Sweet Land of Liberty

I have to be honest… I was living under a rock this weekend. A blissful, naive rock. I had my nose in a book, laying out by the pool. I did not watch the news. I did not catch all the buzz on social media. 

Once I finally caught a whiff of what I’d missed, I wasn’t ready for it. 

I had to pinch myself & rub my eyes to make sure I was awake. Did I fall asleep on Saturday night in 2017 & wake up on Sunday in the wrong decade? In the wrong country? Where am I and how is this real life? It took a full 24 hours before it all sunk in. 

Did a neo-Nazi, white supremacist rally really happen? And did it seriously end with someone driving a car into the crowd of anti-white supremacists?

My husband is on the other side of the world, in a country where it often seems that things are so backward… So how is it possible that this is happening HERE not THERE

I don’t understand how we, as a collective group of [mostly] intelligent people, can take such a huge step in the wrong direction for mankind. How is there so much hate in someone’s heart and soul? So much disdain for others who do not share your opinions. 

I do not pretend to be someone knowledgeable about politics & current events. I know that this is not my wheelhouse. But I also know that I felt heavy today. Heavy from the news. From the articles. From the photos. From the videos. And I know that this just all feels so wrong. 

We are a beautiful country made up of so many different kinds of people. Different religions. Different races. Different backgrounds. Different ideals & values. And it’s kind of what makes us special. That we can coexist together, learning from each other, and adding spice to this melting pot we live in. 

Times of tragedy often bind people together. Let us remind ourselves that we are stronger together, united. 

Goodbyes

It was a sad, but wonderful, week. 

I had an amazing opportunity to see Husband last weekend. This kind of thing probably almost never happens, getting the opportunity to reunite during a deployment that’s less than a year. I’m a lucky girl, and I know it. 

I was so nervous leading up to seeing him. Silly, I know. But it was a perfect weekend; complete with tandem biking! (Tandem biking… Looks ridiculous, but it’s actually kind of awesome. We pretty much lived out Husband’s dream to get me on a bicycle AND do something super cheesy together.)

A beautiful city, delicious food, and amazing company… the recipe for perfection, right? It was. So perfect. 

The weekend flew by and it was time to say goodbye, again. 

I HATE goodbyes. 

I’m no good at them. I’m a crier, but I try so hard not to be. So I tend to cut my goodbyes short… less pain, less tears? And goodbyes just hurt, so why prolong them? 

Saying goodbye to my mom each time I leave Miami is always awful. So we usually make it quick. Big hug. Quick words about how great the time spent at home was. Quick “I love you” & “text me when you land, no matter how late it is!” and I’m off. Quickly walking into the termimal, fighting back tears. 

Sigh. 

So, anyway. It sucked to say goodbye to Husband. Again. Less tears than the first time, but still. Not fun. 

Big hug. Quick words about how great the weekend was. Quick “I love you” & “let me know when you get home” and quickly get back into the car, fighting back tears. 

I had to follow that goodbye up with another one this week. 

My first friend here in the desert left… on to bigger & better, living out her dream of getting out of this desert ASAP! She’d been staying with me for the last 3 weeks, so the goodbye hurt and the cherry on top is that I’m back to an empty home. 

Another big hug. Another quick goodbye. 

So, basically, I had to say goodbye to my two go-to people in one week. Ugh. Goodbyes suck. 

I read this on Facebook this week and it really resonated with me: “The great thing about the military is that if you really dislike someone, they’ll be gone in a couple years. The bad thing about the military is that if you really like someone, they’ll be gone in a couple years.”

You win this time, military! 

Khalid

Have you guys heard of the singer/songwriter, Khalid? He’s got a few hits that I’m totally digging right now: Young Dumb & Broke (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPfJnp1guPc) & Location (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by3yRdlQvzs). I first learned of him when someone on a morning radio show raved about having just discovered his music. I had to agree, I instantly loved him & his music. He’s got a really chill vibe and just seems so relatable (high school Gabi totally could have related to him; who isn’t young, dumb, & broke in high school, right?). Go check him out, hopefully you like him just as much as I do.

Anyway, I was just listening to an interview he did. The interviewer started out by mentioning that he moved around a lot as a kid, ‘cause it was something they had in common. When I hear that anyone “moves around a lot” I instantly think there must be some military association. Because who else in their right mind would move every 2-4 years, amirite?! I kept listening and he went on to mention that he went to high school in El Paso, TX (maybe that’s another reason I love him? Texas has a special spot in my heart) and eventually the interview lead to conversation about his mom. He went on to say that she recently retired from the Army (there it is, I knew it!) I can’t explain it, but I suddenly felt so proud.

I have this fear that I’m going to ruin my future child(ren) by never giving him/her a “stable life”. The constant moving, always being the new kid in school. These aren’t things I had to deal with growing up… and man, it was hard enough to get through those miserable teenage years without that added stress. And if uprooting MY life every 4 years feels terrifying to me and I’m an “adult” (when does one really BECOME an adult?), how in the world is a kid supposed to deal with it all??

So I just think it’s cool as hell when I hear about someone who grew up as a military brat (can we talk about how much I hate that term? Why do they have to be brats? Anyone know??) and has found a way to thrive and find happiness and success. Khalid was pretty candid about his struggles, especially in those awkward teenage years (we’ll pretend like he’s not still in those awkward years, he’s only 19). He found a way to turn those struggles into something pretty fantastic, and I find that so admirable. 

Here’s hoping I don’t totally screw up any future kids! 

Sorry I’ve Been A Shitty Friend: A Multiple Choice Form Letter

In light of my recent thoughts on friendships, this was too good not to share! …and it doubles as a fun game of Mad Libs!

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

Dear (fill in name of friend here),

How are you? It’s been way too long, I know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of you and then said to myself, I should really (call/write/at least click like on your vacation photos) but I’m sure you know how it goes. No matter how organized I am, it seems like (life/the news/a hangover) is always getting in the way. It’s so true what they say. Time sure does have a habit of flying when you’re (procrastinating/bemoaning the state of humanity/binge watching Better Call Saul), doesn’t it?

Funny thing is, your name came up just the other day. Someone asked me, “Hey, how’s (fill in name of friend here)? (He’s/She’s) got to be almost (ready to move/ready to have a baby/done with school), right? And it…

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Getting Older… and Other Random Musings

I was just driving home from work thinking to myself, Self… you’ve been pretty uninspired this week. You set a loose goal to blog once a week, but you have nothing to write about. What’s up with that?!

That little “pep talk” led me down a rabbit hole of thoughts. All my thoughts and excuses led back to, “but I’m just so tired!” And I had to laugh at myself as I thought, is this what happens when you get to your 30s? You just cry about how tired you are? One weekend of very tame “partying” in Miami Beach takes a whole week to recover from? I mean, I start yawning at 9pm and I’m in bed by 9:30pm… is this normal for someone my age? Does this mean I’m old?

And that led me down another rabbit hole… 

Maybe I am old? They (who’s they??) say I’m technically a millennial, but there’s so much I don’t understand: 

Twitter.. I just don’t get it. 

Hashtags… What’s up with all the hashtags? Why do we need to hashtag everything? (Ok, ok… I’m guilty of using the occasional hashtag, so sue me. But I still don’t understand them… does anyone ever actually search hashtags to find things?)

Facebook… Has it gone the way of MySpace, and I didn’t get the memo? Why is everyone posting politically charged articles instead of videos of cats riding roombas, like they used to? 

Snapchat… I think it’s hilarious, but what’s the protocol? What’s the etiquette for a random acquaintance sending me a snap? Am I supposed to snap back? Do I respond with “cool!”? Am I expected to respond at all?? Can I pretend I never saw the snap of your slice of pizza with your witty comment?!?

By the time I got home I was simultaneously pleasantly surprised that I’d just narrated my next post and slightly depressed with the realization that I’m old-ish. (Also, I was starving. I could just chalk it all up to some kind of hunger induced delirium. Should I order pizza? No… no need to anger your slowing metabolism, Gabi… remember, you’re old now.) 

Excuse me as I pour my old self a glass of wine and settle in for a really exciting evening of finally finishing Master of None on Netflix… my bed time is around the corner. 

Friendships

I read a blog post recently from a woman who, from what it sounds like, is struggling to adjust to her new military life. It tugged at my heart, ‘cause I get it. I’ve been there. And I’ll be there again, and again, and again. Almost everyone I’ve met feels this way at one point or another, like they will never make friends in their new city. Like they’ve completely lost touch with all of their friends from “back home”. Like they are alone.

This isn’t even a military related challenge, I’m willing to bet this happens to just about every human. I have definitely felt this way many times… my first year in college, my first year out of college, my first year in San Antonio, my first year in this tiny desert town. Are you starting to see a trend?

I have a theory that it takes a year to find your tribe, your niche, your ‘thing’ in your new city. Not going to lie, it will be a painful year… and there will be tears. Lots of tears. But one day you’ll realize that you don’t hate this place anymore, and that you’ve actually got a friend who is always down to meet you for coffee, or for a beer… or three.  

And those besties from back home? We’re all growing and evolving and sometimes we just don’t grow or evolve together, or at the same speed. I think it’s all part of learning which friendships are built to last. In my 30 years of life, I have met and bonded with a lot of really cool people. Most of my favorite/hilarious/embarrassingly awesome memories are with those really cool people. Guess what? I no longer keep in touch with 99% of them. But that’s ok, because I will always have a special spot in my heart for them.

There’s this really cheesy but awesome quote one of my college roommates shared with me back in the day (hah! “back in the day”… I guess this means I’m old, huh?):

 People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

A lot of the friendships I have made so far in this military world are seasonal friendships, mostly due to the fact that we are all temporary transplants. We know we won’t be here in this exact location forever and our time here is limited, so let’s be friends for now ‘cause you’re kinda cool and I could use a friend right now. Maybe some will turn into lifetime friends, who knows? We are in unique situations knowing that it is possible that we will never see each other again, but maybe our paths cross at another duty station 10 years from now.

Friendships are a lot like dating… you’ll go on a lot of really awkward first dates that you know will lead to nowhere. Then, when you least expect it, when you weren’t even actively looking… you’ll find The One. 

You’ll get there, girl. Just give yourself time. 

👭

The Beach

I was a beach baby. That may not be surprising, seeing as how I grew up in Miami. What may be surprising is how much I hated going to the beach as a kid. My mom loved going to the beach and tried to spend every weekend sitting on the sand, soaking up the sun, and gazing at the beautiful turquoise ocean.

I would complain, cry, and throw tantrums to try to avoid going to the beach. (“But we go EVERY weekend, Mom!”) I wanted nothing more than to spend my weekends watching Saturday morning cartoons and playing outside with my neighborhood friends, climbing trees, roller skating, you name it. A day at the beach was not really on my list of fun weekend activities. I never won this argument and always begrudgingly hopped into the car alongside a huge basket of beach toys and a cooler filled with snacks for the day. Off to Miami Beach we went.

By the end of the day I’d cry once again as my mom forced me out of the water or away from my sand castles because it was time to go home. My poor mom just couldn’t win… I’d cry because I didn’t want to go, then I’d cry because I didn’t want to leave. Sorry, Mom!

20-something years later, I understand why my mom always wanted to go to the beach. It’s the same reason I always want to be at the beach now. It’s a place of peace. No matter what chaos or turmoil is happening in your life, the ocean seems to bring clarity. It temporarily washes away your hardships. It reminds you that life is beautiful. 

I have a birthday coming up and my awesome husband and his awesome parents gifted me with a trip back home. YAY! (Cue Will Smith’s “Welcome to Miami”… or just about any Pitbull song.) Unfortunately, this trip comes just 2 weeks after returning from what can only be described as a difficult family vacation (#thefockersdospain). I have been feeling uneasy about my birthday trip, fearing that everyone still needs a little bit of space (myself included)… compounded by the fact that those damn birthday blues are bound to creep in.

My solution? The beach. I decided to get an Airbnb at the beach. I have to tell you, my soul already feels lighter and I haven’t even stepped foot on the sand.

My mom used to tell me that salt water could cure just about anything. I grew up believing this to be true. Here’s to testing that theory…


“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.”  — Isak Dinesen