One day at work, as I walked by my co-worker’s desk (a mutual friend of Future Wife and me), she was looking at some photos, which totally caught my attention – there was a photo of Future Wife leaning up against a stone wall in Machu Picchu. Well, obviously I stopped to chat. She started telling me about Future Wife and thought we’d hit it off.
“…Oh yeah? Where does she live? New York? LA? (Future Wife was a TV director so I thought it had to be one of those cities – stereotype much?!)” I asked.
“No, she lives in Finland. You two would be perfect for each other, I think you should email her,” my friend said.
“Oh, well forget that. When in the world would I meet her?” I responded and went back to my desk.
After some coaxing, our friend finally convinced me to email Future Wife via Facebook…this would be the beginning of my journey to becoming an “honorary Finn.” Emails led to IM chats, which led to phone chats (the phone bills were astronomical, to say the least!!!), which led to a visit to DC, where I was living at the time. Suffice it to say, the day I was to meet Future Wife at the airport, I was a nervous wreck. My best friend was nice enough to drive me to the airport and wait with me as she went through customs. I was already in love, but this meeting sealed the deal! After four glorious days in DC followed by three days in New York (Future Wife was originally going to New York, her old stomping grounds, but took a detour to DC to meet me in person…good thing!), we knew we were meant to be. Back to Finland she went and we continued our now serious long distance relationship, which now consisted of emails, IM chats, phone, and Skype (I finally caught up to the 21st century and purchased a webcam! And the phone bills were no longer breaking the bank!).
I had planned a five-day trip to Finland, but as (now) luck would have it, I was laid off from my job and ended up staying in Finland for six weeks. During this time is when we decided to move to New York together; Future Wife had been toying with the idea of moving back to New York before we got together (she went to film school in New York and had lived there on and off for about ten years). While in Finland, my amazing friends back in DC helped me sublease my apartment. They packed up all my stuff, drove it to New York and put it in storage for four weeks (I mean, really, could I have better friends?!). When my six glorious weeks in Finland came to an end and after a very heart-wrenching good-bye, I headed back to DC. The next day, I was on the Bolt Bus along with my six weeks’ worth of clothes, heading to the city that never sleeps and my new home, New York City.
Luckily, a friend of ours that lives in Finland also has an apartment in New York, which is where I stayed while I found our permanent Manhattan home. While in Finland, I had a phone interview for a job at an advertising agency. After two weeks of excruciating in-person interviews, I landed my first New York City job. Meanwhile, Future Wife was wrapping up some projects in Finland and wouldn’t be “moving” to New York for another five months. I use “moving” loosely because she still had to apply for her U.S. visa, which would take approximately another six months, causing her to go back to Finland for about two months before she could finally call New York home (well, for the next three years, anyway – the term of her visa).
We had spoken at length about getting married and soon after she had “moved” to New York, as we were heading to the Halloween parade dressed up as ketchup (Future Wife) and mustard (me), we purchased engagement rings. The plan was that I would keep them and propose in a very romantic, unexpected way. A stormy Halloween left ketchup and mustard soaking wet and we decided to call it a night. On our way home, Future Wife went home and I went to pick up, what was supposed to be, a bottle of wine. Somewhere along the way to the store, I realized I couldn’t wait any longer; I had to propose that night. As I called my future bride’s maid to inform her of the plans taking place in my immediate future, I purchased a bottle of bubbly (wine just wasn’t going to cut it if she actually said, “Yes!”).
When I got home, Future Wife was in the bedroom. I closed the front door and made my way to the bedroom with bubbly in hand. I was shaking as I knelt down on one knee and fumbled to get the ring out of my pocket (I had taken it out of the box on my way home). Through tears of joy (and nerves), I asked Future Wife if she would spend the rest of her life with me…luckily, she said, “Yes!” (and no, mustard did not propose to ketchup…we had already thrown out our soaking wet costumes!).
A Finnish love story unfolded. Stay tuned for the next posting!!