Have you ever heard that saying "every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite"? Disney can shove it, our story is by far my favourite... and that's not just because I'm a little biased.
Two years ago today I embarked on a huge life adventure. I was on my way to Vancouver, alone, and flying from Dublin to London to Canada. I said a very sad goodbye to my Mother, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, pulled myself away from their hugs and tears, and disappeared beyond the departure gate. I arrived in London and headed to my connecting flight via the underground shuttle linked to terminals. While waiting on the platform I spotted an elderly gentleman asking a guy in a grey t-shirt for help. The young man answered the gentleman's questions and helped him board the shuttle. "Hmmm... He's cute" I thought, but thinking nothing more of it as pre-flight stress took over and the hussle and bussle began. I sat on that plane for a grueling 9 hours unaware that my future boyfriend was little more than a few feet away from me.
Once I arrived in Vancouver I hopped in a taxi and headed for my hostel. When I arrived at the reception desk the guy in the grey t-shirt had beaten me to the hostel and was lined up in front of me. "Hey, you beat me here! That's not fair!" I attempted at banter. He turned to me with a huge smile and teased me for being so slow to arrive. We introduced ourselves, got talking and agreed to meet downstairs in a little while for a drink after we dropped off our bags and freshened up. I... uhm, passed out from jet lag the second I hit the bed. The next morning I headed down for breakfast and spotted Jim eating at a table, typing on his laptop. I was a little embarrassed for leaving him high and dry the night before, even though I knew in a hostel you never have trouble finding new friends or people to talk to, I still felt bad for being so rude and flaky. I pilled food onto my plate and went to sit with Jim. I hesitated, thinking maybe he'd be a little less than enthusiastic about sitting with the person who flaked out on him the first night in Vancouver. I told myself to man up, I was in a new city and didn't have the luxury of whussing out of talking to people for something so silly, especially not this early in. I walked over and asked if I could sit with him. He smiled that big smile, moved over and made space for me to sit in the booth. I got teased a lot for not showing up for the drink (I still do!) but he was very cheery and joyful and didn't seem like he would be the kind to let that sort of thing bother him. I still apologized, though.
That day we got our SIN number, our phones, our banks and other stuff sorted all before noon. We even went viewing apartments. We were on a roll. Jim introduced me to other guys staying in his hostel dorm, they became my friends and I even ended up living with one of them.
As the months went by myself and Jim became close and our friendship grew. We had a lot of drunken adventures and hysterical hi jinx together, and I've the unflattering photos to prove it. But, Jim's stay in Canada had to end as he was heading back to the UK to study. It was tough, I have to admit. Adjusting to Vancouver when he left was very difficult. I couldn't bring myself to go into the place he worked and it took me months to brave our regular sushi place without him. Even the girls in work said I was a different person for a few months when he went back to England. This was when I started to realize I had very, very strong feelings for him. Thankfully we kept in contact, a lot. We still called, emailed and text each other pretty much daily. A very rare day went by where there wasn't some sort of in-joke passed between us through some form of technology. Our chats became more and more frequent and admission of feelings started to surface. My birthday rolled around and I woke up to over 40 messages he had sent me while I was sleeping containing little things about me he liked followed by a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me when I got home from work with the sweetest note attached. How could I not fall head over heels for this guy? Despite being 4000 miles away the amount of effort he was putting in was impressive, to say the least.
I was returning home to Ireland for a visit last January and decided to head over to Jim for a stay. How could I not? Despite his hectic study schedule he booked flights over to see me in Ireland too, just so we could get some more time together. We managed to spend the 20th of January together, again. This time a little bit more than the friends we had been when we first met.
Having to leave him for the second time was just as tough. I cried. I don't cry that often, and I admit to it even less, but before getting on that bus to go to the airport I simply couldn't hold it in. He wiped away a tear, told me he loved me and hugged me so tight. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
We kept communicating more than was probably healthy at the time, seeing as neither of us knew when we'd see each other again. But eventually, in a roundabout way I decided to move to England and Jim asked me to move in with him. His offer was met with a "HELL FUCKING YES!!!". I packed up my life in Vancouver and headed back across the pond to start a new chapter in England, with my Jim.
We've decided to make 20th January our anniversary, as we can't really pin point the exact time our relationship began. We were a couple who weren't a couple for so long with so much distance between us it's hard to tell when it all actually started, so we decided to use the date we first met.
Despite living so far away from each other, somehow this is the third 20th January we've managed to spend together.
I can't put into words how happy I am everyday I'm with him. I feel loved and safe and happy. He is the sweetest, most caring guy I have ever met and I'm blown away everyday by the effort he puts in to make me smile. He's my nerd. I love him.
Happy anniversary, Jim.
I love you with all my heart :)