July 2nd, 2014
I met Ben on July 9th, 2008. And although I never could have imagined the years that would follow, I remember telling my friends after our first date that I was looking forward to seeing him again. And after the second date, I was doubly excited to see him again. And somehow, although we had some ups and downs along the way, that excitement to see each other again continued to grow to the point that we were spending virtually every day together and decided to move in together.
The ups and downs in our lives have not gone away, including navigating my visas to stay in the UK, figuring out where to live and how to juggle time with families on two sides of an ocean, several career direction changes for both of us, spending down savings to make those career changes possible, followed by lots of watching every penny while we have both been retraining, lots and lots of applications and interviews and rejections, times without our own space, times with a tiny cold space, moving into a comfortable space, fun times together and with our wonderful friends and family, lots of trips back to the US, and times with huge amounts of stress from some combination of these and other day-to-day factors. However, through it all, I have known that I could get through it with Ben by my side. And I hope that he has felt the same.
All of this background is to set the scene to explain why my heart nearly burst when, nearly four weeks ago today, during an amazing holiday in Portugal, Ben asked me the question I have been waiting for him to ask for a very long time. Standing just inside the balcony of our Lisbon apartment, under a gorgeous night sky and looking out at an incredible view of Lisbon, Ben got down on one knee, took out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen, and asked me to marry him. The exact words were amazing, and I will always remember the sentiment and the way it made me feel, but I can not remember anything Ben said. And after I had asked him about ten times how he had managed to get a ring and carry it with him through security and passport control, and then keep it safe during our previous five days travelling – all without me knowing – I said yes!!!
Ben’s proposal was particularly special for me because he managed (with quite a lot of difficulty) to find a time just for the two of us, but to ask me while we were away with my parents and aunt and uncle. Ben had asked me a long time ago how I would feel about getting engaged and being so far from my family…and I think I had said that I would at least want to know that we would be seeing them soon after getting engaged so that we could celebrate with them in person rather than just having a telephone call. He had obviously remembered this and taken it to heart. It was so much fun to be able to celebrate with Mom, Dad, Aunt Jane, and Uncle Steve. I can’t imagine a better setting or situation for such an important occasion in our lives.
Although our lives are not always easy, and our relationship, like any other, takes work… I still feel excited to see Ben each day, even after knowing him for six years, and living together for about five of those. I look forward to waking up next to him each morning, and I look forward to seeing him after work each day. And now, although thinking about a wedding has been a lot more stressful than I first imagined, I think again about all of the things that we have managed to figure out together, and I know that we can handle anything that comes our way. And I couldn’t feel any more excited that no matter where it is or when it is, I get to walk down some sort of aisle in some part of the world at some point in time…and to know that Ben will be there waiting for me, for us to spend the rest of our lives together.
More trip photos to follow shortly!