our story. chapter 6
I was sweating bullets. As the flight attendants prompted me to prepare for landing at Auckland International, I was filled with nervousness.
1) I was returning to this beautiful gem in the South Pacific just 8 short months after I had spent an entire semester there. I had never planned on returning so soon.
2) I was about to see Jason face to face. I knew it would be different and on the awkward side.
Was I supposed to run and jump in his arms? No. The last time he had seen me in person I had explained how I was breaking up with him permanently. Did I pretend like nothing had happened? Did I begin begging for forgiveness? These are the thoughts that filled my mind as the beautiful turquoise blue water and the familiarity of the Auckland skyline became within eye shot of my plane window.
I got off the plane and prepped myself big time. I changed my clothes, applied make up, brushed my teeth, etc. . .After all, international travel is not the most hygienic activity in life.
By the time I retrieved my bags and was greeted by an ever friendly Kiwi customs official, my heart was beating at an unusually fast pace. I said a prayer in my heart that he would actually be there and want me to be there.
He was there.
Waiting patiently and ready to give me a nice warm hug and a big toothy smile. That's Jason. He is the most forgiving person in the world. I didn't know it at that time--but I do now that I'm married to him.
As we left the airport the conversation remained a little on the stiff side. It was awkward. There was a huge elephant in the room. We found a bench (of course) and took a few hours to talk. We needed to catch up and talk through the horrible events of the prior months and weeks.
To this day, I believe the conversation that took place there on that bench, overlooking the ocean, was one of the most meaningful and integral parts of our relationship. Both of us had gained much insight into what it takes to have a good, working relationship. My lesson mainly had to do with learning that my life was more rich and meaningful with him at my side. I felt like our prior break up helped me learn just who I wanted and needed in my life as an eternal companion.
I had arrived on Christmas Eve and we had every intention of making it a Christmas to remember. We drove to the Hamilton Temple that night to enjoy the Temple Lights and Christmas Program on the temple grounds. The date was oozing with romance. Scripture reading under a white lighted palm tree, holding hands and listening to Christmas Choirs--see, I told you, is that not oozing with romance? Isn't the Christmas date everyone's dream?
By the end of that date we were back in business. That fire had been rekindled and we were determined to make my New Zealand week meaningful and eventful.
Christmas morning was fabulous for so many reasons. I was experiencing my first summer Christmas. Jason and I exchanged presents before the festivities began with his family. A boy had never bought me a present before. I felt so very special to have received a thoughtful gift from him. We had a lovely summer Christmas BBQ-- you know, chicken on the barbie.
The remainder of my trip was dedicated to road tripping. Jason and I packed up for a getaway to the top of New Zealand. We drove all the way to the very top of the island, Cape Reinga, and stayed several nights in Paihia.
We rented a kayak and spent several hours zooming around the bay near our hotel. I could barely pull my paddle through the water and was basically no help. Jason sat in the back and pushed both of us around by paddling like a mad man. I remember that the front of the kayak was sticking straight out of the water on my side. We made some jokes about how it was comparable to marriage. In all seriousness, that little water activity confirmed in my mind that I truly could marry this boy. I loved being around him. He is virtually always happy. I loved how big and strong he was. I loved how he is up for anything, always outgoing.
The rest of the weekend went a similar way.
The highlight of the trip was making the trek to Cape Reinga. I know you have heard me talk about Cape Reinga in this forum. I have done so here, here, and here. It is just that good. And here I go, another speech about Cape Reinga.
I love Cape Reinga. It is beautiful, majestic, and inspiring. Turquoise blue ocean water meeting the very northern tip of New Zealand. It is reason alone to see New Zealand in person.
Jason and I packed our lunches and drove the 4 hours to the top of the North Island. When we got there, we decided to take a path off the beaten track. We wanted to have a more personal view of the ocean cliffs and oceans meeting away from the tourists at the lookout point.
During our lunch, Jason brought me close to him and told me some things that really touched my heart. He said he knew he loved me and that he knew he wanted to marry me. Out of nowhere, he got down on one knee!!! He even pulled a ring out of his pocket!!!
I was totally shocked and surprised. I had no idea that was coming. I wanted to say yes so bad. But I was so scared. I didn't think I should get engaged just months after I broke his heart. I felt like I needed to prove myself even more. Not to mention, move forward at a snail's pace so I didn't back out again.
He didn't put the ring on my finger that day. Though, I probably should have let him. Please look at one of the above links to see why I am an idiot. Cape Reinga is too good to be true.
Overall, the Christmas trip to New Zealand was monumental in our relationship. I came back. There were also many firsts on the trip.
--first summer Christmas, first trip with Jason, first time to be proposed to, first time to travel overseas by myself, first time to be away from my family for Christmas, first time I felt like I could truly marry him--
We said goodbye at the same place. Muriwai. We drove back to that black sand beach and took a nice long walk. We weren't sure when we would see each other again but we knew it would be soon. We also knew that we were getting married at some point but we were going at a snail's pace.
The month of January in Winslow was a total bust. We were back to the long distance thing. It was summer where he was and winter where I was. We needed to see each other again asap.
Then came Valentine's Day.