26 February 2009

me...in 15 years.

I am excited. Not just "oh today is a good day, I think I will smile" but genuinely, pee-in-your-pants, cant contain myself, I want to jump up and down while dancing around the room excited. Why? because of Blue Wilderness Media. For those of you not familiar with the happenings of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, let me fill you in. This family, the Jackson's, decided after 3 kids and 15 years of marriage to quote "spend every dime of retirement and college savings we have to explore foreign countries, meet interesting people and connect as a family" So they left their home, jobs, and school to board a 47 foot boat. For over a year. there are no words to describe just how amazing that is. The trip was completed roughly in September of 2008, so a fair amount of time ago. I knew they were going, mostly because I wanted Mark Jackson to take my wedding pictures and he couldn’t. because he was sailing around the Caribbean. But this trip is significant today because I just discovered their blog. my joy abounds.

I loved my upbringing. Aside from the fact that I was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I don’t think there is much I would change about it, if anything. Each summer we had a family adventure. They ranged from cruises, to sailing in Antigua to Ranger baseball games and trips to Wet-n-Wild in Arlington, to Aruba. Often times there was more than one. i.e. Cruise and Arlington. I loved it. I truly believe my parents built in me my need for travel and my love for all things foreign. My mother was raised in Japan. She was forever around different nationalities. She taught us to treat everyone, regardless of colour, religion or creed, with dignity and respect. We had Japanese exchange students come and go, Japanese visitors, and many Japanese decorations through out the house...not to mention the Japanese food. My mother travelled a lot growing up; her country lists include most of Europe, Israel and most Asian countries. Her stories are fantastic. My personal favourite is meeting the pope in Rome. he personally blessed my mother. nice. I really believe that I got my appreciation of cultures and people from my mom. She is so accepting and gracious; she taught me those qualities were important and as a direct result of that I have the desire to travel and meet other people.

My dad, well…he taught me how to travel. Often my dad says to me "every day I pray that you wont do anything stupid" My desire to do 'stupid' things? I got that from him. My dad has done his fair share of travelling as well, albeit a bit differently than my mom. Whilst my mother travelled with family and organised school trips, my dad did a bit more of the nomad/rebel thing. That’s my kind of travelling. My dad loved California, particularly San Francisco. He liked it so much that he flew out most weekends of his college career to San Francisco, just to hang out. And he wonders why I spend all of my money on travel. He once drove up the coast of California on Highway 1. He slept in the back of his car, 'showered' in rest stops and in the bathrooms of restaurants, stop when he wanted to, ate when he had to and just keep driving. Yet he questioned why in the world I would do something so stupid as to sleep in the back of my car when I did the exact same trip my sophomore year of college. as a side note, i had no idea my dad had done the same thing. none what so ever. he just told me that a few weeks ago. I learned how to really travel from my dad. How to enjoy the cruise and luxury when the opportunity presented itself, but to never limit myself by believing that was the only way to travel. he went to Australia, just him and buddy to explore. I did the same. I love this story because it was in the 1970’s; hippie culture, war protests, etc… My dad and his buddy both had long hair. My dad just to his chin, his friend? Down to his shoulders. As a result, they were stopped at customs. Of course…why wouldn’t you stop the crazy hippie kids? Regardless of the fact that my dad, and his friend, never did drugs, that his friend was actually the valedictorian of his school, they were searched and questioned. The friend’s camera was completely taken apart because obviously he was hiding something in there. Nothing was found. Eventually they were free to go. I love my dad. He gave me my spirit of adventure, my love of the unknown, my need to go, to explore, to experience all that the world has to offer. The way he lived and his stories--the fact that half of me comes from him--his experiences instilled in me the desire to travel at all costs, in any way possible.

The way that I was raised taught me to be my own person. My parents taught me right and wrong, but gave me room to explore. room to make my own mistakes. they gave me enough independence to make my own choices. yet the choices they made shaped me into who I am. I love Christian music, even cheesy music like Sandi Patti, because of my mom. I love the Beatles and Buddy Holly because of my dad. I like to read because of my mom. I like to read history books and military history because of my dad. I like designer shopping because of my mom. I like flea markets because of my dad. and I love to travel because of both of them. They probably didn’t know it at the time, but they instilled in my from a very young age the desire to live abroad. I bet now they wished they hadn’t! :)

So here I am, at work, reading the Blue Wilderness Media website, and I come across this quote from the Jackson's 9 year old daughter;

"Our boat is for sale and has a signed contract. If everything goes through, the new owner will come to pick it up here in Newport. It’s going to be really sad to say goodbye, but my parents said that we will be homeless for a while. We will buy a van and drive up to Maine and maybe Canada for a month or two. We’ll camp some and stay in hotels...In the USA elections...I’m not talking about an election about Obama or McCain, but an election for the sale of our boat. The one most important republican, ME, is voting not for the SALE of Blue Wilderness, but to SAIL Blue Wilderness!"

Wow...mom and dad say were going to be homeless. that’s cool though, we'll get a van and drive around some more. but I still want to sail. what a sprit. what a life. I long for that to be me and my family in 15 years. maybe even sooner.

So why the excitement? why the abounding joy? Because this site is PROOF that it is possible. Proof that it can be done successfully. My family may have had the typical life, a home a job, dogs, school etc... but we had adventure too. I learned from my upbringing that it doesn’t have to be set in a certain way. I have learned from living abroad that loads of young families travel with young kids. Families with toddlers go on massive holidays all over the world. I read the other day about a family who is packing up their SUV and driving from England, across Europe, through Russia and ending up in Thailand. and the Jackson's have proved that a family can just up and leave, against the 'better' judgement of people around, and they can travel the world. and succeed. because of that I am thrilled.

In my head it means that I am not limited. I don’t have to settle down and have the same permanent life forever. Change is possible. change is always possible. I don’t know why I forget that, but I do. I forget that there is not a formula that everyone is required to use. the old adage 'everyone is different' is so true. I don’t want the picket fence, I want a hostel. I don’t want 4 cars and flat screen T.V. mounted on the wall, I want windows that face an ocean and sand always on my floor. I don’t want a rigid schedule, I want a flexibility that comes with relaxation. I want the flexibility that comes with a life of travel. and that is the life that I will have.

25 February 2009

Lots of Februarys....

I have been thinking a lot lately about growth. I realise a lot of that has to do with the fact that my face, arms, love handles, and butt are all growing at an alarming rate. for some reason my legs have stayed exactly the same size. I am cursed with chicken legs forever as the rest of me grows large enough to fill a small house. but physical growth makes me think of other types of growth as well. My family is growing, my life is changing and growing in new and amazing ways. Am i growing emotionally and mentally enough to keep up with it? I have an awful tendency to get stuck in a year, or a time, or an experience that I really loved and enjoyed...and then try to live in that particular moment long after the moment has passed. am I doing that now or have i actually grown? am i still in the process of growing? Have I grown ‘up’ enough to actually handle the responsibility of motherhood and real adult life? Or does the fact that I still daily want to move to Australia and open up a hostel mean that I am still irresponsible?

poised with those questions, i am reflecting back on the last 9 years. Since February of 2000; what have i come from? have i changed? have i learned? have i really grown?

February 2000
At this point I am still in High School...woo hoo Metro Christian Academy! Whilst I really have no idea exactly what happened in February, I do know that the late winter/early spring was one of the most challenging times of my high school career. Now I look back on the time with a smile and a slight shake of my head, thinking, really Kristina? was is that big of a deal? Then I thought my world was over. My boyfriend who I had dated for the better part of 3 years, whom I was convinced I was in love with, broke up with me that spring. We were seniors, we were supposed to go to prom, it was suppose to be the best year of my life. But no, he dumped me and started 'dating' my chemistry lab partner. WHO WAS 14! Man talk about an awkward time in chem class. But to make it even worse, whenever he was confused about what to do with her, where to take her etc.. he would call me and ask me for advice. on his new girlfriend. yeah, it was not the best time. vodka became my friend. we were good friends. it was not a healthy relationship.

February 2001
My first year of college. Ah, good ole' JBU. I loved it. and i am well aware that what I am about to write will make me sound even more pathetic considering the last February was also about a boy....but this February i was dealing, not very well mind you, but dealing with another break up. This was a break up that most definitely should have happened. this was not the best relationship for either one of us. But what made that hard for me to realise was that when we broke up, HE said that we should not talk. I DID NOT respect that in any way. I thought it was a stupid idea. I thought he was stupid for suggesting it. and instead of dealing with it and moving on. well, I was stupid. I made a big deal out of it. the situation divided our friend group for a while. and I immediately moved on to another relationship. the ex's accountability partner. hmm. nice choice eh? I also thought it would be a good idea to shave my head in rebellion to all boys. yeah, cause that is always a good idea. I wimped out at the last minute and ended up with hair cut above my ears. not cool. so looks like not a huge amount of growth in those two Febs...

February 2002
Sophomore year. a great year. I loved this year. I was living with Jacki at this point, eating at Market Place at least twice a week, chick-fil-a probably more. Stef and I became great friends this year. I was teaching Sunday school and realising even more my love for little kids. This was a good February. It was this time I was growing my love and appreciation for rugby, the sport that would 3 years later bring me to my husband. I remember this February as a time of great self realisation, great joy, great peace and some real growth. I was actually feeling strong in who I was and what I was supposed to be doing. This February resulted in one of the best summers of my life to this day. thanks Tara.

February 2003
Hmmm....this was an interesting time. They always warn you; they always say to be on your guard because when you are truckin' along, lovin' jesus....you will be attacked. and i was. and i failed. miserably. this was one of the hardest and most life changing years of my life. I remember exactly what happened in February of 2003. I will not share the details, but lets just say that vodka became my friend again. i still had not realised that it would never be a healthy relationship.

February 2004
A good year. a good time. senior year. February of 2003 led to the 'growth sprut' in the summer of 2003. Which led to a fantastic senior year. a fantastic February 2004. Lots of fun, lots of laughs, lots of rugby. and independence. that is the most crucial that i remember from this February season. no boy to fall back on, no vodka to befriend. my, Jesus and my friends. it was good. maybe I am growing after all.

February 2005
Grad school. my first year. This February, the 11th to be exact, I booked my tickets for New Zealand for the summer. This February changed my life. I declared my official thesis topic. I picked my direction. and I was headed to New Zealand. completely alone.

February 2006
back in New Zealand. I wish there was another way to describe what New Zealand was for me other than 'life changing' Sadly all the ways i can come up with to explain the two trips down to the 'Land of the Long White Cloud' sound cheesy and cliche. It changed my life, I truly found myself, I discovered my independence, I found what I was made for, I was truly happy for the first time...and on and on... But all of those sentences are true. It was fantastic. It was amazing. It was full of reflection, self analysation, tears, sweat, laughter, reading, praying, journaling and growth. I am who I am today because of New Zealand. February 2006 gave me a huge piece of myself that, writing this now, I feel prepares me for the child I am about to bring into the world.

February 2007
Tulsa, engaged to Rhys (thanks New Zealand) planning a wedding. teaching adorable little preschoolers. hanging out with Brandi. Loving everything there was to love about life. this was a fun February, but a neutral February. I can remember nothing of note, nothing of huge significance that makes this full of strife or full of growth. It was normal life.

February 2008
the 18th of this month was my 6 month wedding anniversary. Living in London, learning how to be a wife, working a 'real' job, commuting, meeting new people,...it was hard. it was like I was a new pot of play-do, who was being poked and prodded all the while being made into something great...but I was only feeling the pokes. Rhys and I went to Frankie and Bernie's for our anniversary dinner. It was great. I knew, even though it was just 6 months of married life, that Rhys was the most perfect man in the world.

February 2009
So here I am. this month. today. the 25th. Have i grown? Can i look back at the past 9 February's and see what I have come from, what I have come out of? Granted this was probably not the most interesting thing to read, but this little 'reflection exercise' was quite beneficial to me. It is interesting to look back, see the pit falls and short comings of the past years; see what I had a tendency to fall back on. and now...now I can see what I have to look forward to. thank goodness I now have inner strength and self assurance. That I no longer rely on the outer circumstances to make me, me. But thank goodness I had those experiences to get me where I am today. From high school, through college, grad school, and several countries....I am now here. preparing to be a mother. and i am ready. I can look back and know. I am ready. But more than that, I am ready for the rest of life. I know that I can handle it. and that is a good feeling. 9 February's behind me.

24 February 2009

some thoughts

These thoughts are too scattered even for me to try and weave together in paragraph form. Generally I like trying to connect random thoughts; I find it brings joy to my writing. But today, its too much. Perhaps because i have neglected adding any substance to the blog in a while because other articles have taken up my time. or perhaps I am so bored that I simply have to much to say. Regardless, paragraph form is a no go today. so list form it is.

1. Why can I never find the balance between 'bold' and 'obnoxious'? I tend to either let people walk all over me, brush things under the rug and just let it go....or get really angry and retort with some kind of obnoxious remark. There is a middle ground somewhere, so why can’t i find it? Take work last week for example. I went into my boss’s office to tell him that I had my 20 week scan on Friday. I wanted to give him advance warning that I would not be in the office. I thought that was the right thing to do, me being an employee and him being my boss. Clearly, I was wrong. I walked in and said "hey (insert bosses name) I have my 20 week scan on Friday, just wanted to let you know. I will remind you again next week, but thought I should give some advance." His exact response was this. He put done his glasses, leaned back in his chair, looked at me and said "you just wasted 2 minutes of my time telling me that. you can leave now" yeah, he is super cool. So whilst I should have said something like ‘wow, that was a bit harsh...or I don’t think that was a great response, I was just trying to let you know I wouldn’t be in' or anything to let him know I thought it was inappropriate...instead I said this: "well, good thing your time is not valuable" but if that was not bad enough, I went on to say "next time I wont say anything to you, I just wont show up" and then walked out of his office. Sure my boss is an ass, but that doesn’t mean I should stoop down to his level. I can think of several more examples off the top of my head where I have let things slide that have been highly inappropriate or where I have responded meanly when I should have either let something go or come back with a more professional response. There has got to be a medium! I need to find the way to stand up for myself in a healthy way without being rude. or I just need to realise that whilst there are loads of perks to this job, working in an office with 17 boys is NOT the best environment. Just ask me about the boob comment and you will know what I mean.

2. Senate Bill 834. (directly relating to Oklahoma) I know that I live in the UK and this doesn’t really affect me. And I know that I will probably never live in Oklahoma again, let alone teach school in that state, so again, not really affecting me. But it affects the education system of my country. my home state. and I think this is a bad deal. The bill was recently pushed through the senate for the upcoming vote, and what that means is there is a good chance this is pass. Senate Bill 834 is a general end-all deregulation bill for public schools. Some of the key changes, or key losses I should say, are detailed below:
-Due process
-No class size limitations
-No teacher quality
-Bargaining a contract
-Minimum salary schedule
-No guaranteed salary
-Health benefits
-Personal leave days
-Payroll deduction of dues

Basically what the bill is doing is taking away the rights of teachers. Due process? really? and health care? That may seem like no big loss to those of us in the UK who have the fantastic NHS to look after our health needs. (read: no fantastic but desperately falling short in every way NHS) But in the US it is all private. You need health insurance. and if your employer does not provide you with those benefits then, well, you are basically screwed. I know. I taught at a private school that was too small to offer benefits. I went almost 2 years without health insurance. and it sucks. What about the class size limitations? one of the biggest pluses to private education I found was the smaller class size. this enabled more one-on-one time between teacher and student. with no cap on the size of a class...oh can you imagine? This is a poor choice America. And frankly I don’t really care if it increases your tax dollars a tiny fraction. Mostly because I am paying a huge percentage in tax compared to you, but also because those kids are OUR future. What happens when this generation leaves school under-education and uninformed? What becomes of the necessary intellectual professions when there are no intellectuals to caring those on? We need day labourers just as much as we need doctors. We need the public education system to NOT fail students because the government has tied the teacher’s hands. We need the government to back the teachers, to provide them with the necessary tools (yes, a salary falls into 'necessary tools') to teach the kids of today properly. to teach them so that the future stands a chance. Again, poor choice America, poor choice Oklahoma. Vote no on Senate Bill 834. When I get my absentee ballet, I sure will.

3. Why don’t I look pregnant yet? Depending on which due date I go with, America or the UK, I am between 19 and 20 weeks. Essentially half way done. why do I still only look slightly chubby instead of 5 months pregnant? Last night I had a dream that I was walking into the living room to talk to Rhys. I suddenly went into labour, at 19 weeks, and the baby was literally falling out. Rhys grabbed the closest thing he could, which happened to be his old rugby towel, and grabbed the baby. It was only 4 inches long. We rushed to the hospital and they took the baby straight into surgery. In my dream it jumped years ahead and there we were: Rhys, me and little Eli...who never grew beyond 4 inches. While nothing about that dream is realistic, it freaked me out. what if I don’t look pregnant because the baby will never grow? What if little Eli will stay 7oz in weight for the rest of his life? What if I am not really pregnant? never mind that I have seen the baby on the ultrasound and heard the heartbeat.... why cant I just look pregnant? oh, and the baby's name is Eli in case you hadn't picked up on that.

I have some more thoughts, but I am tired of writing for the moment. Those are the main 3. so there you go. A blog with some substance and not just a picture. But admit it, that little Led Zeppelin onesie is adorable!

20 February 2009

i have a cool kid

my kid is the coolest. see exhibit A. this is the most recent outfit that i have bought for my little son. how cool is that? rhys and i both have this same shirt...so i guess the only thing that would make this even cooler is if we took a family picture. all 3 of us in our Led Zeppelin shirts. yup. we are cool.

19 February 2009

the walls are too thin...i hear WAY too much!

i am really tired. i feel like if i shut my eyes right now i could fall asleep. even though i am at my desk, in a really full office, i could still fall asleep. and i really wish that i could. I have not been sleeping well. and by well, i mean at all. man! its been a struggle. All the sites I look at and books i read say that the constant need to pee lets up after the first trimester. I say they are all lying. i have to pee more now than i ever have before in my entire life. so much so that its a struggle to go even 1 hour without feeling like i am about to overflow. and of course, i barely even have to pee at all. why does my body choose to torture me so?

or perhaps it is our neighbours. the couple below us consists of a police officer and a 30 something, insane girl who looks (and acts) like an 18-30 rep. (american friends...ask and i will explain this later) she is insane. they have a yippy dog that, like me, has to pee constantly. the door to their back garden is directly below our bedroom. so in and out, up and down, all through the night we hear her let the dog out, the dog bark, the dog scratch at the door and then run away as soon as it opens. this leads to the insane woman yelling, AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS for the dog to come inside. every night. sweet. and if its not yelling at the dog, then its yelling at each other. they do that often. almost every night. its not nice.

or it could be the couple above us. they seem nice enough. i am not sure what they do, but they both work in central London. and i have decided that they never, EVER sleep. the do one of four things. clean, cook, shower and have sex. I am not even really convinced that they actually work in London because I never see them leave the house. I hear the vacuum cleaner, i hear the water running. i smell the food their are cooking and I hear them, often, having sex. 3 times this week already! its not cool. i am often afraid that our ceiling is actually going to fall down on us. their bedroom is right above ours. i will spare you the details but can i just say that its not just the bed movement that keeps us up at night. they make their fair share of noise. an ungodly amount of noise. nearly every night. sweet.

probably it is a combination of all three of those things. I have to pee constantly. I dont sleep well with yelling and banging doors. nor do i sleep well when forced to listen to people having loud, noisy sex! so i am stuck, at my desk, being so tired that if i wasn’t typing on this blog...i would be sleeping. in fact i think i will sneak off to an empty conference room and take a nap right now!

17 February 2009

feeling a bit lame

ok, so I am working on an article for a magazine. it is all about who has impacted me the most socially. that writing is taking up most of my time because, well I get paid for that one people. and i don’t for this. I will post the article in some form here once it is finished, but until then I am posting a slightly lame, but all the same kind of interesting, questionnaire on me and my husband. granted, none of you have actually asked any of these questions...but i am giving you the answers anyway.

middle names: ann, and Rhys doesn’t have one. its just Rhys Williams. His family calls him Rhys boy, so i guess boy could count...but nope. no middle name.

how long have you been together: this one is tricky. perhaps since June of 2006. no real date or anything, and depending on who asked and at what particular time...there were moments when i said he was my boyfriend long before that was a reality. sad, i know.

How long have you two known each other: We met on 10 June 2005. weird though because we met on the 10th, hung out for a week. then saw each other again for two days, the 24th and 25th of June. Then well, I left New Zealand and he didn’t. He came to Arkansas on 1 August 05, and stayed for a month. Then we met up again in NYC for 3 days in October. then nothing but sporadic, and sometimes non-existent conversation from October 2005 until June of 2006. We met up in Barcelona, Spain for 4 days. then I went back to Wales with him for 3 days. Then he came to America for 3 months from August to October. Then nothing until December 2006 when I flew to London and we got engaged. So yeah....i say we met on 10 June 2005 but slowly got to know each other over the next year or so...a bit random really. but when you know, you know.

Who asked who out: again, tricky. I say our first 'date' was when he asked if i wanted to go see a movie with him while still in New Zealand. but he ended up bringing a friend and then we played laser tag with a group....so perhaps not date like. In Arkansas in august we went to dinner for the first time just the two of us...but it just happened. nothing official. so... again is that a date? come to think of it, i am not sure we have ever really been out on a date because we never lived in the same country!

How old were you when you met: we were both 23.

How old are you now: both 26, soon be to 27.

How long did you date before you got engaged: ok, again, tricky. we were officially together from the end of June 2006 and we got engaged in December 2006. so about 5 months. But does it count as dating if you dont actually see each other? becasue if that is the case then we only dated for about 85 days. that is how long, during that time period, we were actually in the same country. so 85 days then got engaged.

Any children or pets together: no pets, although i really want a dog. But come July we will have a little boy.

Are you from the same home town: No. I am from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is from Cymmer, Wales, United Kingdom. So i will go ahead and combine the next question here. No, we did not go to the same school.

who is the smartest: Rhys. he is brilliant. literally.

who is the most sensitive: um... i would say me because i cry at the drop of a hat. but he is really compassionate and sensitive to my feelings...so its a good combo.

Who has the craziest ex: oh man, him for sure!!

Where do we eat out most often as a couple: I would say the Chinese take-away down the road or Dominos pizza. I just have to call and say hello in my accent and they know our order exactly. nice.

Where have you travelled the furthest as a couple: Probably New Zealand. But we like to travel; therefore I am expanding this question. As a couple we have been to: New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, England, Wales, California, Texas, Oklahoma, New York City, Lake Placid, Boston, and Canada. I'd say that’s a pretty fair amount.

Who cooks: Rhys. I hardly ever cook. I don’t really like it and Rhys enjoys it. and he is really good at it.

Who is the neat freak: lets be honest here, we are both really messy.

who is more jealous: neither of us. i think its safe to say we are two of the least jealous people i know. i trust him implicitly. and he does the same for me. some of my closest friends are guys. some of his closest friends are girls. its never been a problem.

What do you do for the holidays: We alternate. we have since 2006 when we got engaged. We are both REALLY adamant that we will always alternate because we will always have to go between two countries.

What is one of the hardest things as a couple: Knowing we will always have to choose between our families. We are both super close to our families, but we live always be closer to one than the other based on which country we live in. the distance makes it hard.

Do you have pet names for each other: kid. or kiddo. i call him Will sometimes because that is how i was introduced to him. funny story actually. he was travelling with another Rhys so my rhys decided to go by Will and the other rhys went by Rhys. I actually thought his name was Will for the first month or so I knew him. When i heard it was actually Rhys I thought he has 'fake named me' ha! :) he calls me fambo sometimes. Funny story again, we went to register for our wedding and i gave my maiden name of Farabough. the store woman misunderstood me and thought it was Fambo. nice.

How long did it take to get serious: I knew I was in love with him in October 2005. He says the same thing. but we never said anything. i would have married him that day. when we got together in June 2006 we knew it was heading toward marriage.

Who is older: Me. but exactly 3 months

Who drives: when we are together, rhys. He says I drive to fast. I say he drives like a grandpa.

Who kissed who first: We both say it was the other person. It was in the 3 Dragons Welsh Bar in Wellington, New Zealand. After a Lions Match, at the end of the night, about 3 in the morning. I leaned over to get a sandwich off the table. he kissed me. he says i leaned over and kissed him. he is wrong. he kissed me.

who sings better: Rhys has an amazing voice. I sing like crap.

When did you get married: 18 August 2007

ok, so there you have it. a long winded explanation of more than you ever wanted to know about me and rhys. but its about all i could muster up today as my mind is concentrated on the article. i always said i wouldn’t but a survey on the blog but ah well...there you go.

12 February 2009

ode to kym

ah, kym. she is fantastic. i love kym. and not just becasue she brought me FIVE bags of goldfish crackers from the American store in London. i love kym for many other reasons. kym and i come from similar places, similar backgrounds. we have struggled with some of the same thing since moving to London. and we have loved some of the same things since moving as well. one of the thigns i love most about Kym is the fact that her, more than anyone else in the whole world, understands my fears and concerns about being "american" again. about moving back to the states, about living potentially in the mid-west again. she really understands my heart for this place and this culture, a worldly culture. and she understands the fears that come with living in a different culture to this again. living again back home, surrounded by Americans with...well....american views. she understands. and i love her for it. and she brings me goldfish. and i love her for that too!

10 February 2009

a time i really wish i had a video camera

On my way to the post office about 20 minutes ago, i witnessed something fantastically pathetic. it was so wonderfully wrong that i really wished someone was there with me to experience the moment. or i wished at least i had a video camera so i could share the moment with you all. but alas, since i had neither a mate nor a camera, my wordy explanation will have to suffice.

There was a family of 3, mom, daughter and son, walking down the high street. the mom was hideously overweight, smoking, with a can of Stella in her hand. she had a cane in the other as she was so large it was a struggle for her to walk. The son was about 15 or 16, a shiny gold and silver button up jacket, a baseball hat with a straight bill kind of crocked off to one side and baggy sweat pants. and by baggy i mean 7 sizes too big and constantly falling down. The girl was about 16 or 17, red eyed and giving off the look of someone strung out on crack. She too was smoking, using the 'F' word quite a lot and well, let’s just say for it being 3 degrees outside she was lacking quite a bit of clothing on her chest and stomach areas. Got the image? classy family.

As they were walking, a fight ensued. I couldn’t really make out words, as most of what seemed to be said consisted of "you f---ing b---h" and "i hate you, you f---ing...." you get the idea. but these are teenagers! with their mother! yelling as they walk down the middle of a crowded street. Finally the mother stops walking and shouts loud enough for anyone within a two mile radius to hear "I am not taking one more step until you two stop fighting" in my opinion not necessarily something that should need to be said to a 16 and 17 year old, but hey. They were obviously not the typical family. The best part was the response of the kids. It went something like this...

boy: she started it. she said stuff first
girl: na uh... he did. he started. it wasn’t me.
boy: you’re stupid. it was you.
girl: no you’re more stupider (really, more stupider)

Insert lots of F bombs and that’s pretty much the conversation. Really? I almost burst out laughing. But as i was now about even with them on the street, i figured i should bite my lip and keep walking. keep walking past the two toddlers masquerading as teenagers that is.

I am not sure if the mom ever started walking again. at the rate they were arguing, i think they would have been there all day. I really wish i could have recorded the whole thing, cause let me tell you. it was hilarious.

9 February 2009

a bit emotional and really disappointed

i have always been a bit over emotional. it doesn’t take much to make me cry. just ask anyone who has ever watched tv with me before. cheesy commercial about kids. tears. appeal to support abused dogs. tears running down my face. appeal to stop child abuse. quivering lip, floods of tears. Sylvan Learning commercial. uncontrollable sobbing. its true. and its very sad.

normally i have a pretty difficult time controlling the tears, let alone trying to control it whilst pregnant and even emotionally unbalanced. I could be walking through the train station and a sudden burst of tears springs to my eyes. why? not really sure. perhaps it was the advertisement on the wall that showed a woman smiling, holding a stick of gum. I could be in the middle of a sentence, talking to a friend, when suddenly my voice cracks, my chin starts to quiver and my eyes well up with tears just waiting to overflow down my checks. why? because she just mentioned that she saw a puppy for sale that was kind of scrawny and she doubted that anyone would take him home. clearly worthy of an emotional outburst. again, its sad. I know.

so here I am, sitting at my desk at work. in a very crowded office might I add...with tears pouring down my checks. I can’t stop it. The more I try, I more I cry. Going to the bathroom until said outburst subsides would be a good plan right? Except that would involve walking by EVERYONE in the entire office. as it stands now there are a few who have yet to noticed the crying girl in the corner. i would like to keep it that way. so here i am, stuck at my desk, desperately trying to hide behind my computer screen, all the while internally screaming at myself to pull it together.

Why all the tears you ask? I actually have a valid reason. ok, ok. not valid in the sense of a family death or third world hunger, but valid in my "i am pregnant and really disappointed way" I signed up for an NCT pre-natal class. I was really excited about this as i have been told that NCT classes are the best. everyone over here seems to recommend them. I have always wanted to be pregnant, turned out a bit different than I expected granted, but still. Pregnancy and everything related to it is something that i have really looking forward to. pre-natal classes included. all the movies and TV shows make them seem so great. and since movies and TV are reality, well who wouldn’t look forward to the classes!? So Rhys and I signed up. got the acceptance, paid the fee. And then I noticed the problem. Rhys and I are going to America for one last trip before the airlines ban me from flying due to the giant bump that will be protruding out of me. We are going for 2 weeks in April. The two weeks that we will be in America are the FRIST two weeks of the pre-natal classes. WHAt?! really?! those exact weeks?! yup. there are only 6 classes too, which means Rhys and I will miss out on 1/3 of the crucial pregnancy, birthing and child care information. not to mention the other people. i was so excited about meeting other couples, in our area, who were expecting. we only really know the rugby team. (which I love, don’t get me wrong) but i want to know some mom's too. but now I feel like all my dreams of pregnancy have come crashing to the floor, and are laying all around in tiny, shattered pieces of brokenness. (pregnancy also makes me more dramatic. what can i say? its true)

so the tears are gushing down my checks. still. Even now. i have even tried to be sufficiently sarcastic in this post in an attempt to realise my stupidity at the massive tears at work, but to no avail. i am crying all the same. and still bitterly disappointed that I will miss the first 2 of my pre-natal classes. almost makes me want to react really dramatically, cancel my plane tickets to the states and just stay here instead. almost.

6 February 2009

pretty cyncial post.

my house is pretty bad. not filthy bad, just messy. mostly its clean clothes that i have washed but yet to put away. I sweep and dust, so its not super dirty. but...well its not really tidy either. its most certainty liveable. and the kitchen is clean. we don’t have giant piles of dirty dishes everywhere. again, mostly its just clothes. and an unmade bed. but man, people have been on my back about this. "soon you will have a baby. a baby needs things to be neat" "you cant live in such a small space and have a kid. especially if it is not clean and tidy 100% of the time" "you are too messy. how will your baby survive?" "things need to be clean for your baby to be happy" and on and on... I will acquiesce on the point that things need to be clean for the baby. I will clean and sanitise and dust and mop and sweep and do laundry. I will not live in filth. But a giant pile of clean, washed clothes on one of the couches? how is this hurting the baby? so what if i don’t make my bed everyday? i don’t think the baby really cares.

But it has made me think about necessity. What do we really need? i have been told by a friend, who shall remained unnamed, that for me to be a really good mom and raise the baby in the best way possible I need to move into a bigger house so that way the baby can have its own room, i will need a bouncy swing, a bouncy chair, a stroller with toys, a play mat with toys above head, a crib with a mobile attached, a separate changing table and a separate dresser for the baby's clothes. That way they can be washed and put away separately to make sure they stay extra clean. Really? I need each and every one of those things? or else I am a bad mom? I actually asked those questions and what came back was even more shocking. "well, not a bad mom necessarily but you wont be the best, and you certainly wont be doing everything you can for the baby. if you weren’t ready to provide those things then you should have been more careful about getting pregnant." again, really? what about love, security, clothing, shelter, and food? Rhys and I will love this little boy more than you could possibly imagine. but because we only live in one room, and the baby will have to share a dresser with me, and the living room bookcase will be used for baby toys and storage instead of a nursery, and we probably wont have room for a bouncy chair and swing...and because of that we will be bad parents?! Granted I have never parented before, but i always assumed that loving and caring for a child was more important than a bouncy seat. guess i was wrong.

Since I posted about my lack of space and wanting a nursery at the beginning of January, God has really calmed my heart about my current situation. I am genuinely excited about my flat and the fact that this is where I will bring my little boy home. it is cozy. it is beautiful. it is perfect. I have had many conversations over the years with various friends about simplicity. In particular, Stefanie and I have had our fair share of conversations about how to live simplisticly, how to cut out the unnecessary excess. It’s something i have continually struggled with since I have moved to this country. To be content with small spaces and only a few material things. It's something that I finally feel at peace about. i think crazy bouncy chair friend is partly responsible. perhaps it took someone being so ridiculous as to claim i couldn’t be a good mom with out certain material possessions to remember what it is really all about.

and on that note, i am very thankful to be living in the UK. i have heard complaints from several of my pregnant or newly-mom friends about how they have had a hard time finding books or magazines that relate to financial aspects of pregnancy and baby. Most have said that the books/magazines deal with changes of pregnancy/body, what your baby needs (bed, clothes, toys etc..) how to decorate the nursery and so on. Recommendations on which bouncy seat is the best. But very little on how to prepare finically for a baby and how to save once they are here. I am grateful to the UK books/magazines who spend so little time on the paint colour in the nursery and instead focus on birthing options, post-natal care, and most importantly- finances. There are countless articles on how to save, which accounts to open, how to get out of debt, etc.. etc... Ready for the best bit? The government issued a new policy this year. if your baby is dues after 9 April 2009, they give you £190. I am not sure where the figure of £190 came from, but its free money from the government. In addition they have a child's saving scheme. Once you give birth, your child is registered, and the government (once again) gives you free money. It’s a savings account designed especially for your child. Any one can put money in and the government so nicely helps out by opening the account with £250 free money. Just for giving birth you get £250 in a savings account for your child. Nice. gotta love the UK's take on children. It should be natural, hassle free, minus most of the gizmos America has to offer...oh and have some money too. great. thanks.

So in 5 months I will give birth, in a birthing centre, with only a midwife present, probably in a pool (mainly cause those are pretty much my only options) I will take the new baby home to a 400sq foot one room flat, with no nursery, no bouncy swing, no bouncy chair, probably clean clothes piled up on the couch, but lots of love to give. and damn it, i will be a great mom.