Vancouver, B.C.

I love it.
I love everything about it.

I only spent 4 nights there but in those 4 nights, Riley had an exhaustive list of activities to make sure I got to see as much of the city as possible, and experience it for everything it's worth. I am so glad it was Riley, of all people, who was responsible for making my two-way ticket worth the money. Because he appreciates the same things I do and had such a desire to just treat me and show me a good time.

I arrived there late at night - later than planned - around 1:30a.m.. So I was pretty tuckered! I was so cranky the flight had bothered my sinus infection a lot but as soon as I saw him, standing at the bottom of the escalator, my heart skipped a beat. Is that man really mine? That handsome, and extremely charming man? I hugged him when I got off the elevator and made a mental note to myself to really try my best to shake of my sickness. He took me through the city to show me the lights and we headed into Burnaby, his town, and finally, Pandora Street. I was so excited to be there, but fell asleep instantly regardless. The next morning we slept in and he informed me this morning's activity is kayaking and hiking! So excited about both. We ate waffles, got dressed, packed a lunch.
Kayaking was incredibly gorgeous. It was so peaceful and we even got so lucky to get close to some seals. I felt a huge rush of peace as we paddled through the green hills - I felt loved, and protected. It was so quiet. The hike was perfectly challenging for me and my cold, and when we got to the rock at the top, we got to look down at the waters we had just been in and ate ham sandwiches Riley made.
That night I was so lucky to spend it with his roommates and friends for a potluck. Riley BBQed steak and made a casserole and I mixed some guacamole. We had some delicious red wine, a ginormous feast with way too much food left over, and a dance-party. Then someone had a brilliant idea that Riley and Ryan make a video to Eminem's Lose Yourself. Definitely entertaining:

The next two days were spent exploring the city - going to the market, doing a little down town shopping and sight-seeing, walking in parks, sitting on the shore, taking touristy pictures - stuff like that. And Saturday night he told me to put on my finest for a surprise: "It's something I've always wanted to do but never have. I don't think you've ever done it - there are only a few in the world. I'm not going to tell you what it is but basically, you can't be over-dressed" :) He had me close my eyes until I was facing all of Vancouver city half-way up a glass elevator. It was phenomenal - a rotating restaurant. Definitely not something you do everyday but I definitely recommend it. "I was trying to think of a way to show you the whole city in 4 days. I thought this would be perfect" and it was - such a great evening. We went to the Karaoke bar his roommate, Breanne, bartend's at and he sang the classic, Teenage Dirtbag by Weezer... an obvious choice. Sunday night after church we ate at the restaurant he works at - the Keg - incredible and affordable [with his discount]. I was feeling really sick by the end of it though, so we headed home and I crawled into bed like a big baby and got serenaded to sleep by Riley's voice.
We spent our Thanksgiving Monday first eating sushi and then with family-friends of the Merrell's - but basically family. It was precious. They had a long table and so many people over and at the end of the meal we went around and said something we were thankful for. It was kinda over-the-top adorable. Riley and I took some coffee, 3 hours before leaving for the airport, sat on the patio by the heater and recorded a song together. Not really good quality what with my sniffles in between meters but still great because it meant a lot for us to record that medley together.

We drove to the airport and people-watched a lot and found a really great way to lay down on airport benches where we both get to lay down and we both use each others shoulders as a pillow. Riley was like "take a mental picture of this one - we won't want to forget it for when we start traveling together." Haha we watched so many couples say goodbye to each other and judged them because they aren't as good as us. Instead of hugging, kissing, and crying, we did a secret handshake, highfive thingy when it was time for me to go through security... just so we wouldn't be one of those couples. But then we were serious and it got all sad. :(

Umm so basically, I'm in love.
I'm in love with Vancouver, and I'm in love with Riley. Ooo. The L-word.
Get out of the way - we're in love.

And did I mention we're spending Christmas together in B.C. as well? Yup. Intense.
Happy, happy, love-dovey meeeeeeeee.


cough cough cough cough sniffle barf Zzz

Okay minus the barfing part. But dude can I just complain for like 4 sentences?
I am siiiiiiiiiiick and actually don't remember the last time I felt so terrible! My entire body aches, have mucus in every area of my sinus's and my head feels like 100 pounds. Not to mention my cold sweats and lack of taste and smell... I'm miserable. I've heard horror stories of people flying when they are sick but I never really understood what the big deal is until I did it. It's not that you just have a lack of space to stretch your legs, no one to cuddle or care for you, and no real privacy... but the elevation does quite the number to your head. Take it from me: flying with a sinus infection does not make your ears feel good. I came home with a "hemmorage" to my eardrum... whatever that means. I suppose it's better than a rupture but still... who wants a hemmorage?!
I wanted to slap Riley when he said "Lucky you ... you just stay in bed all day and sleep and then talk to me and then sleep..." ARGGH! Does he know how uncomfortable this is?! I would way rather be in the real world and healthy and writing my midterms and being normal than this. I got out of my midterms but I'm still going to have to write them at some point plus I'm so far behind in all of my work cause now I have missed classes I have to somehow make up for.

I think this is to teach me a lesson that your health is the most valuable thing you own. Cherish it. Love it. Cradle it... and hold onto it. You don't realize how wonderful it is until it evaporates from your fingertips and you have to just sit and wait for it to get better.


giving thanks

I'm thankful for a lot of things this thanksgiving. But it's fairly predictable that this thanksgiving will be unique in that I will be thankful for the amazing man I am so privileged to spend it with. It will also mark the two month anniversary of the day I met him (in person, not cyber world) - which doesn't seem like a very long time to have known someone - but I consider it to be significant because within those two months (and the months leading up to it... in the cyber world) I have not only gotten to know some of the in's, out's, up's, and down's of a person that I had immediate positive feelings for, but I have come to a greater understanding of myself, my heart, and my God. I have grown up more in these past two months than I have in the earlier 12. I have left fear at the door and have challenged myself beyond what I believed I could have met. This isn't a corny thanks for my boyfriend - he's so cute and like we like to like hold hands and kiss and it's so cool and he's like really amazing. Yeah he is those things and I am definitely a big-time little school girl about this incredible boy. But, more than that, in all seriousness, I have so much gratitude that I have someone in my life to inspire me and build me up into a stronger, better, and more beautiful me than I thought was possible.

Thank you for accepting me into your arms this Thanksgiving. Thank you for your support and for your confidence in me as an individual. I have no doubt you deserve many of the thanks I have to offer.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you so much that you have allowed me to handle Gold when I didn't spend silver wisely. Thank you for bringing me to a new level of me, and for granting me with peace I have not felt for a long time. Thank you for the past, where I have stumbled, the present, where I climb, and the future, which you hold, and have blessed me with the hope in advance for. You are an incredible God to serve because you come right when I need you, but you also allow me to fall, so I can know what it's like to be picked up. Thank you for sending me Riley when I was undeserving. I love you. You deserve the most thanks. Amen.


uncontainable inexplainable unfathomable joy

We don't give her a name. Sometimes referred to as Devil Woman, she's the one who ripped my man's heart into too many pieces. I've never been seriously traumatically heart-broken. The kind where, when you repeat the story, others can't help but have some serious sympathy for your situation. I've been really lucky to have pretty neat and clean break-ups. No break-up is a good break-up, but you have to admit, there are some really bad one's out there, and I'm pretty sure Riley's would have to top the charts for evil. Evil doing, evil intentions, evil spirit... Just no bueno. I try as best as I can to understand what it's like but sometimes it's hard for me because I see how what she did to him is still affecting his life... including our relationship. I hope she never reads this because truth be told, both Riley and I would be extremely upset if she knew how much she is still haunting his life. It would be a disappointment to know that she would get that kind of sick satisfaction. Anyways, as best as one can, I try to really be there for him despite the fact that sometimes his broken heart turns into baggage that makes it hard for him to care about someone again. It's understandable and I know it's not personal. It has nothing to do with how good of a girlfriend I am. It is what it is. It's the past, and you can't change the past. You just live every day the best you can and try to move on. And I know that's what he's doing.

Going back to Vancouver didn't make his heart heal any quicker. He was suddenly bombarded by memories that she left him with. Good memories, I'm assuming, but ones that now just haunt him because all they make him think of is what she did to him. I totally called him out for it. I could tell he was uneasy. And he finally gave in and, leaving denial at the door, came clean about his insecurities when it comes to that dark aspect of his past.

We decided it would be in both of our best interests to take a week. To breathe. To think. To pray. To come to terms with ourselves and with our lives. Not a break like "Oh we're... on a break..." haha just a civil break from talking to each other so we could focus on our baggage and insecurities. It was a difficult week, but definitely well needed and extremely therapeutic. At least... for me it was. About 4 days after we started talking again I got a package in the mail from Riley. I opened it to find red cardboard cut-outs in some jigsaw pieces with writing all over each one with a paper-clip to secure them together. The sticky note on the outside read "I know she broke my heart into many pieces. But I'm certain you're the only one who can graciously put those pieces back together." And each piece had a message written on it - one for each day that Riley and I weren't talking. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. It was, to this day, the most thoughtful thing any one has ever done and for the first time, I experienced Riley's heart. I mean... I think I have experienced bits and pieces of it before, but this time, something was different and I felt like it was the most raw and real version of someones heart I've ever sensed.

After I finished reading them, I got my scotch tape and put the puzzle together. It was awakening, and revitalizing and beautiful. I feel so lucky to be the one who gets to put the pieces back together and to have a man who will let me do that. I'm sure he's not going to be totally stoked I wrote a blog about it - haha he's probably embarassed that he's such a softy and now everyone knows it. But he'll understand... I'm sure... :)

So yeahhh... we're basically the cutest thing since Ps. I Love You.
He's da best. Da best I ever had.