So I have some pretty long-awaited news for everyone, but first how about I kick it off with an incredibly cheesy story... On July 31st, 2009, I was getting ready to go to work at my summer restaurant waitressing job when one of my very best friends called me and said I should make up some excuse to ditch the day shift and hit the beach with her and her friend from college. With only one month left to my last "real summer" before my senior year of college, it didn't take all that much convincing and so I called work, made up some excuse to get out of my day shift, through a cover-up over my bath-suit, considered for a nanosecond about trying to tame my out of control curly hair, decided against it, grabbed my sunglasses and keys, and headed out the door. I still remember driving barefoot, listening to Beyonce, and pulling into my friends driveway to pick up her and her friend so we could hit the beach...because what else do you really do when you grow up in a beach town?
Walking into her house I remember feeling very...free. I had spent a lot of time over the past few years feeling insecure, trapped, heartbroken, and just not like myself. Traveling however had helped, I had just gotten back from living in Italy and something about the process made me connect with who I was as a person, my heritage, and who I wanted to be. For the first time, in a very long time, I felt comfortable and open to the world and happiness in a way I had not felt in a very long time.
My friend was standing in her kitchen when I bounded through the front door. She said that her friend (a guy I now realized) was downstairs and would be up in a minute. When he came upstairs, I remember thinking immediately that maybe I should have tried to tame my hair a bit because this guy was cute! He introduced himself to me, and said his name was Mike, my friend quickly corrected it to "Irish" his college name, and I knew that we were going to have a fun day.
We ended up spending the entire day at the beach, where I shamelessly decided to flirt with this Irish guy and told him that he had beautiful eye lashes (which he does), I was entirely enjoying being single but hey a little flirting never hurt anyone. That night we all decided to go out in Boston after I got out of work. My friend met my at the restaurant, we did our typical getting ready in the bathroom dance and then headed into the city to meet Mike and some of his other friends for the night. That night Mike and I were pretty inseparable, while neither one of us were looking for a relationship, there was just something between us that kept us talking and laughing all night long.
After that first weekend Mike and I saw each other every weekend until I had to go back to school, we had one of the best summers I will ever remember and saw one of the worst ever Boston Red Sox vs. Yankees games of all time (our first REAL date). When it was time for me to head back to school we decided that it was time to talk about what we were, and where things were going. Mike had just graduated and was thinking of applying for jobs oversees, while I still had a year left of school to finish. We were entering into what would potentially be a year or more of a long distance relationship and Mike was worried about us starting a relationship if he was going to potentially get a job abroad. But I will never forget telling him...just to make sure not to fall in love with me if he was worried about leaving, because as far as I was concerned I really enjoyed being around him, for however long that time would be, and I was done living my life based on what if's, and maybes. I did make him promise though that as long as we were together, he would agree to travel the world with me, because I had come to realize that for me that was just non-negotiable. To this day he says that it probably was then that he realized he already was in love with me.
Five years and Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, China, Ireland, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama later that same guy this time told me with all of the love he had in his heart that he couldn't imagine his life without me, how much he loved me, and how much he wanted me to marry him. He got down on one knee at sunset on one of our very favorite beaches on Cape Cod and looked at me with those same incredible eyes I remember drawing me in 5 years before, and asked me to marry him. I don't think I have ever been happier in my entire life, or known so deeply that this love I had found was real. What I love about Mike is that he first met me 21 years old and barefoot, with crazy curly hair headed for the beach...he saw me for me and then asked me to marry him 5 years later...after traveling the world and falling into one of the deepest loves either of us will ever know.
Now I warned you it was going to be cheesy, but its our story and I love it. While our relationship has definitely not been filled solely with sunshine and roses, what it has been filled with is love, support, and respect for one another...o and a whole lot of travel! We have been engaged for two-months now and we couldn't be happier, and I am incredibly excited to share all of my creative ideas on how I plan to have a DIY inspired original wedding (on a budget, Mike and I are paying for our wedding ourselves), finish two Masters Degrees, and continue my everlasting journey towards health, happiness, and balance.
To the love of my life...ti amo