March; Looking Back and Ahead

Happy April!

A week or two ago, I decided to start a new monthly theme highlighting the favorite or important moments from the previous month, but also a few notable things that I’m looking forward to in the new month. It’s pretty basic, really and not anything particularly special, but I think it’d be a fun way to remember the little/big things that happen each month. So here we are, starting with March!

Take it back now, y’all:

  • Ed Sheeran’s released a new album and IT IS AMAZING!! I was admittedly a little thrown off when I first heard the album; I wasn’t really sure what I had expected from him, especially after the success of his second album a few years ago, but after giving it a good listen (shout out to my long commute to work and Seattle traffic for giving me time to listen to an entire album), I was blown away. Needless to say, it’s been on repeat all month and will be for a while. And I got tickets to his concert in July, so I’m pretty stoked about that!
  • My sister came all the way from New York to visit me for a week! It was so good having her here with me. I knew she would love it, because really what’s not to love. We didn’t get to do too many things since I had surgery and she was here to take care of me during my time of incapacitation, but it made me incredibly happy to have someone from my family finally come and see what it’s like out here.
  • Speaking of surgery, I had sinus surgery last Monday to remove nasal polyps and fix my deviated septum. I’ve had issues with allergies and my sinuses for years, but recently they got so bad I could barely breathe, especially at night when I would be kept awake just coughing all night. It also made doing regular things like going for a run or laughing too much a bit of a hassle. The running part I didn’t mind so much since it gave me an excuse to avoid going on a run with Dalton, but it was pretty embarrassing when I would start coughing if I laughed too much. But after this surgery, I’m hoping most of those issues I had will be gone. I’m still currently in recovery and will be for a few weeks, but I feel rather hopeful. It’s been a long struggle.
  • Dalton passed the first phase of Ranger School this month! He’s 1/3 through at this point, though we find out this week if he passed the 2nd phase or not. We can only communicate through letters during this time, so that’s been a bit of a struggle, and my emotions have been all over the place, to say the least, but I know whatever I’m feeling, he’s going through much worse. I seriously cannot wait for it to be over.
  • I gave up shopping and drinking for wine because those are my biggest vices and for the most part it hasn’t been too bad! I will admit I kind of regretted giving up drinking when I realized how much I missed Dalton, but then again it was probably in my best interest that I did give it up. (wow I sound like I have all kinds of issues). I don’t need wine to cope, but it sure is nice to have a glass after a stressful week at work. I’m looking forward to Easter Sunday in a few weeks 😛

Looking Ahead:

  • I honestly cannot believe I’m even writing this right now, but one thing I’m looking forward to is being able to start working out again after getting the okay from my doctor. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I couldn’t do it at all. Now I don’t want to make it seem like I work out everyday, because I definitely do not, but I do a few times a week. I’d also like to test out my new and improved sinuses and see if I can actually run now. That might be pushing it, but I’ll report back at the end of the month!
  • Tulip Season has arrived! I will hopefully be going to Skagit Valley to see the tulip fields. It’s apparently a big deal around here, so I’m looking forward to that.
  • If Dalton passes the next two phases, I’ll be going down to Georgia for his graduation. I can’t tell you how anxious and excited and nervous I am all at once. Here’s hoping and praying he passes; I miss him so much.
  • I recently purchased a pile of books that I put in a corner and promptly forgot about. I have a bit more time on my hands lately, so my hope for April is to at least finish two books. That might be expecting too much of myself, especially given my reading track record lately, but we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, that’s all for now! I’m excited for April and have a feeling it’s going to fly by. Hopefully it’s a good one.

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Dusting Myself Off

April and May were really difficult months and I am so glad May is finally over. I’m looking forward to June and have decided that despite the struggles of the last two months, only I can make the conscious decision to get over it. So that’s what I’m doing. I could sit here and say that I’m going to work out every day, eat healthy, cut back on junk food, spend less time online, but that’s not my plan. Not for now anyway. For now, I want to focus on getting rid of the negativity within me, as well as around me. This will be difficult because first and foremost, I hate confrontation and would rather keep something that is bothering me to myself instead of facing it head first, but if that’s what it’s going to take to start anew, then that’s what I’m going to do. Only I can make myself happy, or allow others to make me happy. I can, however, easily give others the power to bring me down and I’ve done so in the past one too many times, so enough of that. I think it’s time for me to pick myself up and dust myself off. Fortunately, despite all the challenges and difficulties experienced, I have a supportive boyfriend beside me (metaphorically speaking, for now; darn long distance relationship stuff). Being apart only adds to our challenges, but the way I see it now is, if there is no hurdle to jump over, what is the point of the reward? This distance thing is only temporary. But I’m not focusing on that. For now, I’m just focusing on the here and now, and making sure that I make it to my destination. It’s quite the journey, but I know that with the support of J and all those who love me, I will make to where I want to me. 

Life Has A Sense of Humor

Just when I think I know exactly where my life is headed, I’m reminded that I really don’t know what is going to happen. I can make plans, ask for prayers for a certain intention, work hard to achieve my goal, but sometimes, some things I might want for myself are just not what I need.

Dealing with disappointments is not my thing; I would much rather ignore them and pretend it didn’t happen, just to save a little face. I usually just cry myself to sleep instead. I like to tell myself that it works, but denial isn’t going to get me anywhere, unfortunately. And when it’s someone else’s disappointment and I have to offer emotional support? Sweet baby Jesus, can I just lock myself in the bathroom till it goes away?! Okay, not really. It’s just hard to figure out what the right thing to say is, and to be the support that person needs at this particular moment of their lives.

There are some sayings and advice I’ve heard a lot over these few weeks. “This is a blessing in disguise” “Everything happens for a reason” “God has a plan” And I know all these people are right. It sucks, but “time heals all wounds”, right? I sure hope so. Good thing is that J and I have each other to lean on, during the good times and the bad. We’ll get through this together.

Can You Visit This Weekend?

It’s been a month since I went to visit J after his graduation from Navy boot camp. Throughout this month, we’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out when we’ll be able to see each other again. Being in a long distance relationship is not easy. There are times when all I want is to spend some time doing nothing with J, like we used to, but I can’t because he’s so far away. And it’s fine because fortunately, we live in 2014 and things like Skype and Facetime exist! We don’t get to talk much during the week, since his schedule is so hectic and he has to go to bed early, but we are able to talk on weekends, which has been great.

I honestly was not expecting to be able to talk to him as much as I do. It’s been a blessing, one that I’m enjoying now as much as I can. Lord knows it probably won’t last once he really gets started on his intense training!

One thing I’ve learned from our distance so far is how important honesty and trust are. Communication is key, but it doesn’t mean anything if we’re not really communicating with each other about the important things and being totally honest about how we feel. Fortunately, I think we’re doing fairly well in that department so far. 

So I don’t know when I’m going to see him again, hopefully it’ll be within the next month though. But for the time being, we’ll be enjoying each other’s company via screens. It is definitely not the same as being together in person, of course, but it’s better than nothing!

And so it begins

The wait is over. J has officially left for basic training in the Navy today. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy but somehow, I managed not to cry much! I was so worried that I would be a totally mess and would only make saying our goodbyes that much harder for us both but it wasn’t that bad. It was a bittersweet moment. We were both in good spirits and he even followed my bus for a few miles. Haha, that dork.

Our last 12 hours together were great. His mom made a Thanksgiving meal for him, since he’ll still be in basic during the holidays, of course. We watched a movie together and spent the rest of the time just talking in his favorite place, the woods behind his house. No fuss, no drama. It was unplanned and perfect.

There was also something different in J. It might’ve been because he was mentally preparing himself to leave, but he seemed to be counting on me a lot more for moral support. I know leaving home wasn’t easy for him, so I had to be strong and not make it any harder for him. I’m so glad I was able to keep it together!

People keep asking me how I’m holding up and if I’m okay, and I am really happy to say that I actually am okay. Of course I miss him already and the whole no-contact-except-by-letters will be difficult to deal with but I know it won’t be unbearable or impossible. I think it’ll be sweet to have those letters in hand, as as something to look back to in the future.

He’s doing what he’s always dreamed of doing and I’m working on my goals as well. We’re apart but I’m not worried. Maybe I’m a little nervous about the unexpected things the next few months hold but not worried.

I’m happy, confident and totally in love.

Counting down the days

21 days. Three weeks. That’s the amount of time left before J ships off to basic training. I knew this time was coming and now that it is almost here, I feel eerily calm. Sometimes, when I let my thoughts run wild, I freak myself out but I want to believe that I’m fine with it all. Honestly, I want the day to come already. The anticipation and talk of it all can be so overwhelming at times. I know it is going to be very difficult when he leaves, but I’ve been (trying!) to mental prepare myself for it. I’m imagining how it will feel when he’s actually gone but I guess I won’t know what that feels like until he’s shipped off.

And it is oh so scary. I know we’ll be okay, and I’m not worried about our relationship or anything like that, but I think what I’m scared about it starting this new chapter in our lives. His departure affects both of our lives in different ways, and we will have to deal with all the change while we’re apart. We won’t see each other or speak as often as we do now, but I’d like to think that somehow, that will make us stronger. At least I hope and pray that it does.

One thing I do know is that we will be fine. We won’t be in the same state anymore, and we won’t be able to talk everyday or even every week, but we’ve had these wonderful 10 months that we’ve been dating. We have beautiful memories together. Every moment spent together has been special to us, especially since we knew the day for him to leave would be coming soon enough. So after 10 months of getting to know each other, making memories and falling in love, what will a few months without seeing each other be?
Difficult. Painful. Lonely. But worth it.

Mother Knows Best

Over the last three years since I started college, there is one thing that I have learned: my mother knows everything, and she is always right. This, of course, can be pretty annoying sometimes, especially when I really want her to be wrong. Growing up, it always bothered me when Mom would say things like “You can’t hide anything from me. I always find out” or “I’ve lived a long time. I’ve seen it all.” Yet my ignorant self refused to believe it.

However, now that I am in a committed, adult relationship, I find myself turning to my mother for advice more frequently. And she always knows exactly what to say! I guess that’s what 36 years of marriage will do to a lady. Yet her words of wisdom aren’t limited to relationships. I can tell her about anything going on in my life, and regardless of what it is, she has the advice and remedy for it. Mom likes to remind me that “You are a French woman. You can’t give up so easily!” Sound advice…except my Frenchie-ness is a bit far up the family tree, Mom.

There are still times when Mom doesn’t know best, which is kind of nice too. After all, my ego can’t allow her to be right all the time! Maybe it’s because I’m finally growing up (haha!)but I’m really grateful I have my mother to turn to. The fact that she’s so wise is a lovely, additional bonus. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I never thought I’d say it, or agree with that evil Mother Gothel from Tangled, but mother really does know best. I can only hope and pray to be as wise as her, and to be able to share Mom’s wisdom with my own daughter someday.

I Can Hear The Bells

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June 10, 2013. You know what that means? Only 5 days left until June 15th, which means only 5 days left until my dear sister’s wedding. I can still hear Jenny excited saying, “Only 397 days left till my wedding!” (She had an app that told her that. She didn’t count the days down herself. If she did, I would’ve checked her in to an insane asylum myself).

So much planning and preparing has been done to make sure that her big day is perfect. Although I have not done as much to help as I would’ve liked, which I am blaming on my “super busy” schedule and my total lack of creativity in the DIY wedding field, its going to be really weird when this wedding is finally over. What is the family going to discuss during dinner next? What will we be doing every weekend in our house upstate? (Hah, kidding. I know for a fact that Mom will find something that needs to get done, like always.)

But this wedding is more than just a wedding. This wedding is the beginning step in Jenny and Jaime’s journey towards marriage. The wedding may be over on June 15th at 7 pm, but their marriage is just starting. While a lot of preparing has been done for the actual wedding day, Jenny and Jaime have prepared for marriage itself in a way that is, nowadays especially, unique and special. Actually, they’ve prepared in the way that every couple planning their wedding should. Its not about the wedding, its about what comes after the wedding. Its been a rough road for them to get to where they are now, long distance relationship and all. They’ve had to be patient and things may not have always gone the way they wanted them to, but together, they endured the hardships and through prayer and trust in one another, they were able to get to where they are now. Because of this, I admire them both so much.

I must admit, I was a bit pessimistic about their relationship from the start, but they have honestly proved me wrong about it all, for which I am very grateful. Seeing how happy Jenny is with Jaime is one of the greatest things ever. I know now that she has truly met her soulmate, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better to take care of my super annoying, I-Want-To-Shove-You-Against-The Wall-Yet-I-Can’t-Imagine-Life-Without-You big sister.

I’m excited for Saturday. Its going to be a beautiful wedding, and hopefully, the weather will be beautiful, as well. Jenny deserves it.

 

Started from the bottom

No, not the Drake song. I didn’t even know that was a song until 3 hours ago. I’m referring to my parents’ long journey and struggle to get to where they are now. My parents literally started from the bottom. As teen immigrants from the Dominican Republic, they both had to work every day to help support their families. Mom, being the oldest of six kids, worked even more than Dad did, who was the youngest of his siblings. A couple of times a year, Mom reminds us of all the little jobs she had to do in order to help her parents pay for food and rent. She worked at a factory, making hats, and then at another factory making curtains, all while taking English language classes at night. When they got married at age 21, Mom continued working at the factory. A few years later, she started selling cosmetics with a famous company (at the time), Jafra. It was the Spanish equivalent of Mary Kay and Avon. Dad bought the supermarket where he worked at, and business was going really well. All this happened for them after many years of hard work and suffering. 

But it didn’t just happen to them because business was going well. Dad ended up selling the supermarket and Mom stopped working with Jafra after she started having kids. She became a stay at home mom and Dad got a job as a maintenance man; and that’s the way its been for the past 25 years. 

36 years after getting married, Mom and Dad are the owners of a large house in New York City, as well as of a vacation house in upstate. People always wonder how they manage to afford it all. Now that I have my own bills to pay and money seems to disappear into thin air, I wonder the same thing.

How did they do it? I guess one thing that helped is that my parents are very simple people. Growing up, Mom cooked every meal. We didn’t go out to eat unless it was a special occasion, or unless Mom wasn’t around and Dad ordered pizza. Dad would take lunch with him everyday from home and every one had coffee at home before heading out. There was no need to spend money on lunch or coffee because it was prepared at home. Also, we barely ever went to the movies. Like ever. It wasn’t until we were older and were making our own money that we started going to the movies. Even then, we went on our own. Mom and Dad would stay home. I can honestly say that it has been over 20 years since my parents went to a movie theater. Its the little things that add up. Living comfortably, yet simply. We never lacked for anything. We always had what we needed and more.

Recently I was having a conversation with my sister and she said “Why do parents who never went to college pressure their kids to get a college education so much? They didn’t go to college and they’re perfectly fine.” That got me thinking. Why do they do it? Maybe its because they don’t want their kids to have to suffer through everything they did all over again. Those parents want something better for their kids.

My parents are happy with their lives and they feel accomplished but I know that I would never be able to do everything they’ve done. Through their hard work and sacrifices, they’ve been able to give my siblings and I a very wonderful life, and I will forever be grateful to them. And in the words of Drake, my parents “started from the bottom, now we’re here”. They did it, and so can any one else.

P.S. I don’t listen to Drake, nor do I encourage anyone to do so. The lyrics were just appropriate for the post. That is all.Image

My parents at our upstate house