Wait, There's a Ring! WHERE'S THE STORY?

Hello World,

Remember a long time ago I went to a psychic and she told me that I had already met my soulmate? She put out some timelines and made some bold claims, and so far, none of that has come true. The only thing she was right about was that I had already met my soulmate, I just didn't know it at the time.

I had already flown to Tanzania for my job interview, and had already committed to taking the job, so yes, I had met B. Did I realize he'd be The One? No, not yet...he was still just a future tall co-worker with a cool paper-airlines shirt!

Alright. Map out the love story.

Less than a month after I moved to Iringa, I was 'tricked' into a solo weekend to a coffee plantation hotel by a coworker on one of our 'off' working weekends (yes, I used to work on Saturdays!) under the premise that no one else wanted to come [ie: he asked 0 people].

I had this feeling that maybe this was an extended 8 hours of driving + two days of hanging out DATE, but he also wasn't 100% clear, so I tried my best to stay level headed and build a relationship with my new friend.

It wasn't until at least halfway on our car ride home that he lamented that he hadn't "made a move" -- and that was the beginning of the end! We quickly became inseparable after work hours, watching movies, cooking together, loving up on Gus Muffin (and later Bruce Wayne), and spending time with our co-workers.

We tried to keep our relationship low-key; living and working with your peers made it all the more important to not rock the boat socially too much, and also allowed us to create some space for our own relationship to grow.

On our first Christmas apart, I gushed to my mom all vacation about the BF I more-than-just-liked. He gushed, but also forgot to wish me a Merry Christmas [no B, I will never forget that!].

We planned a trip to Sri Lanka, which was one of the most magical two week vacations anyone can ever spend. I was on my toes for an "I love you", but it never came. B had told me he'd only say it to the girl he'd marry, and I realized I had to respect that {but could it ever be me?!}.

Less than a month later, he said it. I died, went to heaven, took a selfie in my wings to proved it happened, and returned to Earth smitten as a kitten! The weight of love I had been carrying since months before had words now! We couldn't utter them enough.

Then, it came the time to plan for his departure from TZ. We spent a lot of time having hard conversations about our relationship, and about whether or not we should get engaged before the end of 2015. We concluded that we could not envision a life without the other, and it made sense for us to move towards marriage. It was up to him to decide when.

Sometime during all of this, he fell off his bike, went home for surgery, ordered the ring, had his mom sneakily bring it out, call both my parents for permission, and plan our trip to Udzungwa while acting super casual the whole time.

This picture's so nice, I've posted it twice!

Engagement Dinner in Iringa TZ {September 6th, 2015} 
The week after getting engaged.  Still smitten like a kitten. 
So much happened our first year together {August 2014 - September 2015}, it's insane.
I can't even begin to describe the amount of hours we have spent in one another's company, or the weird medical & life situations we have had to problem-solve out of together (examples: both having infected spider bites from a hike or realizing nobody speaks English on a 3 hour Slovakian train where all seats appear to be reserved & we're blocking the aisle), or the idiosyncrasies that come out of the woodwork over time (no babe, you can't use any old towel to blow your nose in!). But I can't imagine being on anything but a path unpaved, and figuring out the way to somewhere new & exciting with anyone else.

Now almost two years in, it's so clear that the journey of B&M{&BW} has just begun!


I Knew You'd Come Back For Me

Hello World,

Back when I wrote "I love you, so go", I wasn't 100% sure if the subtle hints at but please please please come back for me! was clear enough. 

A few weeks later though, it was. It manifested itself in a delightfully shiny engagement ring, given to me on the top of a waterfall in a central Tanzanian rainforest.

Udzungwa Falls, TZ {September 5th, 2015}

But B still left. Maintaining a long distance relationship taught us the importance of being strong when letting our love go...but holding on to love tighter to make sure it comes back fully intact.

We communicated constantly through Gchat, Whatsapp, and Skype -- sending photos, text messages, and video calls. We also invested a lot of hard-earned dinero towards planning memorable trips where we could spend a lot of 'us' time each month to discuss the coming month, our future, the wedding, and just hang out! 

Here's a quick run through the past few months:

October: Chimp trekking & hiking in Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda 

November: Belated Thanksgiving in Zanzibar

December: Christmas/Engagement Parties in Texas & NY
Texas Party -- how beautiful is this Engagement Christmas tree?!
NY Party -- & another night to dress up!

February: Belated Valentines climbing Nyirangongo volcano in the DRC!

March: Running a 10K in Nyungwe Forest (back again!)

April: Central Eurotrip through Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria & Venice
Bratislava, waiting for the next train after realizing we were not in the time zone we thought we were.

After dozens of hours a week on the phone, multiple long-weekend visits in Zanzibar & Rwanda, and two two-week holidays in Europe & America, we had had enough. Nine months was TOO long!

Serendipitously, there was a job back where I work that would bring him back to where he left, where I was still, and where we could finish building what we had started, together. 

He applied. They chose him. He took it. He's back. 

There are so many paths, so many options that we can take which could change our lives forever. I am blessed that our rings (yes, he wears an engagement band too!) mean that from now on, we go together [yeah yeah yeah]. 

I told him to follow his heart. I'm so thankful he followed it...right back to where he left me. 

And so, building our life together in Iringa {with Bruce!} began.