Background:
So we have this intern at work who is contracted for a year. She recently graduated from a university in the area, and gets paid a monthly stipend, which unless you live in Montana, means nothing. She does not own a vehicle, and she shares a tiny apartment with a roommate on the edge of town, right where things start to become sketchy.

In December, because we employ so few staff, we gathered for happy hour at a nearby bar instead of planning a classic office holiday party (I mean, for B’s work holiday party, I was picked up at home and transported by a private black car to the partner’s house…ah, the corporate life). We had barely been seated when the aforementioned intern, let’s call her Miss Piggy (MP), announced that she had something to tell us.

“You guys, I went to a farm over the weekend and FELL IN LOVE WITH A PIG. I decided right away that I had to get one, so when I got home, I went on Craigslist and searched ‘pig dealer.’ I found this lady at a farm about an hour away with a litter on sale. I put down a deposit and she’s going to contact me when the piglets are born. I’m getting a pig, and OMG, I’m so excited!”

One can imagine the full minute of silence that followed; the stunned calm before the storm of questions we fired at her for the next hour.

Where will the pig live? Does your apartment complex have a backyard or at least patch of grass in the front?
There’s no grass anywhere because I basically live in a concrete jungle, but it’s not a big deal because I’m just going to keep it in my bedroom.

Are you getting a teacup pig? I mean, how big is this animal going to get?
Well, the farmer said that there’s actually no such thing as a teacup pig. The tiny pigs are just emaciated, anorexic animals. The pig I’m getting will probably start out small like what you see in photos, but it will grow to about *spreads hands three feet apart.*

That’s huge! Is that really going to fit in your apartment? How does your roommate feel about all this?
Oh yeah, it won’t be an issue at all! My roommate is great. She loves pigs too, and her grandparents used to be pig farmers, so it will be nice to have someone to call up if we have any questions.

What do pigs eat? What are you going to feed it?
I’m a vegetarian, so I plan to just feed it whatever I cook for myself. [Editor’s note: MP has previously disclosed that she does not cook and “scavenges snacks” for most of her meals.]

Do you…walk pigs? How does that work? What if you have to go somewhere?
Yeah, I’ll probably need to get a leash. I’ve actually been looking into strollers, because sometimes I need to get to and from places fairly quickly, so it’ll be much easier with a stroller. Otherwise, I’ll just take it on the T with me. I see dogs on there all the time.

Aren’t you applying for grad schools on the West Coast?
I’m actually applying to grad schools all over the place, including abroad. But I’ll just take it with me wherever I go. People take dogs and cats with them on the plane all the time. I’m sure it’s the same process for a pig.

Are you f**king kidding me?!
I don’t know why everyone I tell thinks this is crazy. It’s totally normal to have a pet. You guys can’t talk me out of it. My heart is set.

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The first time I met B, he had skateboarded by and then came trotting back to introduce himself. I left the brief exchange thinking there was something vaguely familiar about him. It took me a few minutes to realize what it was. I turned to S and exclaimed, “That guy totally looks like a dinosaur!”

Fortunately for B, I was obsessed with dinosaurs as a child. In kindergarten when my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied “a paleontologist” because I wanted to spend my life digging for dinosaur bones.

Fast forward through seven years of dating—four of which have been long-distance and three of those agonizingly international long-distance (not recommended, my friends)—to the last Friday night of 2013. I returned home from work to see B sitting on my bed wearing a snazzy knit tie and a sheepish smile. After weeks of mysteriously promising to visit me in San Diego, he had finally appeared.

“Surprise! Open your Christmas present,” he said, handing me a wrapped gift.

Inside was a photo book he had created entitled A Dinosaur Love Story, which documented some of our relationship highlights in words as well as photographed scenes reenacted by, of course, dinosaurs. We read down memory lane together, reliving moments like sharing a first kiss at the top of the Eiffel Tower and eating too many snacks at the drive-in movie theater. It was a wonderfully nostalgic journey that took us though years of memories to the last page of the book—a picture of a dinosaur with a ring in its mouth.

B then got down on one knee, uttered a few sweet words that I don’t remember, and slipped the ring on my finger.

Cheers to dinosaurs, love, dinosaur love, and finally being back on the same continent. Together. Forever!

And now the world will see all my life stages in my hodgepodge room:DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPROLots of laughs. DCIM100GOPROIt was quite a long book.DCIM100GOPRODinosaurs are silly. DCIM100GOPROWhat is he reaching for…?DCIM100GOPROOh snap.DCIM100GOPRONose scrunchies.DCIM100GOPROSparkly!DCIM100GOPROT-Rex arms.DCIM100GOPROWe’re engaged!DCIM100GOPROI finally noticed the stealthy camera.DCIM100GOPROHappily ever after continues.

Yup.

September 4, 2013

Danger of Traveling While Female.

It is unfortunate how deeply this resonates with women everywhere, but I do appreciate how she reconciles this reality with a profoundly positive upside.

Amurrica.

August 23, 2013

I have been back in the United States for nearly one month. Although I’ve been jetting around and haven’t exactly settled in San Diego yet, there are a few things I have observed about my readjustment so far.

1. I cannot cross the street properly. Cars waiting to turn right on red hate me for my nervous indecision, because I still assume anything with four wheels WILL hit me.

2. I cannot flush the toilet properly. I keep panicking when I actually drop my toilet paper in the toilet for fear that those four squares will clog the entire city’s plumbing.

3. Picking produce at the grocery store is revelatory. I am used to scouring endless land mines of rotten tomatoes and repulsively bruised mangoes that unsuspectingly ooze fermented juice all over my hand only to come away with nothing because everything is spoiled.

4. No matter how safe the city (seriously, Fremont and Cambridge?), I still walk around on survival/attack mode. My code red cynicism is still alive and burning.

5. Speaking of attack mode, orderly lining up has become a foreign concept to me. Any time a queue is formed, my instinct is to rush forward, elbows out. Apologies to the grandma at the grocery store yesterday…

6. Taking showers and lying in bed may be commonplace routines, but for me, they have become awe-inspiring highlights of my days. I am pretty sure I have thanked the Lord for shower curtains, water heaters, H2O that doesn’t smell like sewage, and real mattresses more than anything else…even time with B.

7. I heard this one from many a Peace Corps returnee, but I am still shocked by the excess of choices and options and how easy it is to spend money here. The credit card may be America’s greatest weapon.

8. Last Sunday was my first week back at Existence Church, and I hit culture shock so hard. More on this to come, but, GEEZ, money everywhere.

9. The more I travel, the more I LOVE San Diego. What kind of crazy person would ever leave this paradise heaven-land?!

10. Food is delicious.