The New Normal

September 20, 2017. I will remember this date for a long time. It was a little after 3am when communications started to fail due to heavy rain and wind. I sent txt messages to my closest friends and bf to let them know what was happening and that I didn’t know when I would be able to talk to them again.Hours later I was still taking glances outside my window watching tree branches, tv antennas and poles falling. By the time we could go out it was a disaster.

Hurricane Maria was a category 5 when it arrived to the island. It destroyed our power grid, more than 90% of our communications and we had no water service. No one was prepared for that kind of destruction even when we took the same measures we do every year: we get cash out of the ATM, we buy canned food, gas and water.

I spent the next few days helping around where I live. That’s something my dad instilled in us (my brother and I) since we were kids and I taught the same to my son. I work in a government agency that starts to work soon after this kind of event because we aid people in different ways and/or programs. We did our best since the beginning.

I have to say that it was heartbreaking to hear the stories and see pictures the first few days when I was assigned to work at a refuge. To see a wreckage where a house used to be. To hear people saying they only had the clothes they were wearing or that they only thing they were asking for was food. The second day a few of us were there with bags full of clothes because we didn’t know what else to do.

A week went by and you could see the panic in people’s faces. No electricity. No way of communicating with your loved ones to say you were ok or to find out if they were ok. No water. No money. People couldn’t use their EBT cards to buy food. If you needed gas you had to wait long hours in line and when we started running out of food… I had to go to another town to find a store and wait outside in long lines. We didn’t choose what to buy, we had to buy what was available at the price it was no matter how ridiculous.

That became the new normal. Government help was taking too much time and everyone was desperate. It wasn’t easy to see a family sitting outside of the disaster that looked to be their house before Maria. All I could do was work hard to help people and wait. A lot of people forgot that we were having the same situations at our homes and we did our best to forget about them while we were supporting others. Not long after what happened, people started to flee the island in search for help, opportunities or to stay with relatives after they lost everything.

After time asking myself if I still had a bf (haha) I managed to call a mutual friend. I didn’t have internet until recently so I could only txt my s/o through mutual friends who became our personal messengers (thanks to my Sis and Sean) or after I became a master of borrowing Wi-Fi. Turns out he was searching for news on social media and even messaged people to get news of my residence area (best bf ever!)

I received a lot of support messages on social networks from friends, acquaintances and even a phone call from a dispatcher to verify my well-being. Turned out a friend from another country opened a case for me and my family after not being able to contact me.

A few months have gone by. There is a sense of normalcy in some places. You drive around, work, go to the mall, buy a few things… as the saying goes, life goes on. Still, you see reminders everywhere: the blue tarps on rooftops, vegetation and debris on the side of the roads, towns with 0% electricity, people charging their electronic devices in the mall. For now, this is the new normal.

Advertisements

Thankful… Happy Anniversary My Love

Days are special because we give them meaning. We celebrate on different occasions and share those days with the ones close to us, the ones we love. Throughout the years we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day as a day to remember to be thankful for all we have (for life itself) for all we’ve accomplished and the family and friends we have. This year I have many things to be grateful for.

I’m thankful for life…after all we have been through here. For the family I have and the family I chose because they never cease to amaze me and support me in every decision I make (they know who they are). For an amazing job that allows me to help others, to spread a little kindness.

I’m thankful for Love… Four years ago (November 23, 2013) someone told me I was his girlfriend and I laughed at the joke. Today I celebrate one more year of shared jokes, many calls, countless text messages. Another year of learning to love across the distance, of walking through the storm together where he always takes my heart to safety.

There aren’t enough words to say how everyone touches your heart in their own way but their prints stay with you forever. For another year of shared memories… I’m thankful.

Maybe We Are All Made Of Stardust

Not everyone is meant to be great and go on adventures. Some people are only allowed to dream their wholes lives and maybe I’m one of those people who are not meant to wake up. Life is full of opportunities but they are not for me, maybe I’m supposed to help others to see where those opportunities are and grab them. Giving is in my nature. I do not love thinking in what I can get in return, but I do love expecting to build beautiful things that will last forever. 

People like me, we want to be the architect of someone else’s life, someone else’s dream. Not because I think they need me to design a life for them, but because I think they deserve the best they can get out of life. The life I feel I will never have. 

People like me think everyone we love is made of stardust and we see how they can be a shooting star… so we build them up and make them shine knowing we are allowed only to wish upon that star as we see them light up the sky if only for a second before they are gone from our lives. 

I’ve never felt I have a place where I belong. I don’t even think this world is made for people like me…but we sure try to make it perfect for someone else when we love them as much as I love. 

Do you know what love is?

If you ask people this question, everyone will give you a different answer based on their perception and experiences. Love is a very strong emotion and if you asked me… You would get a mixed answer explaining how good it feels, how wonderdul it is  and how it makes you weak until it kills you. When it comes to love, I have only one setting and it’s called extreme.

It didn’t surprised me that when I saw the tv series Legion I fell in love (haha) with one character’s definition of love. Hearing it and actually watching the description complete with a scene from the documentary Planet Earth made that my favorite part of the show.

I made a post on my other blog simply because I wanted to share that part of the dialog. Of course, not everyone will agree… But it’s a funny and weird way to look at things….


He Said/She Said

Love means everything. Those were the words he texted me while we try hard to fix all the damage we have caused to our relationship. Sometimes we talk about other people or other situations and then we overthink on the ways those situations apply to our relationship. No matter how hard you try, you can’t help comparing your relationship to others, even though you remind yourself (while comparing) that not two relationships are alike.

When I decided to be in a LDR, I knew it would be a challenge in many levels. We had distance and time difference, but I guess the biggest challenge was culture. Among all the differences that we had, the most difficult for me to absorb was that his culture is more closed, and not as open minded as mine. That includes the way they handle romantic relationships with people from the other side of the world.

Our relationship has always been kind of a secret. I must admit that I agreed to it from the start and got used to the way things were. But as I said before, the situations of others sometimes remind you of your own and in this case, it reminded me that to his side of the world, his family, friends… I do not exist. It reminded me of the struggle I have to achieve this sense of normalcy in my relationship. While I tried to include my boyfriend in every aspect of my life, I felt I had no real presence in his.

With all that we have been through in the last couple of months, overthinking about that issue (the secrecy) added some pressure. I was feeling bad about something I can’t change (and agreed to it since the beginning) and he felt bad because he couldn’t give it to me. We took turns to argue and hurt the other and then we would try to fix the damage we did.

But that wasn’t the only thing I was struggling with. Some time ago I told him that I felt things had changed. Somehow, our relationship didn’t feel the same (I dismissed it because I thought it was because of his time in army) but we did talked about it and even agreed to work on it. I felt that we were back to square one. Back to the way our relationship was when we started and it sucks because I know we put a lot of effort to bring our relationship to a point where we both felt happy before he left for army.

Even today I feel guilty about it. I feel guilty about telling him because maybe I’m the one stuck on a moment in time. The one who can’t stop to think that I knew the rules of the game before I decided to play. The one who is having a hard time shaking doubts creeping inside my mind. Maybe I’m the one who refuses to understand that things change and there’s nothing to do but accept it and move on to whatever comes next, even if you don’t have the same hopes you did before.

gibypea3

Hold on…

I think is rather sad how we feel the need to hang on to something or someone because we don’t want to break it when we finally let go or leave. We feel we can’t hurt someone else, we can’t break someone else’s heart so we continue to be there, cause we are afraid to shatter someone else’s world.

The truth is we are living, existing in someone else’s world and in that process we don’t move on to create the one we want for us.

Dear 2016…

This is the last day of the year and I couldn’t be happier. This year was filled with many challenges and lessons that I won’t be able to forget. Everything seemed to be frozen in time, including my relationship.

As you all know… Shit Happens (in 2016):

Faces we see, hearts we can’t know. This year my relationship was truly tested. We dealt with people that tried to break us up, insecurities, trust issues, you name it. It was a lot. I feel like I lost something that I won’t be able to get back.

You can take the guy out from the army but you can’t take the army out from the guy. I learned firsthand that people who go to the military change. I’m happy because he has built a strong character and has become an amazing man. But nothing that good is free… he is stronger, tougher and now it feels like it’s harder to see his feelings and make him express them, even during arguments.

A blast from the past. Before he went to army I was very happy to see our relationship move forward and the way we felt comfortable expressing a little bit more in public. Now it seems that we are back to square one and it’s like we are stuck in year one of our relationship. But at least there’s hope…

dear2016letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that not everything was bad. Here are the good things I will take from 2016:

Achievement Unlocked: Survived Army.  Our relationship survived his time in the military.

Achievement Unlocked: Rings to Bind Them. For my birthday he bought me a beautiful ring. I did the same for his. Ehh… does this means we are engaged?

The Strong Woman Award. After all the challenges of this year, I’m still standing.

Medal of Hope. I know things will change for the better. We need to have a little bit of Faith and what every couple in a LDR has, plans (lots of them).

So before this year comes to an end, I have one more thing to say…

dear2016txt

gibypea3