Robert’s Homecoming

I am finally getting around to writing about Robert’s homecoming!

I’ve always known that whenever I get engaged I am going to wait a few days before announcing it to everyone so that I can just sit and enjoy the moment with my close loved ones. I love social media, but I think there’s something special about keeping some moments private. This is kind of how I felt about Robert’s first week back. I waited to announce that he was home because I really wanted to be able to thoroughly enjoy the moment without the million texts that I knew would come — which I also loved when the time was right!

Robert came home on a rainy Saturday evening, and I had jitters the entire day I was waiting to pick him up. I woke up in a little bit of a daze, but decided I just had to do everything I needed to get ready. The day before I had picked up a giant bouquet of balloons, made a welcome home sign, and talked to my best friend about when we would need to go to the airport. The week prior I had received a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses from The Bouqs Co so that I would be ready for his return as soon as he informed me he’d be home. You see, the Army is all about the element of surprise, so I didn’t know exactly when Robert would be back until the day before his flight.

Going to the airport was a kind of strange experience. I had waited for this moment for months. Since the day Robert left to be exact. Every day he was gone I thought about how incredible the moment would be when he got back. I thought about his return for 10 long months… Now that it was finally here it didn’t feel real!

Waiting in the airport was a strange form of torture. On one hand it was incredible the moment Robert set foot on US soil. As soon as he texted me I felt a heavy weight leave my shoulders, as I knew he was finally safe. On the other hand, though, Robert’s plane being fifteen minutes later than I had expected felt like such a tease. It was funny because I knew I was being ridiculous feeling antsy. After all, what is ten minutes in comparison to ten months of waiting?

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I did the math. It’s .00023% of the deployment. That is essentially nothing.

Seeing Robert for the first time is indescribable. Partly because yes, I was excited, but the other part of me felt really confused. He’s not supposed to be here, said a part of my brain. This isn’t real, said another. Robert isn’t going to be staying was the loudest part of my brain. Instead of being able to be ecstatic about having someone I loved so much back in my arms I felt kind of shaken by it. Yes, my brain knew Robert had told me he’d be around for a very long time now, but my heart didn’t believe it. I was so used to him being gone that it couldn’t register that he was actually here to stay. Our entire relationship has known this deployment. Even when I started dating Robert six months before he went overseas I knew he was going to be eventually leaving.

Since we’ve had just over two weeks together now I am starting to feel like things are normal. It definitely took a bit of time, and I’m still trying to adjust to the realization that I can see Robert whenever I want to, but my heart is finally starting to catch up with everything that’s going on.

Robert is here to stay. We can finally go out and continue to date each other in a really normal setting. He’ll still be in the Army, but the only time he’ll really be away from me is one weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer. I am so beyond excited to start a new chapter together. I will definitely keep you posted on our new adventures together as a normal twentysomething couple. Goodbye deployment, and good riddance 6,500 miles!

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Hello, Goodbye… Um, Sorry For Being Awkward.

Oh. My. Gosh. I am literally the most awkward person in the world.

My best friend and I went out to dinner this past weekend and since I somehow hit the jackpot and landed a bestie who happens to be a makeup artist and insanely gifted at doing hair, she got us all dolled up for a night out in DC — which actually just involves dinner and lots of dessert. It had been a long week, so I was excited about having a fun girl’s night.

Everything started out great. We parked in my favorite garage with a really crazy attendant who sings and dances aggressively toward your car, then tries to make conversation until you finally drive into a parking space. He’s my favorite because he’s incredibly goofy and never fails to make me smile. And the parking happens to only be $4, so you really can’t beat it!

Anyway, we got to our destination and Audrey held the door open as I walked into the dark, swanky restaurant… And I immediately saw someone I had met on Tinder close to a year ago!  He was standing across the room, and my immediate reaction was to stand like a deer caught in the headlights.

After I stared him down for a good 15 seconds, he looked up. I don’t think he recognized me right away, so he kind of cocked his head as if he was thinking, “hey crazy, do I know you?”

“OH, HEY!” I yelled from across the room.

Literally right after I screamed my greeting, my mind started working and I decided it would be less awkward if we just didn’t say anything to each other since we hadn’t talked in such a long time and since he probably wouldn’t even recognize me. This was when things got really uncomfortable. For whatever reason I felt like he wouldn’t have known the “Hey” was for him, and that I could just go about my own business without acknowledging my awkward salutation. I stared a hole into the ground until I felt both his and Audrey’s inquisitive eyes on me wondering what my spastic behavior was all about.

WHAT THE HELL, POTS?! Krista. You already said “hello.” Why do you think you can just take that back and play the “We don’t know each other” card now? THINK A LITTLE, GIRL! 

“Krista?” he asked cautiously, as if I might go completely insane if he was mistaken. After all, he had never seen a human behave quite like this before. It was fascinating — the kind of interpersonal interaction that should be studied. He didn’t know what a girl like this could be capable of, as she was clearly exhibiting psychotic behavior.

“Oh, heyyyyy,” I blushed. Darn it, Krista! I thought to myself. You aren’t wearing an invisibility cloak; he can clearly see that you were the one who shouted hello! “I didn’t recognize you…” I trailed off. There was no coming back from this.

We chatted for a second or two and Audrey finally stepped in and introduced herself, glancing over to make sure I had regained at least part of my sanity as she gracefully ended the conversation. In hindsight I have no idea why I behaved so strangely. There wasn’t any bad blood with this kid; I guess it had just been awhile since I saw anyone from my online dating days and it just caught me off guard. Ever since I got POTS I haven’t been the best at thinking on my feet, and I kind of wear my feelings on my sleeve without meaning to. Luckily the rest of the night went pretty smoothly, and the parking garage attendant ended up making me feel better when we left because he is just so happy to be his goofy self. If he can be silly and not care about what others think about him, I should be able to, too!

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Today’s lesson: Just don’t pull a Krista like this. Ever. I am not someone who typically ignores people when I recognize them, and now I know why — I am clearly not good at it.

Men Are Not Dogs

Well this is a strange headline, huh?

What I mean by “men are not dogs” is that men, unlike dogs, do not need to be trained. Yes, they should be raised to be respectful and kind, but when you are looking for a grown man to date you should absolutely not go into it with a mindset that you need to teach him how to treat you.

“I can train him to buy me flowers,” or open doors, or hold my hand, or [insert task you want your dream boyfriend to do]. It isn’t your job to mother a man, and one really surefire reality of life is that you can rarely change another person. Sure you can tell someone what you like and watch their actions closely after a conversation, but you should never go into a relationship expecting someone to change a laundry list of things for you.

I’m going to share a personal anecdote to show how I learned this lesson the hard way.

I used to date someone I really liked, but our relationship just didn’t feel  very romantic. I am someone who absolutely loves the little things in life. I adore little gestures that say “I love you” like leaving each other notes, cooking for one another, and yes — I love chivalry.

Boy #1

This first person that I dated wasn’t into showing me he loved me in any of the ways my heart wanted. I remember even telling him at one point that I thought it was nice when he opened the car door for me and I really appreciated when guys did that; this struck a pretty strong nerve for him. #1 told me he didn’t know why in the world I wanted him to do something like that and that it wasn’t worth fighting about.  I didn’t realize something like this was fight-worthy, I thought to myself. I wasn’t trying to argue, I just thought it would be nice for him to know that I appreciated the gesture so there might be a repeat. Later I realized “the door” wasn’t really even about the door at all. It was about the pile of things I felt I wasn’t getting out of this relationship. That was the most one-sided relationship I have ever been in, and although I gave up so many of my dreams for this gentleman (huge mistake; I will write about this another day!), bought him presents and little gift baskets to show that I cared, and even abided to his wishes of talking to him less,* I never felt fulfilled in our relationship, even when he did.

This wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, though. He just didn’t show love in the ways I need to feel loved. Back then I thought I was being kind by giving him “tips” on simple ways to love me in ways I understood better, but now I realize we just weren’t the right fit.

I want someone who will remember our anniversaries and enjoy celebrating them together, someone who gives me his time, and someone who is as kind and caring to me as I am to him.

*In hindsight it is hilarious that I once “showed someone I loved them” by agreeing to cut off most of our communication.

Gentleman #2

This second person is the complete opposite of #1. He is someone I’ve often wondered how I had the pleasure of meeting, as he is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.

On our first date he was chivalrous, but this behavior continued seamlessly into our 30th date. He opened my car door any time we went out, always wanted to be the one to pick me up and take me out, and goes above and beyond to show me that he cares. He has written me letters, cooked complicated five course Italian dinners, and often called me during his lunch breaks just to say “hello.” This is someone I think is so incredibly special that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to meet him and see that many of the sweet little joys in life aren’t just “Krista things” that are unrealistic traits to want in a boyfriend. There are men out there who are a million times better than the ones you see in the movies. They’re real, raw, and far from perfect, but they love you so fiercely there isn’t any room for you to question where you stand in their life.

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Today’s lesson: Dogs are smart, loyal, and loving companions. You really can’t expect any human to measure up to this amazing animal, but wait for the person who does make you feel loved in the same way your dog loves you. This is a kind and selfless love with so much joy that your heart feels like it might explode.

Kohr’s Older Brother

As I mentioned in my last post, my friend and I were on Tinder looking for a double date while we were at the beach.

Luckily for us the Serial Killer that was supposed to meet up with us didn’t end up working out, so we moved on to the next one. We ended up chatting with someone in the police academy who was actually really polite and said he would be respectful of our wish to just meet up for ice cream. We sent him the same address we were going to meet the last guy at since both of us were dying for a Kohrs cone at that point. He said he could be there at 11:20, but once again his friend “canceled” at the last second. It’s cool, we thought, we just want to make one new friend by the end of the trip.

This guy seemed like he’d have some good stories for us, so we threw on our matching sweatshirts in true bestie style and headed to the boardwalk.

We waited a few extra minutes for the guy and began to get grumpy. He was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago — maybe he was standing us up!

“I can’t wait any longer,” I promptly exclaimed. “I’m just going to get my ice cream now and we can just sit and visit with him while he eats his dessert when he gets here.”

Audrey agreed with me and we purchased our cones on our joint credit card. That was when hilarity ensued. There weren’t any seats at the Kohr’s, so we walked across the street to the benches by the Hilton hotel that was about 70 feet from the shop. We had a direct view of the cashier, so we could see when our date showed up.

We people-watched and chatted until Audrey suddenly exclaimed “IT’S HIM!!!”

I whipped my head back to look at the shop and saw a bald man with a scruffy brown beard charge angrily up to the cashier. Before I could even analyze the situation a bus stopped in my line of vision.

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That darn bus!

“Are you sure?” I asked. “I didn’t get a good look, but that guy looked like he was quite a bit older than us.”

“No, but I don’t have my glasses on,” she replied. “It looked a lot like our guy, though.”

We waited anxiously for the bus to get a move-on. By the time it pulled out of the stop the man had finished his purchase and was strutting out of the shop with his cup. He seemed to have a new spring in his step, and hurried happily across the street with his ice cream. He was coming for us.

We squealed nervously as he approached. There were a million thoughts running through my mind at this point.

How did he see us from all the way across the street? Why is a 50-something man on Tinder pretending to be 25? Why didn’t he wait for us? Why didn’t he message us that he was here?

He turned the corner into the pavilion area where we were hidden. Audrey and I froze.

I parted my lips to say hello, but he continued to walk toward the hotel doors. He did a double take on his way into the lobby, and to this day I am not sure whether it was because he was actually the man from Tinder or just thinking, “What the heck is wrong with this girl?” because of the startled look I had on my face.

Audrey looked over at me with her spoon in her mouth, floored. “Was that…?”

I shrugged, stunned. He was at least a vague shadow of the man in the pictures. What were the odds someone else who looked like that just happened to get a midnight snack at the same custard shop as us?

What do you think? Did we see the same guy we matched with on Tinder or was he just an older doppelganger? We sent our match a message and never heard back from him — I suppose he will always remain a mystery to us.

Virginia Beach

My best friend had an extra day off work recently so we decided to take a trip to the beach to kick off summer. Since we live in the DMV we picked Virginia Beach, as it’s a bit livelier than the family beaches in Delaware and we figured it would be a fun place to go out dancing and collect stories.

We left around nine on Saturday morning, as I have a million routines to do when I wake up to take care of my POTS for the day. It’s funny how being caught in traffic with your best friend isn’t really a chore — we talk every day, yet we still always have something new to catch up on.

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This kind of texting happens back and forth daily.

We chatted for about five hours until we were finally at the beach! I’ve touched on my illness here and there, but for anyone who is just tuning in or doesn’t quite understand some of what I deal with, I cannot lift much more than 2 pounds at a time without facing a lot of pain for days after. This meant poor Audrey had to be the bellhop with our bags and kind of take charge carrying the heavy things to the beach. This information will be important to take note of for a story I’ll tell later on.

We stayed in a pretty standard beach hotel that was right on the boardwalk. I’m not sure how many of y’all have been to VA beach before, but there are some kind of sketchy areas there… Our hotel happened to be right on the brink of sketchiness which made for some interesting moments.

Now that I’ve kind of set the scene, you can see what my posts will be about this week and whether you want to come back to hear more — like my ~simple~ lesson on how to be a gentleman, our attempt at a “Tinder Takedown,” and how goofy and fun best friends can be. This week’s to you, beautiful Audrey!

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If you know me even a little you probably know how important I think friends are. After all, they’re the ones who will stick around whether or not a boyfriend works out!

We’re Not Really Gilmore Girls

This past weekend I threw my best friend a surprise birthday for her 25th. It’s a really special birthday, so we decided to have a crazy night of dining and dancing our hearts out.

She finished grad school recently, so I added a “Grad Princess” sash to compliment her birthday tiara.

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We are both the exact same when we go out — we enjoy dancing, good music, and girl time. We don’t go out to meet guys and always dance with each other or in little groups with friends –old and new– instead of going solo with a stranger.

Anyway, I believe I’ve mentioned before that Audrey and I enjoy playing pranks on people. While we were eating dinner we decided it would be hilarious to tell everyone we met that I was her mom and that she had just graduated from high school. She and I both get a lot of crap for looking young, so the only hard part would be convincing people I was older than I actually am. Our plan was to tell everyone that Audrey had just turned 18 and that I was 33. I “gave birth to Audrey” when I was 15, and had been a teen mom.

There was one particular fellow who really believed us. Granted, he seemed kind of drunk, but said it was really cool that a mother-daughter duo had such a great relationship. He also ruined one of our selfies together:

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Audrey still somehow managed to get her sash in the pic.

Most of the guys we told this story to were skeptical, but ended up falling for it. Or so we thought! When I recounted this story to the guy I am dating he informed me that everyone definitely knew we were trying to fool them and that they were just being nice.

Educate me, please! Why wouldn’t guys have called us out if they didn’t believe our story? I would never go along with something the way they did and would’ve totally called their bluff!

Moving Forward

I called my best friend late last night in tears as I felt frustrated and angry about my chronic illness. It’s hard to be in pain all the time and it is exhausting being sick without ever getting a break.

This morning I woke up with a text from her to check my mailbox and found a package with her favorite gluten-free snacks (I just started a GF diet to see if it might help my pain), a Star Wars mug, a frame with me and my special date, and a beautiful card. I teared up as this present came with an incredible reminder — life is not fair. I don’t have a properly working body, and I don’t have a normal life for a twentysomething. What I do have, though, is an unfair number of people who love and care about me. That is something I feel blessed for each and every day. I am going to end there, as I cannot even put into words how thankful I feel for the love and support I have.

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This was easily one of the most thoughtful things I have had anyone do for me. I am so blessed.

This week I’m going to be writing more about faith and frustration.

I’m a little nervous, as some of the things I have written are very personal and scary to address, but I would love to share my journey with Jesus with my readers — I don’t think it will be quite what you would expect from me.