Wow... it's 11 months since I last wrote. I guess updating once a year is more than enough. It's interesting for me to look back and see where I was.
Life did not go as I expected this past year (does it ever?) I strongly disliked the German-speaking part of Switzerland when I was there. Nobody smiles. Ever. It is The Land of No Humour. My boyfriend was an immature and selfish live-in boyfriend and seeing him in his own country shed new light on his personality. He was in a bad mood virtually every day and when I pointed it out to him, he didn't take it well (understandably, I guess).
I thought things might get better, he might see life differently (less superficially) once we were in desperately poor Haiti. We got to Haiti in January and that was good for all of 2 days. My boyfriend was horrible to live with there as he was essentially terrified the whole time and stressed out (he seemed to think every Haitian was out to get us and it drove me nuts). He wouldn't admit he was stressed, however, so his anxiety just manifested itself in him being miserable, silent and brooding. And he blamed me for everything and his controlling personality increased so that I couldn't do anything without it getting commented on or critiqued. Not an awesome way to spend your days...
I found some work in Haiti that was interesting, but ended up being me almost counselling abused orphans and women. I was noticing my own mental health deteriorating (since I have no training in counselling and there was no support network there). I talked to my own therapist when we went back to Canada on holiday and my psychologist warned me that what I was experiencing was called Secondary or Vicarious Trauma. She said I should stop before it really caused damage to me. I took her advice and decided to go to Guatemala to learn Spanish for a month. That was peaceful, healing and restorative for me. I recommend Guatemala as a place to visit. It's lovely. Special country.
While I was in Guatemala, however, I realized that not only did I *not* miss my boyfriend, but that I was very relaxed and felt like myself with him not around. I realized that his constant bad mood, irritability, slight OCD and brooding silence was like a wet blanket on me. I'm a fairly happy person (thanks to years of therapy!) and I joke a lot. With my boyfriend, I had to watch everything I said because he DID. NOT. JOKE. EVER. (When I tell people this... that my boyfriend and I *never joked*... their response is always "OMG...YOU? Not joking around? That must've been horrible! You're constantly goofing around and laughing!" So it was definitely a personality mis-match).
Anyway, I returned from Guatemala to Haiti for a weekend and dumped my miserable boyfriend. It felt good. He didn't see it coming that abruptly but even that one weekend that I was back in Haiti, before I told him I was breaking up with him, he was snapping and irritable with me. Like, cripes... I've been in ANOTHER COUNTRY for 5 weeks and you're mad at me AGAIN? How could I have pissed you off when I've been in your presence for less than 48 hours?!?
So... that's the story. I'm back in Canada, going back to school, and really glad to have left that rather awful man. The lessons I've taken out of this are: A) never do a relationship that starts out as long-distance. You just don't get the chance to know the person well enough. B) don't ignore the red flags.... there were plenty with this guy but i ignored them, at my own peril. I think it's the first time I've ever been taken in by a pretty face... I was so attracted to this guy.
It's been an easy break up for me though. I felt no love for the guy anymore so essentially when I walked away, there was very little in the way of residual feelings. I feel like he came into my life to move me forward on several fronts. And to show me that sometimes, a fantasy should be left as that... a fantasy. I met this great-looking, somewhat "exotic" European guy while on a beach in northern Brazil. We had a great connection, I looked into his dreamy green eyes, and then we tried to keep it going. I'm glad for all of it, the experience, but I wouldn't do it again. Oh, and I learned the hard way that if a guy tells you he cheated on a previous girlfriend, and then lied to another girlfriend about something else, duh, he's probably gonna lie to you, too. I caught this guy in a small, but not insignificant, lie. It hurt, but it did teach me a good lesson about character. People show you their character through their actions (and stories of their actions). This guy did some pretty dishonest things along the way...it was only a matter of time before his dishonesty affected me. I should have understood that better... but regardless, I know it now. :)
Live and learn. I have no regrets about any of it, I feel happy and confident and I have more sense of where I want to go in my future. He was a lousy guy, but being with him and following him around the globe really helped me figure out what I want to do.