Well well well…I’m back!

In case you forgot about me, I’m still here!

It’s been a long while since I last posted! It’s kind of nice to give my perfectionism a break from reading and re-reading my blogs over and over again to make sure my grammar is spot on.  I have quite a few pet peeves when it comes to grammar…but even I know I’m not perfect all the time. (Like you should know the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there’, ‘than’ and ‘then’ or ‘our’ and ‘are’…but I’ll still forgive you if you don’t 🙂 haha)

To get to the point, ’cause you’re probably like “What has this girl been up to lately?”. Well my friends, I had a glorious, month long visit home! Our (Ryan and myself) departure was December 23; so up until that point I was listening to Christmas music as often as I could…and Ryan judged me majorly for this. We both needed to pack up the apartment we were living in (because we’re moving soon!!) and I had all the songs on repeat. Thankfully he put up with me and my insane Christmas cheer 😀 (and I love him even more for it).

China doesn’t really decorate around Christmas time, (well, the city we were in doesn’t) so I can still remember the feeling of  excitement I had to go home and see the Christmas tree my mom decorated, or just any decorations. Or to smell the homey Christmas candles….ahhhh. Also I was really pumped for all the snow! Weird right? Everyone seems to dread the snow, but I was welcoming it with open arms. In fact, just the other night I missed the sound of a snow plow going by. So strange…But the main reason for my excitement was just to be with my friends and family to celebrate the holidays. I mean that’s what the holidays are all about, right!?

Right?

Well, I feel like presents are such an expected thing around Christmas-time, or even for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day…okay a lot of days. Kids (well most kids) aren’t afraid to show their expectations/excitement when it comes to presents. I personally remember a time when it was my 9th birthday (or around that..okay it was last year you guys! ahah kidding) and my parents got me a stuffed animal.  I didn’t want a stuffed animal…pshhh. I was too mature for that (meanwhile I tucked in all of my 7 stuffed animals into bed every night)….But I was definitely a child that loved gifts.

But as adults I feel like we hide it, as we often do our emotions. “Oh you didn’t have to get me anything!”. Meanwhile, if you have a birthday party and no one brings you a gift at all, are you slightly disappointed? Or lets say it’s your anniversary and your special someone doesn’t get you a gift. My guess is that your inner, immature self would be throwing a tantrum; if you had even a shred of hope that someone would bring you a gift. BUT if you’re like, an amazing human being and just cherish the company of others, kudos to you. You are awesome.

And this year, I’m joining that awesome club! I feel like this year I truly cared less about gifts. Seriously. This year I didn’t care what I got, or if I even got anything. I was truly happy to be home with friends and family to just spend my time with them (not that I didn’t appreciate the gifts I got!!). And I know you’re like “yeah sureeee she cares about her family this much”…

I DO. With all my heart I would do anything for every single one of them. They’re all a bit loud, fun, weird, and different…and sometimes a bit moody (okay that’s me on low sleep). But they’re all amazing (I guess I’ll put myself in that category as well…hehe..I mean blood relation you know, I have to have it too!). And boy was it nice to be home!! I arrived home safely, and Ryan, after having our flight delayed, rushing to his connection flight, only to have that delayed an hour, meanwhile having zero sleep on a 14 hour flight, reached Florida safe for his family holidays. For me, as usual, my arrival was on a Friday night pizza night, and my mom saw me at the door and welcomed me with a big hug. I walked in and saw my dad with our very close family friend (again, hugs all around), and I of course got to see my BABIES.

These two little ones…

They steal my heart every time. It melted my heart when they came to cuddle. I feel like they know who I am, but who really knows with cats. They definitely weren’t jumping up and down when they saw me, as most dogs do (they would run you over). But my cats behaved much like cats (surprise surprise) and did that cool cat walk like “Hey…what’s up? Come here often?” just to rub it in my face that I haven’t been around, making me feel bad for leaving them 😦

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I remember Ryan suggesting at one point to go to Toronto to meet up with friends, and I didn’t want to go because I wanted to spend as much time as possible at home. Even if no one was home because they had to do their regular day things, I just wanted to be at home and cuddle my cats….which I mean, judge me however you like (crazy cat lady, crazy animal lady), but I just wanted to smoosh them as much as possible. (We did end up going to Toronto by the way and it was a blast!)

So at this point you’re probably thinking “Okay, your entire time home did not involved just smooshing your cats…”

You’re right.Let me get to the more interesting parts of the holidays.

Florida New Years

This New Years was a big deal to me you guys. I feel like most New Years I end up staying in and watching the ball drop on TV with whoever else I’m celebrating with. Which, yes, it’s about the company and whatnot, BUT I seriously wanted to get out and do something fun for New Years….Okay last year I celebrated New Years in Thailand with some pretty awesome people (Ryan’s family), so that was amazing. But most new years I tend to spend indoors at my own fault. Sometimes you gotta make your own fun!

So, this year I did my research and figured out what Ryan and I could do in Florida. I booked us a hotel, a restaurant reservation, and mapped out where we would go afterwards. Perfect! We were not going to have a boring New Years.

My flight arrived in Florida the evening of December 30, and we drove to Fort Myers on the 31 to get to the hotel and get ready for our evening.

Here’s what the night looked like:

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Followed by this:

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And then this:

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So we had our lovely dinner and we walked around Fort Myers to celebrate with everyone around. This was really cool because there were multiple streets shut down just for people to walk around, drink, and listen to the handful of bands dispersed throughout. As well, a part was sectioned off for the ball drop. All through the night we were able to order alcohol from the booths stationed outside, and that’s when Ryan noticed the Jell-O syringes. Yes…they were actually in a syringe!

I don’t remember exactly how many I had, but I remember hating the taste of them; but yet with peer pressure from Ryan I continued to have them anyway (notice the whipped cream on top; it wasn’t totally awful). I just remembering shuddering every time from the nasty flavour, and having to chase it with beer.

As the night went on, the streets got more crowded and I started feeling like I was back in China, but at this point I already had enough alcohol in me that I didn’t really care about my surroundings. Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything inappropriate! But when we were waiting for the ball to drop, which was blocked off by moveable fencing, there was an interesting security guard watching ‘his area’ (by moveable I mean someone has to physically move it…it can’t move on it’s own!). Ryan and I had our hands on the fence, just chatting away, minding our own business when the security guard comes over and tells us to take our hands off the bar. I didn’t realize a resting hand could do so much damage to a fence! We kept watching him and he continued to do this for anyone, even if they just rested their foot on it, or any body part for that matter. Well, I was feeling pretty rebellious so I kept my hand on their anyways. I showed you Mr. Security Guard!!

…and then he came over and pushed me, and Ryan got in a fight and that was the end of our evening.

Just kidding! But wouldn’t that be interesting!

That really was the extent of my rebelliousness though…nothing happened. (I know, why can’t I be more rebellious just for the purpose of this blog??)

Later on in the night more ‘fun’ people came out from wherever they were hiding. This included a group of super interestingly religious people;  they announced to everyone continuously via loud-speaker, that everyone around Fort Myers was going to hell. Just the kind of vibes people want around New Years right?! I remember seeing some people going up and trying to hug this one particular speaker, to try and show him some compassion. Instead he said “What are you doing, do not touch me, I said to not touch me. Please stop touching me. You’re all going to hell”. This guy was dead serious. Some others went up and explained their own religious views, but this group still put them down for going out and celebrating New Years Eve. I really had no idea religious people weren’t allowed to go out, drink or have fun. All I know is, I wont be joining that religious group (and I probably wouldn’t even be allowed!).

When it got closer to midnight,  Ryan and I gathered with everyone else around the ball drop area. And as you might imagine New Years being between couples…well yeah it was darn cute. And if you’re single, you’d probably kiss that random stranger or hug a good friend…or all of the above if you’re really having a good time!

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A really blurry photo shortly after midnight by the ball drop!

I however stuck with Ryan, and we continued to have a good time by going into a nearby bar. The place was huge, with lights flashing, people dancing and the music vibrating through the walls. I decided (like a kid) to follow the bright flashing lights upstairs. With alcohol in my system I tend to be a bit more curious than normal, and Ryan tagged along. Once we got upstairs, the room opened up to a less busy of a bar with several couches placed throughout, and people dancing to the music between them. I remember seeing the couch and was like “Oh that’s nice, I’ll just sit down for a bit”. I at that point hadn’t sat all evening and my feet were tired. Suddenly, a husky security guard comes over and says “This is VIP! Get out!”, and as we jump out of our seats we hear one of the guys from VIP say “No it’s okay, they can stay”. I should have figured out it was the VIP section before I sat down, based on the environment, but my situational awareness wasn’t the best. So Ryan and I were sitting there and this guy didn’t even tell us his name, he just said “Yeah I’m a football player. We’re all football players up here, and this is our section. But it’s cool if you want to stay”. My mind was at first like “Ooookay football player with no name”, and then thought “I know he wants us to be blown away by his sheer amazing-ness, but what’s his name again?”. In my mind, your name is more important than your occupation, but I think he thought opposite. So to make him feel more special, here was my reaction: “NO WAY! WOW. THAT IS SO COOL! Oh my gosh. This is crazy. No we should leave! We’re sooooo sorry”. In which case he was like “No, no you guys can say”. Then Ryan and I looked at each other and are like…crap, now we owe him/them something. We have to buy them all drinks, and I don’t know that we have that much money left! (I also don’t know if I can worship them that much longer…). So I asked some of the guys and girls around what they wanted and Ryan and I waited at the bar for a bartender when Ryan said,  “I just really want to get out of here”. Smart cookie Ryan is!  So, we literally bought zero drinks and just walked out of the building, not even saying goodbye to anyone.

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Poor football players were probably wondering where their rum and coke’s were at!

At this point it was getting late and we decided to walk back to our hotel, which was about a 20 minute walk. We had stopped in at a gas station to pick up some food and refreshments and next thing you know, it’s morning and we were in the hotel. I was laying on the bed, on top of the covers with my clothes from the previous night on….we made it back to the hotel??

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I turned over to make sure I made it back with Ryan, and saw him on the other  double bed. I tried get up to go to the bathroom but my head was pounding, and the room was spinning. I finally forced myself to the bathroom because my bladder couldn’t take it anymore, and as I was washing my hands I regretfully looked at myself in the mirror. You can use your imagination to picture how good I looked just then. (hint hint: amaaaaazing). I drank some water, and very, very slowly walked back to bed.

Checkout was at noon, so of course we needed to get out of the hotel, but I was in no state of wanting to live.

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I tried to pack up some of my things when I had to suddenly run to the bathroom to puke….ugh. I tried again…and puke again. Then we made it to the checkout, I looked like a mess and didn’t even want to talk, so I let Ryan handle it. We decided to grab something at Dunkin’ Donuts before we drove back, but I couldn’t even look at food, or coffee…not even Ryan because the sun was reflecting off his magnificent white skin.

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Ha! Just kidding. He’s no vampire. Anyways, Ryan ordered something at Dunkin’ Donuts and I sat there, slumped in my chair with my eyes closed, waiting, and hoping not to throw up again. After he was done, we made it to the car and Ryan pulled out of the parking spot when a wave of nausea hit me again. He pulled back in the spot and I quickly got out, thinking I was going to puke, but it was a false alarm. Thank goodness Ryan’s mom had the travel sickness bags in the car; what a smart lady! I got back in and took the bag out just in case, and ended up falling asleep. We finally got back to the condo, with no accidents in the car (yay!), but as I got out of the car and can you guess what happens next?! Yepp…I threw up again. Ryan left me to do my business each time because he couldn’t handle it, which I totally get! Who wants to see that. But the plus side of this situation is that Ryan complimented me on how quiet I am when I throw up. Sooooo I’ll add that to my resume!

Anyways, the whole day I felt like crap. I was willing myself to feel better because I saw how beautiful of a day it was. I just wanted to be out in the sun, and I only had a few days left in Florida! But no matter how hard I tried, I never did get to sit out in the sun that day. I made my New Years Resolution to never drink again (as if a year is that quick to get through)….but I’ve broken that promise several times since! But New Years was a blast with Ryan and SO memorable, and that’s all I really wanted. I would go back and do that again another year, just minus the Jell-O syringes. Bleh.

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Me the day after New Years: recovering all day

I was able to get to the beach a few days, and was it ever nice!!

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Post New Years Adventures

Pretty much every weekend after getting home from Florida, we spent staying up late and having fun. I have to say, Ryan did really well in this area. Ryan’s dad has this saying that nothing good happens after midnight; but I would say for Ryan that nothing good happens after 5am.

There was the one pizza night when everyone was over, being all loud and having a good time. One person we were extra happy to have around because he doesn’t make it to pizza nights as often anymore; my brotha from anotha motha, Eric. Actually though he is like another brother, since my family grew up with his just 2 houses down the road. Anyways, it was getting late and I was super tired that night so I decided to head to bed early. Ryan and Eric however stayed up until 6AM!! Like a little kid on Christmas morning, Ryan came into my room and excitedly woke me up to tell me that we’re going out for breakfast at 7am. They wanted to keep the day rolling, and I was their ride to breakfast. I negotiated with Ryan that 7:30 would be better, but when that time came around Ryan didn’t wake me up. 8:30 came around and still I heard nothing.  So I went downstairs to where the guys were last, and I see the them both sleeping away like little angels (okay maybe some snoring was involved). When they finally woke up they were both still drunk, and they knew breakfast was off, especially since Eric had to be somewhere for noon.

The next really fun time of Ryan waking me up was when he went out with my brother and his girlfriend to celebrate their friends birthday. (PS. do you notice this pattern of me not staying up late and drinking?? I learned something from New Years!) We had just gotten home from my grandma’s 80th birthday around midnight, and they were ready to party! Rico and Ryan had some shots before I dropped them off downtown, and I told them to text me if they needed a ride. I even stayed up late to wait for a text, but received no response. SO I got a lovely call at 5am, and I don’t even remember what Ryan said because I was pretty much still asleep. In my half asleep state, I went downstairs and saw Rico propping Ryan up and trying to open the door at the same time. I at first was like “Okay…they’re just really close now”. Then I finally, really woke up and because something about it didn’t look right. Finally Ryan bursts out “I broke my ankle!!” He’s drunk, and Rico’s giving me a smile like “Geez I dunno what happened…yeah it was stupid”. Confused with how he could possibly break his ankle, I respond “What?? Are you okay? What happened??”. I swear I didn’t hear the full story of what happened until the next day (I did not get much information out of the drunk Ryan).

Here’s the story:

  • Everyone goes out to the bar, has a great time, Ryan’s not drunk
  • Bar closes, everyone Uber’s to the birthday girls’ house, Ryan’s not drunk
  • Birthday girls’ family (and Rico’s girlfriends’ cousins) arrive, Ryan’s not drunk
  • The family brings out the real alcohol, people start dancing in the living room, Ryan’s drunk
  • Shots, shots, more shots, Ryan’s really drunk
  • Deep conversations, heart to hearts, still drunk
  • More shots….still really drunk
  • Time to go home, Rico and Ryan have the brilliant idea of walking..still drunk
  • What’s that Ryan see’s? A really tall shed you say?….still drunk
  • Ryan parkour’s to the top of the shed and proceeds to jump down (stupid, stupid idea…really drunk)
  • Ryan lands…and voila! He can’t really walk (maybe a bit more alert, but still drunk)
  • Rico somewhat carries Ryan home
  • Ryan calls Marisa

So yes, Ryan jumped off a very tall shed in a random person’s backyard, and seriously messed up his ankle. Rico said he was just walking along, and the next thing he knows Ryan brings out his inner monkey and is climbing on a fence towards a shed, gets onto the roof, and jumps off, landing flat on his feet. Okay there Mr. Hulk! (Except instead of him shattering the ground beneath him, the ground shatter him) Something in his ankle must have cracked, or fractured…we still don’t know. My biggest worry at the time was that we were leaving for China the next day and I was wondering how I would get him through the airport with all the luggage we had. Also I have yet to see any people in wheelchairs in China, and there was no way I could carry Ryan the whole way through.

If you’re wondering what’s up with Ryan’s ankle now, we still don’t really know. It was, and is still sometimes painful to watch him walk. On the day of our departure, my dad was able to find some crutches for Ryan to use. Thanks dad! I didn’t have to end up carrying Ryan after all!

Overall the trip home was a blast; we made the most of our days home and spent as much time with people we knew we wouldn’t see anytime soon. Going away has made me appreciate those important people in my life even more; I often randomly think of people from home and sometimes feel like crying! But crying from missing friends and family has subsided a lot, compared to when I initially got here. Sometimes I have the opposite reaction and feel like bursting out laughing, which is equally as funny. The longer I stay, the easier it gets.

Some other memories from my visit home:

Being home always creates warm memories for me; I laugh uncontrollably at least once a day, and I feel surrounded by great people.  My brother, for example, has an awesome humour that can make me laugh non-stop for about 5 minutes from just a silly noise.

Which brings me to a 1.5 hr  Christmas Eve drive home from my grandparents; my brother was driving, and everyone else in the vehicle had been drinking. We listened to all sorts of music, had some good talks, and Rico did insanely good voice impressions of an old Japanese man, an Australian, and Hermione Granger from Harry Potter (pretty much just sounded like Mrs. Doubtfire). It was the Japanese man that got everyone in the car gasping for air; and I had to tell Rico to stop because I was concerned my sister was going to pass out. If we sound like an insanely happy family, I’d say for the most part, we are 😀 (We’re probably truly insane, but also happy at the same time) And I’m so glad Ryan has joined in on our crazy train; I remember when he first met everyone, his facial expression was like “What kind of water are these people drinking?!”

Anyways folks, as always, thanks for taking the time to read my blogs (even if they can be a tad long), and listening to how awesome the people in my life are. Going home is bound to create some good memories, but I’m also loving my life here in China. We’ve met some pretty cool people from America that will unfortunately be leaving us soon to go back home. However, this coincides well with Ryan and I moving to Chongqing within the next week or so! I’m SO excited to move. Until then, I hope you’re all enjoying your 2017 so far. If you’re not, come visit us in China, it’ll change the way you think!

Coming up: The move to Chongqing

Next trip:  Vietnam

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