WHAT'S MY F***IN' NAME??
Ethnicity. A European Medley!
Location Radomyshl, Ukraine
School. Seattle Pacific Univ
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You Can Dance If You Want To
or im me
Tuesday. 5.30.17 12:15 am
This entry begins with something I wrote on a long bus ride on Ukraine, back in 2012. It has been hanging out in notes app through three different iPhones. It's time it has a home.
Essays for my Future Kids
Growing up, I didn't get the impression that boys were very interested in me. As I'm writing this at 24, I still don't see myself as any kind of "guy magnet" or "siren." I have plenty of male friends, but I don't date a lot. I'm starting off this way because this perspective has had a big influence on the way I approached sex as a young person.
Let me tell you something I wish I'd taken more seriously as a teenager: no matter how ugly or annoying you think you are, statistically speaking, you are almost certain to find someone to spend the rest of your life with. If you buy into the Christian faith I've been raising you with, God has picked out the perfect person or mix of people for you. He says so in Jerimiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to benefit you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." If your idea of "hope and a future" is similar to mine, it includes a life partner and children.
All these beautiful truths established, let me add a rather cynical one-- for every person that is willing to love you, there are probably at least two more people willing to have sex with you. Why? Because sex feels awesome. I hope you aren't totally appalled to hear that I love sex. It's a physical and emotional experience unlike anything else, so I lack the appropriate words to describe it to you. Sex isn't a bad or dirty thing, either. At least, not in itself. God wants you to have sex, and so do I. Read Song of Soloman. Then take a cold shower. But sex is like medicine-- there's a right way and a wrong way to use it, a right place and a right time. Abusing sex, like abusing drugs can make you more sick rather than healthier.
I'm not really proud of my first time. Like every choice, it has had good and bad consequences, the worst of which is that I couldn't be a virgin for your father. That was something really important to me.
But then I met S. I was 19 and a senior at Seattle Pacific University. I had never had a boyfriend in real life (but plenty of fantasies and a few dalliances I deluded myself could be compared with relationships). S contacted me through my MySpace page and we chatted for a few weeks before we arranged to meet for a dinner date. At this point, we weren't even clear what each others' first names were. I don't blame that on the online thing. S was and probably still is a good guy and we had a pleasant first date. He did come on pretty strong, though. I wanted to date casually and take things slow, but he had other ideas. I was just so thrilled that a guy seemed to be into me that I let him stroke my arm when we had coffee and kiss me at the end of the night, even though I wasn't really comfortable with the situation.
We texted and met again two days later. I even brought my roommate with me as a buffer so he wouldn't get too physical. That didn't really work. He still wanted to hug and kiss and generally behave on a level that two people who have only known each other in the real world for a few days don't generally behave. Let me add that I wasn't even all that attracted to this guy at the time. I guess that's part of how guys and girls operate differently. At some point, however, I just decided to let go of my discomfort and let myself like this guy. I let him hold me at Alki beach, then we took my roommate home and we made out a little at the ship canal. Then S took me to his place.
I was genuinely shocked when he expected sex. In my earlier "dalliances" with teenaged guys, you could mess around together and it wouldn't even get close to intercourse. Not that quick, anyway. However, S was 24 and a great deal more experienced than me. When I figured out where he was headed, I stopped him. Dear sons and daughters, you ALWAYS have a choice to say "no," no matter how far you've already gone. Blue balls is in no sense lethal. I held out for about two more hours, during which S whined and begged and I explained why it wasn't going to happen.
It did happen, though, or else I'd be telling a different story. In the end, my two thoughts were "my best friend did it with her boyfriend a long time ago" and "if I make this guy take me home, I'll probably never hear from him again." Those are the wrong thoughts to be listening to, by the way. Just because sex is the right decision for someone else doesn't make it the right decision for you. Also, anyone who is pressuring you to have sex is not someone you need to have in your life.
I knew these things though and I still had sex with S. For your information, it hurt like hell and I bled like a stuck pig. I didn't think my hymen was still intact after sports and tampons, but it was. Here was the physical evidence that I'd never be the same again.
The emotional change is real, too. Once you've had sex, you'll want it more than you ever did before. To quote a popular snack food slogan of my day "once you pop, the fun don't stop." That's crude, but it sums up the feeling nicely.
I wish I could tell you that S dropped me back home the next morning and never called me again, because that would be a more dramatic ending and I could tell you I regretted the decision I made. The truth is we dated for two years filled with laughter, tears, and sex. We had good times, but I knew in the back of my mind he wasn't a guy I'd marry, and he even said he wasn't considering marrying me. Breaking up was inevitable and I did it the best way I knew how-- by fleeing the country. Ok, so that's a dramatic way of saying I joined the Peace Corps. In Ukraine, I thought I'd be too busy to be tempted, which was mostly true, but I managed to add a few more notches to my bedpost.
There is nothing wrong with sex, in the right context. I am not even saying that legal or religious marriage is the only acceptable context for sex. What I do say is that I have hands-down the best sex with my spouse, and I wish that he had been my only partner. With all other partner's (not that there have been that many), I came away feeling "less than" or downright used in the end.
The man I am married to (and whom I assume will be the father of the yet-to-be-conceived children I write for), has only had me for a partner, and I envy that. On the other side of the coin, however, I do not know if we would have the sex life that we do if I did not have a basis from which to ask for the things I like and stop the things I do not. Is it possible there's no best case scenario?
The bottom line is sex is serious. Fun, and pleasurable, but in so many ways unnecessary, especially for a teenager. Children, this is why I am asking you to put off making a relationship sexual for as long as possible.
And She's Back.
Sunday. 5.28.17 9:59 pm
What is it about me, this place, and the heat?
It's 77 degrees outside and 79 inside, according to the weather station in the kitchen. This is the room from which I write to you now. I like setting up my laptop on the kitchen table because there's plenty of room to spread out the papers I'm supposed to be grading. Emboldened by the extra day off tomorrow, I am engaged in some serious work avoidance.
For the last 90 or so minutes, I have been diving deep into blog archives: first my husband's, then one of mine from Peace Corps days, then my mom's (last updated four years ago). I am jumping from link to link, then I remember this place. Not linked to anything. My private corner of the Internet.
I come to this place every time it gets warm, for some reason. From my first post in August 2003, to my last round of post in July/August 2013, NuTang is my summer haven. Actually, I was thinking about doing an update a month or so ago, but it looked like the site was gone. At least, I was not able to access it from my phone. I kind of freaked. Even if I do not post very often, it's comforting to know that my teenage self is still suspended here, like a brain in a jar, and that I can visit her sometimes.
It is weird to think that I was the age of the kids that I teach when I started coming here. Social networks were just getting off the ground, and I didn't even have a cell phone yet. Fifteen-year-old Muse had a very different life from today's kiddos, but her mindset is so similar. I wonder what she would think of me now.
Almost doubled in age, I am now married. I own a house, a car, and a cat, and I am on something that resembles a career path. I have a graduate degree and a few good friends. I have done some of the travelling I always dreamed of, but live just one town over from the place I was born.
I am happy(ish). I struggle with a lot, but I also have a lot. More than anything, I have options. I could walk out the door right now and do just about anything I want. Not everything, but most things. I feel like I am on an asymptotic curve. My limit is becoming clearer. At this point in my life, I will definitely never be able to be an astronaut or olympic athlete (not that those were ever dreams of mine). I could probably still go to med school or become an actress, if I started now and really put some effort into it, but the road is a lot harder than if I had but myself on one of those paths ten years ago.
If I could talk to my past self, the biggest thing I would tell her is not to worry so much. Every time I thought I was facing a disaster, things turned out ok. I never failed a class I needed to pass. Boys eventually started to like me. I got to move out of my parents' house and control more things in my own life. However, there are some lessons I had to learn the hard way. Some things I really reflect on, and hope to pass on to others. I guess that's why I settled on teaching as a profession. I am done trying to do the big, meaningful things in life and have settled (at least for now) into doing the small things.
In this spirit, I begin a new set of writings. Not with any real hope or agenda, but for posterity. Call it a mental defragmentation. The following essays are written with my future children in mind, even if they might only ever be read by me. In five or ten years. On a warm night when I need something to distract myself.
August 5, 2011
Tuesday. 8.6.13 1:02 am
Dad and I spent our last full day together in Munich, just roaming around the city. The only thing we actually scheduled was viewing the Rathaus-Glockenspeil, as it's figures perform their act only a few times a day. After that we poked around the shops near Marienplatz, and meandered back to the Pagoda in the English Garden for lunch.
Much to our amusement, we were seated near a group of middle-aged men in full Bavarian costume. Yep, I'm talking lederhosen, knee socks, and fancy hats. It turned out they were part of a musical group performing at the Pagoda. Probably, if I spoke German (or hadn't been with my dad), I would have asked them to pose with me.
When we'd explored pretty far into the garden, we decided to return to the center via city streets (we are not back-trackers). I found a back entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.
August 4, 2011
Sunday. 8.4.13 7:21 pm
We had originally planned on spending the previous night in Innsbruck, Austria, but we were really enjoying Fussen, and it was just about as close to the next sight we planned on visiting, so we stayed. Dad did a little shopping in the morning and picked out a very jaunty hat and wool vest. I was ever so slightly tempted to buy a dirndl, but when would I wear one in real life? Plus, they were pretty expensive.
After replenishing our supply of road snacks, we drove across an imperceptible border into Austria to ascend the Zugspitze by cable car. The Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany, and lies on the border with Austria. For whatever reason, the cars are newer and cheaper on the Austrian side, so we went up that way.
Confession time: I don't speak more than a few phrases in German, and the Austrian accent and usage are rather different, so when we bought our tickets, I really had no idea what they included. It turned out that we were not only granted access to the visitor's center at the top, but also to a second gondola that took us part way down the mountain to a glacier. There is a wedding chapel next to the glacier for reasons I forget, some sweet wood carvings of snowmobiles, and a fine collection of plastic sleds. Yes, there was a special area for sledding on the glacier. No helmets, no attendants. This is why I love Europe.
August 1-3, 2011
Saturday. 8.3.13 10:21 pm
From Munich, Dad and I drove southeast to Berchtesgaden, a gorgeous mountain town boasting proximity to several interesting sights.
First we visited Kehlsteinhaus-- Hitler's special retreat... which now houses a restaurant. Getting there is an adventure in itself. After buying a ticket, you board a bus which takes you up a winding mountain road which, in my humble opinion, is too narrow for its own good. After that, you can take a trail up for another mile or two, or you can queue for a classy brass elevator that will take you STRAIGHT UP THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKIN' MOUNTAIN!! In case the Caps didn't tip you off, this is a badass experience not to be missed.
Despite its unfortunate past, Kehlsteinhaus is a lovely spot. The views are amazing, and there are lots of cool nooks and crannies to explore in the rocks (ok, I'm still a 10-year-old at heart). We had a picnic on a ledge overlooking Konigssee, fed the birds, and jumped around on the rocks for a few hours before taking the trail back down. We could have taken the elevator, but it was nice and sunny, and it can't be good for anyone to spend too much time in a small space once used by an unhinged, evil dictator. The crazy bus took us back to our car, and the search was on for a bed for the night and some beers.
The next day, at my insistence, we took a boat trip on the Konigssee. The lake is almost entirely surrounded by mountains and the water is incredibly deep and clean, so it made for some beautiful photo ops. On the way out, tour boats stop, and a trumpet player demonstrates the fantastically clear echo.
We went on the "half tour" that stops at a peninsula occupied by the St. Bartholoma church. There are some lovely trails in the area that lead into the mountains, so we went a short way out, and were rewarded with waterfalls. Unfortunately, it started raining, and we needed to move on to the next town, so we didn't spend a great deal of time at St. Bartoloma.
We were headed to Fussen next to see Neuschwanstein, the famous "Disney Castle" that inspired Sleeping Beauty's digs. My dad and I are notoriously stubborn about backtracking, so a trip that should have taken four-ish hours on the Autobahn back to Munich and out to Fussen, took about six hours on secondary roads through the countryside. Our route could have been considered scenic, if the rain hadn't impeded visibility. We were so late, in fact, that the proprietor of our hostel had given up our beds. Fortunately, there were still some available, just not the ones we'd booked.
The rain had mostly gone by then, and we had just enough time to check out the "old town" and get some beers before it started getting dark. You can tell Fussen really cherishes its tourism dollars, and it's an easy place to be a traveler. I think it'd be a decent place to take a family, as it's quiet, comparatively easy on the wallet, and there are lots of kid-friendly sights and activities (Hello... a mf-ing DISNEY CASTLE?).
We tried to hit Neuschwanstein fairly early in the day, and since we weren't interested in the rather expensive tour inside the castle, crowds weren't really a problem. It was pretty touristy, but I guess you don't see a castle like that every day, so if you're in the area, give it a shot. I wouldn't suggest a trip to Germany just to see it. Berlin on the other hand...
I had way more fun in the afternoon when we went bobsledding.
You may be thinking, "how did you go bobsledding in summer, Muse"? Don't you need ice and stuff? Wasn't that the whole reason no one believed in the Jamaican bobsled team?"
Apparently, concrete and aluminum bobsled runs are pretty popular attractions in Southern Germany, because we saw several different ads in the tourist guides. We went to an aluminum one, which seemed slightly safer to me. I had read several bobsled injury anecdotes, most of which involved scrapes. I don't think I let myself go fast enough for that type of calamity, but it sure was thrilling. We bought a discounted card of six rides and each took three. When we were finished, there was a beer and pretzel stand ready to accommodate us. I should mention that this area is also popular with sky divers, and we were entertained by a floating flock of multicolored parachutes while we had our snack.
July 31, 2011
Thursday. 8.1.13 3:59 am
I should mention that I had come to Germany to spend time with my dad. He had picked Munich. I was more interested in Berlin, but as it was his first trip to Europe, I figured he should decide. On the morning of July 31, 2011, I was waiting for him and enjoying some free breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express near the airport. We'd picked this hotel because it had parking for the rental car and would presumably be easy to for Dad to find. I had arrived the night before, because, as you know, I was coming from Memmingen.
It had been almost 7 months since I'd seen my dad, so I was pretty excited when he walked into the lobby. We hugged, exchanged news, and set straight to work on a game plan. We planned to spend the day in Munich, spend most of the week touring Bavaria, then return to Munich and enjoy it properly. Whenever I visit a new city, I like to take some manner of tour to get oriented and find out what places are worth coming back to explore. Bike tours are my favorite, and after a little online research, I chose Mike's Bikes of Munich (reservations advised).
We had plenty of time before the 4pm tour, so Dad and I decided to introduce ourselves to some Bavarian beers at Hofbrauhaus. It was a rather kitchy, and packed with tourists (as was that whole area of town), but the food and drinks were reasonably priced and quite delicious. I'd still recommend it as a good, low pressure environment to learn about the season's beers, as the menu is quite informative. They serve the same beers at the beer garden by the Pagoda in the English Garden, which is a sight not to be missed.
Cruising through the English Garden was definitely the highlight of the bike tour, for me. It's a huge area with lots of hidden surprises, like a spot on the river where the daring can surf (YouTube that shit). When we returned to Munich at the end of my dad's trip, we spent a large part of our time there, people watching and enjoying the sunshine.
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