Monday, April 14, 2014

Single Digits People

Can you believe it?! We're down to less than 10 day until we're back together. I can't believe it. I can't stinking believe it. Guys, I get to actually live with my husband again.

I saw some Peace Corps friends this weekend and they asked me what I learned about myself during this whole process of living apart from my husband. I guess I hadn't really thought about it before, but it seemed like my answer was an important one.
I learned that I can take care of myself. 

I went from living with my parents straight to getting married and living with Hal. My entire life I have had someone around to help take care of me, or help me out when I needed it.

For the first time in my life I didn't really have anyone I could rely on that wasn't thousands of miles away. Of course I had people I could ask for help, and lots of fabulous people invited me to dinners, and to hang out, and pick me up and take me to the airport, but as I explained it to Hal, for the first time in my life, I didn't have someone who loved me unconditionally, that I could talk to about anything; that wasn't 2,000 miles away.
It wasn't easy by any means. There were times that I was desperately lonely. There were times that I felt I had no one to really talk to. There were days where the only living thing I talked to was my cat. There were days that I didn't leave the house because I was just plain sad.

It has been a hard 3 1/2 months. But I did it. I took care of myself, and I realized I can take care of myself. I can feed myself. That may seem trivial, but I've always struggled with hypoglycemia and keeping my blood sugar is a good place. So realizing I can completely take care of myself, and eat on a routine, and not go out to eat hardly at all was a really big thing to me.
I guess I've just always thought of myself as lazy and knew that people would help take care of me, but now I know I can not only take care of myself, I can also take are of a cat and two plants at the same time; and I can do it even during some of the saddest days I've ever had. I'm pretty sure that's like super human. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Harper's Ferry

When Hal was here we had a rare day of almost 70 degrees so we decided to take advantage of it and go hiking. My boss had suggested going to Harper's Ferry. It's only an hour drive from DC. It's right where Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia meet, and is where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.

Overlooking the river is where Jefferson stood and said something like "this is a sight worth crossing the Atlantic to see" It probably looks a little more spectacular not at the end of winter.
The town is amazing. It's like literally stepping back in time to the Civil War which made the town famous of John Brown's raid on the armory.

It also happens to be almost the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail, and where two other national trails meet up. So there's a lot going on.We used the foot bridge to cross the water and we hiked for a few miles on the Appalachian trail. It was flat and easy, but cool to say that we walked along the Appalachian trail! There were tongs of people with children and dogs out around the town and all along the trails, so it's definitely a family friendly place.
We stopped at The Town's Inn for dinner. It also happens to be a B&B, and we were really tempted to stay with how cute it was and how fabulous the food was. All home cooked, made to order, and with perfect portions. And then we headed on down to Swiss Miss, where they sell ice cream from a local creamery that doesn't have food coloring in it!
Tip: don't go all the way out to the National Park. It's like 2 miles outside of the town. While parking can be difficult near town, it's not impossible. We parked a bit outside of the main part of town and walked less than 10 minutes into the city center. Also, on the road closest to the river, there is a parking lot for those who want to pay the $10 National park fee, and you get a map of the area. If you go to the national park, you pay $10, get a map, and have to take a shuttle into town, and the shuttles stop running at 5pm. The map is handy, but if you want to save $10, you can print it out online before you go. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

3 Long Long Long Months

Tomorrow marks 3 months that Hal and I have been apart. 3 months since I got on a plane and moved 2,000 miles away by myself.

It's funny the things that come up when you're away from your spouse for a long time. Both of you start to forget things that were like second nature when you were living together. Both of you start to have insecurities come up because some days it literally feels like we will never be back together; and you get into fights over those insecurities. Coming to the realization that you're really just fighting over fear and insecurity feels like a revelation; and you just have to have faith in each other and knowing those insecurities will fade as we are reunited.

We officially have less than 2 weeks until we're permanently back together. Well, not quite permanently as Hal will be spending his summer part time in DC and part time in New Jersey, but 4 hours away is a lot more bearable than 2,000 miles away.

I don't think tuk tuk can wait for these daily pictures that I send to Hal to end. I don't think I've ever seen a more disgruntled cat. She's been giving me the stink eye almost every single night. This first photo is my absolute favorite, she looks like two face kitty. Hopefully both of us can hold out for these next two weeks, because even though that doesn't seem very long, when you're waiting to be reunited with your love, it feels like forever.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lessons I Have Learned From My Mother

I asked Hal to bring me my old journals on his most recent visit to DC. The other night I went through them looking at old things I had stuck in there to remember. I found this package, this amazing package. My senior year of high school my seminary (a religious class you could take as an elective) asked each of our parents to write letters to us of their testimonies about our church and what they hoped to see from each of us by the time we were 21. Those letters with other things we wrote in his class were mailed out to us on our 21st birthdays.

This is the last paragraph from my mother's letter to me.

"I knew you were born to our family for a special purpose, it could be for many purposes. I have had a wonderful time seeing you grow to be this age; I will have a wonderful time seeing you grow more."
My mother never made it to my 21st birthday. She passed away when I was only 19.

Reading this letter from her for the first time in 5 years was like reading it for the first time again. Reading her words of wisdom to my 21 year old self made me realize some of the things I have learned from my mother; so I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned from my mother, and how her example is still teaching me today.

To Love People.
"If you don't remember anything else, remember that your dad and I love you with a love that you will not fully appreciate until you have your own children. We want all that is the best for you. We will be here for you no matter what, you can come and talk to us about anything and it will be OK. We will support you in anything that you do." 
This was my favorite part of the letter because I know it is true. My mother had a kind heart, and her children didn't always make the choices she hoped they would make, but each of us know that our parents loved us unconditionally no matter our choices. Granted, we knew her values and what she wanted for us, but we still knew she loved us no matter what.

This is something I really value that my parents taught me. People are people. People make mistakes, people need love, and to know that others are going to be there for them, loving them no matter what.

To Have Useful Skills, and to Work Hard.
"I hope you chose a degree you can use in your home, something that you can "keep up" on after you are married. It is important in this world to have a backup. You just never know when you might need to not only bring some money into the home, but if need be, you could support your family."

There were definitely times growing up that both of my parents worked, and times that each of my parents solely supported our family. My mom was the hardest worker of anyone I have ever met in my entire life. While my degree was not the most useful, gaining an education was. And I think my mom would be proud of the fact that I have supported Hal and I the last two years while he finishes school.

To Listen to Promptings / Intuition.
"It is easy to want something so badly that we pray for that thing and we push all the prompting away. Be prepared to receive direction in an area you had not thought of, or hear advice you don't want to hear. Having the courage and openness to receive and act on these directions will make a huge difference in your life"

Oh boy did my mom ever know this was something that I constantly struggle with. It is so easy to get so focused on what I want to happen that I completely miss the road I should have taken.
To Take Care of My Body
"I hope that you have learned to eat healthily and to get at lease some exercise. In the coming years, you will need that good foundation for your bones and general health. You will need it for work, home, and maybe even motherhood."

This is definitely advice that I took me a long time to listen to. Just because I was naturally thin I thought I could eat and do whatever I wanted. Only recently have I started to pay attention to what I put into my body, and how my body responds when I exercise regularly, and the value in doing both together. It makes for a happier mind and body.

Never Sacrifice Your Values.
"No matter how much you like or love someone, it is better to walk away and have the pain of loss than it is to sacrifice your values."

I glad this is something my mother taught me. The person I was dating when she wrote me this letter is not who she wanted me to end up with. I am so glad I did not sacrifice my values and was able to find someone amazing in the end.

To Gain a Testimony of God and Never Let It Go.
"Being true to the testimony that I received has brought me such peace and had helped me through some unbelievable hard times. I didn't have to re-decide with each day or with any given situation."

This is probably the best advice a mother can give a daughter. Gain a testimony of God, and never let it go, and then you always have it with you and never have to question it. This can be used with any type of faith. It can be used for establishing morals and values, and even just having faith in who you are as a person.
My mother was a beautiful person inside and out. Both of my parents taught me so many values that have led me to make big decisions and have led me to become the person that I am today. Even though my mother is no longer around every day to share her advice and lessons, they still live on in each of her children and how we live our lives, and the stories that we share with each other about our parents and how lucky we were to always know that our parents loved each other, and us unconditionally. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

If You Come Visit Me, The Government Will Close

I had my second visitor come last week. It was her spring break and I was so glad that I was the choice destination.

We spent the most beautiful spring day DC has gotten walking around the monuments. It was so beautiful neither of us wanted to take the metro, so we just walked. Our legs were pretty sore the next day, but soaking up the sun was worth it.

We visited a friend in Havre De Grace Maryland, and discovered that Maryland does indeed have the cutest random little towns.
Snow was predicted for Monday and I was so hoping for one last snow day. The government closes when DC gets too much snow, and if the government closes for a snow day, my work also closes for a snow day. We got our last snow day, so I had an extra day to hang out all day with Erica...except we didn't realize one thing. When the government closes, so do almost all of the museums. Only two were open, so we visited both. The Portriat Gallery has this beautiful atrium area that looked so cool with snow covering the roof.
We got a lot of walking in again in the freezing snowy city, but it was a great way to spend a low key St. Patrick's day; looking like a babushka. This is the second time someone has come to visit me and the government shut down. One of the benefits of living in DC, is that even if the government is shut down, there are still lots of things to do and see. 
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