Watch out all you devushka bitches, I’m coming to town!

Yes, it’s true. In a mere 9.5 hours, a flight to Munich carrying the Ukrainian and I will depart SFO (God-willing, as the Arabs say). And from Munich? Da, next stop will be Kiev Borispol airport. I’ll have my 4 inch heels, Marc Jacobs denim mini-skirt, Dior “Little Red Dress” lip gloss, and a fresh red manicure onboard with me.

What?! You say I’m too old to be a true devushka? Not true. Devushka-ness is all a state of mind and a pair of great legs. I thoroughly intend to learn from the masters (er…mistresses) walking the streets of Kiev (not to be confused with the streetwalkers of Kiev whom devushkas must closely resemble).

What’s that again!?!?! You say I can barely pronounce the Russian letters I see on street signs? That my complete and utter failure to find time to learn the Russian language will prevent me from embodying the modern slavic woman’s persona? So not true. If anything, spending 3 years with the Ukrainian has made me more slavic than any Rosetta Stone lesson could.

Case in point:

Last week, I was in the Baltimore suburbs on a business trip and couldn’t access the wireless network in the office. But I knew there’d be no problem because there was a Russian employee sitting a few cubicles over. He’s cracker-jack smart and super-nice too. I knew he could get me on the wireless…

What do you have? he asked upon hearing my flirtatious pleas for help.

Somehow, I didn’t think the words I’ll be your best friend forever that worked so well when I needed help from someone when I was a teenage girl or young devushka post-college in New York would work so well now that I’m old enough to have grandchildren in some parts of the world. I searched my pockets looking for something to give him when I realized I had no pockets because I was wearing a skirt.

Chocolate? I asked desperately, remembering I had some back at my desk I’d brought with me from San Francisco. It’s fine European, dark chocolate. Organic too! selling him on the idea that his time and assistance was totally worthy of some small chocolate that I’d bought at the Walgreens on Sacramento and Front St.

The Russian colleague started laughing, realizing what was going on.

Noooo….what do you have? Like an iPhone or a MacBook or what? I need to know what device you’re using to connect to the network!

Oh. I was shocked. Somebody would do something for me without bribery? All this time I’ve been Russified, this guy’s been Americanized.

Yes, devushkas. I am ready. And I’m bringing my camera.


New blog: Today’s Outfit

I have started a new blog. While I may or may not continue writing from time to time on this one, I simply don’t have the energy or time required to do it properly. WordPress is too complicated. And the Ukrainian and I are too happy. We are also both spending lots of energy on improving our careers – with varying, but mostly positive, results.

But I still enjoy blogging. So come join me over at my super-duper superficial self-centered postings on Today’s Outfit. I may or may not get deep and introspective, but you’ll always know what I’m wearing…

Clue #2

Here is another clue regarding the exciting event that is coming up in the Ukrainian’s and mine’s lives:

5 Years

I have many ex-boyfriends in my past. Yet somehow, it’s *this* one — the Bulgarian — who left his indelible mark on my soul. It’s not to say I never think about the others, I do — but for the ones that were important, I somehow have stayed in friendly contact with them. And thus, they never died to me. But the Bulgarian… our parting was so harsh, so final… and so necessary… he has become this ghost in my mind that haunts me. It is this express forbidden contact that keeps him alive. But slowly my memory is fading…I wait for the day when I no longer remember him per se and all his mannerisms and quirks and everything about him that made him be him and kept me in love even though it was the most wrong toxic love I could experience. One day, I will only remember that there was this person in my life with his name and from his country that drove his car and lived on his street and  that he drove me completely mad with jealousy. Everything else I will forget. Maybe even some of those details will be forgotten too.

5 years ago, I begged him to let me go; to either love me, or set me free. On a Friday night, we drove to the top of Bernal Hill. It was raining. He told me, “I let you go.” I cried a watershed of tears that more than matched the winter rains of San Francisco. He drove me home and as I was about to leave the car, he turned to me and said, “I don’t know.” Even then, he couldn’t decide. It would be another year and a half before our relationship would truly, finally end.

The next morning, 5 years ago from today, his ex-girlfriend arrived from Bulgaria. I rode my bike to see the sea lions on Fisherman’s Wharf as I did every Saturday back then. Within weeks, I had met someone else. Within months, I had moved abroad. Yet, few days went by when I didn’t hear from him. We wouldn’t truly end until August 2006 — after I had moved back to San Francisco from the Netherlands — when I threatened to tell his ex-girlfriend who had become his current girlfriend what was going on between us. I wanted to be let go so that I might have the freedom to love someone else. Every time I had tried to walk away, he had come after me and reined me back in.

A month later was September 2006…the 5 year anniversary of September 11th which so harshly brought to an end the life I lived and loved in NYC. Every year, I wanted the anniversary to hurt less. I didn’t want my whole adult life contextualized in such a singular harsh moment. The first time I felt truly happy again after that day was with the Bulgarian. And maybe… often I think the reason why he left such an indelible mark on me wasn’t just because he was who he was and the chemistry we had between us, but because he gave me a new life as I was trying to adjust not only to a world, but also my own self, that were both forever changed.

And now it’s been almost 5 years since he first tried to let me go. And it’s been 5 years since I tried to make it on my own. I learned to do what I think is right, rather than what others think is right. I learned how to draw boundaries between myself and other people. I got married to the Ukrainian who loves me for me and has neither uncertainties nor maybes in his feelings towards me. The new life the Bulgarian gave me? I took it and made it my own.

Happy 5 years anniversary Mr Bulgarian. I would thank you for letting me go, but I’ve long since realized that it was I who broke free. So I can only thank you for the cool times we had together. And I wish you well.

We’re Alive!

FDR sat here -- Aboard the USS Potomac docked at the San Francisco Ferry Building

OK, I am working on a post, or at least a series of pictures explaining our absence in recent months. We are fine and we are good — indeed lately I have been thinking about the Ukrainian’s and mine’s first date and how absolutely adorable he was that day. He is still adorable and we are approaching our 2 year marriage anniversary in a couple of weeks. We also have something very exciting in store in the not-so-far future. No, not a baby, but still…something very exciting. Here is a clue…fast forward to about 2:38

Married Fashion Dorks

The San Francisco rain season is to start Tuesday. The Ukrainian and I are prepared. Yesterday, we walked 3 blocks over to Fillmore St. and purchase these fab matching unisex rainboots from Marc by Marc Jacobs.

Marc by Marc Jacobs rainboots. The Ukrainian got his in orange. I purchased mine blue.

Marc by Marc Jacobs rainboots. The Ukrainian got his in orange. I purchased mine blue.

So San Francisco, bring it on! The Ukrainian and I are prepared for your winter.

* Addendum:  Iowa got snow yesterday. I  grew up there. As unpleasant as I find the winter California rain, I’m glad not to endure rain.

** Addendum #2:  The Ukrainian is under the mistaken belief that since San Francisco is in California, it should never be cold. He didn’t enjoy this weekend’s brisk, gray, windy weather and couldn’t figure out why it didn’t bother me. One word:  Layers.

*** Addendum #3:  Our new flat is significantly better insulated than our old Victorian. It also has modern electric heaters rather than a single vintage gas stove from circa 1939. However, I would still like to know how many decades need to pass before contractors learn that putting heaters beneath windows is about the most inefficient way to heat a place.

**** Addendum #4: I’m done talking about the weather. Really. But just for today.

*****Addendum #5:  I freaked when I first learned there was a Marc by Marc Jacobs 3 blocks away from our apartment. I could see my entire life savings going down to Fillmore St. based on the evidence that I spend way too much of my paycheck at Banana Republic since it’s literally across the street from my office. But in reality, Marc by Marc Jacobs has products that are almost as inexpensive as Target.  The boots shown above? Only $28!

Single for 3 Days

I used to have an ex-boyfriend who would contact me whenever the woman who replaced me was out of town. Yes, it was the Bulgarian. I often wondered why he couldn’t be alone with his thoughts for a few days or a couple of weeks. I recalled he had lots of friend and was always quite busy when we were together. But once we broke up — and for a couple of years afterwards — her traveling meant his loneliness which meant he tried to bond with me once again.

This continued until even after I was married. She went back to Bulgaria for a couple of weeks in July 2008 and sure enough, he contacted me. I finally put a stop to the nonsense by giving her the low down of all that had transpired between us. Sure enough, I’ve yet to hear from him again.

Why am I thinking about the Bulgarian again tonight? I have written much about that relationship on this blog. It was very therapeutic writing and allowed me to focus my attention on my husband. Indeed, enough time has passed that I would all but have forgotten the details of what the Bulgarian looked like except he bore a very uncanny resemblance to Quentin Tarantino. And thus, his image is burned forever in my mind.

The Bulgarian is on my mind because the Ukrainian is out of town for 3 days on business. And, like a schoolgirl, I don’t know what to do with myself. I wondered, what on earth did I do in the evenings back when I was truly single? And my single-most #1 hobby? I flirted. I flirted with men online. I flirted with long-time friends. I dated whoever my flavor-du-jour was. I looked for better flavors. I kept an army of exes at my fingertips so boredom and loneliness was never far off. And while I did spend time with my girlfriends, it was the seeking of male attention that took most of my energy.

And now? I have the full undivided attention of the Ukrainian. I have so much attention that sometimes I find myself longing for my days of singlehood — not so much that I can flirt with an army of men, but so that I can enjoy my languid evenings of not having anyones’s attention but my own (and the dogs). That I could turn the attention on/off from male suitors just by the changing the settings on my computer and phone.

But tonight? Tonight, walking home over Nob Hill and up into Pacific Heights, I realized I’d be coming home to an apartment devoid of any human attention. Once again, it’d be the dogs and I left to entertain ourselves. What would we do? Watch a movie? Surf the internet? None of it sounded interesting. I thought back to old friends — especially male ones — thinking I could give them a call. Catch up on old times. And then I realized, I had none of their numbers with me. They had long since been lost as I upgraded from one mobile phone to the next in the past 2 1/2 years since I had met the Ukrainian.

And then I imagined the Ukrainian down in San Diego — where he had traveled for his business trip. There would be parties and dinners out and lots of fun for him at the conference he is attending. He might not have time to miss me and that would be understandable. But, oh did I miss him on that walk home. I did not feel the missing at all during the day, but once I began to walk and realized he would not be there during the walk or later when I got home, I felt that slam-kick in my stomach. It’s the one you get when you realize that no matter how much someone might annoy you from time-to-time. And no matter how often you kinda miss your old single self because god-damn wasn’t she great and fun and did whatever she wanted when she wanted without any regards to anyone else, you realize how gob-smack in love you really are with this man who has taken more than one vow to spend the rest of his life with you. And maybe…just maybe…life isn’t quite as fun right now as it once was, it is exponentially more beautiful because your husband is in your life, lighting up your life like a cliched 1970s Easy Listening love song.

And wouldn’t you know it, at that exact moment, when I was missing the Ukrainian so much that I was afraid that something might happen to him and my world would become a darker place again without him, he called. It was something the Bulgarian used to do. It was that odd, deeper connection he and I used to have. He knew when I was missing him.

And I’ve waited, longed for the Ukrainian and I to have that same connection as well. For as much as the Ukrainian and I love each other. There has always been this barrier of language and communication that seemed to have kept us from reading the other’s mind. But now, in our brief 3 day parting, when it would be so easy for him to have extra fun and me to reach out to my past, we find ourselves connecting even more.

And  I know he can sense my missing him from so far away. Because once I started writing this post, he called again to tell me he was back in his hotel room early. He was missing me.