Yesterday marked the 6th anniversary of the day The Barbarian and I got married in a super casual ceremony officiated by his aunt, Auntis, in my parents' backyard. Our goal was for everyone to have a good time, and according to most everyone, we totally rocked it. My dad still mentions how many people approached him that day to comment on how it was the most enjoyable wedding they had ever attended. Not too shabby, right?
I still wonder how many of them were truly wondering how long it would last, however. The marriage, that is, not the wedding. The wedding, especially the ceremony, which I wrote, was famously short. My boss at the time commented on how the ceremony was generally longer than the kiss, but he liked how ours was the opposite. Heh. Not quite, but long, drawn out ceremonies are definitely not our thing, so keeping it short and sweet was of utmost importance. To set the mood, we, to my everlasting pleasure, managed to keep secret the opening of the ceremony, which Auntis pulled off perfectly. It went like this:
Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.
If you don't get the reference, all I can say is that I am very, very sad for you. And you need to watch The Princess Bride right now. DO IT.
That movie has been a favourite of mine for forever, and it's one of The Barbarian's family's super special movies, so it seemed very appropriate. And totally our style. She said that first word, nearly everyone erupted in laughter, and I knew our wedding was a smashing success, no matter what else occurred. And it was.
But back to the part where everyone was all, "Ummmmmm... Hmmmmmmmmmmm..." about us getting married. Really, I can't blame them. From the outside, we seemed like the most bizarre match and we had had the craziest courtship and beginning to our relationship. And we admittedly decided to get married pretty damn early on. But when you know without any inkling of doubt you've found your life partner, why wait?
The Barbarian LOVES to tell our story. Like, he tells it any chance he gets. And being that he's constantly meeting new people, he tells it A LOT. Dude cracks me up. I, however, don't get many opportunities to tell it, so, in honour of our 6th anniversary, because that's clearly a totally special and celebratory number in this our version of reality today, I will give you a (probably not really very) brief account of how we met and fell in love.
SO. When we met, I was living thousands of miles away in Montreal with my ex, who I had been with for nine years. Ours had always been a troubled relationship and the relative stress of living in a foreign city was taking its toll. He was much older than me, was not interested in marriage or having children, was working while I was going to school, and we were essentially living parallel lives at that point.
We had moved in February and that following December, I flew home after my semester was done to visit family and friends for the holidays. It was during this first visit home to California that I met The Barbarian. I had heard a bit about him here and there from my family, as apparently he was my younger brother's new friend and coworker, about whom my brother had only the most praiseworthy things to say. I think it's only fair to admit that my brother fell in love with The Barbarian first. They had entered into a deeply devoted bromance, but my family had yet to meet him. He was a bit of a mystery, then, and from my brother's accounts, cooler than anyone had a right to be, so the prevailing theory at that point was that he didn't, in fact, even exist.
Once I was back home and hanging out much of the time with my brother, Uncle Duder (after all those years of mutual hate, we had only just realized we actually really liked each other right before I moved to Montreal, which was like totally shitty timing), I was regaled with tales of the man I was to eventually call my husband. I was forced to admit that he--if he did indeed exist--sounded pretty damn awesome, but in a somewhat douchey way to my, shall we say, more conservative younger self. He was basically your typical early 20's party guy, and that was so totally not my scene. And, of course, my brother had to impress upon me the fact that ALL the girls liked The Barbarian. And, of course, I was all WHATever. He can't be THAT cute and charming.
Well, as I've stated before, it really is quite a rare occurrence, but occasionally I am wrong. And I was, in fact, terribly wrong in that assumption. My first hint of wrongness was when my brother showed me a picture of him on his phone and I was all, huh. That's him? ...huh. Then I actually met him in person, and...well...shit. My wrongness was glaringly apparent.
My brother and The Barbarian, to further solidify their bromance, were moving in together and had even made their first purchase together--a very large, bromance-worthy, flatscreen TV. My brother had invited me to come with him in my dad's truck to pick it up from the store, where my brother happened to work, so a small crowd of friends and coworkers had gathered around the truck, as it was late and the store was closing. All of a sudden, this car whips around the parking lot, pulls up behind my dad's truck, and this tall, dreaded, extremely handsome guy wearing a Santa hat of all things hops out to the excited greetings of the crowd. The Barbarian had up until recently worked at that same store--how he and my brother met--and, ever popular as he is, everyone was happy to see him. I was also happy to see him because, ummmmm, yeah. Dude's SMOKING hot. Like, seriously.
So I'm standing by the passenger side door watching him chat with his former coworkers (mostly because I couldn't take my eyes off him) when he eventually noticed me and literally came leaping over the truck bed in his eagerness to introduce himself, having apparently deduced who I was. That's when I realized he wasn't just criminally attractive--he was polite, charming, and well-spoken, too.
After we got the TV securely loaded, The Barbarian decided he would follow us back to my parents' house so they could set it up and ooh and ahh over it a bit. We mentioned we were stopping at the store for snacks, as we had a late night of movie-watching ahead of us, so he followed us there first, and that's when we realized someone needed to stay with the truck. I offered to run in and get the snacks while they stayed outside, and wouldn't you know it, but The Barbarian decided he really had to pee all of a sudden and said he'd come in, too--even though we were only a few minutes from my parents' house and I would be right back. And even though in that situation, I later came to know well, he would normally just find a bush.
Uh-huh. Sure he had to pee.
So we went inside, him to "pee," me to scrounge up some munchies, and he met me a couple of minutes later at the checkout. We were at the local grocery store known for its rewards card, but as I was not frequenting it anymore, I didn't have my handy-dandy rewards card in my wallet. But he, ever helpful, quickly produced his and handed it to the checker. At this point in time, the checkers were required to look at your receipt while handing it back in order to ascertain your last name so they could politely say, "Thank you, Mrs. So-and-So." Well, the name on the card was not, of course, my own, so I received a, "Thank you, Mrs. The Barbarian" instead. This made his face light up like little else I've seen since, and he proceeded to skip alongside me to the door singing, "Thank you, Mrs. The Barbarian..." in the most adorably obnoxious teasing manner.
My thought in that moment?
I AM IN SO MUCH TROUBLE.
We saw each other a few more times while I was there, and it was pretty obvious there was a connection between us, but eventually I went back to Montreal and that was seemingly that. However, I found myself thinking about him A LOT over the next few months, and became more and more excited as my spring semester came to a close and my next trip home quickly approached. I flew back home in mid-April, and suffice it to say, we began looking for more and more ways to spend time together--in a strictly platonic manner, of course. But things were happening, man. The more I got to know him, the more I liked him, and the more I realized the party guy persona was just that, a persona. He was wicked smart and super witty and studying history, my major as well. We talked for hours and hours on end, of religion and politics and history and education and foreign policy... You know, the euge. We were hitting if off so well, in fact, that I ended up extending my trip by a week, and it was in that last week, on one specific night actually, that I'm pretty sure we fell madly in love. And this was still all strictly platonic. I am basically monogamous to a fault. But keeping it that way was definitely one of the most challenging things we've ever undertaken. DUDE.
The next day was the last time we would see each other before I flew back to Montreal, and that goodbye involved lots of tears and one tiny, brief peck of a kiss before I left him fairly broken on his front step and headed back to my parents'. I then made the most important decision of my life the next day on the way to the airport--I decided I was coming back to be with him and texted to tell him so. I arrived in Montreal, broke up with my ex that very night, and exactly two weeks later was in a U-Haul with my dog and my belongings, beginning the long drive home with the help and support of my best friend from high school, who flew out from California just to hop in that U-Haul and drive all the way back. I mean, who does that anyway? Madame LeStrange does. That's who.
I arrived back home, basically straight to his doorstep, on the 25th of May, 2007. We were together from that point on, officially got engaged that fall, and were married exactly one year later on the 25th of May, 2008.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is our story. Or, the beginning of our story, I suppose. We have all sorts of crazy stories to tell actually. Seriously. But those are for another time.
Happy Anniversary, my handsome barbarian. May our beer be ever flowing and may our dear progeny be ever covered in dirt among the beloved dogs.
I wouldn't trade our life together for anything.
Not even a lifetime supply of Haagen-Dazs.
And that's saying something.