked up again, I knew that I still felt the same, I had always longed for him, but figured like a tragic book, it was not meant to be. Then we started writing again and things were a little different--I got little hints that maybe he felt more then friendship.

So, I'm a little conflicted at the moment.

Up to this point I had not been able to get out of him what his feelings for me were exactly and what he wanted for us, if anything, in the future. I have really been enjoying talking to him for hours at a time a couple times a month (continuing our history of multi-hour conversations), and being able to call pretty much anytime I want. But, I felt like it was not really going anywhere. I was looking at it from the view point of being in a relationship, but had no idea how he felt, so to me, it was a relationship going nowhere.

I talked with my counselor on a Friday and that evening I had pretty much decided that I needed to move on. I called him that evening and it was evident that he had been drinking--I could hardly understand him. Of course I was disappointed, but he said it was the first time since I left that he had had a drink, and I had not had any evidence to the contrary, so I am cautiously optimistic.

I called him the next day and he was better, though obviously still not recovered from the previous night. He was very apologetic and when I tried to say I would call a different time he said no, he wanted to say something. It was obvious that he had been kind of depressed, and then he said "do you love me even though I'm shit?" After rolling my eyes and thinking "I'm in love with a drama queen," I said "you're not shit, and yes I love you anyway." He said something about how life was no good and I kind of snapped and said "it can be better, why don't you just try and do something to change it?!" Probably somewhat taken aback he said, "Ok, I'll try."

He then went on to say that I was such a good person and how he didn't want to lie to me, that he didn't love me right away and it was only after I left the first time that realized he cared for me as more than a friend. He also said that there had been other girls, but at some point he realized it wasn't love, it was just sex and he didn't want that any more. He said that he realized I was the only one he could give his heart to.

Then, he apologized for doing this over the phone, but he asked if I was coming in December to visit and I said yes if you want me to, and then he said "If you come in December, would you be my wife?"

With tears in my eyes and twenty different emotions swirling through my body, I didn't answer right away and he said I didn't have to answer now, he asked again and I said "of course."

O.M.G.!

What just happened? He asked me if I would take him as he was and if I would be his wife. He asked me about 5 times.

Did I just get engaged?

He asked if I would stay there with him and I said that I can't because I have to finish school (and have income...) but I said that we would figure it out. So, there is still a lot to figure out and to think about, but at least I finally know how he feels. AND as if all my dreams were coming true, he said to me that he knows I have issues with my weight but that doesn't mean that I'm not attractive. I almost melted.

And now I've been going around singing to myself "He likes it and he wants to put a ring on it!"

There is still a lot to work out and I don't know how or what will happen, but wow!




Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Adventure That Started It All

August 17, 1998 I walked out of my door and started the biggest adventure of my life.

I cannot believe that 17 years ago today I arrived in Belarus, 17, exhausted, and away from home for the first time. I had no idea what was coming and I was already feeling a little homesick. When we arrived at my host family's house, I had to crash, and it seemed like I slept for days. It was only actually a couple hours. That evening we went to a school yard, or somewhere where all my host sister's friends were, but to was really dark and my brain was so fuzzy that I don't remember it very clearly.

The first few days were kinda difficult, trying to adjust, not being able to understand much of anything that was going on around me. I talked to mom after having been there for a week. We talked for about 8 minutes and I believe I cried for 7.5 of them.

It was a big deal for me to learn to not only navigate Dzerzhinsk, but also Minsk, and to learn train and bus schedules so I could get to school and home on my own.

I am a true believer in study abroad opportunities! I truly believe that my experience shaped the person I would become. I learned independence, got bit by the travel bug, and fell in love. All at the ripe age of 17.

Reading through my journal brings back so many memories. It will always be one of the best times in my life!

Bolshoi Theater, Moscow

My first time in Red Squre

Tsar Canon in the Kremlin

Tsar Bell in Kremlin

My host parents and Uncle John and his wife on New Year's Eve

My host mom Natasha

My host sisters Nastya and Kate

The view from upstairs

My room

The kitchen


Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad)






Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I R Special!

So, there I was today, just minding my own beeswax at our staff workshop today. The gave out longevity awards and then they were giving out special awards for outstanding service. So, there I am just sitting there when they say "The next award goes to a Library Associate..."

What?!?!?

I got an award! Wowsa! I was totally surprised. I knew that my then brand new boss had nominated me last year, but I never thought I'd actually get an award.

Woohoo!

They like me! They really, really like me!


It's so purdy!!!!




Friday, August 7, 2015

Hormones Are Evil

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. I know...dangerous! I'm going to partly blame it on hormones, which would explain why I started bawling on the toilet the other night while I was getting ready for bed. (Sorry, tmi...)

On Facebook I follow Poems Porn and a few others that have all these fantastic quotes and sayings. Now this in itself is probably bad because reading the depressing quotes about how life is sad and love is lost does nothing to keep me from depressing myself, but I can't help it! All those sad posts about true love, love lost, and our deepest desires just speak to my soul.

They also cause me to think and I've been thinking a lot about this strange, unidentified relationship I have with Mr. Belarus. One day I think that I need to discuss things with him and understand what he is thinking, what he really wants and how much effort he is going to put in. Then I have moments where I think, "Katie! You idiot, this is never going to work out, you need to move on." And then I spiral downward imagining myself there and saying goodbye forever, just what exactly I would say and how he would react...And then I end up bawling on the toilet.

Talking with my friends about him, they're like he's probably just scared. I'm sure that he is. So am I. Of course I'm scared, but I am also willing to give it my all. What I am afraid of is this: I am one of those rare people that puts their all into every relationship, that's why I am always exhausted. And if I am in an unhealthy relationship, those people can just suck all the life out of me. I value all my relationships way up high and there are very, very few people, almost no one, who does the same. I get so frustrated in relationships because I hold them up so high and other people don't. It took me forever to understand that they may not care about me less, just differently. So I am afraid that this time, he loves me, but not enough to face the fear.

I am afraid that perhaps he isn't really happy, but he has been in this place so long he knows how to deal with it and would rather stay slightly unhappy but comfortable than take a chance and risk things going to hell. I certainly spent a long time in that place, myself. He hasn't really seemed to make much effort or even talk like he would make effort if he could. Perhaps I have it all wrong, but this is what I fear.

My biggest fear in life is that I will always care so much about others that I keep "chasing" them, keep checking on them, keep nurturing them, but that there will never be someone who cares that deeply about me. Sometimes when I am feeling particularly defeatist I feel like that is my entire purpose in life, to pour myself into others until I am depleted, but that I will never find someone who will pour back into me.

I know, I should think positive. I'm not always so good at that. I do try, but sometimes I'm just tired.

So, I get myself all worked up, cry a little, have all kinds of doubts, and then when I talk to him everything feels right. The world feels right.

Ugh! Why are things so complicated?

Exactly!



Who could resist these?





Sunday, July 26, 2015

Life's Lessons

Well, here it is the last day of my learning vacation and I am sitting in the basement of Gifford in Gamut drinking tea.

One week ago today I arrived in Middlebury, Vermont. After a long day of traveling, a missed flight, and my fill of tiny airplane sets, I arrived at the Burlington airport where Middlebury Transport picked me up. As we drove the memories come flooding back into my mind like a typhoon had gone through the waters of my past and picked up little snapshots of my life, spinning then round and round in my mind.

As I started to walk around and see some of the people I love and miss, the experience was bitter sweet. Of course, I was exhilarated to be back in this magical place, and beside myself seeing all these wonderful people I had come to adore, but it just wasn't the same. It was fantastic on the one hand, but on the other, it was not the same without the other students and faculty who had been my family for four summers. It just wasn't the same.

I suddenly came to the realization that you can never go back. What I mean is that there will be places and times and people in your life that mean the world to you, that help shape who you are, that become the memories you play in your mind when you are nostalgic or when you need a warm fuzzy. But you can't back. If you return, it will never be the same place or time again.

That then lead me to think about my trip in March. I understood that when I went back, I was hoping to pick up exactly where we left off, but it's impossible. 17 years have gone by, how in the world could things be the same? Yes, the city has changed, but more than that, we changed. At that moment, I understood that it may be time to let go. Fairytales don't always come true, and sometimes, the version of the future we think will happen is nowhere near the version of reality that would be, well real.

This realization hurt my tender heart, but it is only with fire that gold is refined, only with cutting that diamonds find their brilliance. Life is not often easy, not always happy, and we are often disappointed, but it is these things that shape us and propel us forward.

I have trouble letting go of things, that's why I stay in relationships where I am the one doing all the work, that's why I keep every little piece of paper from trips, why I take a billion photographs...I am trying my hardest to hang on to the good things in life. I see now that I need to learn to appreciate the good things and remember them fondly, but also learn to let go and be able to move forward with my life.

So, after my deeply philosophical first few hours here, I have had a sublime week, met new and interesting people, and had a taste of past good times. It has been a good, and very needed, getaway, and I feel that my spirit has been renewed.

Middlebury, here's looking at you, kid!













Am I In A Time Warp?

Geez! As you get older you figure out that the adults in your life actually knew what they were talking about when you thought you knew bet...