Saturday, September 05, 2009

10 Years!!

On a beautiful September day in 1996 you, on the spur of the moment, suggested we bike from your mom's house in Santa Barbara to my dad's house in L.A. We were young and stupid - me in my flip flops and bike with no ballbearings and only half of a seat and you in your do-rag, hemp necklace, and eco-warrior hairy legs, and neither of us with helmets - but god it was fun to be young and stupid. It was on that day that I reeled you in "for keeps."

For the next three years we lived with your mom while we finished school at UCSB, spent a year living with the girls at Lodge in South Africa, and spent a summer in Ecuador. Finishing our undergrad education might have been our priority back then, but the most important lesson we learned was that we made a really good match, and even with all of the retarded small fights we got into, we still knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

Although you had given up your vegetarianism in South Africa, you still had enough eco-warrior in you that your save the world ideals and strong passion for travel meant that the Peace Corps was your dream job after graduating from UCSB. Since I didn't really care what I did as long as I was with you, I decided to hitch along for the ride. With a little help from Peace Corps policy (which dictates that for a couple to be placed together, they must be married) we decided to get married sooner rather than later. And so, on September 5, 1999 about 3 years after our 120 mile bike ride, we were married in front of family and friends in a beautiful park in Montecito.

The Peace Corps might have been the impetus (or kick in the pants as Chingui would have said) to get us married, but Chula has been the measuring stick for our marriage.

Bought for 5 quetzales, she was given to us in a costal, and arrived at our home with a belly bloated full of lombrices and a skinny little body full of fleas. We literally scared the shit out of her when we took her out of the bag, and after bathing her, deparasiting her, and then failing miserably when we tried to take her for a walk and she just hunkered down, you asked me "is she ever going to love us?" It became pretty obvious, pretty soon, that the answer was yes and she has been our constant companion ever since.

She loved us even after I took her stitches out too early.

She loved playing with her chucho in arms, Pachak. She was the only dog in Tejutla allowed on the bus and she joined us on our adventures vaccinating animals, building greenhouses, starting goat projects, climbing Tajumulco, or just hanging out in the backyard.

She was adopted along with us by the Munoz family (even eating off the table) and was there for our tearful good-bye.

And then she joined us for our next chapter when we both went to professional school in Madison. She got to experience the leaves fall in autumn, the snow in winter, the sun and fun in summer, getting in good graces with my mom, trying on your scrubs from med school, and joining me on my lunch breaks from my first "real job" as an AAG.

To top off a decade of moving, she came with us on our trek back West. Camping in Colorado and Utah, our new house in Sacramento, and on those precious moments when you have time off, walks to the American river.

With the crazy hours you are working and the stress you are under it has to be hard to stop and reflect, so I am hoping this gives you the chance to reminisce about how vast, varied, and wonderful our last ten years together have been. From undergrads working at Dr. Frawley's and Lucky's, to Peace Corps volunteers, to professional students, to lawyer, to poker player to doctor. From Santa Barbara, to Guatemala, to Madison, to Sacramento - living with your mom, living with my mom, buying our first home. From the incredible highs of going to Guate, getting accepted to medical school, winning your scholarship, winning enough money from poker to put the down on a house, to the incredible lows of leaving our newfound family and friends in Guate, losing Chula, the deaths of Tita and Grandpa, and hitting the rockbottom of residency hell. At this stage of our lives we are in somewhat of a grind, so it is easy to forget that we have experienced more in these ten years than many people experience in their lives.

With less than two years of grinding to go, we will soon enough be facing the stresses and excitement of new adventures. Where will we end up two years from now? Where will we end up five years from now? Are kids, a new dog, a new house, a new job in our future? I am anxious, nervous, and excited to find out what the answers to those questions will be but I am reassured that with you by my side, wherever we end up and whatever we end up doing, I'll be just fine.

Happy Anniversary Charmiancita! I love you very much and am so looking forward to our next ten years together.


Memphis MOJO said...

Wow, wonderful post and I love the photos. You are blessed. You don't need me to tell you not to take it for granted.

AAPoker said...

Cool post char, as much shit as we give each other in vent, regularly... I wish you and your wife the best headed into the future. You two seem like a very good match for each other and I'm sure the next ten years will bring as many adventures as in the past.

Rex55 said...

What a heartfelt blog post and sweet sweet story. Happy Anniversary to you both and I hope your next 10 years are even more fulfilling and priceless than your first ten undoubtedly were.

-Cj "Rex55"

DigitalDoc said...

Happy Anniversary! You guys rock! I hope your next ten years contain as much fun exciting adventures as the past ten. A determined mind is powerful, but two determined soul mates makes for an unstoppable pair. May all your dreams and aspirations come true!