Weddings // July 21, 2014

Two months ago, my husband I were married in a small ceremony with friends and family on a ranch by the Carson river in Nevada. It was a balmy day filled with love, laughter and mishaps. I got stranded in a strip mall less than an hour before the ceremony (long story), one of the groomsmen forgot to pick up his tux, and the officiant came down with the flu. Despite these things we had a lovely day, because my husband and I (and everyone helping us) were prepared for things to go wrong and so took things in stride when they did.

“Savor the moment.” That’s a great way to remind ourselves to take in every detail of a special moment, trip, or occasion and file it away in our memory for future enjoyment. But what about those details that you want to forget. That you have to forget, so that the story about your trip to Ecuador is “Remember that time we stood at the equator?” instead of “Remember that time we almost froze to death in the Andean Mountains?” It’s choosing, in the moment, to asses the situation, stay positive and plan to salvage the moment. Then you can have an experience that can be savored over and over again. My new husband and I have had enough whacky moments to get good at this. We’ve also learned some great lessons and established patterns for how to make the most of an unexpected trial. Here’s how we do it.

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Stay Positive and Invent a Motto

In fact, it was looking back on another near disaster in our recent past as a couple that encouraged us to keep positive on our wedding day. It was December, 2012 in Ecuador and we had had a series of unfortunate events: a harrowing bus ride through the Andean mountains; being left on the side of the road at 3:30 AM in the middle of said mountain range; crazy guide; faulty gear; altitude sickness... and the list goes on. We took lemons (scary mountain trip) and made lemonade (impromptu trip to El Mitad Del Mundo, or “Middle of the World,” in Quito). We decided to remain positive about all the mishaps and even gave them a cutesy name “Mitad Del Mundo,” a motto to remind us to laugh in the face of trials.

Assess the Damages

While my husband, Mathias, and I were prepared to be positive during our big day, we did not prepare for all that would go wrong with our honeymoon immediately after.

My husband planned a romantic beachside getaway for us in what was advertised as a “charming” and “quaint, historical” inn. After an eight hour drive (twice as long as we’d planned for thanks to faulty navigation system) we arrive to a quirky, small, old inn miles away from the shoreline of Daytona Beach Florida. Since it was the middle of the night, we ignored the fact that it didn’t look like the post card. The friendly staff escorted us to our room and I immediately went into my habit of inspecting our room for cleanliness and proper accommodations. To my horror, I found broken glass behind the curtains, dirty towels hung in the bathroom, filthy dishes under the bed and a bottle of lube spilling out of the night stand... This was definitely the honeymoon suite, and someone had a good time in it. When we informed the staff that our suite looked like a scene out of The Hangover, we were kindly escorted to a larger suite with an ocean view. The ocean view room came with friends: cockroaches, mosquitoes and termites (oh, my!). It was too late to go anywhere else, so we built a fortress on the bed and stood watch against creepy intruders until dawn.

Next, we assessed our losses. Romantic mood: dampened. One night’s pay at crappy inn: lost. Time: one day of our special getaway gone. We were outraged by our experience until we reminded ourselves that we’ve had worse vacation moments and started planning to make our honeymoon a trip worth remembering. In the end, we still had each other and that meant things weren’t as bad as they seemed.

Move to Plan B...or C

During our honeymoon experience, we kept positive and realized the situation could be salvaged. We didn’t want to spend the rest of our vacation at the infested inn, so we worked on plan B: Disneyworld! Until we realized that did not work for our budget or timeline… on to plan C! We quickly mapped a route to the nearest beach, Daytona, and planned to just enjoy the time with each other instead of trying to make the trip perfect. The result was, for us, near perfect. We spent one day sleeping in, eating pancakes and being beach bums. We learned to paddle board with a Hawaiian native who showed us how to go with the flow of the waves; and we enjoyed the local nature and vegan food scene. Finally, we laughed at how everything that could go wrong with our plans did. We had fun anyway.

As we age and start a family there are likely to be dozens of stories that start with “remember that time when...” We knew that this would be a story that we’d look back on and laugh at, but what turned our dud into delight was our determination to laugh now. Who cares that our bridal party wore mismatched outfits. Everyone was beautiful and I think that’s a trend now. Sure, it looked like the set of the Hangover in our honeymoon suite, but so what! At least somebody had a good time in that termite infested chateau that shall remain nameless. We managed to salvage the memories of our first landmark moments as a married couple: time spent with dearest love ones, priceless. Here’s hoping that there are many more to come.

Published in Weddings
Friday, 27 July 2012 22:34

Dating | Guys Get Romantic

July 30, 2012

Is romance dead? Is chivalry a thing of the past? Most women these days seem to agree that these ideas are fading fast! It may be 2012, the age of the modern female, but most of us still appreciate a sweet gesture from time to time. We asked a few members of the opposite sex to reveal the most romantic thing they’d ever done for a woman… and restore our hope in humanity. Here’s what they said:

"It was freezing, so I threw a pair of sweatpants and a long sleeve t-shirt in the dryer and gave her toasty warm clothes when she came over. It’s the small things." - Joe, 29

"My girlfriend at the time (now wife) and I had just moved into our first apartment. It was Christmas Eve and she had to work. We had been so busy that we didn't even have a chance to get decorations for the new place. She was practically in tears on her way out the door. She said she was so stressed and it didn't even feel like Christmas. I felt so bad I decided to go all out. So I called my best friend and we hit every store still open, then hurried home to make the new house the brightest on the block. A new tree, some crazy lawn ornaments and a few thousand Christmas lights later, the stage was set. We finished just before she pulled up to the house. The look on her face was priceless. I guess you could say I saved Christmas." - Nate, 28

"Might not be the most romantic, but one time I asked to borrow a girl's car (a co-worker I had a great crush on) so I could put a giant teddy bear and roses in it. This way, when she punched out of work and got in her car, she knew someone (ME!!) really cared about her." - Chris, 29

“Scheduled a trip, picked her up from her work, and whisked her away for the weekend.” - Damon, 31

“So I'm sitting on a flight back from North Dakota. I happen, with my undeserved luck, to be sitting by the cutest girl. Of course, no matter how my charming reputation speaks for itself, I get really nervous around beautiful girls I meet for the first time. So I play it cool, throw glances at her every once in a while because I find her so attractive, and pretend to read my book. I happen to have a notebook on my lap also that I was writing song lyrics in. About forty minutes into the flight, I built up the nerve to carry out my brilliant plan. I turn to a blank page in my notebook and write, "Where are you headed?" and set the opened notebook on her lap. She stares at it for a couple seconds, her face expressionless, and writes, "Same place you're headed." We divulge in this endless banter, most of it just smart ass remarks and witty comebacks, until we reach California. She never looked at me once until we were inside the terminal. She smiled at me, I smiled back. Then we parted ways. I still have those pages somewhere.” - Andrew, 26

“After a second date I hugged the girl goodbye. The date had gone so well and it seemed like we didn’t know how to end it, but we ended up hugging. After she went inside I drove away and then turned around and drove back. I texted her to come outside. When she came back outside I walked up to her and kissed her, ending the date the proper way.” - Nathan, 27

"Most impressive thing I've done for a girl was gift her with a portrait of herself.... Showcased a piece of my soul. Girls like art, especially when it's of them.  Word to Titanic" - Rod, 27

Have you ever done something romantic or received a romantic gesture? Comment below and share your story!

Published in Dating