Old & Borrowed

This story begins on a beautiful day in September. My wedding day to be precise.  We spent fifteen months planning, and a lifetime dreaming of, what this day would look like. I had my new dress and my blue shoes to cover half of superstition and my mom’s heirloom ring for old and borrowed.C&R-152

The weather was cooperating, the bridesmaids were beautiful, and everyone was happy. After spending the morning getting ready together, it was time for the bridesmaids, the flower girl, and my mother to leave the apartment we had rented and head out the reception site, a local marina, for photos with our photographer.  We pulled up in front of the dock and all piled out of the vehicle ready for more fun. The photographer suggested a few bridal portraits on the docks before taking the group photos.C&R-160

I walked out onto the dock holding my dress up. I let my dress drop and froze as I heard an awful sound. My mother’s ring had fallen off my hand and hit the dock. As I looked toward the sound, I saw the even more horrifying sight of the ring bouncing off the dock and ripples in the water below.

The photographer and I were alone on the dock and both stood, bent over double, staring at the rippling water, willing the ring to float in stunned silence. One of the bridesmaids, realizing that something must be wrong, walked over, and I said the words out loud for the first time, “My mom’s ring just fell into the river.” Suddenly there was a blur of navy as all six bridesmaids started running in different directions having no earthly idea what to do.Bridal Party

My mother, who apparently realized that running bridesmaids did not bode well, hurried over to find out what had happened. She had an instant look of panic, but kept herself together and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get a diver.” The DJ and the owner of the marina ventured over and agreed that the ring would be found.

I managed to pull myself together to take the pre-wedding photos, but constantly had the ring in the back of my mind. We even took a picture pointing to the spot where the ring had fallen hoping that one day this would all be a funny joke.Pointing

At this point I knew very little about the ring except that it was passed to my mother by paternal grandmother.  I have since learned that the original owner of the ring was Alfonso Chiara, my grandmother’s grandfather. He gave it Carmela, his future wife, on their engagement sometime around 1880 in Italy, shortly before they immigrated to the United States. My mother is the 4th generation this ring has been passed down to.Ring pic 1

Roland and I survived the wedding without too much focus on what I had lost, then flew out the next day to Germany to start out honeymoon. You would think Oktoberfest and Neuschwanstein would be enough to distract us, but we texted several times to find out the progress of the search, the ring always in the back of our minds. My mom initially replied with news that there was a diver, then later that they had a new idea, then, “We’ll tell you about it when you get home.” Not exactly what we wanted to hear.

The story we received upon our return is that the Monday after the wedding, a diver went searching for the ring. After over an hour he came up with nothing but apologies. He even waved his fee because he felt so bad about it. The same day, following the diver’s fruitless search, my mom’s cousin brought out a set of old fashioned oyster tongs. Having owned the marina for the past 30 years, he had found countless lost items using this method in the past. He dug the area for an hour before passing the tongs to my dad and a family friend who continued to dig and sift through the mud.

Not ready to give up hope, I started looking into underwater metal detectors. A close friend, Cory, a groomsman in our wedding, told us he had access to dive gear and was willing to make a search attempt for the ring if I ordered a metal detector.

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My plan was to rent one online, but due to our time constraints and the progressively colder weather, the rental plus overnight shipping was cost prohibitive. I ordered a low cost underwater detector from Amazon that was guaranteed to arrive on time and hoped for the best. Cory met his coworker and my dad at the marina. This was our best hope! An hour of joint searching, followed by an hour of warm up time, and then another hour underwater by Cory alone led to a mild case of hypothermia. Still no ring.

Thankfully, determination and a treasure hunting soul were not deterred by the hypothermia. The original metal detector repeatedly pinged under the dock, but identified too large an area for one person to dig alone. At Cory’s request, we returned the original metal detector and ordered a pin pointer detector in its place. He scheduled a second visit to the marina only a few days later, on what happened to be my mother’s birthday, intending to meet up with my Dad and his friend. He arrived before his friend, met up with my dad and went into the water with the new metal detector. Less than five minutes passed before my Dad looked up to the sound of a noise erupting from underwater. Cory had not yet broken the surface of the water when his shouts of triumph could be heard.Cory and Ring

Buried in silt, in the exact spot it had fallen four weeks prior, the ring was found! I received this picture while I was at work and literally jumped out of my chair shouting. My co-workers swarmed out of their offices to see this incredible photo as they had all heard the progression of the story since our return from our honeymoon. This celebration was real! My mother agreed when we met her for birthday dinner that this was the best birthday present she has ever received! We are so thankful for this find.

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A Week Night in the Life of 20 Somethings

When you’re a teen, being in your 20’s seems glamorous. Having a job, a house, and your own car is what people dream of. I used to think that people in their 20’s partied all the time, got dressed up to go out to bars, and had fabulous plans with friends every day of the week.

Now I’m here. In my 20’s. And there’s not a whole lot of glamorous about it. There are days and moments that could qualify and don’t get me wrong, I love my life. But a picture for you of what my evening as a 20 something actually looks like. I live with two other people. Shortly after dinner tonight, as on many other nights, we all go to separate rooms and watch Netflix.

It was kind of like the line in The Night Before Christmas when, “All through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Everything was peaceful, then, suddenly, the internet went down. Within seconds, I could hear my roommate upstairs out of her bed and walking about. My roommate downstairs actually came out of her room and asked what was going on. I was already off the couch sitting in the floor in front of the router as though staring a hole in it would somehow fix the problem and put Scandal back on for me. My roommate retreated to her room and paced about as I waited, continuing to stare at the router as though it would fix itself (technology has made some serious progress in my lifetime, a girl can dream!).

Eventually I did what every non-tech-savvy person does and pulled the power cord out. I waited the obligatory 10 seconds, for which I have never understood the purpose, then turned it back on again. One by one, each light came on down the router. I don’t know what they mean, but the one with little ‘i’ seems to indicate that the internet is functional.  I called to my roommate to tell her to check hers and we both waited with bated breath as our televisions loaded the red screen of Netflix revived. There was literally cheering involved.

Then the night went back to normal. Everyone settled in their places. Three 20 somethings, all in different rooms, watching Netflix. Not glamorous. Just reality. And some really good television.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom’s birthday. My adventurous, brave, and beautiful mother. I live 2 hours from her and don’t get to see her often enough, but today I got to celebrate her birthday with her. Roland and I met her and my Dad in a town halfway between where we each live.

It was a new restaurant to all of us, recommended by a coworker. The food took a long time. The conversation focused around work and it was mostly stories about our frustrations as none of us are too pleased with work these days. When our food finally came, it really wasn’t that good. However, in the midst of the list of things that weren’t perfect about the evening, we laughed and enjoyed each others company. I didn’t really notice until I sat to write this how many things went wrong. It was a day when it would have been easy to get caught up in the little things that didn’t matter, but I was focused on my Mom. Appreciating her and the time I could spend with her today. No matter what goes on around us, we ALWAYS have fun when we’re together.

So all I want to say today is Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and appreciate you more than you know. I’m so glad we got to spend part of your birthday with you.IMG_0082

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Refocusing

It’s been three months to the day since I wrote a post on this blog. In that time, I’ve been traveling, wedding planning, enjoying the changing of the season, and living my life in the real world 🙂 However, I hope to get back to my goal of posting regularly. Living a goal directed life takes practice and I’m out of practice.

In that spirit, I plan to kick off my return to this lifestyle by a week of daily posts. What you can expect to read about in upcoming posts:

– A Day Trip to Morocco, also known as “The Day of 3 Countries”

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– La Costa del Sol

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– The Salt Cathedral

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– Telefericos

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– An Evening in Lisbon

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– Things I Learned Taking a First Time Traveler to South America

-Attending weddings while you are planning your own and many, many other adventures.

I am excited to share my stories!

Staying Busy

One of the things that I really wanted to do when I started this blog was slow down and enjoy life. I have been going nonstop for years and I’m exhausted. What I’ve found through this process is that I’m totally incapable of slowing down. In the past six weeks, I have been away for the weekend literally every other weekend. The weekends I have been home have been filled with events locally as well as trying to accomplish all of my household goals.

I was initially very frustrated in the beginning of March as I looked ahead to the next three months and our calendars were literally filled with activities, events, and obligations. Two weddings, a tux fitting for Roland, a trip to Boston to see my family and the Boston Marathon, a grandmother visiting from out of state, a friend’s going away party, then a day packing their house to move, Run or Dye, a week long training in Connecticut, and the list just goes on… and on and on. This is exactly what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be running all the time, busy, and foisting my poor dog off on people every few weeks when she couldn’t make the trip with us.

I stopped one day in the midst of it all as I once again scoured the calendar for some way to reduce the chaos in our busy schedule. Looking at the calendar, I realized that there was nothing on it that I didn’t want to do. This revelation that Roland and I had chosen all of these activities and cared enough about them to plan for them months in advance completely altered my perspective on the situation.  These were not just events and obligations, these were people.  This was not just dots filling our schedule, this was time with the people who make up our lives.

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I’ve always been busy and I probably always will be, but instead of continuing to grumble and attempting to paddle against the tide, I will choose to be happy in the midst of it all.

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it everyday.”          – Henri Nouwen

This is one of my favorite quotes. I have it posted in my office and show it to people all the time.  One of these days I will truly learn to live it, but until then I will continue to strive for it. I don’t want to put my head down and push through.  I want to enjoy life.  So, halfway through the month of April, I look forward to the coming weeks and months of continued busyness and constantly chaotic schedules.  I will not be stressed about it. It is a blessing.

Happy Wednesday All!  I hope you are choosing joy in your lives today.