Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Learning is hard. Learning new things when you are my age and when you have a learning disability is so hard. I am trying so hard to do this but it is killing me. I won't give up. I promised myself I will see it through. In the past my m.o. was to always give up. In high school I would just leave. I literally would just leave class or school when I felt this way. I didn't understand back then why but I just couldn't be there. I now understand what my struggle is and I need to learn to just deal with it.
I wish I could find the words to explain what it's like inside my brain. As I sit in this classroom and the other students ask questions and engage in conversation with the teacher it is like words swirling around my head. I only hear bits and pieces. Not only are these words swirling around, but half of the time they are words that I do not even understand. They are a whole new vocabulary that is so new to me. I look around at the other people in the class and I think 'huh, I wonder why they get it, are they just super smart?'  That is about as close as I can come to describing what it's like. I know that I am not stupid. I know that if selling real estate was just about the practice of selling and making a deal happen I could rock it all night long. Unfortunately it's not.
I want this. I want this for so many reasons. I want to prove to myself and my family that I can do this, especially to Gianna because she has these same issues and I want her to know that we can do something if we really set our minds to it. I also want this because I really, truly want to find something that I love to do and can succeed doing.
Last week we had a quiz. I froze. I swear it was like I was reading things for the first time. Sometimes I am sure that what I am reading is Japanese. There is no way that these words are english because I am an excellent reader and for some reason these words in this text book are a whole new language to me. I missed 7 out of 25. This week we have our mid-term. It's a hundred questions. Shut up. A hundred questions. It makes me sick to my stomach. Not because the mid-term matters, it doesn't, this isn't a college course, I am not being graded. This is a class to teach me the content that will be on the exam that when/if I pass will give me my real estate license. So here's the thing, I just explained how badly the tests are freaking me out, this entire freaking license is dependent on how well I do on a test. That makes me want to throw up. I knew that when I took this whole thing on it was going to be hard. I had a feeling I might feel this way. I just didn't know it would be this bad. Oh and I forgot to mention that it probably would have been a much better idea for me to do this when I was living in California. My home state, the place where I was born and raised and knew like the back of my hand. Oh no, instead I waited until I moved all the way across the flippin country and then started a whole new career. Genius. Especially when this career is all about the area and your knowledge of it and of the kinds of properties that cover the area. It is a whole different ballgame here in Virginia. We are talking farms and historical properties. I know nothing about these things. Where I lived a historical property was a mid century modern built in the late 50's that all the gay guys in town loved to re-do. Here a historical property is a home that James Madison hung out in during the civil war. Totally different situation. Oh man. Totally different. Totally outside my realm of knowledge. I got nothing. I wasn't even sure who James Madison was until we went to his lifelong home a couple months ago. It's a big tourist attraction out here. Huh, where I am from driving by Frank Sinatra's house was a big tourist attraction. I am like an alien on this planet they call Virginia.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pieces of them...

There we are. The four of us. Me, my mom, my dad and my brother Mike. I made this photo collage because lately when I look in the mirror I see all of them. At different times I see different things. For many, many years I have looked in the mirror and seen so many traces of Mike. Growing up I always thought we looked alike but after he died I saw it even more. When my dad died I started noticing how much my mouth looked like his and how I was getting dark circles and bags under my eyes like him. Now that my mom is gone I see her too. I have always been fascinated by genetics. Maybe it was because my dad was an identical twin and being raised by someone that had another person that looked and really sounded just like him was kind of weird. Cool but weird. Maybe it was because the Sabella family in general all kind of resemble each other a lot and I have kind of always thought that was cool too.

I didn't just want to write about family resemblances today. I also wanted to write about loss. I know that I have several readers who come here because they are comforted by the fact that I have been through what they are going through, they know that I understand where they are coming from. My brother has been gone for 21 years, my dad for 18 and my mom for just 8 months. I miss them all. Every single day. Some days hit me way harder than others and some days I just think of them and smile or I will be with my kids or Chris and tell them a funny story about them and we will laugh. Grieving is a long process. It is a difficult, painful process but we have to go through it. I know some people who never truly grieve. They simply get back to life as normal and keep functioning as if nothing even happened. They might seem like everything is OK, but their grief will manifest itself somewhere else, they might say they are upset about something else, but really it's their grief. It's the uncontrollable pain of losing someone you love so much. I have been there, I have done that. When Mike died and when my dad died I was an awful griever. I didn't know what to do, I was young and felt responsible to be strong for my parents. Losing my mom has been different. I have grieved hard. I have missed her and cried openly about it. I talk about it to my husband and my kids. I have written about it on here. I call her friends. I do what I need to do. I don't know that it has made me stronger, It's just the way I am doing it this time. I am older. I no longer have to be strong for my parents. I don't have to hide my sadness.
I am so lucky that I loved them. I am so fortunate that they loved me. I thank God all the time that I had the time with them that I did. I became an orphan at 41, some people are born that way. I had a great childhood. I had two parents that loved me and loved each other. I had a big brother that hung the moon. What more could a girl ask for?
For all of you that still have your parents, that still have your siblings, hug them today. Tell them you love them. If there is family rift, fix it. Do what you have to do. Life is so short. If there would have been tension/strife/bad feelings with any of my loved ones I don't know what I would have done. Never take for granted the people you love.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For My Girls.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that the whole reason I started writing was for my girls, (and my niece and nephew). Quite some time ago it became apparent to me how our memories can play tricks on us. You can take two people from the same family, sit them down and ask them to relay a specific family memory to you and you will get two completely different stories. Two people that were at the same place at the same time and suddenly it's as though they weren't there together at all. It used to happen to me and my mom all the time. It still happens with me and my broher Danny from time to time. It's human nature. We all walk away from a situation having learned/felt/seen something different than the person right next to us.
The other thing our memories can do is be selective. Sometimes we remember a time in our lives where perhaps things were tough and even though during this time we might have experienced a lot of joy and laughter it's hard to remember those times when the sad/stressful times so easily overshadow those happy days.
While I can't change how my girls will remember specific incidences or situations I can help them remember the good times. It is my job to help them remember the good times.
As most of you know the last year or two has been pretty difficult for our family, as it has been for so many countless Americans living through this recession. Sometimes I worry that Allison and Gianna are going to look back on all of it and only remember the tears. Only remember the struggle. I hate that. So I am here today to write to them specifically and give them a place to come back to so that they know that underneath all of this we have had some really good times together. So here it goes, a letter to my sweet daughters.

Dear Allison and Gianna,
Here it is February 15th. Almost exactly 3 months since we made this huge move to the complete other side of the country. I know that it has been hard for both of you. I know that some days the pain of missing your "home" is unbearable. I see it in your faces. I hear it in your voices when you talk to your friends from home. I also know that sometimes I feel the same way. But in spite of all of that pain and sorrow we are getting through this together. Every day that we have spent in Virginia has brought us so much closer together as a family. It has brought the two of you so much closer as sisters. You hang out together more, you are getting along better. It makes me so happy to see it. A while back I wrote a blog post about how I wanted people to see the other side of this, that even though I mostly write about the difficult parts we have so much fun. We are one of the silliest, funniest families I know. We are constantly making up crazy dances for each other and using our country accents on each other.
I keep telling both of you that this time in our life is a great experience. It is difficult at times, their is no doubt about that but at the same time we are getting to experience what it is like to live on the other side of the country, what it's like to live where it snows, to get to know new people, and to live so close to Washington DC and to also be surrounded by so much American History. While these things might not seem like a big deal to you now someday you are going to look back on this and be so glad we did it. Whether we move back to California in a couple years or we move somewhere else, this will have been an experience that we had together. It has made us stronger as individuals and as a family too.
All I want is for you two to look back on this time in our lives not as a sad, or depressing time because you miss your "home" and your friends but as an opportunity. An opportunity to make a new "home" and new friends. Most importantly I want you to remember it as the time in our lives that we took a really bad situation and we made it better. Together as a family. I love you both so much and I am so lucky to have you as my daughters. Between losing grandma and not having made any friends here yet you two have been here to fill in those gaps for me and I will be forever grateful. I have the best two daughters in the world.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not just accepting... embracing.

This has been a good week. It is getting easier to be here. I am starting to feel like we can make it work. The week started off a little rough on Monday, I was missing my mom something awful. Allison was missing her friends horribly. We both shed some tears and we got through it.
Chris and I went on a date one night in DC. It was only the second time since we moved here that I have been there, it's amazing. I think that was actually the night that it hit me. This is an opportunity. This is a chance for me, Chris and the kids to experience new things. For us to learn how to live outside of our comfort zone. While we were in the city we drove by the White House. I wasn't there on vacation, I wasn't on a field trip from California. I was out to dinner with my husband and we were cruising by the White House. That? is really cool. I love that we live in this little Mayberry-esque town and one short(ish) trip on the freeway and we are in the Nation's Capitol! I grew up very close to Los Angeles so the big city part is not a huge deal but the fact that this is where the President of the United States lives, no matter what your political feelings/beliefs are is pretty stinkin cool.
Friday during the day I met my friend Debi at a shopping mall and we spent the afternoon walking around talking and we went to lunch. It was great to see her. Debi is one of my best friends from high school. When we knew we were moving here it brought me great comfort knowing she wouldn't be too far away. She unfortunately lives about 45 minutes to an hour away, she works full time and she has three very busy boys so our time together isn't as often as I would like but it's great when we are able to spend some time together. We go back 25 years, there truly is nothing like history like that. The funny thing is as far as Debi lives from me it's still closer than I have lived to any of my high school friends in 19 years. Isn't that funny, I lived in California all that time and so did most of my friends but by living in the desert I was about 2 hours away from everyone. I never thought of it that way.
Friday night Gianna and I went to Family Bingo Night at her school. It was a fundraiser and it was awesome. I am so glad we went. We had a great time together and she kept saying how much fun it was when we left. I didn't make any friends or meet any new parents but we sat with her friend's parents that I already know and spent some time getting to know them better.
Saturday during the day we went to a wrestling tournament for Debi's son. I can honestly say that we truly enjoyed ourselves. I love getting to know Debi's kids after all these years so when we spend time together with our families it's always fun.
Saturday night we were invited to dinner at one of Chris's co-worker's homes. It was nice. The home was beautiful, the food was good and the company was really nice. It was nice to talk to his wife because she moved here from Florida a few years ago so she can relate to so much that I (we) are going through.
Today was Superbowl Sunday. I am not a huge football fan, but who doesn't like Superbowl Sunday? I cooked as if we were having a few people over and we pretended like it was a party. Chicken wings, sliders and a few different dips.... it was perfect.

With all of that being said I know that I am not completely "cured" of my homesickness. I know that there are going to be days when I so desperately want to go home, but for now I am ok. I still can't wait to get out of this house and I am counting down the days until our lease is up. I spend a little bit of time on the computer every day looking for a different house, but that's ok, it gives me something to do.
This whole experience is a life lesson. There is not one day that goes by that I am not 100% aware of that. I know that we are here for a reason and I know that we are growing and learning every day. No matter what happens I will always be grateful for our time in Virginia. It has brought us closer together as a family, it is bringing my girls closer together every day and it is making me appreciate my husband more and more every day. I am a happy girl.