Saturday, July 22, 2017

Summer Adventures, Book-Learnin', and That One Song From South Pacific

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wrote a blog, and she was very diligent in the writing thereof, and there were lots of posts, and lots of followers, and lots of comments, and lots of friends, and a lot of time spent in reading and writing things of great interest and some of not much interest whatsoever.

Then Life happened, and the blog took a backseat, and some of the blog readers went on their merry way and read other blogs, and some of them lacked the time for any blogs at all because Life was happening for them too, and yet more of them stuck around from time to time and checked the blog just in case there was anything new happening.

(For purposes of a disclaiming nature I must take this opportunity to note that I am not implying that the reading and writing of blogs signifies one's Lack of a Life. It is a good and righteous hobby if it does not constitute the ENTIRE WHOLE of one's life - though, indeed, if it does, it still does not signify that Life is lacking, but rather that it is being rather frivolously squandered. Ahem.)

This post is for those last few, and my great gratitude is also extended to them-ward, for their tenacity and loyalty and sticking with me even though I've written a big ol' pile of nothin' in the last year or so.

I did, however, finally get a little bit back into the swing of things earlier this week, and though I make no promises about the future regularity of my posting, I really do want to make a better effort at writing.  Because writing feels good! Putting words together and creating a (somewhat) cohesive whole at the end sharpens creativity! I become an unstoppable writing force, as one with the old masters of literature, the wordsmiths of the ages, the Austens and Miltons and Shakespeares and Wildes and whoever wrote the dialogue for the original Winnie the Pooh films! 

The thing is, carving out the actual time to write stuff is not as easy as it looks.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may know that I formerly worked an 8-5 office job (from 2015-2017).  As of now, that is no longer true - I quit my job in May to focus primarily on obtaining a certificate in Administrative Office Management.  So now I'm taking college classes and working semi-part-time.  Emphasis on the "semi" at the moment, because I'm also spending the summer (well, most of it) with the very first person who ever followed this blog.

In other words... my best friend, Melody.  Pink goes good with green.  (She's on the right, I'm on the left, and no one was actually driving when this selfie was taken.  We were stuck in traffic and the car was in Park. Ease your minds.)

At the beginning of June, I packed my mostly essentials and headed... WEST. (I won't get more specific than that. Melody is entitled to her state's right to privacy. :P) I'm here until the first week in August, and we are having a blast. Because, obviously. We're best friends.

We've been having a fantastic time together that has included shopping (thrift stores for the win!), camping (twice!), swimming (quite a lot), babysitting (her nieces and nephews are all adorable but the youngest one is quite definitely and undeniably a bona fide Cutie Pop), reading good books (just finished A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay, which was better than The Bronte Plot but not as good as Dear Mr. Knightley), watching some movies and TV shows (yay for Poirot and Call the Midwife!) and working, too, believe it or not.  In our first couple of weeks together, we got a temporary job helping to move medical equipment in a hospital (a task that included good pay and sore muscles!) and then we spent several days temping at a local plastics factory (not-so-good pay and not great for breathing... we didn't like that one as well).

I've also been doing a great deal of HOMEWORK, which is not at all fun but bears mentioning, lest you think my so-called college classes are all in vain.  They are not. I will PowerPoint you to the death, if challenged. (Or to the pain. You choose.)

I could go off on a long and sappy tangent about what a great friend Melody is, and how blessed I am to have her in my life, and how much fun it's been, getting to spend an extended visit with her... but I don't want to take up TOO much of your precious time (since this is going to be a pretty long post ANYWAY), I'll just give you a short and sappy tangent.  We have been friends for nigh on six years now, which is pretty incredible (though seven years may be insufficient for some people to form a really close connection, seven days may be sufficient for others, or seven emails in our case...) and though we have had our ups and downs (some of them even during this visit!) our bond has only strengthened as time goes on, and there is really nothing quite like a best friend.  I was sniffling a bit over some of the tributes to Jane Austen's life earlier this week, on the 200th anniversary of her death, and the remarks Cassandra Austen made about her relationship with her sister stood out to me particularly. Obviously Melody and I are not sisters by blood, and we are both healthily alive and kicking, but if you change Cassandra's writing to present instead of past tense, it fits my thoughts about her very well.

"[She is] a treasure, such a sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed. She [is] the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow; I [have] not a thought concealed from her..."

We've both been reminded in various ways over the past year or so that life is changing and we must change with it; we're no longer the completely carefree teenagers we were when we first met.  Jobs and higher education and financial woes and health worries and family troubles and the joys of falling in love (ahem) have brought us into the world of adults since we first met, and I wouldn't change any of that for the world - but as the world changes, I'm glad I have a best friend to embrace that with me.

*end sappy tangent*

Anyway.  All in all, it's been a delightful summer thus far, despite my occasional bouts of homesickness and a great deal of... well, missing a certain person.  Who is not Melody. Because she's here. With me.

No, the person I've been missing so much is, in fact, someone who hasn't been mentioned on this blog until today.

Perhaps, just for fun and for the sake of maintaining the pseudonym I've used here for the last five and a half years, we'll call him Mr. Ferrars.

Let's rewind a tiny tad bit.  

It was in 2013 that I first became involved with Civil War reenacting, through a local historical house that was recruiting volunteers to give living history tours (an opportunity to get dressed up in old-fashioned clothes? YES PLEASE). That led me (and the rest of my family) to join an actual Civil War reenactment unit (Union forever, thank you very much), sparked my rabbit-hole-descent into making Victorian clothes, gave me quite a few opportunities to attend balls and parties and parades in historical garb, fueled my already-intense love of history... and, along the way, introduced me to my sweetheart. 

(If you follow me on Instagram, you're probably already well aware of his existence, but in case you don't, or in case you, unlike Flynn Rider, "do backstory," here's a bit more of the Detail.)

Technically speaking, we met in 2014, but neither of us can remember the particulars.  It was an outdoor encampment on the grounds of the house where I was volunteering (and where he had volunteered in the past), we were briefly introduced by a mutual friend, and that was about it. Later that year our paths crossed again at a Christmas Civil War ball, but except for a couple of partner-changing dances, we didn't interact much - until my sisters' and my GPS decided to die after the event had ended and we were stranded in an unfamiliar town with some uncertainty of how to get home.  So this gallant gentleman offered to let us follow him to the main highway before we went our separate ways.  I am still rather embarrassed about this (my sense of direction HAS improved since then), but clearly not so embarrassed as to stop me from writing about it on a public blog. I guess it serves as dramatic emphasis for just how nice that guy was.  

That was something I'd noticed, you see - I didn't know him very well, other than the fact that his name was Rob (there ya go, anyone who was dissatisfied with the vague "Mr. Ferrars") and his good manners and kindness to the people around him made a distinct impression on me.  That, as it turns out, was a very accurate impression indeed.

And then we started seeing each other at other events, and shyly talking a bit (okay, it was shy on my part...) and my sister teased me about him here and there but obviously that didn't mean anything, right? And then we became friends on Facebook. And then he innocently texted me asking for some information about an upcoming event in which we were both interested.  And, uh, we have not stopped talking since that day, which was nearly a year ago.  And then we started dating... and I fell in love with a wonderful guy

And now we're seven months into a relationship that's gone beyond anything I could ever have dreamed of, reinforced my belief in true love, convinced me that there really is another person out there in the world who understands my craziness, and given us both countless hours of laughing and crying and talking incessantly and baring our souls and telling of our most appalling secrets. 

Attempting to pose for a picture like civilized adults at a formal Victorian ball, and failing miserably.

I'm actually trying really hard not to make this overly sappy and starry-eyed. I'm not sure if you can tell.  Probably not.  But believe me, I could be a lot worse.

I wouldn't say that in the past I approached romance with a cynical eye, because I didn't. I loved reading books and watching movies about people who had found their soulmate, but deep down inside I wasn't sure I would ever meet that person who was completely right for me. I'd seen enough relationships and even marriages between people who seemed reasonably happy together, but who didn't always seem to "click" in the way that I wanted to do if I ever met my person. So I began to think that that person probably wasn't out there, that I wasn't going to ever meet someone I could truly love with my whole heart and know without a shadow of a doubt that he loved me back just as fiercely and understood what makes me tick.  Which was all well and good. I was fine with being single. In fact, I embraced it! And when God said, "No, My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts," and brought along the person I thought couldn't exist, I actually resisted at first. Surely it couldn't be that easy. Surely we couldn't have just been made for each other... could we?

Yeah, turns out we could.

You want to know the real kicker? The clincher, one of (several) things that convinced me that this was Really Truly Love? Guys, he's not a Jane Austen fan. It's not his thing. And you know what? I love him anyway. 

Oh, sure, we have lots of other shared interests and hobbies and nerdiness about books and geekiness about grammar and fascination with long-dead people and love of the outdoors and sense of adventure (well, okay, he has a sense of adventure and I remind him to wear his seat belt), and he'll sit and watch a costume drama with me (we blew through the first season of Victoria alarmingly fast) but Pride and Prejudice is not his cup of tea, and that is okay.  (For the record, Jurassic Park was not my cup of tea either. :P) 

Although once I get back from my trip, we are totally watching Sense and Sensibility together. ;)

So, uh, yeah. That is, in a nutshell, why my blogging has taken a backseat. Because the hours I used to spend researching and writing blog posts (and watching period dramas, too, let's be real) have lately given way to phone conversations and Skype conversations and hanging out in real life and spending time with each other's families and talking a LOT, did I mention that yet? The time I used to have for my Internet presence has dwindled drastically... and I am okay with that. I don't want to neglect this blog entirely (as I've been doing... cough cough) but, well, stages of life, people. Stages of life.  

I'm grateful to all of you who have stuck with me over the last year (with basically no content on here... heh) and to those of you who are reading this and will be sticking with me in the future.

Because now that I'm done with that first season of Victoria, it obviously needs a review.  

P.S. If you're interested in A Portrait of Emily Price, you can get your own copy on Amazon! 
....yes, that's an affiliate link. You don't have to click on it if you don't want to. ;)


Gabby A. said...

Well, first of all, I hope you and Melody have a fabulous time of your remaining holiday together!

Secondly, the costumes pictured here are amazing - your dresses!! I absolutely LOVE the blue and white one with puffed sleeves featured in the collage!! (Also, I love those collage photos. They're better than any fancy posed ones.)

Thirdly, that's so lovely to hear about Rob! To be honest, I wasn't surprised, hehe. But nonetheless, happy.

Fourthly, I do hope you post more than once every six months. :P But I understand if you don't.

Fifthly... well, there is no fifth.

Katie Hanna said...

Y'all are cute together. I approve. <3

(Also: Any ideas where I can get me one of those? :-P)

Good luck with your college classes! I know what a lot of intense work that involves, but you're doing great. And good luck with your continued reenacting work--and rest easy in the knowledge that you are a MUCH BETTER seamstress than I will EVER BE. *grins*

Miss Woodhouse said...

Awww I'm so happy for you Amy!! You and "Mr. Ferrars" are adorable together <3 <3

And your dresses are positively lovely!! I am involved in some historical reenactments but I have yet to make my own dresses which I would love to do someday...

You and Melody are so cute whenever you get together ;) Isn't it so wonderful to have a best friend!

Olivia said...

I was going to start my comment by asking you if you were aware that you look like Sierra Boggess (and also, btw, you introduced me to the POTO 25th anniversary concert, for which I am deeply grateful), BUT THEN THE BIG THING HAPPENED. Which, it can be argued, is "the more pressing matter."

You and Rob look ADORABLE AND HAPPY AND I AM HAPPY FOR YOU. <3 Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your sappy story, if sappy it was -- I am currently feeling the same way you did, in some ways, so reading this was encouraging. Specifically the bit where you said:

"I'd seen enough relationships and even marriages between people who seemed reasonably happy together, but who didn't always seem to "click" in the way that I wanted to do if I ever met my person. So I began to think that that person probably wasn't out there, that I wasn't going to ever meet someone I could truly love with my whole heart and know without a shadow of a doubt that he loved me back just as fiercely and understood what makes me tick.  Which was all well and good. I was fine with being single. In fact, I embraced it! And when God said, "No, My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts," and brought along the person I thought couldn't exist, I actually resisted at first. Surely it couldn't be that easy. Surely we couldn't have just been made for each other... could we?"

^^ So thank you. "You have given me hope, Mrs. Lynde. I shall always look upon you as a benefactress."

Also, I'd like to take a moment for a little sappiness myself, if it's all the same to you. *clears throat* You were one of my first introductions into the wonderful world of story-blogging (if that's an appropriate term?), and I'm bound to say that I have often tried to mimic your singularly clever and smoothly-flowing style of post-writing. (Which has not always been easy or successful, I can tell you, because heavens, you ARE articulate, my dear. <3) So . . . I guess just thanks. Thanks for taking the time to really craft an excellent and stand-out blog. Thanks for taking so long on the posts. Thanks for all the multitudinous, quote-filled movie reviews that caused me to fall in love with the idea of blogging about my passion for stories. Thanks for making your blog feel like a welcoming, banter-full (I know, I know, but I'M RUNNING OUT OF WORDS, OKAY??), immersive place. Thank you for demonstrating that blogs can be used to talk about stories and obsessions and menial things AND God and faith and Deep Things. Also, thank you for introducing me to so many stories and adaptations of said stories (and clever turns-of-phrase)! (Case in point, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables.) I will always love your blog muchly, and will probably come back to re-read various posts for many years to come. <3

I really don't know what all else to say . . . so I shall simply say one more rousing thank you, and may God bless you abundantly and draw you ever closer to Him! <3 <3 <3

Evangeline said...

I loved this ever so much! What a lovely long post filled with wonderful news and happenings! :-D I'm currently in a university lecture so must keep this brief but it was SO good to see a post from you in my feed again. Also itv VICTORIA (Loved it loved it loved it!!) :DD

Miss March said...

Hi Amy!

I've been reading your blog for years but I don't know that I've ever commented before. I'm commenting now because obviously I'm one of those sappy girls who loves "sappy" love stories. Haha. ;P Seriously though I was really thrilled to hear that you've found a man you click with...who understands you...and who you can truly say you love with your whole heart. That is so encouraging! Because I hope to meet a man like that someday, too, and it's good to be reminded that it can happen!! All in God's perfect timing!

I love the pictures of you two at the ball. You're adorable! :D

And you and Melody, too! That's so cool that you get to spend so much of the summer together. Sounds like you've been having a blast. :D

~Miss March

Kirsten Fichter said...

Congratulations, Amy!! I saw the infamous word "Ferras" pop up on my screen, and I think I squealed. Which is bad. Because I'm at work. In the library. *cough* AT ANY RATE, I am super happy for you and extremely excited to see how God leads both you and Rob!!!

From experience, I can tell you I thought very much the same way. I was convinced there could never be *that* guy who would just click with me. I was too odd, eccentric, weird, not normal, etc. Seriously. But God had other plans, and now I've been happily married for a full month and I've never regretted a moment of it. God's plans are so much better than whatever we come up with on our own!

But I can completely relate to the cup of tea thing. Meaning, my husband is not an Austen fan, either. And I don't think he really knows all that much about Dickens or Hugo or any other period drama fantastic author. He likes good stories, but Austen really isn't his cup of tea. And guess what? Settlers of Catan and mini golf really aren't my cup of tea, either, but that's ok. :) I think it's more fun to have differences like these, mainly because it encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and try things you never may have before.

Anyway, I'll stop before I get sappy. Believe me, I can go there, too. *high fives sap for guys that deserve it* God bless you both, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of Rob, hopefully, later on! I know we'd all love to get to know him more!