Monday, July 15, 2013

Etta James said it best.

Well, sang it best, I guess: "At last, my love has come along. My lonely days are over and life is like a song. Oh yeah, at last!" Ironically, the title of my last post (way back in May of 2011!) was "I'm in love." But of course, it wasn't about being in love with a human. I was jabbing at my own sad state of continued singledom whilst talking about my new-found obsession with an e-reader. And now here I am, two years and a few months later, finally getting to say that I really truly am in love... with a human. Who I just married four short weeks ago. A real, live man who I adore with all that I am. He saved me from that sad state I was in and has made life so happy and bright. So this little post is dedicated to him - Mr. Derek Staples, breaker of my walls and winner of my heart.

Let's rewind back to October of 2011. If I was a faithful blogger, you would have found a post about me being laid off from the job I was so thrilled to return to after Ukraine. But apparently life kind of went downhill for me after I fell in love with my Nook in May and I completely fell out of the blogger sphere. Anyway, it was a very unexpected lay-off. Things were good at work - I was just getting the hang of things and feeling like I'd found my niche and then BAM! I was dropped like a hot tamale. Thankfully, I was only unemployed for a month before I found a new job, but I tell you what, that month was one of the most depressing and stressful of my entire life and it totally left it's mark. It was around that time that I decided that I may be working and providing for myself for the rest of my life. I decided that I may never get married and may never have children, so I better find a way to make life work without all that. When I started that new job, I was so grateful for income and a way to take care of myself but I was also so confused - I had ZERO experience in that field and I was getting paid about 11K more per year than the job I had been canned from. But I didn't question it - I took off running with it and before long I was on the clock and in my own little cubicle.

Fast forward past another round of very lonely holidays to January - a month that seemed completely insignificant at that point - and enter Derek into my life. I remember the first time I met him. I remember the first thoughts I had and the way he looked and the way our mutual friend Dorean introduced us. As it turns out, the only open cubicle was right next to mine. Coincidence? I think not (it only took me a year and a half to realize it). This meant we had tons of time to talk and get to know each other and it was in those long days at that in-betweener job that Derek and I connected. He had left life in Idaho to pursue new horizons in Arizona. He had been through the wringer himself with schooling, a horrible car accident, a couple bad relationships, etc., and was seeking something new and different. I learned all about these things and I learned that Derek was a wide open book. I learned about his family - his twin sister, his other sisters. I learned about his up-turned proposal to a girl he once loved. I learned about his goals and dreams. And I learned that he liked me. Me, the sad and somewhat cynical wanderer girl - he liked my incredible whit and fashion sense (right honey? ;)). And looking back, I felt the exact same way about him, I was just so guarded and insecure that I didn't (couldn't) realize it.

But time went on and Derek asked me out a couple times, he hung out with me and my friends nearly every weekend, and I decided I liked having Derek as my "person." He was my go-to and we spent so much time together, I couldn't help but be completely comfortable with him. In fact, we were essentially dating, sans the kissing and hand-holding and other things that come along with a committed relationship. But finally in September, I gave in to my best friend's constant prodding to give Derek a shot and I kissed him (let it be known that I went 90% that night...). It really was thanks to his patience and persuasion though that made some of my very high walls come crashing down. And boy howdy, we had a pretty passionate first kiss(es). He left at an undisclosed hour and I couldn't believe what had just happened but could not stop thinking about him all the next day. And the next day, and the next.... until we met again and had more kisses and more conversation. Derek, being the open book that he is, told me not too long after our first kiss that he had a future planned and that I was in it. To which I inwardly gulped but outwardly played totally cool. I wasn't nearly as sure as he was about the future and was a complete roller coaster for several of the months we dated until I finally made the firm decision that I wanted to be with Derek forever. I never wanted him out of my life. And it was at the very moment of that decision that all my insecurities and anxieties about the future completely melted away. I have never been happier or more excited than I was the night I told Derek I wanted to marry him. And I have never felt so much love for someone as I have everyday since I made that decision. I finally understood what people meant when they said that they loved someone more and more each day. There hasn't been a day since then that I haven't felt this way about Derek. I ask regularly in my prayers that I will never forget the way I feel now - the way I felt when I decided to marry Derek - and that if ever times get tough, I will be reminded of that feeling. Because it was completely undeniable and felt so good.

All this to say that I am SO happy. Blissfully happy, really. Sure, there are the normal financial frustrations that I'm not sure will ever go away, but as far as my love for Derek is concerned, I am over the moon. The even better thought is his love for me - it's amazing what someone's love can do to a person. It's changed everything for me. And it's great. It really is so great...

Derek wrote the most lovely vows that he read to me at our (incredibly beautiful) wedding reception last month. I on the other hand, didn't write anything down. Which means when it was my turn to stand at the microphone and say some vowish type words, they all escaped my previously put-together thoughts. So instead, I blubberingly cried, said a few random things, and finally introduced my two lovely friends who I had asked to sing my favorite Jewel song for Derek (which turned out to be the most beautiful thing, as you can hear for yourself). Because I have a hard time verbalizing feelings, especially those close to my heart, I wanted the lyrics of the song to be my vows for the most part. But after Derek's adorable vows and my grease-fire of a speech, I just want to say here what I couldn't put into words very well on our wedding day. So honey, this is for you:

For a long time I didn't think it was possible to be loved, truly loved, by anyone other than a family member or friend. As Jewel says in your song, "I had never known the fruit which fed the soul." But when I met you and finally realized that I loved you, and most importantly when I realized I wanted you here with me for all the rest of my days, I finally knew what it meant to love and be loved. And it's the most incredible feeling. You make me want to do better. You make me laugh. So hard. You are so quirky that I can't help but smile, all the time. I've said it a million times before, but I'm so grateful for your patience and your faith in me. I love that you sing "She's my dear, my darling one" to me all the time. I love your tender heart. I love your honesty. I'm grateful for your worthiness to go to the temple with me. I love that you think I am worth it. I love that you have dreams and that your glass is always (always) half-full. I love your desire to communicate. I love that you want to have a family with me and that you truly believe that we will have the most beautiful babies ever. I love that you take into consideration my feelings and thoughts and opinions. Your love has taken me to the moon and back. You are super manly but very sensitive at the same time, and I'm pretty sure that's hard to come by. So I'm grateful for that. I know now that our meeting was no coincidence. It's so easy to see that now, even though you had a taste of that from the get-go. I want to have your face in my hands for the rest of forever. You are where I have made my home and I will go wherever you go. Thank you for loving me so sweetly and for waiting for me to come around. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and June 19, 2013 truly was the best. day. ever.  I so look forward to what lies ahead, because with you, it will no doubt be an adventure at every turn! I loved you yesterday, I love you still. I always have, I always will.

If anyone other than Derek is still reading this, I commend you for your ability to stay focused for long periods of time. I tend to be very long winded, as is evident in just about every blog post I have ever written. My initial intent in writing this post was to bring my gypsy-girl blog to a close. I thought for sure that once I found someone and "settled down," I'd have no need for a blog about being a gypsy anymore. But as it turns out, Derek is a wanderer at heart as well, so this is just the beginning of a lifetime of stories about our adventures together, I am sure. In fact, we are already making plans for where we want to go next. We are one step away from throwing a dart at a map, packing up and heading in that direction. But we realize we have to be somewhat responsible in our future plans, but are nevertheless excited for a change. I love that I married someone who yearns for change and adventure as much as I do! It makes the future that much more exciting.

So.... I guess I'll keep the blog. It will just need a little revamping as to include my wanderer-at-heart spouse now too. Stay tuned - maybe I'll post again before two years pass by!

And Derek, I love you. So much. Did I already mention that? ;) Here's to many (many) more adventures together!