Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Decision to go to New York

I've mentioned before that school was hard. Tarra's experience in grad school was wrought with trouble from the start.

This picture was posed, only slightly.
She was promised a full ride and a project from the get go, until it was taken back. Her first boss there was a flakey dragon lady who accused her of being flakey because while Tarra would show up to meetings they scheduled, Ms. Dragon would not. Silly Tarra did not understand that this was a carefully coded test she had been given to take more initiative and not rely on such comfy things like people keeping their word or advisers advising or giving direction. A rough start lead to rough quarters and overloads of work. I can't tell you how many times I consoled her with ice cream and bags from the grocery store filled with ranch flavored chips and candies as she tried to do 36 hours of work in 48. We even made a play list and Pandora station called "homework" filled with inoffensive background music to keep us just marginally sane.
Not much can be said for the cat's sanity.

Nothing more can be said here.
People there to support did not, and there were pitfalls in our relationship as Tarra came out to her family in the middle of it all (carefully planned around not created emotional havoc during finals). She struggled for another project, happening on one that lit her heart aflame only to be told she would find no one to fund it. She found one doing what I understand to be making poo like bubbles to more efficiently clean waste water. Days and nights were spent in the lab- weighing poo, drying poo, making graphs about poo. It was ok until the "sample" buckets came home in the trunk. She still argues that if I was allowed to tote my old compost pile in her trunk that I have no room to complain about "sample".

Her graduation was a challenge too. It had been a year since she came out, and she wanted to invite everyone to celebrate my family and hers. As expected, things did not go smoothly and feelings were hurt all around. It seemed like the universe was not on Tarra's side with this one and felt her going back to school to get a better position in the Peace Corps (giving up so much to do it) was just not noble enough and should not go unpunished. As her partner that struggled through the nights with bags of consolation candy and tears, and laughter as we measured the dimensions of a person squatting as she designed bathroom facilities for a school house in Ethipia (I am pretty sure she should be sainted or something)- it was hard for me to watch her suffer through what should have been such a happy time in her, and our lives.

Look how pretty she is!
She had helped me get to Peru to celebrate my triumph, I wanted to do something great for her. We both have a heavy case of wanderlust and talk about the places we'd like to go one day if we only had the money. I had asked her long before this if she could go anywhere right now within reason- where would it be? She answered (pretty well without hesitation) Niagara Falls. Of course she wants to go far away....ugh...why couldn't she have said "Tijuana!" But, that's her dream, I wanted to make it happen. I got to wrangling money. I cashed out my vacation fund and pinched precious dollars from my modest paychecks. I asked her friends to donate to the fund instead of buying her things (Lord does she not need more things). After it was all said and done, and the tickets were bought, I was only $50 short not bad for short notice on a minimum wage job and a handful of friends. (Thanks guys!)

I think I can see myself with you.
It dawned on us suddenly that we could get married, and the negotiations began. I'd like to tell you it was super cute and we were so excited, but I can't. We waffled and argued. If we got married there, do we want to get married here? If so, does that make our marriage there less of a marriage? Oh. My. God, which finger does the ring go on? What kind of ring symbolizes what? Wait- do we want to get married there? Does this still make sense? And on and on in circles for weeks. What we finally set upon was a series of what I would like to consider very adult compromises. Like, we'll keep our engagement rings on our fingers, use a plain ring (that we can also wear while doing messy things like working or farming) for this ceremony then boot it to the other finger as a remembrence but get a tattoo of a heart on our ring fingers because moving it after we got married in New York to save the finger for when we got married here felt impermanent and defeated the issue...Right? Oh, dear god. Sufficed to say this isn't clear and what we're doing makes as much emotional and physical sense as it is going to mean legally. What made it clear for us was borrowed a bit from a cute little movie about a lady named Sally and a fellow named Harry: We had the chance to be married there, we knew in our hearts that this was the person for us and we couldn't wait to start a family- share names, responsibility, debts, futures, all of that. We knew we couldn't miss this chance. "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

So, we decided against all good, responsible reasoning that flying across the country to enter into a place of legal and emotional limbo was where we were. We don't have the money to do this, but I don't think we can afford to pass it up. We can't have our family there and it breaks our hearts, but we hope that this blog can keep you with us.

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