Posts Tagged ‘love’

Life is no gift box

Recently I’ve had conversations with friends that further confirm that I’m an adult. If it was not clear already, it’s clear now. I won’t go into the details of the conversations, but I walked away thinking that life isn’t that perfect package that we dreamed of when we were younger. No one finds the man/woman of their dreams in a café in Rome, gets married, has two perfect children, has the career of their dreams, becomes rich all while maintaining the looks and body of a model. Well a small minority of people may have this life, but it’s usually not without some huge bump in the road.  Quite a few of my friends are divorced or going through a divorce. Some thought they were marrying the person of their dreams. Others knew the person was all wrong, but somehow ended up meeting them at the alter anyway. A few are on their second marriages.  Some with kids, most without. Then there is the recent transition from the influx of weddings to births. My Facebook page is full of baby photos of little one’s of family and friends. So now there’s another life in the world and what happens when your child is sick or disabled? All of the “plans” you had went right out the window.  That pretty package you anticipated now looks a little tattered and you’re not sure what to do with it. You don’t even know where to start because you never planned for this.

Many of life’s blessings don’t come in the beautifully wrapped blue Tiffany’s box.  Sometimes the package may be a ripped up brown box that was damaged in transit, dropped in the mud and wet from the rain. When you see it, you’re immediately turned off. You don’t want to touch it. It’s not the thing you want to bring into your house and muddy up your clean carpet.  But you’re not going to let it sit there for too long, because something’s inside. Someone sent you a gift and you want to know what it is. So you grab a paper towel and tear it open hoping that what’s inside isn’t as damaged as the package. Perhaps the sender took care and wrapped it in padding and plastic knowing the fragile contents might experience a rough trip before it got to you. So you cut open the tattered box and pull out the gift that’s securely taped in mounds of bubble wrap. You grab the scissors and cut through the wrap, popping bubbles along the way. The box is wrapped up so tightly that you get frustrated and put it down. You walk away. But eventually come back and see it sitting on the counter and can’t help but start cutting again. After a little time, patience and effort, you finally get down to the box inside. It’s not the blue Tiffany’s box…it’s even better.  This box is unique and even more beautiful than you could have imagined. All of this and  you haven’t even opened it to see the contents. Who would have thought that something this beautiful could be delivered in something so tattered? And to think you almost left it sitting outside. You almost walked away and gave up on it before you had a chance to explore what was inside.

Public Display of Affection

“In the present there is always a space as vast as the Steppes waiting to be filled with more love and more of life’s joy”.

One glaring different between Europeans and Americans, is that Europeans are way more affectionate and emotional, specifically the French, Spanish and Italians. Their languages, culture, lifestyle and environment all support romance. Since I’ve been in Madrid, the first thing I noticed when walking down the street is the PDA exhibited by couples. I guess I can understand why with everything that is surrounded by them.  The city is beautiful and scenic with its museums, gardens and plazas. The quaint, narrow streets create a romantic ambiance. The dining experience also caters to couples because of the style of food and the typical dining time.  People usually go to dinner around 11pm and order a bunch of tapas (small plates) to share. All of this combined with the fact that people in general are more comfortable with showing affection than in the US.

One of the most endearing things is that PDA is not limited to young couples. I see just as many older couples in there 70s and 80s walking around holding hands as I do young ones. It’s a beautiful thing to see and be surrounded by. To your left you see an old couple walking down the street holding hands. To your right you see a young couple stop for a long kiss on the sidewalk. In front you see a guy put his arm around his companion’s waist as if not physically touching her is unnatural and uncomfortable. All this is going on without anyone yelling, “Get a room!”. I must admit that I’m sometimes the person to say it, but not here.  I appreciate the love that people show for each other here. This is not to say that Spanish people are more in love than Americans, it’s just to say that it’s nice to see outward expressions of love.

In class, I had a conversation with my teacher about the history of Madrid. He told me the background behind why there is now a huge clear wall on a bridge on Calle Bailen. He said that years ago teenagers in love would go here and jump off the bridge because they thought this was the ultimate expression of love. After a few incidences, the city built a barrier to prevent this from happening again. So maybe the Spanish are more in love than Americans. While I’ve heard about teen suicides and young love, I’ve never heard about American teenagers doing anything like this.

I could be getting sucked into the fantasy of romance, but there is definitely something to it. I want it and so does every other woman I know. I can’t speak for men, but I know many can do without. Perhaps the level of comfort that European men feel with showing emotions and affection is something that American men are not used and it translates into a lack of romance.

I know that romance is just one element of love and that there is much more to maintaining a strong relationship, but romance is usually the first to go.  Romance is what distinguishes a romantic relationship from other relationships (familial, platonic, business, etc.) so why is its long-term value often discounted?  Today I am making my plea for Americans to become more affectionate and romantic. Do something a little different today for the special person in your life to intensify your connection. Hold their hand. Stop them on the street to kiss them. Look into their eyes.  You’ll be surprised at their response and, more importantly, how you feel inside.

Updated with one of my favorite sequence of photos taken on this trip.

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Happy Father’s Day!

“It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home—it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.”                                 Margaret Truman

Today is Father’s Day and I have to get give my father special recognition for being such and amazing man.  You don’t realize how special your parents are and how much they’ve sacrificed for your until you are an adult taking care of yourself or your own children. I am blessed to have two great parents and half of that pair represents the highest standard of being a man and a father. When I was growing up my father worked seven days a week switching from second and third shift at a manufacturing plant to take care of our family. Despite all his hard work and long days, I never remember him complaining once. He worked hard, took care of his family and was always there when my sister and I needed him. I know that he worked long hours, but I always remembering him being at the endless converts, recitals, plays, sports events, birthday parties, and graduations…just to name a few.  I didn’t fully understand and appreciate everything he did for us until I became an adult. For example, he just got his first new car about two years ago.  Until then he would always give my mother the new car and drive the older car. When we were younger, he drove around in an old Pontiac T-1000, which was too hot and too small for him, but he never complained. So I take this time to say thank you and remind you that you’re appreciated for everything you do. Mother’s may get all the glory, but fathers are the foundation for a healthy household. A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty and that’s exactly what my sister and I.

(Special shout out to T-Fly)

Daddy, I love you. I’m proud of you and am blessed to have you as a father.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great fathers including my father, brother-in-law, grandfather, uncles and cousins.

DVF Drops Knowledge

(Disclaimer: Please note, this is not an endorsement to watch The City as doing so may result in a fat ass and the lost of brain cells).

Who says nothing valuable can be learned from watching The City. For those of you who have better things to do like solve world hunger, The City is the spin off of The Hills, a “reality” show that sucks people into the buffoonery of rich, 20-somethings lives. On this week’s episode, Whitney is down because her boyfriend Jay is leaving to go on tour for two months and didn’t tell her until 5 days before he was leaving. She’s at a work party sitting by alone sulking, when Diane Von Furstenberg (Whitney works for DVF) sits down and asks her what’s wrong. Whitney goes into the sob story about Jay and how sad she is. Just when I’m about grab my laptop, Diane recaptures my attention and shares this jewel of a quote.

“Absence is to love what the wind is to fire. When it’s a small fire, the wind blows it out. When it’s a big fire, the wind intensifies it.”

When she said that, I thought, “Man, what a great analogy”! I’m not big on quotes reciting quotes, but I love to collect them and this one was worth writing down. I’d just had a conversation about long distance relationships and it seemed so timely. When it comes to relationships, we tend to get so caught up in the initial excitement that we will fight to keep it going no matter what the situation. We are not patient. We often think that the worse thing that can happen to a relationship is for one person to move away. I am guilty of this and am learning to be more patient when dating and to let things play out as it should. I’m a woman of action, which results in me trying to make things happen. What Diane said made it plain. Distance in a relationship is a test with two extreme grades: Pass (Summa Cum Laude) or Fail (Get kicked out school). What I take away from this is viewing distance as a time to reflect and assess the relationship versus viewing it as an inconvenience that is putting a potential roadblock to the relationship. Plain and simple, strong flames survive.