It’s hard to believe that today marks my one-year wedding anniversary—so hard to believe that I almost forgot. Keyword… almost.
The other day my wife and I were discussing our first year of marriage, and I told her that I never saw it coming. I had this idea of what my future looked like as a young adult. I would get married at 27 or later. I would also be driving a Porsche. Here I am… 25 and married (sadly no Porsche).
My plan didn’t include meeting a young Canadian girl on Instagram. It didn’t include a 10-day road trip to California with someone I had never met in person. No, it didn’t include her moving to Texas on a whim—or being barred from entering the United States after a vacation back to Canada.
I never thought I would be filling out immigration paperwork at 23, or paying immigration fees when I could barely cover rent. Selling all my possessions and moving to Alberta wasn’t part of the grand plan. I could not foresee leaving my family behind to be with the person I loved.
Love has a crazy way of twisting and turning your life in unexpected directions. My wedding was small—none of my family was able to attend. Our ceremony took place in a cozy hotel wedding-suite that overlooked the snowcapped Rocky Mountains. The Justice of the Peace was heavily intoxicated and kept referring to me as Jim (that’s not my name). Once again, none of this was part of the plan.
We moved into a small apartment that overlooked downtown High River, Alberta. I had never heard of High River. I’m assuming that you haven’t either. Who has?
Navigating around town was difficult without a vehicle—especially when it came time to go grocery shopping. Walking to the grocery store when the temperature is minus 40 degrees has never been part of the plan. I couldn’t afford my dream Porsche, but it wouldn’t do well in this weather anyways. The slushy mixture of ice and salt would cause it to rust. I’ll save that part of my plan for later down the road.
We had to restart the immigration process after getting married—more paperwork, more fees. Rebecca got a job as a teller at a local bank and walked to work every day. Her coworker’s husband works at the local meat processing plant. She got us a great discount on Alberta AAA beef. We ate steak every night. I didn’t see that one coming, but I’ll take it. It’s the little things that count.
I worked from home building websites for small businesses. Local downtown restaurants and shops knew me as the friendly guy who was often seen wandering the streets talking to strangers. A couple of times I managed to sneak into production sets for TV shows that were filming near our apartment (Fargo and Heartland).
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed every day with each other, but the snow took its toll. I came up with the crazy idea that we should move to the beach. I started researching beach properties in the United States and two months later I closed on our first home. We sold all of our belongings, packed-up two suitcases, and hopped on a plane. Welcome to sunny St. Petersburg, Florida.
I had never really been to Florida and knew nothing about the St. Petersburg area—other than the two months of researching. I never saw the home that we purchased prior to closing. Isn’t that how home buying is usually done? What could possibly go wrong?
There’s nothing like taking a hot shower after a long day of traveling and signing mortgage documents. As I stepped into the shower, the look of satisfaction on my face turned into horror as the water quickly rose from the drain. The plumbing was old and rusted. There was no hot water. The bathtub faucet wasn’t even connected. It shot off like a cannon from the water pressure.
Remodeling a home wasn’t part of the plan. Expect the unexpected.
Looking back at my first year of marriage, I can’t help but smile as I think about all the twists and turns that my wife and I overcame. There are two sides to every coin. The unexpected struggles, mishaps, and setbacks strengthened our already unordinary relationship.
Walking uphill both ways in the snow might not be as flashy or picturesque as a 911 Turbo, but describing how my eyelashes would freeze together when walking to the grocery store makes for an entertaining story.
The love my wife and I have for each other far surpasses what you read about in fairytales or see in the movies. Has it gone as planned? Not in the slightest. But with every ravine that has split the ground before us, we have found adventurous ways to bridge the gap and continue onward.
I’m still waiting on that Porsche 911 Turbo to appear in my garage, but for now my motorcycle will do. Maybe that will come next year. Everything in time.
Photo: Flickr/ Brian Wolfe