They ain’t see me ’cause I pulled up in my other Benz

So,

I was reading an article earlier today on a topic  that I have mixed feelings on. But what I want to mention is a specific line from it that I have spent today reflecting on. The writer stated something along the lines of how relationships, oftentimes, turn into arrangements instead of being connections that serve as catalysts for personal growth. That really struck a chord with me. From the outside looking in, many long-term relationships seem to be arrangements. So many expectations. But shouldn’t things be more dynamic and free-flowing? People change and connections need to be able to change as well. I’ve gotten a lot better about not having my mind jump ahead to best or worst case scenarios. A lot in my life has changed and I plan to keep changing for the better. Shouldn’t everyone?

I screened half of the kindergarteners so far. Here was a snippet from one of my favorites:

Me: Does your mom play with you?

Kid: My mom doesn’t like to play with me. She just likes to watch novelas. That’s hilarious, right? So hilarious.

I took DDD on an Adventure Sunday. We went to the Baha’i temple in Wilmetter and then walked to and around Evanston. The weather was perfect. It was a beautiful day to be outside.

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Did you ever know that you’re my hero?

So,

For the first time since the Opening Ceremony, I am actually watching the Olympics. Hurray gymnastics.  How do they get up so high in the air? I’m remembering Dominic Moceanu. Oh and Kerri Strugg. Shannon Miller. How does Simone Biles have so much power? It’s incredible.

Right before, I was at Jewel buying yogurt and 40 folders (two pocket with prongs for 29 cents!). The cashier actually scanned each one, even though they were all the same.  This made the hipster with ugly glasses and gross moustache standing behind me roll his eyes!

My birthday was wonderful, so thank you all for the love. Had two birthday dinners with DDD. Had some birthday drinks with friends during the week and Sunday.  I made us a cake last week. Blueberry white chocolate cheesecake. It was yummy. Now it’s healthy time. I walked 7 miles home from the doctor’s office at Northwestern Memorial. Earlier I had walked 6.7. I’m being encouraged to get a Fitbit so that I can have more steps than all my friends.  Maybe. After my walk, I took am Epsom salt bath because my legs were tired. I drank a Coke slurped while sitting in the tub. It was great. I’m super tired. 

I have a new phone! Same number. Man, this is not a good post. Sorry. Boy things would make it more interesting, no? Don’t have anything too terribly interesting to share. DDD told his mom I exist. And I met his brother. That’s good. And he’s going to read that I wrote that. Anyway.  One last tiny cloud and things can move forward. I look forward to it.

Also, this piece about introvert hangovers is interesting. Read it. http://introvertdear.com/2016/08/11/yes-there-is-such-a-thing-as-an-introvert-hangover/

Here is a photo of the lion I photographed while walking through the zoo on my way home. I also heard the tiger roar and roar and roar.

31

So,

Tomorrow I turn 31. I’m excited. 29 and 30 were two of the best years of my life, so 31 should follow the same upward trajectory. I feel like it took me a while to have fun in life. But now that I know, I’m not stopping! I feel lucky to have an awesome work-life balance and so many warm, friendly, and caring people in my life to spend time with. I do what makes me happy for work and I get to do cool things in an awesome city with friends in my down time. I feel very fortunate to have the life I have.

Tomorrow is also the first real day of school with students.

Tomorrow also happens to be DDD’s birthday. Weird, huh?

Tomorrow is also the anniversary of Chicago first incorporating as a village of 200 in 1833. It’s a sign, I tell ya.

Tomorrow is also Antonio Banderas’ birthday.

Time to go spend time with one of those warm, friendly, caring people now.

Love,

Me

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

So,

There was a time when I had several open circles, as MoxieChi called them. Some of them I saw super infrequently. Some more so. One I never actually saw with my own eyes. One I knew outside of that context and would interact with him elsewhere. And there was R with two Bs.  We had some of the most fun dates I have been on ever. But he did not want anything serious and was always super busy. With him, I closed that circle in the spring because liking something you can’t have isn’t good. But he would keep checking in.  Then after I met DDD (Apparently he doesn’t like “dynamic” as a descriptor and would prefer “digital.”  It wouldn’t be fair change it so drastically, so both can be used), when he checked in AGAIN, I told him I was seeing somebody. He told me congratulations and all that jazz and I figured that’d be the last I would hear from him.  UNTIL this Saturday when he kept messaging me. I tried to dissuade him by telling him things that I thought would make him stop. But no. He sent kissy face emojis instead. Then I quit reading the messages and didn’t respond at all. It made me feel uncomfortable overall. It’s funny how guys will continue to check-in every few months. Even Mile Away M, whom I have not seen in a year and a half.  He was the one that ended up having a baby! Yeah. He was a jerk.

In general, I haven’t done too much crying about my mom in the past two years. When I think about her, it’s all good memories. Not many people have been able to make me feel the way she did about myself. I miss it. In Poland, I cried whenever I went to her grave. I got emotional about my mom Saturday night and DDD was really sweet and tender about it. It was very comforting. That paired with The Little Prince this weekend made my heart feel a lot of feelings. You MUST watch The Little Prince. I loved everything about it. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack today and will continue to do so for a few weeks. Makes for good background music during therapy sessions.

I’m excited for the school year to start. I’ve been back for a week now, but it never feels like a start until the kids come. I’m excited to start the school year already knowing all my students, with the exception of transfers and new Kindergarteners. This is the most manageable caseload I’ve had ever. EVER. I’ve been getting things ready for Kinder RTI groups to work on language. I’m excited for so many one-on-one sessions. For the first time in my working adult life I have my own office and treatment space! I had an incredible summer and I’m optimistic for the school year. I am sad that I did not have a chance to go to NC for a week.  I always do during the summer! But because I did summer assessment and because school started so early, there wasn’t time.

I saw this and it made me laugh:

What are you afraid of?

So,

Today I went to CPI training, which stands for Crisis Prevention and Intervention. One tiny part of it involved going around the room and sharing what we are afraid of or what makes us anxious.  My answer was deep water, which is, in fact, something I’m quite frightened of. HOWEVER, that got me thinking about other things that scare me or bring me anxiety. Feelings, being vulnerable, and showing affection are high on that list for me. I haven’t been in all that many serious relationships.  In the first two, I knew where I stood right off the bat. Then with No Nickname C, we didn’t have a talk until 5 months in and, even then, I never felt comfortable.  Later, North Carolina guy was pretty explicit with that stuff too. This time around I have found myself in a situation that I haven’t been in before, one where there needs to be time given to line up ducks. Knowing you are/were one of many ducks is a weird feeling. It’s assumed early on when you start seeing somebody, but when it is explicit, then it’s weird. Anyway. Things that aren’t clear cut are not easy for me. Being insecure is bad enough, but having somebody else know you are insecure is worse. In the past few years, my confidence has increased exponentially. No Nickname C brought out insecurities. But, then again, people who are not truthful do that. Insecurity makes feelings hard. It keeps me from giving more of myself to another person because being hurt sucks.  No use in getting attached to people if they’re just going to die, or move, and leave for whatever other reason.

On our way back from Michael’s today (needed craft supplies!), my friend asked me how I express affection. I don’t do it much. Initiating anything is hard. Writing and doing it via distance is easier than speaking about it in general. It’s not like anything THAT terrible has happened to me to make me like this. I need to be Buddha about this and go back to not overthinking. Just go with it because he makes me happy. Right? Jump in?

That’s the end of the word vomit for now.

So. What are you afraid of?IMG_20160731_061443447_HDR.jpg

“I’M NOT A PEZMIST, I’M AN OPTOMETRIST”

So,

It’s the last weekend before I go back to school for the year. Kids come back on the 10th, my birthday. Now it’s Saturday morning. I’m watching Orange is the New Black and thinking about what an incredible summer this has been.  Granted, while I will be working, I do still have a month left of summer (and my birthday) so it could get even better (and I kinda don’t have reason to believe it won’t). It’s been so much fun! I went to Poland BY MYSELF and saw family and was sociable and met new people and spoke Polish and explored. I’ve tried and done new things that Agnes of yore never would have thought she’d do in a million years. I got to spend lots of time with friends doing all sorts of fun stuff.  I met a boy I like.

In the past couple of years, I’ve gone from a closed-off, super shy person who didn’t share to somebody who is open and, while still shy and introverted, more likely to initiate interactions with others and also more likely to overshare. Heh. Feelings are still not easy to talk about, but I’m working on it. One of the people I met on one of the walking tours I went on in Warsaw and then hung out with called me bubbly. Me! That made me laugh.

I recently read a short piece of writing titled, “I’ve never had a goal.”  In the past few years, I’ve switched into this mode and it’s been great.

Anyway, I could blab on and on, but I have to get ready to head out for lady brunch!

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You’re trying to seem mysterious, The covers pulled over your head

So,

My time in Warsaw is slowly coming to an end and I’m getting sad. I got to spend two fantastic weekends with relatives about 70 kilometers west of Warsaw. For somebody who is not used to having any extended family, it was really nice. I feel like my aunt and uncle know me better than my dad does. So I had to say bye to all the family today and it was not easy.  Plus, I’m a cry-baby anyway. What makes it extra hard is at I won’t know when I’like see them again. But, I will work on my Polish.  I need to improve my grammar and build up my vocabulary.

In some ways, my life this past week and a half has been pretty similar to Chicago life, well Chicago summer life.  Wandering. Seeing cool stuff. Cocktails and restaurants. Lots of walking.  I’ve discovered that I’m braver than I give myself credit for and I really need to quit underestimating myself! But even better, was exploring a part of me that I don’t embrace as much as I should.  Wandering around cobblestone streets. Staring at bullet holes in buildings. Learning about the history here.  Talking to my relatives about my mom.  Seeing places where hundreds of people were killed. Where people gave up their lives. Ghetto wall markers.  Being in the city during the week and then a weekend escape to a small, quite place where I got to skip around empty fields and pick blueberries off of bushes.

If I was in a different line of work, it’d be easier to live here.  Accenture, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and a whole bunch of other places have offices here. But I am going to start looking into a possible big life change summer 2017.  I’ve done this before and nothing happened, so who knows. 

Lots of rambling. Sorry. 

This was a cool painting I saw today. After I got back to Warsaw and my cry face cleared up, I went to the national gallery. And then went on a Warsaw Crime tour.

Bo moja Warszawa, to moje podwórko i wróbel kolega wesoły, Niedzielne spotkanie w Łazienkach z wiewiórką i droga codzienna do szkoły.

So,

My mom used to sing to me ALL the time even though she was kind of tone deaf. The title of this post is from a song she sang to me. It’s a kids song about Warsaw.

I originally thought I’d get kind of lonely here, spending so much time alone during the week.  But, that has not been the case! On Tuesday evening, I made a friend on a tour that I went on and we hung out after the tour until pretty late.  Got food at a milk bar, went to a regular bar, then got Bahn mi (really tasty). He was originally from India, but had spent the past several years working in Australia as in the middle of taking 6 months off to travel all over. He told me Iran was his favorite place so far and about how nice the people there were and how beautiful it was there.  Then the following two nights I spent with a friend I made via…Tinder. Ha. I downloaded it Sunday night and wrote exactly what the situation was-looking for a friend to show me around and get a drink with.  And I made a new friend that I hung out with Wednesday and Thursday evenings.  I had one of the tastiest cocktails I’ve had ever last night with mezcal, peach liquor, and other stuff. The glass was served in a coconut and there was water poured onto liquid nitrogen in the area between the glass and the coconut, which was a neat effect.  Went to a shot bar (can’t believe we don’t have these in Chicago). Got the best ice cream in the city.  People in Warsaw LOVE ice cream. They eat it alllll the time. Had really good vegan sushi (for serious) and wandered around. Now I have a Polish friend.

During the day yesterday I went to Lazienki park and the Palace on the Isle that’s there, as well as the “white building” and a botanical garden. I love taking photos of chandeliers, and there were LOTS of chandeliers to take photos of.  I also got to see one of the red squirrels.  They are much cuter than gray American ones. I went to Pole Mokotowe, which my dad told me he used to go to.  It’s a big park.  There used to be a pool there that he went to, but now it’s all run down, closed off, and covered with graffiti. I also went to a shopping mall and got some stuff. Don’t know how it will fit in my suitcase.  Heh.  

After every trip to Poland, I always want to move here or closer to here. Last time, I started researching Moving to and working in London. With an EU passport, that would have been not too bad back then. Plus, switching over certification is each (just expensive) and I have a couple of contacts there. NOW things are a little different because of teletherapy. I could totally do that from Warsaw. Granted, the time difference would make it so that I worked afternoons and evenings, but that’s okay. You make less money doing teletherapy, but stuff here is cheaper, so that’d be fine. I’d be near relatives. Plus, while doing that I could work on improving my Polish and then doing speech therapy here. Sounds like a plan, no? We shall see.

One may think what one thinks.

So,

Today was a fun adventure day.  I finally slept through the night!  Got a cookie flavored mocha at a local coffee chain.  It was delicious.  Had a lazy morning drinking coffee and reading.  Then I went on a walking tour of Warsaw called Warsaw at War, where I learned a lot about what went on during World War II.  85% of Warsaw was destroyed. Some of the buildings that use some of the leftover parts have billet holes in the walls. Like this place.  It is almost across the street from where I’m staying. It was once a bank. Now it is an event space. It is cool to see the original part of the building and the new parts that they added.  And the bullet holes, of course.


In the afternoon I went on a Communism in Warsaw tour. That was cool too.  Went to a different part of Warsaw that I haven’t spent much time in yet.  


On the tour I made a friend and we hung out afterwards. Went to a milk bar. Walked around more. Got a beer at a neat patio bar.  There are so many restaurants and bars with patio seating. SO MANY. Then we walked more and went to an Asian fusion restaurant where I got tasty bahn mi. Then it was late and I went back home. I haven’t traveled much but today I felt that travel bug that people get.  I have a week of fall break in October and I plan on using that to go somewhere cool and new.  Budapest? Who is coming with me?

Wandering after the tours, I came across this building, which was compared to Hogwarts, with all its staircases. I couldn’t take enough photos.

Being alone it can be quite romantic, like Jacques Cousteau underneath the Atlantic

So,

Today I was on my feet from about 10:30 until 5:30. Lots of walking. I’m pooped out. For serious.  Since I last posted I went out to the country and spent time with my relatives. I visited my mom’s grave. Cried a little. Ate blueberries as I picked them from bushes. And also apples and red currants. Ate A LOT of food.  Like so much food.  And drank coffee and tea.  So much caffeine.  I wandered around the University of Warsaw, which also happens to have a giant garden atop its library.



I went on a tour of “Alternative Warsaw,” aka the Praga district east of the river. After the tour I wandered around the shopping mall there and bought a really cool purse. And then I went to the Life Under Communism Museum, which was neat. The ticket was in the form of a ration card. It was interesting. Obviously there isn’t a whole lot I remember from Poland in the second half of the 80s, since I was so young. But some things, including books and toys, were familiar. Here’s your typical apartment from back then:


Tomorrow I learn more about war and communism and I’ll be a little further south in the city than I’ve been. Woohoo!