Bear with me, as it has been a very long time since I’ve written anything resembling a journal entry.
Sidenote: How I miss the Livejournal days of yore when I could pour my heart out on a daily basis to a group of friends who were, in turn, pouring out theirs. I’m grateful to have maintained the friendships I have from that era. You know who you are.
Anyway, how have I been? Where have I been? Alright, let’s do this.
- How Have I Been?
After being diagnosed with MS back in May and completely terrified, I began a strict regimen of yoga, weight training, and replacing Germany’s superb bread and chocolate with ingesting every antioxidant I could stuff into my body. I was doing well with this for awhile until another relapse temporarily blurred my eyesight. I got back on the wagon for the most part, but obstacles such as A.) having energy to do things, B.) remembering to do said things, and C.) fighting random bouts of depression, mood swings, bizarre headaches and severe light sensitivity have thrown a wrench into getting back into that routine full throttle. But this will change. In case you’re new here, I’m one stubborn, resilient, badass motherfucker of a human being who lets out an earth-shattering battle cry in the face of adversity, and refuses to accept defeat no matter how high the odds are stacked against me.
Making a nice green smoothie every day has helped, too.
Taking certain fruits, vegetables and herbs I have researched (spinach, kale, ginger root, tumeric root, carrots, and many more), I cram them into my blender until I have to hold the lid closed and hit “puree”. While it hasn’t done anything good for my bank account, it has done wonders for my energy level and, most importantly, my eyesight.
I may need a new blender soon, though.
In other news, I’m back to getting my book published. After an eternity of rewriting, omitting, editing, and all that fun stuff that one does when they feel something is *almost* perfect, I had to take a break. There was a point when the book became more of an emotionally taxing job than a labor of love.
In order to keep my mind going and writing an active part of my life, I started a creative writing group back in July. Every other Wednesday, between 8-12 of us meet at a coffee shop or the library and have fun with different writing prompts. I love that I get to meet so many funny, talented, and creative people and have the privilege of listening to everyone’s unique writing style.
On Halloween, at the International English Library, I read a story I wrote for their Spooky Short Story contest. I won first place, and took home a box of Wychwood Brewery craft beers. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but the bottles are cool, and I enjoyed sharing them with Carlos.
Speaking of the most important part of my life here, there’s Carlos and his family. What lovely people to have in my life! Even though I can only communicate with his parents in either my broken German or even more broken Spanish, we have wonderful conversations and they are the warmest and kindest people I have ever met. Carlos’s very polite and thoughtful teenage son, Leo, is the kind of kid who would fool me into having a kid, making me think having kids would be easy because they would turn out just like him.
As for Carlos himself, he’s so much more than just my handsome Spaniard. He’s my best friend. My rock. My person. He’s the best man who has ever entered my life. I would be in a much darker place without him. There have been times when he was the one person keeping me from packing up my stuff and booking a one-way flight back to Cleveland. Well, flightS, since there’s no such thing as just one flight from Europe to Cleveland. But I digress. However, this is a good segue into my next topic.
- Where Have I Been?
For our anniversary, we went to Amsterdam, which is one of my favorite cities to visit. The people are friendly and cool, the architecture is a mixture of old and new, and the vibe is light and fun. If I ever need some cheering up or just to be around people who actually smile, I go to the Netherlands. Carlos and I played a fun prank with a bag of googly eyes while we were there, sticking them to statues and anything else we felt needed them. It was a lot of fun.
In addition to this fun, we took a nighttime canal tour, went to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, and ventured around the city. A rainstorm did trap us inside of a novelty condom store. I guess not everyone can say that.
For my birthday in October, we packed up the car and took a road trip to Paris. I fell in love with the city, tried (and failed) to convince Carlos that we should just not leave and live there forever, and learned a fair amount of French in a very short time. I especially had a hard time leaving our adorable Air BnB, because it was like a little French fairy tale – a room in a charming century home complete with a chandelier and a balcony looking over our host’s beautiful garden. They even had a cute, chunky cat.
Last night, Carlos and I attended the Lacuna Coil show in Oberhausen, a town roughly 30 minutes away from Düsseldorf. Every band that played was amazing – and what made them even more awesome was the fact that each one had female vocalists! As a lifelong metal fan, I love seeing more women taking part in a very male-dominated genre. Infected Rain opened and KILLED it. I admit I had never heard of them before last night, but you’d better believe I’ll have already bought their music before I publish this post. They were followed by Lacuna Coil, who I have followed since discovering their album “Comalies” in 2005. Their set included “Nothing Stands in Our Way”, “Layers of Time”, “Our Truth”, and their cover of “Enjoy The Silence”. The band has always had great stage presence, and Cristina Scabbia’s voice was a force to be reckoned with last night. The headlining act was Eluveitie, a metal band from Switzerland. They mostly spoke German to the crowd, and their accent made it harder for me to understand everything they said. But that didn’t matter, because their performance made me happily throw horns in the air, dance, and bang my head, and that’s all I came to do.
I also had a bit of a fan girl moment later on, when I was able to find Carlos and me in Lacuna Coil’s stage selfie. 🙂
In December, I’ll be making my yearly sojourn to spend Christmas in Cleveland, bearing suitcases stuffed with gifts of German beer, bread and chocolate for all my loved ones. Think of me as a modern-day Santa Claus with jet-lag.
That’s about it. If you think of any other topics I haven’t covered here, write them in the comments and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.