A WHIRLWIND AUTUMN

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Where does one begin to try to explain the events of the past month. It all seems surreal as I recall the beginning of this whirlwind autumn.

His first trip to the United States ended this afternoon as we drove him to the airport. He is now sitting on a British Airways plane to Shannon, Ireland via London whilst I am here in this tiny apartment sitting at the table in the cramped dining room typing away as the children sleep in the living room.

Soon, I tell myself. In two weeks we will make our third move of the year. That in itself is crazy but necessary. This time the move is simply across the parking lot to a large two bedroom apartment though I know the move will be anything but simple. A move which almost did not happen. I am glad we got the keys before he left. Now he has a key to 'our' place which is now in both of our names.

He liked Austin more than he thought he would and he did not wish to leave. But he had to leave. Before he arrived three and a half weeks ago, we canceled the wedding plans we made. Even before that we changed our minds on location at least five times before settling on our original location of a free chapel in south Austin.

During the summer we thought of having our wedding in northern California at one of three different locations. Then it was going to take place in Los Angeles or Laguna Beach or somewhere at the beach until we decided to stop complicating matters and simply have a ceremony with the five of us in Austin. Then a Bosnian lady at a bridal shop warned me about our choice to marry when my boyfriend arrived in the States, telling me to file for a fiance visa instead. Panicking, I called my boyfriend in Ireland and told him we should wait until next year.

I was relieved to have canceled the wedding plans we made as it meant we could enjoy our time in Austin without the myriad of details of wedding plans. Then two days after he arrived in Austin, we decided to meet with an immigration attourney to find out what options we had for my boyfriend to move to the States. She advised us to marry now as opposed to later. So, our time together turned into sitting in the car on a daily basis for hours as we navigated around Austin scrambling to put together an impromtu wedding.

At one point I was so tired of the planning that I did not wish to even get a dress for myself. I made sure everyone else had their clothes and decided to wear a black dress from 16 years ago along with my black Bed Stu boots. That is until we walked through Macy's to get to the outside shops at The Domain and my boyfriend picked out a dress for me.

The dress was one I would never have even considered but one which turned out to be most beautiful when I tried it on. He went on to pick out my gold high heel shoes, earrings, and a necklace. I wondered how I became so lucky to have a man who cares so much for me that he would pick out my entire wedding outfit.

In one day we managed to order our wedding bands online, choose a restaurant for our wedding dinner, order two small cakes from Upper Crust bakery, and answer the questions for the wedding officiant. That same day my iPhone died. Though I had replaced the screen back in July, the display went black and I had to buy a new phone. It was the last thing we needed as our expenses were adding up. But it was another necessity just as our new apartment.

Though we looked forward to our making our relationship official, we also longed to have a few days to destress from all of the running around we did prior to the wedding. But things never turn out as planned as there were many more things we needed to take care of in the six days after the wedding when he would make his way to his home in Ireland. There was not even one day that we were able to relax and go sightseeing around Austin other than a quick drive to downtown yesterday with his friend who came for our wedding at the last minute.

As I flipped through the pages of my physical journal I keep, I noticed that many more things transpired over the course of these past three and a half weeks. Going to the bootcamp class at the gym with Mario. Smiling as I watched him play with Legos with the children for the first time. Going to more stores than I have gone in the past year. But it was all worth it. I would not change anything. Except for having more photos taken of us. 

Many nights as I wrote in my journal, my words would trail off as my eyes closed. Moments later I would awaken and wonder what I intended to write. At that point it no longer mattered. What mattered was that he was here. Next to me. But not tonight. Tonight the bed will be empty without my husband at my side. Husband. It still seems surreal.  

As difficult as it is to maintain a long distance relationship, we have proven to ourselves that we can overcome the challenges with determination, love, and much patience. Sometimes the best things in life are unplanned. As was this whirlwind autumn which forever changed the course of our lives.