Thursday, November 24, 2011

The month of gratitude: A Love Story

image from here

It was three years ago this week that I met the boy that would become my husband. And now as I contemplate this first Thanksgiving as a married woman, I can't help but think about that Thanksgiving week three years ago, and how much has changed since then.

I had just arrived in Romania as a missionary and had no clue what I was doing. I was tired and jet-lagged, and after being assigned a trainer and a city that I would go to after I took care of some visa stuff, I found myself at the home of a member in Bucharest for dinner . Tons of other missionaries were there, all of them were there for a good meal, as well as some socializing, before heading back to various parts of the country later that evening.

One elder sitting by me said, "hey! I'm your district leader and we're going to be in Cluj together!" I smiled and nodded, but quickly disregarded it because I was too much in a haze to register what he meant. Then the time came to eat: a traditional Romanian meal that I would later come to appreciate, but at the time, my queezy stomach could not handle it. I was so worried because I didn't want to offend my hostess--but there was no way I was going to eat that greasy sarmale.

Then that same elder came to my rescue. He willingly volunteered to eat ALL of my sarmale. I thought he was being so noble! So heroic to help me! I didn't realize at the time that this is just how he is ALL of the time. He eats like a horse. And he has been my personal garbage disposal ever since. Doesn't that sound so romantic.

My other first thoughts about him went something like this: "your name is Castro? Hmm, just like Fidel."
one of our first photos together. castro is the one on the left.

Yep, that was about it. Like I said, I was really out of it. But I came to know this Elder Castro over the next eight months, and it was a unique situation because I wasn't in Romania to have any love interests. Therefore, I simply was myself with my fellow missionaries. I wasn't trying to woo them and I wasn't self-conscious of whether I was showing only my "good" qualities. When Elder Castro did something that irritated me, he knew it!

The months went by, and we were friends, if you can call it that. It was kind of a love hate relationship. When I still had eight months left in Romania, he went home and began to live a normal, non-missionary life, and once in a while I would hear from him. One day he sent me a letter telling me that he kind of liked me, and he kind of wanted to see if there was something between us. He wanted to invite me to come to his fancy schmancy Naval Academy dance, and hey, while I was in the area, why don't we go see the Broadway revival of South Pacific? That sneaky guy. He knew I just couldn't resist two of my favorite things: NYC, and Rogers and Hammerstein!

I was hesitant. I had a few reservations about it, but I think deep down I knew I would end up going. And I knew that perhaps it really might go somewhere.

So I went, and from the get go, I knew that this relationship was going to be different from any of my others. He knew exactly what he was signing up for. He already knew me: the good, the bad, the ugly! And yet he was still interested. It was so nice starting in a relationship where I wasn't worrying if he would still like me after finding out just how spazzy and ridiculous I can be sometimes. It was oh so nice to just be myself and be loved. And it's still like that. Honestly, that's my favorite part of it all.

our first dates

It was also one year ago this week that this same "Elder Castro" was asking my parents for permission to marry me. So considering all that has happened, I can't help but be grateful at this time of year for the relationship that has changed my life and for what a great year it has been.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving!!! I loved this post! You guys are so cute!

  2. That is so cool. I think Thanksgiving will always be extra special for you two!

  3. oh the glory days. I'm so glad I met you both in that same magical place. and that I've been able to see all the phases of your life together. so much love. also I'm really glad I get to see you before I move.