You are 30. Where oh where did this year go? I have updated this blog basically none so we have a lot of catching up to do. Sorry in advance of the stupid longness of this.
Lets see, when we last left off, you had just gotten into grad school and we were living in Baltimore. We loved Baltimore. It was a great 4 months spent there, even if it was insanely cold. I will always look back with fondness on that apartment above the garage in the historic home, with the bedroom blacked out with entirely too much tin foil. We still keep in touch with Brett & Hailey and I hope we continue to do so - they are fantastic friends! We got a flat tire the night before we were supposed to leave, of course. But in the end, we drove back to Dallas at the end of February, left our puppies in the loving care of my parents, and then drove to the other side of the country to live in San Francisco for a while.
This was harder - we lived with amazing friends, but not having our own space other than a bedroom for 3 months was rough. We took our bikes with us and biked quite a bit. We did a little hiking, too. You hated your job here - it was in a small community hospital and you were getting called off a lot and it was stressful and not your jam at all. Luckily, it only lasted 3 months. I hung out with our SFBlackner cousins quite a bit, and we went to our first vineyard wine tour, which was amazing. We decided, yet again, that the bay area just isn't our area of the country. We went home for a second for Melissa's wedding and went to Kylee's wedding in Utah in there as well. But living with friends allowed us to take 2 1/2 months off this summer to travel, and travel we did!
We started with driving up to Canada for a few days in Vancouver. It was amazing. We biked a ton, went to a nude beach, ate a lot of poutine, hiked, and generally fell in love with the city. The weather was perfect and it is one of my favorite vacation spots we have ever been. The people were super nice, we stayed in a great area of downtown, and man, it was just a blast. It was the perfect way to start our our #allensummerofawesome.
Then, you went to your last year of camp for a couple of years and I helped Jessie remodel her house in Portland. We also had a date night out with Jessie & Curtis before you left and that was great! We both had a good week, and then we were off to Hawaii for 10 days! Oh man, Hawaii. We were supposed to go to Hawaii with your family when we were engaged 9 years ago, but it didn't work out and I would be lying if I told you I wasn't a little bit bitter ever since. But we went to Hawaii and had a ridiculously amazing time. We stayed on the North Shore with Brooklyn & Randy and it was so relaxing - I can't even tell you. We just hung out with Brooklyn & Randy, went to the beach, hiked a little, took a drive around the island in search of clear skys, and ate a lot of good food. I got up on a surf board! You had probably your lowest level of anxiety I have ever seen you at in our entire marriage! You got into the ocean without me prodding! It was seriously the best 10 days. We spent our last night in a fancy hotel in Waikiki and that was great too - fancy robes, room service - it was fantastic. I decided I could live in Hawaii and you half way agreed. Someday, husband, we are gonna live there, at least for a few months! Mark my words!
After Hawaii, we drove down to San Diego and spent the 4th watching the insane display on a pier in the middle of it all. We saw Flight of the Concords in concert, golden sand beaches, and ate a lot of popsicles. Then we flew back to Texas for a week before we left for Europe!
We started Europe with Laura & Dylan on a weeklong tour of Southern Ireland. I think the highlights for me were cramming all of us into that tiny car WITH our luggage, the epicness of the Leprechaun Museum, the Waterford Crystal Factory, driving on the most Irish of rainy/misty days, cows outside the bathroom, being peer pressured into hiking for a billion miles, BUNRATTY CASTLE (mostly the old people), Dylan not kissing the Blarney stone, lots of Cider and Guinness, the clogging and music while we ate shepard's pie and you freaking out at the Cliffs. We listened to a lot of Hamilton and I only felt like I was going to die 54% of the time you were driving. Ireland was beautiful and I can't wait to go back - as long as that speeding ticket you got that we tried to pay 4 times keeps us from renting a car next time!
Next, we were off to Scotland. The Taylors were there in Edinburgh for a day with us and we hiked Arthur's Seat and we did a private Harry Potter tour which was amazing. We learned all kinds of awesome facts and did spells and generally had a fanatically nerdy time. I wish we had longer in the city - it was such a cool vibe! - but it just means we have to visit again someday! We bid the Taylors farewell back to America and we set off for the Hogwarts Express! We got to experience the train and it was so fun to be in the same carriage where they filmed and see the scenery where they shot the film - we could both totally see Hogwarts there. We went to Loch Ness on the way to our stay in the Highlands and while you loved it, I was totally underwhelmed by the Nessie museum. I did think the Loch was lovely! Staying in the Highlands (more specifically the Glenlivet Estate) was great - we went to a couple of Whiskey distilleries and went on a walk that was a "wee bit boggy". We then headed down to Glasgow and met the coolest Airbnb hosts ever. James & Stephanie were so Scottish and basically the cool people we wish we were. We talked them into dinner our second night and Steph & I stayed up until all hours planning their new airbnb apartment which we are staying in next time we visit!
Then, we headed to England! We only stayed in the Lake District for a night which was just enough to make me want more. We did a storytelling boat tour and some deer ate out of my hands. Two thumbs way way up. We were up early the next morning to head down to get our very first Tattoos! Our tattoos were a big deal - we had planned them for over a year and you found an artist you really loved. I freaked out when the design was bigger than I originally wanted, but in the end we both have lovely pieces of art that go together but aren't matching and are themed around Harry Potter. Harry Potter has been such a huge part of our marriage and has truly formed both of our values so fully that it just seemed right to have a tribute permanently on us. We each got half a quote - mine says Blissful Oblivion and yours says Better Than Firewiskey. I love that we got owls, and I love that you held me and didn't make fun of me when I was a gigantic baby. We got into our airbnb really late that night, but enjoyed our next morning in Ironbridge looking at all the shops and walking across the Iron Bridge! We headed to Cardiff for more nerdery - the Dr. Who Experience. It was great, and so was getting yelled at for playing Pokemon Go. lolz.
So, we are halfway done with England - we headed to Bath to see the baths, went to Stonehenge (which I'm glad we did because it was way cooler than you led me believe), and got to tour DOWNTON ABBEY!!!!!!! Which was super fun but we loved the random Egyptian exhibit in the basement the most, I think. We also spent a couple of days on the southern shore and walked by the ocean and relaxed before we headed into London! I love London. It felt more like going someplace familiar this time, which was nice. We kindof knew our way around a little and only got lost once, on our last night after 2 bottles of wine. We ate at the oldest restaurant in London and it was incredible. And then we got to see what we had planned this entire trip around - THE CURSED CHILD! Oh my gosh. We both cried. We both had permagrins. We both gasped. It was so so so cool to get to see it opening week and with the ENTIRE original cast. We got some photos and autographs and seriously, it was incredible. It was just everything we both wanted out of the experience and then some, I think. I don't know if either of us can really describe exactly what it meant to us, to be able to end the story that raised us the way it was meant to be seen, on the stage, but it meant a lot. We got tickets for In The Heights our last night and that was great too - it was fun to see how one of our favorite composers has grown since his first production!
Then, we flew back to L.A.! I stayed for a week and we got you all moved in and your room all ready for school to start. And then I flew back to Texas. You have been in school 6 months and I have seen you 7 times, which is awesome. I am actually sitting in your bedroom typing this right now!
Not gonna lie, the past 6 months have been really really hard. Last semester was rough - we had to negotiate a lot in and outside our relationship and have had to make some hard decisions and realizations. Absence not only makes the heart grow fonder, but it gives you room to take a hard look at your relationship and see what is and isn't working in it. I like to think we are getting rid of all the parts that don't work and growing and expanding the foundation of things that do - but that means a lot of really hard conversations and decisions.
We are constantly deciding what works best for us. It isn't something that we will probably ever be done deciding. I don't think either of us thought 8 1/2 years ago that we would be here, but we are and we are working on figuring out how to make it work.
All I know is, I love you. I love every part of you. I love your kindness, I love your big heart, I love your insecruities. I miss you when I'm not here, and sometimes even when I am. I have a huge hope for the future and know that everything will be okay in the end. I know that this is hard - we have had a lot of huge life changes in the past 2 years, but I hope you know how much our marriage as a constant has helped me be able to figure out and explore while still feeling safe. Out of all the places we have traveled, laying in your arms is still my favorite place in the world.
I love you and I like you.