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An Attitude of Gratitude

So, I’m feeling extremely crabby today and I am CHOOSING to change how I feel and how I focus my time and energy.  Why don’t I start with a gratitude list and see where it goes from there?

1.  I’m alive!

2.  I had a healthy breakfast today and am starting to plan my lunch and dinner.

3.  I’m American… I have rights!

4.  I have a husband who absolutely adores me exactly how I am.

5.  Immigration is processing CR-1 cases from the California service center faster than usual.

6.  My family is coming to celebrate birthdays tonight.  I’m cooking dinner.

7.  I just registered in classes last night.  Things which excite me and can potentially change my life.

8.  It’s not so hot today that my vegetable plants are being scorched by the sun.

9.  I got the schedule I wanted at work and started last week.

10. I have a car again.  I’m not stranded at home.

 

OK, so 10 things isn’t very many in the grand scheme of things, right?  In this case, it really is quality over quantity.  There are 10 very special things on that list.  Pretty much every area of my life is covered, more or less.  I have to say that just this simple little 10 minute process has changed my mood.  Am I jumping for joy?  No.  But how often are we really happy enough to jump for joy?  If it were everyday, it wouldn’t be special.

I mentioned the immigration process.  I got a call from a friend about 2 weeks ago telling me to get on the ball and get things together for our initial approval.  We have a truck load of things to get done before that approval comes.  I will get a text and an email as soon as it’s granted.  I’ve managed to stay out of overwhelm and actually plug away at getting things done.  I have mostly everything collected now.  It’s a matter of assembling the data and getting ready for the fees and such.  The deadlines will come fast!

I am grateful on multiple levels here.  I’m grateful my friend called and shook me up.  I’m grateful I’m not so overwhelmed I can’t do anything.  (This is usually my norm with huge undertakings.)  I’m grateful I have time to get everything done.  And that I have a job which will allow me to afford the fees.  Most importantly, I’m grateful the process is moving swiftly!!!

My Honey has been in another country for nearly 3 years.  It gets hard day after day to be apart with no date in sight of when we will be living in the same home, not to mention on the same continent!  It will be soon.  I’m not hoping for Christmas.  Instead, I am saying that this is a reasonable timeframe and saying he will be here by then.  You’ve all heard of “The Secret” and the power of attraction?  Well, I am attracting positive things and what I want by spending my time and energy and thoughts on them.  He WILL be here!  🙂

It’s funny how the time has flown by.  It was almost 3 years ago that we first met and were going through the getting-to-know-you phase of our relationship.  Fun, exciting, stressful, romantic.  And here we are married.  I wanted a love, a partner for so long before I met Ben.  I don’t have his body here, but I know he is present.  I can feel his presence here with me all the time.  There is a certain routine we have fallen into, even with the distance.  Things we both count on.  I can almost predict what he will say to me in response to some things verbatim.

There is a sweetness to a longer relationship which you don’t get in the excitement of a new love.  He is not “old hat” and I certainly don’t take him for granted!  There is no longer that newness and excitement of falling in love with someone new, though.  So many people chase that feeling.  When things start to settle they leave in search of the rush of new love.  There is a comfort there which I have never experienced before.  A comfort and safety I had only heard of in relationships.  A total and unconditional acceptance and love exists between the two of us which I feel so fortunate to have!

I miss Ben terribly today.  I long to sit beside him watching the news and tease him about watching too much.  Holding his hand, rubbing his head.  The little things.  Being in the kitchen cooking and knowing he is waiting for me to come out with some wonderful new creation he’s never had before.  Napping together in front of the window mid-afternoon to escape the heat.  I would love to be irritated with him right this moment for taking longer to come home than expeected!  That would mean that I am there waiting for him and could see him and hold him upon his return.

My gratitude in missing my husband is that I love him enough to miss him.  That our relationship is strong enough to withstand this distance and stress.  That we have learned to say “I miss you” instead of arguing and bringing greater distance.

Perhaps missing Ben is why I am so crabby and ill content today?  Makes sense.  Hopefully he will be available soon and I can look into his smiling face and tell him I love him…. and how very much I miss him today.

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Mr & Mrs….

Just the other day I was thinking how much I miss blogging on a regular basis.  Life got busy and I let it go.  On my last entry, someone commented on their struggles with a long distance relationship.  I know the heartbreak well!

Back in January I started doing some serious praying and even contacted a church in Hawaii which has prayer warriors in order to get back to my Ben.  By the middle of February, I had bought a ticket to Nigeria.  We quickly scheduled our wedding date and got all the preparations done.  There was a flurry of activity which ensued over the next month!

I was talking to a good friend, Kaitlyn, about  how to get to Ben.  The money was here, but I didn’t have the time off available at work.  I was terrified to ask for the time off in order to go get married.  The long months of stress had worn me down emotionally and I was cracking at the seams.  I requested a six week leave of absence from my job in order to take care of myself.  Part of my self care included going to see my love!  Getting some movement again in bringing us together again.  Kaitlyn told me, in essence, that God brings us true love rarely and that is what I have with Ben.  Do whatever I have to do to marry this man!  After that conversation, my decision was that no matter the cost,I was going to marry this man!  I put in my request the next day and got confirmation a few days later.  I have never been so willing to do whatever it takes to have what I want before.  God provided for me in the ways I needed.

I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on March 5, 2012.  The flight was long and exhausting.  I was 2nd to the last person to pass through immigration and customs.  The wait was unreal.  I think the last hour in the airport was one of the hardest times in all my life!  When I walked out the doors, I panicked when I didn’t see him at first.  There were people trying to get me in a taxi and carry my bags.  A moment later, I heard my name.  Seeing him face-to-face was siimply amazing!  It’d been 18 months since we’d seen each other.  We picked up right where we left off last time.  No time had elapsed and there was not a moment of awkwardness or uncertainty.  We hugged so long there on the sidewalk that a guard was telling us to take it home!

I met my brother-in-law for the first time at the airport.  He was away in school when I was there the first time.  I was so happy to see him there with Ben!  Upon arrival at the house, Mom was walking through the gate just as we pulled my suitcases from the trunk.  The hugs and reunions were so special!  In those first few hours, I got to see nearly all the family.  I was astonished at my young sister-in-law.  She was only 9 the last time I saw her.  Now 11, she is a young lady and extremely beautiful!  She was so excited to see me.  She was telling me that all day at school she’d been telling her friends that her sister-in-law was arriving from America.

I stayed in Nigeria for 22 days.  The first week of my stay was not very exciting,  but extremely busy!  We only had three weeks to plan our wedding prior to my arrival, so that first week was full of wedding details.  The taylor came and fit my dress and took it for alterations and embroidery.  Ben and the taylor were negotiating price and what work was to be done.  I didn’t understand a lot of the conversation.  To me, it sounded like they were on the edge of going to blows!  I asked Amaka if they were arguing.  She laughed at me and said they were only negotiating.  When I got my dress back a few days later, I was amazed at how lovely it really is!  He had added hand embroidered purple detailing with a fringe.

Two days before the wedding we went goat shopping.  We went across town to a goat market with Ben’s brother, Placid and his wife, Coco.  What an experience that was!  There were hundreds of goats tied to traughs bleating.  I was appauled at their treatment.  What kind of life is it for a goat to be tied up with only about 18″ wiggle room waiting to be bought for slaughter?!  Placid found the perfect goat and dickered with the man on the price.  $200 for a big goat.  They hog tied the goat and put him in the trunk of the car!  I told them to turn up the radio so I couldn’t hear him kicking and crying.  The three of them laughed at me, but come on now… I’m a California city girl!  I couldn’t watch them slaughter the goat the next day.  I knew if I did, I’d never be able to eat it!

The following morning, I got up to the sounds of about 10 guys downstairs in the yard slaughtering the goat.  I stayed upstairs for a long while.  Curiosity finally got the better of me.  I’m really glad I went down!  This was one of the true African cultural things I experienced on this trip.  The goat was already dead and on a fire when I arrived on scene.  I stood with my hands on my hips looking at this not sure what to think.  I decided it wasn’t so bad and joined in on the fun and celebration of the day.  By the time they actually butchered the goat for cooking, I was pretty immune to it all.  I joked with the photographer that he should take a picture of me holding the goat’s head.  Well, the joke was on me when everyone cheered me on until I did it.  It’s one of my favorite pictures from that day!

We got married on Thursday, March 15, 2012.  My mom called us at 4:30 am to wish us well and start the day off for me with love from family.  It was really hard getting married without any of my family or friends being there.  A few days prior, we watched the “Mama Mia!” video.  I had to leave the room when Meryl Streep is holding her daughter and helping her prepare for her wedding day.  The emotions and tears overwhelmed me.  I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea it would be like that!  So, having mom call me first thing  that morning meant a lot to me…. to both of us, really.

Getting dressed was a group project.  Ben helped me put my dress on.  I did my own hair and make-up.  Placid cinched the tie on my dress.  One of the aunties straightened it all out.  Mom gave me her red royalty earrings to wear.  Coco loaned me a hairpin she wore at her wedding a few weeks earlier for the something new, something old, something borrowed, something blue tradition.  The end product was amazing!  I hadn’t planned what jewelry to wear and it just kind of fell into place that morning.

The wait at the Federal Marriage Registry at Ikoyi was long!  We arrived at 9am and weren’t married until a little before noon.  The morning looked like it might rain.  The day ended up being ungodly hot! I was getting a little cranky and ready to go home by the time they called us up for our turn.  Funny how quickly my mood and attitude changed when it was our turn!

The ceremony was very different than an American court marriage.  The vows are similar, but different in ways that are more meaningful to me.  The offciant told us how to sit, stand, hold each other.  It seemed a little riduculous when I was watching the couples ahead of us.  It did when we were doing it, too.  Afterwards, looking at the photos and the video I am glad he had us do it his way!  It added to the meaning of the ceremony.  For a court marriage, it lasted about 15 minutes and he didn’t rush us through.  We were given our special moment and allowed to honor it.  I value that a lot.  With so many civil marriages here, you have 5 minutes and it’s done.  Move it on out!

I can’t get over “washing” the official who married us.  We paid really high costs for our marriage both in fees and bribes prior to the ceremony.  He demanded bribes from each of the wedding party.  I was the first to give him Naira and he tossed it back at me telling me I had to give more!  This was not giving him an offering for his services.  This was a straight out bribe!  Ben had to give him even more that next Monday when he went to pick up our marriage certificate.  The corruption is unreal!

The interview process prior to the marriage was a little intense, too.  When Ben set the date, they told him we’d have to under go some counseling.  We had no idea what this would entail.  We got there and sat before this man who asked us all of these questions about the validity of our marriage, how we met, our courtship, where we’d live, our financial plan, what foods I would cook for my husband in the States, plan for children, am I sure I don’t have any children, and finally, how we planned on making our marriage work and being good and loving to one another.  The process was a little intimidating, though not terrible.  The worst part was when we had to do it again the day of our wedding with yet a different man!  I can’t believe they asked me if I’m positive I don’t have children from a previous relationship!  Why on earth would I lie about having children?  And I’m pretty certain that I’ve never gone through labor or pregnancy.

The party was so much fun!  All of my life, I have wanted to have a party-party.  You know the kind… dancing, music, singing, drinking.  A party which wasn’t just sitting around talking and eating with some laughs.  I finally had the party I have always wanted!  I got to be young and the center of attention.  I had a camera or video camera in my face for the entire day, but I honestly didn’t mind most of the time.  Everyone there wanted to dance with me and talk to me.  I can’t think of another time in my life where so many men wanted to dance with me… and all of them good looking!  Of course, my husband was the most dashing of them all!!!

Speaking of my dashing husband, he just woke up and it’s time for our video chat.  Tell you more later!

 

Holding onto hope

I haven’t seen my honey since September 2010.  Sometimes it just gets so hard to be apart and not know when we will hold each other again!  It’s funny the things you take for granted when you see your partner each and every day.  Right now, I say that I will never take the little things for granted when we are finally together long term.  Realistically, I will.  Eventually the day will come that I will not feel the sting of the long months and years we spent apart.  I will be able to be angry with him over the small stuff and blame him when my days goes badly.  Right now, I don’t have the luxury of doing these things.

For the past 2 1/2 years we have spent an average of 2 hours a day together either on the phone or over the internet doing IM and video chats.  There is an awful lot of life which just doesn’t get shared when 22 hours of the day are apart.  Conversely, there are many things we talk about and share on a regular basis which don’t usually get talked about in an all day every day relationship.  I’d honestly have to say that within the first six months of our relationship, he knew me better than pretty much anyone else ever has.  There is nothing to do except talk.  I mean, we  can’t watch TV, go to concerts or clubs, play sports or other games together, or even just lie in bed all day making love.  If we don’t talk there is no relationship.

At this point, there aren’t many things he doesn’t know about me.  Sure, some of the minor details of my life, but overall, he knows me.  There isn’t a lot let for us to talk about and explore which is new and exciting.  We have reached the maintenance level of our relationship.  Not always exciting for either of us, but for me, I find great comfort in it.  I cherish the routine of our relationship.  Knowing more or less what we’ll talk about and what happened in his day.  I can usually predict pretty well the exact words he’ll use to respond to things I tell him.  I love this!  The predictability has become a game in and of itself for me.

In the routine, though, sometimes we forget to talk about the important things.  Being in a long distance relationship and going through the immigration process are phenominal stressors!  Perhaps it is not always “forgetting” as it is a choice.  With only a couple hours a day to share our life right now, who wants to bring in the stress and hardships, right?  I’m learning that these are the glue of our relationship.  The sweet romantic things and the normal day-to-day things are important, but in the end, without the glue of sharing our hurts and stresses there will be no romance and mundane stuff.  There will be no “us.”

I bring this up, because in the past 6 months, things have been immensely difficult and stressful for each of us independently and even more so together, as we share each other’s pain, stress, and fear.  Sure, we can talk to our friends or family about the stressors and get some relief, but in reality, no one truly understands the inner workings of our relationship and the actual stress of being apart more than the two of us do.  Makes the most sense to share with each other first and foremost.

Benneth and I went a little too long without having a good talk about our stress and anxiety.  He tends to go into sollution mode and just get things done.  I tend to go into more of a needy place.  I need more of his time and attention than normal… and have trouble getting a lot done.  This doesn’t work so well systemicly.  If he’s mainly action and little emotion and I’m emotionally needy and little action there is bound to be a big  disconnect in getting our needs me.

I found myself getting irritable the other day and feeling like there was no emotional connection between us.  I was asking myself, “Why bother?  I can’t hardly remember right this moment why we’re fighting to hard to make this work.”  I found it quite effective to ask directly for what I needed.  “I need your time to talk about us… and not the sollution for bringing us together.”  We were able to both validate the need the other has for sollution and emotional connection.  We were able to come to an agreement on a sollution which works to meet both needs and build our relationship even stronger.  The beautiful thing in this conversation was that we each heard that we both are feeling the same thing… just expressing it differently so we didn’t hear the other “saying” the feeling.

It’s looking like the time will be coming within the next couple of months, God willing, that I will be able to go over there and marry him.  I cannot begin to express the joy this brings to my heart!  Knowing that I will soon see him again and start the process of making our life together permanent and physically close is just about mind blowing!!  The immigration process is still lengthy and difficult.  We’ll be looking at a good 6-9 months before he has another interview to come here.  At least knowing that there is an end in sight makes it more doable.  Waiting for something when you have no idea when it will happen is nearly unbearable!

I have a couple of friends telling me I should write a book about our immigration experience and living for a few years totally in love and trapped on different continents due to governmental red tape and money stressors.  Where does one start with such an undertaking?  How do you tell your story of love, hope and faith through the filter of hurt, anger and frustrations with things totally out of your control?  Food for thought.  As Alma says, it might help someone else going through this situation to navigate it a little easier than we are.  I would like to think it might bring them a touch of hope when things are bleek and look impossible.  Where do we turn for hope when there seems to be nothing to hold onto?

I’m grateful today to have held on for that hope.  My ticket isn’t bought yet, so there is still the uncertainty… but I tell you there is definitely light at the end of this tunnel!

Hope

Giving thanks.  Isn’t that really what the holidays are supposed to be all about?  Thanksgiving for what we do have.  Time to be with the people we love.  Making time for self care and doing what feels good to  each of us.  This is what the holidays have come to mean to me.

I have so much to be thankful  for this year.  I have friends who love me and wanted to spend the day with me.  Friends who invited me to their home to be with them.  I wasn’t able to attend due to my own plans.  I had friends who chose to come spend time in my home with me throughout the day.  Jo came in the morning.  Annie spent all day.  Kate stopped by in the afternoon.  My phone rang throughout the day.

I am thankful my brother is on the mend.  Slowly he is getting more stable from a massive pulmonary embolism which had him in ICU for about two days. Lots of love and prayers going out to him and my family from friends all around the world.

What I am grateful for above and beyond all else is a  nice man I met by chance on Wednesday.  I was so angry with my phone company that I went to yell at the office.  I wasn’t able to do that, so I took a walk.  Along the way, I wandered into a little optomety store near my home.  I began talking to this man working there.  Soon I came to find out that he is the owner.  He immigrated from Kenya 7 years ago.  Amazing the things you find out about people in only a moment.  I walked away from Felix  with such a renewed sense of hope and inspiration for Benneth’s arrival and positive immigration.  He told us to keep up a good fight and be persistent.  He assured me that Benneth will be able to find work here upon arrival.  That a mixed marriage isn’t such a difficult thing in Sonoma County like it was years past.  I walked away from this man, Felix, telling him he was my Thanksgiving Gift.

The stress of the distance and many months apart have put such a strain on Benneth & me.  It seems that we have argued more in the past two months than we have in the past two years.  Not just seems… we have!  Even the faith which has held us together has been tested and grounds for argument.  How can people who love each other so much fight over everything just because they miss one another so much?  The need to be together is the only reason Ben & I ever argue.

How do  we solve this need to be together?  Where does the time off come from to allow me to be there?  Where does the money come from to get me there?  Where does the money come from to pay for the attorney fees  to have a successful case?

The need for my Benneth at the holidays is killing me.  It’s so hard to be apart.  Being here with my friends and family…  but not having HIM is utterly painful and disheartening.  Smelling  the scents and spending hours cooking for everyone except him.  Wrapping gifts for everyone but him.  Singing Christmas carrolls with everyone except for Ben.  The need to with him and hold him… tell him I love him.  Talking on the phone and video chatting just isn’t the same as holding him in my arms!

Felix gave me hope again.  The ability to stand strong and keep up the good  fight.  If one of us loses faith in the fight,we  both might as well walk away.  I hadn’t lost my faith…. just a temporary inability to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

SOON…. very soon… I will be with my Benneth!

Oli

I know I’ve mentioned Oli before kind of in passing.  I’m feeling particularly loving towards my little furry housemate this morning.  I took her in about a year ago now.  I thought she was just a stray born in the complex that had never been a pet.  She came to my door and would stand up on her hind legs to look in at me and see what I was doing and “talk” to me.  I have this large rhododendron planter outside my door which I found her curled up in sleeping on more than a few occasions.  She was adopting me.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to take her in.  Such a big responsibility.  Am I really home enough to have a cat?  She was sooo cute though!  One day I decided to open the door and offer to let her come inside.  She was all about that!  Wandered around, sniffed everything, and finally settled down on the sofa cushion next to me.  That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I work odd hours due to the type of job I have.  They are consistent from week to week for six months at a time.  She ended up spending quite a bit of time alone. At first her reaction to me being gone was to come talk and talk and talk and demand that I just pet  her non-stop for a good 20 minutes.  After a few months of that she decided it wasn’t good enough.  She would greet me at the door by “yelling” at me for a good 10 minutes while I tried to coax her over to me so I could give her some good mama-kitty time.  Eventually she would come over and make me scratch her and give her lots of time and affection.  The day came that when she felt angry with me for leaving her, she peed on my leather sofa.   This pattern lasted for a while.  I was angry at her for nearly destroying my leather sofa and she was angry with me for not spending enough time with her.  She went outside and stayed there for about 4 weeks.  Oh, she’d come look in the door and talk to me, walk to my car with me every morning, and follow me to the mailbox each day…she just refused to come in the house.

With a little prodding and coaxing she started coming back in slowly.  A few minutes at a time and leaving quickly.  She was exerting her control.  After a week went by and she learned she could come and go as she wished, she chose to stay.  Now she is back to being my little love staying mostly in the house with me again.  She’s even begun to sleep with me again.

My neighbor, Brad, and I were sitting on our separate patios one morning chatting.  He told me the story of Oli.  Apparently the man who lived in the apartment on the other side of me had two little cats, Oli and her brother.  When he moved out of the complex he just left them.  My poor little kitty had been abandoned.  Then I understood why she would be upset with me for leaving her for long periods of time.    She was afraid I wasn’t coming back… and needed lots of reassurance when I got back that I love her and won’t desert her.  Hmmm… interesting that my cat and I have the same issues!  lol

Did I tell you how I came up with the name Oli?  Benneth is from the Igbo tribe and over the past 2 years I’ve been learning a little Igbo as I go.  I picked up a pocket dictionary on Amazon.com last year before I went to Nigeria.  Has been a fun little book to own.  🙂  Well, I wanted to give her an Igbo name with a meaning I liked.  My first choice was Obi, which means heart.  When I told Ben, he said we can’t have a cat named Obi.  His brother’s middle name is Obinna and the family calls him Obi for short.  Plus, he calls me Obiuto which means sweetheart.  Just won’t do for him.  We tried on different names and ideas.  I wanted to stay with a name sounding close enough to Obi that it wouldn’t confuse her.  Oli is was.  Oli means hope.  Seems an appropriate name for her.  I affectionately call her Olinaya.  Naya means love… so she’s hope + love.  Sweet.  At least I think so.

We have spent a quiet day around the house today… just kind of lounging and being together.  She did her early morning demands for food, scratches, and in/out.  After about an hour we both settled into a comfortable state of just being here.  She’s been snoozing on the sofa and I’ve been curled up in my favorite chair  under a blanket with a book.  What a nice day it’s been.  Rather than looking at today as yet another boring Sunday with nothing to do and no one to talk to, I put a positive reframe on it and am seeing it as quality mama-kitty time.  🙂

In Nigeria cats are seen as handmaiden’s of the devil.  An interesting perspective, I think.  How anyone can see a sweet and loving little cat as having anything to do with the devil’s work, I’ll never understand.  So when I told Ben I’d adopted the cat he wasn’t thrilled about her living in the house with me in the first place.  Then that she had his brother’s name was even more not OK.  Over the months, as I told him stories about her and talked about her all the time (as most proud mama’s do), he started asking me about her.  Then one day he pronounced his love for this little cat.  She knows when I am talking to him on the phone.  Since I first brought her into the house I would tell her I was talking to “Daddy”.  She meows and usually demands my attention, like any small child does, when I am involved in a conversation which doesn’t include her and seems to make me happy.  The three of us have fallen into somewhat of a routine.  Ben and I talk about Oli as if she is our child we are raising and training well.  She is a demanding child who wants attention while we are having our adult time.  And all three of us love one another.  Oli has not met Benneth, but she has certainly seen his face enough times that she will recognize him when he moves in with us.  The amazing world of cyberspace and video-voice chats brings families closer.  lol

Speaking of my Oli, I should get back to her.  She doesn’t like it when I’m in on the computer too long.

Language of our hearts

When you find your soulmate there is nothing you don’t want to share with him!  I had the most amazing day today!  Everything just kind of fell in place and I made good decisions about my life, my values, and what I want for myself and others.  I asked for what I wanted and got it… or at least a plan to work towards getting it.  So when I talked to Benneth tonight I could hardly contain myself with the joy and excitement in telling him all about my day!  Tonight we didn’t talk long… probably a good thing for us both.  I’ve been staying up way to late into the wee hours of the morning and he’s been getting his morning started later.  He runs his own business with his best friend,but still, you need to maintain some kind of regular pattern with your business partner about when you’re coming in.  I wonder sometimes if he thinks I don’t think about such things?  He is always… I mean ALWAYS available to talk to me when I need him.  He’ll stop doing pretty much whatever he’s doing to talk to me for a while.  Not always a long while, but at least a little while.

Now, our 2 year anniversary was on the 1st, so lots of emotions coming up for us both.  It’s been over a year now since we’ve seen each other.  Sometimes it’s all I can do to contain the sadness I feel around this!  Seems we always get sad at the same time and overwhelmed by the grief and stress of being apart.  This is the ONLY time we ever argue.  I mean this in all honesty!  I can’t remember a time in our entire relationship when we’ve fought or argued over anything other than missing each other.  When these times arise, the topic of our arguments aren’t about the stress and feelings, they are superficial things… but when you boil down the basic topics it’s always the same:  I MISS YOU!  I NEED YOU HERE!

We had one of these periods a couple of weeks ago.  Even though it hurts to argue with him, in a way it’s a relief.  How can it be a relief to fight with your partner?  No, I’m talking about make-up sex!  lol  It’s a strong validation of how much we both love and need each other.  My tender feelings took a little longer to snap back to normal than usual this time.  Dunno why?  Well, yes I do!  I’ve been trying to come up with  the time off work and the money to get back to Lagos again ASAP so we can get married for awhile now and things just keep coming up to make it difficult.  My mom has been making comments about our marriage possibly not being God’s will since it’s been so hard to get the money.  Then she makes other comments about wishing I’d find a husband like ____ (fill in blank with whatever successful career you want).  Now, this really hurts my feelings!  So disrespectful of our commitment and my feelings for him.  I’m quite sure she doesn’t tell my brothers what she wishes for them in this regard!  Long story short, I started to buy into her lack of support and trust in what I feel is right and true.

Lately it has seemed so clear to me that we both speak a language of our love.  A language of our heart.  I left the “s” off on purpose.  With a true soulmate, there is a genuine feeling that you are no longer “I” but ony “we”.  He is no longer Benneth and I am no longer Jodie…we are a melding of our two hearts and souls.  Our bodies may be thousands of miles apart, but the separation is small compared to unity we both experience.  The other day I was just so sad and began to sob when we got ready to hang up the phone.  It was uncontrollable.  I tried to stop it… not let him hear me cry.  This is the only thing which breaks his heart and brings on anger.  Not anger with me, but anger that there is nothing he can do to stop my tears or end the situation causing my tears.  Helplessness.  He didn’t tell me not to cry.  Instead he spoke to my heart.  The actual words are not remembered now, but what I recall is that he knew in that moment exactly what I was feeling and what I needed to hear in his words.  Within a few minutes we were laughing again and back to our happy selves.

I never believed in soulmates before I met Benneth.  I thought I’d been in love… and been loved.  My God, I had absolutely no idea what it meant to love or be loved!  I experienced lust, companionship, like, and a few other things I’m sure, but never love!  It still never ceases to amaze me the things he and I talk about!  We’ve compared prices on apples between Lagos and California.  The deepest hurts of our lives, which for both of us was the loss of our fathers.  Debated politics, morals, values, and had deep philosophical discussions about God and our faith.  I think my favorite topics of conversation are returning time after time to our future and how we will manage our day-to-day life together on all levels and keep things balanced between us.  It may seem funny to most to talk about how you will handle disputes in your marriage and how you express your anger/frustration/hurt along with what you need in order to bring peace back between you, but these are what I love best in our talks.  It is evidence of a level of commitment, trust, and communication which I simply had no idea were possible!  Though we’ve been physically apart most of our relationship, I simply cannot imagine my life withuot him!

So in our chat tonight, I was so excited to tell him all the great things I acchieved today that I didn’t let him get a word in edgewise.  I try not to do that… mostly because I get irritated when he does it to me too many times in a row.  So when I realized I’d done all the talking, I gave him the opportunity to talk.  He was just waking up and a bit tired, so didn’t have much to say yet.  In our usual 15-20 minute goodbye, he said something which totally struck a cord with me:

“Even though I didn’t say much today, I enjoyed you.  Thank you for knowing the language of our hearts.”

Afuru ngi naya, Ifunaya m!  (I love you, my love!  in Igbo)

Another Sunday

Here it is Sunday again.  I love my weekends off, but it sure does get lonely around the apartment!  Oli is pretty good company, but for an all day thing it’s hard to be here by myself .  I soo wanted to get my own apartment and not have a housemate.  Now that I have it, I miss the company!  lol  The grass is always greener…

Between the power outage this morning here, the time differene, and Benneth having to renew his internet subscription I haven’t been able to connect with him all day.  I know it’s only one day, but really, when your partner is across the world and you only get an hour or so a day together that one day makes a huge differene!  I miss my Benneth!

I’ve been cooking a lot this weekend.  Experimenting with new and rather unique recipes of my own creation.  Yesterday it was turkey-pumpkin meatloaf.  Today it’s salmon w/ginger and peaches.  Looks beautiful, but haven’t tasted it yet.  A little too early for dinner yet.  The meatloaf was honestly the best meatloaf I’ve ever had!  My friend, Rachel, suggested that I enter this meatloaf in the county fair next year.  Hmmm… an interesting idea!  Not real sure how one does that, but I guess I can pretty easily find out.

Another part of Sundays for me is getting my house in order for the coming week.  OMG do I have a lot to do today!  I’ve been working at losing weight (currently down 65 lbs!) and now most of my clothes are too big.  So I’m in the process of sorting through everything I own, which is monumental, and making a donation to St. Vincent de Paul.  Right now I have mountains of clothes spread over me entire apartment which need to be bagged for donation, washed, or put away.  Since everything I own is out of my closet I want to take this opportunity to reorganize it.  I don’t know which is more overwhelming for me: putting things away or organizing them in the process?!  I have always said that laundry is he bane of my existence.  I don’t think it’s the laundry.  I think it’s that I have so many clothes that I can procrastinate on the laundry… so it’s a gargantuan task!

Tonight is our night to watch The Walking Dead at Annie’s house.  The season premiere was pretty awful last week, but I’m gonna give it another shot.  Everyone says it’s a good series.  If it’s terrible this week, too, then it’s bye-bye time!

Laundry calls!  lol