Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday I'm In Love

Russ and I have known each other since Middle School. We weren't close friends but we knew each other as acquaintances. We both moved to Arizona around the same age so we both can relate to each other on how difficult it is to change schools while in junior high (read: it's terribly awful- and if it weren't for my best friend, Nikki, who I met when I moved, I don't know what I would have done!) 

In high school we got to know each other better because we started working at Little Caesar's together. We became great friends and spent a lot of time together. 

We didn't officially start dating until June 2006, when we were both nineteen years old. He was my first boyfriend and first kiss (which was, probably THE most awkward kiss in the whole world and it was all my fault, haha!).

Here's a few photos from back in the day:
My first car, my 2000 Cavalier. 
My room was cozy- and no I can't play keyboard. I tried. The quilt was from Target and I still love it (my fondness for Target goes way back, apparently).
My room: Russ won me all those stuffed animals out of claw machines. He still brings up that I took them to Goodwill (but how many stuffed animals does a girl need...?)
I wanted to make sure Russ knew early-on in the relationship that I was weird. 

And I learned that he was camera-shy!

And he still loved me when I turned into a zombie for a while. 

In May 2009 we took our first road trip together: to the San Diego Zoo and beautiful Balboa Park!

In September of 2009, Russ went to San Diego to MEPS to try and enlist in the Navy. He left early in the morning and by afternoon I received a call from him, informing me that he had a week until he was leaving. There were very few jobs in his rate and he was really fortunate to even get into this job opening (he also had a killer ASVAB score so he was the first person to pick jobs in the entire region... yes, he's super smart). 

I was pretty shocked and heartbroken. I remember I was at Best Buy, buying the new Alice in Chains CD, and got into my car and cried. It didn't seem real. It seemed so bizarre that in a week I would be all alone. My best friend and boyfriend who I saw everyday, worked with, laughed with and had fun with, would be gone for two months. And not just gone, but totally absent from my life. 

That morning of October 6, 2009 was very difficult. I punched out of work to go and see him off from the Navy Office in town. I hugged him and tried not to cry, but was very unsuccessful. And then, he was just gone.

I got a few phone calls up until he made it to Chicago, but after his parents received his clothes in the mail there was no word. So, I wrote to him. I wrote him letters up until I received his official address and I continued to write him everyday. 

Those two months were a hard, rough road to travel. I was working almost full-time, going to school full-time, and battling with feeling depressed and anxious over Russ being gone. I kept my sadness and loneliness out of my letters, I wanted to keep his spirits and morale high. The only time I got to talk to him was during Thanksgiving for a couple hours (which was rather remarkable!).

Then on December 4, 2009 he graduated from boot camp!

Here's a blurry photo of his division... the ceremony took forever!!

After a long-awaited, "LIIIIIIBERTY CALLLLLL" I dove through the crowd to race over to hug him for the first time in two months.

He looked different and felt different to hug him. He stood taller and he looked really happy to see me, my mom and his parents. It was a great moment and something I'll never forget in my life (I might be tearing up as I write this, even)...

We had a great weekend in Chicago but it was too short and we were separated again. He went to Pensacola for school and I went back to Arizona. Luckily we could Skype and talk on the phone which made the separation a little easier.

In February I flew out to see him on my first solo trip across the country. I arrived on February 19th and that night he proposed to me. While we had left the hotel room his friends had lit candles and chilled us some wine so when I walked into the room it was lit with the glow of the candles. He then asked me to marry him, it was a beautiful night and sweet and wonderful proposal.

Then... it was another period of separation. He was at school in Florida and I worked to complete my degree at home. He graduated school in March and found out he was to be  stationed in Virginia (which... we weren't that happy about, we really wanted San Diego because it was so close to home). So, we set a date and I worked for the next few months with Mom on planning a wedding, a move, and working to stay focused on my schoolwork. 

Then on June 26, 2010 under the excruciatingly hot desert sun, we were married.

And then... it was onward to Virginia and to our first apartment. 

And here we are now... ready to embark on another journey: Washington. And I'm so happy that whatever journey is in front of us, I get to travel the road with my best friend. 

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