I was in the third year of my Psychology undergrad at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; by this time I had made the decision to leave school and move back to Vancouver, a move that was long overdue. Alan was in fourth year of his International Relations undergrad at UBC in Vancouver, and living on-campus as a Residence Advisor. We met through Facebook and started chatting. After a few weeks I was hooked, and regularly stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning chatting with Alan on MSN (remember the days when everyone used MSN?).
Since I was still on my mom’s dental plan, I flew back to Vancouver to have my oh-so-painful wisdom teeth removed. When I arrived in Vancouver on April 13 (Friday the 13th!), I got a message from Alan saying he cancelled a blind date because he would rather finally meet me in person. I hopped in my mom’s car and drove up to UBC for what turned out to be the longest first date ever. Although this was the first time we met face-to-face, it was as if I had known him for years, as if he was an old friend. We watched Blades of Glory in his room, while his friends- who are now some of my nearest and dearest friends – awkwardly looked through the door peephole to try to catch a glimpse of me.
We ended up falling asleep after talking into the wee hours of the morning, and at some point had our first kiss. I had planned to go up to our cabin on Gambier Island with my mom and step-dad, so I invited Alan along with us. After an awkward phone call with my mom, asking if it was alright for me to bring a “friend,” we were in the car on our way to the island. Yes, he met my parents on our first date.
The next week I had my wisdom teeth out, and Alan surprised me, in all my puffy cheek glory, at home with an adorable teddy bear. We saw each other pretty much every day until I returned to Ontario. After a couple more dates I told him I love him; I knew the moment we met but I didn’t want to scare him away, so I waited a couple days! He did not return the sentiment right away, but I wore him down and he said it back a couple days later.
I was returning to Temagami, Ontario to work as a counsellor at Canadian Adventure Camp, a place that had become my second home after eight summers as a camper and three as staff. They were short male counsellors, so on a whim I suggested to Alan that he apply, not thinking twice about it. However, to my surprise we ended up spending the entire summer together in paradise, working our buns off and getting paid far too little, in the best work environment on the planet. I stayed after camp for a month, as part of post-camp cleanup and winter preparation, but Alan and I talked on the phone pretty much every day.
I finally moved back to Vancouver! When I returned, in a moment of insanity, I broke up with Alan; to this day I have no clue why. Two days later I called him to tag along with me to Ikea, and shortly after we were a couple again; shortest relationship break ever.
Our first trip to Mexico together, to my mom’s condo in Puerto Vallarta.
After a few months of living part-time with Alan in his apartment in Point Grey, we officially moved in together into an apartment near Commercial Drive.
Our first summer together in Vancouver: many weekends at Gambier, noodle box picnics at Kits Beach, hiking The Grind and countless good times with friends.
On June 20th, after hiking The Grind and dripping with sweat, I proposed to Alan. It wasn’t a traditional get-down-on-one-knee deal, because I knew Alan wouldn’t like that. Instead, we sat down on a patch of grass at the top of Grouse Mountain, with the magnificent view of the city in front of us, and I very bluntly popped the question. He didn’t think I was serious at first, but as soon as he realized he said yes. Every time we’re retold the story, he’s laughed that he knew it was coming because of how nervous and fidgety I was.
We travelled to Cobourg, Ontario for a very magical Christmas with my Dad, step-mom, sister, step-sister and her family. Trekking through the snow to cut down our christmas tree, making a gingerbread castle, a childhood christmas morning with mountains of presents (most for my niece and nephew) and far too much rum.
Our second trip to Mexico together, this time for almost a month. I flew to Puerto Vallarta first to spend a few days with my mom. The night I arrived, my grandfather, her father, passed away. I am, to this day, so very thankful that I was there with my mom and was the one to tell her when he died; she would have been alone otherwise. After a very long night talking on the phone with family and friends and telling each other stories of Ray, we were on the plane on our way back to Vancouver for the funeral. Alan unfortunately could not change his flight so he ended up flying to Mexico before the funeral and had a couple solitary days before we arrived back in Puerto Vallarta. We still had almost a month there, and it was enough time to convince us to move there. Hiking along the beach, yoga with my mom, far too much tequila and a surprise visit by one of my best friends, Pat, and his family.
We were up at Gambier probably three weekends each month, and spent many afternoons planning the wedding, over gin & tonics with my mom. We spent more time on Gambier that spring than we had the entire previous year. The amount of time we spent on Gambier in the spring was fitting, as that summer we would be getting married on Gambier.
A few month later, as Alan was finishing his teaching practicum and I was finalizing plans as the Parade Director for the Vancouver Pride Parade, the largest single-day event in Vancouver, we were married.
From here began our greatest adventure: The Married Life.