Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13.

us in the early days

A very important date. A date on which my life changed forever, in a really, really good way. Three years ago exactly, on October 13, 2007, I had my first date with Dan :)

This is a story I've been meaning to tell for a looong time, but have just never gotten around to writing it down. So I figured, what better day to do that than today? On our three year "anniversary." Soooo (deep breath, this is gonna be a long one), here goes.

It all started with a lonely, mopey girl in New York (me) and a dashingly handsome (but also little bit lonely) boy in Virginia (Dan). My NYC roommate/sista had urged me to try online dating when I first moved in with her, and determined not to waste my time in New York being lonely and mopey (and also because she was a pretty persuasive roomie), I signed up. And proceeded to go on a series of mediocre, sometimes wildly uncomfortable, dates all around New York City. It should also be mentioned that I hadn't dated much AT ALL prior to this. A few dates here and there over the years, and then one quite serious relationship that ended unexpectedly, leaving me heartbroken and lost (that relationship, unfortunately and unhealthily, kept resurfacing, even throughout my time in New York, and, in the very end, left me & my fragile heart in a heaping pile of wreckage)(not to be dramatic or anything). So. Dating, in a nutshell, scared me. And excited me a little, too, because I knew it was time. Time to move on, time to grow up, time to live life.

Sometimes it was fun, but mostly it just felt like a lot of work and I am not a fan of awkwardness (there's a lot of that happening in the land of dating). But I trudged through anyhow, knowing it was a "good for me" and "part of my process" and all that jazz.

A year or so into it, after only a handful of dates and lots of mixed feelings about the whole thing, I got a message from a boy in Virginia during the summer of '07. I thought he was super-cute, but also thought to myself, eh, he's in Virginia. What could come of that? (I should also mention that he lived in the same area where I grew up, and just a few minutes away from where my family currently lived. weird).

I wrote him back, curious as to how he found me, and he told me that he had typed Blue Like Jazz into Match's search engine, and voila, there I was. (Blue Like Jazz was a book that was quite meaningful to Dan, and was listed on my profile as one of my favorites. He felt like if someone "got" this book, spiritually speaking, like he got it, it would be a good indicator of compatibility, of being on the same page not only spiritually but in regards to living life outside the box, a life full of adventure and hope and faith and love).*

Despite the good impression he made, I was a little lazy about keeping up the correspondence initially (as was he, honestly). We were both intrigued but neither one of us thought you could realistically build something from the ground up long-distance. The turning point came that August. He reached out to me again after a stretch of silence and sent this wonderful email that I remember having so much fun reading and responding to. Thus began a flurry of email activity. The more emails that went back & forth, the more we realized how much we had in common, even down to specifics, such as: having the same dream of living on a sailboat one day.

As summer moved into Fall, the more intrigued I became.

He told me he would be in New York in October for a one-night layover after his trip to Europe (which he was going on solo...just for fun. kind of guy :) but first we decided to talk on the phone before meeting. You know, so I could make sure that he wasn't crazy or socially awkward or a 75-year-old man, or something. The phone call, which turned into several more calls before he left for his trip, was just as great as the email exchanges, and so we agreed to meet. On Saturday, October 13, 2007.

The weather was perfect that day -- crisp and Fall-like -- and the date prep went fairly smoothly, aside from a few minor setbacks (i.e.: he called to say that he had arrived to the city early, which sent me into a tailspin of panic and squeals (I wasn't quite ready), running around the apartment like a crazyperson, which then caused me to somehow catch my foot on a small large sliver of wood from the floor boards, sending me crashing to the floor in pain with a very loud, ungraceful thump, all of which my roommate watched unfold in a 5 second span, completely dumbfounded)...other than that setback, things went off without a hitch :)

We met in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt near Grand Central Station, and my first words to him were "in the flesh" as he pulled me in for a hug. I was so nervous. What if our chemistry didn't translate? What if he looked nothing like his pictures? (it did and he did, only better :) I loosened up as we walked and talked, his calming/kind/sweet presence immediately putting me at ease, making me feel safe. We strolled through Bryant Park and I pointed out my office building. We dodged tourists in Times Square and he told me about his trip. We drank coffee at Juan Valdez then hopped a train to the Village, all the while talking, sharing, laughing. Dinner was at Da Andrea on Hudson Street, and though I don't clearly remember our conversation over dinner, I do remember being so taken with him, impressed by his humble, quiet confidence (imagine being with someone who knows who they are! ahh, so refreshing).

We finished dinner, but didn't want the date to end, so we headed up to my 'hood, the Upper East Side, for ice cream and then eventually the piano bar, one of my favorite-ist places in all of New York. We sang and we laughed and I stole glances at his cute face, thinking: yep, he's a keeper. As the night wore on, the safer and happier I felt. I knew that this could be something. Which terrified and excited me at the same time.

We ended the night on my rooftop, me playing songs for him on my guitar (at his request) and talking into the wee hours of morning. We finally said goodnight around 3 a.m. (a 9 hour first date!), and I don't think I slept a wink that night.

From that moment on, it was so...easy. So refreshingly easy. Never was there one single game played, no emotions toyed with, no guessing. He called me when he said he would call. He said that he wanted to see me again, and so he did, booking himself a hotel room, taking me out on lovely, proper dates. And that was it. We never looked back. Soon we were hopping on trains and buses every weekend to see each other. And it just grew. So easily, so naturally. Amazingly drama-free (which was something we both desperately needed after being jerked around by other people a few too many times in the past).

One year and one month later, engagement. 10 months after that, wedding. And the rest is history.

Looking back on all of this, I am so thankful. Thankful that I was able to reach way down within myself to pull out that one small shred of bravery needed to step out of my comfort zone and into the world of online dating (which I shamelessly plug to anyone & everyone now!). And thankful for Dan, who has taken care of my heart so sweetly, so lovingly, since day 1. It's been one amazing journey. Happy three year anniversary, DB!

*We actually got a chance to meet Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, at a book signing last year, and shared our story with him. Very cool moment.


Anonymous said...

Baby - THANKS for capturing all of this! Love you...!

Becky said...

what a great story KT :) online dating rocks!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your blog when I Googled pictures of NYC at Christmas. BTW,they were beautiful pictures! I had the amazing opportunity to go to NYC last year in November and I fell in LOVE with the city. I never would have thought that a girl from little El Paso TX would fall in love with NYC (Now I can't wait to go back). Then I read you blog about how you met your husband. It seriously moved me. I also met my husband on-line, and he grew up in the same neighborhood I did. I wish you both all the love and happiness you can possibly have. From a Stranger in TX and a hopeless romantic. :)

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