Travelchick

My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Bringing Home the (Ex)Boyfriend

The home visit. It tends to be kind of a big deal, even when you’re firmly entrenched in a solid relationship and ready to make big life decisions. When the visitee and you have a sort of ambiguous relationship status, it’s hard to know whether it’s a bigger deal (like some sort of deciding factor) or not that big of a deal at all (just like bringing a friend over). It was only the second time I had ever had a man accompany me to my parents’ home, the first time being about 7 years ago with my first college boyfriend. That one had mixed results and I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect this time.

I’d been worried that he and I would feel awkward putting ourselves into a family visit situation when even we weren’t sure what was going on between us and that it would be really stressful for us both, but I needn’t have had such thoughts. We didn’t feel awkward at all. In fact, we felt better than ever and had an amazing time together just being ourselves. He got to see all the atrocious pictures of me wearing pink shirts and purple corduroys with Velcro shoes and orange laces. We found a terrified armadillo by the creek in the woods. He met my maternal grandparents and took the time to talk with them. I was sad that he couldn’t stay longer.

Group Picture

Group Picture

The only negative really was the consternation of some people who didn’t realize it would LOOK like we were any old regular dating couple and felt that they had been lied to when I’d said “I’m not sure how I feel”. Truthfully, the dynamics between my manly man and I had been so constantly evolving that it was difficult for me to remember what and at what points I had or had not given family and friends an accurate picture of the situation. I guess that even if I was wavering inside, it would have been beneficial to give people an accurate view of what to expect. Those follies aside, it was all a smashing success.

After Church

After Church

With some guys, you might worry that they’ll be bored in a small town or find your family frustrating and strange, but he’s not one of those guys. I was completely relaxed, knowing that he would be able to enjoy himself even if conditions weren’t ideal (i.e. it had started to rain, we were running late, other people were spazzing out, and he forgot to bring a belt). I think that because of his relaxed and laid-back attitude, I actually felt more peaceful myself during the days that he was there.

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December 21, 2008 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Break for Freedom

It was the big day and flying to Texas was the main item on the agenda. We meant to leave at 8am, but somehow it was 8:45 before we actually slid down the snow-packed street leading to the highway. FREEDOM! I was thrilled to be leaving the confines of my routine and headed out for one glorious vacation. Those thoughts were quickly replaced, however, by thoughts of time and how we might not have enough of it to get to the airport. Judging by the road we left town on, weather conditions were not going to support hurry. Much to my relief, the highway was mostly clear and continued to be so until no traces of winter white could be seen.

After about an hour, we suddenly realized that, because of the nature of our tickets, we could have just as easily flown out of Spokane instead of Seattle, saving us 2.5 hours of driving both ways. Argh! How stupid. We almost changed plans and headed to Spokane after all, but decided to stick with the original plan. Relegating myself to the long drive, I drifted off to sleep.

Waking momentarily, I glanced up and saw nothing but swirling white all around our car! That and a driver concentrating very intensely on the road. “It’s a blizzard!” he exclaimed, rather excitedly. More than anything else, this would be the kind of news to wake me up properly, but I must have been truly exhausted because after a mumbled “Oh wow” I promptly went back to sleeping. I obviously trusted him completely. Blizzard or no blizzard, sleep took priority.

Blizzard conditions lasted through my nap and I awoke again to a white world of uncleared snow, cars in the ditch, creeping trucks, and lowered speed limits. I was a little worried about getting there again, but it looked like we were still making good time, with my travel companion driving as fast as he safely could (and maybe a tad faster, the daredevil). It felt as if the car was constantly in a slide, though, so I opted to look at the sky instead of the road just to avoid panic. I called my mom to ask her to pray for our safety and timely arrival. I also tried calling my sister as I knew that she and her boyfriend would be traveling a little ahead of us to the airport and may be able to give us an idea of what lay ahead, but was unable to reach them.

About the time we reached the pass, three snowplows appeared ahead, going veeeerrrry slooooooow. Uh-oh. We were creeping along at 20mph and the clock was ticking. A line of vehicles piled up behind us. I guess we should have been grateful for the semi-clear wake they left, but we just impatiently wanted to pass them up and get on our way. Thankfully, we were eventually able to pass one, then two, then all three snowplows. Of course, then the road was worse with big ruts that kept throwing the car around. I’m lucky though that I was with a born-and-raised north Idaho boy. He did an excellent job manhandling that snow and we picked up the pace again. I finally got a hold of my sister and she told us that after the pass the snow would soon turn to rain and then, once we got to Seattle, it would be clear. “Yeah right!” I thought, “There’s no way this can completely clear up!” Soon, however, the snow became rain and, as we neared Seattle, we could see blue sky ahead.

We were nearing the city and had enough time, so I began to relax. My ex-boyfriend (I don’t really want to keep referring to him that way but I’m doing it for the sake of anonymity). Anyway, he has always told me that he thinks you can learn a lot about a person and how you interact with them by traveling together. For all the years we’ve known each other, we haven’t actually done that much traveling together, aside from the occasional local trip and a few excursions to Canada. Because of this, he was really curious to see how things would go this Christmas. I actually was quite sure that I wouldn’t learn a lot that was new. I was wrong. Apparently, I spaz out when traveling and he stays perfectly calm. When we took a highway he wasn’t quite sure was right for getting to the airport, I began to freak out a bit and wonder why we hadn’t found out for sure how to get there ahead of time. When he stopped for directions (yes, some men do ask), I sat in the car, nervous about how long he was taking. “Yep, it’s the right way!” he said upon returning and I felt better…. Until I started to think about parking and how we might have to park and take a shuttle and how much time would that take?!? Mr. Calm might have had similar thoughts, but he didn’t voice his panic and somehow it made me feel that he didn’t realize the graveness of this situation. The entire world could cave in!

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, but (per my direction) promptly headed into the wrong parking area ($26/day), asked about cheaper parking, and windingly made our way back out to search for such. After a failed attempt to smoothly choose one of the first options we saw, he decided to get out and walk around to ask. What?! Walk?! There was no time for that! But I patiently sat (fuming) while he parking a million miles from the front door and got out.

Our plane left at 3:45PM and I knew that we had to check our luggage at least 45 minutes before that. Angry that we were cutting it so close, I sternly told God that I wanted to be at the airport by 2:45. It was a little after 2:30. I wasn’t sure about demanding things like that from God, but in my defense I was really worried. He returned back to the car having decided on a place to park for $9 a day, so after moving to some back lot, we lugged our suitcases down to the front. “How often does the shuttle leave?” I quizzed my trusty companion.

“Whenever we’re ready” he replied, and I began to feel better. He, meanwhile, was chuckling at my anxiety. He must have thought it greatly entertaining to see me all atwitter with worry. As we pulled into the airport (at 2:40), he looked at me with amusement, “Feel better now?” He said he knew all along that we were going to get there on time and hadn’t been worried at all. What?! Why am I the one freaking out?!

After checking luggage, making it through security (my belt didn’t set off the buzzer- yay!- but taking off my tall boots and putting them in the little bucket was kind of a pain), and finding our gate, I began to relax. Why was I even worried? Obviously, I stressed for nothing, but I guess I just wanted this trip to go smoothly. He and I laughed about my uptightness as opposed to his calm and happily chatted about how wonderful it was that we were headed to Texas together. That is, until we hit our next snag… My ticket was technically a companion ticket, which meant that I was standby status…. And the flight was FULL! Apparently, at least ten people had decided last minute to also fly from Seattle to Albuquerque to Dallas. Not only that, but there were about 5 other people also waiting for standby spots. It was not looking good! I began to despair once again. Pessimist that I was that day, I said “See, I knew something was going to go wrong with this trip!”

My traveling guru, true to nature, was thinking about food at a time like this. It was probably good that he stuffed that extra large (and really delicious) burrito down me because I did feel better after eating it. It is just like him to pay attention our basic needs while I’m worrying about other things like “AM I GOING TO MAKE IT ON THE FLIGHT?!” We sat and made a plan. If I didn’t get on the plane, he wouldn’t either (his ticket was not standby), and we would wait for tomorrow and both get on another flight. Because we then wouldn’t be in Dallas that night when my parents came to pick us up, we would rent a car and drive to Jefferson the next afternoon. The plan was good, but I still preferred the original.

As the time to fly came closer (and the flight was delayed) we hung around the desk hoping for one tiny little “me” spot. Everyone had boarded. I had called my mom by this time and told her the latest bad news “Please pray that I make it on!”

And then. The blessed words: “Linda Troyer!” (They had written my name down wrong) I looked at my friend in amazement “Really?! Did they really just call my name?”

“Yep, you’re on!”

I fairly danced down the tunnel and into the plane, “I can’t believe it! I actually got on!”

“I knew you would. I wasn’t worried.” What?

I called my mom and excitedly told her. “Oh, really?!” she was happy, “ Good! We just prayed for you, like 2 minutes ago.”

“Mama! That’s just the time they called my name!” Sometimes I wonder at my lack of ability to trust in God. Maybe I can learn a little bit from my friend’s calm willingness to just take what comes and “go with it” when things don’t go exactly according to plan. I could also learn from the number of times God has answered my prayers, even the “demanding” ones.

Two flights later we were in Dallas being greeted by my parents, sister and sister’s boyfriend. They were all a little agitated already from getting lost finding that airport we flew into and the apparently intolerable sound of the windshield wiper scraping the entire time. A suggestion of things to come? I didn’t care. My friend and I were happier than ever and ready to enjoy a wonderful weekend in Texas.

After arriving in Texas...

After arriving in Texas, enjoying a delicious 1:00am breakfast...

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love for Travel, or Travel for Love?

I’m excited about my entire Christmas holiday.  At first, I was a bit aprehensive.  My ex-boyfriend is coming to my parents’ house with me for five days and I was worried that people wouldn’t understand what was going on and that it would be awkward for me, him, or those unknowing somebodies.  Now I’m just sad he’s not staying longer.  I haven’t brought a friend home for years.  It’s exciting!  Anyway, I’m toying with the idea of giving you some background information here.  I usually never include material regarding my love life in this blog, but sometimes I wonder if that’s a mistake.  It is, after all, the most noteworthy aspect of my life in some respects.

I shared some of my thoughts on heartbreak recently with my friend Midori, and she put it her dating advice blog. I think love and travel will always go together in a way. Whether it’s the brief encounter with an exotic stranger or the poignant correspondence with a love you pine for at home, even those who travel to escape love cannot really do so.

For those of you who read my Poland blog, what you didn’t know was that I left out a long and dramatic love affair- so long, in fact, that it far outlasted the span of my year in Poland. I think it has lasted for longer than either of us had originally imagined. While I was there in the land of cold sea breezes and cauliflower soup, I resumed conversations with the boyfriend I had left behind when I graduated from college and fled North America. The lengthy late-night/early-morning international phone calls rekindled a romance (had it ever really died?) and by February I knew that I was really in love. I dreamed of the day when we’d be face to face and I could tell him how I felt. Two months before I was set to return home and after one of the most romantic gestures I had ever received, we were once again a couple and I knew that he was in love too. Happily. …Or so I thought.. until two weeks later when I got that “we need to talk” phone call and it was suddenly and agonizingly over. He was simply driven by inexperience and fear at that point, but I couldn’t understand and it made the last few weeks in Poland extremely difficult. Having a broken heart and in the comfort and familiarity of home is nothing to having it ripped out in a foreign and largely unfamiliar land. A part of me wanted to stay, though, as I wasn’t returning home to the happily-ever-after that I had envisioned, but instead to a cold and uncertain reality. It’s impossible to describe the many ways in which this situation affected my year abroad. Or the ways in which it has shaped my life since then. Love has such an impact on every aspect our lives, not the least of which are our decisions to travel. I have friends whose travel is actually directly propelled by the need to escape love (or the loss of it, rather).

Through all of the drama of getting together and breaking up, dating other people, and living on different continents, this college boyfriend and I have a friendship that has triumphed and come out stronger than ever before. About a year ago we broke up for the last time and I finally decided that it was time for me to go on with my life, to stop opening myself to the pain that our relationship kept inevitably causing me. After three years, he just couldn’t seem to figure out what he really wanted and I thought it cruel to allow myself to wait any longer. It was no big surprise, however, that he remained one of my closest friends. We have a friendship that defies all the norms, all the expectations. That is probably why when he told me this fall that he not only was still in love with me, but was ready to offer me his heart without fear, I had to carefully consider him once again.

This Christmas is partly an attempt to redo a bit of the past, to do some of the things we wish we’d done then. And it’s partly a chance to reconsider the decisions I thought I’d set in concrete. They say that you learn so much about a person when you travel with them. if you knew just how strong a bond he and I share, you’d understand my hesitance to throw it all away- especially when he’s doing everything right, every single little thing…

December 14, 2008 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coming Soon….

Next month I’m doing some more traveling! 😀  Nothing too exotic- just a family trip to Texas and Missouri over Christmas…. with my ex-boyfriend!!! And after that- Disneyland! With…. the aforementioned ex……

I’ll keep you posted!

November 21, 2008 Posted by | United States | , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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