After 2 months of packing, cleaning, and emptying of the house, Rita and Ariel (her kitty) drove off this morning at 8:30am. 🙁
I have mixed emotions about this. Many folks on Sport-Touring.net, at work, and my circle of gaming friends have said I’m a lot happier these past couple of months. To me, it’s because of the lifting of guilt. I can and have been enjoying my interests guilt free (95% of the time; there are a few instances where it’s hard to not feel guilty).
But I’m also quite sad about her leaving. More emotional that I truly expected to be honestly. I was almost in tears when we had our final hug in the street, before she got in her car to head back to Virginia. She was in tears and sobbing a little 🙁
I did learn a lot during our time together.
My tastes broadened to include more ethnic foods like Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Thai, and continued my experience with Indian cuisine. She also taught me a lot about eating correctly. For instance, one of the dishes I’d whip up when I was on my own last time was lean hamburger mixed with rice and corn. It was certainly tasty but Rita’s first comment was “that’s two starches!” 🙂 I love salads but she taught me that Spinach and Romaine lettuce was a much better leafy green choice than Iceburg lettuce. I’ve actually kept about 35 to 40 lbs off in no small part to what I learned from Rita.
She was much more of a touring/traveller so we went to Jamaica and Prague which was a very interesting experience. It made me a little more thoughtful when I was out on my bike trips. Instead of just zooming through, I’d occasionally stop to see the sights. I still prefer to zoom but keep an eye out for interesting places I can stop at to take a break.
She rekindled my enthusiasm for the mountains in general. Somewhere way back in the past, I lost track of that. Rita reexposed me to the mountains which was one of the reasons I agreed with Rita’s urging back in 2003 and we moved to Colorado.
She got me back on the bicycle. I had an old broken down one but the heat and humidity as well as the danger in riding a bike in Northern Virginia really kept me off the bike (and in the house). We went out and bought me a new, mountain bike and I’ve enjoyed our rides since then. Even beyond that, I’ve taken the bike up into the mountains of Colorado to ride harder (we mountain biked once and neither of us really liked it 🙂 ).
In Colorado, we started going on hikes. Mostly day hikes but there were a couple of over nighters. It was pretty cool to see all the different environments and even to be higher up in the coolness vs down on the Front Range dealing with the heat.
Her interest in skiing got me to take a class and learn to ski. I’ve really enjoyed it and look forward to doing more this year. I’m only on the Blue slopes but hopefully I’ll be able to advance with more practice.
I’ve been to more concerts in the past 12 years than I did in the previous 43 years combined. I’ve seen Depeche Mode, Bare Naked Ladies, Firefall, BB King, Robert Cray (and am going to see Robert Cray again tomorrow night), Carlos Santana, and quite a few more bands that I don’t know. I danced for the first time with her at a club and continued to dance with her when the opportunity presented itself.
While my gaming interests were pretty idle when we got together, her prompting got me back into it at the levels I was playing back in the day. There are lots of new gear out and I’ve even attended the biggest gaming convention (GenCon) twice.
She also rekindled my interests in learning and playing the guitar. According to folks I’ve talked to, I’ve advanced pretty far in the almost 2 years since I started taking lessons and I’ve been having a blast. I picked up a Bass recently and have been really enjoying that as well.
Motorcycling was another that was rekindled by Rita. I’d been off for more than a few years when we went to Idaho to visit family. I stopped in at Snake River Yamaha to check out and even test ride one of the V*Star bikes. We didn’t qualify then (it was a three day weekend so no bank access for a loan) but no long after returning home, I was able to get back in the saddle. I’ve ridden almost 200,000 miles since 2001 and had a grand time (most of the time 🙂 ).
I hope to continue with my own interests as well and the ones she awakened in me. Skiing, hiking, and biking. These are things I do enjoy now and hope to continue to enjoy for many more years.
I’ll miss her. Hopefully the path she chose will make her healthier. I know I’ve improved. My door is always open to her and I’ll enjoy going hiking, or to a show, or whatever when she comes to visit.