28 April 2013

screw pause, let's fast forward this piece...

You know that moment in your life when you can’t look to the future because you have no idea how you can get there, and you can’t look at your past, because you are trying to move past it?  I call that life on pause.  You cannot make any gains and you are spinning your wheels just trying to make the most out of what you can at the time.  My life was on pause for two-ish years.  Just kind of cruising through.  Last year, when I moved here to Bahrain I wrote that my life was not on pause anymore-I could see how I could move forward and I was excited.  As of February 17th I thought I was moving forward…with my career.  I could see my whole professional future and it was fine.  When I accepted the new job I was on the fence.  I told Ezza that I got the job in the elevator and she said “Congratulations, I guess?”  I said "yeah..." and we hugged. 

 Right before that, on Saturday, February 2nd we went to Ladies Night at JJ’s.  It was the beginning of Winter Break and we were just out.  I kept making eyes (meaning flirting over my drink) with a guy wearing an OSU shirt.  Me, being a faithful Minnesota/Wisconsin fan knew that I hated OSU, just on general Big 10 principles.  Me, also being a huge smart ass, decide the best way to flirt with this guy is to talk shit about his favorite team.  I told him he was brave to wear such a horrible team’s shirt, even if no one in this country knew what it was.  He said something about football, I said something about basketball, and I went back to Ezza (and the two guys we were talking to at the time).  A couple of minute’s later OSU boy comes over with a pen and napkin and asks for my number (ballsy, considering I was sitting with two guys-just friends by the way-but still, ballsy).  I told him I would be watching the Superbowl at a restaurant the next night, maybe we could meet up there. 

Well the Superbowl started and I had not heard from my OSU boy.  I figured he realized that I was a smart ass and in a sober state, came to the conclusion not to call me.  Not the case though!  He texted me (so he did have a phone…did not need the napkin in these new fangled technology times) during the game, but did not know that the restaurant locked their doors at 2.  So we made plans to meet for lunch the next day (the 4th)-I told him to wear an OSU shirt so I could recognize him. 

On the 4th we met and he was cuter than I remembered (always a plus!) and the conversation was great-I think we stayed for 2 hours.  He left that day for Australia for 2 weeks, but said he would call when he came back into town.  A simple “I’m just not that into you” would have sufficed, but Australia is a cool lie. He actually was going though and we became Facebook friends. 

While OSU was gone, I got the new job and continued to have fun in Bahrain.  He messaged me a couple of times while he was gone and called as soon as he landed on the 22nd.  We spent  the whole weekend together.  He left again and came back, but on March 9th I realized that he was too good for me.  I’ve heard that line before...shows, movies, but never understood what it meant...until then.  He is honestly, a true gentleman.  Nice, sincere, honest, brave, I could go on…but I felt like I would let him down.  I’m nice, most of the time.  I’m sincere and honest, when I feel I can be.  I’m not that brave…it just felt...like I wasn't good enough.  Best way I can describe it.  We parted ways-and decided to talk when we could (he says we were never gonna talk again...)  March 15th he changed his mind...he emailed me. We chatted and decided to get coffee the next day.  I thought about him a lot over the week, but knew I shouldn’t contact him, so when he contacted me, even when I told him everything, I knew it was good.  So I got all fancy for our coffee date-hoping to make a good impression.  I think I did alright.  We have been inseparable ever since. 

I kept saying we were going at warp speed.  Asking if he was ok, are we moving too fast?  He said no, and I believed him.  March 28  we went out with his friends.  It was a fun night, and it was the night I knew I loved him.  It is too much information, but I knew we did because we got in a fight.  It was a misunderstanding at the bar when we had been drinking (REALLY?  Who would have thought alcohol and loud music could cause people to not hear others!)  We left angry at each other, but when we got to a quiet place, we didn't scream, we didn't ignore each other, we looked into each other’s eyes and talked it out.  We explained how we felt.  I’m not saying we both weren’t still mad and/or drunk, but we left holding hands.  The next day we made sure we were ok, we were, and I loved that we were able to talk about how we felt and forgive.  On March 29 I was telling him how good I felt about us and his response was “Are you saying you love me?”  So I don’t know who said it first, but there it was, out in the open and the speed was going faster than ever.

We talked about how the next school year would be horrible but we could do it…10 months apart wasn’t anything. 

 However, the closer we got to his leaving date, the worse it was feeling.  I was struggling to think about 2 months, let alone 10.  I was mad because my life would be on pause again, we were going to be half way around the world from each other, able to see each other every couple of months, maybe, and my life would be at a weird standstill.  I could tell it was eating him alive too.

We talked and on April 9th decided that I was moving home.  I was scared as hell to tell my parents and school, but there was very little debate.  I played devil’s advocate a couple of times, but still couldn’t think about 10 months. 

On April 26th, at the same bar we met at, in an OSU shirt, with all of our friends around, he asked me to marry him.  I said yes enthusiastically, we hugged, and kissed and everyone cheered.  Ezza and I went to the bathroom to look at the ring and talk.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes, and I started crying.  She said “Congratulations!”  I said "yes!"  And we hugged so tight and I couldn’t stop smiling. 

Life Unpaused.   

16 April 2013

Keeper of the Stars

This past week I posted the Bill Cosby quote “decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”  It was fitting at the time.  Hell, it is fitting all of the time.  There is something every day that I am slightly afraid of…but if it is worth doing, or you want it bad enough, we move past the fear.  How soon is too soon to move past the fear though?  How long are we supposed to sit and stew on it and debate whether we want it more than we are scared of it?

In class, I can let a student struggle for only about 5-8 minutes until the fall apart and lose interest in the math.  They are so scared of failing and getting the problem wrong, that if they cannot answer it in 5-8 minutes they just don’t do it.

Imagine if we only sat and stewed over our own personal dilemmas for 5-8 minutes. 

It felt like that when I decided to move to Bahrain.  I applied in the middle of February and had decided by March 25th.  I cried for about a week straight while I was debating.  I talked to my family every day, but did not mention much to friends.  I remember telling Jamie over spring break.  It was hard knowing that this huge life change was going to shake so much up, yet was the right move.  I had to convince some people that it was for good and that I was happy. 

However, that huge step in my life was whirlwind and great. 

I do very few things slow.  I talk fast, I think faster than my fingers type, and until recently, when I have learned the Arabic way of life, I walked fast.  I have many speed tickets including through a school zone, on my way to school.  I’m not proud, I just always think that there is something exciting to be getting to…we should move fast! 

I believe that people sit and stew too long.  I am a procrastinator, but I make my mind up pretty quickly.  I never visited a single college campus when I accepted to Elon.  I applied, interviewed and accepted in a week when I switched jobs to Durham.  Canden and I bought Bakerloo in about 5 minutes of debating.   

I believe in gut reactions and feelings.  I believe we all know what we want innately, however, the longer we sit and stew we change those gut reactions, and sometimes for the better, but sometimes just for the easier. 
I love excitement.  I love a challenge.  I love gut reactions. In my first blog post I wrote about this need.  My job is amazing because it provides me with a challenge every day.  I have put my job first because of this passion. 

So, in a whirlwind move, is it ok to be challenged in other areas?   Can we worry too much about something and sit and stew and struggle…too much?  Too little?  At what point am I not building my students’ intelligence when I let them struggle with a problem?  When should I intervene?  When do “helpful suggestions” become “telling them the answer”?  When do we listen to others and take their advice over what we really want…or need? 

The Rolling Stone’s song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is stuck in my head.  It has NOTHING to do with any current situations…I actually just read the lyrics and…well…am really surprised by them.  However, the point being…it may not be what we want, but it may be what we need. 

Did fate lead me to Bahrain or was it a gut reaction from something my boss said that led me down a rabbit hole here?  If I hadn’t acted quickly would I have taken this adventure? 

The girls watched “He’s Just Not That Into You” tonight.  The main character Gigi sits and thinks and stews over every single thing that a guy does.  It drives her (and her friends…and the guys) crazy, however she is the eternal optimist and knows that love is right around the corner for her.  When she stops thinking and listening to all the “exception” stories, that’s when Alex comes along and tells her she is his exception (you have to see it to fully understand). 

Our life is full of rules.  We follow guidelines at work; we follow traffic rules (well…sometimes), follow ones outlined and even ones that are just understood.  You must stop at a red light (written).  You should give up your seat to the elderly (understood).   So why in our life do we have this rule that we have to overanalyze all aspects until we go crazy?  Rules should be simple and easy to understand.  And as the movie states…we are the rules…until we are the exception.  Worrying, fear and trepidation will not get you anywhere except for reveling in a world of exceptions that do not meet your circumstances.  The only way we can find our own exceptions is to take a leap of faith.

Leah Banner Poole is an exception.  She is taking a leap of faith…and I love her and Jordan for it.  I hope that I can continue to show her that following your gut reaction, your heart, and/or your instinct will lead you to amazing things…as I have found…here in Bahrain…and, inshallah, beyond.