A daily photo-blog of my life as an American transplanted in the UK.
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Y4 - 32/365: Three Years Running - Our Story
Of course there has to be a silly Ryan photo to start...
...make that TWO silly Ryan photos (he's discovering silly faces using his tongue)!
But a simple post tonight with a tribute to my one and only as we celebrate three years of not killing each other...yet.
All joking aside...I've kissed too many frogs before finding my Prince. I've finally found someone that respects people and values the relationship. Each person I have dated in my life, meaning those serious relationships, I have loved those people through and through because that's how I operate. When I love, I love with my whole heart. When those relationships ended, I was crushed and thought I could never love again that deeply. Of course I was getting older and with each year I was learning more and more about myself and what I was placing value on. Sometime in early 2005 I decided I wasn't going to take any grief again...I wasn't going to settle for someone who wasn't going to take a relationship seriously. I wasn't going to be someone that would sit and wait on the back burner.
After I graduated from University that year, I did a bit of dating, but in the back of my mind kept it on a friend-level hoping to protect my heart. I thought a couple of times I had found someone worthwhile and then I'd find something wrong with them and wouldn't pursue it any further.
Then, shortly after midnight on my birthday in 2006 I heard his voice...
I was a room mod on an all-ages video/voice chat programme and I hear this gorgeous British accent. Some of the guys in the room were having some guy-chat about "chicks" and the ways they treat them and "get away" with things. This mystery voice on the other end of the Atlantic promptly put them in their place and he had my full attention right there. I typed him a message, not having a mic at the time, asking him if he got many comments on his accent very often. He spoke again, insisting he "didn't have an accent."
We spoke into the early morning.
Each day from there I would get off my shift at Chuck E. Cheese's (which is exactly where every college graduate wants to start using their degree) and race back to my Dad's where I could use the computer and web cam to chat with him...counting down the minutes until the next time I'd hear his voice. He even rang my house phone a couple times to leave a voice message and I would listen to it over and over. Our chats always ran into the early morning, my Dad falling asleep at the computer next to me, and me sneaking back out to head home to my apartment.
We began entertaining the thought of him coming to visit. After all, he wanted to see the States and I was happy to play tour guide. Some may have thought it weird that only six weeks after first having spoken online, he was booking a flight to Columbus, Ohio and he had never even been on a plane before! Surely I was mad?
I arrived at the airport to pick him up, slowly exiting the elevator from the parking garage and heading in towards Max & Erma's where I asked him to wait for me. Then I see this very tall and good looking blond guy wearing an Adidas jacket (and not looking like he was local) getting closer and closer. My memory fails me now how we greeted one another...maybe it was just a quick hug, but all I knew is that I was SO nervous!
Even in that first visit, I kept trying to talk myself down that it wouldn't turn into anything because he lived too far away. 4500 miles was just too far! But I was having so much fun with him and he was meeting some of my friends, who took an instant like to him, so I wasn't sure...I didn't know what to think or how to feel. That was, until his flight was due to leave in a few hours on the final day. We were standing in the airport, and I believe the big 'L' had already been voiced on his side, but I was still holding back and trying not to let myself be vulnerable.
It was insane telling someone who you have only known 6-7 weeks and just met in person that you loved them...right?
The final call was made for his flight and he couldn't wait any longer to go through security. We were both fighting back tears and failing miserably...so the 'I love you' had no choice but to come out. I didn't know when I would see him again, but I knew I wanted to give "us" a go.
I visited him in England that summer and then he came to visit me again in the autumn, when I had moved to North Carolina to begin teaching. I was with him again in England that Christmas, our first to celebrate together and then he was back with me in North Carolina the following Easter when we took a road trip back to Ohio so he could meet my family.
My final and most life-changing visit after that was when I came to England for nearly 8 weeks that summer (2007). I remember thinking how we had been together 18 months and neither of us were getting any younger -- he agreed -- so just before I left, we announced our engagement and began planning for my transatlantic "puddle-jump."
It was so hard for the following 12 months because we didn't have any visits back and forth at all so we could save up money for my fiance visa and our wedding. When my visa arrived in the post mid-July I nearly hit the roof with excitement!! Immediately I booked a one-way flight and started packing up my life (with the help of many generous friends I will be eternally grateful for).
I arrived on UK soil on the 1st of August 2008 and after a few financial speed bumps, one was Matt being made redundant weeks after my arrival, we managed to get our wedding together! Just a small, cozy ceremony at Dudley Register Office (and shown via web cam for family at home) and then a special dinner at Dunsley Hall in Kinver with my new, fantastic, in-laws, Josie & David, sister-in-law, Emma and her fiance, Daz.
That day was so special to me. Not because of some expensive dress or giant cake, not because of all the wedding gifts we got to open or all the many friends and family we got to see...because none of that happened. It was special because I was with the person I love most in this world and the people who love him most as well. I've been welcomed into this family with open arms and never been made to feel so secure.
Three years on and we've certainly had our shares of ups and downs, like many couples naturally do, but I wouldn't trade any of it for anything...and I certainly wouldn't trade the strength of our love. True, I loved those before my husband, but this love I have for him transcends all of those loves. It is a deeper love and a more powerful and consuming love. It's a more respectful love and a love I know that will not break, through anything.
Good, bad...happy or sad, I will love you, Matt...with every beat of my heart.
Please enjoy the video I made for Matt as an anniversary gift this year. The background track is a song by Michelle Featherstone, "Man and Wife" and the words come as close as how I feel.
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!