We gathered our boys, left our jobs, and took off for 2 months!
The South American trip was HUGE for me in two ways.
I thought she was a classical beauty with a beaming smile and positive personality.
She was definitely girlfriend material; the one complication was that I wouldn’t be able to see her for a year.
He arrived with his Mom, Juanita, and younger brother, Bernard.
Gary had a pony tail, talked a mile a minute about obscure facts and the current political climate, and I thought he was absolutely adorable.
We planned and packed for months leading up to the trip. We are photographed; I fumble with an object in my pocket; I turn towards Ellen and drop to one knee. Then I started crying and got a bit hysterical in my excitement.
I enjoyed the new found sense that Gary would always be a part of my life; it was an exhilarating internal shift. After our return home, Ellen and I began to work feverishly to lay out and finalize our plans for our wedding and our marriage.
We spent the next nine months of correspondence describing our past, present, and future.
We asked each other personal questions and I eagerly waited for his reply (it was often a week or two between replies).
I haggled with a cholita in the Witch’s Market in La Paz, Bolivia and purchased an ornate, silver ring literally right behind Ellen’s back. A few days after our 3 anniversary as a couple, Ellen and I, along with Jerome and Caitlin, took a day long trip to the Inca Ruins in the Amazonian Andes. On our way back to the hostel Gary and I started calling family…
I check to make sure the ring is in my pocket 5 times before we leave the hostel that morning. 20 international phone calls later we basked in our newly engaged state.
Even though I enjoyed our life together in Grand Rapids, I still had the travel bug.