6 years ago today I married my love.
I have posted my version of our love story and would highly encourage you to read it!
In honor of our anniversary I will post "his version" of our story. To make sure no tales are told (and because some things may need a little translating) I will be giving you my commentary in red. I hope you enjoy!
And before I forget - Happy Anniversary Jason! May the next 6 years be only somewhat like the last 6 years. (I'm not going to lie - moving countries, blending families, speaking the same yet different languages - the first couple of years has been really tough and I hope not to repeat some of our mistakes!!)
They say there are two sides to every story, her version and the right one. (already starting off bad! I'm gonna get him!) With this in mind I felt I had to tell the other side of “our story”.
I was a very happy bloke living the single life with not a care in the world. I had my own house, was driving a Porsche and had my Ducati living in the kitchen so it would stay warm and dry in the winter months. (He has always been a bit of a bragger - but I'm not editing him so just bear with it!) I was a successful area manager for a decent sized mortgage broker and loved every part of the life I had, well who wouldn’t. My weeks consisted of working hard and my week-ends (or weekend for us Americans) were spent being a bachelor, hanging out with my friends and family. I played bass in a band so some weekends were spent rockin’ out. (Is this where I should tell you I asked him to get a pedicure with me and as we were sitting in the chairs he told me I was ruining his rock-n-roll image?) Basically life was pretty bloody good and I didn’t need anything or anyone else disrupting the status quo. Funny how both sides are the same at this point.
One Friday evening I was driving home and I called my housemate (roommate to us Americans. Funny how the English are so proper. Jason says "But we never shared a ROOM, we shared a HOUSE) Matt to see what he was doing, he was at home for the evening so I stopped at Asda (a large supermarket, think Walmart) (It's not like Walmart - it is owned by Walmart, so it's Walmart in England) and bought a Pizza and a case of beer, a case being 24 cans. (Does he think we don't know what a case is? Seriously, I may not drink beer but I know how it's sold!) I always did on Fridays but the pizza was bigger if Matt was home and the beer ran out faster. When I got home Matt was playing an online multi-player game, like most nights, and I noticed there were all these pop-ups coming up so I asked him what they were as it was my computer and pop-ups are not usually good. He said they were just people he was talking to, no problem so I went to get me some beer and pizza. The weekend went like any other, meeting mates down the pub, seeing my parents, my sister and niece etc. On Monday I got back from work at around 11pm as usual and Matt was again on the computer playing games and chatting to people all over the world on these pop-ups. He said I should get online and get into some of these chatrooms etc. I thought about it the next day and when I got home the computer was free so I jumped on and checked a couple of places out.
I found a couple of websites and put my basic info in to see what would come back, no photos because people with photos in their websites/profiles are just sadders (??? Jerk!) who try too hard, besides I’m not trying to sell myself I’m just seeing what all the fuss is about that keeps Matt up until all hours of the night. The next day I got online and amazingly there were messages for me, so I flicked through them and deleted a lot but some caught my eye so I sent a couple of messages back to those who weren’t desperate sounding, those who appeared to be online just chatting to people. One I didn’t delete and did reply back to was this girl in America who mentioned her sister a lot, which seemed odd (my sister is my best friend and was the driving force behind me going online) but she wasn’t pretentious or after a husband so she fit the bill and I left her a message. A couple of days later we were both online at the same time so started chatting. More than a couple of hours later I said I had to go as it was late and I told her we could chat if we were on at the same time again.
The next day I didn’t get on as I got home at 11pm and Matt was playing games, but I was trading my Porsche in for another car in the morning so we went out for a last ride in the car, we got it to 155mph which Matt recorded and on the return put the top down but it only got to 136. (More bragging.... Sorry!) We got home and I went to bed and left Matt playing. The next day I got online and there she was, this odd (??? - Jerk!) Yank (??? - I'm from the South! He doesn't get it, South = Southerns, North = Yankees, why is this so difficult? Oh and is this is the place where I tell you we got into an argument one time and he called me a Yank which made me laugh cause, according to him, I was. Was it supposed to be an insult? So I just said, OOKKK Englishman!) who was fun to talk to. Well this went on for a couple of days and that week-end I asked if I could call her, I just had to hear her voice, (OK - that was sweet!) besides I can talk a lot faster than I can type so a 2 hour online chat could probably be done in 20 mins.
On Sunday afternoon I dialed this number and this girl answered who had this cool voice. I know Cassie says the conversation lasted 20 mins but it actually lasted 45 minutes, (I'm sure he's right about this.) I know because I got the bill. The first 20 mins did entail me talking a lot and her just making agreeable sounds, I later found out it took her 20 minutes to begin to start to understand me. There was a lot of going backwards and forwards with the whole “language” thing but only because Americans have decided to rename things and we got onto this whole thing about carts, buggies etc. at the end she told me she had to go as she had tickets to a football game, she meant “American” football not proper football (Oh jeez..... do we really have to get into this right now??) so we ended the call sorting that misnomer out. It actually turned out the game she went to see was the very game one of our national channels was showing that week, so I texted her to let her know the Jacksonville Tigers were being shown on TV in England, she text back it was the Jaguars, that’s how unimportant the game is in England, we don’t even care to get the names of the teams right.
As time went on we spent more time chatting both online and on the phone and I told her I was going to be away the week of Christmas through New Years, she asked where I was going and I told her I wanted to go to either New York, Berlin, Moscow or Cairo. I was in Berlin between the ages of 9 and 12 as my dad was in the RAF and I wanted to see it as a united city from an adults eyes, I have been to Cairo twice and love the place, I always wanted to go to Moscow and New York seemed to be a pretty cool place. She said New York would not be the best place (I LOVE New York - it is always the best place to be EXCEPT New Years. So stinkin busy!!) at that time of year and that Moscow and Berlin would probably be very cold and as I had already seen Cairo why didn’t I think about coming to Florida and she could show me the sights. (to be fair this is sort of the way it went. He suggested maybe he could come to Florida so that's why I said, yes, come on!) The next morning I got online and using my bank account benefits booked a flight to Orlando for Dec 26th, I know Cassie said Dec 27th (I'm pretty sure he's right! I think I got my dates muxed up.) but I remember it was boxing day and the flight was unbelievable cheap for the day after Christmas day. I called her and said “ guess what I’m just about to do. Cassie is not good at guessing games so she said something sarcastic, well as sarcastic as an American can, and I seriously thought about changing the flight to Cairo, but I remembered it was around 5am in Florida so just told her “when I press this button my flight to Orlando is booked” she seemed pretty happy with it so I hit the confirm and that was it, my Christmas holiday 2005 would be spent in Florida.
The next couple of weeks were spent with lots of Transatlantic phone calls, and hours and hours of IM chatting, I saw the sun come up most Saturday and Sunday mornings. Eventually Christmas day came and I spent it with my family as I have done every Christmas day up to that point. My bags were already packed and my dad had said he would drive me to Gatwick airport in the morning. My alarm was set for 5am and dad came to get me at 5:30. I called Cassie just after we left my house and I told her I would see her later that day, remember it was half past midnight for her and I would be on a plane when she was awake the next day (for her) so it was the last time we talked before I would get to see her in person. The drive down was uneventful, boxing day at 6am is not at all busy, and part of my bank account benefits included the first class lounge (More bragging.... will it ever end??) at the airport so I was OK with that. On the plane I was sitting next to an older couple in the row next to the emergency exit but my seat back wouldn’t lock upright so I was moved back a row, it was a three seat row with no other people in it, so again my flight over was spent laying down a lot watching movies and TV programs, all in all very relaxing.
On landing in Orlando I was able to get to the Immigration desk very quickly, as I said the flight was not even half full, and I managed to get through passport control (Immigration and Customs) with no fuss. I picked up my bag and headed for the toilets, sorry bathrooms, to wash my face and brush my teeth. At the other end of the hall is another desk where you can get your bag searched for contraband, I told the guy at the desk I had a present for my “girlfriend” and it was wrapped as I didn’t realize it wasn’t allowed to be, he was very nice and asked me about it, he was convinced it wasn’t anything illegal and after seeing the box, still wrapped, he told me next time to wrap it after I cleared customs. With that I jumped on the train to the main terminal and headed for baggage claim number 2. My bags came and I got them and decided to wait at the carousel so Cassie could find me when she got there, yes she wasn’t waiting for me when I came off the train. After a long time, I’m not sure exactly how long but EVERY passenger on my flight had cleared the airport, I decided to head out to see if Cassie was waiting at the wrong place, she wasn’t. After a while longer I started looking at the posters around the airport and thinking “well at least I can book into a cheap hotel and do the parks”. I went outside and walked down the drop off/pick up lane, nothing so I headed back inside to the carousel to find Cassie…. Still not there. If I had been stood up I was going to be very upset as I could be in Cairo or Moscow, and how easy would it be to get there now? After a couple more minutes I looked down to row of carousels and saw this female walking towards me looking a bit sheepish (what exactly is sheepish?), and more than a bit familiar. I picked up my bags and headed towards her, we stood there not really knowing what to say so I kissed her…..