So a special date that most people dont know about is today. I remember it vividly only because it was so surreal and bizarre. It is August 4th, the day Colin and I got engaged. One year ago. Most of you know last year was a rollercoaster. Most coworkers and friends found me to be insane, continuing to date this navy dude who lives in Guam ("Where the heck IS Guam??"). Not only did he live in this strange country but he also lived on a boat that floated all over the western Pacific Ocean flying VERTREP missions. I think once I tried to explain that term, they gave up all hope for me! So from January 2008 on I spent the year working and wondering when Id see my boyfriend again. It was exciting, nerve wracking and FRUSTRATING to all levels when youre counting on the Navy to let you see your loved one. Lesson One: The Navy doesnt care! Three months in I was given four days notice to buy a ticket to Guam and visit Colin who was in on a port call in Guam. It was so amazing to see him again. In eight months of dating, 2 months was a long time to be apart! My trip out here was a blast. I negotiated with my boss to work half the time I was out here so from 2am-10am I was on the computer working with my pals back on the West Coast (caffeine became my best friend). The rest of the time I was exploring the island with my boy and getting to know his friends and coworkers. After that I headed back not having any idea when Id see Colin again. So settling.
After a work trip to Canada I was finally presented with an opportunity to fly to Guam for an unscheduled port call in late July. The months before I was on the edge wondering if Id meet the ship in Japan, Singapore or South Korea, it seemed to change its mind a lot. Imagine that? With five days notice Colin bought me a ticket to Guam (what a stud. He must have loved me, I was broke as day!). Just like four months prior, it was awesome to see his handsome, happy face again. Like before I negotiated to work during the second week of my trip. We had a great time only this time, I was pretty sure Colin was going to propose. At that point we both knew we wouldnt be hanging on like this if we werent thinking long term. So while the term propose never officially came up I knew there was a ring coming and we even talked about taking engagement pictures since well, when would we see each other again? We arranged to take them in the squadrons hangar in front of one of the helicopters. Our friend Twitchy offered to take photos which turned out surprisingly well, the guy has a way with cameras! It was a great day, all of us convened at Boss's house for dinner. Good times! If only that couldve lasted.
Later that night, around 12:30 Colin got a call from Aaron, one of the pilots on his det. "Dude, sorry to tell you but were deploying at 0800, get packed." Colin had to ask him to tell him again to be sure he heard what he heard. I was half awake on the couch already knowing the call was not going well. Now most of you would probably think I was thinking "He's leaving?? But I dont leave for a week? Thats not fair!!". Actually I was thinking "He hasn't PROPOSED yet!!" I was already a little edgy wondering if he'd actually go through with it so this call did not settle my nerves. I already knew I'd go home disappointed. For the next two hours I quietly helped Colin pack his bag back up and get everything ready to head out the door at 6am. Neither of us could sleep, we were both pretty angry. Turns out the aircraft carrier sitting near the Philippines wanted to move up their meet-up date with Colins shipjust because. I was readily interested in meeting up with the ships CAPTAIN to give him my two cents but that was neither here nor there. So at 5:45am we got everything ready and I went out on the balcony to get Colin who was cleaning up the barbeque. He immediately pulled me into a hug, looked at me and got down on one knee. With the sun rising over the Pacific, I looked at him through groggy eyes as he reached in his flightsuit pocket for a ring. A wedding ring. Huh? Before he could say the magic words he explained that his dad had sent the ring out from Atlanta where he was having it set and it hadnt arrived yet. So he asked if the wedding band would do. Of course I said and after a kiss and a hug, we darted out the door. Over the next hour I kept glancing at the band on my finger, this was definitely NOT the scenario I dreamed up when I was seven! I guess God likes to surprise us sometimes.
When we got to the squadron, the guys immediately looked at my left hand, apparently Colin had been driving them nuts about this pending engagement and they had all assumed it had better happened by now! With a quick kiss and hug, I said goodbye to my new fiance and left the squadron. This time Colin is leaving before me. I drove home in shock, still wondering what just happened. Lesson Two: The Navy LOVES to pull fast ones on you! I got home and too angry to sleep I returned a call to my parents who had called the day before. All I had to say was He left and they understood. I bawled for 20 minutes, just angry at the world. Here I had this beautiful wedding band on my finger but not the guy who gave it to me. You know how the best man always says "Welcome to the Navy/Marines Corps/Air Force Ma'am!" with a slap of the sword? I think I got that a little early. Ultimately I got through that week just fine. I mean I was stuck on an island after all. The pool and I got well acquainted and it was all good. Of course the ring came the afternoon after Colin left and my good friend Kristina (who he had it sent to just in case something like this would happen...man he is smart!) proposed to me with a gorgeous white gold 1.2 carat diamond ring. So romantic! So that's the story of us, one year later were happily married on that same island getting ready for another long 7 month separation. I LOVE the Navy.