This is one of my favorite photos with my Sweetie. (That’s not my confession.)
We had just got engaged and we were enjoying a day at the Desert Museum in Tucson. I met Derek on a blind date on July 7th, 2006. I had moved to Tucson in February and I had no idea I picked an apartment just a couple miles away from where he lived.
I wasn’t thrilled about being back in the U.S. The last country I had been in was Kenya so I wanted warm weather and Tucson delivered. I was going through culture shock (yep, it happens both directions) and homesickness (yes again). I was going to give Tucson five more minutes the night I met Derek. In fact, I had been on the phone with a friend in tears just hours before going out.
I remember telling her, I could never date an American, much less marry one.
She convinced me to NOT cancel my plans and to go get ready. Time had got away from me so I quickly pulled my hair in a ponytail, pinched my cheeks and ran out the door. I had joined a singles group. I know, I still can’t believe I did that. I was so desperate to make friends in what felt like the most anti-social country in the world. As it turned out I didn’t really hit it off with anyone in the group but a couple that worked for the company introduced me to one of their friends.
He didn’t dig girls but he must have seen I needed a friend.
We found a parking spot near Club Congress and one second after I locked the doors, Sean tells me, I want to introduce you to someone, he’ll be here tonight. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes. I was not thrilled. I was thinking to myself, a blind date with some idiot American guy who I’m going to get stuck with for who knows how long – great!
I scanned the room trying to figure out who this Derek character was.
Heart racing, mind crazed, I turned around and see this guy smiling from ear to ear. I only thought one thing, I like him. And to my delight, he was Derek! And just like that my bad attitude was out the window. Derek and I got married one year later, 7/7/07.
Since then I’ve found out who Derek really is.
Dizzy, young love is awesome but Derek’s steadfast, grounded nature has been my comfort and companion through some dark nights of the soul. He was there through my malaria relapses, my homesickness for Albania, and my parent’s divorce.
Romance is beautiful but Derek’s determination and creativity guided me as we both quit our jobs in order to spend more time together. He couldn’t not be discouraged by empty bank accounts, start up businesses and long days.
Sweet words are lovely but Derek’s ability to follow through in action is what has caused me to fall in love with him over and over again.
This year he gave me the greatest gift ever.
In August he asked me if I wanted to come back to Albania when our lease in San Diego was up. He worked his bum off and made all the necessary arrangements for us to pull off the move by January 2012. Derek brought me back home. But more than that, he’s jumped in with both feet and embraced Albania.
Sometimes when we least expect it, we receive the most incredible gifts.
I’m so thankful that love found me even though I didn’t believe in it at the time. (That’s my confession.)
That hot, summer night in Tucson I had no idea I’d meet my partner in crime.
And when we got married I had no idea what a great team we’d make.
No matter what, we’ll climb through it, swim around it or fly over it.
Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetie, I love you! xoxo
“I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”
Hungry for More, Monique Alvarez p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about. Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long. It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!