The End of a Friendship and What I Learned

I want this to be my catharsis.  And so it shall be.

The End of a Friendship and What I Learned:

  1. If you make all the effort you are capable of making, you will have no regrets.
  2. By taking the high road, you may feel like you are giving up self-worth by not defending yourself but in the end, you are actually preserving your integrity.
  3. You can’t say anything to make someone happy if they are not willing to find happiness themselves and make the changes to do so.
  4. If someone brings more negative into your life than positive, it’s not worth the positive.
  5. If someone is always angry about something or someone, you are eventually going to be that someone.
  6. When you walk away from a friendship and your load feels lighter, you made the right decision.

I wrote this poem when I was in Grade 8 (yes, many years ago!) yet it still has the essence of what a friendship should be and what we should all strive for:

A Friend
Someone who has a shoulder
That you can lean on when you’re sad.
Someone who’s shared the memories
Of all the good times that you’ve had.

 Someone who’ll lend a hand
When you need it most of all.
Someone who’ll give you confidence
When you’re hopes are about to fall. 

Someone who will listen
When you have something to say.
Someone who will be there
Every minute of the day.

 Someone who will stand by you
Until the very end.
Someone, like this
Is what I call a friend.

I strive to be that friend.  Friendship is work and it’s required from both ends.  Some think that marriage or babies can cause friendships to end.  They don’t.  A friendship will last through life changes or across the miles.  I have friendships that are proof of that.

Friendships that lift you up and make you a better person are the ones to nurture and keep a close hold on.  Those are treasures.

Armando’s Grandfather

I was fortunate to have met him.

He was a smart, hardworking man who built a successful business and helped raise a family with drive and ambition.  He was funny and would always make me laugh once Armando translated to me what he had just said.  Yet, he also always made the effort to speak English with me for a bit; it was the sweetest gesture to make me feel welcome on our visits to Mexico City.  My husband admired him and I know that he will strive to be just like his grandfather.

Para La Familia:  Distance keeps us apart but our love and thoughts are sent across the miles to all the family for the loss of this wonderful man today.  May his memory live on in each of you as you walk through life and may we all meet up with him again one day.
Muchos besos y abrazos!  Te extrañamos y queremos, abuelo.
Tamara y Armando

Valentine’s Day Disaster

I had good intentions.  But it all went terribly wrong.

After Armando gave me my amazing birthday surprise on Monday, I wanted to do a thoughtful gesture in return and what better way to do that than to make him a 5-course Valentine’s Day Dinner the next day.  He was travelling with work and would be home on the 14th around 8pm so it was perfect.

I did my research, found some recipes and went shopping for all the ingredients.  Then, for five non-stop hours, I cooked, cleaned and prepared all the dishes so they would be ready in time for his arrival.

He was excited for the meal and with each course, I could see him getting more full but was forcing himself to eat everything as he knew how much effort went into the meal.  He seemed to enjoy his Valentine’s Day surprise that is, until 2am that night.

I was awoken to him stirring in bed.  Restless.  I asked if he was okay and he said no, that he thinks he ate too much and that he wasn’t feeling well.  It couldn’t possibly be that he ate too much as the portions were small and I ate the same amount, if not more.  He described his symptoms and it sounded like heartburn.  I googled what to do because we had no medicine for that and it said to sleep with your head raised.  As soon as he did that, he felt better.  But only for a moment.  Within a couple of minutes, he was running to the bathroom, sick!  Maybe he did eat too much?  Did I over stuff him?

That was the conclusion that we arrived at until I got sick a few hours later.  No, I didn’t over stuff him.  I poisoned him!  All the symptoms we got all day pointed to food poisoning.  I felt like I was dying and I felt so sad and guilty that my surprise gift had not quite turned out as planned and that it was my fault that my hubby was sick too.  Worst gift ever!  The only positive spin I can see out of this is that I am sure to be guaranteed to be taken out for Valentine’s Day dinner next year!

Best Birthday Surprise Ever!

I had the best birthday morning surprise yesterday…but before I tell you about it, I need to give you a play-by-play of the night before so you can totally appreciate the surprise like I did.

Sunday Feb.12

11:00 PM  Armando and I are on our computers, studying and researching, respectively.  Armando looks exhausted from his schedule of working full-time and doing his MBA.  He’s had no break in the last while and it shows.

Monday Feb.13

12:01 AM – I walk over and hover over him and his computer.  He seems confused.  I give him a look.  He thinks it’s that look of, “You’re suppose to be studying so why do I see Facebook up on your screen?”  But before he goes into his full explanation of just being temporarily distracted, I shake my head to let him know that he misread my look and I point to the clock on his computer.  He jumps up with a huge “Happy Birthday!”, a big hug, tons of kisses and his excuse that he was going to surprise me at midnight with a big birthday cheer but had gotten temporarily distracted.

12:05 AM – We are back on our computers.

12:30 AM – Armando’s fever that he’s been trying to fight over the last couple of days returns so he jumps in the shower to get refreshed so he can continue studying Corporate Finance.  He asks if I’m going to bed and I reply, “Soon”.

12:45 AM – Armando questions why I’m still up.  I explain that I’m just trying to find a legit apartment for our Paris trip.  He tells me to give it a break as I have been researching all night.  I agree and close my laptop, start walking to the bedroom and then have a change of heart as I turn back and open up my computer to check out one more option.  Armando continues to tell me that I should get some sleep as I ignore him, googling away.

1:15 AM – I finally head to bed while my sick Armando continues to study.

3:00 AM – I am briefly awoken as Armando finally joins me in bed after he’s reached his breaking point of looking at numbers and equations.

8:00 AM – I am startled awake to a very loud version of “Happy Birthday” playing in the living room. I am confused. Armando’s not in bed?  Where is he?  At that moment, he walks in with a birthday bag in hand.  As I look inside I see a birthday cake.  But not just any birthday cake.  It was a birthday cake that Armando baked for me after I went to sleep last night.  My tired, overworked, sick husband baked me a birthday cake in the middle of the night while I was sleeping!!  And, because we are trying to eat healthy, he pointed out all the healthy considerations he made when creating my cake.  He made a carrot cake.  He added fresh sliced apples.  He omitted the icing.  We won’t mention though, the less than healthy aspects of a cake mix that you get from a box :)

And as we cut into the pie-shaped cake (he had to use a pie pan because we didn’t have a cake pan) and ate it for breakfast, it was the most delicious, sweetest gift he could have ever given me!

Name Change Confusion

Do you remember as a little girl, laughing and dreaming with your friends about what your name would sound like if you married your friend Bobby?  Or what about marrying that cute boy in Math class?  As girls we would giggle and cringe at some names we hope we didn’t end up with and practise writing our signatures with ones we’d wish to acquire.  But, never did it come up, the idea of not taking our husband-to-be’s name.

Then times changed.  It became more common to keep your maiden name.  Or hyphenate your name with your spouses.  Or better yet, create a totally new name.  But as times changed around me, I remained rooted in tradition.  But traditions are different in other cultures and I soon found out how marrying a Mexican took me on a new name adventure.

For those that don’t know, in latin culture, people have two last names.  The first last name is their father’s patriarchal last name.  The second last name is their mother’s patriarchal last name.  So, for my husband, Armando Elias Guerra, ELIAS is from his father and GUERRA is from his mother. His legal name is Armando ELIAS GUERRA but he goes by Armando ELIAS because Latinos will usually just use their father’s name in society.

Now, put him in Canada where this tradition is not practised.  It’s a nightmare.  Credit cards and ID are printed with the last name Guerra, sometimes Elias and other times Elias Guerra.  Trying to explain that both last names are his last names can be challenging for others to understand who haven’t been exposed to this before.

Because he only uses ELIAS as his last name on an everyday basis, and I am Canadian and generally would only have one last name, it was natural for me to decide to choose ELIAS as my last name when I went to change my driver’s license after getting married.  If only it were that simple.

The federal government acknowledges this cultural difference, heck, they even allow alias names to be on passports if they are established names in the community with proper documentation.  But for some reason, the BC government does not acknowledge this difference and advised me that I can only have my last name as ELIAS GUERRA or GUERRA on my driver’s license.  I can’t be GUERRA because Armando has never used just that name as a last name.  The federal government acknowledges how it’s the first last name that is generally used, in this case ELIAS, so you think the BC government would do the same.  But they don’t.  Other provinces apparently do, but not BC.

The only way the BC government would allow me to have the last name ELIAS is if I got a legal name change.  Which in turn, would give me a new birth certificate showing my last name as ELIAS.  Crazy, eh?!  I would have a birth certificate showing that I was born with the last name of ELIAS.  I just find that wrong.  I was born with the last name BACHEWICH so even if I am willing to give it up to take on a married name, I am not prepared to lose it completely.  *sigh*

So in the end, I am now Tamara Elias Guerra.  I look at it this way…it’s not the name I thought I’d get nor did my friends and I ever practise having two last names, but it’s kinda cool that I will get to experience the trials and tribulations of having two last names, neither that I was born with.  It’s going to be a new adventure!  Besides, the excitement I saw in my husband’s eyes when I showed him my driver’s license with my new married name was worth all the confusion that lies ahead with having two last names in a one name society.


The ocean breeze.  Crashing waves.  The butterflies of excitement.

Violin music floating through the air.

Engulfed in love, surrounded by family and friends.

Tradition is present.  Two cultures combined.

The squeezing of hands.  The stolen glances.  Words spoken from the heart.

Mr. and Mrs.  Sealed with a kiss.  Bonded with a hug.  Now together as one.

Congratulatory hugs.  Cheers.  Genuine happiness radiating beyond.

Celebrating with drinks and laughter.  Stories shared and cherished.

The first dance.  

Old and new friends.  Family and new family.  Dancing the night away together.

The last dance.  

A star-filled sky.  Beautiful end to an incredible day.

A moment of bliss, never to be forgotten.

Eyes closed, the memories return and my heart feels full.

The best day ever.

The Sweetest Liar

Armando is at it again…lying to me.

When I do a grocery store run, Armando often yells out to me as I’m walking out the door, “Buy me a treat!”.  And when I come back, I always have something for him.  So the other day when Armando was leaving to pick up some things we were needing for dinner, I thought I’d give it a try and yelled out, “Buy me a treat!”.

I was sitting in the living room when he got home and started unpacking the groceries.  I tried to be patient as he took each item out of the bag but my curiosity got the best of me and I finally asked, “What did you get me?”.  At that moment, he looked confused and started looking around and then stuck his hand in his jean pockets exclaiming, “My phone!  I must have left my phone there!”, as he flew out the door and ran back to the grocery store.

A few minutes later he returned, mumbling under his breath that it wasn’t there and then walked into our bedroom and announced, “Oh! Here it is.”  He then walked out of the room and handed me one of my favorite magazines, saying, “Oh, and here’s your treat.”  It doesn’t take much to excite me and I hugged him for my thoughtful gift.  But, the wheels never stop turning in my head and suddenly, things weren’t adding up.  Never have I known him to be so quick in deciphering exactly where his phone is.  And before concluding that he left it at the store, he would use our land line to call his cell to make sure it wasn’t in the house somewhere.  He never did that this time.  As the wheels started gaining momentum and every scenario zipped through my brain in a matter of seconds, I quickly realized what was going on and called him out on it.

“You forgot to buy me a treat and you faked the whole phone thing so you could run back to the store to get me something, didn’t you?!”  He started to do the whole Who-Me?-look and then threw in an “I don’t know what you’re talking about” comment. As I glanced down at his hand, I saw a receipt.  As I tried to grab it out of his hand, he pulled it away. I finally gained control of the receipt after a mini-wrestling match and as I opened the crumpled up piece of paper, my suspicion was correct.  Only the magazine was on the receipt.  He explained that they rang it through separately from the rest of the items and as we glanced down at the kitchen counter and saw the other receipt, my reflexes were quicker than his as I grabbed the other receipt.  The time difference on the receipts was about 15 minutes.  Exactly the same amount of time it takes for your man to come home, unpack a bag of groceries, realize that he forgot to buy you a treat, make an excuse to run back to the store to buy you something and then head back home and present it to you without you realizing what had just happened.

So yes, he’s lying to me again…but those good lies that make me laugh and love him that much more Smile