No Regrets

I lived in Germany with my mother’s parents from October 2017 to March 2018. I decided to do a semester at the local university and simultaneously spend some time with grandparents that I only got to see once a year- and that was if I was lucky.

My grandfather passed away about a week and a half ago. He was 84. He was also in the largest police choir in east Hesse for several decades… I want to say about 50 years… he LOVED music and singing!

In December, he asked me if I wanted to attend the Christmas concert they always put on with the children’s choir each year. My grandmother warned me that the children’s choir wasn’t particularly good and that I didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to.

It didn’t take me long to agree to go because I knew I’d probably never get the chance to see him perform again and I didn’t even know the next time I’d be able to go to Germany. I haven’t been back since I left in March 2018, so looking back, I am SO incredibly happy that I was able to see him perform.

The children’s choir was very boring, yes, but the police choir was awesome. There was also a soloist who sang Hallelujah and it even brought some of the kids to tears- so cute.

The last picture I have of me and my grandpa is one with my grandma as well. We were at a family member’s birthday party and it was a very social and very exciting event- I had a blast. And my grandpa looked so happy!

Even though we live on opposite sides of the Atlantic ocean, I still have an amazing relationship with my grandparents. We text and video-chat and it was really important to me to study over there/live over there at one point in my life. I’m really really glad I was able to make that happen.

A Sad and Anxious First Day of School

Yesterday was day one of my Spring 2020 semester. I had only one class at 12:30pm. As per usual, I arrived an hour and a half early to make time for traffic, me getting lost, and any other emergency situations.

Turns out that I made the right decision in getting to campus ridiculously early because I spent 40 minutes trying to find parking that wasn’t full and would also accept my budget card that I just loaded $105 on. I finally found the sketchiest parking deck on campus; it also happened to be the one furthest from my class, so I got a nice walk in too.

The actual class was fine, but because of it being a new professor, new classmates, new room, new seat, etc., I was feeling a little jittery. I also hadn’t eaten enough or drank enough water- that’s on me. The whole parking situation didn’t help either, of course.

Unfortunately, my German grandfather also just died- as I was walking to class, actually, my mother texted me and my sister. So, that sucks. My mom just got back from Germany 5 days ago and now she’s going back for the funeral.

I have one of my evening classes today. I am trying to plan where to park because when I get out of my class it will be dark. I will attempt to park where I normally park because it’ll be after normal hours and the deck will hopefully not be full at that time.

Work update: work is going well, I hope they’ll ask me to be full-time soon.

Welcome to the New Year!

I must begin my first post of 2020 by saying that I was unfortunate enough to end my holidays with some not so great news: my German grandfather is in a coma with meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis. He’s in his mid 80s, so it doesn’t look great. My mother flew home on December 24th and she’s coming back tomorrow. He hasn’t woken up yet, but she has to return to work.

I spent the last week of December dog sitting and taking care of my sick girlfriend; fast forward a few days and it was her taking care of a sick me.

A fever, a cough, some vomiting, a visit to urgent care, and an ear infection later, I am on day 4 of antibiotics and day 2 of being back at work. I am still coughing up a storm, but overall I feel much better.

Our Christmas tree is still up, our apartment looks a fright, and I haven’t baked in what feels like months! I also made an extensive physical and mental list of things I want in 2020 for myself and for my relationship with Chelsea (spoiler: it involves lots of travel!), but I haven’t had a chance to start on any of it on account of my getting sick.

I was supposed to have 4 teeth removed yesterday, but I had to reschedule that, so that’s happening next Friday. Woohoo. Braces are still on for January 30th.

School begins next Monday. I am taking 4 classes. 3 of them are HR classes and 1 of them is a marketing class. I am excited, but I am nervous because 2 of my classes are evening classes; I go to school in downtown Atlanta and I park in a parking garage that is known for armed robberies and assaults. With the days becoming dark very early, I’ll have to watch my back walking to and from my car and class.

I shall now bake brownies!

Feeling a Little Low

The 2019 Fall semester is finally over. I ended the year with 2 As, 2 Bs, and 1 C. I realized too late- with the help of people who care about me- that I started the school year with too much on my plate. I was able to drop one of my classes, but, in reality, I should have never taken 6 to begin with; I think 3 or 4 would have been more reasonable considering I’d been away from college for almost 2 years.

2 of my friends recently graduated. I suppose that 1 of them should be considered more of an acquaintance now because we haven’t hung out regularly since 2016. There were others that I went to high school with that graduated this May, too. While I’ve come slowly come to the decision to let myself run only on my timeline, I still find it difficult to look at photos of people who started college at the same time as I did, but only one of us is done. I don’t doubt my capabilities of finishing school and I don’t regret my choice to take a break from it, but my desire to be done with my degree is still very strong.

This was the first semester that I finally got a professor I felt was worth my time and money. She made class interactive, educational, and overall enjoyable. The topics were applicable to both school and work. She gave real-life examples and encouraged questions and discussions. I’m glad I had her because, in short, I hate school and that hasn’t changed. She made the first semester back a better experience and she made the decision to sign up for more classes just a tad easier, too.

I’ve had a lot of family stuff go on this year- more than usual, it seems. As always, I am never really in the conflict/situation, but I am the neutral party, the middleman, you get it. The most pressing “thing” is currently my youngest sister and my family expects me to “talk some sense into her” when I see her on Monday. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve given my two cents, but I try not to be too overbearing.

Work has been fine. I felt that they hinted at a promotion a few months back, but I feel that I misunderstood. I also gave a co-worker (on behalf of my boss’) a $1400 bonus. The co-worker is moving to California, and I’m sure they just wanted to thank her for her time and wish her the best. I feel the same, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I wan’t expecting the rest of us to get something. The last payroll was already run (by yours truly) last Wednesday, so there is little chance of the situation changing.

On to my teeth. Braces, braces, braces. The usual pain of braces came and went in a matter of days. However, the pain inside of my jaw and into my head has not left. I believe it is because the braces are trying to straighten teeth when there is no room to straighten them to. I am getting 4 teeth pulled on January 6th, but until then, they’re just pushing on each other and causing me daily and nightly pain. It’s great.

I am currently dog-sitting. I’ve dog-sat for this family for several years and they’ve been in 3 different houses. Normally, there is a note with an envelope of cash. This time, there was just a note. I won’t say anything until they return because there has been a previous occasion where I was paid after the fact.

The other family I am dog-sitting for on the 26th just texted me asking if $25/night was good. In the past, I charged $40. I said $25 was fine because the too-nice-person-that-lives-inside-of-me was saying, “it’s the holidays, what if they can’t afford more?” Obviously, this was the wrong answer, but here we are.

This post is just a big complaining session and I am aware of that. I am usually quite vocal about my appreciation of my friends, family, and other joys in my life, but this semester has been hard. It’s also not been fun being apart from my girlfriend; she’s visiting her family in California until the 27th, so I’m flying solo down here.

I’m sure it’s just going to be one of those days for me. It’ll get better once I’m with my family, I’m sure.

My Holiday Thus Far

The Holiday Season began, for me, the moment October kissed us goodbye. My girlfriend and I were given a 3 foot Christmas Tree by my grandparents and we set that sucker up immediately. That same day, my Meemaw also invited Chelsea to Thanksgiving. I’ve never had a partner at Thanksgiving, so this was an exciting first.

So, Thanksgiving comes around. My entire immediate family was actually not in town. My mother and stepdad were in Florida. My dad and stepmom were hosting their own Thanksgiving elsewhere (we did end up visiting them later). My sister was also in Florida and got to spend some time with mom.

Ever since my therapist told me to go into the holiday season with a more open mind, I wasn’t as nervous as I might have been otherwise about introducing my girlfriend to the family. This half of my family is quite conservative and religious; however, we actually had a wonderful time. The only person who I felt gave us a little bit of a hard time was my aunt, but I don’t think it was meant maliciously.

As Thanksgiving came to an end and the Christmas music crept through our radios, I started baking and planning and, as of yesterday, making eggnog. In fact, I’ve decided to conduct an experiment and make many types of eggnog in order to find the one that reigns over them all. There will be a few non-alcoholic versions due to the fact that my girlfriend doesn’t like to consume what she thinks tastes like medicine. I mean, she’s not wrong- many medicines contain alcohol.

Anyway, Chelsea leaves for California next week and I will begin dog-sitting, spending time with mom, and then dog-sitting some more. My work has demanded that no one work the week of Christmas, so I had to come up with another form of income. School has also come to an end and I am actually really looking forward to next semester even though this one just about killed me. I have one final exam tomorrow (on a Saturday!!??) at 4:15pm. I’m not thrilled about it, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Turkey Day is Rapidly Approaching

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This means that most of us will be returning home to see family that we only see specifically during this time of the year. For me, this year is different because I am bringing someone with me.

I actually introduced my girlfriend, Chelsea, to various family members over the past 2 months and it all went surprisingly well.

In my last session, I spoke with my therapist about the holiday season and my own expectations regarding family and my obviously gay relationship. He told me to have minimal to no expectations and to be open-minded. At first, I reacted with, “WhAt?! You want ME to be open-minded??”

Buuuuut, then I realized that he was right. I was already anticipating the homophobic comments, questions, and uncomfortable stares months before actually being around family. I was making assumptions. I was judging. If I were to enter their homes with this attitude, it was going to be obvious and rub off on them.

In order for this to be natural and comfortable, I needed to let go of anything I thought before. I needed to act natural and comfortable myself. There is nothing weird or abnormal about my relationship and the more normal I act, the more normal it will be to family.

I’ve worked so hard to be 100% myself. I feel like I’ve only fully achieved that in 2019. I am ready to just have fun and enjoy this holiday season.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Family: Grandpas

I have 6 grandparents. 5 are still alive. I am related by blood to 3 of them. I’ve never actually met my mother’s biological father. He left when she was a baby and her mother remarried a wonderful man. I know that my mom’s bio dad was a dick for leaving, but I still wonder what he looks like and what he’s like.

My dad’s dad’s dad (my great-grandfather), I’m told, was somewhat of an ass. He wasn’t always very nice. His name is Frank. I’ve seen pictures of him and I can’t help but wonder if I would’ve liked talking to him.

Great Grandpa Frank

I vaguely remember my mom’s mom’s parents. They died when I was in elementary school. My great-grandfather’s name was Adolf. When he died and we went through his stuff, we discovered that he had a VERY extensive menu collection. His eyes were blue. He had a mustache. I remember liking him.

The first (and only) grandparent that I have lost died on January 9, 2018. He was my Grandpa Wayne. He was well over 6 feet and his head was very large.

This is me and my Grandpa Wayne, March 1997.

He died because he contracted pneumonia after going through extensive chemo treatments. Unfortunately, I was in Germany when he died, so I was unable to say goodbye and attend the service or the burial. I’ve actually never been to his grave and that is because I’m not sure that I’m ready.

There are many things that I would’ve liked to ask him, so I try to make a point of seeing and talking with the grandparents that are still alive. My Grandpa Wayne was a no bullshit kind of man. He always told me to eat protein and to cut my hair (he hated long hair). He was a rock for my Grandma and I can see that things have been very difficult for her since his passing.

To wrap this post up, I miss family that I never met. I miss family I didn’t know very long or very well. I miss family that I’ve lost. Grief and sadness are difficult emotions for me, so I never quite know how to process these thoughts, but I acknowledge their existences.

The Thing About Airplanes

When I was younger, my mother and sister and I would fly to Germany once per year, during the summer, to visit our grandmother. We stayed at her house for an entire month. We went swimming, hiking, traveling, and also did very normal everyday things like grocery shopping, visiting the city, and hanging out with our friends there.

As an adult, when I look up at the sky and see an airplane, I feel this pain in my chest, a type of longing, even. I wish I was on that plane going wherever it was going. I think I associate airplanes with the extremely happy memories that I have from going to Germany for all those years.

We stopped going as a family because we got older and had school obligations as well as jobs. My mother’s job also won’t let her take a lot of vacation. We mostly go separately now. My sister went while I was in high school for a few months. I studied there for 6 months my sophomore year of college. My mother goes when she can, but it’s not often or for very long.

My grandmother used to fly to us when we had a break in school, but there’s not much incentive to fly here now since we all have jobs and limited time. It makes me sad, but I still hold on very dearly to all of those years we spent over there.

Overwhelming Thoughts

I don’t know if this post is going to come out making sense. I will do my best, but this could be a doozy.

Some people only fall in love with, date, and marry one person. Other people go through the same process with 20 different people. I haven’t met anyone who’s been married 20 times, but I’ve heard of 5-7 times, so that’s still a jump.

Many married people I know today (both old and young) got married in their mid to late 20s. I am approaching my mid 20s. This post is not about me feeling pressure to get married- that pressure isn’t there for me. What I am getting at is the thought that maybe I’ve met a person who I could be happy with for a long time.

I’ve been on a few dates that never went further than that first meeting. I’ve dated someone short term. I’ve dated several people long term (for me, this range is 8 months to 2 years). I’ve dated someone who was not very kind to me. I’ve dated people and imagined married life with them. There was one person who I considered to be someone I would have children with if we got there. My point is that I have experience. I have experienced enough variety of personality. I know what I want at this point. I also know what I don’t want.

The person I just started seeing 3 weeks ago is many of the things I want in a person. Obviously, there are no perfect people and she is not perfect, but there are so many seemingly great things about her, my body and mind are on edge because “what’s the catch?”

So, like I mentioned before, there are so many people who are married or at least dating the person they’re going to marry by the time they are my age or by the time they’ve experienced what I have. I’ve dated enough for my liking. I would like to just not anymore. The thought in my mind is “could this be it?”

Don’t panic, now, because marriage is something I don’t want for another 8ish years. I just wonder if she could be someone I want to travel with, someone to introduce to my family and friends, someone I want to come home to after work, etc.

Contemplate these things with me. Let’s overanalyze together. Let’s think about all the confusing things in life. I hope you all got through this one alright.

Sitting in a Starbucks

I’m currently sitting in a squishy chair on the back wall of a Starbucks in Atlanta, GA. Across the room is what seems to be a mother and her child. The mom looks to be in her late 20s and her daughter can’t be older than 8.

Mom is wearing a light grey maxi dress and her hair is long and shiny. Her daughter is wearing a pink camo romper and a cat ear headband. They’re both sipping drinks. Mom is working on her computer and daughter is putting together what looks to be a puzzle.

An upbeat song comes on and the daughter begins dancing in her seat. Mom looks up, smiles, and joins her in her dancing.

Before you call me a complete creep, let me explain why I felt the need to write about this:

There is a very specific list of things that make me cry. Seemingly loving and healthy family relationships are one of them.

I’m not hinting that I had an undesirable childhood. My mom may not have danced in Starbucks with me, but we did many other lovely things together. My dad and I also didn’t have a difficult time when I was younger. I enjoyed most of childhood very much. However, I know so many people who’s childhoods were so fucked up and when I see people so simply involved with their children, it makes me so happy.