The Life I Chose

(A post with no pictures and even fewer niceties.)

You know that cliché quote about missing someone, about how it’s not about how long it’s been, but how when you’re doing something and you wish the other person was there?

Well, I call bullshit. For me, anyway. For me, it’s both. Let me explain.

As you very well know, if you’ve spent more than two seconds on this blog of mine, I’ve got this boyfriend. His name is Mario, and no—he’s not an Italian plumber with a penchant for bopping goombas on the head; he’s Spanish and super smart and sweet and everything I could have wanted in a guy. /End gushing.

I met him when I was over in Salamanca for a year. Unlike so many times before, I didn’t meet him because I was trying. In fact, the first thing I asked him was why he was there, on the doorstep of the place I worked. (Perhaps in a rude tone? Ask him if you want to know.) My mother had explicitly told me not to date any Spanish guys. (More on that later.) And let’s be honest, most of the time I was not attracted to the Spanish men I encountered. I had experience with mullets, people—mullets and piropos and skeezy club-touching. So no, I did not go there with any intentions of meeting someone, let alone Mr. Right.

I asked him out. Well, kind of, sort of by accident. It sounds like a big excuse, but we were all meeting up for drinks at midnight, so I suggested meeting earlier, guessing (correctly!) that Mario wasn’t fond of staying out that late. We met, I spilled wine, life was good—people, I’d obviously won him over.

And two days later, I had already started thinking about dating him, the kind of thinking you hope no one else ever finds out about. Good thing he felt the same way and blurted out the words I’d remember forever, “La verdad es que me gustas.” Giddy, I could think of nothing else but him for weeks.

So I suppose I did sign up for this. I signed up to date this guy, this foreigner, this man in whom I could find no fault. (Faults come later, FYI.) I had no idea what I was in for.

In the past two and a half years, the following things have occurred:

  • I quit the internship I was in because they had “forbidden” from dating anyone. I’m so bad.
  • I was detained in the Madrid airport and sent back home because I had inadvertently overstayed my welcome in the EU.
  • I applied for my visa, and (apparently) had it sent back two times to the Chicago embassy before they finally got it through. I was paranoid they’d say no due to my experience in Madrid.
  • I spent a year teaching English in Zamora, but hated the job. It was rough, but we were together.
  • I’ve spent so much time apart from him that I don’t even want to think about it.
  • I’ve contemplated 1,001 ways to get me there or him here. Fruitless so far, but there’s always the fun red-tape-filled marriage process to look forward to.

In these past years, I’ve had the experience of missing Mario in the moment, wishing he were there to do or experience something with me: a new apartment, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, holidays. All of it was hard, harder than I’d like to admit. But the time really has begun to wear on me.

How long?

I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of being told to wait, that things will be figured out one day. I know this—I do!—but being apart seems harder with each passing day. Someday, I hope I’ll look back at this time period and know that it only served to make us stronger, but right now?

Right now it really sucks.

Stuff You Must Know to be an (American) Adult

(Disclaimer: Never, ever Google adult and press the ‘images’ button. Just don’t.)

(Disclaimer #2: This mainly applies to American adults living in the small-town or suburban Midwest.)


Since spending several months in a different country, I have realized that to be an adult in the U.S., there are several rules you must follow and things you must know. It seems most people know these sorts of things instinctively. I have not been blessed with this gift, and perhaps you haven’t either, so listen up. People have expectations once you hit 22! You are no longer allowed to leave your uncombed and count cherry popsicles as a food group! Luckily, I’m here to help.

  • You must, must, MUST mow your lawn and make it look nice or you are a bad person. Your neighbors will gossip about you and send you ads for used lawn mowers on Craigslist.
  • Your maid of honor must take notes on the gifts you receive at bridal showers. No, you may not send impersonal notes. The horror of such a suggestion is causing my heart to palpitate!
  • You must pay taxes, and you must complain about them. You mustn’t ever think of the good that comes from the damned things!
  • You must eschew credit cards. Dave Ramsey says they are bad, so it must be God’s honest truth! No, people are not different, silly. Because you overspend with credit cards means everyone else will too!
  • You must desire to own your own home. Out here in the Midwest, we don’t really get it when someone OWNS an apartment. Why would you do that??!
  • You must walk your dogs and pick up their excrement.
  • You must get married before age 30. Do people even get married after that? It’s too horrible to contemplate.
  • Speaking of weddings, you must wear white, have your father give you away, and take your husband’s last name. (Least favorite thing about this: when the minister says, “Mr. and Mrs. [Husband’s first name] [Husband’s last name].” Welcome to a world in which your identity is controlled by your husband’s. Yay.
  • You must want kids. Living without children? Also too horrible to contemplate. Although this website seems to say differently.
  • Once you got that kid in your belly, a baby shower is necessary. You must open presents in front of everyone, tacky as that may seem to people from elsewhere. Or as awkward as you may feel doing so.
  • You mustn’t be too radical with your beliefs, unless we’re talking about JAY-SUS!

Okay, I’m done for now. Anyone else have any ideas for how to become a better (midwestern, suburban, American) adult? Share them with me.