Monday, November 29, 2010

What Do You See?

I've realised today that I don't much appreciate being thought of as "young".

StudyLink won't recognise the fact I'm in a relationship until I'm 24, even though by then I'll have been married for three years by then.
I don't like the look that some people give me if I say I'm getting married at 21.
And yet I feel so much older than my 20 years. I don't take notice of my age anymore. If I go to tell someone my age, I automatically go to say that I'm 21, and have to remind myself that I'm not 21 yet.
The next oldest student in my ice skating class is about 16, and I feel quite old when I think about that and the fact that I'm about a year older than my coach.
This stage of my journey in life seems to be a middle ground, hanging between Uni and an internship; engaged and married; the path I was on and the path I'm heading towards.
I feel so much older than everyone seems to think of me.

So when you look at me, what do you see?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And How Lucky Am I? (or "What I'm Learning Along The Way")

A conversation with one of my best friends went like this today:

 - Me: "Wedding images are so addictive, so irresistible but so bad for you. wedding porn is not mis-named."
 - J: "Very true. How is it being bad for you?"
 - Me: "Well, it's not really, because miraculously I found this blog site that is full of amazing women who are down to earth and doesn't push the industry standard"
 - J: "That's good. What have you learnt from it so far?"

The list that I came up with went like this...
  • Don't bow to other's pressure. It's not their day. They had their special day the way that they wanted, and that was probably perfect for them. (or maybe they haven't yet, and they're trying to live vicariously though yours) But what was perfect for them isn't necessarily perfect for you. Sure, let some people who have a head on their shoulders help you, and give you some ideas, but let them over rule what you want.
  • Don't let the power of what you are doing escape your mind as you plan. The idea of marriage goes back a long time, and dedicating you life to spend with someone else is no small thing.
  • Don't forget that the day is all about you and your significant other, and the commitment that you are making to one another. It's not all about the way the decorations look, the way that the bridesmaid's dresses match, or the amount you spent on flowers.
  • Don't feel bad if you feel overwhelmed. Everybody does, they just don't let it on. You're allowed to be stressed, and have a few breakdowns. Just don't let them rule the way you plan, or rule your life.
  • Don't bow to the power of the wedding industry. Spending too much time looking at "wedding porn" will rot your brain, no matter how pure you intentions are.
  • You need to realise that "Sometimes, planning a wedding feels like walking a tightrope with about 10 ropes tied to you, each pulling in different directions. Your job is to figure out which ropes are the safety ropes, and you should keep connected to you (even if you loosen them a little bit), and which ropes are the trick ropes, that are trying to pull you off balance. All of that, while you are trying to hold hands with your partner, and keep your balance."
Hopefully I can listen to all the good advice that I'm writing here, and keep it all in mind as we get further along this crazy road called "wedding planning".

So thank you A Practical Wedding, for keeping me sane before I had the chance to go insane.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time for some hard work

Ok, so it’s almost 5 in the morning, and I’m having what I can only hope is not the first of many unsettled nights. It seems that just when I’ve begun to get things sorted out, I’ve made some big decisions; something decided that I wasn’t allowed to make them that easily. Go figure.
Anyway, the biggest decision I’ve made lately was to commit to doing an internship at Southlife. I’ll probably spend just as much time there next year as I have this year, while I was “pretending” to be one! It took a while to decide what I was going to do an internship in too. I knew that it would be with Create (the graphic design and video team at our church), but I wasn’t sure what else to do it with. I ended up tossing up between admin and Kidzmin (children’s ministry for those of you not up on the lingo).
For the record, I've chosen to work with the Epic kids (year 5 and 6) as well as Create.
So that’s my plan next year. Oh, you know, along with plan a wedding, get married... nothing much...

Anyway, we had our first official wedding meeting thing this week. Our photographer came into church to have a meeting with us about what we thought might be happening. He’s an amazing guy, and was the photographer for Southern Cross Kids Camp last year. He said quite a few helpful things to us, but one thing in particular struck me. “I commend you guys for doing this. These days, with lots of people just moving in together... good on you.” I realised that in fact what we are doing isn’t the norm for most people. They will move in together, not worry about such things, and get married when they get around to it. (My other half has been reading this over my shoulder before I post it, and interjected that his manager at work has done exactly that. Just gotten engaged as well, but has said “yeah, we’ll get married at some point. We’re going to focus on getting a deposit on a house first.”). I’d not really thought about it until now, the fact that the way we are going about things is so out of the ordinary.

Official wedding things seem to have jumped into gear now that I’ve finished Uni for the year. I struggled to get all the engagement party thank-you notes written, but they are saved safely on my computer, waiting for Monday or Tuesday when we can go and get them printed, and then sent out. I fell rotten for taking so long to get them out, but exams came first, and I hope that people understand that.

An amazing friend of mine (who is also my fiancĂ©’s younger sister) helped to find a pattern that is very close to my imagined wedding dress, and so she has now re-made the mock-up of the dress.
I went to Spotlight the other day to look for fabric with my mum and my grandma. We came out with the pattern that my friend had found, as well as the fabric for the lining and the very outer layer. Grandma sorted out my measurements, and it has been decided that I need to start doing sit-ups. The problem is, I *seriously* lack the motivation to do sit-ups. Maybe I can just diet? I’m not a gym person, so suggesting that is just silly.

So, any ideas, everyone out there?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And so the journey begins

On the 26th of September, after an all-nighter by me to get an essay in on time, and a mid-term test , the other half and I departed Dunedin at around 10:30 at night for an escape.
He hadn't had more than one or maybe two days off in such a long time that he didn't remember when it could have been.
I was so over uni that I was happy for the break.

Destination: Queenstown.

We arrived in Queenstown at around 1am, his parents were still up (doing a puzzle I think) but were on their way to bed, so we bade them goodnight and headed for the spa to begin the wind-down process, then headed for bed. I think he ended up sleeping diagonally on the fold-out sofa. It didn't bother me, I had a comfy single bed in the room I was sharing with his Oma.

Wednesday we both slept in quite late, and then everyone (his mum, dad, oma, 16 year old brother, 5 year old brother, him and I) piled into the van and made tracks to Frankton supermarket.
You see, his family has a tradition that each year, they do this dinner. Each person is given an element of the meal that they have to organise, buy and cook. You have a set budget, and could end up with some wacky combinations, because no-one knows what the other people are planning. The 16 year old brother and I were both on meat, so we had a combined $14 budget, and decided to find something different each.
Dinner turned out amazing, with everyone pitching in and doing their part to make it a lot of fun and a delicious meal.

Thursday (I had been told) I was being taken out for dinner, so I'd had to bring something nice to wear. Somewhere along the line I'd managed to leave one of my minor bags in Dunedin though!!!
Unfortunately this was the bag that contained my contact lenses, my eyeshadow, my necklace and the little fabric flowers I'd planned to wear in my hair, along with my toiletries bag. Thankfully the trip to the supermarket mostly saved me, because we were first at The Warehouse (which meant I could replace my necklace), and then New World meant I could replace my essential toiletries, like my toothbrush!
Anyway... Thursday meant we (my amazing at-that-stage boyfriend, myself, and his 16 yr old brother who I get on alright with) were going ice skating. For those of you who know me, you know that I love ice skating. I took my own ice skates to Queenstown specifically for this reason. I discovered that my other half could in fact skate, although there is no photographic evidence as I'd forgotten to take my camera to the rink.

We had made plans to get home in time for me to get ready to go out for dinner. I didn't have to spend an hour trying to decide how to do my hair and make up, because one of my flatmates had helped my sort out my hair the previous week, and I don't wear a huge amount of make-up anyway!

I waited until I was sure he was in the living room, and walked through the door.

He turned around and gave me a huge hug, only saying one word... "Wow".
I didn't need to hear him say anything other that that, because I knew from that one word that I'd done it right.

His parents proceeded to take photos like we were going to the formal, but we finally departed the resort for our dinner reservation. (I should mention at this point that I had no idea in the faintest where we might be going. I don't know Queenstown very well, I haven't spent much time there, and he had managed to keep the entire plan a secret).

So we get in his car and are driving through Queenstown making idle conversation. I'm still wondering where on earth we're going, until we turn up a small road which leads to a car park.
The car park was at the base of the gondola.
We stopped, and I turned to him and asked "Are you serious?"
"Yes" was his reply, and he proceeded to get out of the car.

Waiting in line in the gondola terminal, my mind was ticking over.
"Maybe tonight's the night..."
And then
"Actually, I don't care. I'm not putting expectations on tonight, I'm just going to enjoy a lovely evening."

We got to the top of the gondola (which was a beautiful view on the ride up), and signed in at the restaurant. They gave us a blue wireless receiver, which would flash red LEDs and beep and vibrate when they were ready to seat us.
We wandered around the centre, looked through the finalists from a photography competition that was on display, and then sat down by a window. There, over Queenstown, was a beautiful double rainbow appearing. I realised at that moment that there was nowhere in the world I would rather be than exactly where I was at that precise moment: With the man I love.

Suddenly the blue thing started flashing. So we returned to the reception desk and were promptly seated in the most amazing seat in the house. It was in the corner of floor-to-ceiling windows, one side overlooking the entirety of Queenstown, with the hills and valleys on the other side.

Dinner was amazing. The food was exquisite, the company was more than I could ever have asked for, the view was spectacular, and we barely spoke throughout the whole meal. We didn't feel that we had to. It was enough to just be together.

After dinner we weren't quite ready to go back yet. He asked me if I wanted to go out on the viewing deck, and I readily agreed.
We had been out there for a little while, just hugging each other close and watching the view. The was a cool wind biting, but I didn't care.

He turned to me, and said "I want to make this official".

He pulled a box out of his jacket pocket, and promised to be with me always, through whatever life throws at us.

"Will you marry me?"


So that's the story of how I began this amazing journey. Our road will have twists and turns, there will always be corners we can't see around, or obstacles that we stay blind to until we trip over them. But I have the most amazing co-driver anyone in the world could ever ask for. He's more than I could have ever asked for, because never in my wildest dreams did I imagine someone as right for me as he is.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Taking a step

Writing a blog is one of those things that I always thought I would "Get around to one day". I'm the first to admit that I sucked at writing diaries as a child. I tried a few times and ultimately failed. I think the times I honestly tried were the trips I took out of the country with my family to Rarotonga, and then to Fiji. Both times I didn't even make it through the week
This time will be different, because you see, I'm detailing a process, not just "Today we went to a waterfall. There were lots of sandflies"... (excerpt from Rarotonga diary, age 7)

No, this time I'll be better.

 - Enter "The Wedding Planner Files" - 

When I first started going out with my other half, all the way back in May, we didn't start our relationship as most other people would...

According to a number of people from around our church life, it was obvious that this was where it was headed. The thought of a relationship with him hadn't even entered my mind, until one Sunday night a friend pulled me aside and asked if there was anything going on. I think my reaction was something long the lines of "Us? Seriously? *laughs* No."

That conversation started me thinking though.

And at some point, and I don't even know how anymore,  I decided I definitely liked him.

Everybody saw it before us. 
His mum dropped hints, suggested  I go up to Christchurch to visit one of my best friends the weekend he was driving up there (because incidentally, his brother is married to this best friend).
The wife of one of the youth pastors at church told us the other day that about a year ago he had made some comment along the lines of "what about those two?" and told her to "watch this space".
A few other people threw comments around over the first few months of this year.

Months later (the 24th of May), We sat down and had a conversation about where our friendship was heading, and what we should do about it.

We decided that we were going out.

In that first little while, we also decided that a relationship could go three ways:
 - A messy break-up
 - An amicable break-up
 - A marriage

Neither of us could stand the thought of a messy break-up. To be honest I don't think it would have gone down well with either of our families, much less the close friend group I have, or any of the people that know both of us rather well through church. So, we then and there decided that there was a 50/50 chance of this relationship ending in marriage.

Now it's the beginning of November, I'm sitting on the couch in the living room of my student flat in Scarfieville, with a ring on my left hand, and large pile of engagement cards sitting on the seat next to me waiting to have thank-you letters allocated (and instead I'm writing this blog).


Neither of us knows. We just know it's right, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else at this point in my life.

I was never the girl who planned out her "perfect wedding".
My vague idea was that I would get married when I was "23 or something".
I guess God had a different plan for my life!

[At this point, I wonder if everyone's first post tries to fit everything in like mine seems to be doing...]

So the next step to write about seem to me to be "How I Got That Ring"