Cha-cha Changes

So, my solo time this summer is rapidly coming to an end.  Can you believe it has almost been three months since my husband left for his assignment abroad?!  It started out slow, but after a couple weeks I had totally adapted and dare I say… even started having fun.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t miss him. I did. I just had a lot more time to do whatever.I.wanted.  That is a powerful thing.

No more sharing of the tv; if I wanted to have a three hour marathon of watching the Food Network or Cooking Channel there was no one to stop me.  No more making dinners when I didn’t feel like it; oatmeal for me, yay! I could bake all day on Saturdays.

Mostly, the time alone forced me to entertain myself and get back in touch with an element of independence I had lost. I think you can lose some of that when you’ve been in a committed relationship for several years- it becomes to easy to just do everything with your partner.  It is comfortable. You stop taking risks, or doing things outside your comfort zone. Heck, why bother when you’ve got a best friend around, right?  But you miss out on some personal growth when you stop pushing yourself. I know I did, and I didn’t notice how stale I had become until he was gone.

One of the ways I pushed myself this summer was by doing things alone. Here are a couple highlights.

First, I went to a Vietnamese cooking class. I was sooo nervous about this. I wondered what people would think of me. I wondered if I could even enjoy the class without someone to share it with.  But I totally enjoyed it and was reminded that strangers can be nice, caring people. I met a lovely mother/daughter and sister/sister duo in the class. We chatted and laughed and learned together.  We spent an hour after the class was over just talking and sharing stories while we ate the food we had cooked. It was different, but it was refreshing.

Fresh Spring Rolls

Bahn Mi with marinated chicken and a bowl of Pho

The second solo adventure I did was go see a movie alone.

Maybe some of you are laughing at me right now and thinking about how lame and shallow I sound, but that’s ok. I admit I was scared to do it. I felt like a total creeper. I even asked a couple people at work if they thought it was creepy to go see a movie alone, especially a kids movie ’cause I wanted to see Madagascar 3. They agreed it was not creepy for me to do that, albeit it would be creepy for a middle aged man to go. To much of a Pee-Wee Herman vibe there.  I digress.

I ended up making myself a snack and heading out to the theater solo on a Friday night. I decided it was more fitting for me to see Brave, so I did. I was nervous and sweaty and thought for sure everyone in the theater KNEW. I don’t think a single person noticed I was alone. I loved it!  It was chill. I wore sweatpants. I’m going to do it again in the future.

My snack

Chocolate-Toffee Oatmeal Cookie Bites

It is amazing how once you do something that seems scary and you conquer it, you feel empowered to do more. It’s awesome!

But now, he’s coming back.  He has his own reintegration to go through. We will need to ‘get used to’ each other again. He needs to get used to being in American society again. We’ve talked about how this process will go and we both agree that within a couple days we will pick up right where we left off. No worries there.

But what will happen to me and my new-found independent spirit? How will it affect  the proverbial “us”? I’m not sure. I know I don’t want to lose it, but I also know I cannot act selfishly. Compromise will probably be the key here.

I was viewing this whole separation as a self-contained incident in time. Now I’m beginning to think that the time he was away was only Part 1.  Part 2 will be in the months to come, where I strive to keep challenging myself, to continue being independent and not fall back into comfortable, but lazy, relationship habits.

We’ll see what happens. I’m going to keep blogging about food and family and gardening in the meantime. I’ll keep you posted ;-).

- Erin

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8 thoughts on “Cha-cha Changes

  1. The cooking class sounds fantastic – a definite step outside of the box. It’s so easy to get into the groove of life and forget to challenge yourself. I know I fall into that often. I think it’s great that you’ve been able to take a bit of a challenging situation and use it to challenge yourself to grow. Good luck with part 2!

  2. How did you enjoy the Vietnamese Cooking Class? I LOVE Vietnamese food (and actually just came home from our go-to Vietnamese across the street) and have always wanted to try a cooking class. The food looks delicious! :)

  3. Ps – Doing things alone is in no way weird! I try to go out for breakfast/lunch by myself at least once a month. I bring a book or a paper, and sit and enjoy the silence and food. It is so awesome.

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