I’m the Foreigner, or Is He?

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been away from Mario this year. [Sadface] I came back from Spain in June and haven’t returned since (although I’m going back in May!). He did come to visit for one glorious month, one full of tailgating, barbecues, football, and eating in general. We ran countless miles with my dog Molly, cooked dinner together regularly, and learned yet again how precious time is. Especially time together.

It’s easy to forget about time, its omnipresence. Time flies, time doesn’t stop, time drags … cliché phrases that convey cliché ideas. Nonetheless, this year I’ve learned to cherish it. How? By dating Mario, by being away from Mario. It’s not that taught me this because he really gets it (although he does) but that we’ve had very little time to spend together. We’ve had even less time without a date looming over heads, a date that tells us this is gonna end, now be sad. He’s good about living in the moment, not worrying, and trying to get me to do the same. But I’m not the type of person to just let worryable things pass by without, you know, worryingabout them. Give me something to worry about—I’m the world’s most consistent worrier.

So when Mario came to Indiana in late October, I couldn’t help but keep thinking about November 29, the day we’d drive him to O’Hare airport, the day I’d inevitably end up in tears, the day I’d watch him walk past security, a wry smile on his face as he struggled to be the strong one. (He always is. Last June, I saw him almost tear up, and—believe me—I never want to see that again. I’m the crier in this relationship, damn it!) He would try again and again to tell me to forget about it, to live in the moment, to just be. I did my best, and I deem this time more successful than the last. Hey, at least I’m improving.


Every moment of that month seemed significant: chopping vegetables at my kitchen counter, coming home to see him dressed in my brother’s sweatpants and sweatshirt (he was deprived of his Spanish house clothes), laughing as we drank wine at the dinner table, snuggling up next to him on the couch after a long day.

There are moments you’ll remember all your life: the day you graduate from high school, your first night in a college dorm room, the day you say yesto the love of your life, the day you stand together at an altar and pledge to live this life together, the day your first child (and second and third) is born, the day someone close to you passes away … these days you’ll not easily forget.

But I maintain that being with Mario has taught me to make “mental photographs” of the everyday, the mundane, because it? It matters too. In the end, it might matter most of all.

So here’s to Mario, here’s to being in a sometimes-incredibly-difficult relationship with a man born thousands of miles away from me, here’s to appreciating what life’s given us, here’s to the future we’re building together. Here’s to you doing the same, no matter if you have a significant other or not.

Kaley Mario Camping

Cherishing the moment.

12 thoughts on “I’m the Foreigner, or Is He?

  1. All so true. Love the post… sniff, sniff, tear. Love both of you no matter what country you are in. I too remember the vegetable chopping, teaching each other recipes (love Spanish Lentils and Mario’s rice pudding) roasting hot dogs, trips to Trader Joes, watching Mario play soccer with Molly and long drives to Chicago.I really enjoyed having the two of you together here with us. You both are blessed to learn how to cherish those moments of doing everyday things together. Even better…. there are so many more days to come. I’m going to cherish the time I have with my daughter in April….sniff, tear, sniff. I’m going to miss you but if you can’t be here then I’d want you to be with Mario and his family (your new family)

  2. You know what’s funny? I was told just today that you’re the foreigner…weird. Your mom looks really pretty in that pic!

  3. Ah, truer words have never been spoken. In the 52 months that I’ve been with Kike, we’ve spent at least 18 apart. Between his job, my homelife and even a break up, I knew this relationship wouldn’t always be easy. I cry ALL THE FREAKING TIME, but that’s how I know it’s real.

    And somehow, he helps me not feel like a foreigner. He’s like a golden ticket into sevillano lifestyle. You’re so close! Just a few more months.

  4. I love this post. Just wait until you don’t have to say goodbye to each other in airports anymore :)

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