Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Encyclopedia of Me - A (Stacy)

Arizona - Growing up, I learned of Arizona and thought such a place would be a little bit of heaven on earth. A place that is always warm and never has snow? Sign me up! Well, I got to live there for over 4 years and while I loved the warmth and sun, I learned that I missed the seasons -- (something I realized once we moved east to PA). Also? No offense to native Arizonians, but Phoenix is kind of gross and I just don't like being so landlocked. That being said, we achieved some amazing milestones there. I earned my master's degree there. Mark earned his medical degree there. And, more importantly, our two beautiful children were born to us there. So, it turns out? A little bit of heaven on earth.

Anagrams - I love word play and word games. Our family likes to play a game using only Scrabble tiles (no board) and it involves constantly making anagrams in order to keep your words, steal words from other players, and make new words. We love games and that is one of my favorites. We have been playing it a lot these past few weeks, as a family and with good friends. I love a good challenge. ;)

Aladdin, Alan, and Africa  - I'm cheating a little, but all three of these A-words have played a part in the early stages of my relationship with my now husband. Each has a short story or tidbit to tell and since this is an "Encyclopedia of Me" post, it makes sense to share here.

1. Aladdin - this movie came out my freshman year of college and a big group of us went to the movies to see it. Mark and I, who were really, really good friends at this point, sat together. Thing is, I was already falling hard for him and so hoped he'd like me back. I had a feeling he did and I pinned a lot of hopes on this outing. I really thought he was going to hold my hand for the first time at this movie. I had my hand on my knee in easy reach of his hand all night long. But he didn't make a move. I was so sad and so upset. I don't remember the details, but apparently I went on some big rant about "clueless boys" and poor Mark had no idea what I was going on about. Obviously, eventually we became more than friends. And we even got little Aladdin figurines -- Aladdin for me and Jasmine for Mark -- that we each kept with us while we were apart overseas.

2. Alan - During those early weeks of hanging out as friends and realizing that my feelings for Mark were growing stronger (and hoping so much that he felt the same), I learned that his middle name is "Alan." He had just gotten his mail, including two weekly magazines -- Time and U.S. News and World Report (we were both Political Science majors when we started college), and I saw his name as it was addressed to him. It was my first time learning his middle name. I took it as some kind of sign. I chuckled to myself and said, "Interesting," but offered nothing more. Some time later, when Mark kissed me for the first time -- his first move! (caught me totally off guard - I was expecting hand holding first) -- I let him in on what it was I had thought to myself when I saw his name. Before I tell you, it's important to have the scene set first. We had enjoyed a lovely evening together of dancing and fun at a winter formal. He walked me back to my dorm and we talked outside for a while. I gave him a hug and then we shared the most beautiful first kiss. It caught me off guard, swept me off my feet, and quelled my wondering if he'd ever feel about me the way I was feeling about him. I had hinted, but hadn't told him outright that I was falling for him. I'm sure it takes guts to make the first move, so I wanted to reassure him and let him in on my feelings for him. After the kiss, we both smiled and he said, "Goodnight." As I was entering the dorm and he was turning to walk down the walk, I turned back, held the door open longer, and called out to him with a soft, "Hey." He turned and I smiled and said, "'Alan' is the name of the first boy I ever really liked." He smiled back and said, "I already knew that." I floated up the three flights of stairs to my dorm room that night and fell asleep with a big grin on my face.

3. Africa - After dating for most of our freshman year, we both went overseas at different times (Mark to Japan and me to Portugal and Africa) and the overlap made it so that we were apart for 3 1/2 very long years. It was so hard to be apart. We wrote each other weekly the whole time. And we have several large binders filled with our letters to each other, including 7 months' worth of letters he sent me in Africa and 7 months' worth of letters I sent him from Africa). I think it's pretty neat that I've been to that mysterious continent. As I was getting to Africa, Mark was returning back to the states from Asia (another A-word and A-continent!). As hard as it was to be apart (and it really was), it's pretty great that we could get to know each other so well through letters. Seems so old-fashioned nowadays, but I think it's such a beautiful, nostalgic, and romantic method of communication.

Amazing Race/American Idol - These two shows are my favorite reality shows, probably because they're more focused on talent and competition than they are on "reality" a la Big Brother or The Bachelor. I don't care for all the drama and nonsense of most reality TV, but I really enjoy the competitive aspect of both of these shows. Our whole family enjoys these two shows together and I even blog about American Idol.

Ambiguous Endings - Some of my very favorite movies have ambiguous endings. I love quirky indie films and foreign films, movies that are character and mood driven rather than fueled by an exciting plot. I like simple stories about everyday life and everyday people. I know most people like their movies to tie up neatly with a bow, but I prefer a well-done film that ends with me wondering what happens next and allows me to delve into my own thoughts and interpretations of the story. Some examples of these kinds of movies include "Win Win," "Doubt," "Once," "Flipped," "Barney's Version," "The Girl in the Café," "An Education," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Sunshine Cleaning," "Sideways," "500 Days of Summer," "Like Crazy," "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," "It's Kind of a Funny Story," "3 Idiots" (a Bollywood film), and any film by Nicole Holofcener.

Avocados - I often refer to avocados as "the food of the gods." I loooooooooooooove avocados. I like them straight more than in guacamole, but I love guacamole, too. They are so fresh and delicious and soft and have the most beautiful green tones to their fruit. They are melt-in-your-mouth good and have the most silky texture. I like them on sandwiches or quesadillas or with enchiladas or in sushi or salads or soups. It doesn't really matter. Whatever it's added to is only improved by its presence. I am so glad they're good for us, because I love, love, love avocados.

**A little shout out to my godmother and aunt Artemisia, because I think it's pretty neat that I have both a godmother and an aunt Artemisia.


Dr. Mark said...

Tricky how you fit so many words into this post! That's OK, though, since I get to relive a lot of great memories. Excellent post!

Jagged Rocks said...

I never knew you went to Africa that is awesome. It is also very awesome that you and Mark stayed in touch.
I hate avocados, the texture makes me gag. I also hate the heat in Arizona, anything above 95 is too hot for me.

Dave said...

Emily can't stand the ambiguous ending, although we both really liked An Education and (500) Days of Summer.

Emily Foley said...

Did you see "inception'? If so I'm curious to know what you thought about its ambiguous ending.

I often wish I had served a mission but wasn't strong enough to spend that time away from Dave. I love that your missions were a way to grow closer while also fulfilling lifelong goals and serving others in such a selfless way. That takes real strength.

I have a post about Aladdin in the works!it has been playing on a loop in the car, my kids can't get enough of it.

Alan is my brother's middle name, I've always liked it. Especially that spelling.

Jimmy said...

Avocado with salt spread on a warm flour tortilla. Try it if you haven't already.

Someday I hope you can add Albuquerque to your list of As!

The Magic Violinist said...

I loved all of the stories! :D I also really like anagrams and avocados. ;D

Vivian said...

Sweet falling in love story. Greg & Jessica also "courted" through letters.
I have not seen any of the movies you mentioned. I do like mood and character, but real life can be so difficult, I like my entertainment to just be entertaining.
I had to learn to love avocados, but love them I do.

Boquinha said...

Haven't seen "Inception." Is it violent? I have a hard time with violent images. If it's a non-violent, make-you-think movie, I'd probably like it.

Jimmy, that sounds GOOD. I haven't tried it, but would be happy to. :P We often make quesadillas and then put avocado on them, so I guess that's close. And we would LOVE to visit you in Albuquerque.

I agree with you, Vivian -- I like my entertainment to be light and usually funny, too. If it's a heavy movie, I tend to not want to watch it.

I *highly* recommend "Flipped." How that movie didn't get A LOT more press, I don't know. It was delightful and clever and such a sweet story!

"3 Idiots" is great, too. I thought I wouldn't like it because the title and cover looked stupid and I hate stupid movies, but it turned out to be super clever (though I could do without the odd musical numbers spattered throughout).