Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Madfields Do Bremerton.

Full Disclosure:  Over-thought and drug out post ahead.  Writing is a huge part of the way I process experiences and emotions.  Our time in Bremerton has hugely shaped and changed the person I am, and I want to document each part of it.  Even the over thought out, possibly TMI moments.  You've been warned.

We started out our time in WA with a rather hot and cold relationship with Bremerton.  We were consumed with pure lust over a life a life of sailboats, ferry rides and seagulls.  Dreams of biking to the local co-op.  Renting out a home with a few rooms and levels with a backyard.  Day by day, little-by-little, we slowly started seeing things a little differently and more relistically.  The co-op we were over the MOON to join { and in my mind I was already working at } we discovered isn't open and won't be open for many years.  The yoga studio + vegan bakery in one { HE-L-L-O two of my most favorite things! } closed down 2 days before we moved to Bremerton.  We missed it by TWO DAYS.  All the little stores we found online, which included the word Market in their names { that to us implied a grocery store aka potential part time job opportunity for me } ended up being { dirty } gas stations.  The dream of biking to pick up fresh produce for dinner was quickly shut down after learning the closest grocery to us is a fairly run down Safeway and/or Red Apple.  The downtown mere blocks from our apartment, was once filled with dreamy excitement of small cafes/boutiques to bike to and work at, ended up being 80% deserted abandoned buildings.  And with those abandoned buildings, I also had to abandon the dream of quickly meeting girlfriends to spend my days with and explore the area with.  The fact that all these above dreams came crashing down in about a 48-72 hour period left me feeling really lost and quite defeated.  Add on that 2+ month dragging on computer issues { for a graphic designer who works freelance, it was a pretty big deal }, confusing health issues + never-ending  doctor appointments and a new #$*!'ing knee injury left me a lost little girl.  Admittedly, I let this all consume me.  I was having a hell of a party day after day.....a one woman pity party that none of you would have wanted to be invited to.  Trust.  I wept daily at the friends, family and comfort we left behind.  I was becoming ugly and bitter towards the women out and about with their girlfriends and would become angry with them for being out on a coffee date with friends.  I was consumed with jealousy at what my girlfriends were doing back home and felt myself distancing from them because I didn't want to hear about their busy weekends, or fun filled nights.  Talk about a selfish, jealous and unsupportive friend, eh?  Fast and fiercely, I became attached to Hunter.  Not in a cute I love you so much I can't stand to be apart! way.  In a Please do not leave me for work tonight, I can't stand the thought at being alone! way.  I felt so out of my element that I clung to the only thing I knew and the only thing I knew was Hunter.  I planned our entire days together and would be so sick to my stomach when he left for work.  I had anxiety over spending a night alone.  Those reading this blog probably wouldn't know, but my friends who have known me for years know I'm an independent girl.  I have broken up with many a boyfriend because I didn't like spending too much time with them.  Boyfriends who were too clingy was such a turn off to me.  I needed my alone time, damnit!  To go from a self confident and secure girl, to staring out the window counting the seconds for Hunter's truck to turn the corner was startling and scary.  

I am only able to write about it and talk this through now because I can safely say the funk has been lifted and I can look back at that girl I was and know that I am not, nor ever plan to be, that girl again.

How did I go from that bitter/slightly depressed girl, to someone who has felt so much growth and strength within?  3 things within a week's time changed me.  First: One of the yoga instructors I had at a morning session ended the class with the quote of "You don't know what the world will bring you today, but you know what you will bring to the world."  And that hit home.  Hard.  The thing was, I would always start out my mornings with daily pep talks.  "Beth.  Today is a new day.  The anxiety and sadness you felt yesterday needs to stay in the past and focus on a new attitude for today."  No matter how much I talked myself up, like clockwork as the day progressed, I would be faced with discouraging emails regarding my computer or another day of swollen and painful knee.  I would go from hero to zero in a snap.  Little obstacles I would usually face and resolve without a seconds thought would knock me out, and knock me out hard.  After I heard that quote from my yoga instructor I thought Man alive, that is so true.  These things will happen, life things will happen.  It's how I react and respond to them is what will change the course of my day, my week, my friendships with those I love.  Second: Another friend of mine was going through a hard time, too and they said to me "Do you think when we are 80 years old, we will be upset with ourselves for spending this year crying and whining so much?"  That one was a biggggg one.  Regret is a big, ugly and scary word to me and to realize my daily actions were things I would feel regret over not just within a day, but potentially in 50 years?  Yikes.  Open your eyes, Beth.  Third: The Local Farmer's Market.

There is a little town, Port Orchard, which is a $2 and 15 minute foot ferry ride across the water.  One Saturday while Hunter was sleeping after a nights work, I rode the ferry over to visit the Farmer's Market.  I picked up a few things { radishes and cilantro.  How I remember this?  I have no idea. }  I had to get market tokens from their market booth as I had no cash.  I have NO idea what came over me but I blurted out "DO YOU GUYS NEED VOLUNTEERS???".  I think I startled her as I believe she was in the middle of a sentence when I asked, but she said "Yes!  Oh yes.  Our contact information is online!"  I left the market feeling a purpose and need I hadn't felt in a while.  { My intention after moving to Bremerton was to get a part time job close to our apartment//I didn't bring my car and only had my bike so it had to be close!, but it was quickly proven to us that this would not be realistic with the lack of jobs/stores near where we lived. }  My thought process at the time was "Ok!  So Port Orchard's Farmers Market is on Saturday while Bremerton's Farmer's Markets are on Thursday and Sunday!  I can do both!"  As I was waiting for the foot ferry back to Bremerton, I went online and emailed the contact on Bremerton's website asking if they needed help.  Within minutes a woman by the name of Julia responded saying yes, yes, yes and yes! I quickly got involved in the Bremerton Market and the idea of Port Orchard fell to the wayside, which really is quite alright.  If I'm being honest, the market began as a reason to get out of the house.  Plain and simple.  At the time, I was doing yoga a few times a day, and the markets twice a week.  I was growing to really cherish my yoga instructors and looked forward to spending time with the vendors/workers at the market.  

I remember one Sunday market a few weeks into volunteering.  My goal was { and still is! } to only spend money on produce, not coffee/breakfast/lunch/dinners at the market because I know how quickly that can get out of hand.  Well on this particular day, I did a poor job packing snacks/fruit and come the close of the Sunday market { 3p }, I was st-a-rving.  I couldn't wait to get home and whip up a salad.  I had all the ingredients already picked out in my mind.  As we were packing up, Julia asked me to join her and another girlfriend for some afternoon coffee.  I politely declined simply because I couldn't stop thinking about the growling in my stomach.  On my walk home, it hit me that the first time I was asked to hangout with girlfriends, I said no because I was too hungry.  I remember crying thinking, "Really Beth?!  You've been seeking out and desperate for girlfriends for months now, and you blew your chance { dramatic, I know } over a stupid taco salad?!?!"  { I didn't know it at the time, but thankfully that wasn't the last time they would ask me to get together!}

Knowing you are living somewhere for a limited and specific amount of time is a an odd feeling.  Do you tell the people you meet you will only be there for 13 weeks?  Do you just say you moved there for your boyfriend's job and leave it at that?  I chose the latter option strictly assuming I would easily phase myself out of volunteering at the markets, and no one would be any the wiser.  At the end of July, there was an opportunity with Hunter's work for us to move back to Colorado and live in Fort Collins.  At the time, it was the most exhilarating idea to me.  It was a sigh of relief of thinking OK FINALLY.  We can say we tried it, and we can say we traveled, but we can also say it wasn't for us and we were meant to be back in CO.  But the catch with that phrase is even though we { i.e. I } were going through the motions, I can't really say I was trying.  I can't really say that it wasn't for me because I didn't give it a proper chance.  I only saw Bremerton for what it didn't have and the friends/family in my life who were absent.  Sadly, for those first few weeks/months, I overlooked the incredible location of Bremerton.  The ENDLESS beauty that surrounded the city.  I discredited the wonderful people we did happen to meet with a simple wave of the hand.  Hunter and I mulled over this decision for about a week and went from YES WE ARE MOVING BACK GIVE OUR LANDLORD NOTICE to Well......are we ready?  Do we deserve an A for Effort?  Or an F for Giving up too easily?  At the time, we { again, I } would have earned an F, fosho.  In hindsight, it was such a good decision to stick it out because had we moved, it would have been us giving up and taking the easy way out.

While working at the markets, you get to know the vendors.  Pretty obvious statement, right?  You can joke with them during little interaction during downtime and take a few minutes to get to know their story a little more.  I remember I would always get my salad greens from one of the smaller farms, Sahali Farms.  Kay, the vendor, was always so nice to me.  Once she even threw in a smaller bag of chard for free.  Score!!!  During a Sunday takedown I saw Kay out of the corner of my eye.  She walked up and said "Beth.  You look so fit....do you workout at all?  Do you play any sports?"  { I  can't help but think I have my trusty stretchy pants to thank for this.  Thank them for fooling people into thinking that I actually am really athletic and don't injure myself each and every time I go to train for a half marathon or run longer than 5 miles! }  I was pretty hesitant to answer, as I had JUST started seeing a chiropractor and was nursing my left knee back to health after finally feeling like my right knee was healed.  I { nervously } said something about liking to run and she didn't let me finish my sentence of "but my knee is still healing, so I've been taking it pretty easy."  before saying  "Oh that's so great because Burnadette and I run a few times a week and you just have to join us!"  

I remember leaving my last job and getting an email from a girl I'd only worked with for about 5 months. She wished me well on my new adventure, but ended the email by saying "You always made me feel noticed and special when I first started working here.  And as a new girl to a big corporation, that was very important to me.  So thank you!"  That sentiment stuck with me for a long time, and I can honestly say I now know what she was referring to. 

Exactly what Kay did for me was what I was thanked for 6 months earlier.  Kay made me feel noticed and special.  She didn't have to ask me questions about the weird juices I'd bring week after week.  She didn't have to ask me once, twice, three times to go running/yoga with her.  But she did.  She'd compliment my scarves and ask questions about how we got to Bremerton.  Right when I met Kay, I let my intimidation and doubt get the best of me.  Each time she'd ask me to run, I would think of 3 reasons why I wouldn't be a good fit for a running partner with them.  "I can't quite do long distances yet!  You guys need to get a good run in and not worry about gimpy me.  You've already got your routine down!" She finally shut me up by exclaiming "Beth!  We just want to get to know you!  Who cares if it isn't through running!"

Touche, my friend.  Touche.

Meeting new friends as an adult is no joke.  It's different than meeting friends in your early 20's.  Different because the more we grow, the older we get there are certain subjects and beliefs we aren't willing to bend on.  Things that have started to define us as who we are and the more people you meet who don't believe in the same things you do the more you you keep moving.  Don't get me wrong - I don't believe any and all friends should have 100% the beliefs/hobbies that you do.  But I think the hobbies/beliefs need to compliment each other in order to form a successful friendship.  It can be scary to revel yourself to someone with the potential of rejection.

Right around this time, Hunter's contract was coming to an end.  We had decisions to make and we could NOT make up our minds.  We basically had too many options...every option known to man.  Move back to CO and settle down in Steamboat/Ft Co area.  Move to a few places in Oregon we knew we'd love.  Find a 4 week travel nurse assignment and go from there.  Stay in Bremerton.  Move to the East coast and really switch things up.  We made the decision to extend in Bremerton the first time { we have extended the contract twice! } basically because we were overwhelmed at the other options and needed more time to really exhaust them all.  When the end of that first extension was drawing near and thoughts of moving out of Bremerton and Washington really started to rattle me. 

I remember biking to a Thursday market { this exact day in fact! }.  Something stood out to me that market; things had started to shift.  I went from being the volunteer who shows up a few times a week, to being drawn in more and more in each conversation.  I started joking with the other volunteers/workers and received some joking back.  I remember this market was the first market that I met Kori.  There was something about Kori that drew me to her.  She was bold.  Funny.  Witty.  Raw.  Kind.  Someone I could see really hitting it off with.  Kori was on plenty of the Food Co-Op/Farmer's Market boards and knew the people that I had grown to know, very well.  Her schedule hadn't allowed her to volunteer much, rather sit on the boards behind the scene.  I remember thinking "I can't believe this girl has been here all of the 4mo I've lived here and I've never known her!"  { spoiler alert: Kori is the girl who hosted us for a bbq over Labor Day weekend.  Clearly our friendship took off! }    The potential of a new friend was right there in front of my eyes, and knowing we only had a week or two left was really devastating to me.  That same market, I went to chat with Kay and she asked if I wanted to take a yoga class with her the next day.  I remember biking home this night on a new friend warm fuzzy high mixed with pretty serious dread.  Dread of growing these friendships knowing we'd be moving so soon.  At one point I even said to Mary "Seriously, what is the point in hanging out with these girls now?  Why would I build friendships and attachments to only move 3 states and 1 time zone away in a few weeks?"  She basically virtually bitch slapped me and reminded me of what an idiot I sounded like.  In the kindest way possible of course.  ; )

Two nights later, Hunter had a work party at a local bar.  I finally got to meet and mingle with the people he has spent night after night with at work.  We had a really lovely time chatting and laughing with these people, and when we pulled into our parking garage that night, I started crying to Hunter about how I wasn't ready to leave.

Poor Hunter.  First had to put up with me crying about why we ever left, now dealing with my crying over the thought of leaving.  He has patience of steel, that one.

I remember thinking "I need to give these friendships a chance.  We need to give these friendships a chance to grow and see where they take us."

Needless to say, we extended our contract for a second and what will be final time.  I couldn't be more ecstatic and happy that we did.  Couldn't be more happy that we found our groove { which doesn't involve me clinging to Hunter like a dryer sheet } and have begun appreciating each other on a new level.  I have learned COUNTLESS things about myself and about our relationship.  About life, love and friendships.  I will carry a little sip of each and every person that I've met while living out here with me every day.  

These last few weeks have been the sweetest of days.  Early bedtimes and earlier wake up calls.  Nonstop giggles with my market family.  Rain every minute of every day.  Cozy mornings, cozier nights.  Football season.  Walking hand in hand.  Hot tea first thing in the morning, and hot tea late at nights.  Runs, bike rides and hikes.  Days spent in Seattle, and nights spent cuddled up on the couch with the sea breeze drifting in through the open windows.

We will be moving from Bremerton in a few weeks and though it's devastating to think of leaving this life filled with barking sea seals and squawking seagulls, early morning fog, ferry schedules,  Thursday/Sunday Farmer's Markets, morning tea with Kay and Anisha, week long camping trips and the ability to sea kayak at the drop of a hat, it will be good to be back where our story began.  Back to CO/WY for a future we still don't have quite figured out { seriously WHO wants to make our decisions for us?!  Please one of you step forward. }. All of it will for sure be documented here in great detail and written with immense love.  I am in no way the same person I was when we moved here.  Consequently, the people in CO/WY we left won't be the exact same people we left.  That's the great certainty about life, right?  Constant growth and change.


I find myself bouncing back and forth of thinking about the hundreds of memories and potential opportunities I'll miss out on with with my beautiful Bremerton friends, to the opportunities to bond and catch up on lost days, months and weeks { + drinks! } with my friends and family back in CO.  For once in my life, instead of dreading the future and worrying myself sick before any of it happens, I've decided to ride the wave.  Ride the wave of emotion and hold on tight to each tear, hug, smile and beautiful heart and soul that is present in my life right now.


  1. Beth -I cannot tell you how much I loved reading this and feel like I have now gone through this journey with you! You are a beautiful writer and have a way of capturing the small details that make life so great! Thanks for sharing your story :)

    1. Aww BT - thank you SO much for the sweet comment! Sometimes after hitting publish I have that feeling of "OMG Beth why did you just post that for the entire world to see?!" But reading comments like yours make it all worth it. I appreciate you so much! Miss you! Love you!

  2. Everyone goes through ups and down, it's a necessary part of life and it makes you appreciate things that other people wouldn't know to appreciate. Moving around is hard, but it makes your priorities that much more concrete! I'm always here for you, and can't wait to see what your future holds for you! Through all of our moves, at least we have each other a call away! :)

    1. Thank you for your sweet words my beautiful friend! Your love and support played the most important role in maintaining my sanity these last 6 months. You have ALWAYS been there for me and listened to every single breakdown I had without missing a beat. Thank you isn't enough, but THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  3. You have truly come into your own through this journey, through this post and through the life you are creating with Hunter. I am glad you were able to share this story as the strength, passion, confidence and appreciation in you is just soaring like I have never seen before. Love you friend!

  4. So I have been really terrible at reading blogs lately (no time!), but I just read this post of yours and I am so glad you shared! I feel like we are living the same life, ha! We have had our ups and downs here with our move too and it was so nice to read this and see that we aren't the only crazy ones that miss home/are emotional/freaking out from time to time! So thank you for this lovely post!! xoxoxo

    1. Oh Anna! I would really love a chance to chat with you about this all - you are right I feel like we are living, or have lived, the same life! There are 100 little details and struggles I didn't document, and I'm sure you have 100 different ones to share, too. Please know you can Facebook message me any time, friend and I would love the chance to talk to you about this all! BIG HUGS!