When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. (Nora Ephron)
Sixteen months ago to the day, I found myself on an A*MAY*ZING first date with a guy I met the week before at a country bar on a Sunday Funday. And now, roughly 500 days after we met, we are engaged and anxiously awaiting our November 1, 2014 wedding date.
These past sixteen months have been beyond wonderful, and the day Cubby proposed is a day that I’ll never forget. But more than all of these unforgettable memories, I cannot begin to address how much I have learned about life, love, relationships, Cubby, and myself.
I can also say that life is completely unpredictable! Here I am, turning thirty in a few weeks, and a year ago I never would have predicted that I would be a fiancée before I was thirty years old! Actually, two years ago, I never would have thought that I would have a boyfriend before I turned thirty! But I found a fantastic boyfriend… who turned into a spectacular fiancé… and who will undoubtedly be the best husband.
Reflecting on these incredible changes in my life over the past year and a half, the best advice that I can give anyone is to always say “Yes!” to the opportunities that life brings you. Say “Yes!” when your girlies or buddies ask you to spend a Sunday Funday at the bars. Say “Yes!” to the cute guy who asks you out on a date the following weekend. And most definitely say “Yes!” to love and all of the joy and happiness that comes with it.
I’ve been having a rough week. Actually, a rough two weeks. I’ve been describing myself as “emotional”, “exhausted”, and “stressed” from the large amounts of school work being dealt my way. On top of that, my heart has been “broken”, “confused”, and perhaps even a bit “cynical”. With a sore throat and earache today, and still feeling run-down, I need to experience some good. I hoped to see it on the bus, but nothing. I looked for it on my walk to Starbucks, and there was none. So, while waiting in line for my Grande Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Soy, I opted that I was going to be the one to do some good. After finding myself in a simple conversation with the woman behind me, I made the decision to pay for her order. She resisted at first- as I, too, would have done- but I didn’t back down. With much sincerity, I told her,“I just needed to do some good today.” She smiled, thanked me again, and replied, “There isn’t enough good being done in this world.”
Sadly, she is right, but at least I was able to give her hope that there are still good people willing to do good things. My act of kindess was so simple. Yet, so meaningful. I hope this inspires you do some good. If you want to do some good today, or any other day, here are a few ways you can:
1. Make a donation to the Liam Kelly Trust Fund help his parents provide the best medical care for their son! He has just completed 18 months of grueling cancer treatments and although he is now cancer free, his fight continues. To support Liam & his family, visit www.liamsgang.com/.
2. Hampton High School’sl (my alma mater) Football Coach, Ron “Goody” Gooden, is awaiting a heart transplant and in needs of support to aid in his recovery following the life-changing procedure. Coach Goody has had a huge impact on hundreds of kids and their families over the years and this is a great way to give back to him. www.giveforward.com/aheartforcoachgoody
3. Join The World Needs More Love Letters! Visit www.moreloveletters.com for more inspiration and direction on how a simple love letter can make a difference in this world.
Please do me a favor and “Like” the Live.Love.Learn.Breathe. Facebook page. I’d love to find out who actually reads this little blog of mine and get more feedback from you as my daily wake-up/work/school/sleep/repeat- routine may prevent me from writing as often as I’d like. This link should work- https://www.facebook.com/pages/LiveLoveLearnBreathe/232179646829391?sk=wall. If it doesn’t then you can search through Pages for “Live.Love.Learn.Breathe” or email me at Kristen.Medica@gmail.com.
Some things never would be
But we know now that no matter how far we traveled on our own separate paths…
Somehow we would always find out way back to each other.
And with that, we could get through anything.
To us. Who we were, and who we are. And who we’ll be.
To the pants.
And the sisterhood.
And this moment, and the rest of our lives.
Together and apart.
~Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants~
Sisters touch your heart in ways no other could. Sisters share… their hopes, their fears, their love, everything they have. ~Carrie Bagwell
The name Alisha frequently appears on this blog and her notes & profile pic tend to be all over my Facebook wall- especially right now. But very few people know exactly who this remarkable, stunning lady is; and hardly anyone knows the entire Story of Us. Well, until now.
Ladies & Gentlemen, it is my honor to tell you exactly how the Sisterhood of Alisha Thomas and Kristen Medica began a little over a year ago, and how since then we have gone from Confidantes to Pen Pals to (Facebook) Friends to Sisters. As all stories tend to be told, let me start at the very beginning…
In January 2010, I enrolled in an online class through my alma mater, Ohio University, as a way to complete the pre-requisites for the Child Life certification. So after my New Year’s guests left town on Sunday, January 3rd, I found myself mentally preparing for my first day (back) of school. Human Relations ECED 410, here I come!
Like any first week’s assignment, we spent time getting to know our classmates by sharing a few details about ourselves. Typically this is the worst assignment ever when you’re in a classroom and have to say something unique about yourself (which of course never applied to me). However, being 4-years out of college and in an online format, I found myself enjoying this activity- especially hearing others’ stories and learning about their backgrounds. And on top of that, our Professor Tom Shostak appeared to be incredible. I think I’m really going to like this class.
On a fateful day in late January/early February, a friendship was born. As I signed into Blackboard after work, I found myself touched by the courageous words written by Alisha Thomas as she admitted to her struggle with anxiety. Being something that I knew a little too well, I (believe I) found myself writing a response applauding her for speaking out and admitting my own battle with those pain-strickening troubles. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if she’d respond but I knew I had to reach out to her.
She responded, graciously, which marked our first electronic communication. The first of many. For a few weeks we exchanged Discussion Board comments and emails sharing our struggles with anxiety and life stories. Through daily emails a friendship began as we confided in one another about fears, doubts, anxieties, insecurities, dreams, wishes, crushes, etc. We found comfort in sharing our thoughts and the other’s responses of wisdom and encouragement. Looking back, in only a few weeks Alisha became the younger sister I always wanted.
“We should become Pen Pals,” Alisha wrote in one of her emails. Always wanting a Pen Pal, I was thrilled. “Yes! Absolutely!” can be my assumed responses.
On February 22nd, exactly one year ago today, I wrote the very first entry in the Pen Pal Book. (Obviously pictured on the right.) She then, Alisha and I have shipped the book back-and-forth from Athens, Ohio (her) and Chicago, IL (me) every few weeks/months. We fill the pages with our daily activities and life stories- good days, bad days, past experiences, lifelong dreams, crushes, heartbreak, and, of course, struggles with anxiety. (Note: Fortunately anxiety takes up less space in the book as time goes on.) We share favorite quotes and songs and suggest novels & movies for the other.
And in the last few months, we’ve allowed others to share in our love for the Pen Pal Book. Alisha’s brother, Jakob, commonly leaves his mark on the pages in the form of drawings and little notes. I love seeing what Jakob shares with me! My dear friend, Darlene, also shared in our joy by writing in the infamous book when I visited her & Paul, last summer. (Note: Like Alisha, my friendship/sisterhood with Darlene began electronically and I corresponded with her for 1.5 years before our long-awaited meet-up.)
Besides the Pen Pal Book, Alisha and I inevitably befriended one another on Facebook- which put faces to our names and email addresses. And that, my friends, is how our friendship really began. While we anxiously looked forward to receiving the Pen Pal Book from the other, we learned that daily communication was necessary too. Not only did we enjoy Facebook stalking one another’s current crushes (lol), but through Facebook is how I began my love affair with Alisha’s family: Her 10-year old brother, Jakob, and mother, Kelly. It really didn’t take long before I started seeing them as my family. 🙂
A few months ago I had the idea that I was going to surprise Alisha and “meet her” at her upcoming graduation in June 2011. But yeah, I couldn’t keep a secret from my Sis and so I mentioned my plan to her. It is through that she came up with the Best. Idea. Ever. SIBS WEEKEND!! So this past weekend, I FINALLY ventured back to Athens, OH to ‘meet’ my extended family: Alisha, Jakob, and Kelly.
Words really cannot express just how A*MAY*ZING this past weekend was. As I’ve put been putting it: I have never weekend had a time filled with so many smiles, laughs, and pure joy & contentment. It was truly the most PERFECT (my favorite place ever) with Alisha and her family, it was exactly what I could have ever wanted it to be. From playing Wii and watching YouTube videos with Jakob to finally experiencing Athens with Alisha, it was simply magical. Sure, it wasn’t one of those typical OU weekends- and actually there was no alcohol involved for me- but that’s what made it so fantastic- besides the company of course. It was exactly how this 27-year old OU alum needed to visit her former college campus. After all, as one wise alum once told me as an undergrad, “Athens is about what it is because of the people.” I couldn’t agree more.
Another beautiful part of this weekend was reconnecting with my former professor/confidante/mentor, Linda. Interesting enough, I actually believe that Linda played a large part in my initial reach out to Alisha. See, Linda was a professor of mine during Spring Quarter of my senior year. (aka The Season for Panic Attacks) I just remember receiving an email from Linda after class one day asking me how I was doing- hinting at the fact that she noticed that I didn’t seem like myself- and encouraging me to open up more in class and share the thoughts that seemed to be running through my mind.
To make a long story short, Linda’s kind-hearted reaching out made me confide in her about the uneasiness I had been feeling, beginning our own weeks-worth exchange of emails. I found myself opening up to her more than I had ever done with anyone- well maybe besides Libby, Brandon, and Jenni- let alone someone you barely knew me outside of the classroom setting. Still, her genuiness shined through during class and in her emails and I found it impossible not to let her in. Since then, which was five years ago, I have always had the highest regards for Linda. So much so that within those first few weeks of correspondence with Alisha I insisted that she take one of Linda’s classes before graduation. Fortunately, she’s enrolled in her YAL course next quarter- spring quarter of her senior year just like me!
Alisha and I were so honored to share the Pen Pal Book with Linda and include her into our Sibs Weekend afternoon. She is truly an incredible woman and I feel blessed to have her in my life as a friend and mentor.
Like all good things Sibs Weekend found itself coming to an end, but not before a trip to Columbus (which is where I had to catch my bus later that night). While the sadness of the inevitable goodbyes began playing in our minds, we knew we had to make the best of our remaining time together. We loaded ourselves in the car and headed to one of my favorite places in Ohio: Easton. First Stop: Build-A-Bear.
So true story: For years I have told my brother that IF (huge IF) I ever have a boyfriend, Nicky should tell him to build me a bear. Call me crazy (because I am), but I have always wanted one. I mean I’ve built many bears (and a bunny) in my day, but never one for myself… until Sunday, February 20, 2011 that is. The best part is that this was totally Alisha’s idea! Yep, we are definitely meant to be sisters!
Surrounded by a sea of children and parents my age, the four of us piled into Build-A-Bear to create our little sidekicks. I know, we are totally adorable! We definitely took way to long to decide on our choices, but eventually we chose the following: Alisha- a puppy named Lynn (my middle name); Kelly- (the same) puppy named Sammy; Jakob- a monkey named Justin (yes, as in Justin Bieber); and me- a bear (decided upon by my boy Jakob) named Lauren (Alisha’s middle name). And now for the hard part….choosing outfits. Seriously, I have an easier time choosing clothes for myself! Anyways, we finally made our decisions with my little Lauren dressed to the 9’s in a true Ohio-lovin’ outfit: Ohio University tee underneath a red & white (for Ohio State) Cheerios outfit (Alisha loves Glee), complete with red & white (OSU) and green (OU) ear bows AND…brown cowgirl boots. Love Love Love. After acting like we were kids again, Jakob and I let the girls shop in Forever XXI while we sought out fun in the photo booth. (I ♥ him so much!) But of course we had to take Alisha back for some photo booth fun with us afterwards. Note: I really think that IF I ever get married, there has to be a photo booth there….even if it means I must have my reception at Chuc E Cheese…or, better yet, Easton since we know it has one.
After feeding our hungry bellies and indulging in many more laughs, we all knew that our time together was dwindling. As Alisha drove downtown, we started expressing our I am going to miss you’s and planning on next visits. After pointing out my old apartment, we pulled into a spot on High Street nearby MoJoe Lounge (my hangout spot until the bus arrived). Led by Jakob, my family insisted on walking me into the coffeeshop/bar, which I finally gave into. Shortly after, the tears began building up in our eyes s the I love you’s were exchanged. And my poor Jakob was so sad that it made me cry. “You know that you are a little brother to me, Jakob. I will always be here for you,” is all that I can remember saying as the sadness kicked in full force. I would have given anything to have been able to go back to Athens with them, but unfortunately the Reality of Big Girl World is that you cannot always do what you want to do. So with tears in my eyes, I said my goodbyes and more I love you’s with my family.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend, and I am missing them terribly even two days later. Still, I know that they will be in my life forever and I cannot wait to see them in Pittsburgh on Easter weekend when they get to meet the rest of my family. And then, more fun in Athens for Alisha’s Birthday/ Mom’s Weekend in early May. I cannot wait to see them again! Hopefully I can beat Jakob at Wii next time.
*** Let this Story of Alisha and Me remind you that you never know where, when, and how you’ll meet your next best friend/ soul sister. ***
This post is dedicated to the A*MAY*ZING Alisha Thomas. My life is so much better with you in it and I honestly cannot remember what it was like without you and your family. I will always be here for you and believe in your more than you probably believe in yourself. Sis, I love you! XOXO ~K
When we last left our Bachelorettes, they were doing far too many shots- especially the beautiful bride-to-be. Were our ladies too drunk and ready to call it a night? Heck no!! They were ready to dance on the stage!
By this time (perhaps 11-11:30 pm), the Piano Bar was pretty crowded with other Bachelorette parties and Friday night partiers. Several parties had made their way on stage after requesting girlie songs and announcing their VIP members’ special occasion (future wedding or birthday). Now it was our turn. Ruth, being the dedicated Maid-of-Honor that she is, talked to one of the bouncers about how to best get the piano players to play her request: Money, of course. The best incentive of them all. So Ruth took up a collection, which was easy since we were already all drunk and wanted to see Kristin enjoy her night.
Finally the time came when Kristin was brought on stage for her rendition of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. (FYI: I’m the photographer, but I did evidentially make my way up on stage to join the girls.) What an A.MAY.ZING. group of girls!! So lucky to call them my friends. And yes, they know how to have a good time, but they’re also like sisters to me- always there for me since we met years ago. They’re also very protective of their ‘Minnie’, as I am of them. Boys Beware.
After the dancing on stage, I made my way to the bar to get Kristin another drink. (Did she really need one…probably not.) As I was standing at the bar, I overheard a guy say to his friend, “I guess that’s the price you have to pay (for drinks) here in the big city.” Okay, I really felt the urge to say something right away, but I decided to mind my own business instead. But then he said something about ‘the big city’ again and I absolutely couldn’t resist. “You think this is the ‘big city’? Where are you from?” His response, “Dayton.” Dayton: the only city worse than Cleveland. Now it made sense, and I very well may have said that out loud. (Probably.)
So of course my response prompted the good old Dayton boys to ask me where I was from, and as everyone in Ohio seems to agree, “Chicago is awesome! I love Chicago!” So we talked about my ‘love’ for Chicago for awhile- while the Dayton boys fell head-over-heels for me. I told you, I’m not joking. Ohio boys love me. I’m their drug of choice. However, I have to say that these Ohio boys are not always the most eligible Bachelors- unfortunately. (Sidenote: I’m totally hearing Leighton Meester’s ‘Your Love is a Drug’ in the back of my head, and now you may as well hear it too.)
So Sarah being the wonderful friend that she is, saw me talking to these guys and came over to make sure I was okay. That’s one thing I love about my girls. We’re always watching out for one another- especially when we’re out drinking. So I reassured Sarah that I was fine and brought her into the conversation. I’m pretty sure we started talking about Chicago’s infamous hot dogs- which is one of Sarah’s favorite topics (not kidding).
After talking more about everyone’s love for Chicago and my realistic resident view of it (tourists just don’t see it the same as we do), we found out that Dayton boys went to the hockey game (Blue Jackets) and they received a team poster…which somehow, after a little convincing, perhaps…ended up in my possession to give to the loyal Blue Jackets’ fan and bride-to-be. Making my way back to the table, after being gone for twenty minutes or so (missing the tequila shot…Amen to that), I presented the poster to our lovely bride. Here she is kissing her longtime lover, Rick Nash. I still remember the night she met him at Lodge Bar. Seriously that girl was starstuck, for good reason.
It had to have been around midnight by then…just in time for my third-cousin-whom-I’d-never-met, Ryan, to join us. Let me rewind. So when I was living in Columbus two years ago, my grandma just happened to talk to one of her second cousins, Kitty, only to discover that they both had grandchildren living there. So they set us up. Ryan and I began emailing, with him coming out to me in the second one. More reason why I fell in love with him. Gay Ohio men may love me just as much as the straight ones. Anyways, Ryan and I almost met once at Pride Fest, but there was too much commotion and alcohol preventing that from happening. Shortly after that, I moved to Chicago. However we kept in touch over emails and Facebook. He’s such a cutie. So yeah, a few weeks ago I mentioned Kristin’s Bachelorette Party and I was so happy that he was able to meet up with me! He’s even more adorable in person. Just a great guy.
Around 1 o’clock, we decided to head over to Lodge Bar mainly because Kristin was hoping that her beloved Rick Nash would be there after the game. (He wasn’t.) Sarah took Ruth back to the hotel because she literally fell asleep at the bar. (I guess that happens to her now?) We got to Lodge Bar, which isn’t really a favorite of mine (too many college kids), but I was drunk enough and surrounded by good people to enjoy it. To be honest, I don’t remember much about Lodge Bar. Yes, I was drunk. I know that because I ended up spending at least 15-20 minutes at the bar talking to a couple about their relationship. I always do this. Drunk Kristen/ Minnie likes to hear what it’s like to be part of a (happy) couple. I give you all permission to psychoanalyze me. They were social like me so it was a fun conversation; however I knew that it was time to rejoin my friends.
We didn’t last much longer at Lodge Bar and everyone was ready for their Street Meat. (Gross.) We stood at the gyro cart for a good 10-15 minutes, with Jackie stealing some guy’s cigarette from behind his ear. (She doesn’t know why either.) Jen and Carrie both decided to forgo staying with us in the hotel since they felt okay to drive, so I walked with them to their cars. And course Jen and I couldn’t remember exactly where she parked. Apparently I videotaped this at first, but I just sound really drunk on the audio so….delete.
Jen dropped me off at the hotel and I headed upstairs. Kristin was apparently waiting for me because she called me 2-3 times. Guess who I got to spoon with that night? Lol. By the time I got to the hotel room, Ruth and Jackie were passed out. Sarah was trying to Skype with her boyfriend, Ian, back in Bermuda, and Kristin may have been talking/texting her fiancée, Jim. After changing I realized that my contact was lost somewhere in my eye, so Nurse Sarah performed hardcore surgery to get it out. (She’s the best!)
Sarah, Kristin, and I crammed into the bed- surprisingly comfortable- and we all passed out, putting an end to Friday night. Three posts all to share the details of this night…WOW. There’s so much more to highlight about this weekend. Next post will be all about good times in Lancaster (L-Town)…
The wonderful Adriana knows me well enough to hand me over her wireless password this morning so I can check in Live from Cincinnati this morning. Wait, time check, I guess it’s afternoon. Oops! Sleeping in this morning was the best idea ever since yesterday was a non-stop day of friends, fun, and traveling. It’s so great to be back in O-H-I-O! I woke up this morning with a bit of a wine hangover- more on that later- but feeling so content. I stared groggily out the window from the guest bedroom with such serenity and peacefulness taking over me. I love moments like these, especially in the morning. After a minute or so I realized that I never have these moments anymore- not since moving to Chicago. In fact, I really don’t remember having an experience like this in Chicago unless my friends and/or parents were in town visiting. But when I’m visiting friends in Ohio- Columbus, Cinci, Cleveland, etc.- most of my mornings seem to be like this. Coincidence?
I’ve joke with my friends that I am an Ohio guy- magnet and apparently last night proved to be more evidence for that reason. As Angela and I discussed, I’m like Tina Fey in the 30 Rock episode where people are staring at her everywhere she goes as though she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. That’s me here. I cannot explain it. Ohio guys love me! I think it has a lot to do with the persona I encompass when I’m here. I’m a woman of many nicknames in this state- Bunny, Minnie, KMed, KristenieMinnie, Krabbbypants, Moonchild, Bafafa…and more I’m forgetting- but most importantly I am the most confident and happy person in the world when I’m in Ohio. I cannot explain it. I just feels like home to me. I’m in my element here, and my happiness shows. They say that the most attractive thing about a woman is her confidence, and in contrasting the me here to the me in Chicago- that definitely seems to be true.
I’m listening to a song now with the chorus being, “There aint’ no guarantee.” So simple. So true. That’s why all we can do is live in the moment and as stress-free as possible. On that note, off to get our tattoos! This wrist will never look the same again. Goodbye, clean wrist. It’s been nice knowing you, but it’s also time to cover you up once and for all. You’ve had things written and drawn on you for years; being washed off over and over again. But this time, the evening won’t wash all the markings away. ♥K
Sadly, I woke up still thinking about last night’s episode of The Bachelor. It still pains me to envision Jake & Vienna together. Yuck.
While Jake is not my type at all, I did respect and root him on, and still would if would have chosen Tenley, or ended up with Ali or even Gia. But even more so today than last night, I see Tenley as the ‘winner’ because of her growth and development during the show. It’s not easy to start over again, in any situation, and I admire her grace. I hope she continues to find happiness with herself and eventually in a relationship.
I cannot help but point out how young these girls are. I guess I just don’t see the point of 26-year old me turning to that show to find love in hopes of getting married by the age of 27. I guess that’s why I don’t agree with the show, but it’s entertaining to watch. Can I really give this show up? The next Bachelor better not be a complete hottie otherwise my will-power is going to be tested to the limits.
I believe I said it last night about Tenley, but I want to say again how important it was for her to say what she was thinking and get her questions answered, all in the name of getting closure. I speak from my own experience when I say how important it is and necessary to completely move on. I came across this quote, which sums it up perfectly:
“In love, it is better to know and be disappointed, than to not know and always wonder.”
Trust me, wondering ‘what if’ is the worst thing in the world. Not even chocolate, shopping sprees nor wine can cure that. Though, as always, good friends do seem to numb the pain and frustration as much as possible. ♥ K