Today it is five years ago my now husband and I left to marvel the world. We had a vague idea about where we wanted to go and a one way ticket to Mumbai, India. A wild guess, and a brave choice, since we both had little experience with travelling outside of Europe. We, well to be completely honest, I made the decision to go one and a half year earlier. Matthijs and I had been, at that time, together for three months. I had been thinking about a gap year, and since I had been dreaming about travelling around the world ever since I was sixteen years old, the choice wasn’t too difficult. I told Matthijs I was going. And if he wanted to he could tag along. So, off we went. For our loved ones it wasn’t as easy. Either they were excited for us, with this expression of not-understanding in their eyes, or they would just blatantly say: “why in the world would you do that?” Not with the aim of trying to understand, but in an attempt to keep us from going.
Today it is also one year ago Matthijs and I got married. We chose this day because it was exactly four years after we left to marvel the world. Well, actually, the date was chosen for us. The day before we traded our tiny country for the big wide world, we said goodbye to Matthijs’ grandfather. A last goodbye. The three of us knew we wouldn’t see each other again. A couple of weeks later our feeling turned out to be right – he passed away. Before we left, I had several conversation with him about dying. At first he wasn’t ready, but as the weeks went by I saw something change within him. More and more he was able to let go of his sorrows. One of them was his grandson, my husband. He needed to be sure someone was going to take care of him. Therefore, he kept telling us that the second we would get into that airplane, we would technically be married. Where our parents insisted we’d make arrangements just in case our relationship would end – which we never made – he and we knew we are in it for the long haul.
And here we are, five years later. We’ve seen the world, faced many ups and downs, and made it through our first year of marriage. To be honest, it doesn’t feel too different from not being married. So I’m still wondering what all the fuss is about. Last year I wrote about my struggles regarding the wedding. And it took me a good six months to get past all the tension surrounding that day. I couldn’t even look at the photos for they made me sad. But now I got rid of most of the negativity, I look back on a wonderful day. We both looked so happy. Despite everything. Looking back on this past year, I must say that it hasn’t been the easiest. One of the reasons being we didn’t get to spent as much time together as I hoped for. Only a week after the wedding Matthijs had to go offshore for a week. So there I was, not quite comprehending what just happened, by myself in a house that after about a year did not yet feel like mine. And that was only the beginning. Throughout the year we have been practising to let go of each other. Which was hard, for we had never been apart for more than ten days. But we had to. Matthijs is often away for work. And since September I live in another city for four days a week. Although I sometimes wish we could see each other more often, I also like – as silly as that may sound – that I get to miss him. It makes it more special when we do spend time together. And it made us to start going out again. We make appointments to see each other, and have designated time to be together. I love that. It feels a bit like in the beginning of our relationship. Only without the insecurities of those first couple of months.
We have had rough year and a half. And still, here we are. Together. We have gotten used to our not-so-standard life. All the fuss around our wedding is in the past, ready to be forgotten. And now I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. I’m not one to hold on too much to what has been, but I am a bit of a number nerd. On my phone I have this app that counts days. And it says that today we have been together for 2470 days. That is 23,75% of my life. That means that Matthijs has been there for almost my entire adult life. He was there when I changed from a quiet and shy girl to a more vocal and often silly women. And through all that has happened, he still wants to be with me. The only reason being that I am me. And for that I say to him: I love you. And I want to be with you too.
Images by Justin Manders