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Today, one of my best girlfriends from college is getting married in Virginia. When she first told me about the engagement, she prefaced it with “I know it’s not easy for you to travel back and forth, but I would really love it if you could be there, but I also understand if it’s not possible.” My heart broke. I tried. I spent hours searching for the cheapest of cheap flights. I tried arranging my schedule to make it possible. Despite my best efforts, the writing was on the wall: I wasn’t going to be able to make it.

In 2011, I missed two of my other friends’ weddings in the states as well. To be totally honest, I knew I was going to miss them when I decided to move here and it didn’t completely bother me. I was so overwhelmed by all of my friends getting engaged and then married so close to each other that the idea of not going to the last two weddings (of four that year) of 2011 was sort of a relief. Not having to find a dress, find a date (because James never wanted to go to these things with me), then field questions about why I’m still not in a serious relationship and conversations about MORE people getting engaged and/or having babies. I was so over it. Coming here when I did took the pressure off of me to be involved and present in all those f*cking weddings…

It wasn’t that I was not happy for my friends. They think they’ve found their one and only, they see a life of ever-lasting marital bliss for themselves, and that’s just great. For them. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. We were so young. 26. So. Young.

At that time, right before moving here, I was in a pretty negative place in my life. I was not working, my “relationship” was sucking the life out of me, my friends seemed to have it all figured out, I was drowning in debt, and my family was putting an exorbitant amount of pressure on me to have my life together. I look at pictures of me from that time and I was even slightly overweight; I was eating my emotions and stress, and it wasn’t working for me. The only thing I could do to feel like I had control was bury my head in fiction novels for grad school and get good grades. Then, in one fell-swoop I took the control of my life back by making the decision to move. To leave everything that was wrong with my life behind and start fresh. Some may have thought I was running away; I choose to look at it as running toward something better.

Now, almost two years after moving here (my anniversary is at the end of July), it is still the bet decision I have ever made for myself. But, there are moments, like these, where I am a little sad that being here means giving up being at important life events for my good friends. Weddings, birthdays, baby births, good times, hard times. The best I can do is be available on skype. But, is that enough?

As a little girl, I was never the type to imagine big elaborate weddings in reception halls with 6-tier cakes and princess sparkly dresses. When I pictured my wedding, I saw me and my unknown groom-to-be, our two sets of parents, my best friend, his best friend and a rabbi. On a beach. I was always wearing a pretty white bathing suit with a white sheer, long-sleeve, v-neck, shirt/dress/cover-up thing and a long long string of pearls wrapped around my neck, hair down with flowers in my hair, bare-foot. Then, for the “reception,” we would have a bonfire bar-be-que on the beach until the wee hours to which everyone was invited. Bring your guitars! Bring your beach blankets! Bring your playlists! And someone bring marshmallows for toasting over the fire, for the love of G-d!

Being here, makes me think that this dream is actually possible. But, I acknowledge that my nearest and dearest in the states probably won’t be able to be part of it. It’s the price you pay for happiness. Nothing can ever be too perfect, or the universe will restore the balance.

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