July 2, 2015

Oh Heavenly Day

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.

A few weeks before the trip, part of our team met up for lunch to get introduced. It felt a little bit like middle school - the boys congregating at one table and the girls at another. I called my mom after and told her, "There is the cutest guy going on the trip, but he's too short for me." At almost six feet tall, I'd always sworn I'd never date anyone shorter than me. It was one of the few rules I was not going to break, no matter how cute the guy. I didn't really talk to the guy that day, but everything changed once we got to South Africa.


I'd never really dated anyone, and I wasn't great at being myself when I was I was interested in someone. Maybe it's because I'd taken him off my mental "potential boyfriend" list (ha!), but things were different with Nick. I was about to be a sophomore, he was going into his second year of grad school, and we really didn't have a ton in common. And yet he became one of my best friends on the trip. We were always together, discussing everything and nothing. I loved spending time with him, but that was it. Looking through my trip photos, my parents kept asking me about the guy that showed up in so many. "That's just Nick," I said.

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. 

25 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary!!!! I love this story so much 😊😊 halfway around the world to meet someone who lives right by you. So perfect. You owe Sourh Africa everything 😋.

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  2. What a sweet, adorable story!! Happy anniversary to you both! <3

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  3. Happy anniversary, such a lovely story! :D

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    1. And I live in South Africa so it's pretty cool to hear!

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  4. What a wonderful story, and I just have to say - your photos are all beautiful! Happy anniversary to you both.

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  5. Happy Anniversary!! Loved reading the story. :)

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  6. Happy anniversary to you and Nick, Hannah! I loved hearing more about your love story; it's seriously one of the loveliest things I've ever gotten to hear about. Thank you for sharing with us! More love to y'all <3

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  7. ♥ This is the sweetest! A very, very happy anniversary to you and Nick.

    I have a good friend who I kept thinking of while reading this - she always said she'd never date someone shorter than her, basically grew up with this boy but never considered him more than a friend, etc. They recently celebrated their first anniversary and they're seriously the cutest couple. :) Never say never!

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  8. Such a sweet post! Thanks for sharing! Happy Anniversary!

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  9. Happy Anniversary to you and Nick! This is such a sweet love story and I love hearing how people meet their significant other. The quote your mentioned from Anne is perfection and fits this story so well!

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  10. OH HANNAH!!! This is so beautiful!!!

    (Love that you mentioned a "potential boyfriend list" haha)

    You two make a stunning couple. <3

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  11. Awwww I love your story so much!!! That is so sweet and sounds like the BEST kind of relationship. Happy anniversary! Wishing you many more happy ones in the future. And for what it's worth he doesn't look that much shorter than you ;) Another quote that reminds me of you, that I had printed on my wedding programs in fact, is one from Mr. Darcy. "I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun." <3 <3 <3

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  12. Happy Anniversary, Hannah!! I could honestly never hear this story enough, it's so incredibly sweet and extravagant and simple and beautiful all at once. Here's to the rest of your lives together <3!!!

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  13. Hannah, this is so lovely. It's amazing what happens when we open ourselves up to others and let go of our preconceptions. I love what you said about not being able to be yourself around guys - I think a lot of us deal with that and it takes a ton of self-reflection to get to a place where you can really open yourself to love. Your love story with Nick unfolded just the right way, it sounds like. Happy anniversary. Hope you guys are celebrating in style!

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  14. THIS WAS SO CUTE. Congrats on your anniversary! I hope you guys have an excellent day together.

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  15. I'm in tears, Hannah! What a lovely real life love story. <3 It makes me so happy. And you looked beautiful on your wedding day.
    Happy anniversary!

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  16. Happy anniversary, Hannah! It's amazing how things turn out so wonderfully in retrospect when we're so clueless as events unfold in our lives. Your post made me smile and injected a huge dose of optimism into my day :)

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  17. It's amazing how similar our stories are. I know I have to read ANNE but that quote is so perfect, and describes how James and I got together too. Thanks for sharing and happy anniversary! Nick is such a cutie, and, okay fine, you aren't too bad yourself. ;) P.S. Stories like ours are always why I try to tell people to be open minded when it comes to dating because you seriously never, never know.

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  18. Awww! I love reading posts like this! Congratulations on 4 years of wedded bliss!

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    1. Also, I've been meaning to tell you that I love your new blog design! Very cute :)

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  19. Aw, I loved reading this! You're love story is beautiful. Congrats on your 4th anniversary!

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  20. Happy belated anniversary! You guys are so cute! Thanks for sharing :)

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