Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Checking in

I haven't been sure what to write, but I often find that writing is the best way to inspire myself, so here goes...

The biggest thing that comes to mind is this: the fact that I am going to move far, far away from here very soon has been hitting me a little more the last few days. I think this is for several reasons.
1) Moving back in with my parents is one of my signals that I am getting close to the end of my time here. It seems like just the other day that this point seemed way off in the future.
2) It just really isn't that far off. Tomorrow is August 1st. I leave in (late) October. That means 2 months from now (plus a little) I will be packing up to leave.
3) My brother and his wife announced to the family this past weekend that they are expecting their first baby. I am very excited for them. I am also sad for myself, as I will not be here when the baby is born, and may very well not meet the baby in his/her first year. Maybe I will, but I have to brace myself for the possibility that I won't since it looks like our money situation could be pretty tight.
4) There are a few things happening that are going to keep the time moving along pretty quickly. For example, a bridal shower is being thrown in my honor at the end of August. When FB comes to visit, my family is throwing a "Rochester reception". And I found out yesterday that I have a full time job until I leave, starting Monday. (The job sounds easy and laid back, pays decently, and has the comfortable hours of 8:30-4:30.)

Ok, that was easy part. The hard part is determining exactly how I feel about all this.

I don't know if I've explained here at all how often I get asked the same questions. One of the very common ones is, "So, are you getting excited yet?" Let me just state for the record that I have been excited for a year now! Of course I am excited - I am finally getting married, to a really, really great guy (may I say, The Perfect Guy)! So yes, the fact that the time for me to leave is quickly approaching does cause excitement for me. I am excited, first of all and obviously, to be near the man I love. I am excited to embark on an adventure, learning a new language and culture, becoming a wife. I am excited to be near and among good friends that I have not so far been able to spend a lot of time with.

I think the next emotion I can identify is that I am nervous. Nervous to embark on a new adventure, learning a new language and culture, becoming a wife. Nervous to try and deepen and broaden relationships with good friends that I have not so far been able to spend a lot of time with. Nervous to leave all my family and friends here. Ok, nervous might not be strong enough for that last statement. Occassionally terrified to leave all my family and friends here. Ok, terrified might be a bit strong, but you get the idea.

Mmm, I think that is the best I can do for the moment on that...


So, apparently I have simply had good windows for plants and marvolous luck on the watering and feeding. Well, ok, maybe I had a little bit of a clue. But I managed to overheat and shock the plant going to my aunt in the process of moving, and I really haven't the faintest idea on how to revive it. I'm taking my best guess and hoping it is at least still alive when I take it to her on Saturday.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Last day

This is it. Officially my last post from my little apartment.

I'm not a great live alone kind of person, but this was a pretty good year. It helped that I knew all along that it was only for a year or so. It was really an almost perfect little place for me. Just the right size. Well kept up. Great landlord. Cheap to heat. I LOVED walking to work. Overall a good experience. As always with moving, it is a bit sad to leave this place. But as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I've moved 8 times in the last 11 years. And as a kid, we moved a few times as well. I've learned that any house can easily become 'home'.

When I mentioned to FB earlier this week that I was sorting and packing, preparing to move back to my parents', his first response was, "How are you feeling about that?" (I love that he asks me that about things - it helps me process and shows his empathy all in one fell swoop). The best I could reply at the time was that it will be different - lots of alone time here, lots of people there. Both can be either good or bad.

So begins the next in-between stage. Now I have things like bridal showers and wedding receptions to think about. And yet another phase of sort and purge (although I thought I was doing a pretty good job of this, seeing how much stuff it is when packed convinces me I will need to do better before leaving the country). I think these next few months are going to move along pretty quickly...

Well, I better go finish up with the last of things - the move is in just a few hours.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When did I become a plant person anyways?

My mother has never been very good with house plants. Somewhere along the way I decided I wasn't either. But then, maybe 5 or 6 years ago, a couple of people gave me plants as gifts. So I did my best to nurture them along out of respect for the people who gave them to me.

Then I moved into my first apartment. Suddenly, plants were very grown-up and homey things to have. Both of my roommates had a couple of plants themselves, and gave me a few pointers here and there on my plants. I started experimenting a bit with lighting, watering techniques, and plant food. Where before I had managed only to maintain, now they were starting to really grow.

One roommate got married at the end of that 1st year, and so the remaining 2 of us downsized a bit. Our favorite part of our new apartment, the thing that had really clinched the deal for us, was a sun room. Windows on three sides (facing N,E,and S), and matching arch shaped cut-outs facing into the living room. We put a bookshelf just under the bottom of the window sill along the longest wall, covered the top with plants and filled in the bottom with our most interesting books. A couple more plants adorned the cut-out arches. We loved that room.

We lived there 2 years, and in that time I think I managed to double my plant collection. How could any houseplant not thrive in such a beautiful space??! I would wander through the plant sections of Home Depot and Chase Pitkin every so often, choosing plants that had interesting colors or stripes. I rescued an unwanted plant or two from work. I took cuttings of the plants I had every so often when I pruned them and started new ones. When Grandma died, I took home one of the plants from the funeral, and took a cutting from her aloe plant (she'd been meaning to give me one...).

When I moved here a year ago, I gave away 4-6 plants I had started from cuttings. I brought 11 plants with me to my new small apartment. Instead of buying curtains, I took the advice of a good friend and trained a couple of vines to grow around the windows. In some ways they were a bit overwhelming in such a tight space, but the decided opinion was that they made it feel warm and cozy.

I'm sure you see where this is going. How could I possibly take them with me? I can't. I'll have to start over when I get there. (I have happily noted that my future mother-in-law has quite the garden herself.) So, I started looking for homes for my plants. Didn't seem to be much point in moving them to my parents' house since there aren't good places to put them and they won't want them when I leave. A couple of my closest friends each took a couple. My boss wants one to remember me by. The finance office at work happily took both African violets. Another co-worker took my best vine (one of my first and original plants). I think my aunt would like the one from Grandma's funeral...

I'm happy to have found so many good homes, but I cried a little today after dropping a bunch of them off. It is hard to leave...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I hate moving

I really do. I hate packing - it is not a strength of mine. I always manage to make it more work than it needs to be. And in the process of doing that, I stress myself out with how much there is and how long it is taking. There's so much organizing, so much purging to be done. Made so much more worse by the fact that I tend to accumulate stupid stuff, I guess out of laziness. You would think that after moving something like 8 times in the last 11 years that I would have gotten better at it, that I'd have learned not to accumulate things, that it would stop stressing me out so much because I'm such a pro now. But sadly, that just doesn't seem to be true. I'm trying to stop proclaiming over myself that moving stresses me out and replace that mantra with something Godly and peace-oriented, but I haven't quite gotten that down yet.

Anyways, I'd better get back to work. My next move is in 3 1/2 days...

**To be fair to myself, this move would probably be pretty easy, as I do have more experience and have gotten somewhat better at not accumulating so much stuff. However, rather than just throwing everything in boxes, I have to determine what is or is not going to Mexico, and how soon I hope it can make it there. So each category of things that I own (i.e. music, clothes, books, decorations) is getting all laid out, sorted AND prioritized, THEN packed.**

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Apparently I only kind of understand how to load pictures on here, so these are in somewhat random order, with some strange spacing. They are mostly from my recent trip, but I added a couple of my favorites from when I was there at Christmas time.

This one of the 2 of us is from my first full day there. I know, I look a bit....warm.
But it is a good one of him, and is an accurate portrayal of the fact that he is just slightly taller than me. For those who like to know these things, we are standing in front of his house (the 2 of us are facing the house). It was a hazy day, so it is hard to make out the mountains that normally form the backdrop of the view.

This one of the 2 of us is from a day trip a small group of us made up into the mountains. (Side note: because they live in such a desert climate, they consider that stream a river.)

Next are a couple of his family - this isn't everybody, just the ones I see the most of. These are from my second full day there, after church. Again, we are in front of his house. The first is FB with his mother, 2 sisters, and one of 3 brothers. The 2nd includes 4 nieces and one great nephew. Yes, the woman in the green top is his niece, and the little boy is her son. Remember, FB is the youngest of 7.

Finally, there are 2 of my favorites from when I was there at Christmas time - we're sitting in a restaurant and standing in the Pastor's house (where I stay when I visit).


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Funny Mistake

A quick story from my Mexico trip that I almost forgot I wanted to tell:

While I was there this time, we went back to several of the places we had gone last summer together. One afternoon we went to visit the little town where he proposed to me last year. For those who don't know or don't remember, let me recap the proposal story real quick.

The night before, he had told me there was something he wanted to ask me, paused, and then said he would ask me the next day. Needless to say, I was dying of curiosity and very nervous, but held myself in check. So we went to this little town outside the city a little ways, spent a couple of hours walking and chatting, having lunch, etc. Eventually, we sat down on a bench, and he worked himself up to ask me his question.

He asked, in English, "Do you like me?"

I said yes, and he went on to tell me (again in English), "You are beautiful, you are special, your face reflects the Lord, and Jesus is first in my heart, then you."

By the end of the conversation, we were engaged.

Many thought it was strange to have gone from, "Do you like me?" to a marriage proposal. I thought maybe he wanted to just make sure we were on the same page since all week I had just been going along with his initiative. I also wasn't totally sure if, "Do you like me?" was his big question or if, "Do you want to marry me?" was.

So, this year, we visit this place again. As we walked by the bench where we sat last year, I gave him a hard time for the way he made me wait overnight to find out what his question was. He shook his head as if a little ashamed of himself and understood how hard that had been for me. A little while later, I asked if he remembered his question. This time, he kind of laughed to himself for a minute. Then he explained, "I wanted to ask, 'Me quieres?' and instead I asked, 'Te gusto?'" That is, he meant to say in English, "Do you love me?" and instead mistakenly asked, "Do you like me?"

I'm glad I brought it up - makes a lot more sense, don't you think?

Did I mention I'm in transition?

The timing of my Mexico trip and family vacation mean that I've essentially been away for 3 weeks. What makes that timing so interesting is that I need to wrap things up at my job and move out of my apartment (back home) by the end of the month. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I've been away from home for awhile, the last think I want to do is start sorting and packing. Not just any sorting and packing, but well thought out and organized so I know what is going to Mexico with me and when. And having been away from work for 3 weeks does not make it easy to get back in the swing of things. Thankfully, that part is pretty low-key.

I feel like I explain the timeline of the next several months multiple times a day and by now the whole world should know it. But I realize it is quite possible I have not explained it to all who happen to read this blog, so let me spell it out quick:

End of July: My contract at work is up and I stop receiving a paycheck. My lease is up on my apartment and I move home to save money.

Mid-Late October: FB comes to visit here for about a week. I go back with him, moving to Mexico.

December 29th: The wedding.

Up until recently, my plans for between the end of July and the end of October were pretty vague, revolving around whatever I felt I needed to tie up all my loose ends here before moving away. However, circumstances have conspired against me in such a way that my savings account has shrunk significantly. So where before I considered some very part-time work to just keep things even, I am now feeling a strong need to work at least half-time and earn some money in the next couple of months. Although I won't have to pay rent, I'll still have things like gas, going out with friends, etc, that will require money. And there are a couple of bigger things I want to do, like consider new glasses and maybe make a trip to CA. Thankfully, my dad has connections and can probably help me find an office job (which is perfect for me since most of my part time jobs over the years were office jobs, and it is a pretty low-stress, mindless kind of thing).

This is a very interesting stage to have come to. I am thankful to close the chapter of this last year, because it was very hard to basically have a whole year of working and living in places I knew I'd soon be leaving. I feel like I am moving on, am much closer to the wedding and starting the next chapter. However, for the moment, I am between things, in a type of holding pattern for about 3 months. I haven't quite sorted out what I think and feel about this yet....maybe there will be more to come.

And now for a sappy moment.....
I miss my man!!!
The combination of not being as busy now since I am simply wrapping things up at work and having just recently returned from a visit in which I was able to spend at least several hours everyday with him - suffice it to say that our internet dates for an hour or 2 every 3-4 days seem awfully paltry now.

I promise, pictures really are coming soon. I just can't load them from home, and when I was working on it the other day, the computer I was using froze. Soon, really.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

From Vacation

So, I was just about to write a post about how we've temporarily escaped the perpetually damp campgrounds for a little coffee shop, and how although I am enjoying time with family, the rain and the fact that I missed my date with my love thanks to a power outage are putting a damper on things, when...

...I realized he was online and got to chat with him for about 10 minutes. How that brightened my day! :)

Seriously, over all, I am having fun and relaxing. It is good to be with family, although a harsh reality that it was only for about 16 hours that all of us were here at once - and that wasn't even all of us since one of my brothers and his wife can't make it at all. I was very prepared for a hot, sunny, hang out by the pool or beach kind of vacation, and instead it is a cool, rainy, muggy kind of vacation. But, lots of quality time. I just have to push my PMS emotions out of the way once in a while.

Ok, I should get back to the quality time instead of posting...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I'm back

I don't really know where to start. But I leave town again on Saturday to go on vacation with my family, so I'm thinking I'd better try to get some kind of update written while I'm home for a couple of days. Plus, I'm inspired by Carole's post about not always waiting to start writing until you have it all figured out...

Needless to say, it was awesome to have all that time with my love. There was only one day we ended up not seeing each other (he got trapped at home when a huge thunderstorm made some roads completely impassable). There were 6 days when I got to spend very significant chunks of time with him, as in more than 8 hours. The remaining 4 days I had at least 3 hours with him. Pretty good, huh? Definitely more than I could have hoped for, considering that he continued to go to work and school while I was there. We were able to visit some of our special places together (like the place he proposed to me). And we had a good mix of alone time and time with others.

We had some really good and important conversations. Some were difficult, revolving around things like money and cultural differences. Others were less difficult but equally deep, such as beginning to look at The Five Love Languages and discussing what is important to each of us. (I had the book both in English and in Spanish.) All ended positively, with us knowing and understanding each other better and reinforcing the fact that it is safe and good to talk things through with each other.

Considering that this trip got us up to a grand total of 28 days spent together in real time (since starting our relationship), I continue to be amazed at how well he reads me and understands me. I know I am on the easy side of readability, but there are certainly plenty of times people miss what is going on inside of me, close friends and family included. But FB always correctly assesses my mood, usually attributing the correct source to it, and can tell when I have something on my mind I want to talk about. Some of you know how hard it can be for me to initiate a difficult conversation, and can appreciate how great this is. I've also decided that our language barriers increase our direct and honest communication - I don't have the linguistic ability to beat around the bush. Between those two facts, I am only improving in my comfort level with initiating all kinds of conversations as well as sharing exactly how I feel about something, at least with my man.

I can't decide what else to include in this summary without making it way too long. I do want to say that there were several things that were like extra-added bonuses: A small group day trip into the mountains that FB was able to join us on, eating at the homes of some of my closest friends, an afternoon of chatting with FB's family while he was at music practice, driving in Mexico for the first time (multiple times), being a part of choosing the reception hall and wedding cake, communicating with the Pastor's family (where I stayed) without ever needing my dictionary...I could go on, but I'll leave it at that.

It is, as I'm sure you can guess, very hard to be back and again so very many miles away from him, with very limited contact. I keep finding myself walking along somewhere and wishing we were holding hands or his arm was around me, or sitting down and feeling the empty space beside me. Or all the things I want to tell him, but won't have time to because it takes so much longer to say things when you are IM'ing than it does in real life. BUT - only 177 days until the wedding (yes, for those of you wondering, the wedding will be December 29th, 2007). And in a little over 3 months, he'll be here to meet everyone and then take me back with him so I can get settled in before the wedding. Considering that it has been almost a year already since we started planning this wedding, I can live with those kind of time lines.

Pictures to come - I can't load them from this computer...