Time Capsule Survey.......
I found this "survey" on my friend Deanna's as well as her sister's blogs. I found it very interesting to read where they come from, so I decided to do the same. I thought they were very brave to put this up and I was inspired. This will be a very frank, honest, and emotionally raw blog. I hope you enjoy revisiting the past with me.
20 years ago - in 1987 - I was 24 years old and still lived in Germany. I was very young and stupid and got married to someone who thought it would be "neat" to get married. It was something he hadn't done before and so he decided to ask me. The severe car crash in which he totalled my car, scarred my sis for life (quite literally - she still bears that scar on her forehead), almost paralyzed her but "only left her with back problems", should have given me a clue. I should have listened to my nagging doubts, my first "instinct" but I had my own issues or rather insecurities. You see, I was a late bloomer and did not have a boyfriend until the age of 19/20. He was my first love and I was convinced I would marry him. When he broke my heart I was devastated and when after a while somebody else offered to love me I slowly came out of that dark hole. When he asked me to get married I thought that if I said no he would leave me as well. I thought that if I rejected him I would never find anybody else, and I was willing to settle for comfortable, if not that huge "love of my life" feeling (sound familiar, Angie - see why I loved that so much in your fanfic?). Thankfully it became clear very soon that he was just a lying, cheating (that's another story for another day), ungrateful, unappreciative, self absorbed, making me feel unworthy, stupid dumbass and I separated just a few months after I got married, before I made any other stupid mistakes.
But this is also the year I discovered who my true friends are, the year the bond with my sister became stronger than ever and the year I met my true love. We started out as friends as he supported me through this very difficult separation time without making any overtures or taking advantage of the situation, became best friends and eventually lovers. I don't know if I'd call him soul mate or not, I don't know if I believe in soul mates. But he is definitely THE love of my life. Unfortunately circumstances beyond our control ripped us apart. I know that somewhere in my mind I'm still thinking that if it was meant to be we'll find our way together again (as we once did briefly). In my rational mind I know that this is very unlikely. However, that man has set the standard so high that I am not willing to settle for "comfortable" anymore. I want that feeling of being madly in love and being appreciated. And I want to see in the guy's eyes that he adores me just as much as I adore him.
15 years ago - in 1992 - I was 29 years old and I still lived in Germany but my wish to move to the US was becoming ever stronger. Especially after my Mom, following a short battle with lung cancer passed away in February of that year. We had been on a family vacation with our "adopted" family in Jupiter, Fla where my Mom was already battling what we thought was pneumonia. But in reality the doctors hadn't told us, because they wanted us to go on vacation together. (Mom is on the left). After the tumor in her lungs initially responded to radiation therapy, it stopped working just as suddenly. Surgery was out of the question as it affected too much of an area in both lungs. In addition it had already spread to her brain and what we thought were just weird peculiarities of somebody that's really, really sick, were actually the effects of the tumor in her brain. Although we had a very short time to get used to the idea of losing her, we still had time to say goodbye and tell her how much we loved her. In the end it was more humane to let her go than to fight to keep her alive at any cost. That did not minimize my impulse to press the nurse call button the morning she started gasping and slipping away. Influenced by watching too much of ER, no doubt, I had visions of people swooping in the room and yelling "code blue". But in the end it was just me and a nurse holding her hands as she went peacefully to the other side.
(Mom nursing me at 1 month old (April 11, 1963).
I'm not sure when my sis' moved in with me, but we were definitely living together in 1992. I believe 1992 was the year when we adopted our first pair of kitties - Bonnie&Clyde. They brought so much joy to our lives and also changed it forever.
1992 marked the year of our now legendary trip around the Southwest in an RV. 2000 miles in 10 days. It was fabulous, the best vacation I ever had. We flew into Los Angeles, where we met our longtime best friend Anette, who at the time lived in NC with her husband. Her Mom paid her passage to LA to be able to go on the trip with us - in the hopes, no doubt, that we would be able to get her away from that no-good scumbag of a husband (but that, again, is another story for another time). After picking up the RV and going shopping for groceries and stowing away all our stuff we made our way to Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Four Corners, Mesa Verde National Park, Death Valley, Natural Bridges National Park, Moab, The Goosenecks, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Not necessarily in that order, but we covered Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. It was a fantastic trip with lots of stories to tell and it was immortalized on VHS - "The 3 Stooges (who are Asi, Sylvi and Anette) go Southwest!". Ironically we drove by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary without knowing it at that time - but when I looked back on the maps from our trip, I was able to confirm this. Not that there are many roads out there anyway. Usually there is only one way to go anywhere .....
10 years ago - in 1997 - I was 34 and my dream finally came true. I moved to the USA. After participating in the US's visa lottery for the past 8 years, my number finally came up in 1996. That initial pick was followed by lots of paperwork I had to send back, several appointments at the Consulate with interviews and a trip to a doctor. When the final notification finally came, that I definitely had the Visa I was elated. You see, my sister had decided to get married and it was clear she was moving to the States in 1997. I would not have been able to afford the apartment by myself. Furthermore, the company I worked for - L.A.Gear Germany - would close it's doors in the Spring of 1997. I would have been out of a job, in the need of looking for a new apartment - with my sister, my best friend and confidante thousands of miles away. But God works in mysterious ways and he was determined not to have us living on two different continents! In March 1997 I made my initial entry into the country, which started the paperwork for the Green Card and Social Security Card. I lived with an American friend who I had met while we were both working for Nike in Germany. She now lived with her Air Force husband in Fayetteville, NC. She helped me get set up with a bank account, car and also helped me find a place to live. After a couple of weeks I went back to Germany to pack the rest of my stuff and get it moved before returning in April. In May I started working for Delta.
After my sister moved that same year, my Dad finally had nothing to hold on to after the death of my Mom and then after his mother passed a couple of years after that. Now his only two ties to this life - his daughters - had "left him" also, so he let go. My sis' went back to Germany by herself to liquidate my father's belongings and arrange the funeral. I watched Bonnie&Clyde who had taken refuge with me until my sister's furniture would arrive in Seattle.
I also attended my first Richard Marx concert in a very long time. It would be my first "crazy trip" where I would take advantage of my flying benefits just to see a show! The concert was at Chastain Park in Atlanta, Ga. We didn't know each other at the time, but my now best bud Cynde was in the audience that night as well. I would "meet" her online later that year and in person the year after at a show in Chicago. We clicked instantly and the rest is history!
5 years ago - in 2002 - I was 39. Isn't it funny how I remember better what I did 20 years ago than what I did just this short while ago? I actually had to look up what happened this year! In 2002 I was still going to UNC Chapel Hill (having started in 2001) pursuing a BA in Recreation Administration. I had had the urge to "do something with my head", since my job didn't really offer me any opportunities that challenged my intellect and I felt like I was losing my edge. Going back to school at my age was really, really scary - at first. I took a couple of English classes, just to get back into the swing of things and to learn what was expected here in the US in regards to writing papers. I quickly discovered that I wouldn't have any problems with the English and not more than usual in other subjects. More than that - I could easily keep up with the "young'uns" Let's face it, the majority of college age kids are being taken care of by their parents and it's their first time out of the nest. They are going to school just going through the motions. It's different for Continuing Ed students, because they actually want to learn or finish a degree. They have to pay for it themselves and don't want to waste that money. There is a different focus and mindset. Nevertheless, I didn't know whether my brain would be able to absorb new stuff and to actually retain it. But it did - I kept a 4.0 GPA throughout my brief stint. The "Rec" major would have been ideal for the dreams I have to open that sanctuary / kids home, because you can get licensed as a Recreational Therapist, you learn how to write and implement programs. But in 2004 UNC decided to cut that major for budgetary reasons. The fulltime students were able to finish their degrees, of course, but I had no chance at 2 courses a semester! *sigh* I could have, of course, transferred over to NC State, but truth be told, I was weary of going through all the paperwork and trouble. Plus I was running out of money and needed to start a second job, which was all but impossible with working 40 hours, going to school and trying to actually do homework and assignments. But in my very first English class I met my friend Julie, another Continuing Ed student, who I'm still friends with and who I now work with part time at her husband's company.
UNC also gave me the opportunity of fulfilling a lifelong dream of learning how to horseback ride. I fell in love with horses all over again. Like any little girl I had a love affair with horses when I was a child, but never had the opportunity to actually own a horse or even just to learn how to ride. Now I was able to do it in this setting. Horses are spiritual beings to me and every time I was out there I was able to regenerate and gain new strength for the week ahead. You see, when you are on a horse you need to leave all other things behind. If you are not 1000% "there" the horse will know and will not follow your lead. Furthermore that encouraged me to choose the required volunteering experience at a local therapeutic riding facility, where I could see firsthand the effect horses have on physically as well as mentally challenged children. A humbling experience.
A LOT happened this year, as sis and I both became American citizens! Another goal we had worked toward was accomplished. Finally it felt like our heart was in synch with our official status.
I met another pen pal in person - Gail in Florida. Which was partly enabled by my blossoming friendship with "my" boyz - the WWE wrestlers from NC, the Hardy Boyz, et al.
2 years ago - in 2005 - I was 42 and one event would shape my life even further into the direction I am supposed to be headed. A puppy mill was busted in North Carolina and my friend Amy and her charity were involved in the initial effort to save the poor creatures. I started volunteering and eventually working part time at the makeshift shelter. The whole story has been published on my blog and is too long to get into here. Let's just say it was one of the most profound and in a way spiritual experiences of my life and I realized - or better - was able to confirm that this is really what I want to do with the rest of my life!
1 year ago - in 2006 - I was 43 and Delta Air Lines emerged from bankruptcy protection after a tough 18 months that saw layoffs, benefit and salary cuts. Looking back at it now I should have taken one of the offered voluntary leave programs (which carried a guaranteed re-hire option), taken an education loan and gone to school fulltime to finish that degree. But hindsight is 20/20.
This year - 2007 so far - I'm 44 and it seems that I am not any closer to achieving my dream than I was 5 years ago. It can't go fast enough for me, but life keeps getting in the way. If not for my sister I would have already despaired. The biggest event this year so far, no doubt, are the Harry Potter movie 5 and book 7 releases. Book 7, of course, meant the end of a love affair that has started for me 6 years ago, in 2001. And as the long anticipated release date approached it became surprisingly clear just how much of an influence and how big a part of my life this had become. When the last page was read I was genuinely grieving for the end of an era, as well as for some characters who had become part of my "family". But Harry Potter also gave me back something else that had been a huge part of my life when I was a kid. Reading books! I was a bookworm when I was little. I'm not sure what happened in between. While I have always been reading, it had slowed down considerably - until I picked up Harry! Now you can't see me go anywhere without a book. And at the same time there is always a different audio book in my CD player in the car.
Yesterday - was just an ordinary working Sunday. No regular weekends for the shift-working airline employee!
Today - is my Friday and I worked both my jobs. Which makes me dead tired and still I'm typing this blog, while Dancing with the Stars is on the TV. I will try to make it through Wrestling, because I want to get going on Cynde's sweater. But the chances are high that I will fall asleep on my trusted couch.
Tomorrow - is my day off. I have, HAVE to do my laundry, which means a trip to the laundromat, as the machines here at the apartment complex are pathetic. But that's the only chore I want to do tomorrow. Other than that it's finishing my sewing project (more details to come) and relaxing with probably another blockbuster movie and knitting! Oh... and it's weigh-in day..... 50 lbs and still falling (hopefully!).