Ten years ago today, I met this handsome man! We were about to head to Greece for three months for a study abroad program that included stays in Israel, Turkey, and Egypt to follow the life of Christ and the mission trips of Paul. I saw him across the airport on that first day and my first impression of him wasn’t the best. He was wearing sunglasses inside an airport with his arms crossed across his chest wearing a camo backpack. Needless to say, I thought he was standoffish.
When we arrived in Porto Rafti, just South of Athens, however, my opinion quickly changed. He was the one always making sure others were taken care of. He counted everyone before the bus left a destination to make sure no one was left behind. He was also the goofy one making people laugh. He was a great storyteller. He was the one that volunteered to make the entire group steaks for dinner one night for a celebration. He was the first to offer his jacket on cold nights. All around, he was charming and caring and witty. We would always sit near each other on the bus and started to bond over this amazing shared experience.
Before I had left for Greece, however, my dad had told me not to fall in love in Greece, as he was afraid I wouldn’t come back home to Texas. More than that, I didn’t want my semester abroad to be tainted if a dating relationship didn’t last past the trip (I’m sometimes logical to a fault). Even though I thought way back then that he’d be a good fit with my family, and he TOTALLY is, we didn’t date. We were close friends for almost a year before we ventured down that path.
Before heading back to school the following semester, after not seeing each other for a few weeks, he invited me to stay at his home for the day. I agreed. Not only did I meet his family, I met his friends and got to see who he was at home. I remember that he was so nervous when I first arrived, that he dropped a carton of orange juice on his door step making the biggest mess. That night, his best friend kept making sideways remarks about me being “The One” over a campfire and s’mores. (Which probably explains our love of s’mores to this day).
That summer, he came to visit me in Austin a couple of times. During those trips, he decided to tell my sisters that we were dating, even though we weren’t. My sister started calling him my boyfriend before I did. My mom called him “the boy” for the longest time (even until we were married) because of that summer where I thought we were friends, but he thought we were dating. I also gave my mom an unexpected surprise when I overused my text messages plan, spurring our family plan to go unlimited.
On August 29th that Summer, he invited me to a country music festival at the Stockyards in Fort Worth where it was finally clear who we were to each other. He “made his move” with a brisket dinner (my favorite), holding my hand, and a first kiss. A couple of weeks after that, he drove into a hurricane to make sure I made it to a baby shower for my cousin where he met the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and long-time friends of the family). They gave their seal of approval and we’ve been together ever since.
Ten years. A full decade with this hottie and I’m still excited to see what GOD has in store for our future together. I love you, Dylan!