Tag Archives: LDR

Crochet afghan

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Way back in September, not long before Shane and I began our LDR, I made a list of goals for the next 4.5 months.  One of those goals was to crochet my first afghan…and I actually did it!  I finished this blanket in December or January, but waited until he and I returned to Korea to do the last row.

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The pattern that I used is here.  Obviously I improvised, and because of my improvisations, I ended up using quite a bit more yarn than I had expected to use.

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The blanket is not perfect and it’s not thick, but it’s very soft and warm, and it reminds me a little bit of a falsa (a kind of Mexican blanket).

Have you ever crocheted or knitted a blanket?  Any suggestions for what I should make next?

 

 

Ireland day 1: Dublin

I’ll be honest and say that I was really heavy-hearted as I left America.  It sounds silly, but after a year apart from my family, I felt that I really knew how long a year could be.  I dreaded the 7th, even as I looked forward to it because of my reunion with Shane.  I was excited about our vacation, but Ireland has never held the charm for me that it has for many other Americans.  Certainly I appreciated pictures of the landscape and (in the right mood) the traditional music.  But in general, my mood was gloomy as I left America that day.

The flight from New York to Ireland was only about 5 hours, and I managed to sleep.  I landed in Dublin around 6am, but it was closer to 7:30 by the time I had made it through customs and immigration and finally, after almost 5 months, saw Shane face-to-face again.  How to describe it?  It was…different.  For one, his brother was there, and I was meeting him for the first time.  And secondly, we hadn’t even seen each other’s face in well over a month!  It was surreal.

Shane and I dropped our stuff at the hostel and quickly began walking to the first site on our itinerary: Áras an Uachtaráin, the house the president.  On the way, we stopped and he got me a breakfast roll, which is basically several kinds of pig meat: sausage, “pudding” (again, ground pork), “bacon” (ham), and I think hash browns.  It smelled good, but was actually almost tasteless.  This was to become a theme of the first few days of our trip: food that looked good or smelled good, but had almost no taste.  I quickly found that if I asked for very spicy food or food flavored with lemon that it helped tremendously.

On the way to the president’s house, we got a ride in a horse and carriage! But when we got there, the ticket office wasn’t set to open for several more hours.  So we simply snapped a picture and moved on.

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Not pictured: the candy wrapper that accidentally flew out of my pocket. Shane: “You’ve just littered the white house!”

From there, we headed to Kilmainham Gaol, a historic jail.

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The Guinness Storehouse was next, and it was around this time that I realized just how walkable Dublin really was;  Shane had told me before that it wasn’t a metropolis, really (at least not in terms of size) but I think that I had been expecting it to be a lot more industrial and forbidding, and definitely larger, if only because it is such a hub.  But walking around it was really very manageable.  Soon we were at the Guinness Storehouse, where we both learned the pull the perfect pint.

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From there, we were off to Dublinia, which was a sort of museum experience focusing on viking and medieval Ireland.  It was actually pretty empty, which was fun because so many of the exhibits were hands on.

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Our tour included a visit to Christ Church Cathedral and crypt, so we headed over there next.

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We did a bit of shopping and walked around Dublin after that, including taking in Trinity College and the book of Kells.  Unfortunately, no photos were allowed.

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That night Shane had booked us tickets to Dark Land, a short show at the Leprechaun Museum.  There were only two other people at the show, but that actually made it better.  It was an interactive play where the story was this: a man meddles in fairy business and it is more than he can handle.  I won’t spoil anything in case any readers want to see it.

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Looking for clues.

The show was only about 45 minutes, and after that we walked around the Temple Bar area until we found a pub playing trad music, so I got seats and Shane got drinks and we settled in.  It was a great first day!

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Staying Normal in a Long Distance Relationship

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My first letter to Shane.

One of the worst things about  being in a long distance relationship is losing your “normal.”  I’m the sentimental type, and I really treasure those everyday acts of love: when he’d put the kettle on for me and make my favorite tea, or feed my cat, or meeting him during my break at work, even just for 15 minutes to have a coffee and crack jokes.  I truly believe that what does a lot of couples in is when communication itself becomes an event.  The next thing you know, you’re not the same couple anymore.

This is actually my second LDR (and also the second to span time zones).  My old relationship didn’t work for many reasons, but distance really wasn’t one of them.  Here are some things that I do to keep things, well, uneventful:

  1. Set up your phone (or computer) for their area – news, weather, time zone. Image Here’s a little peak at my phone (why yes, I do get all my blogging done at night, and yes, I hate charging my phone).  Believe it or not, this is so simple, but it’s a really powerful visual that helps me to feel connected to Shane (in Limerick) and to my family (in Detroit).
  2. Greet in their time zone.  I love it when I call my mom after work (10pm my time, 9am her time) and she immediately says “Hey sweetie – how’s your night?”  It makes me feel like maybe she’s in the next city over and I could pop over to see her in the morning, instead of the helplessness that can sometimes come when I realize that even if I walked out the door right now and everything aligned perfectly, it would still be 20 hours and $1,000+ before I could see her.
  3. Skype for boring stuff.  No, really.  When we were in undergrad, my best friend and I would leave Skype on for hours.  We’d both be doing various things, and we’d sometimes laugh and share something or just sit in silence.  It keeps things casual.  I like to do this in LDRs, too, because it de-escalates the Skype time that you spend together and lets you make some Skype time just regular “us being us” time and select other days where you are having a special Skype date.  Again, the illusion of choice.
  4. Give them something to hold.  I’m a tactile person and a drama queen.  After a couple weeks of an LDR I start going on about “what if I forgot the way he smells?  What’s next, will I forget his voice?”  I know I won’t.  That’s silly.  But especially in the case of my relationship with Shane (where he does not have internet access and we have gone more than a week without being able to communicate at all except via letter) it really helps to having something in my hand: a letter in his handwriting, his hoodie, the chocolates that he bought for me the night before he left.
  5. Share your laughs.  A good friend of mine, Xenia, is an old hand at this LDR thing by now.  Her husband is in the US military and he’s been deployed many times during the course of their relationship – at the longest, for 14 months.  And she had the genius idea to make a tumblr blog called “Hey Honey, Come Here And Look at This!”  It’s exactly what you would think: a page where she posts cute or funny things that she thinks he’ll like.  She started it during one of his deployments and he would check it when he could, but now he’s home and they read it together.
  6. Stay in their social circle and stay current. Nothing wrecks your normal like having to explain things you wouldn’t have needed to explain before.  If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a control freak, and I want to head that one off at the pass.  Shane founded a brilliant metal festival, The Siege of Limerick, and when he was in Korea still he would talk to me about plans for the upcoming Siege.  Now that he’s gone and we can only talk once a week or less, I follow the Siege’s Facebook page.  I am obsessed with Downton Abbey, and I love talking about it with him; Shane is lukewarm about it.  However, he watches it every week so that we can chat about it.  And I’ve just begun Harry Potter because he told me that he liked those books.

These are just a few of the things that I do to keep things as mundane and domestic as I can.  Obviously they won’t work for everyone, especially if you live closer or have more chance to talk.  If you’ve been in a long distance relationship, especially across timezones, what do you do to make things easier?