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Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

Well the proposal really began well before the actual date the question was ‘popped’.  We hiked the Westcoast Trail on Vancouver Island in August/2012. This particular hiking trip was one I have always wanted to do and had never known anyone interested or experienced in doing a long multi-night trip.

In DF I met the one person I trusted enough for a week on the trail.  It was intense (more so because we rushed through the trip rather than going slow and enjoying the hikes -next time we are doing it over many more nights!).  At the end of the trip, we both got sick with “Tsusiat’s Revenge”. DF had it worse than I did, but we both felt like death.  On our last morning (after a very rough night) we had an easy 12k hike out. This end of the trail was flat, was well defined and comfortable.  I would liken it to the trails around Stanley Park.  As we were hiking, I realized how sick DF was, and became worried that he would need more medical attention than I could give on the trail.  I started urging him to go faster so we’d be able to get out, get the bus, get back to our car so I could take him to the Doctor.  Sadly, he made it to the 6k marker and couldn’t go on as he was doubled over sick.  Thankfully, I’m a runner, so I dropped my pack beside him, grabbed my (no longer Tsusiat-Falls-Contaminated) water bottle and started sprinting.  A challenge in hiking boots.

Normally the 12k we did that day should take about 4hrs to complete, and I was so worried about DF that I did the last 6k in 1hr (which shocked the Park’s employee once I found her).  Every time I passed a person on the trail I asked them to give Dan an update on where I was.  We ended up having Parks Canada people go in to where DF was huddled in his bright orange sleeping bag, carry our packs, and help him out to a boat that was waiting on a beach ~1.5km away.  We met in the town of Bamfield and went to the clinic so DF could get fixed up.  We ended up spending one more night in Bamfield so I could nurse him back to health before the crazy bus trip back to our car.

That night I went digging through DF’s Pack to see if he had any clean clothes left. I gave up pretty quickly as I recalled that he hadn’t packed any extras.  Little did I know that I was within inches of discovering something surprising and sparkly hidden in his clothing.

All in all, we had many discussions about getting married, but I wasn’t really expecting a proposal just yet, so it came as a complete surprise…

Suffice it to say the engagement happened immediately after we got home (and slept a bit). It was hilarious, special and I will never forget that moment.

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I’m not even sure where to begin with what I want to write. Thoughts that have been going around my mind and are connected to this post.  Am I who I am regardless of what someone calls me?  I’m not talking about teasing, or calling a person ‘names’. I mean literally, someone’s name. We all have nicknames. I had a nickname at camp. It was completely different from my name. I was pretty used to it, I still look up if someone calls me that. It’s now my internet handle.  Some people shorten my name from full to nicknames.  As I’m sure you all can guess (based on the name in my blog — at least, for those who don’t know me) my first name is Christina.  I have several nicknames.

Growing up, my family called me Chrisa.  Many cousins still do. Now my family generally calls me Chris.  Most of my closest friends call me Chris. I like and prefer nicknames because it implies a certain closeness and connection. Though I still introduce myself as Christina — but I do like (and perhaps even prefer) if friends end up calling me Chris.  But what about other nicknames — ones that don’t naturally develop? I had one nickname — Tina — that was never used. Well, one friend in high school decided to be different and called me that. I told the Tina story to one of my running buddies and now, he too sometimes calls me that. At first it was funny, but now it’s ‘normal’. It’s unique and endearing (in my opinion), and even though it would never occur to me to introduce myself as Tina (Chris, yes, that does happen on occasion), I do like it.  I don’t ‘identify’ myself as a Tina in the same way that I do Chris, Chrisa or Christina.  Perhaps that’s because it’s a more unique nickname I’ve never had the time or a reason to develop that part of my identity.

How does one’s identity change or develop as one has a new name? When I used ‘Oasis’ for a summer camp nickname — it meant my identity was that of “camp staff”.  Chrisa to me has always meant ‘family’ (or yes, those who have known me my entire life) — that to the person using that nickname I am ‘family’ to them.  My immediate family uses Chris as do many, or most, of my close friends. It’s the most ‘usual’ nickname I get.

What about last names? When a woman marries, sometimes they choose to change their name. I wonder how their identity changes if they change their name or don’t when they get married. I would expect — and being single I’m just guessing (Married friend — do you want to comment?) — that when a woman starts using her married name it identifies her to herself (and others, I would imagine) as part of that family. Not that she’s no longer a part of her parent’s family but that there is that development of a new ‘immediate family’.

What about completely changing a name, by choice? I have one friend who has done that. I don’t think I can really comment on what experience was like — it’s her story to tell if she so chooses.  But to me, it would be defining in some way. She told me her original name and to me she is so much who her name is now that I don’t even fathom that she ‘is’ her original name.  What about a child’s name? One of my good friends has a son and she’s mentioned changing his name in a couple of ways. Whether or not she does, or is able to is a different question. If she wants to comment on her thoughts on that, here, is wholly up to her. How would it affect her son’s self-identity?  I think my opinion is biased.  I know her son’s still quite young, and part of his identity — relating to his name — will depend on whether or not she teaches him his full legal name, a shortened version, or whatnot.

If, to make a generic example, a child is legally named “Matthew James Brown-Smith” and the child is raised as “Matthew James Smith” or “Matthew Brown Smith” would it affect things at all once (or if) the guardian legally changes the child’s name to whatever he’s using? Probably not.  Would it affect things for the child’s identity if he is raised as “Matthew James Smith” and later on he finds out that his name is legally “Matthew James Brown-Smith”? I think, depending on the person or the situation, it could. Regardless, there are ways to handle the situation — whether or not the name is legally changed, communication will be needed, and that can go a long way to making it easier to handle.  What if that child was legally “Matthew James Brown-Smith” but was raised as “David Charles Roy”?

There’s another situation where a person’s name is often legally changed — adoption. Last name, and often a chid’s first and middle name. In this case, the affect a name change has on a child is probably secondary to the global effect that adoption has on a child (which is certainly not to say that it’s a bad effect, necessarily — I’m the last to say that it’s a bad thing).  And I know that each person’s experience is different.  I suppose this brings me to the crux of what I’m thinking of: How much is my identity linked to my name? I realize it’s an impossible question for those who know me to answer, but if I wasn’t called Christina what name can you see me being called?  I have specific reasons for wondering, and I wont go into why I’m asking this just yet, but I will in a later post. For now, I am curious — when you think of ‘who’ I am, what is my name? And, No, please don’t answer Christina. I’m curious if my identity reminds anyone of any other names.

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A year ago… what were you doing? If someone had asked then you what you’d be doing today what would your answer be? I’m not sure I can answer that but it does give me pause.

Today I found out that a casual friend, not an acquaintance, but not someone with whom I have heart to hearts, is pregnant. 29 weeks along. She and the father have gotten married. They’ve been together for a while so it was serious, though I don’t know more than this (in fact I know all this through Facebook, haven’t heard the story directly yet…).

A year ago, would she have predicted that she’d be ~11 weeks away from being a mommy? What would I have predicted for myself a year ago. I’m not even sure I was able to think about it then. I was teaching ESL, trying to find a job and in the middle of a weight loss journey.

I know what I hoped for, know where I was at in many areas of my life. I guess, even if she’s happy to have a baby on the way, I wonder if she would have even begun to guess that this is where she’d be? Would I have guessed that I’d be where I am today? For some aspects of my life I can say emphatically that I had no clue that I’d be where I’m at. If you told me that this is where I’d be, I’d’ve said it’s impossible.

I’m doing alright. Job-wise I’m enjoying it, though I realize that it’s time to step up the intensity a bit. They’re being gentle on us, but I learn more by doing than by just reading. It’s time to start doing, at least somewhat…

I’m going to take that test (see previous post). Sadly it means I probably can’t go away the weekend of that test – like I’d originally planned, but a friend who’s in a similar sector in the government has cautioned that the process can take eons and if I even think that I might like a job in that general area I should pursue it, because it could take a year or more…

This weekend too, was a quiet one. I was mostly by myself and dealing with some stuff, letting it vaguely ruminate as I puttered around. I’ll admit that I’ve been emotionally eating, and I need to stop it. So I’ve got to figure out a way to put a halt to it.

But one thing at a time, and I think emotionally eating is a symptom not the core. I’m paying attention to the core right now.

So thus ends another update from me…

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