"Hello?" "Hi, this is Tyler. I was wondering if I could stop by and talk to you for a minute." I looked at the clock, 12:30 AM. "Sure, I'll see you in a bit." We met 3 years ago, and frankly, it simply didn't work out. But, there he was, my future husband, walking down my driveway on a warm summer night in August 2010. Why there was a difference in him now compared to three years ago? I don't have the answer, yet there he was; tall, blonde wavy hair, cowboy boots, wranglers and a button-up shirt and those blue eyes! All on top of his intense nervousness that showed all too well. For the first time, he was such a hunk! We hadn't even gone out for two years. In fact, he had a girlfriend. It didn't stop him from coming over. He had nothing to lose and attempted, one last time, to win me over before he left to spend a year in South Africa...
"You're the WOMAN I would like to
hitch up a double harness
and trot through LIFE TOGETHER with"
...I could only take what he said in one way. He wanted to marry me. I stayed in his mind for three years and "was the girl he compared every other girl to." Whoa, now what. Fortunately, I wasn't otherwise engaged and thought, "Alright! I'll give this guy one last shot." And so it began. (I should have smacked him one then and there. It would have been our first kiss.)
Long distance, online dating. Yep! I never thought I'd get that experience. Let me tell you, it works! We completely memorized each others schedules, on opposite sides of the world, from sun-up to sun-down, and knew exactly when to call or hop online and type away on that well known social network, FACEBOOK. It was exhausting and never ending. Suddenly, I think we felt we didn't have one moment to lose.
After two months we found ourselves discussing marriage. He invited me to come to South Africa for one month to see if it would work out between us. I agreed, only to find myself in a grove of trees taking bridal pictures a month before I had to leave. As scared as I was, I knew I was going to marry this man clear across the ocean on the other side of the world. On October 26th, I packed my bags, grabbed our rings, and waved good-bye to my Mom and Dad as I walked through security. (Meanwhile in South Africa, Tyler is hardly sleeping). I remember flying to New York completely excited for the adventure, but after my 12-hour layover reality hit, and I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. But, board the plane I did and off to Johannesburg, South Africa.
There he was! Goodness to gosh did I have the butterflies. And, of course, I had to step on his foot when I gave him a hug (our first hug). Awkward, but livable. I grabbed my big bouquet of flowers and off we went to Elandslaagte. We were able to get through our first kiss, our first time holding hands, and our first time snuggling. Good thing there was that "physical" connection! Whew!
Two weeks later he proposed on an African Safari in front of a beautiful waterfall. We were surrounded by tourists who couldn't resist happily snapping pictures. We were a hit! The day was a success and two weeks after we were married in the Johannesburg South African LDS Temple....
...And that is where we hitched our double harness and began trotting through life together. After 6 1/2 months in South Africa our wagon has never stopped moving. Our list of adventures continues to grow; some welcomed and some not. But, either way we make the best of what life hands to us, making sure our wagon wheels never fall off.