Tag Archives: love

Getting the party started!

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Previous recaps: (First Look and Ceremony)

After we officially tied the knot, we took some brief family photos while our friends helped do last minute prep for the reception.  I’ll only bore you with the one awesome whole-family shot!

I absolutely LOVED how our reception decor turned out!  The dip dyed tablecloths and Mexican prayer flags looked awesome with our super amazing floral arrangements made by my friend Melissa.  That girl seriously needs to make a career change!  And just check out that blue Arizona sky!

As guests munched on appetizers, we signed our marriage license with some help from our witnesses.

And another witness watched from inside…

Our wonderful friends helped us heat up all our tasty taco buffet ingredients and brought it out to our rented catering dishes.  For the record, no one seemed to mind that we didn’t serve any meat.  We still had way too much food, a variety of vegetarian taco options and sides, and it was all delicious.  I know because I did make sure to eat!  We had worked too hard not to enjoy it!  While we ate, two friends and two siblings of ours all gave toasts.  Only one was slightly awkward (always prepare your speech, people!).

Then it was time to cut the cake!  I was super excited for this moment!  I know people always have strong feelings about cake smashes and whether or not they are appropriate.  I, for one, think they are hilarious and too once-in-a-lifetime to miss!  What made ours a little more risky, however, was that the cake we decided to cut was all chocolate!  It could’ve been bad but thankfully we had a good splash and I didn’t end up with any chocolate on my dress!

I say I won!

Coming up next: We dance!

All photos courtesy of Bright Fizz Photo

Weddings –> Emotional Depletion

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In the aftermath of Mark and Sally’s (future BIL/SIL) lovely wedding, I feel surprisingly emotionally drained.  Weddings are just so packed with heart-walloping meaning and jaw-dropping beauty that the downswing afterwards can be kind of melancholy.  So for the past two days I’ve just been feeling kind of blue about regular, non-wedding-land life.  At the same time I’m also feeling super-giddy head-over-heels in love with my Zach.  Probably had something to do with that sexy suit he wore!  Zach said he feels similarly drained but elated.

Does attending weddings of those you’re close to have the same effects on anyone else?  Or are we just extra-susceptible to emotion since we’re in that crazy strange phase called “engagement?”

If I feel like this now, I can’t imagine how I’ll feel once our day is done!  Thank goodness it’s still a ways off and we have lots of planning excitement ahead of us!

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.

Our Wedding Goals

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Sitting on a park bench in Lima, Perú, drinking some beers while waiting for a night bus to leave, we decided to brainstorm and write out the goals we have for our wedding.  We hope these will help us remember what’s important despite how easy it is to get swept away in the little details and nonsense.  This way, if we’re struggling with a decision down the line we can come back to the goals and use them to help us make the right decision.  That’s the idea, at least.  Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Pay for our wedding ourselves and not go over $2500.

2. Agree on decisions together so that our wedding truly reflects our personalities.

3. Make our wedding more like a fun reunion than a showy formal event.

4. Be selective about our creative projects so that we don’t get obsessed with or overwhelmed by the details.

5. Make our wedding reflect our values: vegetarian, eco-friendly, etc.

6. Have a meaningful and sincere ceremony.

7. Handle any conflicts with courtesy and maturity while still standing up for ourselves on what really matters.

8. Have quality time with everyone at our wedding and involve our guests as much as possible.

What do you think?  Can we accomplish all of these?  Did anyone else sit down and write goals for their wedding before really beginning the planning?

Goodbyes

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“And I try not to worry, but you’ve got me terrified.  It’s like you’re in some kind of hurry to say goodbye…” -emo song lyrics courtesy of Death Cab for Cutie

Goodbyes are strange.  My life has been full of them since these phenomena called “adulthood” and “wanderlust” have taken me over.  First I moved to New York for college: goodbye party #1.  During college I went to Kenya for a summer which I think also warranted a goodbye party: #2.  College graduation of course came with #3, a “Goodbye-to-New-York” party.  Then I went into the Peace Corps, so #4 was a big shebang.  After returning from the Peace Corps, Zach and I lived in Ohio for awhile then we moved to Arizona.  That was my #5 and his #1 for goodbye parties, and don’t even ask about the stories from that night!

Anyway, I’m a spoiled brat with my goodbye parties.  My friends make fun of me for how many I’ve had, so this time I decided not to have one.  I’ve just spread the goodbyes out over the last couple weeks in Ohio.  It’s weird.  With some people, it doesn’t bother me too much.  I’ve done it so many times.  But with others, like my BFF and her hubby, who we’ve had so much fun with for the past few weeks, it’s hard every time!  I get so spoiled by being in the same state as her for a few short weeks but then it’s time to leave again!  Makes me sad.  Also, grandparents.  Every time I say goodbye to them for a long period of time there’s just an apprehension about it, you know?  One of the harder things to do in life, I’d say.

I’m not really sure where this post is going.  I guess I’m just processing all the goodbyes of the past few days.  The good news is that “my” goodbyes are officially over since we are out of Columbus and staying with Zach’s parents in his tiny town until our bus to Chicago leaves on Wednesday.  So my goodbyes are done, and his are just beginning!  Mwahahahah!

For more info on what we’ve been up to, and to read our awesome packing list, click here.

So long, Arizona

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Do me a favor.  Start here.  Meg’s post about doing things we’re afraid of is so well written and TRUE.

There was a short but bright rainbow in the sky tonight.  A sign of good luck for the start of our journey tomorrow!  It’s been a weekend of goodbyes and wrap-ups.  Packing sucked.  As usual, I found myself with a way-too-big pile of “essential” clothes and a way-too-small suitcase.  Trying to convince myself that I don’t need these, I really don’t need these, I don’t!  Who cares about variety?  The car is packed to the gills with camping supplies, clothes, food, and camera equipment.  But I’m sure we’re still forgetting something.  The rest is in boxes in a closet here.  So of course I’ll come back, because after a year of only what I stuffed in one suitcase, I’m gonna want to see the rest of my clothes again!

It’s been a year.  A seemingly quiet one compared to last year, but I still can’t believe all that’s happened.  I’ve learned how to live with someone in a real, day-to-day, “in this for the long haul” relationship, survived our first real fights, and found myself more in love than ever.  I’ve worked two new jobs and started my own business.  I’ve learned to snowboard, tried rock climbing, hiked long distances, cliff jumped from 50 feet, and climbed my first two mountains.  I’ve been to Mexico for the first time.  Biked many miles, saved many dollars, made new friends, started to integrate into a whole other family.  Tasted western microbrews and Spanish wines.  Shared so many homemade pizzas with couchsurfers from around the world.  What a year.

The next one is going to be even better.  A circular journey that will take us through two continents and back.  The western US, Ohio again, all of South America, and back to Ohio by August 2012.  After that, who knows?  These next six weeks we’ll be living out of the car, couchsurfing, exploring new national parks, and going to Burning Man.  I do have several goals for our time on the road:

1. Study Spanish every day.

2. Hike or run every day.  Work my way up to running a 10k.

3. Dumpster dive.

4. Keep the car clean and organized.

5. Take amazing photographs.

6. Keep up this blog.

7. Eat healthy.

8. Enjoy myself!!!!!

So tomorrow we begin.  First a quick stop in Las Vegas, for Zach to sell some of the scrap copper wire he’s collected at work.  Yes, we really are that poor.  And as Zach said “What great story doesn’t start with driving to Vegas to sell something?”  Lol.  Then to Death Valley NP in California, where apparently the highs can be over 120 degrees this time of  year.  Yikes.  Now it’s time to share a bottle of wine in hopes of being able to sleep tonight.  I’ll catch up with you again from somewhere in California!

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”-Christopher McCandless

Missing My Love

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In Swahili there’s no word for “miss” as in “I miss you.”  It’s a language distinctly lacking in words to describe emotions, and “miss” is one of the words that just isn’t there.  This made it so hard to explain my feelings to Tanzanians when I was there, because a lot of the time I was consumed with the loneliness of missing my friends and family.  I thought of Zach every single night as I fell asleep and often dreamed about him.  The missing was a constant ache despite how much I tried to ignore it.  I realized that the loneliness of KNOWING there’s a perfect person out there for you and not being with him is worse than the loneliness of just being single.  And you can’t tell people how much you miss the guy you’re in love with back home because their language has no words to describe it!

Fast forward a year and a half.  We haven’t spent even a week apart since I got back from Africa.  Now, Zach is working on construction project that is 2 HOURS AWAY from home.  It sucks!!!  We keep hoping that he’ll be offered a job closer to home, but so far no such luck.  This puts us in quite a pickle.  If he wants to come home at night he basically loses half the day’s money in gas costs.  Argh!  So he’s been camping out, sleeping in his truck in 100-degree desert heat most nights and just coming home once a week.

I miss him!!!!!  I can’t believe how lucky I am to have a partner who will endure such annoying circumstances to make our dreams a reality.  But I’m just so used to being with him that the world seems duller when he’s not around.  I can’t believe how much I miss him when he’s just gone for a few days at a time.  It’s crazy.  All I do when he’s gone is eat ice cream and watch Grey’s Anatomy, lol.  Regressing to the sad, single girl life.  Ultimately, though, it helps me realize how blessed I am to have a person I never want to be without.  Being able to miss someone like this is extraordinary.  It’s kind of a gift.

I Have a Fantastic Mom

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(I meant to post this yesterday but by the time I got home from working a double the Internet was slow and so was my brain.  So Happy Late Mother’s Day!)

Reasons My Mom Is Awesome (A Short List)

1.  Cookies!!!  Growing up in my house there was NEVER a shortage of homemade baked goods.  I didn’t realize how lucky I was to ALWAYS have homemade chocolate chip cookies in my lunchbox until every kid always wanted to trade me their fruit roll-ups for my cookies at lunchtime.

2. My mom gave up her career in order to stay home and raise us.  I never had to go to preschool, day care, or a babysitter after school.   My mom was always there waiting for us to come home and out playing with us in parks all summer.  She sacrificed so much to be there for us!  I know being a stay-at-home-mom is one of the most demanding jobs in the world, and I’m so grateful that my mom was one!

3. Humor.  Our house was always full of silliness and jokes, mostly coming from my mom.  We laughed so much!!  Hiding dad’s desert, mimicking baby Tim, and telling silly kindergarden stories at snack time are all things I’ll never forget.  We definitely had a house full of laughts.

4. Music.  My mom instilled a love of music in me from an early age.  She always encouraged me to practice for my piano and then clarinet lessons.  We even played clarinet duets in church sometimes.  The love for music also extended to more laid-back activities such as dressing up and having disco dance parties all through the house.

5. Dusty.  It only took 13 years of begging to get my mom to relent to getting a puppy.  Granted, it was kind of a bribe to make us not be too sad about moving from Iowa to Ohio, but it was an AWESOME bribe.  I’ll always remember the day we went to Petland (I know, I know, horrible to get a puppy-mill puppy there, and I swear I will adopt in the future but I was only 13!) to “just look” and fell in love with a little fluffy white dustmop.  I could see my mom’s heart melting as she held her and she even thought of her name!  I know my mom does do most of the work for little Dusto nowadays and it makes me so happy that she got her for us and now loves a dog she never actually wanted.

6. Support.  My mom has always supported me in everything I’ve ever aimed to do, no matter how crazy or outside-the-box.  My mom was always at all my concerts and plays growing up.  My parents let me choose my own college and generously paid my tuition.  They supported me when I decided to study film, go to Kenya for a summer, and eventually join the Peace Corps.  Although I know she wishes I would settle down a bit, I am so thankful that my mom understands the allure of traveling and respects the volunteering work I have done.  I know she will always support me emotionally  and have my back in a crisis.  I’m so appreciative I have a mom who lets me follow my dreams.

I love you Mom!  Thanks for raising us with so much love and teaching us great values!!  I am so lucky!!!!!!