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

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

Home Again, Home Again

I’ve been back for a week now, and I’m able to stay asleep all night. That’s always nice. I still have some kind of funky thing going on with my stomach, but I plan to bombard that with charcoal for a few days and see what happens. Maybe I just need to get back to my little home in College Place and return to my little routine. I’m currently on the bus with my sister on our way to the northwest.

The other day we were in a restaurant and I was suddenly overwhelmed by the large percentage of overweight people- something we just didn’t see in the Philippines. Some people were frighteningly skinny there, in fact. Oh, and I still get excited when I go into a public restroom and find toilet paper present. Otherwise, I think the culture shock is wearing off.

I think my wireless card has just died and I’m mourning that fact acutely.

Because of the Philippines and my experience there, I’m a little closer to identifying with my church the way I want to and need to. I understand now, when I stand under a hot shower each night, why most people in the world will always consider it a privilege- one they may never even experience. I’m beginning to really get why circumstance and possession don’t decide state of mind. I’ve been to Asia- check one off my life list! My faith is stronger. I know about 10 million things a sarong can be used for (I’d put it on my list of things to have on a deserted island). I made new friends (including one I can visit when I journey to Hong Kong). I’ve had more practice making life work in spite of some more difficult aspects of my personality. I have a tan. I’ve smiled so much my face hurt and I couldn’t change my expression. I’ve been humbled.

I’ll always be thankful that I listened when God said “Just say you’ll go”, and I’ll remember the generosity of the people who funded my trip. They made it possible for me to be really blessed and enriched.

September 11, 2007 Posted by | Philippines, United States | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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