Ain’t nothin’ better than horseriding

With a quick blink of an eye it’s already 2017! I didn’t want the year to go forgotten without speaking about my favourite highlight of last year. (That is of course apart from getting married and having the most precious baby nephew, whom I will be meeting soon!)

Sometime in October, after travelling around the Balkan states for our honeymoon (shucks, that was another highlight I have to write about soon), H had planned for us to spend a weekend in the outskirts.

In the outskirts it was alright. It took two hours to get to a village that was surrounded by lush fields and horses. This village was mostly bought over by the owner of a horse stable. We were going to learn how to ride a horse for an entire weekend! You couldn’t imagine my excitement.

And fear. And worries. I didn’t have the right clothes. Nor the right shoes. Nor the experience of getting on a horse. Nor the experience of falling off a horse.

But joy. I concentrated on the joy. I was among 10 other excited kids, so I focused on my own joy.

The Friday afternoon started with an hour of getting into the mood. They called it Schrittrunde, literally a round of steps. I had thought that meant I would be walking around with the horse next to me, so I would get used to even having that big animal next to me. And perhaps learn how to get on it.

So we were asked if we had a preferred horse. I could’ve asked for one that flies. No, I have no idea which horse I would like, thank you for asking though. I got assigned one. I went to meet her (the ones I got assigned to usually had female names I think. I’m not sure, they were mostly Icelandic names) and I patted her, learnt to brush her and scratch her hooves. I could do this.

The lady who was assigned to help us was lovely. But she also spoke German, and I didn’t have the German vocabulary for horse riding. I could order a beer sure, but horse riding is way out of my league. She told me my horse was missing a trense. I said, what? Trense, she repeated. I asked her what that is. She described what it was for. I didn’t understand. She told me to just pick whatever is under my horse’s name in the store. Why didn’t you say that earlier?

Then we had to gather and walk our horses to the assembly. Schrittrunde was about to begin. They realized I was still without a helmet. I asked if it was necessary, they said yes. I went to get it and came back to see that all my fellow Schrittrunde mates have already gotten on the back of the horse. I thought that was the aim of this first hours! Nope. I panicked and put on my helmet. The lady told me to grab the saddle, put my foot in a position and pull my weight up. Whoosh – easier than I thought. I may have a secret talent. Holy smokes, ma, I’m on a horse!

We walked with our horses through the forest. The horses have such herd instinct that they rarely go away from one another. It was freezing cold in October, but I felt almighty on my horse walking through the forest. We learnt how to shift our weight on the horse when going uphill and downhill. The forest looked phenomenal when one is a little taller. The horse was brilliant. We were starting to develop chemistry. Then the hour ended, and we had to take them back to the stable.

Over the next two days, I learnt what the German word for a brown horse, a white horse and a mixed horse are. (I’ve forgotten now obviously.) Also, we learnt how to steer the horse, do slight gallops, learn how to balance on the horse without grabbing anything, etc. It was absolutely brilliant! H said he had never seen me happier.

Oh yes, he enjoyed it too. He just wasn’t allowed to explore his potential with the horse, because he had to have the largest horses (most of us were either women or kids), and because the horses have such herd instinct, he would move too quickly for the rest of us.

I think I found my Disneyland.

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Past tense

I lost my aunt today.

She was a joy to visit and call, because she was always full of optimism, full of joy and she was the most understanding and supportive aunt.

She had been battling her illness for a while, which makes grieving a little easier. But the use of past tense is unnerving. I do think she is in a better place now.

H, bless his heart, let me talk on and on about her while he’s away and exhausted from the day. But she was the best aunt.

I remember telling her about H, when he hadn’t met the family yet. She would come excitedly into my room, giggle and ask me to show her a picture of him. Then dizzy with excitement, she would tell me her impression of him – all of which were naturally positive comments.

She would ask a few questions about him as a person and about his family. Then she would quickly say that it’s important to know that one is a good person, and would be a good partner. And from my answers, she knew that I had found the right partner.

When I was moving to Germany, she told me not to worry, and that my parents just want me to be happy, and simply advised me to call home regularly.

When I moved to Germany, she asked if the environment was great, if I got used to the weather, if work was hard to find.

When I found a job, she was happy to hear that I had settled in. She had already started losing weight and energy by then, but she would tell me that hearing from me made her day.

When we visited in April, she was low on energy but she refused to let us leave. She happily told stories, waited for them to be translated for H, waited for me to translate H’s answers. We had planned to stay for an hour, but we stayed for hours more.

When it got so much worse a few weeks ago, I made her a video of me just saying hi from the bathroom stall at work. She insisted on her son taking a video and sending it back. She didn’t have the energy anymore to sit up or hold a phone. Her eyes were barely open, and she looked completely different. But in the short video, she managed to squeeze in the fact that she was delighted to see me and hear from me.

I’m extremely far away from home, and I won’t make it to the funeral. But I hope she knows that I’ll miss her very much.

The New Romance

Today I learnt something new: Many romanticize the idea of needing someone, as though one would wilt without the other. But this idea of dependency, I’ve grown to despise.

I’ve accomplished many things without my husband, while he watches on from afar. I think he hates the idea of dependency too. I have a great sense of achievement when things get completed, and I completed them, and hopefully I did a great job.

But the new romance is the idea that I don’t need my husband. It isn’t life or death that he has to be physically by my side all the time. It’s just that if I could choose, I would have him by my side. I would definitely prefer to share all my ups and downs with this man. If he isn’t there, it’s a pity and life sucks but I’ll get on with it. If he is, life rocks.

So I don’t think I’ll say “awww” at the sentence “I need you”. I miss you is great. I love you is better. I want to be with you is perfectly active.

I need you is just slightly pathetic. Isn’t it?

The Happily Married Man

There’s something about a man who’s happy to tell people that he’s married.

And that his lovely wife is at home waiting for him.

And that despite countless tantrums and frustrations,

he still thinks it’s the best decision ever.

My heart is dancing.

Self-exclusion

On good days, I’m advising friends who are down to pick themselves up because nothing’s ever that bad.

On days like today, I wish time would just swiftly pass by.

I spent the first half of my day surrounded by people. My flatmate, her husband and her friend. I could decide whether I would try to be in the know of all private jokes and stories. I could laugh as hard as they would. But I chose to exclude myself. I sat in the corner and spoke when I was spoken to.

You see, after 3 months of being apart, I sort of don’t remember how exactly it feels to be with H. I know from memory that it is good. But how good? I’ve been excited to find out again.

I spent yesterday evening in the loving company of my flatmate and her husband. They were in constant mockery of each other, and I found that endearing. I missed having that person to do all these things with, make jokes that are fully understood, have your little weird traits be appreciated.

Then last night, I dreamt that H came home. And all the feelings came back. I remembered how good it was to see him again. And the alarm rang. Damn the alarm.

Now I’m left to sit in the empty apartment thinking about how empty this feels, without him. Being with company didn’t make me feel like participating. Being among strangers didn’t make me feel better. I wasn’t quite in the mood for much else, so I was happy to buy a frozen pizza to bake for dinner. I sort of just want to hide in my shell for a bit. At least just for today.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. If I return to dreaming of all other weird stuff except H.

Masterpiece

Yesterday H and I had a good long video chat. We haven’t had one of those in a long time, usually because the connection gets in the way.

Honestly, it was mostly one-way – I had a lot going on that day: two interviews, in person and via telephone. He listened patiently, intently and responsively. He was happy to see me excited. I was happy to elaborate on the nitty gritty details and see his responses to them. It was fun. I missed it. He’s my favourite person to talk to.

That evening, I was watching The Voice of Germany (I’m a big fan), when Jessie J came on and performed her new song “Masterpiece” with the hopefuls. I caught some lines of it and was already in love with the song, I searched them up. It was one of those songs that clicked instantly with me, because I felt exactly like this at this very point in my life. I would love to belt it out:

I still fall on my face sometimes
And I can’t colour inside the lines
‘Cause I’m perfectly incomplete
I’m still working on my masterpiece

And I, I wanna hang with the greats
Got a way to go, but it’s worth the wait
No, you haven’t seen the best of me
I’m still working on my masterpiece

And it made me realize that H makes me feel exactly the same way as this song. Even though it’s been a tiring journey, he believed from the start that I was working on my masterpiece, even way before I realized it. (Such a great feeling.) He believes any visionary leader would take me under his/her wing. He has hopes and dreams for me.

As I inch ever closer to starting my career here, I, too, started to have hopes and dreams for me too. I, too, believe that I can take anything that comes my way and make it great. I’m not going to give up and go home and whine about this place.

I’m going to kick some ass, you’ll see.

Ross and Rachel

Watching FRIENDS has become quite a ritual for my flatmate and me. I started right from where it all started. Season 1, episode 1. And now we’ve arrived at season 3.

Of course this meant that Ross and Rachel finally understood that they’re each other’s lobsters, but then in this episode, the unimaginable (but actually imaginable since I’ve watched it a million times already) happened: they broke up.

And it’s still a shock. I imagine being in her shoes and I don’t know what I would’ve done. It made me question everything.

You see, I kind of took Ross’s side most of the time, though nobody did. Even my flatmate (from India) said, “Is he a man from the 18th century?” when he didn’t understand why Rachel thought it’s best to keep him and work separate.

But I disagree. I don’t think he was crazy to be upset about her slipping away from him, because he didn’t know what was going on with her anymore. It’s understandable. I don’t need to be my partner’s colleague, but I’d still like to know what’s going on in my partner’s life, especially when work is going to be a huge part of it.

If my partner suggested a break, (cue history class) I would’ve also said that a break was a lead-in to a break up – it’s a symbol that one gave up and stopped giving enough crap about it. I would’ve thought that it was over too. I don’t believe in splitting up and getting back together because the fundamental need to want to break up in the first place was already there, and who’s to say it won’t be back again? Basically nobody in a strong relationship needs to break up during a fight.

But then Ross cheated, and that sucks. I can’t stand up for him anymore.

It’s a drunkard mistake, but I wouldn’t have been able to accept that mistake either. I don’t know if I’d ever forgive a cheater, and God forbid, I don’t ever have to face that dilemma. But why? How? What now?!

Ok, these characters affect me way too much.

LDR woes

Yesterday, I faltered to my feet.

Through bad internet connection and a bunch of other frustrations, H and I turned on Skype at last and I couldn’t do it. I was armed with stories but all I wanted to do was cry my heart out.

And you’d think it strange. I had a very well-filled weekend: dinner before the Halloween stuff happened, sweet treats with coffee before a night at a bar celebrating dias de los muertos. It was a very interesting weekend with ups and downs.

But yet, I was just upset about everything and nothing. I was upset that I couldn’t control the situation. I was upset that I was crying about the same thing – that H is away. I was upset that the connection still sucked.

I was thinking about how absolutely useless I am with long distance, that I wasn’t getting used to it at all, that I seem to be getting worse with time. I pretty much felt like, if he was coming back next week, I would’ve been crying till that day.

But H, as always, calmed me down and made everything okay. I’m not sure what or how, and he might not know either, but I was fine again. I went through the evening baking myself a focaccia bread.

Then the flatmate bade her husband farewell in the evening. They see each other every weekend, and still, when he left that evening, she kept quiet and stood by the window to watch him drive away.

It just so happened that I was looking for her that I realized she, too, was crying. And she said, it was so stupid because she should’ve been used to it by now.

Then it hit me – I’ve said that line a thousand times. And I was weirdly comforted by the fact, through her sorrow, that I was not alone.

Bang bang boom

I had one of those well-packed weekends – it came and went.

I had invited a friend over for dinner on Friday, took a long walk with another friend on Saturday morning, visited another at her place in the afternoon and spent my Sunday on a day trip in Szczecin with others.

I literally had to speed-bake on Saturday morning, race to point A with my bike and my fingers pink from the cold, spend some good time, race back with the bike, try to catch my breath, and race to point C.

We also took the train early on Sunday morning, way earlier than I was used to. On the way back, I sat next to a friendly man, as we conversed at ease in German.

In retrospect, I think I’m doing relatively well, living without H in Berlin. I’m filling up my weekends and I’m working on my German.

I truly enjoyed the weekend. It’s not that I was guilty that I had fun without him. I didn’t. I knew he wanted me to have fun here and create my own Berlin life.

But somehow, while I was thrilled to meet friends and have a good time with them, I still cannot shake off the feeling of knowing it would be just so much better if H was here. H makes everything way more fun without realising it.

If only the next 8 weeks would go by as swiftly as the weekend did.

The Path Thus Far

It’s funny. I grew up as a little girl hating boys. Boys were stupid and boys bullied me. So I went to a girls’ school between 13 and 16 years old. Then I decided they weren’t bad after all, and I started dating.

Hearts were broken, of course. Mine included. At a certain point, I was comfortable being on my own, thinking I’d never find the right one for me – and yet it didn’t matter, I didn’t care.

But the path took a sharp turn. I met someone, with whom I had the fondest of memories 2 years before, again, and the same good feelings returned. We pursued it further despite everything lying ahead. We were both at uncertain phases of our lives. But miraculously, it persevered.

In 2011, we spent a total of 2.5 weeks (1 + 1.5) together.

In 2012, we spent a total of 6 weeks (2.5 + 2 + 1 + .5) together.

In 2013, we spent a total of 17 weeks (1 + 1 + 15) together.

In 2014, we have spent a total of 32 weeks together so far. During which, he proposed and we married. H has now left for India for work and will return within the last weeks of December.

It’s funny that the time has only increased so far and we’re still hungry for more time. We need more time together.

But it’s amazing, looking back on what we have done and how crazy we have been – to take the leap of faith of being together without being together, to then make the move and be together, to then decide to want to be together for the rest of our lives.

And till today, I think it was the best decision of my life, and I can’t wait for the man of my dreams to be home.