This post is inspired by my friend Lindsay MchPhail over at Earth Monkey Moms, and I am completely stealing her idea. But it was so good. You can read her post here.
I met Nick during a snowball fight outside of my dorm room in 2001 and the rest is history. You can read part 1 of our story here.
We had a huge wedding. 450 guests in attendance. The reception was so loud that I remember not being able to hear the music while we were dancing. It’s all a blur to me, except for meeting some new family, who, upon hearing that there was no alcohol at the reception, stopped at a gas station and bought some vodka. One of them gave me the best advice I’d ever been given, over and over again. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but he kept taking my arm and saying, “Just make sure you love him . . .” I also remember seeing a cousin that hadn’t been invited and thinking, Isn’t he supposed to be in prison?
Nick shoved cake in my face, I shoved cake in his. While I was in the bathroom cleaning up, my dad and all the other “dads” in my life tackled Nick and shoved cake into just about every orifice.
It was a crazy, fast day, that whirled by without sense. We grabbed the card box from the gift table and left in a flurry, en route to the Sacramento airport. That morning I had woken up with $9 in my account, and Nick didn’t have much more. But by the time we arrived at our hotel, I had opened up every card and had a lap full of $3000.
We hadn’t even know how we were going to afford the gas to our honeymoon. And yet, there we were suddenly rich, thanks to our friends and family. $3000 may not seem like much to some of you, but to us it was a fortune.
I didn’t know it then, but that was a sign of what was to come in our marriage. But I’ll get to that later.
The next morning we flew to LA, boarded our cruise ship, and started the first adventure of our married life by getting seasick. We requested some non-drowsy Dramamine, but whatever it was knocked us out for two days. We finally came out our fog just in time to sign up for some excursions, you know, those off-the-boat adventures that cost hundreds of dollars each. Well, just turned out that we finally had extra money.
Our first excursion was called a “unimog.” It was an open jeep that carried about ten people through the Mexican jungles where Predator had been filmed. Looking back it was fun. But at the time I was terrified, picturing it going up and down sheer cliffs. Our tour guide had brought nothing to drink but homemade margarita, and so in the humid heat of South America, just about everyone else in our group was drunk. The tour guide caught Nick dumping tequila out of the jeep and gave him a lecture about how that was the same thing as “pissing on the American flag” or some other such nonsense.
Halfway through, I was stung by a black hornet. But when I showed the bug to the tour guide, he drunkenly laughed, “Nah, that didn’t get ya. If it did, you’d be dead.” We explored the jungles, had dinner on the beach, and watched an impromptu show as all the tour guides got trashed in the bar by themselves. When we made it back, all the men were stumbling off the unimog and my arm was swollen. It continued to swell and I spent the next few nights with a horrific headache that made me feel like my brain was going to explode out of my temples.
But during the day I felt fine, and so we went on two more adventures. The next one was a shopping trip in Mazatlan, which I do NOT recommend. We escaped from the market after too many men tried to grab me, and made our way to the beach. We observed this woman in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini roll around in the surf until she lost her top. And then found ourselves shoved into a taxi cab right next to the same woman and her husband.
They asked us if we “blade”, which I thought meant rollerblade. I lied and told them yes. To which Nick freaked. Turns out they had asked if we “blaze”, which is a drug reference. That car ride couldn’t be over soon enough.
And then next day we had the best time kayaking in Cabo San Lucas and attempting to snorkel. I had no idea that Gulf of California is renown for giant squid.
On the ship, we were involved in a newlyweds game show. At one point, the thousand audience members and game show host laughed when we tried to tell them that we had waited to have sex until we were married. We were mocked throughout, and never quite believed, but we ended up winning the game.
We had made friends with an older Russian couple that loved the Lord and loved alcohol. Every time they saw us, the husband would grab Nick, buy a couple shots, and toast to our marriage. As nice as they were, we got to the point where we would hide if we saw them.
There were other awkward and fun moments, but it was finally over and before long we were headed back to real life. The next week we started school and work again and had no idea what was was coming our way.
People said we were too young. And we were. But it didn’t matter. We had the Lord, we had faith, and we were committed to our commitment. And that was enough. We came home to our one-bedroom apartment, filled to the brim with presents, and unwrapped our way back in. We were given too much, far beyond our needs, but yet again, it was a sign of things to come.
To be continued…