Archive | June 2013

And Suddenly Everything Changes…

So, there we were, two unsuspecting dummies, just enjoying a vacation in Italy.

We had spent the day on the island of Capri, taking the hydrofoil out from Naples after breakfast in the hotel. It was our most leisurely, unscheduled day of the trip – kind of a recovery since we were nearing the end. We arrived & quickly talked ourselves into renting a scooter. What could be better than putting around the island all day on our own!
Scooter

We went to the northwest end of the island for an overpriced, but still cool trip into the Blue Grotto.
Blue Grotto

Then down to the southwest end to chill on the flat rock outcropping that they call a beach, lucking out enough to catch a bit of sun on the otherwise cloudy day.
Sunning

Back through the center of the island, stopping this time at Anacapri for a walk around. Then back through “the” roundabout to park & stoll into Capri city for a different view of the island.
Capri

Each little ride provided gorgeous views & a chance to hold on tight to Sam and let the wind blow through our helmets.  It was a beautiful day!
Capri

On the hydrofoil ride back, I was thinking of how we were almost at the end of our trip… then I realized that we were almost at the end of our trip!  Some mental math starting churning, and I knew something was missing.  On the corner by our hotel, I popped into the pharmacy, telling Sam I just wanted to grab something real quick. I scoured the shelves then resigned to warily approach the gentleman at the counter.  All I could think to say was “test” and fortunately the man knew what I was talking about.

You’ve probably guessed it at this point, the pregnancy test was positive.  I was shocked.  I always take them if I’m even the least bit late, and they are always negative.  I was also in the shower. The weird, possibly handicapped shower that was basically a slightly lowered area with a drain & curtain in the corner of the bathroom. The two pink lines were sitting on top of the toilet. I stared, returned the shower curtain quickly (Sam had been lecturing me on making sure I didn’t get all the toilet paper wet in this close proximity), and then took another peek. I’m not sure how long I stood there in the stream of warm water, but it was probably only a couple minutes, much shorter than it felt. I called to Sam, and he came into the bathroom a bit dubiously – I normally have my best ideas in the shower, and he gets a little tired of getting called away from what he’s doing to hear my latest epiphany.

Have I told you yet that I do not react to things like a normal human being? I am extremely slow to absorb anything of this magnitude and show the proper emotions.  So, I just looked at him with who knows what kind of expression on my face & pointed to the toilet. At this point, he’s probably thinking I’ve injured myself and can’t communicate how.  He glances over & very densely states, “I don’t know what that means.”  Instead of finding my voice and saying something sweet or cheeky, I can merely fish the box out of the trash & show him the picture on the back that states, gratefully in English, that 2 lines = pregnant. He, being more capable of sane response than I, looks at me wondrously & says, “We did it!”

I did eventually get out of the shower. There was hugging and “is this real”s and maybe a tiny pinch of crying, after I made him go get another one for confirmation, of course!  He’s staring at test 2, and I try to kindly remind him that you need to wait for a few minutes – he comes back with “No, You don’t!”  Then, we were both googling info like mad on our phones and sharing what we found: videos about fetal development, how to figure out how far along we were & the due date, how big the baby might be (almost the size of a Sweet Pea – thus began the nickname), on & on until we just had to go to bed.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been so shocked. I had taken a break from hormonal birth control over a year ago. A few months prior, we had decided to just let it be – we knew it was in God’s hands and we would be fine either way.  I was concerned, actually convinced that we would take a while due to family history on both sides.  I was wrong!  We feel so blessed.  After it finally sunk in, I feel all the giddiness & anxiety that comes with knowing your life is changing forever.

And we are already changed by it. Priorities shifted without a thought. Our little Sweet Pea is taken into consideration for all decisions. We’re joining the club. We didn’t, couldn’t understand it before, but suddenly we’re in it and welcomed heartily by its members.  There’s no turning back now, even if we wanted to, and we don’t want to. We’re all in, for the rest of our lives.

It’s a beautiful thing!

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Politics

Living in the UK has me feeling very separated from politics in the USofA, but sometimes, I’m ashamedly grateful for the distance from what seems like a troubled time in America.  It had me thinking about politicians (I use this term in regards to anyone elected to a position at any level or working within the political system), and I feel like they could use a pep talk:

Dear Mr. or Ms. Politician,

To start, thank you for doing your job.  I have no doubt that it is a challenging one, and I know that I don’t want to do it & probably couldn’t do it well even if I tried.

I have utmost faith that you decided to serve the public through the political system with the very best of intentions: helping people, making a difference, protecting the future of our country.

I know you have a lot of agendas to deal with: your own, your party’s, your constituents’, your supporters’, etc.  I’m sure the red-tape and sometimes back-handed nature of our political system has frustrated you more than once and kept you from achieving something you thought was important.

Hang in there!  I hope you find something to refresh you and restore your belief in the system.  I hope you can always remember why you got into this business in the first place.  I hope that you will stick to your morals and base your decisions on what you believe to be ethical & right.  I think that if you can do that, you really will make a difference.

Thank you again for serving our nation.

Sincerely, Kim

Spa Sunday: The Weirdest Massage I Have Ever Had

I love a good spa day!  Massages are my favorite kind of pampering; they are so relaxing & restoring. … Well, most of the time.  Here’s another tale of European adventure:

Way back in the summer of 2006, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Paris for 8 weeks, thanks to some scholarship overlap!  It was an amazing experience.  It was my first real encounter with independence; I didn’t know anyone, & I had to take care of myself.  Obviously, there were some adults working for the program that were there to help, but nobody was keeping tabs on when & where I did what.

For my first birthday away from home, I decided some splurging was in order!  My roommate & I planned to get massages & go to a show at the Moulin Rouge.  Our French program director helped us book a massage at a spa not too far from our hotel.  We made our way over on the day of, excited about some relaxing.  We checked in & were given towels, bathrobes, & sandals.  There were many different rooms to hang out in until time for you massage: steam room, lounge chair room where everyone had hot drinks, quite dark room ringed with a cushy bench, etc.  We started to realize that we might be one of the few people wearing swim suits, but didn’t think anything further of it.  When our turn came, we were taken into a room connected to the steam room where the 2 ladies had tables on either side of a wall made of those clear blocks that you could see through but stuff on the other side was distorted.  It was a steamy room too & the tables were hard – no cushy tables & dimly lit room with zen music.  The ladies were telling us to do something that we were not grasping until finally one of them tugged at my swim top & said “Off!”  Brittany & I gave each other unsure, slightly mortified glances (having known each other maybe 5 weeks), shrugged, decidedly turned away from each other & let the ladies have our suits, as they were practically removing them themselves at this point.  Europeans!

What commenced was less a massage & more an extremely thorough bath.  We were scrubbed & scrubbed until my skin felt brand new like a babies then oiled up to protect our newly exposed layer of epidermis.  We left feeling rosy & much too clean for the grimy city streets, full of puddles from an afternoon shower.  We were baffled as to how this qualified as a massage to Ann Laure, our director.  We also decided that Europeans must stink because instead of regular showers, they just get super-cleaned at the spa weekly.  That had to be it.

Now, it’s just a funny memory of a modest, small-town girl’s encounter with a truly European lifestyle & mindset.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I was aware & prepared for topless performers at the Moulin Rouge.  It was surprisingly easy to ignore.  I figured: just do it, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I’m grateful for these and all of the other weird & wonderful experiences I had that summer!  Paris will forever have a special place in my heart.