52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge – My Husband

I am REALLY excited to talk about him and express how thankful I am that he is the person I am sharing the rest of my life with… unless becoming a vampire turns into a thing and then we shall be IMMORTAL AND LIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY IN THE DARK SINCE WE’RE NIGHT OWLS ANYWAY. BTW this is supposed to be week 2.

My husband Ali is a Scottish guy from Glasgow. We met online almost 8 years ago and were friends for a few years. If there’s anything I’ve learned about him, it’s that he has the patience of a saint and is the best listener I’ve ever come across. He genuinely cares about others and will do anything he can to help those who need it.

I don’t speak about this much, but I grew up Catholic and HATED going to church. I always felt like I was forced to go because I was a stubborn little brat (now I’m just stubborn) and didn’t like the idea of having to wake up early, get dressed up, and leave the house… aaaand I’m still that way.  It wasn’t until I was about 17 years old where something clicked and I realized that it wasn’t just about me. I don’t know how to explain it but there was a point where I just felt like I had to join choir to understand everything. I joined, met my church family, sang every Sunday, attended a youth group meeting or two, and went to one of the big retreats as a leader. Then I turned 21, liked to ~party~ and basically just became a young adult without a care in the world and in some ways forgetting what I stand for.

During my cool kid party years, I got to know some protestant people who made Christianity look bad and started to resent Christianity because the people I met and saw on TV believed that God hated gays, hated minorities, and hated whatever is different from people like those in these certain groups. How could I ever associate myself with people who promote so much negativity and hate? This was so confusing for me as someone who was always taught to love and to forgive even though for me, forgiveness has always been hard for me.

I am not a perfect Christian. I couldn’t quote any verses from the bible by heart or memorize the names of the books and recite them in order, but what Ali did was teach me that it is about my relationship with God that matters. He has shown me that true Christianity is about showing love towards others, compassion, and not bringing people down because someone is different. I have already known this and have followed this both inside and outside of religious beliefs, but have struggled with my faith for this exact reason. I thought that most (if all) Christians believed that my loved ones were all the scum of the earth just because of who we are and that was the only impression I ever saw from people I’ve met (outside of my Catholic church) and certain groups in the media.

When I met Ali, I saw respect and unconditional care for others regardless of how he might have been treated. When I eventually visited him in 2012, I met the communii-5gnB6SS-XLty he grew up with in Glasgow who were all incredibly welcoming and not once were any beliefs or agendas shoved in my face.  It felt right and I understood why Ali is the way he is. He had a big support system who were always there for him spiritually. When he moved over to California with me in 2013, we went to premarital counselling at a non-denominational church that we found together and even took my mom to some of the Sunday services (which she enjoyed) and still went to my church that I grew up in from time to time. Now, here in Manchester, we have been looking for a church that feels right and it’s been a couple of years of going to different churches and I think we found one… that’s beside the point though.

I thank Ali for a lot of things. I thank him for being kind to me, for always supporting me, for loving me, for being by my side, for treating me with respect, for having a sense of humor, for putting up with my stubbornness but hardly ever thank him for bringing me back to my faith. So THANK YOU my love. Thank you for being patient with my growth in faith and for understanding that it’s hard for me to speak about these things. I love you so much and I am so grateful to have you in my life.

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge – Why Start This Challenge?

I started this challenge because I feel like it would be a good way to keep up with my blog. For the last 3 years or so, I’ve kept saying “I’M GONNA START MY BLOG AGAIN” or “I’m gonna post more often” and never did. I think my record is posting once every month for two months haha!

If you look at all of the topics that are included in this series, it’s a great way to show gratitude towards people I love and also things that I don’t normally question or think about when it comes to me. For example the “5 things you like about you” blog will be interesting. Not because I don’t like anything about myself but because I *never* know what to say when questions like that are asked so it’ll be fun to see what I come up with. I’m excited to express gratitude to people who have inspired me, who have been there for me, and people I don’t think I’ve ever expressed gratitude to out loud.

Since I’m 10 weeks or so behind, I’d like to start with talking about…

The City I Live In – Manchester! (Week 6)

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know too much about Manchester, but I can talk about how I ended up here and what I’ve enjoyed so far.

To those of you who are reading for the first time, I am from California, my husband is from Glasgow, we met online, were friends for a couple of years, fell in love, he moved over to California for uni, we got married, and he got into a PhD program out here in Manchester. There’s a ton of videos about us on my YouTube channel, glowpinkstah and a bunch of little vlogs about our lives together on my gloriashurinava channel so please check them out if you’d like to know more about us.

We are constantly working and don’t get to explore much but one of my favorite places we’ve visited so far in the area (and not exactly in the middle of Manchester) is:

Lyme House! Lyme House is Mr. Darcy’s house in the movie based off of Jane Austin’s book, Pride & Prejudice. I’ve never seen the movie or read the book but when I posted pictures of my husband and I visiting everyone got REALLY excited. I have heard about Mr. Darcy coming out of the lake and it’s all scandalous because his shirt is all KIIINDS of wet though.

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Ooooh Fancy!!!  – The back of Lyme House (my favorite view)

 

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Waiting on Colin Firth to come out that lake!

It’s a beautiful house that was built in the Tudor period but expanded over the last few centuries. It’s full of pretty gardens to walk through, a lake to sit and have a picnic (as seen above) with your best squirrel friends and loved ones, but my favorite part of it all was what was actually inside the house. Even though my knees died from going up and down multiple flights of stairs, I really enjoyed taking the time to explore into every room. I loved the high ceilings, the stained glass windows, the library, and most of all, the dining area! Can you imagine having dinner parties here?!

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I know that this isn’t what people think of when they think of Manchester, but it’s so beautiful that I had to share! You can also watch me attempt to play croquet, here!

I’m tired as frick and don’t feel like I’m 100% here at the moment but here’s a list of restaurants we love just in case you’re ever in the area.

1. Shaad – Indian Curry – the best curry I’ve ever had.
2. Luigi’s – The best pizza I’ve had in Manchester
3. The Stoker’s Arms – A pub. I love their burgers!!

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More from Lyme House cuz it’s cute ^

Struggling & Need to Recharge!

I’ve been struggling a lot recently. It’s not as bad as before, but it’s still taking its toll on my everyday life. I’m not crying all the time (because of being homesick anyway, DAMN YOU WALKING DEAD!), but I haven’t found motivation to focus. I can’t really focus on anything and feel overwhelmed. Even though I know how to solve these problems I don’t want to do anything about it and it freakin sucks.

There have been periods however, that I have felt super happy! I think that’s because I was away from Manchester and closer to friends and family, or exploring a new city. Where I live isn’t a bad place to be at all. Our little village is very quiet with everything I need basically just around the corner. I think the biggest issue is that we don’t have friends or family near. I work for myself and Ali is getting his PhD so we’re both constantly working and our schedules are always WORK WORK WORK. We do get to spend a lot of time together though which is something I’m very thankful for because I know not many people get that luxury. I never want to be long distance from him again and we all know that so I guess I’ll save that for another time.

We recently went to York for a little PR challenge to watch The Conjuring 2 and sleep over in a 600 year old Haunted House. It was so freakin cool because neither of us have ever done that before and I’ve never been to York. It was such a beautiful city with so much interesting history (keyword: interesting) that I was genuinely excited about it and happy to explore.

Last weekend we went to Glasgow for my sister-in-law’s wedding and even though it was a busy weekend I was so happy to be around familiar faces and just be around people we love and a city where my husband grew up. I don’t really think I noticed how happy I was to be around family and friends until we got back here to where we basically don’t know anyone or have close enough friendships with to just call em up and be like “Hey come over and be boring and watch Netflix with us.”

After coming back from Glasgow I noticed I felt like I was in a slump again. I have little to no motivation and I really do need a change. I think once we go back to California,  have a proper vacation and we don’t have to worry about work as much, I’ll be able to recharge and actually feel better when we get back to Manchester. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.

There is so much to do when we visit California. I really wish it was a longer visit, but I’ll take 2 weeks over 0 any day! I’m most excited about Thanksgiving with my family and our little traditions that we have. After we have dinner (which is basically an all-day food thaaang) we either go to another family member’s house or watch a movie. This year we’re going with my mom to watch Moana and hopefully Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. We’re taking my little bro #hunniezatdamawl to Disneyland and Ali is going to be a tourist in LA for the first time. We’re going to spend some time at Leo & Ken’s and have Friendsgiving, hang out at a bar with friends, have a traditional board game night with my sister and family friends, and hopefully I can convince my mom to decorate the house for Christmas before we leave LOL.

Talking about what we have planned so far is actually making me excited… so that helped LOL. I really should write in this thing more often. I’m pretty sure I say that in ever blog but OH WELL!

Thanks for reading and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated through my social media! 11 days to go!

❤ Gloria