Thursday, May 4, 2017

Our Story (Part 2)

It's Matt's birthday today, so I thought I would write part two of our story! If you'd like to read part one that begins when Matt and I met and leaves off when he asks me out, you can check out How We Met.

Matt and I dated for a year before getting engaged, and this time can be split up into the 4 months before I went to Colombia, the 4 months I was in Colombia, and the 4 months after I was in Colombia. Not to center our dating relationship around me leaving for 4 months... we try to forget I did that ;)

So we decided to date even though we knew I would be leaving because dating Matt just seemed so right that I felt I couldn't not do it. We never will know what would have happened had we decided to wait!

We both went to the same university that fall semester, and so I saw Matt all the time at school. He was living in residence there and I would often (too often) miss the last bus home and my amazing younger sister would always come pick me up at night without ever complaining. Sorry, Monica.

One evening right at the beginning of our relationship, when I actually managed to keep track of the time (in my defense - there is no such thing as time when you're in love hahaha) and catch my bus home, Matt stood waiting at the bus stop with me. I don't think there were many people there since it was a later bus. The bus arrived and I gave Matt a hug goodbye with a quick, "Bye Matt, love ya!"

I started screaming - I had just said I loved him - first - like two weeks into the relationship. I started freaking out and Matt (being the meanie he is!) started laughing a whole bunch and running away from me. I chased after him saying I didn't mean to say that and not to tell anyone and that it didn't count. He was just laughing so hard (probably at the amount I was freaking out) and finally said he wouldn't tell anyone (which wasn't true). I was so embarrassed.

Looking back on those original few months, I remember being so happy to be dating Matt, but the relationship wasn't at a super deep level at that point since even though we knew a lot about each other we didn't actually know each other super well yet. We had so much fun together and I liked him a lot, but we definitely weren't 100% comfortable with each other - everything was so new.

We had a lot of deep talks before dating and at the beginning of the relationship, so I think it was really clear what we were getting into and who we both were - and we knew we were on the same page. Because of previous experiences, I wanted to know Matt's opinions on big issues that were important to me. I really wanted to know the person I was going to date before I dated him. I didn't want to have to find out something that was a make it or break it thing part way through the relationship and have to either break up (which of course sucks a lot), live with it (not ideal) or hope he magically changed (bad idea). I also only wanted to date someone I could see myself marrying because I wasn't really seeking out a relationship at the time, so why date if I knew it would probably end? Basically, I think we both knew that it was serious from the beginning. Not that it would for sure work out by any means, but we could both see it working out.

The first sign of him being uncooperative in pictures... I should have known...
Meeting Matt's family was one really awesome part of the beginning of our relationship. I honestly couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect family to marry into. I went to his family's house for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend and when I got home all I could talk about was how amazing the McCallum's were (ask anyone who knew me at the time...) and I definitely still feel that way! I knew this was a family that I would love to be a part of.

I drove up with Matt and his cousin, and I felt so nervous about meeting everyone. The two of them were so helpful calming my nerves as every time I would bring up being nervous they would bombard me with reminders to make sure I didn't smile too much or laugh too often or even talk for that matter - things like that. So kind.

Matt is the third of ten kids and I was able to meet them all over the weekend (and his extended family as well!). Every person made me feel so welcomed and special and put the effort in to talk to me and get to know me a bit. I felt so at home in the big family atmosphere and could see his family was so full of love. Seeing Matt at home made me fall in love with him even more (no, we had not told each other that we loved each other yet because my slip up at the bus didn't count!) because I saw a new side of him in a place where he was completely comfortable - he joked around even more when he was around his family - crazy haha.

Matt told me he loved me that December right before I left for... duh duh duh duh... Colombia. Enter: long distance relationship. I liked to use cliches like, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," but Matt didn't buy it.
In Colombia!

I'm sure some couples do really well with long distance, but we are not one of them. Neither of us liked it at all. Four months is quite a while, as well.

I did still have an incredibly amazing trip. I toured Central America with a good friend of mine and then volunteered teaching English in Cartagena for three and a half months. The volunteering portion of the trip was especially amazing and although long distance was a bummer I am so grateful to have had that experience and to create all the friendships I did, especially with the people from Cartagena (the city I stayed in).

So the trip was amazing but long distance wasn't. It didn't help that we were only 4 months into our relationship when I left - we had to figure out a lot of things through our skype-only relationship.

Matt accompanied my family to the airport to pick me up once my trip was over. Seeing Matt when I walked out into the baggage claim was so exciting, and also so weird! It was weird to see him in person after all those hours of only seeing his face through skype! We held hands and kept looking at each other, and it all felt so funny. All the normalness flooded back once we were alone together for a little while that evening and I remember feeling so so so excited to be with him, and so happy that this was my life.

I think the reason we held on during the time I was gone was because we both knew deep down that we could see the relationship leading to marriage. Had that not been the case I think we would have broken up because we both found being in a long distance relationship really hard and at risk of sounding harsh, it just wouldn't have been worth it.

Matt finished the semester of university and spent the summer working long hours at his summer job. We spent every possible second that we could together and the memories of that summer are really great. Getting to know each other better, sitting by the river talking (he lived right near the river valley), and going on a bunch of dates at cool restaurants downtown as well as some fun camping trips (we both love camping).

Road trip to go camping!

We talked about marriage seriously for the first time that summer. I remember the idea of marrying Matt had me sooooooooo excited, I was trying not to get my hopes too high in case it didn't happen for a while. It felt so right that I should be married to him. I thought about it a lot and it was not a decision I would ever have made lightly by any means. I think that everything that had lead up to that point, all the thinking that went into it even before Matt and I started liking each other, gave me so much peace and confidence in the decision.

I had been thinking about the kind of guy I would want to marry for as long as I can remember. I knew it would probably be the most important decision I'd make in my entire life - who I wanted to do life with, spend every day with til I die, raise my kids with - not to mention live with hahaha. I thought a lot about the type of guy I'd want to marry, what kind of guy would be right for me, the values, beliefs, and opinions it would be important that we share, and all the rest. Of course, you can't search for this person you have on a pedestal who doesn't exist, but I think I had thought so much about what the fundamental things that I needed in the guy I would marry were that it allowed me to know that Matt was definitely the person I wanted to marry. Not to mention I was completely in love and all that ;)

A few days after our one year anniversary, I was hanging out with a friend of mine and then walking to meet Matt at the university after we hung out. The walk took a little longer than I thought it would so we were a little late meeting him (and I didn't check my phone so I didn't see his texts asking where I was, I was terrible at checking my phone back then). I arrived there and left my friend, and Matt seemed a little uptight and tense, and I thought it was because I was late and remember wondering why he was so tense about it. It was just a passing thought, though, and we held hands and walked down to the river where we were planning to sit and hang out. Matt had a bottle of wine and two wine glasses in his backpack, so we sat by the river talking, laughing, and sipping our wine. Three beavers actually swam up to the shore right near us, so random but so cool!

It was all kind of a blur, but suddenly Matt was down on one knee holding a dark blue box with a ring in it, asking me if I wanted to marry him. He said something (also a blur) about wanting to be with me for the rest of his life and I was so happy and so excited and tears were in my eyes and I'm pretty sure I screamed. I forgot to say yes right away because I kind of thought that was a give in (apparently he was still super nervous even though of course I would say yes. In retrospect, I understand why he seemed a little uptight earlier!), but I did and he put the ring on my finger. I can't even explain the elation and joy I felt. I was so happy Matt wanted to marry me and that it was actually happening!

We sat by the river again, both so happy (I don't think I stopped smiling for a second), and we called Matt's family to tell them - they were really excited for us. Afterwards, we drove to my parents' house where we told everyone there as well (Dad already knew as Matt had asked for his blessing). The best way I can think of to describe how I felt was over the moon.

The day we got engaged!
I thank God all the time for giving me Matt, marrying him has been such a huge joy and blessing in my life and I'm so incredibly grateful. It's changed my life so much for the better and I'm so thankful that Matt is my husband!

Our wedding day. Photo by tiGraphy.

Another post you might like...

Our Honeymoon (with our honeymoon video!)

Here are some of our beautiful engagement photos by the lovely Monica Anne Photography.

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  1. Love love love this story! You guys are such a beautiful couple. ❤️❤️

    1. Thanks Olivia! It was so cool thinking back on all the memories and my thoughts at the time!

  2. Ya. You guys are the best. So happy about this story! And also, I totally agree, "there is no such thing as time when you're in love"! Such a good post!!

    1. Thanks Riane! I want you to write a post of your and Sean's story!!