Tag Archives: long-distance relationship

The emptiness

I barely feel human.

And at the same time feel all too human.

The pain and the hurt are overwhelming.

I am not a nice person to be around right now. I spent the last two days in a car with my mother and two cats, driving seventeen hundred miles through four states so that I could be surrounded by family. The drive was uncomfortable. Silent and awkward. Too many thoughts and the emptiness of the landscape. My mother stuck, for there are no words of comfort in a time like this. And still, knowing that, I acted like a sullen teenager.

I am avoiding my friends, the people who are desperate to help me through this. I can’t bear the thought of sharing my misery. And it’s especially difficult, given how scattered everybody is. That long drive in the car emphasized exactly how far away from my loved ones I am. It’s difficult to sit on a couch with a bottle of wine and escape into nothingness in the company of your dearest friends over the phone.

Not that each and every one of them haven’t offered to do just that. But the fact is, I don’t have a home at the moment. I don’t have my very own space to curl up in. To avoid reality. To wait out the pain, to let the numbness settle in.

The past week is a blur. There was a list a mile long of pesky details that needed to be dealt with. And I unwillingly dealt with them all. And now I am left with the emptiness. The questions. The anger. The doubts. The pain. The loneliness. The love that no longer has a place in this world.

It’s a sorry state to be in. I don’t like being here. I hate that I am dragging others into it, especially during this time of year. But I can’t pull myself out of it. I don’t have it in me just yet.

The emptiness abounds. For now.

Death of the Relationship

This was not the post I was expecting to write.

I am supposed to be sitting in a moving van with all of my worldly belongings and the love of my life driving South towards a life that I had so desperately yearned for. But just a few short days ago, after all of the plans had been made, I was asked not to move to Florida.

It feels as though my entire world has crumbled down around me.

Now, my collection of possessions are sitting just blocks from my soon-to-be vacated apartment. I am heartbroken, homeless and lost of all hope.

Long-distance got the best of this long-distance relationship.

It’s a dark place to be.

And I am taking this blog to the heart of the darkness. I’ve lost my appetite, so don’t expect any light-hearted recipes and cute stories from my childhood in the near future. I thought about not writing about this; to keep it all to myself. It’s not about the boy and what happened. It’s about searching myself and finding a way. Writing therapy, if you will. To make it public will keep things in perspective; to be fair to all parties involved.

Healing takes time and space.

So instead of heading South with the person I built a life with, I am heading West for a while with my constant companions, Puck and Kudzu, to lick my wound in the welcoming, supportive and loving arms of my family. And to surround myself in the grey mist of the Pacific Northwest. A gloominess that mirrors that in my heart and mind.

In my heart, I know that there is majesty and beauty and sheer awesomeness beneath it all.

I just don’t know when the sun will come out from behind the clouds.

Something Special

I made something special. Can you guess what it is?

Hint: It was delicious.

Vanilla bean panna cotta with blackberry-lemon puree.

Why something so special?

Because it’s Friday.

And Scott is here visiting.

And it’s been six weeks since we last saw each other.

(Boo for long-distance relationships.)

And I had vanilla beans in my cupboard.

Scott is a tricky person to make treats for. He likes the classics – chocolate chip cookies, pecan pie, chocolate cake (you get the idea). But I get easily bored with making the classics. It’s a difficult situation. But I remembered Scott mentioning about a year ago or so that he had tried panna cotta and found it divine (well, divine is my adjective, but I think it summarizes his experience). You can see that I have a superb memory for details and this time I choose to use my powers for good.

Because I am nice like that.

I admit to being slightly intimidated by the prospect of panna cotta. Just the name sounds fancy. And as it is often described as silky I figured it would be difficult to achieve.

I was wrong.

It turns out that panna cotta is something that takes very few ingredients and not that much hands-on time. I went to Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and didn’t mess around. Then I paired with with a blackberry-lemon puree.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Blackberry-Lemon Puree

6 servings, from Mark Bittman
**********
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
3 cups cream
1/4 ounce package unflavored gelatin
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup granulated sugar
 
Blackberry-Lemon Puree
2 cups blackberries
lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
**********

In a pot, measure one cup of cream. (Don’t have the heat on yet!)

Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the cream. Let sit for 5 minutes (the surface will get very crinkly.)

Turn heat on low and whisk like crazy until the gelatin dissolves, ~ 5 minutes.

Add vanilla bean, sugar and remaining cream. Turn up heat to medium and cook until steam rises from the cream, ~ 5 minutes, whisking all the while.

Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Remove vanilla bean and pour into small ramekins.

Chill until set, at least 4 hours.

Now for the blackerry-lemon puree.

Collect the blackberries, lemon zest and lemon juice in a blender.

And puree it.

Add the powdered sugar, give it whirl and then put the whole thing through a fine-meshed strainer. 2 cups of blackberries have an astounding number of seeds that will ruin the velvety-ness of the puree.

Honestly, the most difficult thing about this entire process was getting the damn panna cotta out of the little bowls to serve it. I ran a knife around the edges and then put the bowl into a hot water bath, flipped it over with some agitation (and a few swear words) and finally got it to come out.

I guess it just takes practice.

But it turned out amazingly well, given my hesitation towards making it.

I think this one’s a keeper.

Kind of like Scott.

Where are y’all from?

I think this question might currently be the bane of my existence.

It used to be “When are you finishing your Ph.D?” But that’s a done deal now.

And before that it was “Why would you choose to go to graduate school?”

But right now, at this very moment “Where are y’all from?” is the hardest question to answer.

Scott and I were asked this several times while we were at the beach this weekend.

It’s a complicated answer.

Technically I live in Minneapolis.

(Taken last summer – it are nowhere near this pretty yet, but I am trying to stay optimistic that it will happen again)

 

The problem is I wouldn’t call Minneapolis “home.” Especially if home is where the heart is. I live here and work here but my life is torn all over the country. I usually default and say that I grew up in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Now let’s add Scott into the mix.

He currently lives in Florida.

 

But grew up in Louisiana.

 

And we met in North Carolina.

You can see how complicated this is. Oh the perks of being an academic couple!

I’ve discussed before how much the places in your life contribute to who you are, so how you answer really goes a long way in how you define yourself. The answer, or more precisely, how you answer, gives the questioner a huge amount of information about yourself.

And yet I stumble whenever I try and reply…

Maybe I am just tired of the constant traveling and am jonesing to settle down.

A life that might be

I feel like I am leading a dual life.

Perhaps that’s too dramatic (not that I am prone to dramatic statements).

What I mean to say is: I am in a long-distance relationship.

I’ve just returned from a weekend visiting Scott in Florida.  It was a wonderful, simple, quiet weekend.  The only downside was that I had to leave on Monday.

*****

Scott surprised me with purple tulips which continue to make me smile as I think about them.

I sat in on one of Scott’s lectures.

 

and I marveled (once again) at the view from Scott’s office – I mean, really, this is January in Florida?

We worked at coffeeshops.

And ate dinner.

Followed by drinks and a crossword puzzle at the bar.

which I took especially seriously…

and Scott got tired of me taking photos (but still is cute even when grumpy).

 

There may have been several games of Agricola. I think we may be getting close to figuring out the proper strategies …

 

We even managed to catch a movie. We saw Black Swan, which on its own is no laughing matter. However, we went to a giant movie theater and did the whole she-bang: popcorn and sodas. Besides gauging our pocketbooks, we were astounded by the sizing of everything. What sort of logic makes 44 ounces a “medium” drink? I think we only made it through about an eighth of that popcorn. Talk about hilarious!

(The movie, by the way, was good.  Intense, but good.)

And of course time spent around the house and in the kitchen -more on that later. As I said before, it was a simple, quiet weekend. Nothing spectacular, but spent with the one I love, so it was perfect.

And yet bittersweet because these are only glimpses in a life that might be.

A life that I so desperately want to have be more than just the occasional weekend.

Luckily we have the next weekend planned in less than a month.