Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Getting Lost in Mexico

If you ever want to truly test your new marriage and find out how much you really trust your partner go to a foreign country and get lost outside of the major city. It will immediately prove how you work together under stress. Fortunately, when this actually happened to us everyone remained surprisingly level headed and we made it home without being robbed!

Enjoying ourselves at Xel Ha.
What the heck were we doing wandering around the outside of Cancun, Mexico you might ask? Well through a series of unfortunate events that start with Aubrey leaving her phone on a bus and involve 2 taxi rides, 2 bus rides, and visits to 3 different offices in Cancun we ended up at a bus terminal near the Cancun airport, waaaaayyyy out of town. The taxi driver who brought us there wasn’t super friendly and didn’t want to stick around while we figured out how to get the phone back, so we thought we would just go catch a taxi from the Marriot next door. That was a HUUUUGE mistake.

Turns out the Marriot doesn’t want anything to do with anyone that is staying there and won’t even let you through the gate to use the phone. Dumbfounded we began to walk in the direction of Cancun which was a good 10 or 15 miles away.

Imagine walking along the interstate where there are no businesses, no nothing and it is getting dark. Are you getting nervous? Do you feel scared? Now imagine doing that in Mexico! We walked for probably a mile or more before we found a gas station. I talked to the attendants and explained as best I could in Spanish our situation. They directed us to cross the highway and get a bus going to “Centro”. I could just tell by their expressions that this lady thought we were probably going to die tonight.

Aub having entirely too many tequila shots the day before.

We crossed the highway and wandered to a bus stop that was outside of a college. Everyone at the bus stop just stared. Totally confused as to where these American had come from when there was nothing for miles. No buses came for a long, long time so we (Alex actually) decided it was best to just take the next bus going in the direction of Cancun. “We’ll be fine as long as it keeps going straight,” he says. Then what does the bus do? It exits off into a neighborhood. Now we are faced with staying on the bus and seeing where it takes us (possibly somewhere further away, or less populated) or get off and hope that a Domino’s is a good omen that this is a safe place.

We saw a taxi, but it was apparently broken and wasn’t any use in getting us home. As we stood on the street corner, being stared at by every single person in the whole area we were feeling really desperate. I know that I personally was about to crack. It was full dark now and we were lost and everyone around us knew it.

Just then a taxi, with passengers in tow, sped by. Aubrey started to chase after it hoping that she could somehow follow a moving vehicle and get in once the passengers had been dropped off. Clearly, that didn’t work out but another taxi came by without any passengers and we flagged him down like our lives depended on it. Probably before he even came to a full stop we were inside and begging him to take us home.
This may or may not have lead to the phone getting lost later...

Our driver just so happened to turn out to be the coolest taxi driver ever and had a screen showing music videos of 90s hit songs to entertain us on the ride back to the ferry dock.

Thankful to have made it home without losing our money or getting kidnapped we all relaxed into our seats on the ferry. Another guy riding the ferry was staring at us with a big grin on his face and I couldn’t figure out why. Until Aubrey realized he was at the college campus and had ridden the bus with us also. I’m sure this dude was trying to figure out how on earth we made it back here and what the heck we were doing but we didn’t stop to talk so he’ll always just have to wonder.

While I wouldn’t recommend ever getting yourself lost outside of the city in a foreign country it makes an interesting story. 


A Feminist Marriage: Modern Values Meeting Traditional

Most people that know me know that I identify as a raging feminist. My feelings about gender equality are some of the most defining parts of my personality. Right up there with my love for cats and my siblings. But sometimes being a feminist can be exhausting. This Onion article is probably the most accurate description I have ever seen of how it feels. When it came to marriage my feelings were definitely complicated. At least about the institution, not the the person I wanted to spend my life with.
Like many other women I love weddings and everything about them. I've watched all of the TLC shows. I take David Tuttera's advice on everything to heart. (He thinks green is a horrible color FYI.) And I want Kleinfeld's to stock something other than just that one see through Pnina Tornai dresses. For myself personally though, I felt like marriage might betray my values that I can't shut up about. There are so many pitfalls from vowing to be an obedient wife to wearing white to display my purity to the giving up my name. Not to mention that the origins of marriage is basically just a business transaction between my husband and father. 

While I know a lot of those ideas aren't really what marriage is about today, it still felt like I was turning my back on things that I said were identifying qualities of myself. Ultimately, I fell in love with a wonderful human being and I did almost every one of these things that I felt a little icky about originally.
Chelsea Wagner Photography

I realized that I have control over what my wedding and marriage is all about and I can make it fit our values and ideas of a marriage. Also, there is something undeniably appealing about publicly committing yourself to a person that you love. You want the world to know that this is your lobster!

We chose to do our wedding our way. Sprinkles of tradition mixed in with lots of references to our cats and love of cats and how we were only getting married so our cat's parents would be together... (We're kinda weirdos.) We were married by one of our very close friends who made the ceremony extremely personal to us and I wrote the entire ceremony myself to ensure that all of the language described us as a team, not as a wife vowing to be loyal to her husbands wishes. We also skipped things that we didn't like or didn't think really fit us as a couple.

I also came to the decision to change my name to Grace relatively quickly because I was taking the name of people that I was proud to be related too and that I would be proud to have any potential future children named after too. It wasn't giving up who it was, it was growing to be apart even more family!
Chelsea Wagner Photography

Each step of our wedding was discussed and ultimately decided between my husband and I not because that's what we had to do, but because it was things that we wanted to do for our own personal reasons.

Ultimately, I realized that the beauty of feminism is that we can make whatever choice suits us best. We are not confined into being right or wrong in how we live our lives and what makes us happy. We are just a little over a year into our marriage and I couldn't imagine life any other way.

 To be honest not much has changed besides our legal status as a couple and our life insurance policies. Alex still leaves his socks everywhere and I still continually forget where I sat my phone/car keys/wedding ring. Marriage doesn't change us, but it does add something a little extra special to our lives.

Now I can describe myself as a loving cat mom, feminist, AND an amazing (at least I think I am) wife.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Doing Whole 30: Week One

I enjoy cooking. I really do. But boy have I ever done a lot of cooking since Alex and I decided to do the Whole 30 challenge. The basic run down is that you cut out foods that are known to be inflammatory for 30 whole days and then reintroduce them at the end of 30 days to see how they affect you (if at all) and to help you have more insight into how your body reacts to certain foods.

 It also helps you quit nasty habits and retrain yourself to have a healthy relationship with food. For example no longer using food as a reward/stress relief/catch all for your emotions. If you are interested in learning more you can read about it more here.

Alex and I decided to do this challenge for a variety of reasons. Well, if we're being honest I wanted to do it and Alex agreed because I'm the one that feeds him! We realized that despite us telling each other we wanted to eat "healthy" we didn't really have any kind of plan in mind and weren't really following through. We had also realized that we defaulted to pasta A LOT instead of exploring different foods and recipes. This really has forced me to get creative in what we eat! 

Changes we've experience so far...

The Whole 30 requires that you eat 3 meals a day. Not skip breakfast, eat a bag of M&M's and chips for lunch, and then sit down to dinner like we had been doing. Because of this we decided to wake up earlier and eat breakfast together every morning. It's been really great to get a jump start on our day by getting up an hour earlier than before. I also like getting the chance to talk and share a meal before we start our work days. 

While our grocery bill has gone up we are no longer eating out or buying gas station snacks so in total this has been great on our wallets. The occasional (okay, almost everyday) gas station snack really adds up in a week.

We do sooooo many dishes!!

We've both been feeling pretty good the whole time. I had one rough day on day 7 that was not fun. But overall eating whole foods for every meal has been good to us.

What we've been eating....

Definitely the most difficult part of this challenge is being prepared with meals for every turn. It's easy to say no to fast food when you already have delicious meals waiting for you at home. Not so easy when the fridge is empty and you have no idea what to make!

I have been meal planning a week at a time and grocery shopping once a week. We also hit up the farmers market to get a lot of our produce. Because we are going through so many veggies it's crazy!

This is what we ate the first week!

Closing thoughts....

While I don't usually buy into fad diet type things I think their is some merit to this program. We are not killing ourselves over what type of oil our burger was cooked in at the restaurant or if we accidentally ate one of Haven's craisin's that has added sugar. But anything that encourages us to eat more whole foods and home cooked meals can't be all that bad. We don't expect to be magically cured of every aliment ever (as some of the Facebook groups make it appear) but we are happy with forming better healthier habits that will hopefully carry on after the 30 days are over!