Ah, where do I begin? I've been writing drafts and going over the story in my mind for over a week, but I'm afraid even attempting to explain how happy I've been since the middle of May isn't going to do justice to my actual level of happiness.
I guess it's true that sometimes you really can be too happy for words.
But, I'm going to give it a shot anyway. So, here goes...
Back in May, a friend of mine wanted me to check out his dating profile. Since I wasn't a member of the site, I couldn't see his page. I joked with him and said that maybe I should just make a profile and set my location for the DC area since I'd be moving there in a little over a month anyway. He said that seemed like a fine idea, so, that's what I did.
Internet dating is one of those things that people either love or hate. I happen to think it makes perfect sense; I just never thought it would be something I'd be interested in doing myself.
But, I mean, who wants to meet someone in a bar? Nobody likes blind dates and if you aren't a social butterfly, meeting new people can be tricky. I'm a very shy person, so I never really thought I'd casually meet someone in public and actually be interested in them.
After realizing these things, internet dating suddenly seemed like not only a good idea, but the greatest idea and I went from joking about it, to taking it seriously... Well, sort of.
My "About Me" section in my profile wasn't the friendliest or most welcoming. It went something like this: "If you're a church-going Christian, are in any way associated with the Army, or consider Nickelback a band, I'm sorry, but it's just not going to work out."
I added a few other things but then went on to say that I'm not really that much of a jerk in person, it's just that I honestly can't see myself being serious with anyone who fits into those categories of people. Does that make me shallow? Am I a terrible person for not even giving people a chance? Probably.
I expected to receive a lot of hate mail. Surprisingly though, it was just the opposite. I was receiving tons of messages every day from guys who seemed like they genuinely appreciated my sincerity and agreed with me "100%." There's also an option on that site to hand out "awards" to people. Not sure why, but, I received a few awards from guys that said things like, "this girl is awesome," "best profile i've ever seen," etc.
It was overwhelming and at times I felt like an idiot for even being on there. The attention was strange, and I thought I made a huge mistake. I'd be sitting at work on my break reading these well-written, witty and thought-out messages from strangers who found me interesting and I'd delete almost every one. It's not that the guys were boring or not my type, because a lot of them were, I just felt uncomfortable about it all. It became too real. "Am I seriously on a dating website?" - That thought would go through my mind quite often, even though I told myself I was okay with it.
I disabled my account at one point because it became too much. I was also receiving angry messages from guys who I didn't respond to immediately or at all the first time around, calling me a bitch and saying I wasted their time. It was ridiculous.
But, one night, maybe out of boredom, I reactivated the account, and I'm so glad I did.
I received a message from a guy named Andrew who for one reason or another really stood out to me. Unlike the cliche look-at-me-I'm-also-witty messages from other guys on the site, his message was sincere, and sweet, and literally made me lol. He just seemed like a nice person. Genuine, kind, and honest. His response made me feel like my profile wasn't funny after all, but rather immature and flat out mean. Not because of anything he said, but because I was getting this very level-headed positive person vibe from him. It made me feel like a Negative Nancy and I suddenly felt terrible and a bit embarrassed by my profile. I think sometimes you meet certain people who just make you want to be a better person. He had that affect on me immediately. I had to respond, and for some reason, I felt I needed to prove to him that I wasn't as pretentious as I made myself seem. There was something about him... I can't explain it, but it's nothing I've ever felt before. Even before our first real conversation, I knew something big was going to happen.
And just like that, my life changed.
Talking via email/messages on the site turned into adding each other on Facebook, exchanging phone numbers for texting, and then we moved on to (the best part) Skyping.
Skype, thank you for existing. What a wonderful little thing. I owe everything to you!
The 1st night we Skyped:
The 3rd night:
And so on...
(I have a million more of these, but I'll spare you.)
Eventually, he met my friends...
They all liked him!
So, obviously, Andrew and I became very close. I thought about him constantly. I felt like I was 14 again! I had this obnoxious permanent smile on my face at all times. I became "one of those people" who have that crazy, annoying happiness that all the normal, sad people in the world find repulsive. I never thought I could feel so alive. I hope everyone is able to feel what I felt at some point in their lives because it's absolutely exhilarating!
Anyway, Kendal and Brett were moving into our new place in Arlington, VA, near the end of June, so I decided I wanted to go out there and help them before I moved out there in July. Also, I figured bringing Mia on the plane rather than driving her out in the moving truck would make the most sense. Also also, I really wanted to meet Andrew. :)
So, I got my ticket, and we started counting down the days until my arrival!
It was exciting, and when it went from 16 days to 13 days to 10 days to 7 days to 3 days to 1 day... We were full of tummy-knots and smiles! I was soooo nervous. Even though we talked every day for a month for over two hours each time, I was still afraid to meet him in person! I was also really really thrilled of course!
I was a jumbled mess of emotions the next morning. Shaky, excited, nervous, worried - the whole deal! I've never traveled with a pet before, either, so that was another thing I was a bit scared about.
Once I got to the airport, I started to calm down a little. Going through security with Mia was terrible because they had me take her out of the carrier and hold her, but with all the people close by and the noise and smells, she was terrified and scratching, screaming, and shedding the entire time. I dropped her once and she almost got away from me! After we got through security, I was all worked up and shaky again. I was also bleeding. I thought of Shaun because I could have really used the recombobulation area... Luckily, Mia was fine after I got her back in the carrier. I was, too.
The plane took off, and that was that - I was on my way!
When I landed in DC, my nerves were pretty steady. It was strange because I thought I'd be super freaked out, but I surprised myself. When I turned my phone on, I had a text from Andrew saying, "Welcome to DC!! :) :)" and I was all smiles!
Kendal picked me up and we had to run a few errands right away so I could get Mia all set up at her place before she brought me to meet up with Andrew. The traffic was awful and the hours kept passing...
Finally we were ready to go. I called Andrew to make sure the directions were right, and we were both so giggly on the phone. We couldn't believe this was actually happening! I was in the same place he was! And we were actually going to MEET! In PERSON! In REAL LIFE! We weren't just going to be images on a screen anymore. That feeling is soooo strange. I don't know if it's anything you can explain to someone who hasn't experienced it themselves. This person is actually a real living, breathing thing! It's beyond bizarre. I remember thinking, "Jeez, I don't even know what he looks like when he's eating! Or how he walks! Or how he puts his shoes on or sits on the couch or locks the door in the morning! I don't know anything!" Those are all silly thoughts, obviously, but they're important thoughts. Knowing a face on a screen is so much different than knowing the 3d version in real life. I knew I had so much to look forward to.
On the way to Andrew's apartment, I was sending him the screenshots I was taking of the Google map directions I had up on my phone. With every turn, my stomach was getting tighter and tighter!
"I'm so nervous! What if I faint???"
"I'll catch you! Oh my god, Andrew! We're almost there!!!"
The streets around his apartment are really confusing. I think Kendal and I passed his place more than once, so I called and he said he was looking out his window, searching for our car. I told him we were going to park and I was going to get out and find him because it'd be easier that way. He said he'd come downstairs.
"I'm looking at a yellow bakery,"
"I'm walking toward a yellow bakery..."
I think we spotted each other at the same time. We were still talking on the phone as he crossed the street and walked up to me. "Why are we still on the phone!" "I don't know!" I grabbed him and held him close and we both sort of lost our balance. I thought my knees were going to give out under me. Neither of us could catch our breath. We just held hands and laughed and looked at each other and hugged over and over again. He made a comment about how it was cute that I was so shaky, and then he hugged me again which made it worse. My cheeks hurt from smiling. My hands went numb. I was feeling every emotion possible. People passing us must have thought we were given the gift of sight for the very first time or something. I imagine our meeting would look identical to two blind people suddenly realizing they could see. So much touching and laughing and hugging. I couldn't keep my hands away from his face. I couldn't stop searching every part of him. Making eye contact, really making eye contact for the very first time - that was intense.
We walked over to where Kendal was parked. Andrew gave her a hug and apologized for being so excited. Later that night, I noticed that Kendal posted a blog entry about our meeting and I read it to Andrew. It was so sweet of her. I think she's the only person who can fully understand how much that night meant to me. I'm so glad she was a part of it!
Andrew was everything I thought he'd be - and more. He's a gentleman, he's smart, he's funny, he's even cuter in person somehow, and most importantly, he makes me feel like the most important, beautiful girl in the world. He encourages me, compliments me, and kisses me in the sweetest ways. The things he says absolutely break my heart (in the good way) and I can't help but squeeze him as hard as I can to make sure he's real.
I don't know what more to say.
He's perfect, and...
... (I am) so happy he found me.
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