Living Abroad for the First Time

A friend is living abroad at the moment and going through some blue times. Sometimes I get weird about sharing myself in black and white, and say the bare minimum. However, this makes me feel like I need to expand it out. Not sure if she’ll ever read this, but I have to share it.

When I moved abroad for the first time, not just traveling but living in one place intentionally with another person, I was so in over my head. I didn’t realise it at the time. I had left a good life but one that I wasn’t feeling fully fulfilled in anymore and decided that I wanted to do something different. I had just ended a long term relationship, had a health scare with precancerous cells on my cervix, and had become very cynical about corporations and their role in capitalism in the world at a time when I was moving more and more towards a more balanced view of living and using one’s resources. Then came along an attractive, charismatic alpha male foreigner who had me in his sights, and him in mine. It started fast like most fires do, and in a short time, even though there were some warning signs, I dismissed them, and soon he was back in his own country. I missed his energy and the way I felt around him, and questioned why I would stay where I was when this whole other life could be mine. I went on a holiday to visit him in Brazil and loved it. I was enamoured by being around him and allowing the flames to engulf us, I enjoyed the lush life he was accustomed to, and he wanted me to return. Within a very short few months, I resigned from my job after being with the corporation for 9 years, gave away everything I owned, and moved to Brazil with two suitcases. I was just 27 and had only lived in low population areas where everyone knew everyone, where I was the big fish in the small pond with a small exception when I was at University where I joined a sorority to counteract and become a big fish again. I had no experience with big city people and he was the epitome of big city and I had no idea what I was really getting into.

The beginning was fun, I enjoyed myself, it was all new, and I would share with family and friends back home about my new findings, the life I was now living which seemed like it was out of a movie, and it was incredible. After a while, the newness started to fade away though. I couldn’t easily find a job like I had before, I didn’t speak Portuguese, I realised that he was a lot different in his regular life than he was when he was traveling, or when I was traveling to holiday with him. It took me a while to understand that society people are very different from country people like myself. I hadn’t realised fully how many masks are worn, or how people associate with others just because of the benefits that they may get, or because they are the right people to know. I didn’t wear the right clothes, the right shoes, the right whatever, I hadn’t grown up in it, and that outward superficial appearance of things wasn’t important to me, maybe a bit, but nothing in comparison to the people I met and socialised with on a regular basis. I joined the “club” and did my best to make the most of it. However, it started to break at the seams.

There are so many more details to add here, but in short, I realised that I was in the wrong place. I was headed down this path with someone who wanted me to marry him, and I had already given away my entire old life. My ego was so big that I didn’t feel like I could go back, I had never actually failed at anything, and there was no possibility that I was going to admit freely that I had made the wrong decision. So I continued my best to make it work. I was depressed. I was living in Sao Paolo, the third largest city in the world, and I felt so utterly alone. I felt like I couldn’t talk about it with friends and family either, not deeply, not fully.

In this time of feeling out of alignment, I was in search of finding what was right for me. I did some dream therapy, taught myself to meditate, even fasted for 28 days to gain clarity. I wasn’t even that happy when I was at the weekend holiday homes on the island or in the exclusive private beachside community on the weekends. I was so out of it. I traveled a bit from there to Argentina for a short stint away, and the message I received when couch surfing with this amazing family near Patagonia, was that it’s not always easy but you make it work. So I returned and tried again. The day before we got married which I only agreed to for health insurance reasons and thought I had made that perfectly clear, I called an Aunt of mine back in the US on a payphone and calling card, and she told me that I could mould him into the person I wanted him to be and essentially I’d be a fool to give up the life I had in order to return to the US in any capacity like I had before. Horrible advice. I even got in contact with some old friends from Yosemite who basically were just like, “what do you have to lose?” I cried the day I signed those papers after the ceremony was performed in Portuguese. I cried and cried. It was like I was on a fast moving train and I just couldn’t get off.

I started indulging in more drinking than I had in a long while, I would smoke a lot of cannabis, and still none of it made a difference. I would go to acupuncture weekly and then listen to this jazz band every Tuesday afternoon and that was like a salvation for me. Eventually I felt afraid to continue being there with him but didn’t feel like I had an out. I had transferred all of my money into his name, which was a ludicrous thing to do but I was so naive and trusting especially when I first arrived.

About ten months after the marriage, my grandmother fell ill and I took the exit opportunity. I told him we were separating, and I left. It was emotional. I got back to the US, and I felt so completely broken. I wore my wedding band and tried not to talk about it with anyone, I just couldn’t. My ego was shattered. I lost my once tangible level of confidence, and I was lost. My grandmother wasn’t doing well, and I spent time with her, and I bounced around from place to place because there wasn’t any room for me to stay at my parents house, that was never a backup or fall back plan for me in life as they never really had it together enough on their own to offer such stability or security. Eventually I made my way back to Yosemite to stay with a friend. My heart was back in tact or at least starting to mend. I learned about Vipassana meditation, and enrolled in the next available course. There was a blip in there where the Brazilian came to the US on a work visa for his American based corporation and terrorised me, but I don’t want to get into that now, but it was so scary as I hadn’t told him where I was staying and he still found me. Meditation helped me to reset, my grandmother passed when I was in between sessions, and I was the most level emotionally I had been in a long time and was able to act as support for my family.

I got offers to work back in Yosemite but I couldn’t I couldn’t go back to a life that I had left. So I traveled. I roadtripped with friends, learned about my own country, went to Burning Man, just lived and experienced life like a rolling stone. It was exhausting. By New Years a year later after returning from Brazil, I was on this three day party bender, and I knew I was also not in the right place. I wrote down that I wanted a flight someplace else in a journal, and an email showed up from the Brazilian saying he had bought my ticket to Australia and to just get on the plane, no expectations, just to come and stay a year. Up until the day of the flight I wasn’t sure if I was going to go, this same person who scared me, was offering this opportunity, he had all my money still, and was promising no expectations of what was to come. I had offered up to the universe what I wanted and it came in a way that I hadn’t envisioned, which does happen often. I took the flight, and soon after separated from him again, and it brought me to Australia. The story continues as does the scariness but it’s all resolved now. It took a very long time and a lot of internal strength to get through it all.

If I have learned anything from all of this is that it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to say that things didn’t work out. It’s okay to return. It’s okay to try again. The beauty is that every moment contains the seed of something new to become. It is because of these experiences that I have grown in ways that I have, and I have no regrets. Also, I listen to my internal voice a hell of a lot more than I ever did when I was younger. I don’t know everything, and am open to seeing what presents itself. Life is a wild and glorious ride.

The Immigrant Process

I am an immigrant. I chose to leave my home country in pursuit of a new adventure, a new life, with new opportunities. It’s taken a considerable amount of courage, bravery, and resilience. Being an immigrant is a hard road and comes with many challenges, especially as the global powers tighten boarders and make the pathway to citizenship longer and more complicated than it needs to be.

My niece has asked me about my experience as an immigrant and specifically my pathway to citizenship as there are bound to be many similarities that I have faced that immigrants to America would also face. I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time, I talk about it a lot, but haven’t fully put it in to black and white, and I welcome that chance now.

I read somewhere a line that went something like to be an immigrant, you will always have your heart in two places, and that’s as true as it can be. My heart has always been torn between forging a new life for myself in Australia and leaving behind my family and everyone I have known before now in order to do so. It’s a compromise that has to happen when you venture out into the unknown of anything, and absolutely applies to traveling and making home abroad.

The process to citizenship here in Australia has been very long and convoluted. I still, after being here for more than eight years, being married to an Australian, having an Australian child, owning a business in Australia, and having gone to University here in Australia, I have still yet to be granted citizenship. I’ve had various visas that always cost a lot of money, and I’ve had to learn to live with the instability that comes with not being fully allowed to live in a country. Honestly the stress that this has caused, I’m certain has negatively impacted my health and also my first pregnancy. The stress that you can be asked to leave at any given time because you don’t have the right to stay is ever present. It’s like holding your breath, and wanting to give all you can to the country you are now living in, but at the same time holding back because why set down roots if you will have to cut them off and move again anyway.

When applying for Permanent Residency which precedes citizenship, there are typically requirements that need to be met like being in the country for a certain amount of time and not having any issues with visas before. For PR, as it’s commonly called, you have to submit so much paperwork not only about yourself, but you also have to give information about your friends and family as well, private information like their birthdays, their occupations, their own families, their marital status. It’s incredibly invasive, and asking friends and family to do this feels like one additional barrier that we have to go through. There’s a thorough health check, at designated immigration doctors offices, and you are treated like just another immigrant, no bedside manner, all matter of fact, and then you’re on your way awaiting the results. There’s character checks that happen from your original country, then within the country you are trying to immigrate to, along with any other country where you have spent more than a year. If you’ve married a citizen then you have to prove your relationship, which feels so false, and the things they ask, normal couples wouldn’t do. Specifically, who opens a joint bank account with their boyfriend or girlfriend the day they decide they’re going to be exclusive? If any regular couple did that, it would be a huge red flag, but for immigration, that is one of the ways to prove your relationship, and if you don’t have that you get knocked back in the queue.

The hardest part of all of it, beyond the utter lack of privacy, beyond the inane requirements that normal people wouldn’t do, is that the government is always changing, and with that, their stance on immigration changes. So you can call up and be told one thing on Monday, and then call back the next Monday and be told a completely different thing. For us, we were advised to wait until our three year anniversary before applying for PR because it would go right through, no more than six months the immigration agent said. So, we waited the additional year and a half and when we applied, the rules had changed, and had to wait an additional two years, not six months, to finally hear back, which gave another waiting period of a year. So it took a total of three years from the time I applied for PR to the time of being granted it, rather than six months, and that was after waiting for the full three years beforehand to apply. In this time, the fees go up, the waiting stretches out, and you find yourself checking your email account every single day, and every single day you feel disappointed and feel like it’s not going to happen.

Also in this waiting period of seeing if you will be accepted, and this could only be me, but I felt completely restricted about what I could say online. It was during a time when America was changing greatly, and Trump had been granted President, and the whole world was in shock and disbelief. Even before then with whistleblowers being outed and vilified, I didn’t feel like I could speak freely about this. I didn’t feel like I could even seek help with dealing with the dark feelings I had after having a very traumatic birth because all of that would be linked to me, and all of that would go into the decision making of whether I got to stay in the country where my entire world existed now, and I didn’t want to do anything at all to jeopardise that.

Looking for jobs as an immigrant is always a trying situation, because employers want to know that you will not be a fly by night, and the time and training they put into you will be repaid by long service. Going to University and further education is also limited unless you have the access to pay for the exorbitant fees they charge international students, and even then only some courses are available. There are restrictions every way you look, and sometimes, it feels like it would be easier to just throw away the dream and move back to your home country. I’m lucky I’m not a refugee and that is an option for me but for a lot of immigrants going home isn’t an option, so they have no choice but to deal with each obstacle, each setback, each challenge, and trying to maintain patience with their heads down, waiting for their time to come and be welcomed officially into their new country.

Lawmakers must be so removed from this process, because I can’t imagine that they would put us through all of this hardship, which ripples out to our new families here, and our friends, and the economy because we are going through unnecessary challenges to gain access to stay in the new country. I would definitely recommend a change that would include having English classes for migrants who don’t speak English as their first language while in the process of immigration because everyone benefits when we can speak a common language. I would recommend each immigrant being issued a clear plan with dates for them to apply and what to do at each step, currently the information is all over the place, and it changes so frequently that making a timeline with a plan is almost a joke currently.

One Child or More?

How do you actually know? How do you know for sure you want to have another child? How do you know for sure that the one you have is the only one you’ll ever want and need in your life?

Always torn between the longing of having a big family, I always think it will be different from my own, that we’ll get along, live nearby one another and be doing well in life. I don’t know this from experience, and I haven’t seen it modelled very much in my life, but I think it can happen, I feel like it can. I would love to see my husband be a dad to another child, he is amazing with our sweet two year old son. I would love to see our sweet toddler be a big brother to some one and teach the new baby how to do things, I can imagine he would be great at it, patient, kind, naturally sharing like he is with our mothers group kiddos. I think myself how lovely it would be to experience this kind of love with yet another person, having a son has opened my heart in entirely new ways, and has helped to deepen my relationship with my husband in so many ways too, it feels secure, it feels strong and I love that feeling.

There are parts that still get me tied up, the parts that make me keep using birth control and keep with our family only having one child. This morning we were having smoked salmon on croissants for breakfast. How decadent really and it’s in part because I am a stealth shopper, but also because it’s just the tidy three of us and our food money can go a lot further. When I think back over the weekend when we went to two different community style festivals, it was awesome for many reasons, including that since there’s only one child, the burden of looking after a child in a crowd is distributed, we can each carry him and still give him attention while we explore ourselves with a bit of freedom for each parent. I guess it’s freedom that is the part that always comes back to me when thinking of staying just with one child. The freedom of being able to quickly get up and go when we want, the freedom of a set sleeping schedule that allows my husband and I time to do other things at night that interest us. I like the idea of a large family, but for practical and slightly selfish reasons I think having just one is great, we can go on trips easier and for a lot less money, we can help educate him in so many different ways because we have the time and resources to do so.

Sleep is such a big deal. Maybe it wouldn’t be if I were in my early 20s and am considering having another child, but now in my late 30s it is a consideration. I like sleep, I need sleep, and when I get enough sleep, everything else feels better in my life. I also like to have independence and now that our son is a toddler, it’s great because he can play on his own and then we can play together, and it allows me a bit more breathing room, especially compared to early on.
Speaking of early on, those newborn weeks, and months, were the darkest, hardest, most gut wrenching and challenging time I’ve ever had. It was compounded by the fact that my body was in such poor repair after the emergency caesar, slipped disc, sciatica, and DVT in my left leg, but also emotionally from having been in the hospital for nearly 3 weeks straight, having to take pain medication when I had set out to have a natural pregnancy and natural birth, and then not knowing if either of us were going to make it through the delivery, then the 5 weeks in the NICU never knowing if he is going to die, or if he can come home and all of it being so emotional, so bizarre, and so surreally horrible. I know I had, or perhaps still have undiagnosed PTSD. I have so much fear wrapped around pregnancy and birth and when I allow myself to really think about the whole process, I don’t want to go through it again. Even now thinking about how horrible, isolating, and confusing that stage was, brings tears to my eyes and my stomach goes in knots. I don’t know if I can actually do it again.

Then, and I know what ifs aren’t so good, but really, what if… what if the next baby has something that needs special attention too, what if it’s special attention beyond just the newborn phase, like a disability or something else? What if adding another child to our very cohesive family messes it all up and we really struggle? There’s no guarantee of who will come next and I know from my mother’s group that they really are their own person, a fine mixture of nature and nurture and sometimes it feels so very much like we just totally lucked out to have such an amazing, well behaved, kind child. He really is special, I mean, it’s like we have totally won the jackpot with our son, I’m thankful all the time. It was such a tremendously challenging start, but gosh, he’s really great. We’ve all started to really find our groove and I don’t know if I want to rock that boat.

The other part of this, which is a huge part, is that I am in my late 30s… and that means a deadline is looming. Maybe it’s not really by the end of the year, but I keep getting fooled into thinking that I have to do it now or never… that if we are going to have another child, if I am going to give birth to another child, then I need to fall pregnant by the end of the year, before I turn 38 and hope that my eggs are still nice and healthy to produce a nice and healthy baby.
I go back and forth with this decision. Having endometriosis just adds another dimension to it because the doctor said that if I have a baby then it puts the oestrogen on hold until after… so if I get pregnant, sooner than later is a good choice, because I *may* have to have a surgery again, this time to remove some of the endometriosis cells, and if it all goes south, then even more would need to be removed. I also have found out that the endometriosis cells have pretty much covered over my left ovary, which is likely why I get so much pain on that side, especially around my cycle time.

So it’s my body, it’s my mind, and it’s my emotional health that all needs to be in consideration ALONG with my own family dynamics. It isn’t a straightforward thought, and honestly since I was deadset against having children when i was younger, I didn’t have the whole dream of a big family after a big white wedding, that simply wasn’t me and wasn’t my life plan, so it’s not like I can just fall back on some projection that I’ve already made. Well, expect that one image that came out of no where when I was living in Brazil… it was so far away from where I was in my life, but I knew it was what I was needing in my life… and in that there was a house on some land with veggies, fruit trees, animals, a natural water source and the ocean nearby, with me, my husband and two little people… two. I don’t know where it came from, it had shocked me at the time… so part of me feels like I need to fulfil this. Maybe I just need to focus one step at a time on my health and well being and then worry about whether or not to have children after that… Gosh I just don’t want to miss that boat, if that’s the boat we really do want.


Shaking my head. Still not clear.

Sixth of August

Five years ago today, my now husband and I had a very important conversation that changed both of our lives forever. We gently and vulnerably spoke about being exclusive in our relationship, being just with one another. This was a huge deal, we had been dating for a couple of months, and it was a wild first stretch. The thing is I knew from the moment I saw him at that little community theatre, that he was someone I had to know more, that I knew I would love, I just knew it.

So having the conversion, is almost like putting yourself out there big time, it could have gone another way. Sometimes people are not ready, sometimes it’s just not the right time, and that opportunity is missed. It would have been tragic and I would have been heartbroken if it went the other way. I knew if we verbally committed to one another right then, that he would be my partner for life. I just knew it. I hadn’t thought about marriage and having a child, that was the furthest from my mind, I just knew I needed to be with him and that we had exploring within ourselves and with each other that needed to happen, together.

How lucky that we both were open to the possibility and open to being committed, and open to taking that next step. To me, at that stage, it was essentially like getting married, or at minimum getting engaged if we were to put it in mainstream terms. To me, to commit my love, my attention, my life with him all started on that day, that evening rather. Such a big deal. So life changing. I am so lucky.

So when people count their marriage anniversary, sure I’ll celebrate that too, but this day, to me, is the most important one. The sixth of August is the day that changed my life forever, and I am so amazingly grateful.

Autumn Farm Grown Mandarins

Earlier after we arrived at the farm, my mother-in-law, my son and I went out to the mandarin trees where hundreds of the laying chickens are. It was in the afternoon and the autumn weather was absolutely perfect, maybe 25 degrees, with blue skies. The chickens gathered all around while we picked and ate them right there on the spot. How sweet life is.

My darling son learned that he could feed the chickens and they would come closer to him, so he would grunt for me to give him a piece of mandarin, he would then put it in his mouth and then give it to the chickens! So funny that guy is! He did this all from his pram before we moved on to the other fruit trees. One chicken even pecked his toe, and from angle it looked like she had his whole toe in her mouth for a split second, but it didn’t phase him at all! I on the other hand encountered a spider when reaching through the mandarin tree and dropped the mandarin and let out a squeal!

I love sweet moments, sweet country moments like this. They warm my heart and my soul. I also really love getting to spend this kind of precious time with my dear Mother-in-Law and her 18 month old grandson. It is so sweet. I can literally feel my heart pounding as I type this. We don’t have much family around, and it’s so nice when we get to spend some time together.

Sharing Love

I like to send cards to people. I used to hand paint and hand write them myself. I even used to hand cut them. All of this has been uber duber simplified since I have become a mother. For many reasons, mostly because of lack of “personal time” to fully be present in the making and creating of these gifts when bub is around. Currently my prime “me” time is when he naps, which is now down to one nap a day, which I am not overly happy about for the record, a second nap would make for a much happier baby and mama in my opinion, but I will happily take the early bed time if the other nap is skipped.

Thankfully the world and technology keeps on moving along so I don’t have to spend the time that i don’t really have and still be able to send cards, and I even have an app on my phone for it. How nice it is. How nice it is to be able to quickly and easily send someone a card when I am thinking of them. In a matter of a few minutes I can customise a card with a photo on it, and I can then send it out to them and rest assured that it will be printed, stamped and mailed for me. I love conveniences that make life easier without having to sacrifice on my own personal values.

Since I have opened up a bit about the very traumatic birthing process I had with my baby, many other women have since also opened up privately with me sharing their story of trauma regarding their birthing experience. It’s big. I wonder how many women actually experience something that is so hard and challenging but never get to fully express it because the societal pressure is to then move on and just be happy that the baby is healthy and here. It’s strange. and I’ve gone through it myself.

This easy card sending app then helps me to reach out to women, and this morning I reached out and sent a card to a woman I know in the US who I know will love it when she opens it. There really is something special about not only sharing the love, but doing so in a physical manner, in a way that allows for a keepsake so that the other person is reminded again and again of that love. It’s so easy to also send a text or an email, or post on someones page, but the physical letter or card really goes to the distance.

Take time to share the love. There are no downsides to this. It is good for everyone involved, absolutely everyone.

What is Mine Will Always Be

In the same way that Marketing has moved from a Push, Push, Push environment where the company was pushing their product onto the consumer, to a Pull environment where the consumer is pulled to the product by clever communication strategies, life in general is appears to also hold that trend and truth.

I have total faith that what is mine will always be mine and this is the pull system. The life I want and will have will always be mine, it could only ever be mine. If I work on myself, find ways to improve and implement those changes, if I do my best to help others and serve and grow in that way, all of these changes lead to and make up my life. This is true for anyone, if you continue to put out your own energy of who you are and what you are here to do, then life will come to you! Life comes to me! All I have to do is hold true to who I am, be the best that I can be, and move forward with action to create the life I want, and it all happens.

When people tell me that so and so stole their partner from them, I internally question what was really going on for that to happen. What in their relationship went so sour that it got to that point? Furthermore, I don’t believe that anyone can ever be “stolen” from someone else. If they are yours, if they are the one you are meant to be, your love will endure, there will be no question, and that’s it. It has nothing to do with ownership over someone else, more to do with ownership of your self. Personal responsibility and taking ownership of the fact that you have a certain pull or attraction about your person, it’s your energy, your vibe, your way of being, this is what keeps your life the way it is.

As soon as you start changing your mind on things, start changing your life, your energy will change too, and it’s all okay. The things and people and places that were a part of your life before the change that are truly there and in accordance to the vibe you are giving off, will stay, and the ones that no longer jive will drop off, fade away and this is all okay.

What is mine will always be mine. What is yours will always be yours. When you feel that sense of competition, remember this, as nothing that is yours can be taken away, because it wasn’t yours in the first place, and that is okay.

Solving Problems

Solving problems, and diving deeper is something that I enjoy doing, immensely. Sometimes, it is hard for me to only listen without offering possible solutions or suggestions on how to make things easier or how to navigate situations that may arise that I can forsee.

I understand the importance of holding space for someone to share what is going on, and I appreciate that. I also like to then discuss possible outcomes if certain moves are made. This is the same when someone is venting. I want to help them move through what is going on to a better situation, a better place, a better state of mind and space.

When I am upset sometimes I just want to be heard, I will work out the options myself, seek out stories that might illustrate the path I am looking to take, or may specifically ask questions of people who I think I know would know. When solutions are offered up before i am ready to receive them it almost feels like I am not being “heard” enough.

Perhaps I also need to take this on board and find a transitionary statement, or stage in the conversation that easily flows into solutions without feeling like the point of pain has been cut short. Perhaps I ought to ask if I can offer solutions, or what if we brainstorm to find pathways to positive outcomes.

The next thing I think of, is that perhaps, I really am suited better to writing my thoughts in one coherent piece of writing than to be in an open dialog situation with someone face to face. Perhaps I really am better on paper, in black and white, in this specific sort of way.

So if I am looking for a solution of how to solve this, I guess I could seek feedback from those I’ve been in conversations with to gauge how I have done in supporting them and helping them get a sense of forward motion. Perhaps I can read a bit more into coaching and best ways to do it when dealing with emotions. Perhaps I can just listen and let that be enough when I am face-to-face.

Finding solutions that are win-win for everyone involved always appeal to me. I want to somehow share this in a way where others can also find this kind of balance, so we can all move forward together as peacefully as possible.

Life is about the People

Life is All about the People

About Relationships

That bridge us together

That help us to see ourselves

That help us to grow.

It’s a blessing when you find the people whom you resonate most. It’s a gift and should be taken as so, with gratitude.

As many times as I’ve stood in front of amazing natural beauty, it is when I am with another person that it really feels full. I can experience so much on my own, and it’s been essential for me in my journey. However, the blessing of partnerships along the way have made it so special.


Daddy and Baby Love

I am absolutely filled with this expansive, light yet very tangible love in my heart when I witness my husband and our baby together sharing moments. Having Baby A has certainly brought up this amazingly soft and tender side of my husband and it absolutely warms my soul. They cuddle together in bed or on the couch, Baby A sits on my husbands lap while he is working on the computer and Baby A taps at the keyboard that is designated to him, it really is the cutest thing to see a 9 month old going at it like he’s typing! I get to see him hold Baby A tight and with so much care when we are walking around, or when he’s putting him into his carseat, or even when we are walking around while he’s in the pram. There is this amazing connection between them and I feel so privileged to be able to see it. I love that I get to witness this evolution of love. It is the sweetest thing.