A letter to an old friend…

It’s been almost four years exactly since we last spoke. I’ll never forget the conversation or how I felt after that last text message. My already broken heart found itself shattered once more in the pit of my stomach. A feeling I never thought I would feel again, that is until I read your blog.

It’s weird. Reading your thoughts, hearing your voice in my head, seeing the person you’ve become. But not really knowing anything about your life, not the way I once did anyway. In all this time I never thought past those last few months. Never thinking of what you went on to do after you moved out.

The loss of our friendship has echoed throughout these four years. Every big moment I’ve relived the loss when calling you pops into my head to share news but knowing I can’t. That I shouldn’t. I successfully suppressed the urge to do so, which we both know for me is pretty shocking.

The worst was the day we found out we were pregnant. I remember coming out of the bathroom, telling my mom and reaching for the phone to call you and realizing I didn’t even have your number. My stomach dropped and I played it off by calling someone else. And for the rest of my pregnancy I would have this weight in my heart with your name on it.

Our first OB/GYN appointment, Carlos and I were in the waiting room and I saw a woman sitting in the waiting room with her best friend shooting the shit. Both of them talking about baby names she couldn’t use because of people they hated. I started thinking about names, laughing at all the ones I couldn’t use, wishing I could share in that with you. I’m pretty sure I started crying in the waiting room, Carlos completely clueless as to what was going on with me.

At the same time some girls we went to high school with got pregnant too. Posting pictures of their bellies and besties. The baby shower pictures were the worst for me to deal with. Seeing girls that had been friends just as long as we had sharing this huge moment in their lives together. Picturing what it would have been like had you been in my life still. Made-up memories of us shopping for baby clothes including but not limited to ironic onesies and adorable footie pajamas.

In my mind I always knew you hadn’t thought of me. Because, well, I was your best friend. I knew how you thought. If you missed me, you would have reached out. But you didn’t. So I didn’t.

I always hid my sadness with anger. I was always so angry at you. Whenever anyone mentioned you my blood would start to boil. I didn’t want to talk about you. I didn’t want to relive the good times because I didn’t want to have to relive losing you. I wanted to forget you. But I couldn’t. You were everywhere and nowhere. But you know what they say, “El odio ama mas que el olvido.” 

I started to forget memories of us together. I was in the kitchen with Carlos tonight and I said to him, “You remember that time we were in the field at Coral Way making out? Before we were officially dating?” And he responds with, “The night so and so jumped all over your car because they thought we were in there?” I had totally forgotten that half of it until he mentioned it. It stung a little.

There are parts of you embedded in my soul. I will always carry you with me, whether I want to or not.

I hope you know that I miss the good times. I miss the version of you I knew and look forward to reading about who you are now. Who knows where life will lead us, a part of me wonders if we’ll ever rekindle our friendship while the other knows better. Thanks for the memories little one.

it’s the little moments

Every day that passes I am in awe of how much PJ has grown. Whenever I close my eyes, I still see her as the tiny bundle we brought home from the hospital. I still hear her newborn yawns in my sleep. And when I try to get an unwanted hug in, I can still smell her newborn smell on the back of her neck.

A few days ago Carlos and I were discussing second birthday plans. I was rattling off about Care Bears versus Lady Bug themed parties for CAIF when he stopped me and told me to look at PJ. She was sitting on the floor in the living room just rambling in her own language playing with her Cinderella doll and this pink cat I’ve had since I was a kid. When she noticed our silence she looked at us, smiled and ran over to give us each a kiss.

This past week we were on Netflix and she saw the Curious George icon and started pointing at it and said, “ooo ooo oooo!” (that’s my way of writing monkey noise). It made me beam hearing her tell me that she wanted the monkey as opposed to her normal jelly flop and tears routine.

Last week she started eating with a spoon by herself. It’s something we had been working on for months but just one afternoon at CAIF and watching her friend Micaela eat with a spoon and now she’s a pro. She even offers us some of her food if we’re not eating at the exact moment she is.

It’s in these small moments that it truly dawns on me that my child is not going to be a baby forever. She will one day converse in full sentences, be able to serve her own food, use the bathroom by herself, and even go out on her own. Eventually she will be a full fledged adult and not NEED me anymore. I know that this is what growing up is, this is what being a parent is. She will always be my baby though.

At the end of the day when my husband and I are in bed talking about what cute thing Paloma did while we were alone with her we look at each other and know that moving to Uruguay was the best decision. We get to be here for her 24/7. We’re the ones that are able to raise her, attend to her, and love her. We talk about where would we be had we stayed in Miami and know deep down that she wouldn’t be the same effervescent and lively tiny human she is today.

I’m so thankful for the life we are building and all the blessings that God has given us.

Two years in Uruguay!

This past weekend was our two year anniversary of being in Uruguay! I can’t believe it’s been two years since we embarked on the craziest journey of our lives, but here we are.

Things are finally starting to come together. We’re starting to decorate the house, the boxes are slowly starting to diminish, and our town is really starting to feel like home.

We celebrated this momentous occasion by heading to the Ministerio del Exterior to pick up our approved residency papers! When we first moved here we started our application at the immigration office on Misiones and 25 de Mayo in Montevideo. But this past election, some laws were changed and our application moved to the exterior office due to Paloma’s Uruguayan citizenship. Essentially because we have a Uruguayan daughter, our residency was expedited.

Stopping for a quick selfie at Plaza Constitución.
Stopping for a quick selfie at Plaza Matriz.
Plaza Matriz.
Plaza Matriz.

After a not so pleasant encounter with the front desk manager and two hour wait period, we were taken in the back to sign the finalized papers and given the necessary documents to update our cedulas.

Since we made it all the way to Montevideo we decided there were a few other things we wanted to do before heading back to Sauce. We walked along Colonia and found a new art supply store for Carlos. He’s pretty excited to find some Windsor & Newton paints in Uruguay. I wanted to go to the baking supply store but as my luck would have it, closed for inventory. They do have other stores but they were out of our way. Oh well…off we went to buy our kitchen table and chairs.

Carlos posing with our new kitchen set.
Carlos posing with our new kitchen set.

Bazar La Iberica is like Pottery Barn only 10 times prettier and just as expensive. Most of their stuff is way out of our price range but a few weeks ago I noticed they were advertising Eames chairs and table set. I’ve always loved the look of them but found them to be too expensive in Uruguay. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the table and four chairs were $13,800 pesos! Based on todays exchange rate it was US$483.00. What a steal! We purchased them and set off to find a place for lunch.

We were lucky to be in Ciudad Vieja for lunch time. There have been a lot of new restaurants opening in the area and they’re only open at lunch time. We debated for awhile but decided on this place called Camelia. From what I could tell most of the food is prepackaged. Pick what you want from the cooler, bring it to the counter to pay, and sit and enjoy! If you want coffee or the soup of the day those behind the counter would provide that for you. Carlos got a ham sandwich while I grabbed myself some sushi. I had been craving it for weeks and decided time to treat myself.

We enjoyed our lunch and decided to visit Marcelo at the gallery before heading home. After receiving the surprising news that he was moving up Carlos’ show date to September, we rushed home to process everything. I’ll save the details about his show for another time.

Repurposed furniture at Roggia Gallery.
Repurposed furniture at Roggia Gallery.

It was a day like Monday that made me happy to be here. I love the architecture of Montevideo and how things look when it’s overcast. That I’m finally knowing my way around and don’t feel like a tourist every time I step foot in the city. Uruguay has become my home and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for us.

Thankful for this country and it’s people, that while we may have our rough days together, you always find a way to pull me back in.

Feliz Día del Niño!

Oh Uruguay…How you’ve managed to bring more holidays into my life is ridiculous. But here we are celebrating our second día del niño!

You’re probably wondering what the día del niño is, so let me explain. According to Wikipedia–my source for all things unknown–it’s a yearly holiday celebrated across the world to unify and celebrate childhood, bring light to the wellbeing of children, and promote child rights. It’s celebrated across the world in countries like Nicaragua, Albania, Argentina, and Paraguay just to name a few.

In Uruguay, the día del niño is celebrated on the second Sunday of August. For kids, it’s bigger than Christmas. There are events and festivals dedicated to it.

I don’t think it’s a holiday we’ll adopt until PJ is in school and she mentions it. I will say that I take advantage of the sales and buy her birthday/Christmas presents now. Much better discount now than at Christmas.

Most towns, churches, malls, and schools have celebrations in honor of the day. Something to get the kids out of the house. But our town canceled it’s event due to a weather-related power outage. I was looking forward to the bounce house and the firefighter show/thing they were going to do. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to take her.

Let’s talk about sex…

I normally avoid talking about my sex life at all costs. It makes me uncomfortable to the point where I start nervously shaking and sweating. Even talking about it with my sister makes me blush like a tomato. Don’t misunderstand where this post is headed. I’m not going to into detail about my sex life in detail. But I do feel compelled to talk about my journey to where I am now.
I started having sex at 16. I’ve only ever been with my husband but he has had other sexual partners. I grew up in a Christian home but at the time I wasn’t practicing. I believed in God but not enough to stop me from having not sex. But when we started having a sexual relationship I felt guilty.

This was us about three months into dating. March 2007.

Then maybe after the first five times I stopped feeling guilty. Let’s be honest, sex is F U N. It feels good and it’s stress relieving. And the more you have it the better it gets. Especially in the beginning. Coming into senior year of high school I had my own car and Carlos was at the community college. Needless to say but I skipped a lot of school that year. If he wasn’t in class then neither was I. Luckily I still managed to get into university and graduate with honors.

Now I just want to point out that I’ve been fat for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had bullies reminding me of it. So when I found someone that wanted to have sex with ME I was more than just surprised. I was petrified. My first time I stayed underneath the covers and with my shirt on the whole time. It was awful. I was so fearful that he would see my fat and run away. Looking back I realize how ridiculous I was.

My insecurities didn’t stop there. Even though I had fun while having sex I still couldn’t completely let go of my inhibitions. There was this very loud voice in the back of my head telling me he would leave, that he was grossed out by my body, he was only with me out of pity. The more I thought these things the more cautious I became during sex. I never wanted to be in a position where my fat was completely visible or I would make sure my eyes were closed so I couldn’t see if he was grossed out.

Not sure how many of you have felt this way during sex but for those of you that have you know that you can’t fully enjoy sex while your mind is racing a mile a minute.

Fast forward to sophomore year of college. I joined a Christian sorority and focused on my relationship with God. Carlos was an unbeliever at the time and didn’t want our relationship to change. I decided we should break up so I could focus on school and God. But whenever I went to Miami on the weekends there I was calling him and before I knew it we were hooking up.

Hanging out during our "breakup."
Hanging out during our “breakup.”

Whenever I talked about my struggle with my sisters I was met with kind words but told very bluntly I was committing sin. Over the course of the next two years I struggled with sex. At this point in my life and relationship with Carlos it was how I showed affection. I’m pretty sure I cried every time, heavily weighed by my guilt.

I felt dirty and sinful for not being able to fight my desires. It was awful. Sex stopped being as enjoyable for me as it once was. I was allowing the negative views the church holds towards premarital sex affect me. These thoughts followed me into our marriage.

Fast forward to us getting married. Our wedding night was amazing. We ordered Little Caesars pizza and watched How to Train Your Dragon on HBO. And yes we did consummate our marriage. I was looking forward to this moment. We were officially husband and wife. I wasn’t going to feel guilty anymore. But that wasn’t what happened. I still felt that pang of guilt once it was over. I remember being in bed wondering why this was happening. Didn’t I do the right thing?

I continued to feel that way for the next two years of our marriage. I tried to do everything to stop feeling that way. I prayed and talked with my woman’s group but still I had that tiny pang to in the pit of my stomach. Looking back, I think it had to do with me not feeling married. Nothing in our relationship changed except us sleeping in the same bed every night.

251215_1856177199571_2379332_nIt wasn’t until we got pregnant with PJ that something clicked. It wasn’t just him and me anymore. Our love created something. We were a family. Slowly I stopped feeling guilty. I started enjoying sex again. I stopped worrying about the sexual immorality that once consumed me.

But once PJ came my physical insecurities came back. Would he hate my post-pregnancy body? Oh my gosh he touched my flab, did he notice my flinching? I started keeping my eyes closed praying he couldn’t sense my panic.
At the start of 2015 I got tired of feeling so insecure. I was scared of having sex with my husband. Scared of him being grossed out by my body. I knew it made no sense considering he’d seen it hundreds of times. I decided that’s it. I needed to change my mindset. So I made it a point to start having sex with my eyes OPEN. Really paying attention to his face to his eyes. I needed to trust that my husband wanted to be with me. And woah did things change!

Sex stopped being about fulfilling a need but about intimacy. We started laughing again and making sex more playful. We started having sex like teenagers again. I make it a point to stare into his eyes and just be in the moment with him.

I started learning more about myself, learned that I needed to start accepting myself no matter what.

I don’t want my post to make it seem like I’m against the church for preaching abstinence or refraining from premarital sex. Do I think that it’s realistic in the world we live in? No. I do think that the church needs to stop focusing on sex being dirty. I’m sure I’m not the only person on the planet that couldn’t shake that sinful feeling when having sex while married feeling. I don’t know how to fix the problem. I don’t know what we can do to change the views. But I do know that I’m going to need to figure it out for PJ.

Us on the rambla. October 2014.
Us on the rambla. October 2014.

Going green: Camino Verde

Oh Uruguay! When it rains, it pours. We are on hour 13 of nonstop rain. Parts of the country are completely flooded, it’s cold and the idea of going outside is unappealing.

It’s been like this on and off for the past few weeks but this past weekend we were blessed with a break from the wet weather. Our not-so-wet weekend just so happened to coincide with the Camino Verde fair in Montevideo. What’s that? Well, there’s two different parts to Camino Verde. The organization itself serves as a platform to connect merchants and consumers interested in environment friendly products. They also promote healthy living through affordable cooking classes, events for children, and a blog full of clean eating/living information. For my Spanish speaking and reading friends you can find more information here.

The organization puts on fairs every so often to easily connect buyers and sellers. We hadn’t had the opportunity to attend one of the fairs before so I was really excited when Carlos agreed to go. It was a muggy day but overall no rain was to be expected. We packed the car and Paloma with us and headed for Montevideo.

La Molienda food stand. Very friendly and very delicious! Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.
La Molienda food stand. Very friendly and very delicious! Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we arrived but was very pleased to be greeted by lots of green. As you can imagine the majority of the stands were dedicated to food: organic fruits and vegetables, vegan baked goods, chocolates, organic condiments, and amazing food stands. They also had stands dedicated to urban farming like vertical planters, repurposing furniture for planting and stands dedicated to composting.

PJ devouring a blueberry and pumpkin seed muffin.
PJ devouring a blueberry and pumpkin seed muffin.

We only stayed for about an hour but it was definitely worth the trip. I bought some organic coconut oil–normally very difficult to find outside of Montevideo–and some goat cheese. I’ve already had a lot of fun experimenting with the coconut oil. My favorite so far has been putting a teaspoon of coconut oil along with two or three drops of lavender oil in PJs bath water. She comes out silky smooth and smells so good afterwards.

I wish I would’ve taken pictures but I forgot when I stained my favorite jeans with synthetic paint. We sat down to eat on some chairs they had in the dining area and I guess whoever put them out didn’t realize they were still tacky and when I got up the paint was stuck to my thighs. It. was. awful.

Overall we had a nice afternoon as a family and got to learn more about organic and eco-friendly options here in Uruguay. I’m really excited to see how fast the movement is growing here. Can’t wait for us to start farming!

Flyer for event. Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.
Flyer for event. Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.

i’ve got the blues

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks due to some personal issues. I’ve debated writing on the subject, afraid of being too honest in such a public forum. 

I’ve been going through an inexplicable wave of depression for the past few weeks. All I’ve wanted to do is stay in bed, watch Supernatural, and sleep. 

At first I thought it was due to the impending arrival of Aunt Flo, but after her usual visit I’m still feeling blue. Then I figured it might be due to the wet weather we’ve been having but on sunny days I feel just as down. 

I suffered from depression as a teenager. I went to several therapists, was put on multiple mood altering medications, suffered from the effects of said drugs, and eventually quit it all. I blocked a lot of that time in my life from my memory. I couldn’t tell you why I started going to therapy to begin with even if I wanted to, but I can tell you that it wasn’t something I had to deal with often after I graduated from high school. 

It wasn’t until recently that I started feeling it weigh on me. There hasn’t been a major catalyst in these feelings. Carlos and I haven’t been arguing. Things with my parents are normal. Vanessa and I are good even with the distance. Paloma has just been her usual vivacious and loud self. But somehow I can’t find a way to get through this period.

I keep getting asked, “Are you okay? You don’t seem okay.” Those are the questions that make my skin tingle, my blood boil, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s a ridiculous reason to get upset. They mean well. They’re my family and they love me. However when I’m in this dense fog of depression it’s difficult to see their good intentions. 

The worst part of feeling this way is how I feel when I’m around Paloma. My patience is thin and my temper is roaring. The more frustrated I get, the clingier and more emotional she is, causing me to get even more frustrated than before. I’m beyond blessed to be in a situation that I can leave her with my parents of her dad for a few hours so I can take time to collect myself. It breaks my heart every time I walk away, hearing her cry and reach out to me. But I know that I need to take a few moments to myself so I can be the best mom I can be to her. 

Even knowing that those few moments are what’s best for BOTH of us, I still get hit with mom guilt if I’m not with her 24 hours a day. I feel inadequate as a mom. I see these YouTube vloggers or other bloggers sharing their stories of their life with their littles and I feel like being depressed is something that just doesn’t happen to them. I feel as  if they’re constantly smiling, doing cute activities with their littles and their lives are peachy. I know, logically, that it isn’t true. Logically, all kids throw tantrums. Logically, all moms lose their cool. Logically, not everyone has everything together. Again…logically. 

Depression isn’t logical though. It has no rhyme or reason other than a chemical imbalance. I’ve been debating going to a therapist but finding one that speaks English is going to be difficult. I could attempt to see one but I feel like most of the sessions would be spent trying to make our way through my nervous and broken Spanish. 

I often wonder if this is what postpartum depression feels like. Drowning in a glass of water, feeling completely alone and misunderstood. The more you try to explain the more people look at you with concerning eyes that are secretly saying, “Bless her heart. She has everything she could ever want and she’s here complaining.” Fearful of the backlash of sharing this very real crisis.

These are things that I FEEL. Having them, let alone sharing them, doesn’t make me dysfunctional. It doesn’t make me spoiled or flawed. I am many things: a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, but most of all I am human. Like most things in life, my emotions go through hills and valleys. I just so happen to be going through a valley right now. I look forward to the day when I’m back on the hill. I’ll be okay if it’s not today or tomorrow because I know that one day I’ll feel like myself again.