I meant to write this post two weeks ago, but I had a baby and ended up taking an unintentional maternity leave. So, here it is today, instead!
October 25 was the 6th anniversary of when Husband asked me to be his girlfriend, so I thought it would be fun to share the story of our journey together. Or, the first few years of our journey together, anyway. :) Therefore, today I'm sharing our dating story; on the anniversary of our engagement, I'll share our engagement story; finally, on our wedding anniversary, I'll wrap the whole "series" up. So, enjoy part one, and keep an eye out for parts two and three over the coming months!
Husband and I met in June of 2005. He was 16, and I was 17; we were both camp counselors at Highland Retreat. I was terribly shy and, consequently, afraid of him; he was confident and super serious. I think I spoke a grand total of about 25 words to him all summer, probably because every time I tried to overcome my shyness and strike up a conversation with him, he answered in the fewest number of words possible. But, after another two summers of working at camp together, we were good friends, and, apparently, other camp people had already put us together in their minds.
In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that I really liked that Kyle fellow by the end of our third summer working together, but I was unwilling to do or say anything about it, preferring instead to follow his lead. But, a few months into my sophomore year of college, I realized that I just couldn't let it go. So, I sent him a letter explaining that I liked him, and, when I say that I sent him a letter, what I really mean is that I wrote a letter which a dear friend of mine put in the mail "for me." [You know who you are!!]
About a week later he called me to say that he liked me, too, but, given that I was in nursing school in VA, and he was in ministry school in SC, we decided to just maintain our friendship rather than trying to start any kind of romantic relationship. We talked on the phone every week or so and had a fun time learning more about each other and keeping up with each other's lives. We even saw each other occasionally.
This friendship continued through the rest of my time in college without really changing until my final semester when I studied abroad in Guatemala and Mexico. We kept in touch a bit via email, and, in February of that semester, he told me of his developing plans to spend a year or so in Tanzania. He was planning to leave that May, and I was so excited for him. At that point, I had absolutely fallen in love with Guatemala and was hoping to return after graduating in April and passing my nursing boards. We decided to meet for lunch to catch up between my return home and his departure date.
We met two days before he left for Tanzania and talked about his plans for his trip and my plans to return to Central America. I had already applied with several mission agencies who had open positions in Central and South America, so I was ready to go. When we said goodbye after lunch, we both thought that we'd never see each other again, though I did jokingly mention that he could give me a call if he arrived at the City of Hope and discovered that they were in need of a nurse.
Over the next few weeks, I heard from Husband and learned that he had arrived safely and was settling in. I also heard from and was accepted to each of the mission positions to which I had applied. I only had to choose which I'd take, but, before I could make any decisions, every single one fell through. Three of the four couldn't guarantee a nursing position, and the fourth decided at the last minute that they didn't want a second US nurse as they were hoping for the local nurses to begin taking over responsibilities at their clinic.
In light of that, I took the next logical step: I emailed Husband and asked if they needed a nurse. He promptly responded that they most definitely did, so I bought a plane ticket to East Africa. I was planning to stay 10 days; three months later, I finally came home, and, to be honest, had I been able to extend my ticket further, I would've stayed even longer. It was during these three months that we started officially dating.
When I left for Tanzania, I truly had nothing but friendship with Kyle and a desire to serve overseas in my heart, but my previous little crush on Kyle came back after a few weeks of serving alongside him. I just didn't know where he stood. Then, one evening, he asked if I would like to wake up early and go with him to watch the sunrise. I readily agreed, and, when he didn't take advantage of a potentially romantic moment to declare his undying love for me, I figured friendship was all that was on his mind, too.
Apparently, however, that was not the case, and his older sister, who was also serving at the City of Hope and had picked up on our mutual affection for one another, pulled him aside one evening and gave him a little Come to Jesus chat about taking girls on romantic walks to watch the sunrise and then not saying anything! So, a few days later while sitting on the couch literally reading through every word that began with the letter "k" in the Swahili dictionary, my now-husband turned to me and asked me to be his girlfriend.
I was so stunned that I thought he was just trying to let me down gently. I opened my mouth to say something along the lines of, "Oh, it's ok; I understand." when his actual words sank in. I said "yes," of course, and you'll just have to wait a couple months for the next part of the story. :)