I’ve been back in California for just over a month and a half. And while there isn’t too much I miss about living in the UK (no offense, Britain, I promise!), there is one thing that stands out among all other things:
1. My Husband
If you read Five Reasons I’m Excited About 2013–A Mid-Year Update, then you will know that I’m in California on my own, and that Darren is staying in the UK until we have his visa/Greencard/etc. situation sorted out. We already hit one bump in the road with the Royal Mail not selling us enough postage to get the I-130 petition to the US Embassy in London. However, once we got that issue resolved, and the I-130 petition made it to the US Embassy, the petition was approved almost straightaway, and we’re well on our way to the next step.
Darren and I met in California in April 2008. For me, and as corny as it sounds, it was love at first sight. I still remember walking into Old Pro in Palo Alto, spotting him at the bar and my heart skipping a beat (we didn’t meet at the bar, but we had our first date there). We hit it off very well despite one of us being a bit nervous (it wasn’t me), and agreed to go on another date the following Sunday. We took things slowly at first, only meeting up two times a week for the first few months. Then he invited me along to play cards with some of his work colleagues on Friday nights, and tag along on Saturday movie nights with one of his friends. We spent more and more time together, and by July, I was absolutely smitten.
In August, I asked him about Thanksgiving. He’d been in the US for at least one Thanksgiving, but said he spent it at home alone, instead of feasting upon turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and other Turkey Day delights. I thought this was unacceptable, and asked him if he’d like to go to Wisconsin with me for Thanksgiving, and to meet my parents. He did a bit of thinking, and agreed to go. Meanwhile, he was subtly hinting I should get a passport. One of his friends even let me borrow a book, Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox, which I saw as another subtle clue that he was thinking about asking me to spend Christmas with him and his family in the UK.
By the end of 2008, we’d met each others families, and were well and truly in love. The next year threatened to disrupt the harmony in our relationship (such is the life as a physicist–you never know where your next job will take you!), but we had fun anyway. My best memories of California are with Darren.
I still vividly remember a trip we took across the Golden Gate in March 2009 where we ended up at Stinson Beach (my favorite beach). We wanted to travel along Highway 1 north of the Golden Gate for a bit, so we got off 101, and headed into Mill Valley to get to the coast. We fancied something to eat and found an awesome burger place caller Pearl’s Fatburger–it was one of the juiciest, tastiest burgers I’d had in a long time. Once we filled our bellies in Mill Valley, we headed north along a crooked Highway 1, and found ourselves getting out at various vista points and taking snaps of the ocean and each other. Eventually, we made it to Stinson Beach. Not only did Stinson Beach have amazing views back to San Francisco, but it also smelled like chocolate (no idea why, but it did). We got some soft-serve ice cream, roamed the beach, and had a fun time relaxing before getting back on the road.
That’s what I miss, though. I miss having my best friend here, and I miss sharing our random road trips, weekly meet-ups at the Rose and Crown, treks to Amoeba Records in San Francisco, and generally exploring all the Bay Area had to offer. I miss going for walks together–something we started doing when we lived in Britain, having someone to talk to in the evenings, and someone who truly understands what I’m going through at any given moment. I know it’s only for a few more months, but it already seems like it’s been forever. I will be over the moon to be reunited at the end of this journey.
Thinking about making this long-distance relationship work for the long-term is really a struggle some days. I can’t imagine how spouses and partners of military personnel deal with their loved ones being deployed for months at a time, knowing their lives are at risk on a daily basis. If you have any tips for making a long-distance relationship work, share your thoughts in the comments.