This is the third post in a series of blogs about important people in my life. Settle in with a cup of coffee, because this is a long one.
In September of 1995, I was embarking on a new stage of my life. I had left home, for the first time, and moved to Halifax to start university. Being the introvert that I am, I was pretty nervous about meeting people and being totally out of my familiar environment. I needn’t have worried. Within the first few hours of my arrival at King’s, I had already made a handful of friends.
Recently, through the magic of Facebook, I’ve reconnected with all of my former university roommates, as well as many of the people I went to classes with. It’s been fantastic catching up with everyone and discovering that we are literally scattered all over the world.
But as I mentioned in my previous Ode to Friendship blogs, at each stage of my life, there has been one person who stuck by me through it all. For university, of course, this person is my wonderful husband Andrew.
Andrew and I met on the second day of Frosh Week at King’s. Why the second day? Well, because Andrew was late (a theme that has reoccurred in our relationship ever since). I was sitting in the quad with a few of my new-found friends, when Andrew arrived and started moving in. Being the helpful people that we were, we gave him a hand.
The following night, was the infamous King’s Frosh Week Booze Cruise. Andrew and I talked a lot on the boat, and I remember thinking how cute and funny he was (and that I had better move fast or one of these other hussies would snap him up). From then on we were pretty much inseparable. We had classes together, we ate together, we spent the evenings together and we hung out in the same crowd of people.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve, 1999. Despite the ups and downs of our relationship, we were still together and Andrew had come to Saint John to visit me at my parent’s house. We had supper at The Falls restaurant and during desert the fireworks started over the harbour. The fireworks I was seeing were inside the restaurant as Andrew asked me to marry him.
That spring, Andrew was there to cheer me on as I got my degree in Journalism and International Development Studies (you can see how much I use that degree these days… but that will be another story).
The time had come to move out into the big wide world. We lived in sin for a few months and then on a beautiful May day in 2000, we got married. It was a relatively small service and for various reasons (we had mostly out of town guests who were older and not necessarily the dancing type) we just had a dinner after the ceremony. After the dinner (and speeches by my girls that dissolved me to a bawling wreck) our wedding party and the small group of our friends who attended got changed into comfier clothes and gathered at one of our favourite bars, The Fireside. The wedding itself is a total blur for me (I know all brides say that but it’s true). But I do remember having an absolute ball that night, being married to the man I loved and surrounded by my favourite people.
In 2002, we were getting sick of apartment living and decided it was time to buy our first house. So we found our Stillwater Lake house and moved the four cats to the ‘country.’ It wasn’t too long before we found ourselves with a Saint Bernard as well.
You all know the story of how we ended up here in Belgium (if you don’t then go back and read the rest of CheeseWeb) and now here we are, fast approaching our third year of expat life, our eighth year of married life and our thirteenth year together.
On the surface, Andrew and I are about as opposite as we can be. He’s the math and science geek; I’m the artsy. He’s outgoing; I’m a total introvert. He’s confident; I’m about as insecure as you can get. He’s chronically late; I have to be early for everything. But when it comes to the important things in life, we are very much the same: We both love to travel and explore; we love animals; loyalty to friends and family are important to us; we’d rather spend a quiet evening with friends then go out and party with strangers; and we both support each other as much as we possibly can.
Andrew was there for me when I gave up a good paying job (that was making me physically sick from stress) and went back to school to take photography. He has always supported my decision not to have children. He is the biggest supporter of my art and he knows how to make me feel like the most special person in the world.
Andrew is the most dedicated and giving person I know. He’s a work-a-holic because he strives for perfection at everything he does. He is a natural leader. People respect him because he is smart, honest and trustworthy. But best of all he is my soul mate and he completes my life.
Andrew, Thank you for being you. I love you. Xx