The year between [This is Thirty series]

Previous post: Senior year

So this is the awkward transitioning stage. I took a year “off” between undergrad and grad school, but was still taking a class or two at a time to try to increased my GPA and had to take certain classes to get into certain vet schools. So this post will cover May 2008 to May 2009.

So I started my summer after graduating by moving back home, going to the doctor and dentist, and landing two jobs. I ended up quitting the first job and took the second job since I liked the animal hospital better, or so I thought I did. My summer was so busy since I was working about 50-60 hours a week at the animal hospital and working on my vet school applications. It flew by with me not even thinking about much other than the job, writing about 28 essays for vet schools (I applied to 13 of them) and trying to once in awhile hang out with friends. In the late summer/early Fall, I started going to a 20-somethings ministry gathering every week. I did this in order to make new friends, which with my magnetic personality I found myself making a few friends pretty quickly.

It was the 2nd or 3rd time I was there and I met a guy that I was instantly attracted to. He was tall, dark, handsome, and had a thick Bulgarian accent. I kept it cool, but made sure to exchange phone numbers with this guy. Two days later, I called him and asked him to hang out with me. Over the next few weeks, we would hang out once or twice a week. You could call them dates, he would usually pay for whatever it was we were doing. At one point, he briefly met my parents, but this made him extremely uncomfortable and after that he wouldn’t come to pick me up at my parent’s house. This was one of the first red flags, but I chose to continue to pursue him despite this and despite my mom warning me it wouldn’t work out. I ended up finding out he was about 10 years older than me as well, which at first bothered me but the more I got to know him the more I realized we had a lot in common despite the age difference. Against every fiber in my being, I dug deep to find all of the patience I could muster, and continued to go on dates without pressuring this guy to be more than just a friend.

Another awkward aspect added to this situation was my friendship with the ex that I dated for 2.5 years, which was on and off throughout this time. I had invited all my friends to go ice skating, including the ex and this new friend, along with all our mutual friends. About 20 people showed up, but most of the time I basically hung out with my new friend. The ex could tell I liked this guy, and he ended up making fun of him behind his back (something about his accent). After the event, the ex ended up messaging me confessing that he still had feelings for me but that he didn’t mean any harm and hoped the new relationship worked out for me. This just made me mad. I had made a huge mistake inviting my ex to hang out with me and my friends.

The dreaded day came when my friend asked me to hang out with him after the weekly ministry meeting, and I knew it wasn’t going to be what I wanted to hear. We went to Dunkin Donuts and got some coffee, and he told me he didn’t want to date me. He told me there was another girl at his church who was also interested in dating him, but that at this time in his life he had to focus on other priorities other than a girlfriend/romantic relationship. I sat there thinking if not now then when? He was 33 years old and not ready to settle down? Or was it just me? Either way, we parted as friends. After that, we didn’t hang out very often, but for Christmas he found me at my cousin’s house where we exchanged gifts and he met my cousins, who instantly loved him as much as I did. My heart was broken. I didn’t get dumped, I got denied before I could even be given a chance. The only thing he thought was wrong with me was that I didn’t have enough female Christian friends, and I wasn’t part of a bible study. I found myself in a similar situation like I was during my Freshman year, just this time I wasn’t “Christian enough.” Like there’s a scale and me going to church and ministry group wasn’t enough. This was one of the times I felt like I wasn’t good enough.

After all of this, I decided to go out on new year’s with two of my high school friends and a friend of my ex’s. Three of the four of us got pretty drunk, and the 4th drove us all home. Somehow, through this drunken event, I got to know my ex’s friend better than I ever had before. Over the next few weeks, we started talking and hanging out often. At first, we would only hang out with other people, including my ex. But over time, we realized we liked each other more than just friends, and we started hanging out alone. I went against my own rules and kissed this boy before being official (up until this point I had only kissed qualified boyfriends). We were both aware of how upset my ex (his good friend) would be if he knew we were dating. And I struggled to see past this. I didn’t want to ruin their friendship (bros before hoes). Eventually, we came to a crossroad, and decided that we liked each other too much to continue hiding so we ended up going public. This unsurprisingly put a very awkward wedge between my new boyfriend and his friend, my ex. This was the first time I had ever dated an ex’s friend, and let me tell you I regretted it. With a normal dating relationship, the announcement of being together should be exciting. For us, it was mostly secretive until we gained some sort of approval from our friends. So weird.

At this time, I had two vet school interviews that were out of state. For the first one, I missed my 2nd flight on the way back home and had to stay a night in Arizona. Because of this, my mom insisted that someone go with me for the 2nd interview. The boyfriend volunteered and I let him come with me. We also traveled together to go skiing/snowmobiling and to visit my friends at U of I. We spent Valentine’s day together and exchanged gifts. Despite being in many previous relationships, this was one of the first valentine’s day I had that I actually enjoyed by being with a boyfriend in person. Over time, we would mostly just talk over google chat and despite me asking him to call me more often, he wouldn’t call me. I grew bored due to my job decreasing my hours and taking some boring necessary classes at the local community college. I felt trapped and stagnant waiting for a vet school to accept me, since I was put on to two wait lists for the two schools I interviewed at.

I also met someone else. Right before travelling to Florida for my “spring break” trip, I decided to meet my friend who I had known online for the past year or so. I met him with the intention of seeing if he’d be a good fit with a single girlfriend of mine. What I didn’t expect was falling for this guy. While on vacation in Florida, many things happened: my dad got laid off his job, I dumped my boyfriend via google talk since I didn’t want our only phone conversation in the past month to be the break up call, and I ended up texting the guy I just met often. When I got back, I started to spend more time with him. We went on several dates, and after he met my extended family on Easter we became official. I hid the facebook relationship status from the ex and my other ex and their friends since it was pretty quick. I went into the summer looking forward to my new relationship, being hopeful to get into vet school in either California or Alabama, and starting a new job.

Next post: Grad school and beyond
Tangent: Gwen/Jen

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