I’m coming home

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Maybe this won’t come as a surprise to you, but it certainly does to me.

First I will address the elephant that is my gaping lack of blog posts in the past year. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I posted something, so unless you follow me on Snapchat you may have believed me to be dead. But alas, no, I am still very much alive and living off salt water and croissants (to be clear I’m not drinking the salt water, just bathing in it).

I haven’t written anything because I haven’t had anything to write about. “But Marryl,” you say, “you’re a nanny in the South of France. You drink champagne more often than Coca-Cola. You picnic on the beach every other day. You’re starting to lose count of the number of countries you’ve visited. How can you POSSIBLY have nothing to write about?” Well, my dear readers, I guess the problem is I have too much to write about, and only things that would probably make people low-key resent me. In the past month alone I’ve kayaked the Mediterranean, drunk Sangria in Spain, climbed the steep hills of Monte Carlo, and shopped in Saint-Tropez, and that’s just the weekends. On weekdays I sip espresso while smelling our lavender plants, eat homemade provencale ratatouille, and go to the beach more times than I can keep track of. My life is incredible, and incredibly brag-worthy, and for that reason I don’t really want to talk about it.

Because I’m not doing this for the instagram likes. I’m not doing this for the stories down the road. Sure, maybe I spend a little too much time staging some of my Snapchats, but only because I know it’ll be gone forever in twenty-four hours, and my guilt will disappear with it. But still feel a little bad about it because I don’t want people to think that my goal is to boast or make anyone feel jealous. So I just don’t talk about it. France is for me, and for the people I’ve been sharing this experience with, so I don’t really feel the need to talk about it. So please don’t think I’m a terrible person who’s going to come home and be like, “Oh yes, this pinot isn’t bad, but it’s grape juice compared to the lovely Bordeaux I had one night in a private beach cabana at sunset on the Mediterranean Sea.”

(I’m not making that up, though I don’t know if it was a Bordeaux; I think it was just boxed rosé and ooookay I’ll stop now because do you see how easy it is for me to sound like such a pompous bitch??)

Speaking of coming home, I’m coming home! If you’ve been following my life, this might not come as a surprise to you, since the whole point of being an Au Pair was I go to France for one year, and then I come back. But this comes as quite a surprising and mixed-emotional thing for me to say, because for a long time I though-slash-hoped I would never be coming home.

I fell in love with France and I fell in love hard. And like true love, it’s impossible to describe. There is just something about the way of life here that is so special and makes me feel so warm and happy. So, very early on in my year I decided I would like to stay in France, and I began looking into my options, because I’ve lived in Canada my entire life one year just isn’t enough time to truly grasp a country. Okay, FINE, I’ll admit it: I also wanted to stay because along with France I fell in love with a French boy. For the longest time I fiercely denied that I wanted to stay for him, because I knew everyone back home would tell me I’m crazy to make such a huge move for a boy (and I would tell myself I’m crazy, too). But in the pie chart of the sources of happiness in my life in France, Arthur makes up a very, very big slice. And I just can’t ignore that, nor do I want to. Before moving I joked that I would fall in love with some French marine and never move home, and well whaddaya know, it actually happened.

Buuuuut unfortunately, staying in a country is more more complicate than just employing sheer willpower. I’ll spare you the boring administrative details, but basically it’s nearly impossibility to obtain another Visa, and on top of that, Arthur is temporarily moving to Northern France, and my best/only French friend Emilie is moving back to Canada. So I-slash-we came to the conclusion that it is best for me to come home. I can see my family and friends and cat and rediscover the country I haven’t been in for a year and maybe actually get a real job that generates income that I don’t dedicate entirely to a weekend in Monaco. Oh, and poutine. I can eat lots and lots of poutine.

Though it wasn’t the final answer I thought I’d be giving Regis Philbin, I’m overjoyed to be coming home. And I don’t need to justify my choice, even though as a young twenty-sometime I do feel that constant pressure to prove myself to everyone after graduation. But what I’ve learned in my year since graduating is that we all have So. Much. Damn. Time. I’m young and curious and adventurous and porous like a sponge and I don’t need to do the exact same thing for the rest of my life. Nor is there any specific path I should feel obligated to follow. If I want to spend three years eating fresh fruit on a beach and teaching English in Tahiti while Arthur is placed there for the Navy then DAMMIT I WILL. Because I’m young and free and can do whatever the heck I want if I want to.

(That may or may not be an actually thing that could happen but I’ll save some secrets for later to keep you coming back for more.)

What will I do when I’m back in Canada? Six months from now? One year from now? Who knows. But also, who needs to know? I’ll figure it out when I figure it out, and that’s all that matters. What is important is that in the last year I have learned more than I thought possible, and certainly more than I would have learned staying in Canada. This move home doesn’t have to be permanent, and it certainly won’t be. I am an intelligent, talented, independent woman. I know who I am, I know what I want, and I am confident that wherever I go, I will be proud of myself for arriving there. But I will say I am very, very excited to come home.

Oh, and if you actually know me in real life and are excited by this information, you’ll be even more excited to know that Arthur is coming with me!!! For about two weeks at the end of August. Because somehow that boy has seen 36 countries, but NEVER Canada. I’m pretty sure he might cry when I take him to Niagara Falls. So even if you aren’t exciting by my return, you can at least look forward to the presence of a tall, dark, handsome French man probably sporting a moustache and striped shirt.

(Also please, please promise me if you meet him you’ll laugh at his accent when he speaks English because it’s so gosh darn cute, because he does that to me all the time when I speak French to the point that I just don’t bother speaking French to him. It’s time for payback.)

Soooo yeah, I have come out from my blogging hiatus momentarily and honestly I’ll probably just crawl right back into my little turtle shell of radio silence until I’m home, because I will be spending my summer profiting from the time I have left. Maybe when I’m home I’ll write about my experiences, but then again I might save all my secrets for a soon-to-be bestselling novel. Because who doesn’t want to read about the fourteen different varieties of cheese I ate in one night??

You can now start planning my numerous welcome back parties. I’ll bring the wine.

The struggles of dating in the 21st century

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Buckle your seat belts, kiddos, because it’s time for another good old-fashioned Millennial rant.

I’ll start of by clarifying that I don’t exactly have experience with dating in any other century but the 21st, unless of course you count that time I slow-danced with a boy in pre-school and we totally had a connection (whoever you are, if you’re reading this, message me?). Heck, I don’t even have that much experience with dating IN the 21st century. Introverts, amiright??? HAHA.. ha…

If Downton Abbey has taught me anything it is that dating has never been easy, so I’m not going to claim that navigating relationships in 2016 is any more difficult than it ever has been before. I will, however, hop up onto my tiny little pedestal and say that it’s pretty damn hard. Dating in the golden age of social media is complex, confusing, and just plain weird. There are so many unwritten internet rules and protocols to follow that seem totally irrational when you say them out loud, and I find myself doing things that are so dumb. But the main difference between feeling dumb now verses any other century is my regrettable choices are documented across multiple different technological platforms, constantly mocking me with read receipts and empty notification centres.

Let me explain.

I have a mathematical algorithm for how long to wait to text a guy back based on how long he waited to reply to me. I send Snapchat selfies of me looking cute to the guy I’m interested in, but I make sure to include my cat or something topical in the photo so it doesn’t like like I’m TRYING to look cute for him. I don’t like his Insta photo right after he posts it, even if I happen to be on Instagram at the time, so it doesn’t look like I’m stalking him (I am). And when he likes my photos I use the amount of time he waited to like it to analyze whether it’s because he thinks I’m pretty or because the caption is punny. I religiously check if he’s seen my Snapchat story. I worry that my cause of death will be a poorly-selected emoji. I have a PhD in lurking and can find out enough personal information to write a biography. I send screenshots of conversations to my groupchats with girlfriends to get their expert opinions on whether or not he’s flirting. And I have a paralyzing fear of making face-to-face, in person, real human being plans because I don’t want to be ghosted.

See what I mean? Dating in the 21st century has turned me into a completely irrational human being. And I even edited down that list of examples. I’ll admit, I’m a little ashamed of it. But I’m sure many people in the same boat as me would agree that trying to start a relationship in the social media sanctuary in which we live is like playing one big game of Chicken, where you win if you’re the most aloof and never, I repeat NEVER, double-text.

On the flip side, I do totally acknowledge the huge benefits of things like texting and Facebook when it comes to connecting with and getting to know a person. I have no idea how my parents communicated when they started dating. Morse code? Carrier pigeon? Calling one another on the telephone?? I don’t think a single person I know could recite my phone number from memory, and that includes my own mother. Technology is great, and my best friend is my Instagram account, so I’m definitely not knocking the 21st century altogether. But while its highs are high, its lows are low, and the dating world is hit hard by those lows.

I would say that the struggle is rooted a fear of seeming too eager or clingy, along with a desire to be wanted. I imagine these concerns have been a staple in dating across the decades, but I think that they are escalated in the 21st century because everything in our society is so instantaneous. Whenever I finally push down my social anxiety long enough to ask a guy to hang out, a million things run through my mind the second I hit “send.” Has he seen the message? We were just texting, he must have seen it. Maybe he’s busy. Does he have read receipts on? WHY DOESN’T HE HAVE READ RECEIPTS ON?? He JUST posted something on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat so he MUST be on his phone. Oh god, the three little dots of doom. Wait, why did he stop typing? WHAT WERE YOU TYPING?? Oh thank god he replied. Wait is that a yes? That’s a yes I think. Or was it a maybe? On a scale of 1-10 how eager is he? Oh god no he hates me I may as well just unfollow him now and move to Argentina.

I’m kidding. Mostly. Not really. Point is, trying to understand the rules of social media dating feels stressful and unnecessary. It’s so frustrating that I have to decode a text to figure out if a guy likes me. But if we all recognize that our behaviour is irrational, why do we keep at it? How about we just, oh I donno, communicate? I’m not saying I’m a saint when it comes to dating; far from it. I give as much confusing nonsense as I get, and I will openly admit that I’ve ghosted guys before. I do feel bad about that, but these days it’s just so easy. I feel so silly playing these games and getting worked up over a text message, but, like most things, I’ve gotta work with what I’ve got. Commitment scares me as much as the next human being, so I want to make sure I get it right and don’t lose opportunities, because putting yourself out there and getting rejected is hard to come back from especially when it’s over such an impersonal platform. But what I think I need to realize is the guys I am interested in are probably just as scared and confused as I am. Or at least I think that’s the case based on the caption of his Snapchat story from two weeks ago, which I lowkey watched three times. Snapchat doesn’t tell someone when you watch their story multiple times, right? Right??

I wish I had a hard and fast solution to our problem, my dear Millennials, but seeing as I’m still very single I think it’s pretty clear that I don’t. So instead I turn to the poetic words of my close personal friend Drake: “You know you gotta stick by me; soon as you see the text reply me.”

Throw caution to the wind and answer that text right away, and maybe, just maybe, you will get that one dance.

I apologize that my height threatens your status as an alpha male

I am going to tell you a story.

Last Friday I went on a first date with a boy. This boy was very cool, very attractive, and somewhere around 5’11” tall, which is my height. All of these things were acceptable to me. It was a really good date, we both seemed to very much enjoy ourselves, and I left the evening assuming I would see him again.

Then today, while we were texting, he asked if I was free any time to hang out. But “maybe not as a date but as homies” because his “height game is way too weak for” mine, and his “alphaness is properly threatened to be dating” me. To summarize the direct quotes: he just wants to be friends as us being the same height means I am too tall for him, because I threaten his status as the alpha male.

Initial reaction: what the actual fuck.

Secondary reaction: no but seriously WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.

*Takes a few seething deep breaths*

I have been 5’11” tall since I was fifteen. I started middle school at a gigantic 5’7″. I genuinely do not remember a time when I was shorter than 5′. I always towered over every one of my classmates in grade school, and in particular I towered over all the boys. Everyone, boys mostly, thought it was acceptable to comment on and ridicule my height. I was bullied incessantly. I hated being tall for a large part of my life, and I automatically assumed that no boy would ever have a crush on me because I was too tall for him, and boys don’t like tall girl. This all left me feeling really shitty about a fundamental part of myself as a human being, which sucked.

Then I grew up, realized that haters gunna hate hate hate, and accepted who I am. I came to understand that my height is not only part of what makes me a unique human being, but my height is beautiful, and should be celebrated. Now I strut around in cute heels all the time, which make both my calves and my personality much more attractive.

It took me about 20 years to fully accept who I am, and for some random asshole to come around and try to tear down everything I’ve worked so hard to build up is absolutely unacceptable.

First of all, I opened up to you on said first date about this history of feeling self-conscious about my height, and yet you think it’s okay to essentially tell me, “I am too good for you and your giantess status.” And yet you had the audacity to think I would still want to hang out with out as a friend. In what world do you think that is an acceptable thing to say to a fellow human being? How is it in any way appropriate to tell a girl that you have zero desire to date her, not because her personality is shit, but because of some physical aspect of herself that not only is she already conscious about, but that she cannot change? I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t appropriate.

Secondly, I am threatening your “alphaness”? Did you miss the memo that we are now in the year 2015? The patriarchal concept of the alpha-male as a) something to strive towards and b) something that women find attractive is laughable. It’s called gender equality, my friend. I am a confident, independent woman in the 21st century and if you think that your desire to be the “alpha” in a relationship is a desire that will be easily fulfilled, you are sorrily mistaken. Your concept of a relationship is outdated, so please take yourself out of the dating pool until you can properly educate yourself on feminism.

Currently I’m a little hurt and very angered by this whole ordeal. But I’m a positive person; I will bounce back. But you, sir, have faced the ultimate punishment because misogynistic bullies like yourself will suffer for the the rest of your lives. Perhaps it was your upbringing. Perhaps your height isn’t the only size you’re self-conscious about. But whatever it is, I wish you the best of luck in your future relationship endeavours. Luck you’ll need if you continue to be a sexist prick.

Don’t settle, my friends. Don’t conform. Don’t accept the awful standards people set for you. Be yourself, and be confident in yourself. And if anyone give you shit for who you are, call me up and I will gladly kick their ass with my 4-inch pumps.

3 pro-tips from 3rd year

Apparently I’m done third year. Well that’s pretty dope. That also means I really have no excuse for skipping out on blog posts. And what better thing to do than to sum up my year? This year was… a lot of things, and I learned a lot of things from it. So I could not possibly talk about everything, but I’ll talk about at least some things. I’m no certified life coach, but I like to talk about myself on the internet, and I also like the number 3. So here are 3 (perhaps unconventional) things I have learned in 3rd year.

 

1. Friendships change and you just kind of have to go with it

This year I had a falling out with very close friend. This year I grew so close with preexisting friends. This year I made brand new friends. They always say that you leave high school with very few of the friends you started out with, which is true, but experiencing dramatic changes in your friendships doesn’t stop after high school. Nothing is ever for certain, friendships especially, and I learned that the hard way this year. It sucked and it hurt and I still don’t really understand it. But sometimes you have to accept that other people are going to make choices that affect you but that you can’t do anything about.

Meanwhile, this year I built up friendships I already had but didn’t see the amazing potential of before. I’ve offered all my love and support to those who matter to me, and I’ve also been shown incredible amounts of love in return. This year I was so amazed to be told how much I mean to the people around me. I don’t need to be complimented in order to do nice things, but it is wonderful to be told how much you are appreciated by the people you yourself appreciate uninhibitedly.

All I can say is keep your heart and your mind open to everyone around you, because the world is full of loving people who want to offer their heart in return, and who could very well change your life for the better. Love and you will be loved. Let yourself be loved and you’ll find your strength within to love. Don’t stress or dwell. People will come into and leave your life for no more complicated of a reason than they just do.

2. Never assume that someone likes you without definitive proof.

God, that sounds so high school. It also sounds kind of mean. I swear I have a point. I often think my life is a made-for-tv-Disney-channel-rom-com. This year seemed to be my year of dealing with boys thinking I had feeling for them when I didn’t. General rule of thumb: if you think I’m flirting with you, I’m probably not. It’s just my personality. And while this is all fairly harmless, I was put into some rather compromising and stressful situations and subject to a lot of gossip that just didn’t need to happen. On the reverse end, I was also in a situation where I thought someone was on the same level with me when evidently he was not. You know what they say when you assume. But really, you or someone else gets hurt, or things get weird. I’ve hurt people, but not on purpose. I’ve been hurt, which I hope wasn’t on purpose. I bet a lot of that could have been avoided with a hella lot more communication. Be a loving person, but remember that there are two sides to every coin. TALK about it. Respect people and understand the fragility of human emotions. Don’t draw unjustified conclusions. Look at facts objectively. Communicate communicate communicate.

3. It DOES matter what other people think

Woah woah woah Marryl, what are you saying? You just contradicted every Dove campaign video I’ve ever seen! Calm down; I promise this is some solid advice. At multiple points throughout this year, particularly the last week, I’ve let the voice in my head drown out the voices of those around me. And let me tell you, that voice wasn’t very nice. I was hypercritical of everything I did, and at times really tore myself down. I wasn’t talented, I wasn’t successful, I wasn’t beautiful, I wasn’t a good person, I wasn’t worth it. Meanwhile the wonderful group of people I’ve surrounded myself with were telling me the exact opposite. But even though those voices were against mine at a ratio of fifty to one, mine still always took home the trophy. Until I realized over the past couple days that these people love me and care about me and also wouldn’t lie to me. Be your own person, do your thing, don’t let others tell you how to live your life. But DO let others tell you you’re doing a great job at living your life. Listen to other people when they tell you what you can’t tell yourself, because odds are they are very right.

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School is great, but life on its own is a prestigious institution that you can learn so much from without going into financial debt. Take time once in a while to reflect on your life and the lessons you’ve learned from it. It’s far too easy to take it all for granted and miss out on important things that could shape you as a person.

A guide to being single forever

Relationships? Ew, the worst. Having someone whom your trust completely, can go to for anything, and will think the world of you no matter what? No thank you, sir. I may as well date a dementor, what with how soul-sucking the convention of dating is. If you’ve seen the light and understand that pairing yourself up with someone who sees the best in you and wants the best for you is just a horrible, horrible idea, follow this simple guide and you will blissfully remain single for all eternity.

Recoil/keep to yourself/hermit

Logic: no one can fall in love with you if they never come in contact with you. Don’t go out. Stay in bed forever. Don’t casually text that cute guy/girl. Don’t go out on the town with your bffs. Don’t look at or speak to members of the sex you’re attracted to. And definitely don’t open yourself emotionally. Just lock yourself in your room, take Buzzfeed quizes with titles like “Only Take This Quiz If You’re Totally Single,” and cackle-laugh by yourself when your results try to tell you that a relationship is coming your way. HA, good luck getting past your impenetrable burrito of blankets.

Assume that the absolute worst is true

They aren’t texting you back right away? They probably hate you. They probably lied when they said they had a great time on your date the other night. Heck they’re probably married. Or an axe murderer. Definitely an axe murderer. You’d just be better off assuming that they want to kill you, not kiss you. Or else they wants nothing to do with you. Don’t let their kindness and flirtatious ways fool you. Don’t be drawn in by the compliments and sweet gestures they direct your way. They want to murder you so you better just turn off your phone. Paranoia is the spice of life. The single life.

Take zero risks

Don’t make eye contact with the cute boy/girl behind you in the line for Starbucks, because that could potentially lead to a conversation, and even, god forbid, a coffee date. And that good friend of yours, the really cute and sweet one whom you probably could date but aren’t dating because you’re worried it could ruin your friendship and make things weird? Just keep thinking like that, because it totally isn’t worth the risk if it means you’ll lose your single status, even though they are an amazing person who cares about you and could probably make you very happy. Friendz and ONLY friendz 4 lyfe.

Don’t love yourself

If you don’t think highly of yourself, you won’t think you deserve the best, so you’ll associate yourself with potential baes who won’t put you before anyone else and won’t give you the value that you deserve, and will therefor never turn into a meaningful, committed relationship. People may tell you that you are an amazing, compassionate, beautiful person, and even though they’re definitely right, keep your self-worth hidden in a box under your bed and you’ll never have to fear losing grip of your lonely lack of relationship status.

I hope that if you weren’t convinced of the joys of the single life before, you’re definitely convinced now. What could be more fun than being alone, never opening up to anyone, and not loving yourself? I would place most emphasis on my last point: if you don’t love you, then you aren’t allowing anyone else to love you. Keep up the good work!

I am in love

And it’s about time I talk about it.

I don’t know what sparked this desire to openly talk about my love life. Maybe it’s because I’ve finally come to realize my true feelings. Not to say these feelings weren’t there before, because they have definitely been there for a long time now. Certain situations recently have just provoked me into seeing the truth.

Guys, I am deeply, deeply in love.

With food.

(I’ll allow a moment for all of the boys who have a crush on me and are currently lined up outside my door to breathe a sigh of relief and slow their heart rates. Not to worry, boys, I’m still single.)

I am just so in love with food. Food of all kinds. Dessert food. Savoury food. Junk food. Healthy food. Cold food. Hot food. Homemade food. Restaurant food. I just love food. I have a passion for eating, and I would do it all day, every day if I didn’t want to have to worry about buying a new pair of pants every other week.

But this is no easy love. No, sometimes my love for food is a star-crossed love. Sometimes I just don’t have as much time to commit to food as I would like. Or I don’t have the means to enjoy this delicious food. Or sometimes I have to make sacrifices because I just don’t have the dolla dolla bills. It is a tough relationship to keep up, and sometimes I just want to give up and go hungry. But then I remember the wonderful, wonderful feeling I get from a really good meal.

Like I said, food has been the love of my life for really my whole life. But this year I became entirely dependent on myself for the things I consume, so my connection to food has grown even deeper. Boys come and go, but food is forever.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the kitchen calls.