On Sunday the 8th of March, my partner of five years, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It felt like the icing on the cake, for what has been, an incredible year.
After witnessing most of my friends celebrating their engagements before planning their big day, the ring on my finger made me feel complete. Driving to work the next day admiring my ring on the steering wheel, I realised something had changed. I was now one of the ‘chosen ones.’ Someone has requested my company for the rest of their life…I always knew I was cool!
And just like that, I was walking around like I had just won the lottery. A cool confidence had overcome me, I felt invincible. Channeling my inner Beyonce, I strolled into the classroom and waited for my students to spot the difference. Alas, I was greeted with the usual “I couldn’t do my homework” comments and “Why do we have to do this?” My colleagues surprised me with a huge ring balloon and we shared our ideas of dream weddings.
I met Nathan five years ago whilst working at a summer camp in America. Both no longer in our early 20s, both wanting to take a break from the norm and both wanting more from life than was currently being offered in a our native countries. This was my third or fourth time working at camp. My first was as a bright eyed teenager, and as you could imagine, the experience had a massive impact on my life choices and career path.
Camp is a unique place to bond, create memories and make lasting friendships. You close off to the real world and remain in a positive, cultural bubble for 12 weeks. Some of my closest friends I met at camp and both staff and campers come from all over the world to work together, to create a summer that you will never forget. And you don’t forget. Ever.
He was the manager of the waterfront and I ran the office. We hit it off and the rest is history as they say! After camp, we embarked upon a road trip down the west coast of America in a rundown campervan with a bunch of international besties. From San Fran to Vegas with everything inbetween, we visited the usual tourist haunts and met up with other camp friends in Hollywood to hit the party scene. The Summer of 2015 was epic, for many reasons, but meeting Nathan was one of them.
We are the opposite of each other and it shouldn’t work but, it does. He is super calm, relaxed and patient. I am high strung, irrational and driven by my emotions. As the months and years of being around each other, some of his best qualities I have adopted. I am constantly evolving in my temperament and way of looking at things.
“He grounds me.”
I’ve had relationships before and I always thought they were the one. When they ended I was heartbroken and not mature enough to handle the rejection, flood of emotions and self doubt that comes hand in hand with a break up. From each heart break I learnt. My last break up was hard and I made a promise to myself to avoid men for a while. I quit my job, moved back to home to be around my family and friends. I came off social media and spent months investing in myself. Reflecting on where I had gone wrong.
Eventually I realised it wasn’t me or them. It just wasn’t meant to be. And that’s all there is to it. So I was really looking forward to immersing myself in to the camp bubble and liberating my inner child again! I was determined to not return to the UK. Whether I secured a job in the States or went travel, one way or another, I was ready for a new chapter in my life. Fortunately, I got just that.
When I look back at what we’ve achieved in the last five years, I am amazed. We have travelled to some incredible places, with and without George. Lived in a few different countries, started a business and renovated a campervan. I love being on Facebook and a memory popping up, so I can reminisce. With Nathan, I have achieved so many bucket list dreams and discovered a real passion for travel.
Most importantly, with Nathan by myself I have thrived personally and professionally. He gives me space, encourages my ambitions and never tells me I am wrong. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and each time he is there to help me up, never telling me “I told you so.’ He forces me to reflect on my decisions, my attitude and my ethos, without ever shouting or being derogative. Everyone likes him, me included.
Watching him with our son is a gift. I thought I was living my best life, pre-parenthood but it doesn’t even come close. Sure there are days when I lock myself in the bathroom for a little peace and quiet but, I love being a Mum. And I love being part of a family. And being part of a relationship. A valued member. Who just got promoted to fiancee.