Tag Archives: how we met

The Whole Cheesy Story, Part 4

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First read Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Finally, the end of the “how we met” saga!

When we last left off in my long, drawn out love story, Zach and I had finally said the big “L word”, and the next day I got on a plane to start my two years of Peace Corps service.  I went off to Tanzania to learn Swahili, live in a village, and do my best to contribute something, and he stayed in Ohio, working on his degree.  We left our relationship undefined and I had no idea what would happen.  I honestly expected him to forget about me and find a new girl who wasn’t an ocean away.  But he didn’t.  And the trouble was, I couldn’t forget about him either.  I did my best to adopt a “whatever happens, happens” attitude to the situation and focus on the present.  But I couldn’t stop dreaming about the future, imagining us ending up together.  Every time I got an email or a letter or a super-expensive phone call from Zach I would smile all day.  I had never wanted to be in a long-distance relationship while in the Peace Corps, as I imagined missing someone would make it even harder than it already was to be so far from home.  Well, even though our relationship was unofficial, missing him was still incredibly hard.

My Tanzanian life

So, when my bestie got engaged and told me I had to come back to be MOH in her wedding, I was unbelievably psyched!  Not only would I get to be in her wedding and eat American food I’d been missing, I’d get to see Zach!  So I booked a round trip flight home.  I’d been away for nine months and despite the ups and downs of Peace Corps life, I had every intention of sticking it out and returning for 17 more months.  In the weeks leading up to my return, I couldn’t concentrate on anything besides counting the days and wondering if Zach and I would still have the same chemistry.

Boy did we.  The sparks flew so intensely during that whirlwind two weeks.   The morning after the wedding, I suddenly found myself sitting in a Tim Hortons, hours before my return flight, sobbing that I didn’t want to go back.  Thus began the most difficult decision I have ever had to make.  I was an emotional wreck, and Zach was amazing.  He never once asked me to stay.  He told me that all he wanted was for me to be happy.  After a few gut-wrenching hours, crying conversations with my family and best friend (yes, I called her the day after her wedding, I’m horrible), and general stress over the prospect of ruining my whole life plan, I realized that I just couldn’t leave again.

I swallowed my pride and I quit the Peace Corps for a guy.  Honestly, there were other reasons why I wasn’t super happy in Tanzania, but Zach was definitely the biggest one.  If I hadn’t met him, or if I had never come home for the wedding, I’m sure I would have stuck it out for the whole two years.  Like I said, this was the hardest decision I ever made.  Life was all of a sudden full of uncertainty, and I was plagued with guilt and feelings of failure for quitting.  To this day, I still feel badly for leaving.  I never, ever envisioned myself becoming the kind of person who would give up her life plan for a romance.  But, Zach was the first guy I was ever with who I was willing to do that for, and maybe that’s how I knew it was right.  Looking back, I don’t regret any of my Peace Corps service, and I don’t regret my decision to quit either.

Anyway, all of a sudden I had the man of my dreams, no job, no plan, and a scarily insecure feeling about the future.  “What should we do now?” I asked Zach.  “Let’s drive to California.” he said.  So we did.  And the rest is (recent) history.

Pacific Beach, San Diego, a week after I quit the Peace Corps

Did anyone else make an impulsive/irresponsible-seeming/risky/life-changing decision for love?  How did it work out?

The Whole Cheesy Story, Part 3

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First read Part 1 and Part 2

Sorry, this story is dragging on forever!  I haven’t had enough time for blogging what with the huge transition of moving back to the USA, finding a job and a place to live, etc.  Excuses, excuses, I know.

Where I last left off, Zach and I had had a wonderful first date and really connected.  I was hope hope hoping that we’d hang out again.  Well, sure enough, the next day (Valentine’s Day, in fact), he texted me “Happy Valentine’s Day,” and we made plans to hang out that very night, after we both got done working.  I even dragged my BFF and her now-husband, then-boyfriend out to the bar to be wing(wo)men so it wouldn’t be too Valentine’s-ey with just Zach and I.  What a good friend, right?  In short, we had another amazing night!

Still one of my favorite pictures of us from the early days.

What followed after this was us quickly becoming inseparable.  We hung out every chance we got, he met my friends, I met his friends.  The whole time, however, the specter of Africa was looming on the horizon.  Zach even asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend and make our relationship official, but I said no because I didn’t want to “start something that had to end so soon.”  But of course, official or unofficial, it had already started.

Our first ziplining adventure!

As my departure date got closer and closer, I found myself getting less and less excited about leaving for the Peace Corps.  I knew Zach and my attempts to keep things relaxed were failing when BFF called me out on being in love with him.  “If I were you, I wouldn’t go,” she even said once.  But I HAD to go, this was the Peace Corps, this had been my dream for years!  I knew that if I gave it up I might never forgive myself, no matter what happened.

And so, on June 13, 2009, only four short months after our first date, I found myself gathered in Zach’s embrace, both of us sobbing.  It was the hardest goodbye I’ve ever said.  As I stood there crying, wondering how I was ever going to get up the courage to leave, all of a sudden I knew I had to be honest.  “I love you,” I blubbered, for the first time ever.  “I love you too,” he said.

And the next morning, I got on a plane.

The Whole Cheesy Story, Part 2

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Read Part 1 first!

When I left off last time, I had just met Zach at a sleazy college bar and agreed to go on my first “first date” in a loooong time.  When Friday night rolled around, I was nervous.  I spent a lot of the time on the phone with my BFF worrying about how awkward and weird this might be.  (I am super awkward…like the female version of Michael Cera.)  I mean, I only talked to the guy once, and we had both had a few drinks!  Was this what the dating game was supposed to be like?  I felt so out of things after my long, steady college relationship.  But I kept remembering how cute Zach was and I just had this feeling about him; I knew I couldn’t chicken out.  My bestie just told me to relax and have fun (“It’s not like you’re looking for anything serious!”) and to text her from the bathroom if I needed her to come up with a sudden “emergency” to get me out of there.  What a good friend.

I shouldn’t have been so worried though, because everything went great!  I drove down to Zach’s house and met his roommates, then we took a taxi to the Short North (the coolest neighborhood in Columbus) and went to The Burgundy Room, a classy wine and tapas bar (Zach’s idea).  Neither of us knew anything about wine, but Zach was working at the time as a valet parker in the Short North and after working outside The Burgundy Room many times, he’d rightfully pegged it as a great place to take a woman!  Despite our ignorance, we managed to take down a bottle of red (I honestly don’t remember what kind…I knew nothing about wine at that time) and some creme brulee, while talking and getting to know each other.  The sparks were definitely flying, even though I had told Zach early in the evening about my impending departure for Tanzania.  Zach even spent what I would later learn was his last $50 to cover our bill.  Things were going way too well for the night to end there though, so we moved on to another fratty bar (there’s an overwhelming amount of them in Columbus so they’re hard to avoid) to meet up with the same friends Zach was with when we met.  Luckily, he let me pay at this place, winning him major points.  (I’m pretty modern and I HATE when guys don’t let me pay my share, which my ex-boyfriend never did.)  We hung out with his friends, again yelling above the thumping bass, but still having a great time.

The first picture of us. So young!

Eventually the night had to end and I was in a blur of happiness.  I had survived my “rebound” date; in fact, it was awesome!  Now I just had to worry about whether or not I was ever going to see this guy again…

 

The Whole Cheesy Story, Part 1

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Disclaimer: I’m probably going to talk about wedding-planning a lot on this blog.  BUT fear not, it is not going to become exclusively a “wedding blog”, especially because our wedding is probably not going to be particularly blog-worthy.  (The very wise Meg says it doesn’t have to be.)  I’m still going to write about a little bit of everything.  I’ll be back more once we’re back in the U.S. this summer.  But I’m going to want to write about the planning process here, as we try to have an “awesomely-us” and very A-typical wedding.  So what better way to start that with our whole cheesy story?

This is how much life has reinforced to me that my plans don’t mean anything.  I distinctly remember being 18-years-old, sitting at Hounddogs Pizza with two friends from high school, our departures for various colleges imminent on the horizon.  We were talking about the exciting possibilities of college guys, of course.  I remember saying something almost exactly like this: “You’re not going to meet any decent guys at parties or bars…that’s trashy.  We should try to meet guys in classes or clubs or something.”  Oh, how wise I thought I was!

Fast forward 3.5 years.

February 11, 2009 was a pretty average Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio.  I had recently graduated from college, finally broken up with my way-too-long-way-too-wrong college boyfriend (who I met at orientation…how wholesome!), and moved back home to my parents’ house for the six months I had before I would be leaving for Peace Corps Tanzania.  I had just gotten my first serving job to fill my time, and was focused on enjoying my friends and my newfound freedom before leaving for Africa.

This Wednesday was to be a girls’ night with my BFF and some of her college friends near OSU campus.  And as much as I hate to admit that this was the scene of the crime, where else would we go on a Wednesday night but out for $10 fishbowls????

Yes sirree, we went to the oh-so-fratty Ugly Tuna Saloona!!!  An OSU legend.  What can I say, we loved fishbowls.  (Still do.)  We managed to snag a high-top table, and were just enjoying ourselves chatting and dancing.  At the table next to us was a group of three guys.  Eventually somehow these guys ended up at our table, introducing themselves.  (Zach claims he was the one who made it happen.)  The first guy I talked to was one of Zach’s friends, but somehow in the middle of our conversation I got distracted by the curly-haired blonde kid talking to my BFF on the other side of the table (Zach).  There was probably some liquid courage involved, because I’m normally not at all outgoing, but I found myself moving over there and sidling up to him.  We talked for awhile (more like shouted at each other over the blasting music) and discovered a few common interests in movies, music, etc.  And I definitely thought he was beyond attractive.  Eventually Zach’s friends wanted to leave (guess they weren’t having as good of luck as he was!) but before they headed out, Zach asked me if I was free to go out on Friday night.  I told him sure I was, trying to act all cool like I was a pro at this dating game (I definitely was not), and we exchanged numbers.  Of course at the time I was not looking for a relationship (I was about to leave for two years in Africa!) but I was excited for a date (my first after breaking up with my ex, so I guess you could call it a rebound) and some casual flirtation.

Another funny tidbit: I must’ve been on fire that night because after Zach left some other guy came up and offered to buy me a drink.  I got him to buy us all another fishbowl (after Zach had totally mooched a lot of our first one!) and then told him to go away.  He was a frat-guy greaseball.  Lol.

That night when I got home I got a text around 2am.  “Don’t forget you’re hanging out with me Friday night!” from the newest contact in my phone, Zach.