The Next Chapter: Pt 1- Florida

On Friday May 31st, 2013 my life changed forever.  I flew to Ft. Lauderdale with the intention of visiting Erik as always, but this time it was different.  This time, once he picked me up, it would mark the closing of our year and a half (though we’ve been talking daily for two years, so even though we weren’t “official”, it was still a relationship) long distance relationship.  When he picked me up from the airport we would start our lives together as an engaged and soon to be married couple, living in the same state,  not solely communicating via cell phone and webcam.

Not only is closing the distance in a long distance relationship a huge event, but my trip to Florida also marked my leaving home for good.  This move marks my official “move out of my parent’s house” to be on my own.  Throw starting new jobs and planning a wedding in 7 months on top of that and you have one giant whirlwind of change circling around me faster than I can comprehend.  Erik is going through the same thing in a different way.  While this isn’t his move from home, this is him leaving a well paying job to enter the world of the unemployed MBA grad students for the next two years.  We must be crazy to do all of this at once, but it will be an amazing adventure.

Florida

Once Erik picked me up from the airport (long distance: Done!!) we went straight to a bar to meet up with a few of his friends to say our goodbyes.  Given the fact I’ve only been to Florida a handful of times in our relationship I am happy to say I have become friends with several of Erik’s close friends.  We spent some time out with friends, and returned home to rest up for the insanity that would happen over the next week or two.

Saturday was spent packing up the rest of Erik’s apartment.  It felt vaguely familiar, as I was doing the exact same thing in Chicago the previous week.  I learned that boys apartments can get pretty grimy :-p  We spent the day running errands, packing up boxes and singing to some Broadway soundtracks (yeah, I’m marrying the right man) and then went to his parent’s house for the evening.  To top of the long to do list we had his Grandmother’s 80th birthday party to go to and an engagement photo shoot to get done.

Grandmother’s party was on Sunday (6/2).  We went to the venue and set up before church, went to his parent’s church for worship, then back to the venue we went.  The party was a huge success.  There were tons of people there.  It was very clear to me how loved Grandmother is, and it was no surprise.  She has been so welcoming to me since the first time Erik brought me to meet his family, and she has told me she already considers me one of her grandchildren.  It was a joy and honor to be able to be there to celebrate this amazing woman.  Special shout out to my MIL-to-be for putting together the amazing party 🙂

As the party was winding down Erik and I made an escape to get ready for our photo shoot.  We were meeting the photographer in a park that had everything: trees, a pier, and a little patch of nice sandy beach.  Our photographer, Erica, was wonderful!  I’m horrible at everything when it comes to taking pictures.  I have no vision for photographic concepts and backgrounds, I blink every other picture (at least), and I’m all sorts of self conscious about my crooked smile.  Erica was great at making us feel really at home and comfortable.  It was very easy for Erik and I to get wrapped up in our moments with each other and just let the shooting happen.  I love photos where you don’t just stand and smile for the camera.  She had us holding hands and walking, sitting looking out in the distance, looking at each other, etc.  Her favorite thing to do to us was to give us the “lean in like you’re going to kiss, but don’t” direction, so we’d have to sit there and tease each other until she said “okay” and when we were just starting to enjoy our moment: “okay moving on.”  It was frustrating, but amusing.  After seeing only two of the photos I am dying to see what the rest of these pictures look like.  I feel like they really captured us as a couple rather than a couple trying to pose for pictures.  Click here to see more of her wonderful work.

Monday was a busy day as well.  We went to the jewelry store where Erik spent a very decent amount of time (and money) with my engagement ring so I could look at wedding bands, and we ended up walking out with mine purchased. Then we met up with Grandmother and Grandfather for lunch at a nice place down on the marina.  We could see all of the boats as I tried my first plate of Mahi.  It was a delicious piece of fish, and when I went on the Weight Watchers app to look at the stats I was satisfied to learn that it’s a low point fish as well.  Double win.  After lunch we went over to this little store that was turned into a museum where I learned a bit more about the town he grew up in and just how important his family has been to the growth of the place.  That was a fun little discovery.  Next we went over to his parents’ church to have a talk with the pastor and inquire about pre-marital counseling.  As I was talking to the pastor about my history with my faith and such, Erik informed me that he liked listening to me talk about it because he learned some things he didn’t know.  It’s always fun to learn new things about each other.  We then headed back to Erik’s apartment for the final preparations of getting all moved out.

Tuesday was a blur of more packing, returning devices to to the cable company, cleaning and more packing.  The next day was the start of moving “day.”  We got our Uhaul and the movers came and loaded everything in the apartment up for us (less work for us!).  The apartment was finally clean and empty, so we inspected it and left.  I got to try my hand at driving Erik’s BMW.  Compared to my Ford Fiesta that BMW is a bit of a workout for my weak arms.  I think I’ll leave the sports car type driving to him from now on.  After a long hour of problems back at the Uhaul store getting the car trailer hooked up, we were finally on our way back to his parents house.   I felt gross  and covered in apartment grime, hungry for something to eat other than granola bars, and really tired.  We still had to drive to the hangar where Erik’s dad keeps his plane to unload the washer and dryer.  After that we FINALLY got to the house so I could shower and feel like a real human again. 🙂

Erik’s friends (my friends too, i guess :-p) Amanda and Milan came up to join us for a late dinner to send us off.  Erik’s brother and sister-in-law also came to see us.  Milan bought us some great engagemet/moving gifts: A book about the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill triangle talking about what’s around here (which I still haven’t had time to read through), bridal magazines, and two “workbooks”/game books of “Do you know your Bride/Groom?”  They were very thoughtful gifts.  Thank you!!  Thanks to Erik’s parents watching the baby, us “kids” got to go out for a baby free (If you haven’t figured it out, Erik’s brother and sister-in-law are the ones with the baby) for a nice time together. It was a really nice way to spend our last day in Florida.

By the time we got home we were completely exhausted, and thanks to the weather report, we decided an early start to North Carolina was the way to go.  Off to bed we went with full tummies and warm hearts, knowing that the next day was yet another step to this new chapter in our lives.

 

 

To be continued…..

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