Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I miss Wymount! (And a sub-post, Social Rejects)

I've just spent all morning (well, when I wasn't cuddling Elisheva, or attempting to find the mysteriously dissappeared crackers in our Kitchen for Lydia, or...) looking at blogs from old Ward members/neighbors at Wymount, the family student housing at BYU. It was really quite inspirational; a few are still at Wymount, but many are scattered across the nation (and including us, abroad as well), with our young families and new jobs/schools/etc. Also, the faith of all of my old ward friends was really quite inspirational. It's funny; none of them know I have a blog, so it's not like they're even going to read this.

I love the Church (I realize that I'll casually reference the Church, without explanation, in case someone reads who isn't a member, so now they'll know what I'm talking about.) I love reading blogs of people I know (or don't know), and see their testimonies, and hear about their little life trials and triumphs.

Also, a bunch of them had this meme that I like, so here goes:
What is his name? Avram
How long have you been together? We met almost four and a half years ago in January 2004, dated from May-August of that year, broke up for forever on August 18, then got engaged out of comparative nowhere on Sept 18/19 (I was in Egypt, he was in Provo, so it was different days for each of us), and got married for forever (for real this time) on April 22, 2005.

How long did you date? Umm, so I guess I just answered this question, because I write so much, but for four months, and then there was a month off, and then we were engaged for seven months.

How old his he? 26 - he'll be 27 August 13th.
Who eats more? Avram.
Who said I love you first? Definitely Avram. We had been dating for only a week, and I had some friends visiting, who were the sister and brother-in-law of the boy I wanted to marry (long story), and so I asked Avram to pretend like we weren't dating, although the particular reasoning of this escapes me now, and somehow in this conversation Avram told me he loved me, but at the time I just felt more awkward than anything else because he was supposed to be a casual person to date over the Summer, and it was obvious that this wasn't going to be the case...

Who is taller?
Avram; four inches taller. He's short for a guy, at 5'7'', but as my friend Michele says, he's Thora sized (I'm 5'3'').

Who can sing better? I think we probably both sing about the same, but Avram has more confidence in his singing, and that goes really far.
Who is smarter? Avram can read faster than I can, and he also has a better memory than me, but I'm better at reading the instructions, and that has to count for something.
Who does the laundry? Currently Avram does most of it, bless him (what a British thing to say. Random people will always be blessing me, or my children, and usually they're not even religious). At the end of my pregnancy I couldn't haul our laundry bag up two flights of stairs, and since Elisheva came he's still done the vast majority of it. And he hates doing laundry, so it's even extra special.

Who pays the bills? I do. I like redoing our finances, and looking at our budget, and things. He's dealt with a lot more financial things since coming to England, though, probably because there's a lot more that's in his name only.

Who sleeps on the right side? Avram does. Although really we both just sleep in our separate twin beds, like a fifty's TV show.

Who mows the lawn? We haven't had a lawn yet, but when we do I hope it's my job. I love mowing lawns, and then maybe he can get a more boring job, like cleaning out the bathroom.
Who cooks dinner? I'm sad to say Avram, not because I don't love his cooking, (I do), but because I love to cook, and it's kind of funny how in the last few months I've done almost no cooking. Avram has been doing most of the household tasks for the last few months, to help me out. Really, I don't do much of anything; my excuse used to be that I was growing a baby, and now it's that I'm recovering. I'm starting to take the job back over, mostly; it's one part of homemaking that I have down, and I enjoy! Avram and I do like to cook together, as well.

Who drives? I have to laugh at this. I do; Avram doesn't have a driver's license, and never has. He's always been terrified of accidents, and the power of life and death that we take into our hands when we drive. But...Avram has realized that he needs to start driving, so that he can help in the Church, and then also to help the family out, in case I couldn't drive for something. Also, I've bribed him that I'll buy him a role-playing game book when he gets his license, and his Mom said she'd get him one as well. So the plan is this Summer in Virginia he'll finally get his license. The funny thing is, he knows how to drive perfectly well, even a stick, he just lacks the practice and confidence (and official paperwork, of course). The only time he's ever driven for me was the three hour trip back from our honeymoon.
Who is more stubborn? Hard question. Many things I'm more stubborn on, but there are occasional things that Avram won't budge on. He lets me have my way, usually, though.

Who kissed who first?Avram kissed me, after we had been sitting on cold cement steps outside until four in the morning, staring at each other. It was his first kiss, and he afterwards infamously said something about me being a better companion than a cocker spaniel (it's a quote from a Fred Astaire movie that I completely didn't get, having never seen any Fred Astaire movies until after this point. Avram maintains it was a good thing to say.) I've been giving him a hard time about this ever since (the quote, not the kiss). Even after we broke up, in the month interim I still maintained that he was the best kisser I had ever dated, so it's a good thing we got married.

Who asked who out first? I told I liked him first. We didn't go on our first date until we were already an item. Avram took me to the Brick Oven, a pizza restaurant in Provo, and he also brought me Lilies (Avram usually has given me lilies over any other flower, and always says "I LIKE LILIES" (It's hard to speak in all Caps, it turns out), a reference to the book Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett.)
Who proposed? Hard question. According to Avram, he did. See, once when we were dating, on June 6, 2004, in fact, we were talking about how if we ever did end up getting married, there would be no proposal, because by that point the other boy I wanted to marry and I wouldn't have worked out, and we already knew that if I didn't marry him, we wanted to get married, and so then we would. So then I was saying it was sad we would never have a proposal, so Avram said, "Will you marry me?" Then I made him get up and kneel (we were both sitting down, on another cement staircase, this time at Botany Pond at BYU), and I stood up, and I had him say it again, so that way it was more official-like. I then said, "Maybe someday." Avram maintains that if I had said yes, that we would have gotten married then, but clearly he knew I wasn't going to say yes, so it wasn't that bad that I didn't, right? Anyway, I was was right about us never having any other proposal. When I did decide to marry Avram in Egypt, after several emails back and forth, he called me, and we started talking about wedding dates, and I realized that although we weren't officially engaged, we definitely knew we were going to get married, so I told him "yes" over the phone. He didn't know what I was referring to at first (I just said it out of nowhere in the middle of the conversation), but once he did, he was speechless. Then three months later he gave me my ring,when I came back from Egypt. So...there was no real proposal, or at least no traditional one. I wish there was. I'm sure you do too; than this answer would have been a lot shorter!

Who has more friends? Real, live friends? What are those? We're social rejects (subject of another post needing to be written). Really, we came out of the same friend group at BYU, so I'd say we have about the same, because most of our friends are the exact same people. I tend to be more of a social butterfly, so I probably have a larger friend group from that group, but Avram's is probably more sincere of one.
Who is more sensitive? Avram. Sad to say, sensitive is not really one of my positive traits (I have others though, I'm not a complete clod).

Who has more siblings? I do; Nine siblings.

Who wears the pants in the family? I would say both of us. Avram usually presides over our family, but I'm much more likely to conduct things.

So, moving on.

Reading all these blogs made me miss Wymount a lot. I loved living there. On the other hand, though, reading about the people who are still there made me realize that it really was our time to move on, and that if we had remained in Wymount for forever that would have been worse than leaving and missing it. I do miss it, though. I loved our ward, and neighbors, and our apartment. Of course, this is tied up with thoughts like, I miss our belongings. I know that life isn't all about material possessions, but that doesn't mean that I would like to have our material possessions again. Or decorations on the walls. I never decorated our apartment here because we were only here for nine months, and more importantly because I would have to first buy, and then try to move home or abandon here whatever I did buy to do so.

Sometimes when I'm lonesome for America and people and friends and a life, I'll mentally walk around my Wymount apartment, and remember how things were, like how our wedding and family pictures were set up like a triptych on our wall, or how comfortable our big plaid couch was to lie on. And in my memories, my house is always spotless, because why would I want to remember it any other way, and so it's especially nice to "visit." I find this very comforting, for some reason.

I was going to wait and start a new post, but now I'm segueing (you should have seen the creative spelling that had until spell-check thankfully fixed it) into it anyway, so here goes.

The Social Rejects

After Avram and I left BYU last year after graduation, we moved to Virginia for five months. There we lived in the middle of the country on 20 acres of tick-infested forest, with his parents and brother Luke and sister Sariah. Aside from socializing with them we never really did anything social (well, we went to Church activities) with others. This was partly because I knew that we were only going to be there for five months, and so I didn't feel really settled down, and so I never made any effort to become close to the members of our ward, and they don't really live in a neighborhood to be social in, either. Also, his ward had very few young couples in it, because it's expensive enough to live in Northern Virginia that most of the families weren't our age, and none were in our stage of life (still in school, that is). It was a great ward, and I'm excited to be back there this Summer, though. But the end result was we had no social life.

Then we came here, and once again I love our ward here, and there are even a lot of young couples and families, but when we first came I was morning sick all the time, and then it was winter and cold and dark all the time, and we never wanted to go anywhere, and then we didn't have any money to spend anyway, and then I was really pregnant, and had a hard time doing a lot, and now we have a newborn, and are getting ready to go home, and all this has added up to no social life here. We do go to our ward activities, if we can, and we've had a few activities with the Purcells, but we live way out on the bus system, so it's never super convenient for us to go to Oxford, or for others to come here. And the students in the program are great, but their lives are structured so differently from ours, and most of them aren't married, and no one else has children, so we've only rarely done things with them, although we're friendly with all of them.

So now it's been a year, and we are friendship starved. Although back in Provo I had had the same friend group for six years, and Avram for 3 and a half (ever since he came there), so it's been so long since I've made new friends that I worry I've forgotten how, or even worse, that now I'm in such a different stage of life, that I don't really have the time/make the effort to make new friends.

I'd like friends, though. I dream of women to talk to, to shop with, of play-dates for Lydia (she only sees other children at Church on Sundays currently), of couples to hang out with, and have good, intellectual conversations with. I miss our conversations with Matt and Sarah that ran until the wee hours of the morning. And always having Samuel, and then Samuel and Aleatha over for dinners. And running to Michele's house when Avram was really busy with schoolwork, and messing around with her. And Travis' speeches, and mystic's guild, and, and....

Making couple friendships is such a delicate balance, because you have to both individually like each respective part, and the whole together. Ok, so the previous sentence is very cryptic, but what I meant was that Avram and the husband have to get along, and I and the wife do, but then we also have to have a group synergy, for lack of a better word, when we're all together. Sarah's sister, who goes to Ohio State, along with her husband contacted me through my last post, and it made me excited about making new friends in Ohio. After all, anyone related to the Reeds are good people, in our experience.

Also, I'm planning on actually making an effort to make new friends once we go to Ohio, something that I freely admit I haven't done at the last two places, and so really have nothing to complain about, since I didn't make the effort anyway. Like I'm planning to invite people to our house for dinner, and things. Just writing this makes me realize that part of it is that I'm scared of new friendships. I love my old ones so much that the thought of replacing them hurts. Not that they are replaced; after all, I still keep in touch with them, and like the old girl scout song (so I know it's not just a girl scout song, but that's where I heard it first) goes, "Make new friends, and keep the old, one is silver, and the other gold." But the thought of having to put in so much effort, when I already have friends I love - that's what hurts. But as much as I'm still friends with our college group, I know that I as a person need friends where I am right now as well, and that once I have made friends in this stage of life, I can become just as close to them also.

Things of the heart are so hard.

Partly too, I've never had a group of "married friends," especially not with Children. On the one hand, this means that the idea of having friends who have spouses, and even children is really exciting; we could maybe switch off babysitting with them for date nights, because we won't be able to afford baby sitters. And Lydia could have someone to play with when we get together. But on the other hand, people with kids have always struck me as old, and in a different stage of life. I know, I have two kids, but when all my friends had none or were single, I still felt hip and cool. If all my friends had kids, I would start worrying I was practically middle-aged. On second thought, if I actually had real, live friends, I would probably do things with them, and not obsess over imaginary worries on my blog at all.

And then on top of all this, I worry that I've lost the touch of social things. When my parents came and visited us, after we got back from France, sometimes Avram and I would turn on a game on our computer (you can play lots of games for one trial hour), like scrabble or something, and play that together, and then I would feel bad, because we weren't being social, but it's hard to share a computer screen with more than two people. And I realized then that Avram and I were definitely social rejects. Last night for fun Avram and I browsed the Internet together. I looked up cloth diapers, which we're planning on switching to if we move to an apartment that has a washer and drier, and Avram looked up cool dice for gaming. And this was our social part of the evening.

I know that we've partly developed weird habits socially because we don't have any of our normal things here, like physical games, and a life, and friends, but I still worry that I'll finally get back to places with all of the above, and I'll have forgotten how to communicate in person. I'll have to ask people around me to "chat" with me online for a meaningful talk, and then I'll know that I'm officially and forever a social reject.

I realize that this may sound a little negative. I'm not meaning to be. I do have faith that my rusty social skills will come back to me in Ohio, and that when we're attempting to actually make friends, and when we feel settled enough to make the physical and emotional effort to meet people that we'll be able to find friends aplently.


  1. "In some ways you're far superior to my cocker spaniel."

    That is the best thing EVER to say after a first kiss. It's from White Christmas. Danny Kaye. Bing Crosby. "I Wish I Was Back in the Army," "Sisters," "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)," "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing." My family watches that every year, and there is nothing better to say after a first kiss. Believe me.

  2. funny you posted this, just today cory and I had a conversation about how we are social rejects too. One of my college friends from utah state that i have not seen or hardly talked to in 6 years sent me an invite to her wedding in 2 weeks. This started us to think about how we dont even keep in touch well with our old friends! Cory pointed out that neither of us has many "real life friends" and that he doesnt have any currently. He talks to his older brother alot, and other than that its just me! i have a ton of online friends and i check a few old college friends blogs.. but they all are out of state now and I have not seen any one for ages. We have moved every 6 months to a year our whole marriage and so i never really made friends in any of our wards becuase honestly i didnt want to go through all that trouble and then just move again! I have been thinking i want to have some close IRL ( in real life) friends again. I also have no idea how to even approach it though. However you must remember that i was never like you, i didnt have friends at all in junior high or high school ( unless you count the walls and I am not sure they count?) So i never really learned HOW to make friends?? Maybe its because I am so weird and talk to much and too fast. That is why i miss you. Because you love me flaws and annoyance and oversharing and all! And I always feel comfortable around you, and i love to talk to you becuase you are so stimulating for my mind and I enjoy it so verry much. *sigh* I need a life and friends, maybe then i wouldnt have the time to post such long diatribes on your blog! lol.

    And i can not belive Avram said that to you after your first kiss!! I am not familiar with the movie its from.... kind of missed alot of movies growing up at our house!

  3. I agree it is hard to not be a socially rejected especially in a world where the internet provides communication so quickly. I guess that's why we need hobbies that get us out of the house a bit.
    I had planned to take an art class and such to get to know people. However it's hard.

    It's hard to make friends when you fell somewhat transient or when you are in general different from the local population. I find that I'm to busy to make friends taking care of hans and the Museum. I wonder if we just make ourselves to busy and so become social rejects. I suspect that many more of us are social rejects but don't admit it or think it.

  4. "In some ways you are far superior to my cocker spaniel."

    Avram stole that line before I could use it. I had been planning on saying it all my life after my first kiss, then Avram stole it. Jerk. It was probably a good thing though, cause all I could think to say at the time was "wow." Lame, eh? The only redeeming factor I can see in that line is that is what Bing Crosby said after his first kiss in the same film. So right film, just the wrong scene and the wrong guy.

  5. In my imaginary world I am building for myself when we move, Tim and I will have lots of friends just one or two houses away. Tim won't work Friday nights anymore, so we'll have people over or go on dates. And if we want to go somewhere out of the way, or stay late, we'll have a car to take us to and from.

    All our neighbors will have children Jonathan's age (and older and younger and then some). We will be really good friends, too, making a dedicated effort to get to know our neighbors because, for the first time in 10 years, we know -- well, we're almost certain -- we'll be there long term (at least two years -- probably at least five years). Wow. That sounds really great.

    Oh, and my fairy godmother will do the cooking and cleaning and general housework, too, because if I'm going to be imagining I might as well make it really spectacular.

  6. Thora, remember how you have to live near me some day? At least, that is my rule. I will be your friend. And I think Kevin likes Avram, too. So it will be perfect.

  7. Thora congrats on the new baby! She is very pretty! I can't believe you guys are already almost done in England. Wow, time flies. It is so good to hear from you. You miss Wymount and Wymount misses you.