When I was a sophomore at Brigham Young University, I decided that I was going to volunteer to teach English in China for a semester. I applied and got my assignment. I bought some cassettes to teach myself a little Chinese, got my passport, and prepared to leave in early January.
Chad was coming home from a mission for our church (in Santiago, Chile) in late December. Despite two years of dating prior to his mission and being totally crazy about each other, our relationship was very much up in the air as I prepared to go. I had been dating other guys (maybe dating isn't even the right word - "hanging out with" is more like it) and neither of us could really say what things would be like between us after two years of not seeing each other.
I would be leaving days after Chad came home. My decision to go was a little bit of a pulling away from the relationship. I knew it and he knew it, and after all he had put up with from me already, I knew that my chance with him might be past when I came back.
In November, I was thinking it over and started to have some strange feelings.
Feelings that, although I hadn't seen him for two years and felt a little anti-men at the time, I really really needed to stick around instead of going to China.
Basically, I felt strongly that I was going to marry Chad.
I prayed and I canceled China.
Chad came home December 28th. We got engaged February 2nd, and married April 26th. It was fast, and a little scary at times, and I have to admit that if I had only made the decision with my head, I don't know what I would have done.
It was the best decision I have ever made.
My passport expires this year and it has never been used.
I love my life and the road that I have chosen,
But sometimes I feel a little like a country bumpkin
A 29 year old who already has three kids but no stamps on her passport.
I have never in my life left the country, even though I grew up near the Mexican border in a time when it was very easy to cross.
So when I heard that the house we were renting was a mile away from the Canadian border, I said,
"I'm crossing! I am GOING to Canada! I don't care if I go alone, I am going!"
And then amidst all the list making and packing for everyone and myself, I left approximately three minutes for finding my passport, and of course it wasn't in our files where it should be (and really, where should an unused passport be anyway?). So I left without it.
I was undeterred.
"I will hike into the woods and across the border if I have to!" I told everyone. My brother-in-law Bill, who served a mission in Canada, felt the same about getting across, even if it was illegally.
When we got to Idaho, our turnoff for Fliegerhaven was right before the sign that said, "One mile to Canada" but there was a river and mountains between us and the border. Gulp.
After a couple of days of looking at maps and seeing Border Patrol driving around, I pouted to Chad that it just wasn't going to happen.
I had given up, and then on our last evening Bill called to Chad and I and asked if we wanted to go check out the border. We hopped in the car, leaving the kids with the grandparents, and took off. The plan was to see if there was some sort of turn-off close to the border where we could at least get a picture with a "Welcome to Canada" sign.
There were several duty-free stores, a US Customs office, and a post office before the Canadian border inspection, so we parked the car and started walking in the direction of the border, very slowly, waiting to see how far we could get without getting yelled at.
Right there, free from any border patrol officers, and yards away from inspection. Was that really the country line?
Sure enough, we glanced to our right, up the mountains, and the boundary was marked all the way up.
I ran over the Canadian side laughing, raising the roof, and had Chad snap my picture like the country bumpkin that I really am, hair undone and not a stitch of make-up on. Then my sweetie crossed over to Canada with me.