Tag Archives: united states

A Venue Decision!

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Remember my state debate from this post?  Well, here’s the follow-up…

Time was ticking away.  More and more people kept asking me if we had set a date yet, as their calendars were booking up for next summer.  My online search for an affordable spot in California was proving fruitless.  More than anything, we just wanted to decide on a place and set a date so that we could give people enough advance notice in this over-scheduled day and age.

So, after much discussion, we made the decision I somehow knew in my gut we would make all along:

We’re getting married in Arizona!

After examining all factors, we decided that having our wedding at Zach’s parents’ house in northern Arizona would allow us the most freedom to DIY and be the most affordable, despite the cost of renting tables and chairs.  We talked to his parents about the idea and they were thrilled!  They’re happy for an excuse to do more work on the house and give some of their relatives an extra reason to come visit.  We’re happy because we know there’s lots of fun stuff for our guests to do in the area, and the hotels are affordable.

I’m already drawing inspiration from gorgeous photos of backyard weddings.  The mission now is to turn this:

into this:

Source: Young House Love

 

It’ll be a challenge but I think we can do it!  I’m so excited to dance the night away under the gorgeous Arizona stars!

Did anyone else have an at-home backyard wedding?  Was it worth all the DIY work?

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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?

Another thing I said a lot of back in the day:

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“I don’t want to get married until I’m 30.”

Welp, I’m about to turn 25, and if our plan to get married next summer works out, I’ll be saying “I do” at 26.  According to the statistics I just googled, this is just about the average age of first marriage for women in the United States.

So while I guess I am “average”, we are abnormal because Zach is almost one year younger than me!

The reason I wanted to wait until I was around 30 was because my mom always emphasized to me, and I always believed in, the importance of living on your own for awhile and establishing your independence.  I also definitely viewed marriage as a sign of “getting old.”  Back in the day I envisioned myself as a mostly-single chick throughout my 20s, living in a fantastic apartment and galavanting around NYC with my many friends and many dates.  Dreamland, ha.

As it turned out in the real world, I got my stab at living on my own and being independent; in fact I experienced that in a much more extreme way than most people ever do.  (But that part of the story is coming later.)  For me it turned out that the phrase “When you know you know…” really was true.  As I fell in love with Zach, all of my preconceptions about age and marriage changed.  I think the first time I knew that he might be “the one” was when I realized that he was the first guy I had ever dated that I could see myself totally scrapping all of my future plans for.  Not that he asked me to do that.  But waiting until 30 to get married suddenly didn’t matter anymore.  Not that we rushed things; as I said in the beginning of our story, we met over three years ago.  In fact, I know a lot of our family members think we should have gotten married a long time ago.  But we wanted to wait until we were ready.  And it turns out, I’m ready a lot sooner than I expected to be.

What else could I possibly close this with besides the most perfectly cheeseball quote ever from “When Harry Met Sally“?

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

Nomadic Tendencies

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How does one become a nomad?  Especially after being raised in the USA?  Sure, we have mobility between cities and states but we are definitely not a nomadic culture.  In fact, I think very few cultures are nomadic in the sense I feel nomadic.  I want to constantly be on the move, exploring new cities, countries, continents.  I know there were small signs as I was growing up, like when I declared at age 11 (half-joking, half-serious) that I wanted to be “a hobo” when I grew up.  The fact is, I’ve got the itch and I’ve got it bad.  It’s now been over a year that I’ve been back in the US, 10 months that I’ve been living here in Arizona.  The mountains, deserts, rocks, and beauty of the southwest is great, and we’ve had amazing day and weekend trips out here.  But I’m getting to that inevitable point I always reach, where I just feel done with it.  I’m done working, done coming home to the same house, I’m ready to GO!  Unfortunately this point usually hits a good few months before my actual departure date, and this time is no exception.  Zach and I have a little over two months before we’re bookin’ it out of this town.  This is necessitated purely by finances; if they were not an issue we’d be long gone by now.

We have such insatiable wanderlust. Our happiest times have been on the road, on the trail, approaching a new city or mountain or anything NEW.  There is nothing like the thrill of constant movement.  We can’t stay in one place for long without feeling stuck and beginning to desperately plan a new adventure.  And now, we are so, so close to get-up-and-go time.  On August 22 we will pack the car and drive to California–camping in Death Valley, Yosemite, then Lake Tahoe before swooping down upon Black Rock City to experience another world at Burning Man.  From there we’ll head back west to spend a week in San Francisco and NorCal wine country.  Then Salt Lake City to see all the Mormons, and a good two weeks in Colorado for lots of hiking and brewery tours.  Iowa City and Chicago will be our final stops in the midwest before arriving back in Columbus.  This will be our longest road trip yet and it is only the prequel to our big adventure, the escape to South America.  We’ll be back in Columbus for a few weeks, just long enough to pack it up and say goodbye to friends and family before our flight to Medellin, Colombia, on October 27.

It takes a certain kind of person to really understand wanderlust.  We’re lucky that although our families and many of our friends don’t get it, we’ve found a vast network of other wanderers through Couchsurfing and are sure to meet more at Burning Man and in South America.  Honestly, I would be fully open to the idea of NOT coming back to the US after a year down there.  Who knows what opportunities may present themselves?  The ultimate dream is to find a way to travel indefinitely.  Maybe that dream will change someday, but for now we are embracing it and chasing it at full speed.  We’re young.  What better time than now to live out of a car, a backpack, a tent, to watch the man burn, to hike the Andes, sail the Amazon, and create countless other stories?