It’s Been Awhile

I think I owe you an update.

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It’s been a long 8-ish months since I’ve posted anything on LPA and for that I sincerely apologize. Life has gotten incredibly crazy and I feel like I’ve been living in a bit of a blur. Not only did my snazzy Finn and I finally reunite, we’ve received an amazing surprise, but more on that later!

Now there’s a lot that has happened since my last post back in January and I promise to update you all as briefly as possible; buckle up and let’s get to it.

Jan through March: This period of time was full of angsty waiting while working as a leasing consultant back in Michigan and as a digital marketing intern for a company based in Helsinki. The boyf and I were trying to figure out any way for us to reunite in the future and avoid this whole long-distance thing.

I cannot even begin to explain how overwhelming it was to weed our way through several options, eventually land on one, and then attempt to get it all sorted as quickly as possible. Not only were we moving me to Finland, but also two of my cats (one is currently living with my dad in Michigan and is his little buddy!), and timing it perfectly to allow me to return to Helsinki in time to finish my last month of my internship in person while first allowing the boyf to come and meet my family. It was hectic to say the least.

But alas, he made it to Michigan and met my family. We traveled around Michigan IMG_3551sightseeing and we got engaged! He proposed at Port Huron; it was a truly perfect day as we were driving around the thumb of Michigan, stopping at different little spots along the way, and we even made a pitstop at Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe to grab some amazing cheese curds, dip, and sausage for snacks. We chowed down the entire drive home, haha.

Interested in reading about the immigration process in Finland? Check out our next post!


April: We left for Finland on April 6th. In all honesty, we probably should have postponed my coming to Finland because not only was no one in the office for all of April, but staying home to save up money would have been a smarter decision. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20 and I’m truly grateful to have been able to spend so much time with my man. Anyway, April 6th was a day full of emotions. I was incredibly stressed out over moving to Finland, getting the cats situated with their flights, and we received a major surprise that day.

About 2 hours before we were to leave for the airport, I was standing in my mother’s bathroom staring at a big + sign in utter disbelief. I stuffed the test into my pocket and placed it in the center console of my car so I could tell my guy privately. We ended up IMG_3728taking a quick trip to the bank and I asked him to check the console. He opened it up, looked inside and goes “there’s a pregnancy test and your wallet” and then closes it, not even looking at the test! I laughed and said, “did you even look at it?!” which causes him to reopen the console, look at it, and then at me. His expression was complete shock and pretty much captured the mood of the rest of the entire day.

Our flight to Finland was filled with us, holding hands, watching movies, and occasionally looking at each other and saying “oh, shit…” while laughing. It was definitely what you’d imagine seeing in a movie!

By the end of the month we had visited a maternity clinic here in Helsinki and heard our little baby’s heartbeat. Life truly hasn’t been the same since.


May: In May, I began renegotiating a contract with the company I worked at as an intern for in Helsinki, just to come to an agreement that was revoked after they were bought out by a larger company. Literally the next day. I was devastated, because not only did I love what I was working on, but because I knew I needed some form of income while in Finland an awaiting my residence permit.

By the end of May, boyf morphed into my husband and we traveled to Estonia on our IMG_4698short but absolutely perfect honeymoon. We spent about 4 days in Old Towne walking up and down cobblestone streets and eating delicious food. We made a special trip to St. Olav’s Church and climbed to the top of the church tower to appreciate the gorgeous views.

Note: This tourist spot is not handicap-friendly and while I saw a little girl climbing the stairs to the top, I would definitely not say that it is kid-friendly either. The staircase is insanely narrow and the steps are no more than 4 inches deep. It’s a bit disorienting because it’s such a twisty staircase and there’s only a rope to hold onto, plus some people are walking up while others are walking down and each step is probably only two feet wide. After climbing to the top, I really dreaded going back down. Luckily we were one of the first few people to go up, so it wasn’t super busy until we made our way back down .

Stay tuned for my next post that ventures deeper into our honeymoon in Estonia!


June through September: Okay, so I know this is a really large lump, but there’s mostly just been routine and not much to note in these last few months. After everything with my internship ended, I focused mostly on just finishing my degree (which was conferred in August, whoop!) and taking care of this little bun in the oven.

August 1st we found out we’re expecting a baby boy and we couldn’t be more excited.IMG_5145
We’ve decided to name him after both of our grandfathers and with a name that works in both English and Finnish. Let me tell ya, figuring out a name in both languages for a girl was such a pain in the butt and we weren’t in love with our decision, so having a boy was the perfect solution! Our little man has been steadily growing and I’m nesting little by little. My parents are sending us a package of baby items in the mail because clothing and everything we need is so expensive here. We’ve been fortunate enough to have generous parents and people in our lives. Hubs’ parents built baby’s beautiful crib by hand and we finally have it situated in our bedroom.

Interested in seeing a completed nursery/master bedroom tour? Stay tuned!


So now we’re here, in modern day, enjoying the last few months as a family of two – four if you count the cats! Life has been an incredible adventure and it’s only just begun.

xo,

LP

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Keep Climbing and Don’t Look Up

This was not how I envisioned this going.

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If we’re being honest, I hadn’t expected this year to be such an uphill battle. I figured that, by now, life would have gone back to normal and I’d be working for a company I love, in Finland. Hell, if we’re going to talk about my crazy and incredibly naive notion on how this year would go, we’d be discussing how I had planned on still being in Helsinki and working for a company that was able to hire me on full-time, planning to go back to Michigan any day now.

But that’s not how life works.

Life is messy- I’m pretty sure I’ve said that phrase about a million times on this blog, but it’s still true. After spending the last year and change in an international relationship, you’d think I’d understand how nothing is easy and just seeing each other is the world’s biggest headache, but I’m still not fully grasping the severity of it all. Let me give you guys the low-down on what’s going on:

I am currently working for a start-up company in Helsinki, from Michigan. This company is amazing and I want to be a part of this team like you wouldn’t believe. There is an opportunity for becoming a partner at this company after my initial position has come to its close. So you’d think that would mean I could get a residence permit, right? Nope. So even though I’m an educated and hardworking individual with a job that you’d think would allow me to mosey my way on over, I can’t. Here’s why: because this company is a start-up and we are not making real salaries, in terms of like over a 1000 euros a month, I cannot get a residence permit, so I can’t move to Finland in order to work there, like, you know, full-time. Plus, although I would be in a situation where I don’t have normal expenses like rent and utilities, it’s not a good enough reason to not need to meet their income requirements.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t even be looking into this company or moving to Finland if it wasn’t for my super cool boyfriend who I’d like to actually get to spend time with… preferably without the use of a computer and the internet. So we’ve talked about it, the big M-word, and it’s been a difficult conversation. This wasn’t how we had planned on doing it. Rushing it was never in the cards, but living apart for another year and a half isn’t either. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment and I’m stuck somewhere in the limbo of planning a courthouse wedding and looking for full-time jobs in Michigan for when my contract with the Helsinki based company ends. As the “planner” type, this has been horrible. I’ve broken out with hives every day for the last week and I keep pretending it’s not because of some underlying stressor, even though it is.

I know there’s already been a lot of climbing this year; my arms are a bit tired and my footing is a bit loose, but there’s nothing else we can do but climb and not look up at the rest of the massive mountain in front of us.

-LP

Love Can Hurt, Distance Doesn’t Help

I could spend forever with you and it still wouldn’t be enough.

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I’ve been told to write about that which you dwell upon and I guess you could say I’m dwelling on this.

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this. I’ve tried writing this post for the last hour and I’m still just swimming in thoughts mixed with distractions, all of which are laced with a painful reminder that I’m here and you’re there. And I just want you here.

I’ve learned a lot these last three months that I’ve spent loving you while simultaneously being in the same country as you, in the same space as you.

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Now that I’ve been spoiled with the knowledge of what it’s like to hug you, kiss you, and do all the things that we’ve done, I can’t forget it. For a year, video calls were enough for us.  Sure, we wanted more, but we knew that it would come and we knew that we would be together. I suppose we still know that, but now the moment we were looking forward to is in the rearview mirror on this road in which there is no U-turn.

I don’t even know where to begin in order to unburden myself of this heartache, but I suppose the beginning is the best.

This past October, I packed my bags and boarded a plane on my way to you. I spent 15 hours traveling and attempting to contain my excitement as I flew across the Atlantic. I had no idea what to expect and honestly I didn’t have any expectations, I just knew within my heart that the next three months would be amazing… and they were.

We’ve experienced so much together, all of which only deepened and strengthened my love for you. From our trip to the cottage in Puumala, to the weekend in Gdansk, and even our day at the zoo, every day started with waking up beside you, and ended asleep beside you. Precious moments turned into memories and I swear it happened all too fast.

I hadn’t realized how quickly three months could fly by, but now we’re here at this phase where we aren’t together anymore because over 4,000 miles separate us. After having my lips against yours every day, this distance feels insurmountable. I feel hollow without you in my life and after returning to a place I had called home with ease, it doesn’t feel like home.

I feel alone in a place I used to feel relaxed in. Your presence in my life is so potent that I can’t help but to wonder how I had gotten on without you before. I can’t even explain why I feel so sad, I just do. I can’t sleep without you anymore; at first I thought it was jet-lag, but now I know it’s more than that.

IMG_2995I was told that when you are away from home for an extended period of time, you’re never really able to fully come back. I hadn’t believed it before, but I do now. This is no longer my home. The time I spent in Finland had felt so natural that now I don’t know who I am or what to do. I spend my days here thinking about going back as quickly as possible, knowing that I won’t be able to for many months. I find myself wondering what we’ll do if the position I have at the Helsinki based company falls through and it terrifies me.

I’m not afraid that we won’t make it. I’m not afraid that the distance will win. I’m not afraid of anything to do with us; I have no doubts about the strength of our relationship, but I just feel alone. I know that it’s not easy on you either. I know that you’re forced to live in our flat alone. You walk to the shop alone and sleep in our bed without me. You’re living our life without me and I can’t even imagine how that feels.

I guess you’re right though, this is the cost of having something amazing. We have something truly amazing. It’s been over a year and I’m not only madly in love with you, but I’m not annoyed by you, and I still crave your presence. All I want is a life with you and I know that’s what you want to.

There’s been a lot of rambling in this post, but it’s just been a way to decompress and let go of some emotions… maybe this will help me stop crying randomly during the day.

-LP

When Love is a Question, not a Statement

Don’t settle.

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There’s a difference between love and comfort. 

I’ll be the first to say, I know how easy it can be to stay with someone who is comfortable, even when you know in your heart that it’s wrong. They’re not the one. If you have this nagging feeling that something is off; that your heart isn’t truly invested; leave. You deserve more and quite frankly, so do they. They might not understand and they may beg you to stay, but if you’ve got doubts, if you know that you’re settling… you have to get out.

We all deserve to feel an overwhelming kind of love, at least once in our lives. I had years wishing for a relationship to blossom into something that made me feel emotions that simply weren’t there and would never materialize. Wishful thinking turned into resentment which in turn  caused me to become someone I didn’t want to be. I had far too much within me to allow myself to be smothered in a relationship that did not cause me to feel like loving. I wanted more. Maybe it was selfish, but after spending years dying to feel a love growing from the depths of myself, I decided enough was enough when I realized that Lover Dearest by Mariana’s Trench was basically the theme song of my life.

My tongue’s turning black, but I’ll take you back.
You’re still the best more or less, I guess, I guess.

Don’t you leave me,
Well, I’m not sick of you yet,
Is that as good as it gets?
I’ll just try to hide it, or I could slip into you,
It’s so easy to come back into.

It hurts me to say that it hurts me to stay.
And it might be alright if you go.

I wanted to love someone; I mean truly love someone. I was tired of settling for less than what I wanted. Who wants to be in a relationship where you sit beside your partner and wonder if this is as good as it gets? Is this it? Am I going to be feeling this way forever, wondering if there’s more, hoping for a change that you know will never come? If you find yourself in a relationship like that,  know that you’re not alone and it doesn’t make you a bad person to leave because you want more.

It makes you brave.

You might feel like complete and utter shit in the beginning; it’s to be expected. No one wants to hurt another person, but if that pain is a necessary evil, handle it. Accept the blame for being the villain of their story and know that while they may never forgive you, years from now they’ll thank you. When they’re in a relationship that gives them the love they deserve to feel, they’ll understand why you two couldn’t have worked out. And when you’re in a relationship that causes your heart to stir, it will solidify the idea that it was the best possible decision you could make. Now, let me qualify that by saying this:

If you’re thinking the grass is greener on the other side, it’s a lie.

Do not give up on a relationship just because things are hard, or one you want out of because your relationship isn’t all peaches and cream, or even because you two are butting heads; realize relationships are difficult. If you want to end it even when things are good, that’s when you know that it’s not because you’re going through a rough patch, but because you truly do not love that person. If you’re only having these thoughts when you’re fighting or when times are stressful, don’t throw in the towel.  Search within the depths of your heart and determine what your relationship means to you, then go from there.

A true love will come your way.

When it does, you’ll see why it could have never worked with anyone else and you’ll understand what all those old folks meant when they said,

“When you know, you know.”

-LP

10 Vows your Bride Wants to Hear; a 23 year-old Divorcée’s Perspective

Wedding season is quickly approaching and you might feel a bit freaked out and overwhelmed when it comes to writing your vows. Odds are, your bride probably has an idea of what she longs to hear from you on her wedding day.

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You may have decided to write your own vows or at least adjust them to fit your life; if so, check out this list:

  1. I promise to fight for you and for us; even when it feels like I should be on the other team.
  2. I promise to pursue you above all else.
  3. I promise to hold you in my arms on cold nights, after hard days, during times of joy, and during times of pain.
  4. I swear to hold onto us even when I feel like letting go.
  5. I vow to stand beside you through it all, to lead you through what comes our way, and to protect you, to the best of my ability, from the rain of life.
  6. I promise to be open and honest with you about my expectations of our marriage.
  7. I will listen to you when you come to me with your worries; I will do my damnedest to not invalidate your feelings, but to try to understand why you feel that way. And when I have worries of my own, I will share them with you.
  8. I promise to try my hardest at being the husband, friend, and partner that you need me to be.
  9. I will make decisions that affect us and our family, with our best interest at heart and without leaving you in the dark.
  10. I promise to love you, even when if I don’t think you deserve it, because you are my wife and therefore deserve a soft spot in my heart, even when it feels like stone.

Every bride has the dream of what her betrothed will say to her while vowing to love her, but words are empty if you don’t mean them. So before compiling your vows, look at each one and determine if you can honestly say, at the end of each day you will fulfill these to the best of your ability.

It’s easy to make promises you don’t intend to keep, because the words taste too damn sweet as the dance across your tongue. If you’re vowing to love her; love her. If you’re promising to fight fair; fight fair. I would much rather hear you promise to try to not eat all of my ice cream when I’m asleep in bed, or that you’ll at least think about letting me know you’ve decided to shave your head entirely bald because you found a gray hair, before you actually do it than hear you say pretty words, just because they’re pretty.

Be realistic; don’t promise to never let your relationship change. Promise instead to change with it. Promise to still love your bride, even when she’s sick and sniffly; even when the kids have been so crazy lately that she hasn’t showered in 5 days. (That would be a great time to draw a bath and send her in for some alone time, just sayin’)

Whatever you promise to you beloved; mean it. Do your best to fulfill those vows you made to each other. Put the other’s needs ahead of your own; that’s love and it sure as hell isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. The right one is always worth the effort.

-LP