You & the Moon & Neptune Got It Right

Everyone has been encouraging me to write a post about “living with a boy” lately. This whole thing makes me laugh. First of all, the fact that living with a boy is “post-worthy” is hilarious. Second, I had no idea what to talk about. It would be completely one-sided and awkward. But…

A few weeks ago, a reporter from a national magazine reached out (I can’t say which yet!) after hearing our story of how Daniel and I met. It is pretty hilarious. For those of you who don’t know, Daniel is from Southern California and I am from Chicago. We met at Whatever, USA, a town created by Bud Light for one weekend and contest winners get to go on the trip. Daniel won by auditioning and I won through a job I had in college. One of the events at Whatever, USA was Beer School, where you learn how Bud Light is made (and drink more beer). You can go any time, on the hour, on Friday or Saturday, and we happened to go to the same one. He saw me walk in with my roommate asked the hostess to seat us together…the rest is history. We spent the next 24 hours running around the island with impromptu concerts and watching the Blackhawks until it was time to head back to reality. Something inside both of us wouldn’t let this be the last time we saw each other, so not too long after, I was flying out to San Diego for a month to see where this could go.

Not long after getting home from California and Daniel visiting Chicago (for the first time in his life, I might add), he left the country for 7 weeks to travel in Asia. Between the distance and the difference in time zones, it was extremely tough, but we managed through, and the week after he got home from Asia, he moved in with me (and our puppy!) in Chicago.

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The questions below were from the reporter and Dan and I answered accordingly. The answers, of course, made me cry and I figured what better way to update everyone how “living with a boy” is going than from both of our own words.

Why did you two decide to start your life together in Chicago rather than both of you going to Southern California?
A: We decided on Chicago because I had a year lease signed here already and Dan was planning on looking for places in LA when he got back from his trip. But the more we talked while he was gone, the more we wanted to start a life together right away, so we decided on him coming here until my lease was up and then we would decide if we wanted to stay in Chicago or head back west.

D: Apart from her having the lease signed, I was also very interested in experiencing a new city. I had just spent nearly two months traveling around Asia, and going back home to San Diego seemed a bit too routine. When we had spent time together before, we couldn’t get enough of each other. When I was gone, these feelings only increased. As crazy as it was, moving to Chicago seemed like the natural next.

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Can you name two-three things that changed when you moved in together?
A: For us, since we met it was very fast-paced. We met at Whatever, USA and shortly after, I went to visit him and a few other friends in California and ended up essentially living with him for a month while I was there anyways. Immediately following our month together, he left for seven weeks for Asia and we dove right into 12-hour time differences and a major lack of wifi, so three things that I really noticed that changed when he got back were:
   – Our communication. I felt like it was so much easier to be able to talk in person, whether it was just deciding on dinner or where we were spending Thanksgiving. In today’s world, it’s so easy to hide behind texting, so us being able to sit down and talk was so nice.
   – Our comfortability. This was the biggest one for me. We have always been comfortable around each other, from day one. That’s how I knew it was different between us. But this was even more than that. I could be goofy or cry or I do this weird little snort when I laugh (ugh) but he loved everything about me and that has really become clear since we’ve been living together.
   – “Little things.” I think with Daniel traveling and I was starting a new job and helping my parents move, we kind of took what we could get with talking or Facetiming. There wasn’t much room for anything else. But once we moved in together, little things became so important for us. Like compromising on plans or when I come home and the apartment is cleaned, or he’ll make breakfast while I sleep in or get flowers from the place down the street. Stuff like that really started to mean something because we had so many days where we couldn’t do stuff like that for each other.

D: I couldn’t agree more with the things that she’s said, my answers add to that just a bit.
   – Our appreciation for each other. Living with each other allows us to show this so much more than being apart. Having someone around that is available and willing to help out with chores or errands is such a nice luxury. It makes me happy when I can do something to make her life easier, and I know she feels the same way. As we continue this journey, I know that I’ll have my biggest fan by my side.
   – Having a third body in the apartment. When we were together before my travels, it was just us. When I moved to Chicago, I wasn’t just moving in with her. We have an adorable little puppy to take care of as well. He’s only seven months old, so he’s quite the handful, but he’s my little buddy and I love taking care of him. It’s a little crazy to go from being apart, to moving in together, to essentially having a little family, but it’s all been nothing but great so far.

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Can you name two-three things you learned about each other?
A:
   – He’s so thoughtful. We were skeletons one day of Halloween and I did his face make up before mine. Naturally, it looked terrible (I’m not a makeup person!). He kept saying “Do you want me to keep it? I’ll keep it! It’s okay, it’s your first time!” It was so sweet. But I didn’t make him keep it. I re-did it…and we were late…haha!
   – He’s so smart. Every time we’re watching tv or walking around the city, anything, he will “quiz” me on different things about the world. Whether it’s watching rugby and he asks me “what country is that city in” (I never know) or something about politics, he always knows. I chalk it up to him traveling so much, but maybe he’s just played a lot of trivia crack? Who knows.
   – He has the best support system. I come from a pretty big Italian family, so I know support. No matter what it is, they’re there for me…and now us. But his family is the same. They are so sweet and I have gained some great people in my life just from knowing him and his family and friends. I’m just the luckiest.

D:
She is hilarious. I pride myself on being a jokester and making her laugh until she snorts (sorry), but she’s really funny as well. Every once in a while we’ll lie in bed and watch funny videos online until we’re in tears. We couldn’t be more on the same page when it comes to humor which is an amazing asset to me. We still laugh at some of the jokes she first made with me, and she’s kept them coming since. I even snorted once, and that’s saying something…
   – I’ve learned all about her life. The first night we met, we stayed up until six in the morning sharing stories about our past, and learning about one another. In the months that followed it continued, but now living together, it has escalated to a new level. I now know all about the special combination of events, people, and environment that makes her who she is. I’ve met the friends I’ve heard stories about, I’ve seen the house she grew up in, and I’ve spend time with the family that raised her. It’s done nothing but advance my feelings about how special of a girl I found. 

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What surprised you most about moving in together?
A: Mine is easy. What surprised me the most was how much my day-to-day life improved by him being there. If I had a bad day at work or I was crabby or anything, coming home to him made absolutely anything better. He’s always there to make me laugh. On the good days, he’s the first one I want to run home and tell everything to and he gets just as excited about the things that happen in my world as I am. My days are brighter simply because he’s a part of them.

D: I couldn’t agree more with her – just how exciting every day is, and how much I love having her around. I work from home and I literally cannot wait for her to get back from every day. It’s a pretty regular occurrence that I text her at 5:01 asking if she’s left the office yet, and maybe I’ve taken after the puppy, but we sit together each night counting down the minutes until we hear the keys in the front door.

As many of you have been following me on my journey on my blog, you know how much this means to me. To have someone who shows me what pure happiness is and makes every single day magical is something I’ve wanted for so long and I feel so lucky and blessed to have finally found that.

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Love you, b! Here’s to the last six crazy months and to many, many more.

xo,
“Your” Al

Say Yes and Figure It Out Afterwards.

Freaking out, but it’s official. I’m staying in Champaign for one more year…!

As I read over my post from October, “I’m So Anxious,” I realize I was just so angry and so shut off. I was needing to prove people wrong and show them that my decision to live my life my way was the best choice for me. Graduating early was the only thing I wanted to do because it was the only thing I had control over at the time. I have recently looked back on that period of my life and how much I have changed and grown since then and I’m honestly astonished. I never thought I could/would come this far.

I know everyone’s original question probably still remains: “What drove the decision to graduate early..?” I guess I could blame it on being “free spirited,” as my mom calls me, and my willingness to go against the social norm. I could say it has everything to do with the incredibly challenging first semester I had this year that went horribly wrong when I was so sick.  Along with that came the complications from my illness that left me with debilitating headaches, and severe anxiety and depression, so when my advisor said I could graduate early by just taking 21 credits (basically, one extra class) for my last semester I was like “ABSOLUTELY, get me out of here”…I was so ready to leave.  So ready to get out that graduating early was the only decision I would even consider at that time and I didn’t want anyone challenging me otherwise.

Maybe it was because I was the lucky one, the one with the amazing Public Relations summer internship that would turn into a full time opportunity after graduation. I was the one that was offered several other sales opportunities with really good sports teams and other companies. I was the one with the amazing support system that would be there after graduation. Everyone told me how lucky I was, so why not graduate, I mean, they wanted me and everyone told me they were amazing chances that I would be losing or passing up if I didn’t take them. I had a taste of the working world last summer and I LOVED it, I wanted to be in that environment and I thought I was ready to be every day.

I don’t really know all the reasons, all I know is that I just wanted to do it. More than anything.

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All of those reasons aside, I’m admitting it. 100%. I. Was. Wrong. I thought I was ready for the real world. I thought I knew what I wanted out of life and who would be there. I thought that if I graduated early, I would know exactly what I wanted because..well, because I was supposed to. But guess what, t-minus 1 month until graduation and I still have no idea.

Someone told me I have a “wild spirit” once; that I don’t like to be held down. Maybe this is why I don’t know what I want. I can’t decide on just one thing. Graduate. Work. Done. Ummm…no. I want to do everything. I want to live everywhere and experience everything and I know that I can’t do that quite yet. So one more year to decide couldn’t hurt, could it?

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Bottom line, I’m not ready to give up my life here. I’ve made such an astonishingly, spontaneously thrilling life in college and I’m just not ready to let it go. Staying in Champaign will let me experience college on an entirely different level. I’m getting to live with my best friends and spend another year with the people I love to be around. I get to graduate with some of them and experience our lasts together. I get to be an Alpha Phi for another year, work at the salon, blog for Panhellenic for Alpha Phi. This is what I want out of college..not to leave and have a life of regrets and what ifs. Everyone can make their own assumptions of why I’m staying now, but these are my reasons written out in black and white for everyone to see.

Also, my parents just found out that they are moving to Florida. Amazing, I know. So why would I leave here to go home to have my family leave? Or go with them with no job or any idea of what to do? None of what my plans were seem to be making as much sense as my idea to stay here, so I’ve made my decision…Champaign wins for one more year.

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Lastly, To My Friends and My Family: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for shutting you out, not listening and rebelling against you when you were just trying to help. I wish that I would have listened to your advice earlier, but I hear you loud and clear now and thank God it’s not too late. I can’t wait for another year with some of you and for the rest of you to come visit! Love you all, AAFNMW.

Al