Wednesday, July 30, 2014


One of the hard things about growing up, I've found, is that at every single stage you are saying farewell to someone or something. Always. There are new things all the time, new things to learn and fit into, but with every corner you turn, another friend or place or way of life is bid adieu.

Marriage has definitely been one of those watershed decisions for me, one that involves a fair share of goodbyes. I've said goodbye to people I love a lot lately. I left a school and coworkers and students that required every ounce of my energy and investment, one that didn't leave me unwounded, but one that forever is imprinted on my heart. I turn around and begin at a new school in a few weeks, figuring out what it means to love my kids and help them grow into the people they want to be. My brother's family, Rudi and Stephanie and kids, have started their own new chapter in a big and exciting move to the east coast. It's been harder than I thought to know that the cutie below, her little brother, and her parents aren't a quick drive away.


In these first few weeks of marriage, I've also said goodbye to a lot of ways of life, a lot of what has been the norm for me in the past few years. I'm saying goodbye to Roommate Anna in a small way, sadly watching Jen, Madeline, and others I've lived with in the magical Pilsen world move on to their next steps. But I'm also gaining a new roommate, one of the scruffy boy variety, one whom I happen to love very much. So I think this was a fair trade off. Of course, I'm also saying goodbye to myself in ways that aren't sad. I'm saying goodbye to Single Anna and Dating Anna. Thank goodness those are gone, for I was weary of the runaround and arbitrary rules of the world where that girl lived.

One question I had about this thing of marriage though, one that I'm still trying to figure out, is how to not completely say goodbye to yourself, when, in effect, you have sworn and promised that you will melt away from your current form into being one entity, on one side, and one team with another person (a beautiful thing, in my opinion). One of the things that make Brian and I work together is what makes us distinctive. I'm a bit more of an idealist/optimist, and he's more competitive. I'm more sensitive and intuitive, while he's more principled and discerning. There are all of these qualities we possess, unique to ourselves, that make it work with the other one. And yet, here we are supposed to be One. We no longer develop along our own trajectory, but affect and shape the other's development. How to maintain Independent Anna (Seinfeld fans - I hope you're laughing at that reference...) when my whole goal of this next part of my life as we move forward in marriage is actually to be Interdependent? I suppose that is why they call marriage a mystery?

Maybe saying goodbye to one way of being just leads into something else. Another way of existence. A way that is more grounded, more visceral, more incredible than any old way seemed before.

Friday, July 25, 2014

We're Back Baby!

Please forgive the two-week long blogging hiatus, I've been a tad busy! We had a little event on July 12, you know, a small gathering, and then went on a little vacation. NBD.

But for real, the wedding was a dream and the honeymoon was amazing. Whoever thought of a beach vacation for a week following the busiest and most exhausting and most joyful day of your life was a smart person. I would like to shake his or her hand. 

Brian and I went to St. Thomas and stayed at the Ritz-Carlton...this was a good decision. From the turquoise water to the relax-it's-the-caribbean attitude, we enjoyed ourselves and not having to stick to a schedule for anyone. We also happened to get into the TV series The Wire, and are now hooked on battling corruption in Baltimore. Let me know if you want to talk details on this one, we are now proud members of the Jimmy McNulty fan club. Other than HBO, there was a lot of reading, laying out, beaching, snorkeling, eating, and of course a little drinking too. Obviously we didn't have the foresight to bring a proper camera with us, so here is a collection of iPhone pics to give you an idea of what our week looked like.










Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's The Little Things


So this morning my wedding started to feel a little bit closer, a little bit more real. Of course it wasn't the dress fitting or hairstyle trial or seating charts that made this event feel real, it was my friend Sam's beautiful calligraphy that made it sink in. For fear of spoiling any element of surprise to people attending my wedding, I won't show too many pictures or show exactly how these will be used in the decor, but I couldn't help but love the job she did. I tasked her with adding to my centerpieces by writing out great quotes from literature and people I love in calligraphy. 

Of course she was excited about the job, and nailed it. This girl is a jack of all trades (or is it jill of all trades?): Teacher for America, Chicago segway tour leader, farm camp leader, interior decorator, foodie, and now official wedding calligrapher. I'd say you should all call her up and pay her lots of money to write you some beautiful words. 


***This post was not sponsored by Sam Handel Inc. in any way. I just like to hype my friends.***

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Best Camera Sniper Victim

One of my favorite pastimes over the last year has developed by all of my hours sitting shotgun in the car while Brian is driving. We clock a lot of time in the car, driving between the city for church and me, the west suburbs for Brian and his work, Indiana and the south suburbs for college friends, the north suburbs for Brian's family, and all the way up to Wisconsin for my family. It's kind of hectic. (On a regular old three day stretch, Brian put 500 miles on his car!) So one of my favorite things is to take pictures of Brian without telling him. He goes through a range of emotions: surprised, not pleased, annoyed, and bashful. I think I've captured that pretty clearly in the four picture sequence below.

It is officially WEDDING WEEK here in Anna-gesch-ville, and I am so so so excited to get married to Brian. It somehow still doesn't feel totally real as I'm writing this, munching on my cocoa puffs at 10:15 pm and alone in this apartment. I still feel like my regular old self, definitely not more manicured or glamorous or special than I usually am. I can't wait to see how my life changes, how marriage shapes me, the ways I change, and the ways I stay the same. I have a feeling that my love affair with cereal will remain a constant. Here we go, people! #whartnabywedding is on its way! 





Thursday, July 3, 2014

Stuff Students Say: June edition. End of year edition. It's over edition!!!

Here we are. I've finished my two years of commitment with Teach For America. And as you can see from the last two and a half weeks of silence on my blog, it's a hard thing for me to reflect on and think about. It's a hard thing to sum up. It's a hard thing to grasp. So, while I'm over here in wedding planning limbo, I'll at least give you a look at what my kids said in the last two weeks of school. I miss them.

Student 1: Does that say "food"?
Student 2: Yeah, it says food! DUH. Like food. F-O-D-D. Food. 

(At the Shedd Aquarium, in response to a classmate who was whining that we couldn't get in to the dolphin show, an extra event that you had to purchase a separate ticket for.)
Look, you gotta stop crying. Only certain people can see it and we ain't certain people. We just regular people!!

(Asking about my wedding.)
So you gonna have a big white cake? So if I be good can I have a piece?!

Student: Ms. Gesch you had soft hair like this your whole life?
Me: Yes, I suppose I have.
Student: You guys! Ms. Gesch said she had this kind of hair when she was a baby!!!

(In our share circle about what we did over the weekend)
We got cable. It is the best thing you guys. 

I don't want to do word work. That stuff makes me throw up. So I better not learn any more about words because I don't want to get sick. 

Student: I won't be at school tomorrow. I got an appointment for my hair.
Me: Well I still think you should ask your mom to take you after school for the appointment - we would miss you!
Student: Ohhh no no no. This kind of hair appointment take all day. You gotta just sit there and wait forever for it to be done. 

(On the last day.)
Will you be my mom?