With my anniversary coming up tomorrow, I am (surprise) feeling nostalgic. I think of how it all started with this man and where we are now-- a road I never could have imagined even though God surely did.
A little background:
For those who don't know our story, here's a brief background:
After 10 months of dating long distance, seeing each other on weekends, taking short trips together on time off from school or work, meeting each other's families, and falling crazy in love, he popped the question while on leave from training in December 2010. I was in my senior year of college and he was about to move to Oahu, Hawaii. Buried in our own lives of graduate school in Virginia vs. hazardous military missions in undisclosed locations - our lives were worlds apart in more ways than one but we somehow spent that year and a half engagement growing even closer.
I graduated in May and he caught a last minute flight home to marry me that June 16, 2012. A few days later, I packed up my life into 2 suitcases and a carry on with a one way ticket to Honolulu and the start of the next incredible phase of my life, finally living side-by-side with the man I'd been in love with for 2 years.
I started blogging mostly as an outlet to keep in touch with friends and family back home and chronicle our adventures in paradise. Also, I had no job because we moved mid-summer and for some weird reason, island schools weren't really interested in last minute resumes from a 22 year old white girl with zero knowledge of the area or culture to teach their high schoolers. When I found this post from my original blog archives, I think my sentimental bones shook just a little. I decided to post it in honor of our anniversary because
- My love is still as strong as the day I wrote it
- It's comical and ironic
- It's amazing to see how we have come oh so far.
Some of you (mom) may remember this if you happened to have been following my pathetic little web corner back then, but if not, enjoy this flashback from 22 year old me in month one my blogging days.
Lessons from my First Month of Marriage
originally posted July 2012
I’ve been officially married for a month now and what an amazing thing it is. After so long apart, I’m learning more and more about this amazing man every day. He teaches me things about life and about myself and can always make me smile if a frown is even suggested. I remember my mom saying once that you should be strong in who you are, and then find someone who makes you even better. The past year I’ve worked so hard to find that confidence and inner strength on my own and fought for it every day.
But I also realized that when you find someone you’re meant to be with, they take you the extra mile and make you feel extraordinary. Every battle is more approachable when there’s someone standing next to you, holding your hand, and telling you you can do it. He makes me smile. He makes me better. He’s making my dreams come true.
In the past month, the things I’ve learned from and about my hubby range from silly to profound. It’s wisdom that is worth sharing:
1. Ketchup doesn’t belong in the fridge.
Where on the bottle does it say, “keep refrigerated?” And more importantly, when you go to a restaurant, where’s the ketchup kept? Yep, right there on the table. Case in point.
2. Best Buy is a man’s version of a woman in a giant shopping mall or a child in a candy store.
In all three examples, an observer should snap a picture of the subject’s eyes upon the first glimpse of the location. I guarantee they would be identical.
3. He will try anything I make for dinner, even if it sucks.
3 weeks of dinners prepared, all different, edible, 90% tasty, and even including vegetables. And despite his aversion to fruit, he likes anything with blueberries cooked into it.
Aside: I know now that he was being very kind about my cooking attempts and even though early on I thought he only ate pasta, chicken, eggs, and protein powder, it's simply because that's all he cooked himself, not because he didn't like other things or wouldn't try them.
4. Portion size: about 3 portions per 1 hungry husband.
5. He takes his coffee black. Or with insane amounts of blended chocolate and milk.
6. Quality is worth [it.] (it = time, money, effort, fill in the blank.)
7. The proper technique of dishwashing
...thanks to his previous restaurant jobs and “quality control” of my shotty workmanship in the first week of life without a dishwasher.
8. How to iron!
M- You’ve been ironing that for a while...
L- I know, it’s just so wrinkly!
M- Here, let me help. Who taught you to iron!?
L- Um, no one I just kind of...iron. Was I supposed to get lessons? Who taught you to iron?
M- The United States Government.
Thanks, Navy, for domesticating my man.
9. It pays to be shameless, and it's way more fun.
After confessing a dream to dabble in profession photography, Matt took the idea and ran with it. I’m a dreamer, he takes action. Therefore, Im learning to be both. He’s worked endlessly on setting up a website to showcase my work thus far, helped me take focus on the equipment and tools I would need to be successful and planned to accommodate the expenses of such an investment, constantly instilling confidence in my ability to make this work, even though I have always doubted it myself.
On a hike up Koko Head last week (a old mine shaft located at the top of an old volcano) he stuck his neck out for me without a second thought, when I hadn’t even had the first thought yet. Upon meeting a wife and her daughter at the top overlook, they asked us to take a picture of them. Matt immediately offered the shpeal of my budding business and the next thing I knew, I had an impromptu photoshoot. Even more impressive is the fact that the woman turned out to be a widely regarded professional photographer on the island and offered to help me any way I needed.
After emailing back and forth a few times with amazing tips and advice, she offered to have me on as her assistant for shoots. Within a week of Matt’s shameless confidence for me, I have an incredible breakthrough opportunity with a professional photographer. Amazing.
10. Nothing in life worth having comes easily.
I’ve come to realize (since he has regularly pointed it out) that I tend to shy away from failure, meaning that if something seems like it may be a challenge or there’s a chance I could not get something right away, I back off.
Example, learning to drive stick shift, running long distances, hiking up extreme mountains, even trying recipes that have ingredients or techniques that are new to me. My mentality was that things are a lot more fun when you’re good at them. Which is true. But his mentality is, if it comes naturally, what pride can you take in being about to do it? The fun comes from the challenge in seeing progress--in seeing that you started at point A, you worked your butt off, and you eventually stand at point B, looking back at what you’ve accomplished.
Then you move on to point C.
Since consciously shifting my mentality into this much more positive light, the world seems at my fingertips. We are blessed with amazing opportunities and endless possibilities to learn and grow. I now believe that nothing can really hold me back except myself. What freedom there is in this feeling.
Happy Anniversary to the man who is still encouraging my dreams, loving me and all my flaws, and teaching me something new every day. You continue to surprise me and make life an adventure. Cheers to many more years of growing alongside each other, no matter where the journey leads.