Sorry for my silence as of late, it's been an interesting few months lately, and I just haven't been much in the mood for writing. Now that it's the middle of summer and I'm up way past my bed time, I have a little patience to get reflective and fill in on the stories I haven't told just yet.
Costa Rica was beautiful. When I first got there, the traveling had been dreadfully overwhelming, and I got terribly homesick, so much so that I had trouble keeping it together and any thoughts of Chris or home sent me into a sobbing fit. That lasted for the first day there, which is normal I guess, and I got over it once I was more settled in at the field station. The first thing I saw when we got to the cabins was a gigantic spider (I'm not exagerating when I say it was about five inches in diameter), and I thought I was going to die. I decided then that I needed to get over my thing about bugs or run home screaming like a girl. I chose the former, and I'm proud to say that I did okay, for the most part, about the whole bug thing.
The other students who were there were effing amazing, every last one of them, and there are many that I hope to maintain friendships with (if I can't ever get off my ass and email them, urgh). In short, everything was lovely... except that I couldn't breathe. I kept having major asthma attacks, the kind where you sound like Darth Vader running the LA Marathon. I figured it was all the heat and the humidity, and so when it happened over and over again, me and the instructor and a few other people there at the station came to the conclusion that it was time to pack it in and go home early. So we changed my ticket. Then they took me to the dr next day, who diagnosed it as a nasty case of bronchitis which, coupled with my asthma, was wreaking havoc on my breathing. He gave me antibiotics and a medication for the asthma, and I felt mostly better by the next day. So needless to say I was cursing the decision to leave early. Turned out to be a good thing, though, because the bronchitis still hasn't gone away completely. I've just finished another round of antibiotics and I'm on advair right now, so hopefully the end is in sight, but I have my doubts. It's not so bad as it was in the rainforest, but I'm pretty sure if I'd stayed I would have continued to have major problems.
So yeah, kinda sucked, especially since I was having so much fun getting to know all the great people I met down there, but the good news is I got to see the capuchins twice, and the howler monkeys came out the night before I left and howled like crazy as a storm rolled in. They woke me up that last morning, which was a bittersweet send off. I desperately want to work with primates, but now it's going to be a battle to get a grad school professor to take me on without field experience. I don't know whats going to happen, what I'll end up focusing on in grad school, but I'm addicted to primates and I think I'll be really disappointed if I can't work with them in some capacity.
Once I got home, I stayed down in Southern California for the extra time, which as usual was a truly ambivalent experience. My grandmother was horible and spiteful, as usual, so I wont get into that. If you really want to know what its like, I would imagine cutting a grid pattern on your back with a razor blade and then rubbing salt into it every day would give an accurate impression. The good sides were awesome. I got a ton of new clothes in the smaller sizes that now fit me, twice got confused for a high school student (one mom thought I was 15!!!!!!!!), and heard "wow, you look great!" over and over, which never gets old. Everyone liked my short hair, and I think I'm going to keep it short for a while now.... It's so much easier to deal with (except for right now, when I desperately need to get it cut.) Before people bug me for pictures, I'm not posting one until I'm closer to my goal, because I still feel in process, and I want to be closer to my mental picture of myself before I start posting pics. So nyah.
I've decided that, one of these days, I want to get an English Bulldog or a Miniature English Bulldog. I've met two in the last few months, and they are the cutest, friendliest dogs I've ever seen. The miniatures, from what I've read, have fewer health problems, which is why I'm thinking about that. They're still a foot tall, at the least, so it's not a purse-dog...
I also am suffering from the worstest nexting syndrome. It's disgusting, really, how biology can take over you so easily. I never wanted babies when I was younger, and even when I met Chris and I started to think it would be nice to have kids one day it was just this thing I thought we'd eventually do. Now, it's just gone into the realm of the ridiculous. I want a baby soooooooo bad, it's disgusting. I try to make him understand it, but the closes thing I could come up with was "Imagine everyone but you gets to have a real light sabre, but YOU have to wait." Which is a piss-poor analogy. I mean, how powerful is a biological urge that makes you WANT to shove something the size of a watermelon out of your hoohah? I mean, seriously, it's out of control when you see a scene straight out of the meaning of live and get all stary-eyed and start thinking "I can't wait to do that...." And I'm even making him look at baby things and start picking out names... This is bad people, I don't know how much longer I can hold out....
The other cool thing that happened when I went home was that I got to hang out more with my cousin Denise, and we ended up going out with my cousin Matt, too. It felt really good, like we're taking steps to make each other part of our lives again and starting to rebuild our family. We talked about our memories from our childhood, our family myths and stories ("did Uncle Gary really wash his hair with comet? Is that where his bald spot came from?"), and just generally had the audacity to get together, not tell my grandmother, and have a good time getting to know each other again. For so long I've looked forward to moving back East to where Chris's family is from, because I want to be part of a family again, and for the first time in years I felt like I have my own big family. I mean yeah, my mom and my sister and I have always been a family unit, and we always will be, but it's felt like somethings been missing ever since my Aunt Fran died, like I was disconnected from everyone else besides the two of them. Now it's like that trend is reversing. I don't know if the rest of the cousins will be interested in our restoration project, but even if its only us three, thats okay with me because it's just so nice to be able to have people to share these old family memories with and to make a feeling of family with. When it comes down to it, our family is more than just this series of victimizations and violations that were perpetrated against us. Our family has good to it to, and to me it would be like giving all of the power to my grandmother if we just let it go forever. This way is so much better. There can be continuity, and support, and a good relationship in spite of the damage they did. And I'm so thrilled to be getting along better with Denise. I always wanted to be close to her, and it looks like we're moving in that direction.
So now that I'm home, my project of the moment is cleaning my house. I have waaaay too much shit, and I've been getting rid of things by the trash bag load. The back seat of our car is currently full of stuff I'm going to donate (especially all of my fat clothes... no safety net for me, I'm not going back again). I'm doing good, but the progress is slow because I'm determined to keep the house clean, and that means not just shuffling thing from room to room, or cramming it all into the closet. So far I've finished the bedroom and the bathroom. I found that the way to motivate myself is to buy things for the house, because that makes me want to make it nice. So I got us a bathmat, now that we're keeping the cats out of the bathroom they can't pee on it, so I can actually have one. I also got us our own vacuum, which is good because the one that belongs to the complex is absolutely craptacular and doesn't pick up cat hair or cat litter (which manages to find it's way absolutely everywhere in our house and gets stuck to the bottom of my feet.)
For those of you who have never seen me vacuum, it used to be a really amusing sight. I'm sure Michelle will back me up here. I suppose the only way to describe it is, well, a dance. Yes, I used to dance with my vacuum. I'd never vacuumed much and didn't really know what I was going. Didn't help much that everyone would laugh at me when I DID vacuum, so the progress of my technique was slow. But I've made peace with my vacuuming dance, and even started to bond with my new vacuum. (God, when did I become so domestic?) But you know what? I LIKE my floor being nice and clean, and the way the room smells after you vacuum, and being able to go into my room in my bare feet and not have to dust them off before I get into bed. And the room looks so much bigger now that you can see most of the floor. I'm no Martha Stewart, and I don't aim for spotlessness, but I am so sick of clutter, and I just want to get rid of all the shit we don't need so that theres some room around our house.
So that's my summer so far. Coming up soon is my brothers wedding, and the Toronto trip, woo woo.