Missing The Beast.

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“You’re such a spazz, Auntie Sarah.”

I’m planning a trip back to the States soon, and I could not be more excited to see this beast again. You know I mean business when I say that I miss that three-year-old creep more than I miss burritos. I haven’t seen her in SEVEN MONTHS, which is just unacceptable. That’s like one hundred years in toddler years. I feel sick just thinking about it.

Last night, Fertile Myrtle and I had our weekly Skype date, and yet again, I had to bribe The Beast to speak to me by threatening to withhold her English chocolate gifts. It’s a super effective tactic, but it also makes me feel gross and sad. I want her to remember how awesome and fun I am, and just live to speak to me for five minutes every Sunday morning. Unfortunately, she’s still too little.

As I was falling asleep a few hours after the call, I had this moment of feeling present in Fertile Myrtle’s house, just standing by the kitchen island where I’ve eaten my feelings a thousand times. And that one second of teleporting home was tragic. It is really, truly, deeply devastating to be separated by distance from the things you love. As much as the move was my choice (and a huge opportunity), if I could have everything at once, I would be home surrounded by my people, showing The Beast how to stick salty pretzels to her wet arms in person instead of having to do over the internet.

I apologize in advance to everyone else who thinks they are going to see me when I’m home. I’ll be really busy for the full two weeks teaching a child how to make her mother insane.

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Death Becomes Her.

Untitled*Provided I don’t get hit by a bus or choke on a cashew, two things that almost killed me this week.

This post is going to read like I have psychological problems, so I’m going to come right out and say that I am totally content with my life as it is and there is no cause for alarm.

Good. I’m glad we got that out of the way.

Because: I think about death a lot. Like, probably far more than your average bear. I’m not sure if that’s a symptom of being a little bit older or wiser, or because I worked with dead people for a long time as a forensic anthropologist, or because I spend my work days looking up mortality rates and life expectancy calculations, or because I am just by nature a morose and sad-sacky creep who often matter-of-factly mourns that eventually my beautiful hands will be skeletons.

I don’t know why, but I think about death at least once a day.

When I tell people that, their first reaction is usually some comment about how grim and unsettling that is. This is acceptable, because these people are right: thinking about how eventually you and everyone you know is going to cease to exist in any form you’ve come to associate with existence is pretty grim and unsettling.

However, underneath all that troubling unknown, there is something beautiful about there being an end (although hopefully far, far in the future). Because my gross, morbid brain reminds me on the regular that I will be dead one day, I am constantly reminded to live in the present. This doesn’t always work – I am by nature a hypochondriac worrier who gives herself stress hives – but most of the time, it motivates me to do everything I can while I can and to tell all the people I love that I love them so often that it makes them nuts. It can’t be all bad.

Am I alone in this? Do any of you other freak shows think about this all the time?

Spain!

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Just last night, I flew back from Madrid, after spending a few days traveling around with my parents, whom I hadn’t seen in six months. It was so, so, so wonderful to see them, most especially because we had a lot of long discussions about what has happened in my life in the past year. Seeing as I dropped a huge bomb on them on their summer vacation last August and then proceeded to move immediately into their house, stop eating food, refuse to leave my room for five months, and then move across the world, it was high time we had stable, sane, normal-people conversations about What Happened. After nearly a year of thinking they resented me, and being convinced that they didn’t understand what had inspired all the change, I am finally confident that they get it. And that they support me. And that they are happy that I am happy.

It is such a weight off, I can’t even describe. As I moved through the stages of grief and crazy last fall, I was incredibly lucky with my friends, who were nothing if not absolute saints, pushing me through the worst time of my life with margaritas and root beer floats. At the same time, I was distant from my parents, because they were reeling and I was in no place to articulate my feelings to them in a way they’d understand. I stopped speaking to them almost entirely, only beginning to talk to my mom more frequently on Facebook after I moved to England. (I guess we both benefited from the physical distance.)

Knowing now that everyone has stabilized is priceless.

In addition, I ate a ton of paella, drank liters of sangria, and got to see tons of history, so the trip was a win-win.

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Churros with hot chocolate dipping sauce. (Sadly, these churros were not rolled in cinnamon sugar.)

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Roman aqueduct in Segovia. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

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Aqueduct again.

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View of Segovia from the small cafe where I ate a late afternoon snack of fries and green tea, because I’m disgusting.

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The view from our hotel. Doesn’t get any more European than this.