Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. On November 5th, 1982 in the Olympic National Park in Washington state (yes, Washington is a state too, Swedes), I was born in a tent. Okay, I wasn't born in the tent per se, but my parents and brother lived in a tent at the time and it sounds so much better to say it like that, don't you think? Anyway, the point is, HIPPIES MUCH, Mom and Pop? They named me Damara, just to really solidify things.
Shortly after I was born, we moved to Montana, where I spent the rest of my childhood out of doors with my brother and sister, who was born three days before my second birthday. I know we watched a heck of a lot of Sesame Street and TGIF when we were kids, and we surely spent a lot of time inside of a school, but most of the memories I have of my childhood were outside. Our parents mowed a bicycle track into the high grass of our backyard in Bozeman, we built palaces out of snow during the long Montana winters and grew up in a time and a place where we could basically run free with the neighbor kids without our parents ever having to worry about us. Maybe the video-gaming kids of today are the same way, but I remember my siblings and I having wild imaginations, making up stories starring our stuffed animals and Cabbage Patch Kids and designing societies to inhabit our awesome snow palaces. I wrote lame little books that I was disproportionately proud over and I read a lot. I tackled Little Women in third grade. Before you think I'm some genius, I haven't read anything as lengthy since. Now I read blogs, so I'm actually quite the philistine. So much so, in fact, that I can't even be bothered to check if I'm using the word philistine properly. Plus I still use two spaces after a period when I'm typing, so obviously I'm clueless.
Oh, okay, so back to the fascinating timeline of my life. Let's see, early in high school my parents got divorced, which I used as an excuse to think of myself as a bit of a gansta for about a year or so. This badassery manifested itself in - brace yourself - my hanging out with kids who smoked cigarettes and wearing loose clothing. One pair of particularly thuggish button-fly jeans directly caused me to pee my pants when I was fourteen. In a grocery store. With my boyfriend. Not my best moment. Perhaps that was a turning point, a sign that despite my best sartorial efforts, I wasn't fooling anyone. I was and always will be a huge dork. Embracing the dorkiness was life-changing. I was already a cheerleader (the single most significant indicator of dorkiness at Ennis High) and a member of Spanish Club, after all, and things really jelled when I tried out for the school play. Most importantly, though, I made a commitment to surrounding myself with people who didn't take themselves too seriously.
When I was eighteen I moved across the country to go to college in Marietta, Ohio. I majored in Early Childhood Development. And English. And Theatre. Not at the same time like some over-achiever, though. I was just indecisive. Ultimately I figured, hey, I'm at a liberal arts college so I'm probably not going to learn any practical skills so I may as well pick something fun. I spent four years turning myself off of Jagermeister for life and learning how to be a mediocre actor, which actually did become a practical skill since I later got into customer service. Just kidding, of course. I love the customer. But seriously, folks, college was a blast and since I knew that I was going to miss it when it was over I spent a lot of that time reminding myself what a blast I was having.
I'm beginning to bore myself, so I'm going to start wrapping this thing up. After college I worked as a waitress until my mom and I got in the World's Worst Screaming Match, the topic of which was My Potential, and the following day I applied at a temp agency. The day after that, I got a call that they needed someone for six months at Swagelok, a manufacturing company whose name I didn't know how to pronounce and which I was certain was staffed by a bunch of dorks of a different sort than I. Wrong-O! I quickly learned that valve and fitting dorks, while they may be wearing neckties and pantyhose, are just the same as you and I. The temp job became permanent, I got myself a supremely ghetto apartment in Little Italy that had leaks and a posted warning not to let too many people out on the balcony at once, but which I was totally in love with, I made some of the best girlfriends imaginable and I found a chuch that I became very much involved in. I was at home in Cleveland. Oh, and I loved, loved, loved being a businesswoman. Until I didn't. So I decided to go back to school, Vanderbilt Divinity, in particular, to get a Master of Theological Studies. I put in my notice at work and moved out of my apartment into my grandparents' place until the big move to Nashville.
A few weeks before my last day at Swagelok I met The Swede. You can read about that here. If you've been around the blog for awhile you know that The Swede is Awesome with a capital A. It wasn't long before I decided that I wanted to be around him more that twice a year, so I moved to Sweden and started a blog with erronious comma usage aplenty so that my parents and grandparents could see what my life is like here and shake their heads that I learned nothing from that semester as an English major. Most of the time it's pretty boring, just like everybody elses' life, but dudes, it is sprinkled with some pretty incredible action and regardless of the excitement level I get to share this life with the men of my dreams. And what more could a girl who was born in a tent ask for?