Chapter 47 – Extemporaneous Tinder Date #10

 

Friday, 12 February 2016.

 

Day 54

 

Diary of Mine,

 

Today has been a good day. 🙂

Just coming home from our Youth Group (my way to contribute).

I started these youth evenings twice a month a year ago, as a way for Kristiina and Joey and other young people to make new friends and have some Friday fun in a safe environment. We play board games, talk, have a snack, play hide-and-seek in the dark and anything else we can come up with.

 

It’s not easy to be leading the youth group at the moment (separation and all), but I told the pastor I’ll give it a try. The young people appreciate it so much and my teens have made some nice friends. And they seem to have no one else yet who could do it instead…

Last time, I had to tell the group about my separation, as they know Mr. Pedro (he used to help me with these gatherings sometimes). So I spoke about forgiveness and determination and the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

Kate, one of the oldest teenagers there, was very touched. She came to hug me and say, “Anna, you are always so inspiring. Thank you very much for your words.”

I think she is inspiring. What a great person and talented artist Kate is. Some people just know how to shine their light. 😊

 

This time father was our special guest. He held a short devotional – and tried to turn us into an instantaneous choir (dad is so cool)! We weren’t that successful with the singing, but ended up having great laughs.

Tonight’s theme was seeing the good in others and letting them know it. I repeated a “building up your self-confidence” dynamic I sometimes have with my pupils at school. Will tell you more later.

 

Today has been a very good day – yeah.

Sunny. I looked cute – better yet, I felt it! And we all know how fantastic that is for a woman. 😁

 

As for random updates:

Remember Frederick, Tinder Englishman #1? I think we’re becoming friends. We chat on Messenger and have started ringing each other sometimes, too. Nice guy. Wise. He‘s a good listener and sharer. He tells me his thoughts and general feelings concerning his recent separation – still feeling pretty angry at his ex – childcare, immediate goals and such.

His voice is manly and pleasant, but we haven’t flirted at all. Not even once. He lives in Reading – England, and since neither of us is planning on meeting in person any time soon, virtual friendship is the option.

I think what we have feels like some needed encouragement – comparable with divorce therapy groups? Appreciated and retributed.

 

With Christian, Tinder Englishman #2, it’s been intriguing to say the least – very curious to meet him soon. Chatting daily from Good Morning to Good Night…

I love that!

It inpires the artist in me. Triggers good feelings with dopamine.

 

This is a new life phase and I won’t complain about the attention I’m receiving from some interesting men. Won’t complain too much! 😊 Sooner or later I’ll find him. I just know it. ❤️ ‍No hurry.

I do have some dates set up for this Sunday to Friday. 😅 Guys who seem eager to meet up…

…I booked them in a long time ago – one at a time – for this coming week, since the teens will be going back to their dad’s place. My only chance!

This is my project at the moment. When I decide something, I go for it. Obstinate me!

 

However… today I broke one of my own rules. Had a shorter day at school and went on a coffee date straight from work. Number 10.

Yes, I know I wasn’t going to meet anyone when the teens are home with me, but this guy insisted the whole week!

I caved in.

So busy, sorry! 🙁

Kids at my place this week, other dates next week… But all right.

If you’ll come to IKEA in a couple of hours – it’s on my way home – I can meet you for a coffee straight from work. Would that be OK?  🙂

How it went?

Oh, extemporaneously…

Cute foreigner. Muslim. Pianist – very artistic, very cultural. We had a long chat and he smiled a lot, looking appreciatively into my eyes.

But, was Tom right about perfume…! 😷 😟

Seriously, Soner’s perfume was sooooo strong, and to his misfortune, I really, really disliked the scent. Made it very hard to relax and concentrate on the other aspects of the date.

Soner asked to meet again soon, but I told him I really didn’t feel the chemistry.

Smelled it? 😂

Eurgh. All the best to him!

 

Anyways, today has been a great day.

My workouts have been working. Finally!

I’m back to jogging two-three times a week (usually 3-6km). I think it’s such a perfect workout because it takes 20-30 minutes, but feels great and gives nice results.

Going to the gym, playing volleyball, lots of brisk walks. And on top of that, I just go by bike everywhere I need to. Even well dressed and in high heels. Haha. I haven’t had a public transportation card since I moved back to Helsinki three years ago.

OK, if it’s raining reeaaally hard, I’ll take the tram. Otherwise, steps it is.

 

Healthy foods, good thoughts, support from my parents. Determination.

Life’s to be lived happily now. I’ve just had enough hard times.

 

Aaahhh, best of all, I’ve gotta tell you this –> even my hair has been looking exactly the way I like it. 😁 😁

That’s no small feat, you know. Mom and sis tease me about it all the time. They say I’m never happy with my hairdressers, nor with my hair.

Is it my fault that I’m usually very unlucky with the results??? Mom and sis seem to think I’m fussy about it. Very funny. 😑

The tenure position I fought so much for is something else I’m grateful for. A flat I love, a broken loving heart under repair, quality time with daughter and son.

Joy.

Don’t you just love Fridays, Anna?

© 2017 rf

 

Obs. All names have been changed, and chat messages were published with the match’s kind permission.

 

 

Obs. Day 54 of life comes in waves, good days, bad days. Good years, bad years? It’s all part of the journey. Just enjoy it.

 

 

Introduction – Ready for a New Start?

Enjoy! This is where the story begins.

 

 Wednesday, 23 December 2015.

 

Day 3

 

It’s a school holiday morning just before Christmas in wintry, dark, freezing Finland, and the wind is blowing hard and relentless in Helsinki. Anna is alone – her new home finally ready, after a couple of months of shopping for furniture and household gadgets.

The new stuff is from Ikea, K-rauta, Kodin Ykkönen, Verkkokauppa and Masku, and the handpicked second-hand objects are from antique shops, as well as tori.fi. As she looks around, Anna feels satisfied with the Kenwood kitchen appliances and the PAX wardrobe with its shiny white doors.

The moving process has taken lots of the usual pragmatic creativity and focus, hard work, screws and nails, boxes, closet space, hooks, and above all the help of two-three friends. How would she have managed without them?

Gratefully, she realizes that now that everything has fallen into place, she’s feeling happy – strangely enough…

You see, Anna has just moved out of her ex-husband’s home, six days after their twentieth anniversary. Sure, they’d spent the last two years discussing a possible divorce, so it hadn’t come as a total shock, really. (The first time they threw the idea around had been eight years earlier).

All the investment of time, affection, energy, forgiveness and patience. So much emotional stress! So many attempts… Eurgh.

Then, when he’d recently made up his mind to go through with the divorce, she hadn’t been able to avoid an exhausting ten days of sudden tears in the shower, the car drive to work, and nooooo…!! Even in the middle of a lesson once, in front of her ninth graders, when she’d burst out crying while explaining the difference between the past simple and the present perfect.

More like a complicated past and an annoyingly imperfect present!

What a waste of life!

 

The first night all alone at her new place had felt like purgatory agony and shame, until the next morning, when her childhood friend Tom, a Brazilian living in America since he was ten, called to check up on her. An experienced divorcé, he had lots of empathy and a few good tips to offer. Grateful for the support, they repeated the phone calls for a few months into 2016.

 

Anyhow… today is today. And today she is feeling cheerful.

She is listening to a YouTube link Tom has sent her. It’s a lecture on love, sex and dating by Andy Stanley, who provokes the listener with the challenge “Are you the person the person you’re looking for is looking for?”

Andy believes that after a breakup, people should take a year off dating and spend it on becoming a better character instead. That way, one will later be able to both expect and welcome into their life a better partner.

Hmmm, wow, brilliant, Anna thinks to herself, I’m gonna try and do just that!

 

Her teens Kristiina and Joey are spending the first separation days with their dad, before they come to stay for a week on Christmas Eve. How must they be feeling???

Joey had wanted to move in with Anna from night one, but she simply couldn’t let him. No way!

Had to go through the dark inferno of the first nights alone, all by myself. You don’t want your kids to see that…! 😭😭😭

Mr. Ex helped her with the move, financially and otherwise. Besides agreeing with all of her suggestions – demands! For example, that the teens live every other week with each parent, so both will keep a close bond and take their share of the responsibility.

Who wouldn’t want that privilege, right?

They are actually going to have their first Christmas party as a broken-up couple together 💔, hoping to make the new beginning a little less tough on the teens.

Don’t you see?

Although the day has come when there are no options left but to face the music, dealing with the marriage-turned-bad with brutal honesty, Anna believes it’s vital to think of the kids and try to make the whole mess as easy as humanly possible for them.

She’s trying her best!

 

Aye, aye! I remember feeling I was about to become a bitter wife.

Like, you know those fifty-year-old women you see working behind the cash register sometimes? The ones with thin, stiff lips who look angrily at you, the customer, and you have no idea why? They just look so sour.

Whenever Anna sees them, she thinks of two things.

OMG, I’m NOT going to become one of them – they exude so much anger!

And when she’s feeling more merciful, perhaps something like, Who has hurt them? Their man?? Cancer?

Poor things.

 

But…

Big sigh.

What now?? What’s to become of me now? Hmmm…

 

I know. I know!!

 

Life has given me tons of lemons, but just you wait, Mr. Ex!

Wait and see how much lemonade I’m about to make! I’ll let you have a taste of it first. Maybe you’ll miss me?

Or drown in it for all I care…

 

Anna rides that stupid emotional roller coaster.

No… That’s bitter. – and bitter can’t be the taste she’s after now.

No, no.

No!

Long, long sigh.

 

OK. Then what?

Think, Anna, think.

No. Feel it in your gut!

She looks deep into her soul where a very nice vision pops up.

 

Instead of resentment………… My first ingredient:

Lots of sugar for me… 😊 and for my future Mr. Boyfriend. 😊 — Anna smiles now, more satisfied.

I may be vulnerable, but I am strong!

I feel fearful, oh damn, so very afraid!

(Relieved, too!)

Angry, yes.

Sad, definitely.

But bitter?!

I’m actually sweet. A very loving person! — she protests Humpf.

If you really, really know me and you care to see… you can’t help but feel it.

 

(Hmmmm… I don’t think Mr. Ex agrees… Haha! Well, fuck it, who cares?)

 

Anna’s been working hard on seeing her cup half full – at least during the long days she’s been super busy organizing her new place, as she adores hard work and easily dives into new projects.

Now, sitting down on the brand new couch, she’s thinking that she’s had enough negativity, enough tears. She’s just had enough. She desires a new, hopeful beginning. Anna does not want to end up alone and miserable.

Is that even realistic??

Yes, she must be brave. She needs to go to work, earn a living, pay her bills. The teens need her! She just has to survive this hurricane with dignity and joy – and not too many tears.

Yes, that’s it.

So………………

It is thus that in that spirit of stubborness, she makes up her mind. Sisu!

You know what? I’ve succeded in being a positive person even in the midst of life’s many problems. I’m not going to go bad now!

I don’t want to.

A bitter 39-year-old divorced woman?

Hell, nooo!

After all, if life gives you lemons… whatever! Make lemonade. Yay!

Healthy lemonade, with just the right amount of sweetness.

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 3 since moving out of her ex-husband’s home. New beginnings!
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