Seven years ago today. A great day. Great in it's unknown, in it's excitement. I had looked up each person on facebook, back when facebook was weird and not that many people had it. Back when you had a profile picture only that was like 2 inches big. I searched each person, and made my presumptions about who I would be friends with. Really shallow, I know.
I searched the dudes, of course, but did vow that my year in new orleans (for I naively thought it would only be a year) would be void of boys and silly crushes. I'm here to do the work of the Lord! And that does not include dates! Okay.
I addition to an absurd name that I didn't even try to sound out, Ken's profile had a blog link on it. So, I made my way to this blog that had a most recent post of a magical engagement story at which point I was glad, because that meant I would NOT CRUSH ON BOYS THIS YEAR. I found out moments later that the other two dudes on the team had girlfriends. YES, I said.
Imagine now the first episode of The Real World. You know the first person who shows up calls dibs on a room and you're like, how is that fair? And then someone jumps into the pool naked? I was first, a day early in fact and I picked the solo room in the corner. Rude, when I think about it. And thankfully this pad didn't have a pool. Who knows what would have happened.
I got to meet each person first! I met each person, for the most part, as they were ending a day or multiple days of travel. No one is in their best place at that point. You just want to shower and relax, not play Real World and 20 questions with strangers who are suddenly your roommates.
The Virginia posse didn't come in till later (three people and a best friend caravanned together), maybe the last group to arrive? The details are foggy, but I do remember meeting Ken. Cheeeeese. Ken makes it seem like "Dream Weaver" started playing as he walked in the room, but it was more like, "I like his shoes, and his skin tone." (Vans and a great tan; something only another beach kid would appreciate.) He had just come off of a trip to Morocco, and I the summer before had been to Sri Lanka, so we of course had facebook albums of our trips. These pictures later proved to be our openers, and our revealing to each other that we did our research before the trip. Great tans aside, his overseas trips were very appealing to me. As were mine to him. We chitty-chat for a while, keeping it real cool.
But HE'S ENGAGED MELANIE! I mean, it does take me longer than one conversation to like a guy, please. But the beginnings of it all come on very sudden. Our training lasted a week and in the middle of this, a girl from the team, while the boys weren't present, asked who we thought was cute. I answer quickly, what does it matter? They're all taken. She tells me, all but Ken. I then go, no, I read his blog, homeboy just got engaged. She goes, I actually know Ken- not true. Ohhhh snap. (Ken wrote on a blog that a handful of guys wrote on, under the pen-name Paltrow. How was I to know any of this???)
It was especially awkward when Ken was playing Mario Cart with Brittany the next day and when I walked in the room, he goes, "You thought I was engaged? What guy gets engaged and then moves to New Orleans?" I'm sure my face was red, but I probably used to some self-depricating technique to mask any emotion in a humorous way, typical.
After training, I head back to California to finish support raising. I'm thinking about everything that I took in that week. Starting a new life in a new city, that was barely functional. Starting new friendships and leaving all the ones I made during college behind. Starting my adult life. And truth be told, I thought about Ken during the entire flight, in a confused way because I knew pretty early on that we would at least be really good friends; I knew that from the moment I met him. Much less everything else.
This part is silly really, but as I landed and turned my phone back on, a text was waiting from him (and just before that he told the team he didn't have texting in his plan, so just call him if you needed him, soooo 7 years ago babe.) But he did send me a text, (probably cost him like 25 cents!!!) a casual one hoping my time home was good, to bring him back some sand, and a question- would I go see Sufjan Stevens with him when I come back to New Orleans cause he was playing at the house of blues. I mean... how cute is he?
I couple days back home, I call my girlfriend to tell her about the week of training and she asks off the bat, any guys? I go, well, yeah actually. And she calls it on the spot, "That's him Mel."
And that is him. My husband of 5 years, the dad to our soon to be 3 daughters, the love of my life. In what started out as just being a year of my life, has turned into seven years; the best seven years of my life mainly because of Ken. It's truly amazing how you can have no clue where your life is going, but all you know is that you're moving, and then it happens under your nose.
I feel like all I've ever wanted was Ken. And I got to fall in love with New Orleans at the same time I fell for him.