I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.
14 years of togetherness
This week I'm just loving and celebrating....us. That is the 2 original M's in the MNM's.
We started dating 14 years ago this month, working together first as colleagues in the Museum Hotel in Wellington. It was my first real job out after completing a Japanese degree at university and it was Mark's work experience gap year during the 4-year travel management degree he was studying at Brighton University in Eastbourne, England.
Funnily enough, we worked together for nearly six months before deciding that we were in fact meant to be together forever. The timing wasn't great on our part since our true love was declared pretty late in the piece - only 2 weeks before Mark was due to go back home to England!
Nevertheless, we decided we would give the long distance thing a go. Seven months of weekly phone calls lasting anywhere up to four hours, many emails and the odd package traversed the 12,000 miles between us. Then Mark made a last minute trip back to NZ to join in a campervan trip with me and my whole family around the South Island - talk about an initiation by fire - but he survived and luckily so did our relationship. Apart from the stunning scenery that was the backdrop for our young love, some of the funniest memories I have of this trip are:
- Mark being stung by a rogue wasp in the neck while in a Four Square dairy in Queenstown, and his slight panic attack that followed requiring us to find a doctor pronto for some antihistamine that I think was as much due to the panic attack as it was due to his allergic reaction
- The said antihistamine giving Mark a very 'high-on-life' experience whilst blitzing the rest of us at moonlight mini-golf in Queenstown
- After doing The Ledge bungy myself traditionally feet first, seeing Mark do it 'Superman style' around the waist straight afterwards and yelling all kinds of obscenities in the earshot of my parents - it's called how to really impress your future parents-in-law
- Mark chipping his tooth quite badly biting down on a fork - I should have taken this as a sign there and then and made him sign a prenuptial agreement disavowing all responsibility for those teeth - we've been at the dentist constantly ever since haven't we honey! I think we are up to 5 or 6 root canals and counting *sigh*
After this memorable trip, my OE to the UK followed soon after. After a couple of idyllic months at Mark's parents place, I had to go to London on my own once I secured a job, whilst Mark went back to university to complete his final year down on the coast in Eastbourne. Most weekends one of us would make the 2-hour train journey to spend the weekend together.
Seeing Mark graduate and knowing we wouldn't have to do the long distance thing any more was a sweet, sweet feeling after nearly 2 years of long distance relationship. We found a flat not far from Wimbledon with other Antipodeans and lived there with various flatmates while enjoying being Londoners and travelling to Greece, Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and the Maldives on different occasions.
But my heart was very much firmly set on returning to a life in NZ. And after three years in England and with my visa expiring, we relocated to Wellington. We made our home here. Made our vows here. Made our children here.
And in that ten years since we arrived back, we've grown our love. Mind you, we've also grown some wrinkles and grey hair to go with it too!
The other day I heard, for the first time in absolutely ages, the song that played as our Wedding March eight years ago. A song by Nitin Sawhney called Immigrant. It got me all nostalgic and thinking again about the amazing (but seriously crazy weather) day that still gets people reminiscing about THAT day. Of the 160 km/hr winds, a landslide that caused a traffic jam for hours, a marquee that nearly blew away, and various other minor but funny disasters that we had to overcome to even make it up the aisle and say 'I do'.
And here's a little something I put together to the beautiful song from our day Immigrant. Part way through you can see just how crazy strong the wind was, but not stronger than our love!
So today I'm simply loving our love story...I know I'm biased but I think it's a goodie. A story of love overcoming the vast distance between our two lives and of two souls who were determined to be together.
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