Things Are Pretty Good

“Music has the power to make us happy, to make us sad.  It brings back the memories that made us laugh, that  made us cry.  It changed who we were and who we would forever be.  I use music as my tool to travel to the past and relive the most precious moments of my life.  Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it inspires, and sometimes it just brings me a sense of tranquility, the sense that maybe everything will be ok afterall.  While I can never be those people again, it’s fun to visit them once in a while.”  –Me

So I haven’t been here in a while.  Sorry.  I’m always thinking about writing here, but more often than not, I end up writing in Spanish.  Today, I thought I’d add some thoughts in English.  I find I often have more to say in moments of extremes in my life, whether it be extreme sadness or extreme happiness.  Luckily for you, today has been inspired by happiness.  It can get kind of lonely here by myself day after day, but a good friend of mine came home to Connecticut for the summer, so I have had the opportunity to spend time with him a bit, which keeps me from becoming a total recluse.  Also, I’ve been working on my goals of being a more sociable person in general.  Ok, easier said than done, but I have taken some steps in the right direction.  I’ve reached out to the Hispanic Community here in town and volunteered to help them out with getting local Hispanics to register to vote.  With the presidential election coming up this fall, I truly believe it is crucial that as many people vote as possible.  Perhaps it is selfish of me to being interested in encouraging Hispanics to vote, as I firmly believe this will help the President get re-elected, which is my hope.  In addition to this, I really went out on a limb and asked to join in on a Spanish speaking book club at the community center.  I imagine this could cause a great deal of awkwardness for me, but I keep telling myself this is a great opportunity to not only practice my speaking, but to also connect with local Hispanics and be more involved with the community.

This all harkens back to Jenny, my Colombian girlfriend.  (Read more of our story here) Sure, it’s a little strange to say that, as we have never met in person, but after talking with her for the last four years, I feel it’s safe to say we have a connection of some sort that is more than just a simple friendship. She and I stared talking back when I first moved into my apartment.  She found me on a language exchange website and we started simply as two people who wanted to practice our language skills.  She speaks Spanish, English, and a little German.  At first, our conversations were few and far between, but over time, we talked more and more, progressing from instant messaging, to talking over a microphone, to using a Skype webcam to see each other.  At first, I was terrified of talking directly to her as I feared I would forget how to say so many things.  I hated the idea of not being able to say more than “Hola, como estas?”  Over time, I became more comfortable talking with her and I realized she wasn’t going to laugh at me if I said something totally ridiculous.  Unfortunately, my fear and anxiety over hurting her feelings lead me to do just that.  When talks of us being more than just friends started getting serious, I backed off, telling her I was afraid of travelling to Colombia (true) and I was not sure if we would ever be able to meet in person.  We stopped talking for a few months, but it turns out when two people really do have feelings for one another, it’s hard to stay away.  (Wow, that sounds like a Hallmark Card if I ever read one.)  We started talking again, which has in all honesty made me very happy.  Sure, there will always be that doubt that things will work out the way we envision it, but life never works out quite like we envision it.  That’s not to say we won’t find a way to be together.  The current obstacle between us is Germany.  It turns out that when I cowardly ran away from her, she moved forward with plans to live in Germany for a year.  I know she has always had dreams of travelling to Europe, so this is a great opportunity for her, but it also means we have to wait another year before we can really consider being together.  I suppose this gives us the chance to better plan things out, but it is still difficult for someone as impatient as me to wait for someone who I know wants to be with me.  She is still working out the details of her trip to Germany.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The other day I was stressing out over money, something I tend to do every few weeks.  I’m not sure why I worry so much, as I have never had much money in my life and I have made it this far, nevertheless, I let things get to me last weekend.  Granted, in order to avoid bouncing any checks, I need to restrict my spending to about zero until next Thursday.  This actually shouldn’t be as hard as it sounds, but it means I can’t go out with my friends. (Unless I decide to rack up further credit card debt, which I am really trying not to do.)  I considered looking for a part-time job just to make a little extra money over the remainder of the Summer, but I am not sure if it is worth it or not.  I have in the past applied to work at a Mexican restaurant so I would have the chance to speak Spanish, but they didn’t hire me.  A new restaurant just opened next to my place and I think it too serves Mexican food, so I may give it a shot again, but it all relies on me mustering up the courage to go in and say, “Hey, I speak Spanish!”  On one hand, I want to use this as a step towards being more social.  I have always been introverted, and I remember going on and on here about how I was perfectly content to stay here at home and never see any part of the world beyond driving distance from my house, and while that hasn’t really changed, I would like to be open to the possibility that I will do more (possibly including travel) in my life.

It’s not easy, after 31 years, to reinvent yourself.  Sure, when you go from middle school to high school it’s easy to be a new person.  You stop letting your mom dress you, take up some bad habits, and bam, you’re someone entirely different.  Ok, I blew that chance, and now it’s a lot harder.  It’s not like I can walk into work with spiked hair and some chains and think they will go for it.  I am pretty much locked into who I am at this point, so what I need to do is focus on enhancing what good there may be and try to bury that Grinch like persona people have stapled me with.  Getting over shyness is like getting over being left handed.  Yeah, I can use righty scissors, but I always fall back on the lefty ones.  I’m not ready to stand up in front of an audience and give a speech on my life or anything like that, but I still have this itching desire to record a podcast someday.  I have some ideas and all, but I need not only the confidence, but also some people who would want to work on it with me.  As far as other aspects of my social life, I’m not sure what more I can do, but I would like to get out of my house a little more often.  Going to bed at 7:30 presents a problem now and again.  As ridiculous as it sounds, I have allowed myself to go back to Facebook, but I am doing it on my terms.  After my best friend’s wedding, I  added a few people who I really hope to reconnect with.  While I don’t expect we will ever go back to the kind of friendship we had in high school (that would be impossible unless we went back to high school) I do hope we can keep in touch enough to know what’s going on in each others lives.  I’d like to invite them all to my wedding someday!  I’ve also caved in and allowed a few of my co-workers access to my page.  This could always come back to bite me in the ass, but I’ll keep an open mind for now.  Hopefully I won’t have to go back to being a social network hermit.

All right, I guess that is enough in English for today.  I’ll try to add blogging in English more often to my list of Summer challenges.  Until next time…..

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~ by James on July 4, 2012.

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