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Well, here I am.

I made it to Germany, and at this very moment I am spread out on the bed of my hotel room as my exploring companion/tour guide, Mr. Matthew Charles, lay next to me catching up on the news or something. We're about to head out to the Reeperbahn in a few minutes, as it's the one major part of Hamburg that I have not seen yet.

Thanks to Matthew being my tour guide, I've been able to see a good bit of the city already, and I've only been here 3.5 days. Having moved here 8 years ago from Australia yet barely gotten a chance to explore himself, he's kind of a tourist himself and it's been a fun time ducking into the little nooks and crannies of this fun little place with him. The city itself is beautiful with its canals, the Alster, the harbor, cobblestone streets and old-world-meets-new-world charm. I can really see myself living here.

But yeah. Here I am. In Hamburg Germany. To live for an undetermined amount of time.

I'm gonna go and see if my tour guide is done with his news stories.

We have a Reeperbahn to paint red.
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Well, THAT was awkward.

Last night started out pretty much like any other Saturday night. As per usual weekend protocol I ventured out to the Chamber. A few of my usual lovelies were there; Lucian, Jennifer, Scott....and Christian, who is usually the Saturday night DJ but actually had the night off to frolic for once. He and I hit the dancefloor almost immediately, dancing for hours. And at one point, he and I were dancing *with* each other, a rarity with me as I usually feel awkward dancing with guys. Hell, that one time Dave made that guy dance with me were the most excruciatingly long three minutes of my life.

But dancing with Christian was actually just a lot of fun, I think it's because he loves to dance as much as I do and we have similar dancing styles. Afterward he asked me if I wanted a drink and pretty soon we were arm-in-arm making plans for me kidnap him to Germany. We got flirty, and he got drunk. What he also got was a sudden berating from the girl whom he is living with – who he sort of neglected to mention.

Now in all fairness to him, it was clear that they were once a “thing” yet were no longer but still shared living space. This is a pain-in-the-ass situation to which I can clearly relate. She went off about how he got her pregnant and she miscarried, how he gets drunk and hits on women (gesturing to me) and other such nonsense. This first went down in the basement of the Chamber, and as she went off on him I swiftly excused myself to go upstairs. But rather than standing there and listening to this girl he immediately followed me. He apologized and explained that things were “complicated”, to which I replied, “Obviously”. But he is my friend and I stood at the bar with him and told him it was all good. After all, I'm not exactly in a position to be involved with anyone anyway. At the most I was just looking for some fun. At the least it was good to actually hang out and dance with Christian rather than dance to the music he played from the DJ booth. So either way, things were fine by me.

However the almost-baby-mama drama followed us upstairs and she continued her rant, making sure that I was standing right there to hear everything. I tried to excuse myself again because awkward, but he grabbed my hand and wanted me to stay. After another minute though I took my hand back and stated, “You guys clearly have a lot to talk about, so I'll leave you to it.” Christian looked at me with a helpless, pleading expression as I walked away but I knew better. He's a grown man, and if he wanted to get out of that conversation and eventually that situation he could manage on his own.

Meanwhile, old school NIN was playing and I wanted to dance.

As I left a few songs later, I didn't see either one of them. A part of me worried a bit if Christian would get home okay, but as I said before he's a grown-ass man.

I have bigger plans.
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In the morning, after my usual trip downstairs to breakfast I got a message from Heather;

“The car we need to shop for ingredients is 'on the road' buying 40 sheep heads. It will be more than an hour before he is back.”

Metal priorities.

I showered, got dressed, and took the 10 minute hike over to Heather's hotel. I met her in the Grand Terminus lobby, which is a really cute little sitting room with a fireplace, bar, and free coffee. I took full advantage of the latter as I waited for Heather to come down and meet me.

Our driver was very late coming back from the sheeps' head errand - apparently for Gorgoroth's set - and Heather and I were getting ansty. We needed time to shop, get organized, prep and then cook and this was very much cutting into this schedule. More than a little irritating to say the least.
Sheep heads, sheep heads, yummy yummy sheep heads )
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So Norway! What an amazing country!

I think no matter how many times I fly, I will always be petrified during both takeoff and landing, especially takeoff. There's just something about first being lifted into the air that feels frighteningly unnatural for me, like it just defies my very basic understanding of physics. Maybe it's because I have the irrational fear that the plane can't hold my weight. Maybe it's the fear that this, THIS particular flight will be the one in the newspapers the next day. I don't know what it is, but every bump, every noise and every shake makes me want to tell my mother that I love her just one last time.

Getting to Norway and other Norway Things )
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I'm back!

Before I get into the crazy time I had among my (mostly) Norwegian people, I have to talk about coming home.
First off... )
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Tomorrow I'll have been out of John's house for one week.

Living at Larry's has been nothing short of a miracle cure on my overall mental state. I have this amazing house all to myself, completely on the other end of town so I stand absolutely no chance of running into Certain Piles of Shit unless it's when I have to venture out to Lakewood for social dealings or to pick up my medication. I've taken full advantage of the jacuzzi, cooked like a maniac in his well-equipped kitchen, slept in his impossibly comfortable bed (it's custom made from Indonesia and stands 3.5 feet off of the ground), and chilled out on his stylish-yet-ambition-killing furniture. I have to say, the man knows comfort.

His having me watch his house is precisely what I needed when I needed it, and for this I will always be very grateful to him.

He may have saved my life.

Things are never what they seem )
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I feel like this is my New Year's Day.

Yesterday was my big "Mission Impossible" day. I had hired Two Men and A Truck to do a confidential move. They do those, in cases of domestic violence, stalking, ect. My case wasn't any of that, but in case you're ever curious it is a specific service that they do provide.

I woke up around 6am and immediately had the shakes. I realized that, on top of being nervous as hell I also hadn't really eaten the day before. So for old times sake I got dressed and went to breakfast at The Place To Be, a cheap diner and one of my old favorites a couple of blocks away.

I ordered scrambled eggs and their French Toast (carby and bad, but if any day was a day for comfort food this was it), and I watched the old Greek man behind the counter cook my order, doing what he has been doing for probably 30 years now. The diner is quintessential Americana, with its vintage barstools and bottomless coffee - your typical no-frills classic breakfast place. I remembered all the times I would come here for breakfast with friends, guys I had slept with the night before, boyfriends, ect. The waitress, super quick and also very Greek with a thick accent took very good care of me and never let my coffee get below a half a cup - which is something that used to annoy me but now I really do appreciate.

I'm going to miss this place.

I got home and quietly packed up my iMac and wrapped it in my bedclothes, using my pillows as packing material. When I heard the side door close, I went downstairs and looked out the window. For the last time, I watched John back out of the garage and leave. This would be the last time I ever saw him.

*Cue 'Mission Impossible' theme* )
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So what can I tell you?

I'm cold, exhausted, and instead of sleeping like I should I'm up at Common Grounds writing. Before tonight I had been living on scrambled eggs and coffee while I dove in full-force with packing. My body has so had enough of this shit.

More if you feel like reading... )
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Sitting right now at the nerd bar. Despite John having subtly claimed this as his watering hole, I decided that;

A.) He was stationed at his usual couching position in his jammie pants when I left the house, so I knew he was in for the night.

B.) It's a public place, so fuck him.

It was a bit crowded as I made my way in the door, having secured a solitary table for my laptop and my thoughts.

The bartenders, who once served us both as a couple and had assumed we were married, gave me polite but knowing smiles and I knew instantly that he had told them during one of his visits on the weekends. The one I always suspected him of liking walked away to text and I had a paranoid thought that she was texting him, warning him that I was up here. I wanted to shake it off, but my spidey-sense told me otherwise. No matter, I had every right to be here, my money is just as green as his.The other bartender talked to me like she normally did, but I noticed when she took my credit card for the tab she didn't question why my last name was different than his. She had always called us “The Colemans”, and we had never corrected her.

He's such a dick.

I grabbed my cocktail, a tea-alcohol concoction called “Minerva's Nightcap” after the Harry Potter character. It was tasty, definitely made with tea. I situated myself into my little corner, opened my laptop and slid my earbuds on. This was my universal signal to say “Leave me alone, I'm busy”. Being a nerd bar, I don't have much to worry about with drunk idiots trying to pick me up. They're more interested in their D&D games or talking about Xbox or whatever. But just in case, you know?

It's Trivia Night, and the various teams are huddled around trying to guess the answers to the announcer's at times obscure references and questions.

I put my music on and drowned out the crowd around me.
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Yesterday morning I woke up like I normally do, groggily trudging down the stairs to make my morning omelette and oatmeal. As I finished assembling my breakfast, I sat down at the dining room table and noticed that there was a pile of boxes next to me. Just glancing at the top box, I could see my copies of Michael Symon's “Five Ingredients” and Aaron Sanchez's “Mole” peeking out of the not-very-closed flap.

John, while I was working and/or visiting the local coffeehouses in the spirit of avoidance had been packing my shit for me.

Uh-uh. No.

I calmly waited until he was out of the shower and settled into his usual nook on the couch (I swear, there should be a permanent imprint of his ass on that cushion. Thank god it isn't memory foam.). I walked over to him, careful to keep my temper in check.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi!” he said, smiling.

“Don't do that.” I blurted out, pointing to the pile of boxes. I mean, Jesus, how was I supposed to find anything?

“Do what?” he asked, seeming confused, but coming from the man with the master Poker Face I couldn't tell whether or not he was acting.

I cleared things up and told him – clearer and more politely this time – to stop packing my shit. I added that he was going to have to be patient.

“I have been,” he responded. “But it's been over a month now. This has gone on long enough. We both have to get on with our lives.”

I stood there just staring at him in disbelief. I had no words. Did he seriously think that I could just magically pack up 6 years worth of shit and be gone in three weeks? Because that's how long it had been. Three weeks.

“You know,” I started, trying hard not to lose it. “this may come as a shock to you, but this isn't exactly easy for me.”

“I know that.” he acknowledged.

“YOU were the one who wanted this, not me!” I felt my voice grow louder and start to crack with the threat of tears.

“I know that too.” He nodded again.

WELL THEN WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!, I wanted to shout.

Instead, I knew I had to maintain a modicum of cool if I didn't want to see this escalate into an all out War of The Roses shitshow of insults and destroyed property.

“Well don't you worry.” I mockingly assured, eyes narrowed in contempt, my vexation bleeding through my voice in spite of my vow for civility. “I'll be out of your life as fast as I can.”

“Okay,” he nodded and agreed as if I had told him I was going to the grocery store.

Douchebag. Fuck him.

I hate this so much.... )
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They say write what you know, so I am.

I've been privately documenting this whole shitshow of a year and situation, and I will continue to do so as I settle into Germany.

Then when I feel that the dust has finally settled, I will arrange this information into a somewhat palatable form and see if I can't publish the thing.

If I can, then that would be sweet and I would realize a little-known dream of mine.

If I can't, then hey, it'll still make one hell of a memoir.
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After work, I just took a long, hot shower and cried. Some days of this situation have been better than others, and this definitely fell into the “others” category. I stood below the shower head sobbing as I let the water run over me like an old, comfortable blanket, my fingers wrinkling up from the exposure. I felt particularly down and defeated today for no particular reason. My heart was hurting. Maybe it's because when I went downstairs into the basement to work out I found all of my things shoved to one side of it, and with the amount of stuff I have down there he had apparently been busy. I felt like he was sending me a message. What, was my presence making him uncomfortable? Good. And if he thinks that after 6 years of intermingled shit I'll just be out of his house in three weeks he's out of his goddamn mind. I hate him right now. I hate how he just gave up, just like he does with everything else. He's the kind of man that will throw a shirt away because it's missing a button, rather than grabbing a needle and thread. And so maybe it should not have come as much of a surprise when he did the same with me. But it hurt all the same.
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Tonight I did something that I haven't done in a long time.

I cooked.

I think I'm going to be okay.

As I was cooking, John walked into the kitchen. Before, he would always poke his head in the kitchen to see what I was cooking, if I needed any help, or just check things out. He never said as much, but I think he always looked forward to my cooking. But tonight he came in and asked if I've found a place to live yet. I told him that I was talking to my mother about it, wishing I hadn't told him that much as the words left my mouth. Damn. He nodded and said he just wanted to know so he could buy new furniture when I leave.

Dick.
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This year - the past 365 days - will go down in history as the year I lost just about everything. I lost my grandfather, my career that I loved, then Happy, my best friend and furry loyal companion. Finally almost immediately following that my boyfriend of 6 years, and with that crushing blow my home. Now some people would let this keep them down. They would wallow in their own self-pity, eat junk food and immerse themselves in reruns of "Friends" every night feeling sorry for themselves.

As you may know, however, I am not some people (though I will admit I have not been eating well and I may or may not have indulged in a few binge-watching sessions of "Sex In The City"). People who know me well know that I am naturally (and sometimes painfully) optimistic, and I try to find opportunity in every slight. This is no exception.

I will start off by preemptively saying to my pro-Cleveland boosters that you cannot tell me that I have not given this city enough of a chance. I've given it 36 years, far more time of my youth than I had ever wished to spend in it. One way or another there's a brush of shitty memories lurking around every corner of this town from various eras of my life.

My friends, I am posting this to inform you that I can no longer live here. On Monday, October 24th, 2016 I will be boarding the plane that will take me to the rest of my life. I am going to a place where absolutely nothing is familiar, including the language.

I am moving to Germany.

Cologne, Germany to be exact. With the help of various language-learning programs, books, and my lovely language partners and friends in Germany I have been learning German for almost two years now. I am also confident that as I ease into my new surroundings I will become more fluent with time.

I'm jumping in knowing that be rough at first, I will be completely alone in a strange country fumbling to adapt to a culture similar-yet-different than mine. I will struggle to understand my neighbors, and I may unintentionally piss a few people off with my American-esque quirks and propensities. There will be times when I will feel achingly lonely, homesick, and wonder what the hell I have done.

But I also know this; I will not only survive, I will thrive. Because if anyone can throw themselves into a strange environment and make it the best decision I have ever made, I can.
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The next morning I woke up with what I can only describe as a crying hangover. My eyes were swollen and bloodshot, I felt dehydrated and my head and chest still felt heavy. My limbs were stiff with a dull, stale ache from the night before. I immediately wished I were still asleep and in REM, dreaming about things that had nothing to do with my reality. That moment just after sleep when you haven't quite gained full consciousness and your mind is still on wherever it was when it was dreaming? I wish we could just stay there during times like these. Only vaguely aware of our surroundings, unable to process complex emotional trauma. Sigh

I lay there only making a half-assed attempt to will myself out of bed. I wanted to crumple myself up under my blanket and hide from the world today, and most definitely from him. I waited until I heard his footsteps go down the side steps and the door open and shut again as he left for work, and I heavily swung my legs over the side of the bed and just slouched there, working up the will to stand and then walk to the bathroom.
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Last night my dinner was popcorn and candy as I headed to the movie theater in my quest for avoidance. I saw Spectre, the new James Bond film, and it was alright. I even left the theater thinking that everything was going to be okay.

Everything was not okay.

You know how when you're in an emotional crisis the smallest, stupidest thing can just send you into a complete meltdown?

I came home from the theater and quickly made my way up the stairs. The spare bedroom door was closed and the light was on, so I knew he was in there and awake. As I settled in and checked Facebook, I saw that while I was gone changed his relationship status to "Single".

I lost it.

In my blind, tear-filled rage I went about frantically grabbing boxes of my stuff from the attic and (rather loudly) taking/throwing them downstairs. I called my mother, barely able to talk as I asked her if I could come live with her. Of course she said yes without hesitation and immediately offered to come pick me up. I thought about it, and if I hadn't been chained to this house by my workstation I would have taken her up on the offer. But her house is a good 25 minutes away from here, and that would mean having to get up earlier and fight traffic (pretty much defeating the purpose of working from home). Also, the bottle of wine on my dresser was looking really good and should I partake I would need all the sleeping in I could get the next morning. I hung up and sent a text explosion to my friend in Germany, at this point it was about 2am where he was but he was still awake.

“It is a logical step. What did you expect?” was his response.

Goddamn his German logic. That was so not what I needed in that moment.

I was beyond rational thought as the fury of the storm brewing inside of me crescendoed, unleashed with blindly throwing heavy objects and boxes of my things around. 

As the storm subsided and my mind cleared, I slumped on the bed. My arms and abdominal muscles ached. My heart felt like dead weight. Feeling defeated, I leaned over to a fetal position and hugged a pillow. Why was this happening? What did I do to deserve this? Questions like these looped in my brain and eventually lulled me to sleep.
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I'm sitting alone in Barrio waiting for my longtime friend Tamara to join me. I'm not even slightly hungry, but I am desperate for company. I was careful to get here early not only to grab a table, but also to avoid any run-ins with John coming home. My plan is to either find somewhere else to sleep for the night or come home after he goes to bed. Then wake up before he does ( as I always do anyway), and head to the gym until he goes to work. My ultimate goal is to avoid contact with him as much as possible and at all costs. This is known as my "Run Away" method. This keeps the demons away.

If you move they can't catch you.
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I just don't want to be alive anymore. I can't live like this.
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I went running. I pushed my body all the way to the park and down the stairs to the lake. I took a picture and sent it to Joachim before running back up those stairs and back to the house. I felt like I had to run away from these awful feelings.

I'm unable to describe what I feel. I feel unrelenting sadness, of course. But the other feelings? Fear. Worry. Devastation. But even relief. I could tell that he had been pushing me away for some time.

It's been a few days. The nights are achingly lonely. The room where we would lay in bed and joke around and trade cute pictures of puppies is now awkwardly crammed with my stuff, noticeably void of any of his.

The house is the same way. Especially the kitchen, once a place where I would eagerly experiment with all kinds of dishes and ingredients and he'd help me chop vegetables and taste-test my creations. A room now devoid of any joy, just relics of what was once my passion, my vehicle with which I showed my love and affection for everyone I cared about, especially him.

All the memories and good feelings we once brought to this house have been replaced with a cold, unwelcoming awkwardness. The kind of residual heaviness that lingers in a room after a heated, unresolved argument. The kind I just want nothing to do with. So I run away from it.

That's just what I do.

And the fact that John felt the need to continue this domino effect of complete destruction of my life as I know it puts my "run away" method of dealing with things into full effect. If you move, they can't catch you.
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Well it just happened. John broke up with me. He said that he wasn't happy and it wasn't either of our faults. 

I was numb as I helped him clear off the spare bed. I started taking my pillow and blanket off of our (now former) bed, but he insisted that I take our normal bed, which I guess is fair considering how mine had gotten wrecked when we first moved in.

Sleeping alone in that bed for the first time since he left for a month in Nepal last year, I felt restless and lost. What the hell just happened? What happened to the last 6 years of our life together? What happened to me in those 6 years that made him not love me anymore? These questions raced through my mind as I tried to wrap my mind around the whole thing. Sobbing, I texted the only friend I felt I could trust with this information being so new and raw, my friend Joachim in Germany. My very good friend for almost 20 years. He offered me virtual hugs and assured me that he was there if I needed to talk.

I decided that I just couldn't sit in that room another minute. Fuck this room. Fuck this bed. Fuck that asshole probably sleeping like a baby in the next room. I gathered myself up and headed out to the one place I have always gone to comfort me when my life takes a wrong turn down Shit Ave. I took myself dancing at The Chamber.
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