When I signed up to go on a trip to South Africa the summer after my freshman year of college, I knew it was going to be life changing. I knew it would be fun and hard work, outside my comfort zone but give me the chance to see the world with new eyes. What I didn't know was that I was going to go halfway around the world, meet a guy who grew up fifteen minutes away from me and end up marrying him one day.
When we got home, we still had several weeks of summer vacation left before it was time for the fall semester. Nick went back to work in Athens, and I moved back to my parent's house. I figured our friendship would kind of fizzle out now that we were back in "real life." But then we hung out a few times, including what was supposed to be a quick lunch that turned into several hours sitting in a restaurant talking during a thunderstorm and missing a bunch of calls from my mom checking on me... I should have known then, but I didn't.
After several more dates - that I didn't realize were dates (a whole different story) - he told me how he felt about me in the most awkward and adorable way. I can't tell you the day I knew that my feelings had changed from friendship to something more, to the moment I realized that my rule about height was a shallow reason not to pursue a relationship, or even to the exact time when I was sure, without question, that I wanted to marry him. But the more I got to know him, the more I realized I wanted him in my life forever.
My first (and forever favorite) literary crush was on Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series. These books had a huge impact on who am I and what I love to read, so it seems only natural that they'd be able to put into words what I later found out for myself. In the second book, Montgomery writes,
"Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music; perhaps – perhaps – love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship..."Like Anne, I imagined that falling in love would happen a certain way or be with this ideal type of person. But the reality was so much better than anything I could have written for myself. I'm thankful for who Nick is, what he's brought into my life, and what's he taught me about myself. It's not always perfect, but it's worth it.
It was seven years ago this July that I got back from South Africa and made plans to meet up with him for lunch. Seven years ago that I became friends with this cute guy "that I'd never date" with no idea about what the future would hold for us. Seven years ago that I "found the one whom my soul loves" but didn't know it yet.
And it was four years ago today that I married him.