The end is only the beginning

Hello (hello…hello…hello)!

See what I did there? It’s an echo. Because…you know…I hardly ever post…Oooooh-kay.

So there has been some exciting changes going on here and I’ll just cut to the chase: the mister has made the move to California!

He’s been here for 3 months now and we’re all settled into our new, normal routine. The transition was a lot smoother than I was expecting (and preparing for) but I’m definitely glad it went as well as it did, especially considering the alternative. The biggest adjustment for me has been not automatically accepting invitations but checking with him first. I’m so used to just deciding what to do but in the beginning I had to remind myself to check first before responding to an invite. And the biggest adjustment for him is, well, being in California.

The first couple of weeks felt like a regular visit so it wasn’t until we hit the third week and realized that we wouldn’t be going to the airport anytime soon that it really started to feel real.┬áIt’s been really nice having him here and finally being a regular couple. I love coming home from work to him and spending time together casually. There’s no rush to fit in everything before the other leaves. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, there’s always tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow.

sfo sign

Waiting for him to appear was the longest how-ever-many-minutes-it-was of my life. The anticipation, nerves, and excitement combined to make the most potent mix of almost nauseous excitement. You know that special level of excitement where you feel like you could almost throw up or faint and then you get annoyed and frustrated because you just want it to happen already? That was me waiting for him to appear at the security gate. Oh how I wished we were still able to meet people at the gate!

But I managed to remain calm and carry on, he appeared, we hugged, I grinned like a silly little girl, and here we are, planning lots of adventures, discussing mundane things like budgets and career paths, putting together Ikea furniture, and sitting on the couch on our respective devices while kind of watching Family Feud. This is one of life’s pleasures.

After being together for the past few months, I can’t believe we spent 8 years apart. How did we manage that? Being a normal couple is fantastic and I’m so glad the long distance portion of our relationship is finally over. It’s been a long (long) time in the making.

Duchess Kate is my royal homegirl

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Also, I wish I had her hair

When you’ve been in a relationship as long as the mister and I have been (7 years and counting. Our┬árelationship is a second grader now) people naturally become curious as to what your future plans are. When are you going to see each other next? When will you two move together? When will you get married? You know you’re not getting any younger, right? And neither are your eggs.

Someone once asked me what the hardest part of our relationship has been and I told them it’s been managing other people’s expectations. I’d spent the week before each trip priming people to not expect an engagement ring when I returned.

I was still met with disappointment every time.

It’s kind of like what Kate Middleton went through before her and Prince William became engaged. They were together for 8 years before he finally proposed and during that time, the media speculated on if and when they were going to get married, criticized her not getting a “real job” (outside of working part time as an accessories buyer and for her parents’ party planning business) and then unceremoniously (and rudely) dubbed her “Waity Katie.”

Yet no one wondered if they had discussed marriage before they reconciled (remember, they broke up for a few months) and set a timeline that they both agreed to. I don’t believe you break up with someone and then get back together without some serious “where is this relationship going?” discussions. Perhaps Wills wanted to get through his military training first and maybe she wanted to make sure she could handle the rigors of royal life before accepting. But no, all the discussion was about how pathetic she was for just waited around for him.

OMG, Kate. I totally know how that feels.

For the mister and I, we had to deal with the perception of us not being fully committed, regardless of the fact that we’ve stuck it out for 7 years and have been completely faithful to one another. We get criticized for not moving sooner even though there were several (several) layers to navigate and it wasn’t just as simple as packing up and leaving. People wondered if we were serious about getting married and would ever make it down the aisle.

But what they didn’t see was how the mister and I discussed every single aspect of our relationship. How we never shied away from discussing marriage and our future since very early on in our relationship. How we had several uncomfortable, and sometimes heated, conversations about moving and who would be moving where.How we cried, became angry at one another, and didn’t talk to each other for a couple of days. But we always made up and move forward together. We remembered that we were in this for the long haul and that we were what we wanted.

Not to say that I’m completely immune to the outside commentators. I feel bad for the mister because he doesn’t deserve that characterization. I know why it’s taken so long but whenever I try to explain the reason, people just nod as if I were naive. It bothers me but I have to remember that their concern comes from a sincere place that it simply based upon incomplete information.

And even though it may sometimes feel like it, at least I don’t have an entire nation (and world) awaiting our engagement news.

So…have anything you’d like to share with the world?

Six years strong

This week the bf and I celebrated our sixth anniversary. That’s 72 months, 312 weeks, 2,191 days, 52, 584 hours…okay, you get it:

We’ve been together a long dang time.

While we were driving down to Monterey in January [I know, still owe you a write up], I found myself looking over at him and marveling in the fact that we had been together for almost six years at that point, and for a few seconds, I kind of silently freaked out. Six years? SIX YEARS?! If our relationship was a kid, it’d be in the first grade! While I was freaking out, a sudden calm hit when I realized just how awesome this whole thing is.

Six years ago I was a skeptic, cynic and yet hopeful that I would have a love like this. I was doubtful it would happen, even joking that I would just settle for becoming a nun. That worked until I realized I wasn’t Catholic and so becoming a nun was no longer an option. Not that it ever actually was, but it was nice to have something there. I also was randomly concerned about my ability to being a girlfriend, as my relationships up until that point never lasted a month, and thus never required any real level of emotional support that a significant other typically provides.

But then I met the mister and things began to change. The transition wasn’t smooth, not in the least bit. We had a lot of learning to do about ourselves as individuals and us as a couple. I was no longer in a situation where I could think only about myself, which was incredibly difficult. Not that I’m completely self-centered but after 23 years of doing things my way, it was hard to step back and remember that my decisions were now affecting someone other than myself and that I would need to account for them. He had to adjust to someone with a very strong independent drive. There were new communication styles to maneuver around and expectations to meet. This was all so very new to me and incredibly overwhelming to me, that at times I felt that I was failing as a girlfriend.

Of course, I was not failing at being a girlfriend, but simply learning how to be one. Today, we still have our minor skirmishes but it feels so good to be at the point where I no longer am stricken with The Fear that any fight could potentially signal the end of our relationship, that we would work through it, talk it out and bounce back instead of simply giving up. It feels good knowing that I can think about our future and know that he’ll be there with me.

We’ve taught each other a lot of things and there are still many lessons left to be learned. Like, don’t touch or think of touching my stomach when it I’m nauseous or I might hurl. Or if he’s really serious about making sure we clean EVERY weekend. Um. Yeah. About that…

But through it all, he has been there for me and continues to stand by my side, to comfort, support, encourage and yes, even get on my nerves. I love him and he loves me.

Here’s to the first six years of our lifetime. I love you lovely.

Reflections of love

As part of the bf’s last visit way back in February, I arranged a photo shoot with Eddie as a surprise for the bf. Well, it started out as a surprise but I eventually had to tell him so he could dress accordingly. During my last Christmas visit in 2008 [I know, so long ago], I had noticed he was hovering around this photographer studio at Somerset Collection [yes, the fancy mall with two sides but only 3 jewelry stores. WTH?]. We didn’t take any pictures there but I thought it would be a great way to surprise him. In the five years we’ve been together, we don’t have that many pictures together and most of them are of the self-portrait variety. It would be nice to have professional pictures of us, so I floated the idea to Eddie and he was totally on board.

Fast forward to this year, we were able to score some time with the ever popular Eddie [check out his schedule. EVERYONE wants him!]. We met him on First Street in Benicia to begin our picture taking marathon. It was a little weird in the beginning, posing and being all lovey dovey in front of strangers who would stop to watch [one of the passersby actually congratulated us on our “engagement”] but after a while we forgot about them. We all had a lot of fun during the photo shoot, there were plenty of laughs and jokes all around. The photo cd actually arrived the day of my dad’s memorial service so it was a real extra joy on top of the day, and even though my family made fun of all the kissing and stuff, I am so in love with our pictures. I made sure to lay my claim on Eddie for our wedding. Again. And yes, it was at his daughter’s baptism on Sunday. I have no shame.

Looking through the pictures always makes me smile. I love just how natural we look despite being semi-posed in some of the photos. Though I think the best part are the pictures where we’re laughing because Eddie managed to catch us in a moment where we were actually talking or joking around.

So here are a few pictures from the day. Thank you so so so so so much Eddie!

This one is actually one of my favorites. You can see the wrinkles on my nose. I do that when I’m really happy.

Once upon a time…

a girl met a boy.

Well, not really “met,” but met in the loosest term possible, I guess, thanks to wonder of the Internet. You know how wacky that Internet is. They exchanged IMs on a fairly regular basis for about a month before numbers were finally revealed. But during that time they got to talk and joke and ponder on the most random things.

Things like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out and Street Fighter.

But through it all, the initial spark from their first meeting developed into a genuine attraction and their conversations grew deeper and richer.

Like most romances, this didn’t come without its share of challenges. They lived in different areas of the country which made navigating any kind of relationship difficult. He started to pull away and she had started to lose hope that this would become anything but a minor friendship.

Then one day…they were.

And it felt just right. A real life fairy tale.

Happy 4 year anniversary. I love you.