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.

Dinosaur Love: 100 Days.

September 6, 2012

There is always some sort of countdown going when time also separates you by geography. This particular one has been slow going since 203. Each lesser number that I mark in my planner is both a stab in the heart and a triumphant fist pump. Can’t wait for the day when we get to blow this stinktown waiting out of here for good.

But until then…Boston is up first. 100 days.

Twenty-Cinco.

July 20, 2012

I have celebrated many a birthday outside of the U.S. This year: Paraguay.

For someone who spends so much time in her own head, I find it kind of remarkable that I have never really given much thought to where I’d be at 25. I suppose since it sounded old and far off, I assumed I’d simply have it figured out.

But here I am and…I don’t. After some cursory reflection this week, I actually find myself a little embarrassed at how unsettled life still is at this quarter-century mark. I look around and see friends my age who have been married for years, nestled into the domestic bliss of stable careers, purchasing homes, and making babies (and lots of them at that). I’m still wracking my brain about what I want to do “when I grow up.”

I struggled as an academic during my time at UCSD–it was just so difficult for me to muster up sufficient interest in subject matters that didn’t inspire straight out fiery passion in me. I dabbled in crisis intervention social work and that almost broke me. And while I am convicted this is where God wants me for now, I’m fairly certain a lifetime of overseas missionary work is not where I’m headed either.

Furthermore, my predilections towards possible future endeavors are strangely balanced, so it is hard to say that any one thing in particular jumps out at me. Graduate school? Cooking school? Back to the working world of fixed schedules and paychecks? So much ambivalence.

These things I do know to be true: I am inordinately good at consuming large amounts of black coffee. Baking fruit muffins with crumble topping is kind of my forte. World travel is my soul song. I have great parents and the best batch of best friends. And even though long-distance ranks up there with poop on my shoe, genocide, and boxed mashed potatoes (tongue-in-cheek, peeps), I love doing life with someone who inspires me daily with their stability and optimism.

Food, family, friends, livable wanderlust, and love–really, I’ve got it all. There is a richness in life that, in spite of the foggy uncertainty and momentary lack of direction, brings fullness and reminds me this is a great place to be. I also know that He abides and His plans are good. And if there is anything I have learned in the last twenty-five years, it is that He brings clarity in His timing and His timing is perfect.

Here’s to twenty-five more delicious ones full of new flights, sights, and flavors. Cheers!

Readjustment back to Asuncion has been slow-going and emotional. After a honeymoon of a month experiencing only and all of the best home has to offer, being in landlocked Paraguay again feels like a prison sentence. It has been difficult to return to isolation, loneliness, and mosquitoes. At least the weather has been cooler.

To be honest though, the most agonizing part about being here is the long-distance–which is hard for me to admit because I’m afraid it sounds like I don’t know how to exist without my boyfriend. I don’t want to be that girl. I want to know that beyond my relationship status, I possess independence and strength as an individual. That I can survive and thrive as Lo, not just…B-Lo.

But instead of honing those instincts, it seems like long-distance has only proven how miserable I am at this game. I am insecure and needy and have developed serious attention-hoarding tendencies. It doesn’t help that the most common question here in Paraguay is, “Aren’t you afraid he’s going to meet someone else?” Of course, I worry about that, but no, it won’t happen, and what a terrible thing to ask even if culturally legitimate.

Being apart sucks.

It is unfair that our lives have to be so completely different and so geographically separated for so long. It is exhausting to miss someone every day for weeks and weeks and weeks on end and get very little opportunity for relief. Come December, B and I will have spent less than a total of two weeks together over fifteen months’ time. A dismal reality.

Time differences, choppy internet connections, and tough conversations via computer take their toll. Hard days are harder when all I can do is stare helplessly at the screen and send useless mental hugs, or wish B were here with me to hold my hand.

I realize that God has clearly called both of us to our respective places for specific purposes I don’t have the foresight to understand now. I know it is refining and character building. I know that I still have a lot to learn. I know the struggle is not in vain. And I know that nothing good gets away.

But it’s still hard.

 

…are we there yet?