St. Patrick’s Day In America Through Irish Eyes

Surviving St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is one thing. Surviving it in America when you’re Irish, is another! Put on your best smile and your pointiest elbows and be prepared for an obnoxiously green, semi-racially offensive grand ol’ time! I kid of course. Kind of.

St Patrick's Day in America

On March 17th, the whole world seems to honor the Irish – famous landmarks go green, parades are held and guinness flows more freely than usual. However, as far as parties go, America wins. You won’t meet one American on St. Patrick’s Day whose Dad’s cousin’s husband’s sister’s mail man was Irish and therefore so are they.

St Patrick's Day in America

Surviving St. Patrick’s Day in America

I-rish I Were IRISH

My husband always has a new anecdote for me and it cracks me up! Now and again at his workplace my nationality will come up and the response has more than once been, “Oh really? I’m Irish too! Where is she from?!” Now this would be a perfectly acceptable question if they were asking from which county or town. Alas, multiple people have now asked WHAT STATE I am from. Here’s what’s wrong, Americans now claim Irish heritage so haphazardly that being Irish no longer means from the country. It’s just a generic label and it can simply mean, ‘Ohio’. I’m currently working my way through all fifty States in response.

BEGORRAH, BEGOSH, TOP O’ THE MORNIN’

and all those other words and phrases that Irish people quite literally never say. They will be repeatedly shouted in your face if your nationality has been exposed. My personal tip for dealing with this is the ‘Carlsberg response’ of “ciúnas, bothar, cailín, bainne”. Irish people will know that in our native tongue this means nothing more than “silence, road, girl, milk” – a collection of random words. You’ve got to give the people what they want! Tell them it means “you’ve never met a nicer person” and be on your merry way.

DRUNKEN TOMFOOLERY

It sounds like a guy’s name (and NO I don’t know him because he’s Irish) but in fact it’s the theme of the day. This is the more offensive aspect of the day for me. A lot of people in the US and beyond view drunken debauchery as the ONLY mark of a true Irishman. Mimic my accent and use stereotypical Irish-isms – it’s fine. I don’t take it personally because frankly I know a lot of these people genuinely like Ireland, the culture and the accent. They mean no real harm. But hearing that I’m Irish and responding with a ‘drunk’ related quip then I’m going to get real mad, real fast! Sometimes I like a drink. Sometimes I don’t like a drink. Contrary to popular belief, holding an Irish passport doesn’t mean I binge drink regularly and have Jameson flowing through my veins.

Again through my dear husband this wretched stereotype has reached me again and again. Sometimes directly to my face. It’s taken me a while but I’ve managed to perfect a smile that is much less psychotic than my first few attempts.If you’re familiar with The Big Bang Theory it’s like Sheldon’s smile.

There I am among a group of people (all enjoying a quiet drink) and my friend is asked what she’s drinking, she replies with the name of her cocktail and then I’m asked by the same person. I tell this person what’s in my glass and the response is “of course you’re drinking, you’re Irish”. Now should I be mad at that comment or that my friend seemed to be able to enjoy her drink with no rude comment attached at all? I will stress again that I don’t really take this one too personally but I DO feel awfully self-conscious every time I take a sip of my drink after such a comment.

I will leave my feelings on a certain drink called the ‘Irish Car Bomb” completely out of this post!

If you’re looking for something to remind you of Ireland please let it be beautiful scenery, ancient history or scholarly achievements, not excessive alcohol consumption!

GREEN

All shades of it and all at once. If it’s green they’ll be wearing it, eating it and drinking it.

Last year I attended the parade in Downtown Savannah, the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. That epic thing was almost 4 hours long. It was a sight to behold and probably my best St. Patrick’s Day ever! I have never seen so much GREEN! I probably shouldn’t tell you that practically nobody in Ireland with the exception of small kids will wear green on March 17th! But when in Rome…wear all the green you can?

Remember to keep it clean people, we’ve already established the penchant for assuming we’re a nation of drunks but at kid friendly parades it’s probably best to keep your explicit t-shirts in the closet at home!

St Patrick's Day in America

PATTY, THE FORGOTTEN SISTER OF PATRICK

At least, that must be who she is because no Irishman is called Patty. Patty is short for Patricia, Paddy is short for Patrick. Those are the rules. “But there’s no T, it makes no sense!” – I hear you cry! The name Patrick is Padraig (Paw-drig) in Irish, hence the Paddy.

Men called Patrick may be known as Pa, Pat, Paddy, Pod, Pawd, Pauric, Padraig the list goes on. But never Patty. I repeat – NEVER PATTY!

This sign was posted by Dublin Airport last year and I think it’s hilarious!

Paddy Not Patty


“Please share this simple message with your friends and relations in the United States and Canada. Using the power of your network, hopefully we can banish the scourge of St Patty once and for all. – Dublin Airport”

Every time you utter the phrase, ‘St. Patty’s Day’ a tiny leprechaun dies. True Story. You don’t want that on you, do you?!

Keep it real, protect the leprechauns. They’re dying out like the Irish language.

PINCH THIS

I don’t know where the heck that came from but I’m sensing it’s an American invention since as I said, Irish people don’t generally take part in greening their attire. The story goes if you don’t wear green, you’ll be pinched as a reminder that leprechauns will pinch you for the same reason. Fortunately, you’ve all said ‘Patty’ so much the leprechauns have suffered a massive decrease in population and won’t be around to cause any pinch pains.

SHAMROCK NOT  FOUR LEAFED CLOVER

Shamrock was used to symbolize Christianity in Ireland and is an unofficial national symbol. It’s not to be confused with the Harp which is our official national emblem and also not to be confused with a four leafed clover. Shamrock is a common three leafed clover, the four leafed version is said to be lucky because it’s harder to find.  The three leaves of the shamrock were used to symbolize the Holy Trinity by St. Patrick. On March 17th, people typically pin a small bunch of shamrock on their lapel or hat. Some don’t know the meaning of ‘small’.

All jokes aside, America made St. Patrick’s Day what it is today and like anything they do, they attack it with gusto! We all must grit our teeth  and roll our eyes deep within our brains from time to time but there’s little I would change (except Patty – stop that!) about Irish America and the festivities of St. Patrick’s Day here. The relationship between our nations throughout history has been strong and continues to be. No matter where I go in the US, people have nothing but positive words and funny stories to tell about their travels to my homeland.

Since I can’t be in Ireland, America is the only other place I’d rather be!

 

 

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5 Times Albus Dumbledore Made You Reevaluate Your Existence

Since I was 11 years old I have been a HUGE Harry Potter fan (who isn’t?). I thought it was the coolest thing to be the same age as Harry each year he returned to Hogwarts to Hagrid, Dumbledore and the crew. I never thought I would get to experience the excitement of waiting for another book to be released again. With the glorious arrival of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and an ode to Harry’s birthday, I’ve been re-reading the series and watching the movies!

Dumbledore Quotes

Harry Potter may be about the wizarding world but the magic experienced when reading them is immeasurable. In fact, I enjoyed HP so much growing up that I am saddened for kids who haven’t read the books and experienced the institution that is the world of Harry Potter.

While reading I am falling in love with the characters, the relationships and the magical world all over again. What strikes me most throughout all the dialogue are the stellar quotes of Albus Dumbledore, beloved headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.


5 Times Albus Dumbledore Made You Re-evaluate Your Existence

On Integrity

Dumbledore Quote

On Being Present

Dumbledore Quotes

On Finding Hope

Dumbledore Quotes

On Understanding Why People Do Bad Things

Dumbledore Quotes

On Parenting (from the Cursed Child)

Dumbledore Quotes

Have you picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet?

Happy reading, Muggles!

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Why I Try (And You Should Too!)

I tried before to get y’all to love Mondays and guess what? Not all of you bought it. But I tried. I tried to spread the #mondaymotivation and quell the negativity.

Why I Try

I’m kind of a hypocrite though. Not regarding Monday but regarding negativity. It invades my head space an awful lot. It’s hard to shake because loneliness doesn’t exactly breed positivity. I spend a vast quantity of time alone mid-week with no support. It can be very hard to find any motivation to escape the negative thoughts let alone live life to the full. In most cases I view my problems as unsolvable black holes where all hope goes missing but I have come to recognize that depressive attitude and instead stop it in its tracks and try to seek potential solutions.

I have learned to be present in the moment and step back, calm down and approach the situation from a different angle. We cannot solve our problems with the same attitude in which we created them so we must attempt an alternative mindset. Changing ones mind is not an easy task but we must try.

To go all in to whatever you want to do, is one thing. To even attempt it, is another.

Try Quote

I can’t stress enough, the importance of trying. We so often convince ourselves that it won’t be worth our while, or that we will fail, or that it won’t work out so why should we try?

Try Quote

To try is empowerment. To try is freedom. To try is the motivation you need to succeed. To try is the beginning of the momentum that keeps us going. Just beginning something can often change our perspective about how challenging we see a situation and sometimes the second we begin, we lighten the load and gain enough confidence to proceed.

Try Quote

Have you got any Monday Motivation to share?

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Carry Your Own Baggage – Self Care For Empaths

It’s funny how small actions or simple statements provoke such long-winded thoughts. Or maybe it’s just me. I truly believe in the existence of empaths, although some skeptical folk will scoff at the idea. I feel deeply. I am very sensitive to people, situations and when something feels off I can usually instantly come to the conclusion why, even if on the surface there doesn’t seem to be an obvious answer. It’s borderline psychic sometimes and that in itself can be unsettling.

Carry Your Own Baggage

I recently trudged through US Pre-clearance (a wonderful affair where you clear immigration before entering the US!) in Dublin airport and one of the standard  questions I was asked had me thinking for a large portion of my 9 hour flight.

“Ma’am did you carry your own bag today?”

I did carry my bag, of course. I didn’t need to be reminded of the huge bulky monstrosity I had just lugged through check in. In the past five years I’ve carried my fair share of heavy bags and I’m now aware that I have carried them mentally too which led me to think about how much weight on my shoulders could I drop off and not worry about?

Being empathetic involves a lot of worry and 80% of it never seems to be my own. I carry burdens for people who don’t seem to care about what they probably should care about. I carry burdens for friends and family suffering. I carry burdens for strangers I see on the news in sad or dangerous situations. So how do I prioritize my own?

As someone extremely perceptive and introverted, I dislike nothing more than to be labelled ‘too sensitive’. Sensitivity is not a dirty concept. Sensitivity creates connection and intimacy. Sensitivity allows for compassion and understanding. Sensitivity is a wide open channel for love. It doesn’t mean thin skin. It means deep strength but somewhere along the line we were all told it’s a pathetic sign of weakness. What I consider weak are those who run from problems. Those who abandon instead of stand up and care for someone. Those who allow a loved one to carry their problems while they shamelessly continue on their carefree path. Weak are those who laugh in the face of sensitivity and take advantage of it.

I’ve been through enough to want to give up a thousand times. Some days, I still want to but my empathy for others won’t allow it. I guess empathy is stubborn’s ‘over sensitive’ sister.

When something comes natural to you, it’s hard to deliberately stop doing it. For me, it is natural to worry for others and stress over things that are not mine to be concerned with. But who will worry for me? Shouldn’t I give myself the same courtesy I give to others and look out for myself? Everyone desires to be supported. There’s great confidence in being enveloped by unconditional support but it’s not always an option. Sometimes you have to be enough by yourself.

I implore those of you out there sinking under the weight of others’ baggage to shed that load and prioritize yourself. Especially if what you are carrying goes entirely unrecognized. For your health and your happiness, lay down the baggage and carry yourself.

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Why I Love Mondays (And You Should Too!)

Did you ever notice that the people who have grand plans for reform on New Years Eve every year are the same people who also take to your timeline every Monday morning to whine and complain about what a dreadful day it is? Curiouser and curiouser! No?

Why I Love Mondays

Other than being perfectly drained by the hatred of Mondays I got to thinking about why people hold one day in every 365 in such high esteem but can’t seem to recognize the first day of a new week as a similar new leaf/fresh start and all those other cliches in which we start anew.

I must admit. I harbor a terrible secret…

I LOVE MONDAYS!

Mondays

I don’t have time to dwell on how miserable Mondays are instead, I’m wishing they had more than 24 hours. I get up at the crack of dawn and I struggle to get everything done by midnight! It’s the day I brainstorm for the blog, write a few posts, create my images and think about what I can do at the weekend.

I’m not sure anymore if a large portion of the public just really dislikes Monday or if yet again social media has created a nice little bandwagon to jump aboard! I’m going to go with the bandwagon on this one as thinking about such a high level of negativity from countless people, week after week is frighteningly overwhelming! Just HOW is it that bad?

Monday is a blanket of fresh snow, a mirror still lake, a brand new journal all yours to disturb. Why not make the disturbance worthwhile?

How To Get Through Monday

  • Remember that every week, it’s someone’s last Monday.
  • Put your positive pants on and set the tone for a brand new week.
  • In the space where you usually voice your dismay, write down a goal for the day or the week.
  • Hustle to make it happen.
  • Instead of the usual coffee you need to survive, try a cup of positivity. If that doesn’t work then I know another cup you might enjoy.
  • Handle it. You’re a grown a** adult.
  • And if you can’t do any of that then close your mouth and make Tuesday a better day!

VICTIM OF MONDAY

Food for thought:

What happens when New Years Eve falls on a Monday?!

What a scary thought!

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How Military Life Changes You

Before I met my husband I liked to think I was relatively in tune with who I was as a person. Fun fact: I wasn’t. At all.

Marrying the military (because let’s face it, your relationship with the Army ends up being more demanding than the relationship with your spouse) taught me a lot about myself and better still, inspired me take a good hard look at my weaknesses and change a little.

How Militray Life Changes You

Change? Yeah, yeah. “A leopard never changes his spots”, “once a …. , always a ….” and all those other bitter, overused phrases. Well I call BS on that. I think people are so conditioned into thinking that change or personal growth is beyond the realm of attainability that they have become utterly relentless in their views. Well sorry Mr. Pessimist but personal growth is a realistic and achievable concept! If we’re the first to point out someone changing in a negative sense, why can’t we acknowledge the positive?

BEST PROJECT IS YOU

5 Ways Military Life Changes You

Flexibility

Are you someone like me who likes to have a plan? You are? Great. Well forget it. In the military it’s almost impossible to plan the time you can sit down to dinner let alone a date or a trip away. All this is dependent on your significant others’ particular  job of course but in this life flexibility is a must. Having a vision of what you want to do is fine but carefully executed plans rarely come to fruition which often leads to disappointment. Some people fly by the seat of their pants and are perfectly fine living day to day. I, however, like to plan things to a tee and unfortunately to cope with this, it is often best for me to fear the worst case scenario rather than feel deflated, daily. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and probably not the healthiest coping mechanism but I’ve found myself a lot less disappointed and better again, a lot less angry.

Adaptability

If your service member is a ‘lifer’ (20+ year military career) then it is a given that you will probably move tens of times throughout your marriage. No mean feat! Even if you are associated with the military for a short time then the chances of living in three or four different places is realistic. Moving so often is NOT easy, aside from the usual moving headaches it creates obstacles concerning the education of your children, the length of your career (or if you’ll even be able to have one), the quality of  your relationships to name but a few. You’ve got to be able to pack up and move your life in a very short time period and there’s also the possibility of a short-notice deployment in which you very suddenly find yourself spouse-less and/or a single mother for many months.

Strength

It’s pretty obvious from what I’ve mentioned above that being strong isn’t a choice in the military. It’s an absolute necessity.

We’re all human though. Do we have ridiculous moments of weakness where we cry in our driveways  because it’s late at night, the dog has stepped in his own poop and is so terrified of the hose you’re trying to wash his paw with so unsuccessfully that you then think he’s choking because you’re pulling so hard on his collar to get him to STAY STILLLLLLLL and you only have two hands?

Yes that happens. Or so someone told me….

Gratitude

The harder my life has become as a result of being involved with the military, the greater the appreciation I have for everything, really.  My surroundings, my family, my friends, all of the wonderful things I am fortunate to have like my own home and the ability to travel extensively. It changes your view of what matters. Being grateful for the smallest things is a blessing that comes from the darker moments when you feel the worst you ever have in your whole life.

Knowing What’s Important

None of us are invincible, this we know but military life is sobering. The value of supportive family and friends is a lesson learned immediately. Most people on any military installation are nowhere near their families and so friends become just as important. Not having a support system nearby is extremely tough and the friends you will make along your military journey can be friends for life. On the other hand, military towns can be some of the trashiest and most dramatic places you will find yourself. Unless you’re that way inclined, stay out of this. It will do nothing for your happiness and you won’t find friends or genuine support in these people. I highly recommend making new friends but thread carefully until you’re comfortable trusting them.

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE

Being the spouse of a service member undoubtedly changes you. I simultaneously love and hate every second of this journey but if given the choice, I wouldn’t change a thing. It truly is the making of who I am.

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Why Boredom Is An Absurdity

We’ve all experienced boredom. Common symptoms include a distinct jittery restlessness combined with mind numbing emptiness and a hint of whining;

Why Boredom Is An Absurdity

“I’M SO BORED!”

I am guilty of it. We all are. However after emigrating and spending an abundance of time alone I can safely say that boredom is no longer an element in my life. Sound counter-intuitive? You see the longer I spend by myself, the more time I have to practice mindfulness and be present. A lesson so valuable to me that learning the hard way has been worth every monotonous second. It is so easy to be completely absorbed in every facet of our lives and yet not be present in any of it. Selective hearing, selective seeing in some cases and total ingratitude all contribute to wonderful things in our lives just breezing right past us because we’re busy, bored, tired etc.

It has taken me years (far too many years) to realize that a great deal of my time (and my mind) was preoccupied with other people. Not actually with people but thinking about them. Thinking about what they thought of me. Thinking about what they were saying about me. Worrying about all of the above. Crazy right? It drove me to retreat from large group situations, preferring the company of just one or two friends. Over time it became even more isolated than that and gradually descended into a bleak and boring existence. Something had to change but pulling yourself out of a rut is easier said than done. That’s the thing about ruts – they become pretty comfortable.

That’s where my lesser known friend gratitude showed up. There isn’t much more terrifying than reaching a certain age and your to-do list you made years ago for that age hasn’t been ticked off. In the face of adversity you can sit down and descend into depression, dwelling on the unfairness of life or you can look around you and be grateful for everything you DO have. Life, alone, being one. Every day I started to see more. Really see and acknowledge the things in my life that made it more than enough.

It’s hard today to recognize ‘enough’. It’s next to impossible. We have so much and crave even more. ‘Convenient everything’ has been detrimental to our work ethic. Simply put, we have to do very little to get most of the things we desire. Yet here we are, ‘bored’.

Gratitude Quote

Boredom is an absurdity.

Boredom is nothing more than ingratitude with a whiny voice. In this life boredom is not an option. It is a state of mind wherein you have chosen defeat.

How much of the world have you traveled? How many of the world’s almost 130,000,000 published books have you read? How many people have you reached out to lately? How many miles have you walked? How many photographs have you looked over? Need I go on? Boredom isn’t the lack of things to do it is the lack of contentment, open mindedness and gratitude.

Loneliness sucks, feeling deflated sucks and even the feeling of rejection is all too real. These are the moments that are your cue to be gentle with yourself. Do something selfishly and unapologetically FOR YOU. Just please don’t choose boredom!

 

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The Military Spouse

Ah, the comfort zone. That safe place where the only feelings you feel are warm and fuzzy. If you suddenly find yourself married to a service member you will know that your comfort zone is all but a distant memory. A place, that once in your life was a certainty until you became a military spouse.

I grew up in Ireland, totally ignorant to the culture that comes with a large scale military. When I met my husband, I saw him as any other normal guy but it didn’t take me long to realize that as well as the cultural differences associated with our places of birth – I was also dunked without warning into the vastly complicated world of the US Army and earned the title ‘military spouse’.

The Military Spouse

The Most Overwhelming Aspects Of Military Life For The New Military Spouse

Equipment

Your childhood garage once housed tools and bicycles but yours now contains tough boxes and over-flowing rucksacks stacked to the ceiling.

His closet is filled with dress uniforms, covers, camouflage uniforms, tan t-shirts, PTs and huge muddy boots. Then he comes home and announces that there’s a new uniform coming out. Enter more of the above and expect to find the old stuff crammed into every spare space in your home/garage.

There’s a box somewhere that should be full of name tapes, patches, awards and the ruler to make sure his dress uniform meets regulation. That darn ruler is always missing.

Terminology

He’ll text you to say that he “has to do a brief at the Motor Pool with the CSM at sixteen hundred”. WHAT? Or life changing conversations like “After he attends CCC you will PCS to Fort X to take command”. Again, WHAT?

I must’ve been with my husband for four years when I still found myself asking him what he even does all day. (I have since found out, sort of!)

The terminology is difficult to get used to but I assure you, you will learn. Have patience (both of you!), it takes time. Ask your partner to explain the acronyms, rank and general structure of the military. There’s an awful lot but it’s not to difficult to understand. See it as an opportunity to learn a new language of sorts.

I love this guide to common Army terms!

Rank

This one comes back to the structure. There’s a basic split: Enlisted and Officers and within each of them are many different ranks. Learn about the ranks and their symbols here. Like with anything in the Army there are certain rules attached with who can be associated with who, socially. Fortunately for spouses there is no rank!

Etiquette

Whether it’s stopping what you are doing (to include driving) to face the flag at retreat, walking on his left side while in uniform to allow him to salute if needed or not wearing a piece of his uniform – all military spouses should be familiar with the dos and don’ts of military etiquette.

Deployments

The word all military families fear most, deployment. Anywhere from a few months to a year, your spouse could be deployed oversees and you will be left to take the reins on everything. He could miss birthdays, holidays and even the birth of babies. Unfortunately it’s a real and present part of being an active-duty service member. Read about our long distance story, here. There are many resources online that serve as guides and support for coping with deployment. I personally like Jo, My Gosh! blog.

Secrets

We all know that the key to a good marriage is honesty and communication. Unfortunately in the military, your significant other may not be able to share everything about his job with you. This can be frustrating. Don’t take it personally he probably feels immense pressure just from not being able to tell you.

Sacrifices

He makes many just by choosing a career in the military but boy, oh, boy will you make sacrifices! You first give up your home and family to be by your S/O’s side and more often than not you will also give up your own career in order to move around. Of course it isn’t the end of your career if you don’t want it to be. Many military spouses own their own ‘portable’ businesses and many are homemakers and home schoolers. The list and opportunities are endless. It is entirely up to you. For someone like me with a mechanical engineering degree, it is difficult to manage a full-time career when your location is so ‘disposable’. We’re all just figuring it out!

Making Plans

To put abruptly – you don’t! Plans are for missions. Your home life however, tends to be up in the air until the last minute. Military life changes as quickly as the Irish weather! Learning to be a little more spontaneous will do wonders for your sanity.

Difficult People

Difficult people are everywhere. Not just in military communities. There are certain stereotypes associated with military spouses. Some more derogatory than others. Gossip and drama persists at a rampant pace. Toxic people don’t belong in your life. Steer clear of people who exist only to make others’ lives miserable. This is not a community in which we should tear one another down. Support is key among military spouses and contrary to some stories you might hear, you will make some of the best friends you will ever meet on your military journey.

Realizing How Strong You Are

I don’t give myself enough credit for how strong I am in this whirlwind life. Nor do other friends I know. It is probably because half the time you are on the verge of tears, biting your lip to stop from FREAKING OUT about the latest piece of information he has brought home. It’s hard to feel strong when you’re drained inside from wondering how you’ll cope the next time he leaves. But when he does, you surprise yourself with how much of a bad a** you are!

The best and most frightening thing to comprehend is that being forced out of your comfort zone makes you realize what a resilient and resourceful, strong person you truly are!

So I guess I owe that much to the Army.

 

 

 

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Long Distance Love

“Distance makes the heart grow fonder”, if I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me for 4 years and an additional 50 cents for every smile through gritted teeth I responded with, well I’d have a pretty penny.

Long Distance Love

I met my husband in 2011. Me, a straight out of college graduate and him an American, touring Ireland while living in Germany having just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. Could we have complicated it any further? There were enough red flags to start a revolution.

Because of his work commitments and my more flexible schedule, I tried to fly to Germany at least once every three months. IT. WAS. HARD. Getting to know someone who lives 2000 miles away is difficult (and expensive!). Technology suddenly becomes a heck of a lot more important to you than before. The phone I occasionally used for social media was upgraded for these purposes alone. Skype was utilized about 4-5 times per week and whatsapp was a game changer! Looking back, we probably talked more then couples who live together do in any given day.

On each visit we did as much as we possibly could to make the best of our less-than ideal situation. It turned out, Germany was far from the worst place to live. Germany is located in the heart of continental Europe and we used this to our advantage, spending every visit either traveling within Germany or driving across its borders to other EU countries (I’ll do a separate post about our travels). Together we traversed cities, rivers and mountains across 19 countries making our periods of long separation worthwhile.

However, the periods between travels always came back around. Our gratitude temporarily forgotten and life’s other frustrations resurfacing, it was easy to withdraw from the relationship when we were not face to face with one another. Communication is key in any relationship but when it comes to long distance it has to be taken even more seriously. We all know it can be difficult to express oneself over text and in a situation like ours sometimes text messages were all we had at our disposal. After flying to Germany so many times I could recite the airline’s safety announcement in English, Irish and fluent German, our situation was becoming tiring. Something had to change.

I considered moving once and for all when the Army dropped the Deployment bomb. That was it, 9 consecutive months of separation – like it or lump it. Back to Afghanistan he went. We slogged through the nine long months and after reuniting, I spent 6 weeks in Germany with him where we got engaged. This is the happliy ever after part right? Of course not!

The distance bewteen us was only going to get greater. Our one hour time difference was about to become six. It was time for my husband to PCS (permanent change of station) from Germany back to the US. At this point I was almost smug about how easy long distance relationships were. I was a pro who learned the hard way. HA! Everything we had endured before was nothing. Now he was in the US and on an entirely opposite day/night schedule to me. We would speak for minutes to an hour maximum. It was awful. Let’s add in planning a wedding to the mix. It turns out planning a wedding in a 6 month time frame when the groom is 6,500 miles away is a lot harder than getting to know afore mentioned groom when he was 2,000 miles away. But to toot my own horn – I’m a beast and I pulled it off! We had the most magical wedding in a castle in my hometown (another thing I will post about).

Finally, the happily ever after…

WAIT!

I flew to the US to get my bearings and move in to our new home before starting the dreaded Visa process. The Army however used its spidey sense to sniff out the peace in our newly wed bliss and sent my husband on a 4 month training mission to Germany. Sigh! It was at this point (yes four and a half years in) that I finally realized this was to be the nature of our lives as long as he is in the military. As soon as I put on my big girl pants and accepted this, my life became more settled. You cannot live every day in fear of the next separation. Instead we use every moment we have together to enjoy our marriage, home and new surroundings.

Here are some lessons I learned from having a long distance relationship

  • Skype becomes your new best friend and it surprised even me, a lover of make-up, how much time I devoted to beautifying myself before I sat at a laptop. Don’t waste your time. Being in two different places might make it easy to conceal your flaws but ultimately, when you are together you won’t be able to hide them. Be yourself. Completely.
  • Greet each other every day and say goodnight – regardless of how much conversation the day allowed for.
  • Don’t over-analyze that potentially ambiguous  text message/email etc. If you have a problem, confront it. Clear communication is key.
  • Don’t talk too much! Yes this can happen and it’s a killer when it comes to appreciating one another’s company.
  • Try not to withdraw from the relationship just because you can.
  • Give each other the benefit of the doubt. He didnt answer your message? How dare he? No – he’s probably asleep/busy or a thousand other valid explanations.
  • Have a common goal for the relationship. Will you ultimately live together/marry etc.? It is not an ideal situation to be in if you both have different expectations.
  • Make the most of it! See it as an opportunity to travel and broaden your horizons together. Unconventional can still be fun!

Check out some less cringe worthy LDR quotes. You will find comfort in some of these, often!

Learn how to make technology work for your LDR.

Know about the bad and the ugly side of LDRs so you can focus on the good.

 

 

 

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