Two Years Ago

Last week, on August 21st, my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We had our wedding just 3 weeks after we got engaged.

If this is the first post you read in my blog, I’m originally from Costa Rica.  I was visiting my then “boyfriend” Brian here in the Outer Banks of NC for the summer, and he proposed just a couple of weeks before I was supposed to fly back to Costa Rica.  Since we did not want to be apart while going through the immigration process that was ahead of us, in order for me to legally reside in the U.S, the easiest thing to do was to get married here and get the paperwork started right away.

We had already done the back and forth thing for about 10 months while dating (plus 4 moths of daily emails, chats, phone calls and video chats, before we met in person the first time. Yes, we met on the internet! :) ); Brian had come to visit me twice, the second time for a whole 3 months, and this was my first time coming to visit, for 3 months. When the time for me to go back home came close, I could have not been more sure that I just wanted to be with him forever. …and so was he! And so, on August 21st, 2011, after mere 3 weeks of planning, we had put together what is still, in my eyes (I’m biassed of course), the most beautiful wedding…ever! (again, I’m biassed!) and on a super budget, which I am, to this day, super proud of as well. We wanted it to be a budget wedding because we wanted to have another wedding in Costa Rica for my family -three weeks was just very short notice for them to arrange a trip to the U.S- My dad and grandparents got to see the wedding through Skype though!


We did a sand ceremony, my husband collects sand, so he had sand from CR from one of the trips when he came to visit and we mixed it with Outer Banks’ sand: “The two separate bottles of sand symbolize your separate
lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. They represent all that you are and all that you’ll ever be as an
individual. They also represent your lives before today. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third
container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains
of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.”


We had the ceremony on the beach, a few streets from our house.  I modified a super simple beach dress and made it into my wedding dress and made some flower crowns for my hair and our “ring girls”. I bought different things from the dollar store and turned them into our center pieces. The cake? a bunch of brownies on a cake tower. The cake tower? I made it, dollar store stuff and super glue. The cake figurines? I made them: a photo of each of our faces, a sketch book, photoshop and some humor did the trick. Guest book? A 16 x 20 collage of some of our photos, printed on thick glossy paper, mounted on board, placed on my painting easel and a sharpie for people to sign it. DJ? No such thing, just my husband’s iPod, placed on speakers and a few hours of music from a playlist that I had carefully put together over several days (I think that was one of the things that took me longer to prepare!). Decoration? Christmas lights, Chinese lamps and the center pieces that I mentioned above on our backyard. We rented tables, chairs, and a small pedestal for the ceremony. Hair? my sister in law :) make up? Moi. No hair test, no wedding rehearsal. The food for the reception was from some delicious local place.

Brian setting up the Christmas lights a few days before the wedding.

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Our cake figurines :). I have a painting palette in my hand and Brian has a surfboard in his.


The cake tower made with dollar store plates and glasses (and super glue!)


The guestbook.

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The day of the wedding I got up early to hang the Chinese lamps and get the tables ready and decorated. I had it all done in about 2 hours, went in the house to work on some details and then I heard the rain pouring. It was sunny and beautiful just a few minutes before and I did not take the 30% chance of rain forecast seriously. Well, it poured for about 5 minutes. We rescued the table cloths and center pieces but the lamps were soaked, they were already hanged, I could not really take them down easily. The sun started shinning again soon after and everything got dried pretty easy. I guess the only “damage” was that the rain washed a little bit of the lamps color off. I don’t think anybody noticed.

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The rain got us again by the end of the night, but we continued dancing under the food tent. It was a fantastic wedding. The wedding of my dreams I would say :) and the start of what has been a pretty “idyllic” life…I guess when you really want something, do ask the “universe” , cause it does seem to listen :)

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Dancing in the tent after the rain got us.

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And I said yes!…(again)

Two nights ago, my husband Brian and I had an “engagement day” celebration. It’s not an “official” anniversary, but it marks the day that we got engaged so we had a little celebration. Two years ago, on July 27th, 2011, he popped the question and I think is was one of the moments of most intense joy I have felt in my life.

As I described it to a friend the day after, I felt like Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thomson) in Sense and Sensibility, yes, I’ll say it and I’ll own it, and I don’t care if it is the cheesiest thing in the world, that’s how I felt and it felt wonderful! I remember watching the movie so many times in the past (it is one of those movies, along with Pride and Prejudice -oh yes, Jane Austin, gotta love that girl- that I have watched so many times and can watch another million times, if it’s on) and just crying and secretly dreaming that something like that would happen to me.

You see, I don’t think that I admitted, until I was about 30, that I really wanted to get married and that I wanted the whole cheesy-make-me-cry-of-happines kind of proposal, along with an emotionally charged wedding (a fancy, expensive wedding was never in my mind, in my eyes, my husband and I had the most amazing weddings -yes, we had two weddings -stay tuned for that story next month!- and they were possibly the most budget weddings you could imagine.  After googling: “how much does the average wedding cost?” I can tell you that both of our weddings cost about a sixth of what the average wedding cost….and I’ll say it again, they were wonderful! -once again, stay tuned to see pictures of the wonderful weddings next month ;) )

Many of my friends are artists, musicians, writers, the “bohemian” type if you want to “label” it (and I love them all!), and so, the whole getting married thing was considered quite old fashioned I guess, unnecessary. Several of those friends have been in relationships for a while now, several of them have been living with their partners for a while too, some of them have kids, and yet, no marriages. I thought I saw getting married that way as well, specially when for the longest time I found it very, very difficult to find a partner. Then I realized I just felt like I “had” to see marriage “that way”, but being completely honest with myself, I wanted the whole “thang”, proposal, wedding, to say my vows, to say I do. …and oh boy, have I loved every minute after saying that “yes”.

I’m so, so glad that I dared to listen to “my heart”, and to accept what I really wanted in my life, despite of what I thought people “like me” (artist, bohemian, a tad rebellious ,independent, a little bit of a “hippie”?) are “supposed” to go for. I guess, after all, that’s my rebellious side showing.

So, two nights ago, before we went for dinner, my husband actually proposed again…after rambling for about 5 minutes about what had been great about this past 2 years , he said: “and I would do it again”, and I said: “huh”? ,and he pulled a ring out of his pants pockets, and he said: ” I would ask you to marry me again”… my eyes watered and couldn’t help but thinking that that was the sweetest thing he could have done that night. The ring was absolutely beautiful, but it was not that, it was him, telling me, once again, that I was the one.

And I said yes…again!

Two years ago, right after Brian's proposal.

Two years ago, right after Brian’s proposal.

Two nights ago, after the second "proposal" ;)

Two nights ago, after the second “proposal” ;)

Two nights ago, after the second "proposal" ;)

Two nights ago, after the second “proposal” ;)

It can’t be all about work.

This last week I made a “summer resolution”.  We live in a touristic place, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a beautiful peninsula and islands filled with beaches, dunes and lighthouses. I love it. You can imagine the amount of visitors we get every high season and the amount of work there is here during the summer. We work like crazy, most of us 7 days a week.

Most people still find time to play, go to the beach, surf when there’s a tiny bit of waves (pretty scarce during this time of the year, thankfully! otherwise work wouldn’t get done!) but my husband and I realized that we were not really finding that much time for just “hanging out”, specially just the two of us. I came to the realization that even though he works his “derriere” off, I was the one so immerse in my art, that I wouldn’t want to stop what I was doing until it was time for bed, often times, until it was past bed time. Here’s the thing, I LOVE what I do and this year specially, I have been learning some new things, taking a lot of online classes and building up my art skills “repertoire”; it’s really hard to try to measure out how much “work” I do in a day, I really just want to keep going and going.

As much as I love what I do, there’s definitely something I love more, yes, my husband. I don’t think I could be doing what I’m doing, with the intensity that I’m doing it, without his support.

So, this summer’s resolution is: making time to “hang out”.  There will be days before a show when I will probably be working right up until bed time, but I have decided that on “regular” days, I will stop what I’m doing at a certain time and in a “guilt free” mode, enjoy the late afternoon/evening just winding down and hanging out with my husband or friends. So far it’s been pretty good. If I tell myself at the beginning of the day that I’m finishing at a certain time, it’s like I’m programming my brain to find a “conclusion” to whatever task I’m doing at around that time (meaning: I might not be done with the painting, or the pattern, or the online class exercise, but I’m done for that day, I can always continue where I left it the following day) and I don’t feel like I’m stopping “in the middle of”.  I usually take several days to complete a painting, so, even if I am in a “don’t-stop-til-you’re-falling-a-sleep” mode, I will often go to bed without finishing a piece, so, it is not that tragic if I stop before I “can’t keep going”, I’ve actually found that it is rather relaxing.

Brian and I make some time for "hanging out" at Surfin' Spoon Frozen Yogurt Bar after a hard working day! :)

Brian and I make some time for “hanging out” at Surfin’ Spoon Frozen Yogurt Bar after a hard working day! :)

I forgot to mention: we work like crazy during the summer (spring and fall as well, pretty much), we travel in the winter. The tourists are gone, the town “dies”, half the place closes down and a large percentage of the people goes traveling to warmer places and/ or places with waves. But even if we are lucky to be able to take that time off, the intensity of work right now can be quite overwhelming.  It can’t be all about work; some “us” time is always “oh” so needed and “oh” so necessary.

...and even if we still find it hard to "hang out" during the summer, there's always a winter of traveling coming up :) .Some pictures from last winter's trips.

…and even if we still find it hard to “hang out” during the summer, there’s always a winter of traveling coming up :) .Some pictures from last winter’s trips.

For those of you that work at home: do you find it hard to “clock out”? I would love to hear!

Remembering Mom.

Last June 30th, three years ago, my mom passed away. She had been sick for a long time, had undergone 4 major surgeries to remove all kinds of tumors growing inside her body and had gone through 2 chemotherapy treatments. She was a champion. She was always happy. I swear she did not look sick until the week she died. Her wake was so full of people, it was insane, from 5 pm to 2 in the morning people just kept coming and coming. The day she passed was so surreal for me. She literally died in my arms. We were at home, no nurses, no machines, this is how amazing she was. She was dying that day, and yet there she was, having an Ensure stick “ice cream” that my dad had made for her, in her bed and just wanting me to help her up to wash her face and teeth to “get it together” -according to her words- . As I was helping her up she started passing. This was quite traumatic for a while, I kept having all these questions, “was she conscious?”, “was she in pain?”, “could she see me crying, calling the ambulance?”, “was it my fault?” I seriously thought for the first hours after she was gone, that the fact that I tried to help her stand up when she was so weak, had been the cause of her death. The ambulance people tried to reassure me, then the palliative care people (yes, I had to call them, I had to ask them several questions to try to understand what had happened), then the pathologist. I finally understood it had not been my fault, when he told us, after the autopsy, that all her organs had basically “collapsed”. It was time for her to go. She was dying for who knows how long and she looked so great that she just had us all fooled. She was a champion and I miss her so deeply. She didn’t get to be at my wedding and oh boy, did she dream about seeing that. When I used to tell her “mom, I just don’t know if I’m meant to get married”, she would say: “don’t worry, I got it!” and she would point up, meaning, she was praying for my husband. I’m not a religious person, but I’m definitely spiritual. To this day I like to think that my husband is the answer to my mom’s prayers. I had met him roughly ten days before she passed. I had not told her about him yet, even thought I could already feel there was something really special about “this guy”. I would usually confide in her everything right away but this time, feeling that “this guy” was something else, I wanted to wait and tell her when I was completely sure that it was “for real”. She would have loved him so much. I can just picture her hugging him and spoiling him with food (that was her way of saying I love you…making sure you were never hungry! :) ) So many things happen all the time when I just feel that urge to grab the phone and tell her about it. So many times I just think “oh, mom would love to see this!” and then just feel that thing in my heart because I can’t call her anymore… I miss her so. I miss her more every day that goes by (if you have lost someone really close to you, you understand what I’m talking about, you learn to “tolerate” their absence, but everyday that passes, is one more accumulated day without seeing them!! it’s so exasperating and painful!). I used to dream about her often and in my dreams, I always felt like if I had been given another chance to be with her one more time, but I always had the realization, while dreaming, that she was not alive anymore, and that she was just going to be gone again any second. One time I think I even got mad at her during a dream. I think I told her that I loved to see her very much, but knowing that she was not “really” there, was just too painful. I think I actually told her “I don’t want to dream about you anymore”. Ouch. I’m so glad she didn’t listen to me. She was in my dreams again, a couple of nights ago. I just wish I could get that annoying realization off my head and just enjoy the times I still have with her in my dreams.