Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Seven Day Mile

This is going to be sappy...just a warning

This last Saturday night Jeff asked me to marry him.
And of course, I said yes.

Or rather, I screamed yes.
Along with quite a few "Oh my God!"s

The entire night was perfect.

Not because we went to all the right places (although we did)
Or because he said all the right things (although he did)

But because everything about the night was personalized, in some way connected to us, and reflected just how well he knows me.

A few years ago I took Jeff out for his birthday.
I took him to Gejas, a fondue restaurant in the city.
Afterwards I took him on a carriage ride and gave him a little book I had made of all the things I loved about him.

That night was the first night I told him I was falling in love with him.

Saturday night we revisited Gejas.
When we were finished he said he wanted to go to a bar he knew of close to his work.
We instead ended up at the horse-drawn carriages.

We got into the carriage and he said that he had recreated our evening from years ago.
I replied yes, and that I thought it was very sweet.

He then said that he had recreated something else.
And out of his jacket he pulled a handmade book of all the things he loved about me.


I immediately started to cry.

When I got to the end of the book I looked at him and he said, "It didn't all fit into one book" and he handed me a second book.

By the time I got to the end of the second book I could barely see, I was crying so much.

But I could make out him starting to move to get onto his knee.

And suddenly everything and nothing changed.

I don't remember even looking at the ring...just grabbing his face and screaming yes.
And the rest of the carriage ride is a blur.

We got out and Jeff announced to the driver that we were engaged to which the driver replied, "Yeah, I figured that's what was going on from all the screaming."

As I made a phonecall home to my parents and my sister I was too distracted to realize that Jeff was leading me somewhere else. Before I knew it we were in some strange building, getting on an elevator.

When the doors opened we were at a bar overlooking the city and Krissy and Pat were waiting there with champagne to celebrate.

I can't imagine a more perfect night.
Jeff nailed it. Which I've told him a thousand times since then.

The whole thing reminded me of how we got together in the first place.

Years ago I had gotten angry because I thought Jeff had been telling people we were together when we weren't.

I told him that he was not my boyfriend, that he better not be telling people that, and when it came down to it he didn't even really know me.

A few weeks later I received a package in the mail from him for my 21st birthday.

There was a copy of a story referenced in one of my favorite movies
There was a music review that he had written containing a private joke we had
And there was a cd he had made me with music I had never heard of

The cd had the most amazing music on it.

And as I sat looking at the package he had sent, I realized that even after I had given him the brush off he had still taken the time to send me something- and that the gift was the most personalized, thoughtful present I had ever received from someone.

This guy did know me.
Not only that, he was interested in getting to know me better, even after I had tried to shut the whole thing down.

I listened to the beautiful music and realized that this was in fact someone that I wanted to get to know better.

That was the beginning.

Years ago his thoughtfulness and creativity are what made me finally wake up and realize the possibilities of us together.

This last weekend those same qualities reaffirmed what I've known the entire time we've been together...that this is the man I am meant to spend the rest of my life with.

I'm just happy and blessed.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Go Back

Is anyone still reading this?

It seems to be my routine. I blog like crazy, and then I drop off for months.
After coming back from Australia it was amazing and disconcerting at the same time to know that so many people were reading what I had to say.

So I stopped. Also, I didn't feel like I had a lot to say.
That's not true.
I just didn't think I had anything to say that people would want to read.

Which is probably true to some degree, but this was never for you, so I continue.

Ironically this is exactly a year from when I started blogging again after a long absence the last time. Weird. I have an impeccable inner clock.

Let's take a look at that post from a year ago shall we...

December 22, 2004


My right eyelid has been twitching pretty consistently now for about 3 days. A long time ago my eye doctor told me it was from stress in my life. This was before him and I got into that fight about putting substances in my eyes without first explaining what they were.

Anyway, I need to find some sort of outlet for this stress, and not much else seems to be working so I thought I'd try blogging again.

I can't even begin to catch up on what has happened since my last post, November 6th I believe, so I'm just going to continue on as if I've been faithfully blogging throughout the last year.

We're almost a month away from Australia right now and as I looked over some of the literature sent to me from Bunac, the organization we're going through, I found I was having trouble catching my breath.

The amount of things that I'm worried about are overwhelming and at times paralyzing. I wish I could be like Jeff who never seems to worry, because "what's the point?" if only it were that simple. Anyway, here's a list of the things that I am worrying about at this present time, in no particular order.

1) I won't have enough money to do everything that I want to do in Australia
2) I won't be able to find a job in Australia
3) We won't find a good place to live in Australia
4) I will seriously freak out before getting on the plane and never even make it to Australia
5) Ok, these are all Australia related so I'm going to stop putting it at the end of every sentence
6) I'll get eaten by a shark
7) I'll be bit by some sort of poisonous animal
8) I'll get there and be incredibly homesick, I'll let that feeling overwhelm me and I won't be able to enjoy the experience
9) While we're traveling, there will be a major terrorist attack on Chicago and everyone that I know and love will die (Thank you so much Dad for that lovely scenario)
10) Jeff and I will be in over our heads and will eventually break up, and I'll get off the plane in August to a crowd of people who told me not to travel with my boyfriend holding big "I fucking told you so" signs
11) No one will miss me while I'm gone
12) I'll miss important things that I want to be a part of
13) I find out I don't have the adventurous spirit that I thought I did all along and I'm more content to stay at home watching old episodes of West Wing rather than travel the world and experience some new things

I think I'll stop on my favorite number.

I'm comforted by the fact that I doubt anyone even checks this anymore since it's been so long since I posted anything. I just need somewhere to release a little bit of this

. Anything to stop this eyelid from twitching damn it.

My mantra that I've been carrying with me over the past few months:
"I'm moving off. I'm packing up. I'm willing to be wrong."-The Frames

Back to December 22, 2005

Damn it.
I wish I could go back and tell myself not to be so scared.

Having trouble catching my breath when I think about Australia too much...funny, I just used that line a couple nights ago.

I miss it so much.

But everyone is sick of hearing about Australia. Which sucks because now is the time when I've really started missing it and wanting to share my stories. Home was home and I was happy to be here. I didn't realize until the last month just what home meant. Not in Sydney. Not a part of that life anymore.

I told Jeff last night that of course I missed the city. It's the most beautiful city on earth. I know it better than Chicago, it was home. But what I miss most was who we were there and the lives we led. We were on our own, we were independent, working, making it happen...adults.

This just feels like...practice, no, I don't know.
Living at home is comforting and stifling.
And comfortable isn't good for me.

I know when I can't sleep 4 nights in a row.
I can't turn it off.
But I can't seem to kick start myself.

I'm afraid again.

Did it all even happen?

I need to get back into motion.
If for no other reason than I want to be back out there travelling somewhere.
Make money. Get life on track. So eventually one day, in the not so distant future, we can go back. And go everywhere else for that matter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Baby Sully

I'm officially an aunt.

William Kennedy Sullivan was born this afternoon, August 22nd, at around 4:30 pm.

He is healthy, he is perfect.

His mother is the strongest woman I've ever known, and his father was a fantastic coach who helped her through it every step of the way.

I couldn't stop crying as I held him and whispered to him over and over again, "Thank you for waiting for me Will."

I'm so incredibly thankful I could be here to welcome him into the world.

And I know I am his aunt, but he's the most adorable baby I've ever seen in my life.

Monday, August 01, 2005


"Adventure is a path. Real adventure - self-determined, self-motivated, often risky - forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind - and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white."
-Mark Jenkins

I'm coming home.
It's been six months and I'm sitting in the airport waiting for our plane to board.

I cried a lot this morning.
When I said goodbye to Nick I squeezed him tightly, told him I loved him and that I'd see him soon. Boston isn't that far away.

I said goodbye to our city last night.
And it is ours.
We are all over that city.

The memories of you and I are scattered along every single block.
We built a life there, if only for a short time, and I am a stronger person for it.

I'll miss so many things but I will also miss my time with you.
You, the most patient and generous man I have ever known.

It was like meeting you for the first time, uncovering all your little mysteries (strange impersonations included) and falling in love with you all over again.

I know I've said this a countless number of times, but you're the only one who drags me kicking and screaming through fast dreams.

Thank you for showing me the magic door.

I am so excited for all the adventures we have ahead of us (South Africa, South America, did someone mention Japan over dinner?) and all the passport stamps to come.

Let's go home.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Park Patriots! Red, White and Blue!

Since Jeff has recently taught me how to post pictures on my blog I thought I'd take this opportunity to show everyone that those jerk judges from 7th grade were wrong. I would have made a damn good cheerleader...and just in case you're wondering, Nick and Liz, that is yet another Wisconsin shirt.

We've arrived in Perth after our three day train adventure.

It was a complete success.

The first night was a little shaky given a few snorers, a man that Jeff was convinced was dying and a few parents who let their kids run wild (I do not think your child is as cute as you do. I know, I know, I'm going to be an aunt very soon, but my nieces and nephews will be well behaved!).

But the second day we snuck onto a more secluded car and despite a strange French girl that felt it was her right to stake claim to 6 seats, the next night sleep was much better.

Less than a week until we fly home. And although the train ride offered a good amount of time to reflect, the conflict of emotion is constant. But more on that later. Right now I'm focusing on remaining in the present and enjoying our last few days here.

I find I can't write much more than that, or I'll lose focus.

If you happened to get a call from Jeff and I a few days ago, where the hell were you? We made 9 phonecalls and none of you picked up! It's our last ditch effort to use up the minutes on our phonecard. Prepare yourself for another round, and pick up.

Molly, did you get the message I sent you on im the other day? Make it happen.

Prego ladies, how're you holding up in 100 degree weather?

Julie, the threats are real. I better see you soon.

And that's about it. After a day spent savoring a meat pie and exploring this new lovely city, it's almost time for a nap.


While we were in Adelaide I found a little shop with two different shirts that I really liked. Normally I would hem and haw about making a decision and in the end just buy both (how often do I shop?)

I walked out of that store with only one. I blame Jeff for this. He's finally rubbing off on me.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Train time is your time

On a train cross country for the next three days, working our way from Adelaide to Perth.

I'll be sure to update the blog once we get settled into a hostel in Perth.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Make it Happen

The coast flew by.

When I think about my favorite moments, I try to play them back as slowly as possible in my mind and take in every detail. The last three days before Sydney were wonderful...great hikes, amazing guide.

The last night was perfect.

I find I'm still as scared and unsure of myself before I do things.

That's going to take years to undo, if it ever happens.
I'm still anxious and completely doubtful of my ability to handle the situation.

But before I used to let those fears and anxieties stop me- I would stay in my comfort zone and miss out.

The last night in Barrington
Night kayaking down white water rapids.

"Only place in the world where you can do this"

That's all I need to hear.

I can see my breath.
I'm dressed up in my swimmers, a thermal shirt, a wet suit, a wool woobie, a water proof wind breaker, a life vest, thermal socks and a helmet strapped to my head with a tiny little lamp.

I have never felt sexier.

I'm anxious that I'm going to capsize, that I'm going to forget how to paddle or turn, that I'm going to be the only one in the group that's total crap- Yet as all these thoughts are running through my head, I find I'm still in it.

I'm carrying my kayak down to the river...I'm ready.

Those old tapes are still running, but it seems there's another part of myself that takes over now and pushes me forward, where at one time not too long ago, I would have bailed.

Because deep down, I know.

And that part of myself that knows is gaining momentum.
These past few months have taught me to push ahead...I can handle anything.

Not perfectly of course.

10 seconds into the first rapid I capsize.

It's freezing cold water and after freeing myself from the straps and the weight of the kayak I come up gasping for air and wildly flailing my arms around, trying to reorient myself.

I did exactly what he told us not to do.

I fucked up.

But I survive.

And I climb back in and get ready for the next rapid.

This time I'm calm.
That's all that happens? A little cold water and the wind knocked out of me?

As Danny would say, "Bring it...Ba-Ring it"

Before, the rest of my night would have been consumed with the thought of me capsizing: I screwed up. Everyone saw. I had to get help climbing back in. I did what he said not to do. I was the only one who fell in.

But it's quieter now.

As we sit back in that hot tub sipping those drinks and staring up at the stars I'm so proud to have done it at all.

Only place in the world

And none of the others know what it feels like to capsize.

I can tell them...pretty damn good.