Six years minus one month is the difference between the first photo and the second one.

It was May 16th 2008 when I woke up to find Conxi (a bunny I adopted from some previous owners who could no longer take care of him) dead on the floor next to my bed. I cried so hard. To me it was not just a pet. It was a friend and a therapist that gave me a reason to wake up every morning and do stuff.

My friends and I wrapped him on a scarf, put him inside a shoe box with a rose and buried him at the forest next to the UAB’s campus. I was devastated. It was a friday and I drove the 300 miles back home because I could not stand being in my room and him being gone.

Long story short, when I got to my parent’s, I found a little furry grey ball of hair in the laundry room. Looking all scared next to the wall. It was her.

My family (who are not animal lovers as opposed to myself), had seen me so low and realised how much I was grieving my loss that decided to go to a farm and get me a new bunny pal.

At first I was in denial. I did not want her at all. Nobody could substitute Conxi and I did not want to go through another loss. I told them to get her back from where she came from because just that morning I had buried my pet.

They told me no way they were going to get her back. And I remember my sister coming with her into my bedroom and putting her next to me. She was so tiny and so scared.

All of the sudden I realised she had just lost her momma and her siblings and she was just one month old and needed lots of love. It was not her fault that my pet had died. It was my duty to take the best care I could of her because she was in need of love too. We both had had a great loss that day.

So I took her, she fit in the palm of my hand and smelled her. She smelled so good, like fresh grass after it has rained. She needed a name urgently.

There was no hesitation about it. I named her Kaoru. (Which in Japanese means fragrant, good smelling).

Six years have gone by ever since the day she was born. (Exactly a month before we met).

And I must say we instantly bonded. She is a very good bunny lady with her own personality and likes to be super extra clean and keep everything tidy. Together we have travelled a lot and lived here and there. We’ve had walks in the park while other poeple walk their dogs and we’ve held our head high.

She’s gone though surgery and has overcome it. She’s my little saviour and I have no doubt she likes me because she shows it to me every day.

I never expected she would make it this far in life, because bunnies don’t have a very large lifespan. But today she’s SIX! and going on strong.

Happy birthday Kaoru!

I am SO glad that you came into my life.

On my way to Auckland! (April fools’)

Right now I’m on a scale at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

Destination: Auckland, NZ.

It is crazy how I woke up in Europe, now I’m in Asia and next time I’ll lay in bed it’ll be in Oceania!

Making some time at the airport I saw these warriors  (or smth) ain’t it neat?

Loving how wi-fi will get you connected no matter where you are.

Beware Kiwis, here I come!

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This little girl in the middle, looking at the camera, was a happy girl once.

This little girl had big dreams ever since she could recall. She wanted to be a Hollywood star and she enrolled all sorts of plays and performances she could.

This little girl was a little bit different. She was very creative and was daydreaming more often than not.

This little girl had a higher IQ than the rest of children her age but was not changed to higher grades to not feel small; to keep being with her friends.

This little girl was brought up in a messed up household. She had an older sister who constantly kicked, insulted and belittled her because she coudn’t deal with not being the only child anymore.

This little girl’s parents should have never gotten married, or should have been realistic and get a divorce instead of fighting in front of her every single day.

This girl started to cry herself to sleep every night.

This extroverted girl, started to turn very shy as she grew older.

This little girl started to get bullied at school because she picked up a few pounds, not many, but she was not picture perfect anymore.

This little girl had nobody to reach to talk about what was going on. She only had the music as an outlet for her feelings.

This little girl got tired of being bullied fell into a depression and axiety followed by anorexia nervosa.

This little girl was not a little girl any longer. She had become into a beautiful, intelligent young woman, yet lonely and sad.

This little girl got denied the chance to follow her dreams of moving to LA, study acting and so forth and was sent to University.

This little girl felt like a fish out of the pond and even though she was good at her studies it was excruciating to see years go by, her getting older and her dreams being banned from her.

When she was about to fly, she got severy ill and had to get back to her parents in order to recover and move on.

Everyday, she gets reminded of how much her treatment cost and how wealthy they’d be if she wasn’t around. This hurts her so bad there are no words.

Once upon a time, this little girl had a smile on her face.

But all her dreams and hopes got shattered.

Sometimes she wonders what’s the use of being alive.

This little girl, was me.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Rosemarie Urquico