Our Ten Year Anniversary

By - May 6, 2010 (Updated: November 24, 2014)

Where we're happiest, on the road

Where we’re happiest, on the road

Today, Andrew and I celebrate our 10th anniversary. It’s pretty incredible to think how far we’ve come in 10 years of marriage and 15 years together.

The story of us

For those of you who don’t already know, Andrew and I met at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I moved to Halifax to study journalism and Andrew was taking history. We were both enrolled in the Foundation Year Programme at Kings – better known as The History of Dead White Guys.

First Year of University

First Year of University

Andrew showed up on the second day of Frosh week (which I should have seen as a warning sign of the famous Matheson tardy gene.) We became friends right away, which is always an easy thing to do with Andrew. He is the most open and forward person I have ever met; Quite the opposite of my tendency to hide in the corner.

Four years of university flew by. I graduated from Journalism with combined honours in International Development studies (and now I blog and take pretty pictures for a living… I know.) Andrew changed his major to Computer Science and was already working full-time.  Although there were some bumps along the road, I also graduated with an engagement ring on my finger.

Meeting Andrew, you may not guess that he has a flare for the dramatic, but he’s full of surprises. In 1999, my final year of university, I went home to Saint John to spend Christmas with my family. Andrew came to visit for New Year’s Eve. We went to a restaurant that overlooked the harbour. While the fireworks were exploding over the bay, Andrew pulled out a ring and proposed.

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten Years Ago Today

We decided to get married in May of 2000 and on a beautiful sunny spring day, we said “I do,” in front of our families and friends. Even then I had no inkling of what would lay ahead 10 years later.

Wedded Bliss

Right from the start, I was pretty upfront about not wanting a normal life, although I’ll admit that like most young people I had no idea what I actually wanted. Even back then, I was pretty sure that having kids wasn’t in my future. I wasn’t interested in the huge house with the white picket fence and I had no interest in buying an SUV or a minivan. I also knew that I wanted to travel. I just didn’t know then how much that would come to rule our lives.

We started our travel adventures early. In my final year of university, Andrew bought a car. We spent our weekends exploring Nova Scotia and the rest of the Maritime Provinces. Sometimes we would pull out a map and pick a random place (usually one with a funny name). Other times we would just get in the car and pick roads to see where they went. Our passion for mystery drives was born.

Our Pennsylvania Honeymoon

Our Pennsylvania Honeymoon

Our honeymoon was a bit unconventional too. We decided to take a road trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country where we camped in a tiny tent and explored the countryside.

A year after we were married, we bought a house and got a dog. We weren’t even conventional about that. Our house was old and quirky and we loved it. Our dog was big and drooly and we loved him. Add to the mix the 4 cats we had acquired along the way and we were one big, happy, (furry) family.

Europe or bust

That same year we decided to make our first trip to Europe. Like most first-timers, we wanted to see everything and we had no idea where to start. We decided to do a 16 day bus tour with Contiki and man what a 16 days it was. We went to London, Amsterdam, Paris, Avignon, Nice, Monaco, Rome, Venice, Lucerne, Lyon and the Rhine Valley. We ate, we drank, we walked, we sang Karaoke, we saw everything we could and we slept very little. It was incredible. And I will never do it again.

Early days in Amsterdam

Early days in Amsterdam

But that was it – the start of the infatuation with Europe. Not long after, Andrew was sent to The Netherlands for work. The second time, he took me. It was love at first sight. When the opportunity came up to move to Amsterdam for 3 months, we pounced.

It was expat life with a safety net. Our expenses were all paid and we had our house to go back to at the end of it. I loved it. We explored the Netherlands as much as we could and we travelled to other places in Europe as well. As soon as it was over we were planning how to go back.

The rest is the history of CheeseWeb. A year to the day, we were flying back to Amsterdam with 4 cats and 4 suitcases in cargo. This time there was no safety net and no house to go back to. It was the most terrifying thing I had ever done but I was doing it with my best friend.

Five years later and we have spent half of our married life as expats. It has been hard. It has tested us and tested our marriage. We’ve both changed and grown so much it’s almost amazing that this life has brought us even closer together. We are both more in touch with who we really are and what we really want out of life. It still doesn’t include picket fences and minivans.

Opposites Attract

15 years later he still makes me laugh

15 years later he still makes me laugh

We spend a ridiculous amount of time together, especially for two such opposite people. Andrew is analytical and technical while I function on gut feelings. I wear my heart on my sleeve while Andrew turns his emotions inward. Andrew is fearless and I’m afraid of everything. I’m organized to the point of obsession and Andrew would lose his arm if it wasn’t attached. But at the end of the day we make a great team. We balance each other. Despite our difference we have the same passion for exploration and discovery. We see the world through totally different eyes, but we both want to see more of the world.

Andrew is my strength. He pushes me when I’m too afraid to push myself. He is my stability when my emotions are running rampant. He is my sense of humour when I worry too much. Most of all he is my best friend, my partner on this amazing expat journey and the love of my life.

I have no idea where the next 10 years will take us but I wouldn’t want to spend it with anyone else.

On the way to Belgium (taken by the fabulous Sue Mills)

On the way to Belgium (taken by the fabulous Sue Mills)

Happy Ten Year Anniversary to my best friend and love, Andrew. XXX

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Our Ten Year Anniversary | CheeseWeb --

  2. Comment by Amy

    Amy May 6, 2010 at 13:25

    Happy Anniversary! What a sweet post. It made me tear up a little, even though I don’t actually know you two. 🙂 Hope you do something fun to celebrate this weekend.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 13:46

      Aw, thanks so much Amy! We’ll be celebrating with friends which is always a great thing 🙂

  3. Comment by Gilbert

    Gilbert May 6, 2010 at 13:42

    Happy anniversary guys.

    Loving that Flock of Seagulls haircut from university Andrew

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 13:47

      Lol, Thanks Gilbert! I don’t kow who had worse hair… at least we were skinny then 🙂

  4. Comment by Carolyn

    Carolyn May 6, 2010 at 13:45

    What a beautiful post — Happy 10th Anniversary! Great photos, too.

    Cheers and best wishes for a happy and healthy future together. And happy travels!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 13:48

      Thanks so much Carolyn!

  5. Comment by Charlie's Tribe

    Charlie's Tribe May 6, 2010 at 14:05

    Happy anniversary! You’ve had such an amazing 10 years. Long may they continue!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 14:11

      Thanks guys! It’s been a great trip so far 🙂

  6. Comment by Jana

    Jana May 6, 2010 at 14:37

    Love your story! Happy 10th Anniversary!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 14:50

      Thanks Jana!

  7. Comment by Andrew

    Andrew May 6, 2010 at 15:01

    Thank-you my love! I was just thinking about how we’ve spent over half our married life as expats and really how much that challenged us both personally and as partners. Your summary of our journey together really makes it sound like we’ve had quite an adventure! I think we’ve spent a lot of our past few years thinking about where we are going next, it’s nice to take a moment to reflect back. Thank-you for your support, patience, and acceptance of my foibles over the years. I love you lots, always and forever!


    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 15:11

      You’re right, it is fun to look back. Lately we’ve been focused so much on ‘the next thing’, it’s nice to see the progress we’ve made. With all of the great comments here and on FB it’s nice to see how many wonderful friends we’ve had to help us on our journey too 🙂

      I love you, foibles and all 🙂

  8. Comment by Megan

    Megan May 6, 2010 at 15:05

    Congratulations, guys!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 15:11

      Thanks Meg! You guys beat us too it 😉

  9. Comment by Laura

    Laura May 6, 2010 at 17:02

    Congratulations! You look like such a happy couple.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 17:17

      Thanks Laura! We definitely try 🙂

  10. Comment by Louise

    Louise May 6, 2010 at 17:22

    What a wonderful love story!! Congrats to both of you from the one part of another and soon 10-years-of-a-great-marriage-and-half-of-it-spent-as-expats couple.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 20:10

      Thanks Louise! You guys too eh? We should start a club 🙂

  11. Comment by pugwash pops

    pugwash pops May 6, 2010 at 18:21

    Congratulations to a wonderful couple … it’s been fun to be able to join in on the adventure from time to time, thanks for that! … may the adventure continue and always be fun … lot of love … PP

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 20:10

      Thanks! It was great to have you guys be part of the adventure and hopefully you can again soon!

  12. Comment by Mom

    Mom May 6, 2010 at 18:31

    Can’t believe that it has been 10 years,already. Congratulations and love to you both, you make a great team. Hugs, Mom

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 6, 2010 at 20:16

      Me neither. Thanks Mom! I think we make a great team too 🙂

  13. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler May 7, 2010 at 03:20

    Awe…. how sweet… What a great story. I knew most of the story on cheeseweb since I’ve been a reader from the near start… But the beginnings are funny… My obsession with travels probably started about the same time as you and with my first visit to France… I was in love and a few months later my expat adventure to Switzerland began…. It is crazy where life takes us over time..

    Great story and pics!!! And yes Andrew even makes me smile… 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 11, 2010 at 12:15

      It is funny how your life takes off in directions you would never imagine isn’t it? 🙂 Thanks Jen!

  14. Comment by christina

    christina May 8, 2010 at 20:34

    Aww, how cute are you guys? Happy Anniversary and here’s to another 50 years – at least!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 11, 2010 at 12:15

      Thanks Christina! 50 more seems like a good start anyway 😉

  15. Comment by Nomadic Chick

    Nomadic Chick May 10, 2010 at 20:28

    Been meaning to comment forever! What an amazing story on yin-yang and balance. It sounds like you were honest about who you were from the beginning and that’s carried both you through 10 years. Wonderful. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 11, 2010 at 12:16

      Thanks! We are a bit crazy and I think that helps, and yes, honesty s the best policy 🙂

  16. Comment by Ang

    Ang May 11, 2010 at 03:45

    I remember it like it was last week and I have a mild case of dementia. 🙂 Happy anniversary to you crazy kids! Some day we’ll cross the pond and have some Blue Lagoons with you. 😉

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 11, 2010 at 12:17

      Lol, You guys are welcome ANY time… but I may pas on the Blue Lagoons 😛 How far we’ve come 🙂

  17. Comment by Sue

    Sue May 12, 2010 at 00:36

    I LOVE that picture that I took of you! It seems like no time has passed since that day….You have always been the perfect fit and I believe you will continue to share marvelous adventures. The thing I have always noticed is just how much you enjoy each other’s company, even if you never made another road trip. That is the secret ingredient. Felicitations pour votre anniversaire de noce…Je vous souhait l’amour pour toujours…

    Sue xx

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 12, 2010 at 14:48

      Hard to believe it was taken over 5 years ago isn’t it? Still one of my favs too 🙂 Merci bien pour les felicitations! Bisous!

  18. Comment by giftsofthejourney (Elizabeth Harper)

    giftsofthejourney (Elizabeth Harper) May 13, 2010 at 12:52

    What a lovely sweet story. Congrats on your celebration!

    On a side note, I love the look of your blog and since it’s my first time, I need to take a better look around. Excuse me now while I go peek in your medicine cabinet. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 13, 2010 at 15:19

      Welcome Elizabeth! Thank you for your lovely comment and I do hope you enjoy CheeseWeb. Feel free to poke about in my medicine cabinet all you like but be warned… there’s a lot of bottles in there and some of them could be past their use by date 😉

  19. Comment by Apolina

    Apolina May 18, 2010 at 11:25


    And you know what, co-incidence – the 6th May is our anniversary too! 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 18, 2010 at 11:31

      Thank you and Congrats to you too 🙂

  20. Comment by Lee

    Lee May 26, 2010 at 08:49

    Congratulations! Sounds like you two make a great team for expat adventuring. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 26, 2010 at 09:52

      Thanks! We try 🙂

  21. Comment by Jen

    Jen February 20, 2011 at 13:59

    Very Nice!!! Well, Swapnil and I are 13 years behind you two, (took us a bit longer to find each other in the world)…but look forward to being happy(like you both) 13 years from now…!!! 🙂 and, it doesn’t matter where we are in the world as long as we are together. However so far, Garmisch, Germany and Brussels, Belgium haven’t been bad places to be together 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison February 20, 2011 at 15:18

      Thanks Jen! I think if you can survive expat life together you can survive anything 🙂

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