Monday, June 29, 2015

Friendship for a Lifetime

This weekend I was reminded of a well known poem that talks about friendship for a reason, a season or a lifetime. If you don't know it, here it is:

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

This past weekend, two of my very good friends from the Abbey were getting married in Arkansas. Mr Caramel and I, along with my other friends from the Honors program, were invited. Needless to say, Arkansas is not close by. But all of us planned it out, and got in from all over - and I do mean all over - to be there at the wedding. People flew and drove in to Arkansas from North and South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Missouri, etc. Did we do it just because we had extra time on our hands? Not exactly. But because we wanted to be there for our friend on the happiest day of his life. And also because we value any time that we can get together and have fun.

In all, we spent over 30 hours in a car and drove over 1700 miles. And you know what? It was completely worth it. Those hours of discussing random topics, singing along badly to the radio and laughing about absolutely nothing, just reminded me of what amazing friends I have. I have friends that I can go months without seeing but we pick up right where we left off when we do see each other. I have friends who are willing to sacrifice a weekend to be there for one of our group. 

When I look back on this past weekend, I won't remember how cramped I felt after sitting for so long or how tired I was. I'll remember how honored I felt to be there when two wonderful people promised to spend their lives together. I'll remember sitting around tables in various restaurants - some good, some not so good - discussing everything from theology to movies. I'll remember crossing the Mississippi river for the first time and watching beautiful lightning flash across the sky. I'll remember conversations at the lake. I'll remember how hard we laughed. 

So today, as I dragged my very tired self to work, I thought about how fortunate I am to have these friends. I met them 5 years ago, when I was new to America and they made Belmont Abbey feel like home. They're the first group of people that I truly felt ok to be myself around. Back then, we used to get together for study groups and trips into Charlotte. Now we get together for weddings and Homecomings. And I can easily see us getting together in the not too distant future for babies, 5 and 10 year reunions and any other excuse we can come up with to see each other. And I'm very confident when I say, that these are friends that I'll have for the rest of my life.

So here's to you Honors class of 2014, my American family. I love you guys. Thank you for being some of the best friends I'll ever have. See you for the next adventure.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I Said Yes

To my readers: this is going to be an absolutely sappy, reminiscing blog post. You have been warned.

Last year, Mr Caramel surprised me and proposed in exactly the way I had always dreamed of being proposed to. We were at the beach, watching the sun rise. And at the exact moment of sunrise, at 6:08 am (he checked the exact time), he pulled out a gorgeous ring and proposed to me. And as the sun was rising on a new day, I said yes to a new life. It was my dream proposal. I did what I always said that I wouldn't do - I cried. Yes, I was that cliche. I cried and took selfies and pictures of my brand new ring. Why did I cry? Because it was a moment that could not have been any more perfect. Because I had just agreed to marry the man who had swiftly become my best friend.

Now, I know that it's not yet our one year anniversary. But it's still pretty special to me. Because that weekend taught me so much. It taught me that I don't have to always be in control. It taught me that I need to just relax and enjoy the moment. It taught me that sometimes surprises can be amazing. Below is an excerpt of what I had written in my journal the night before Mr Caramel had proposed:

'I'm on the beach. At sunset. And you know what makes it even more perfect? I'm with the man I love. I love the beach. It's like my soul finds complete peace when I'm at the beach. I'm reminded that I'm just one tiny piece of a wonderfully huge universe and there's a mighty God who takes care of it all. He has a master plan for everything - including my life.

A year ago, I would not have ever imagined that I'd have fallen head over heels in love. That I'd be planning to spend the rest of my life with an amazing man, who's quickly become my best friend.

It reminds me of my favorite Bible verse, 'All things work together for good to those who love the Lord'. It reminds me to trust in God's plan for my life and to  not worry so much and not try to plan every detail on my own.

You know, in planning this trip, there was a small part of me that really hoped that there would have been a proposal this weekend. I don't think he's going to. And it's ok. I don't have to be in control of every last detail in my life. I don't have to plan everything. Because you know what? Sometimes the surprises along the way are the best part.'

Little did I know, that about 12 hours later, Mr Caramel really would propose. And there I was thinking that he couldn't surprise me.

One year later, I'm still working on trusting God. I'm still working on letting go of control sometimes. And Mr Caramel still manages to surprise me. Mr Caramel, thank you for asking me to be your wife. That was the best 'yes' I've ever said. I've never regretted it and I know that I never will. Thank you for teaching me, even when you didn't know that you were. Thank you for helping me to be a better person.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Close your eyes and jump

Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, hold on to your faith, and jump.

Growing up in the Caribbean, I always heard that America was the land of opportunity. It was the place where dreams come true. Anyone who wants it bad enough, can make it. I'm still not completely sold on it but so far America has been pretty decent to me. I got to attend an awesome college. I have an amazing job. And I'm married to a wonderful man. Now I'm going to try jumping again.

It's no secret that I love to bake. Especially cupcakes. I love trying out new flavors, coming up with new combinations and infusing standard recipes with alcohol. And if I do say so myself, my cupcakes taste pretty good. Over time, I've been toying with the idea of selling my cupcakes. And that annoying little naysayer voice in my head kept saying things like 'Who would buy your cupcakes? What makes you think you're good enough? Why would anyone pay for them?' But I've decided to quiet that voice, close my eyes and jump. The way I figure it, I don't have anything to lose. If it doesn't work out, I'm no worse off than I am now. I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Now, I'm not about to quit my job, buy tons of equipment or anything like that. Teaching is and always will be my first love. This is going to be something I do on the side - evenings, weekends, that sort of thing, and see where it goes. I'm going to give it my best shot. It might be that I don't sell a single cupcake, but I won't know until I try. I don't want to be left wondering. I want to know that I've always given life my all.

So, with that said, if any of my wonderful readers are in the market for great tasting cupcakes, let me know. I'd love to make something tasty for you.

Here I go. Jump!