Ok...well not exactly...but here is my take on how we met for the very first time in person.
Matt's plane was scheduled to take off at about 6:00am from Leeds and land in Minneapolis at noonish the following day. Because it was an international flight it meant he needed to be to the airport at least 2 hours before take off so that meant he would leave the house at 3:30 in the morning in order to get there in time. So, in order to help with the process of traveling to the US and the time change and all, I spent the evening talking on Skype to Matt until his taxi arrived.
Matt left for the airport so I decided to get a few more things picked up around the house and take a quick trip to the grocery store. An hour went by and I was just getting ready to walk out the door and my phone rang. On the other end there is Matt saying don't freak out, but his flight got canceled and they were rerouting him to Manchester. I honest to goodness thought he was joking. I told him to stop messing around. And he repeated himself and said it wasn't a joke. I told him again to quit it and he said there was nothing to quit and to just listen. Then my heart stopped. We only had 4 days together so if his flight got canceled that could be it. Meaning, not meeting then until Christmas. But the airline had found a flight for him in Manchester so he said goodbye, hopped in a taxi and headed for another airport. We would lost about 5 hours at the start of the long weekend, but at least he was still coming. I hopped in the car and ran to the grocery store.
After I got home I put the few things that I bought away and crawled into bed. I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep, and I really didn't sleep all that well, but I did sleep some. I had asked Matt to text me to keep me informed of his progress since every thing had changed and so every once in a while I would receive a text that would wake me up, but it was ok. At least I felt informed and he was on his way.
The next morning I didn't do a whole lot. Just lots of sitting around and waiting. Reading, watching a movie, pacing, etc etc etc. It sure felt like a long day of waiting in great anticipation. And then it started to snow. Blech! Normally I don't mind the snow, but this could mean they wouldn't land and I got nervous, but as I watched the planes route online it appeared that they would land and so I decided to take off for the airport a little earlier then I had planned on and make a couple of stops on the way.
I am not one who drinks a whole lot of alcohol so I really don't know what to buy, but I do know that Matt enjoys a beer or a glass of wine so I thought I would pick up a little of each. Hilary is always talking about Trader Joe's 3 Buck Chuck so that was one stop. And Nic had given me the names of a couple of good (not America) beers to choose from. Once those errands had been run I made my way to the airport.
I think I was there at least an hour early and tried really hard to sit still. That didn't work. I was nervous. Anxious. Excited. Worried. 8 months of talking to this person every day, having lots of very intimate conversations. Having him there during some of the scariest times of my life when my dad was so sick. Of saying I love you. And who knows what this weekend would hold. I had done lots of praying hoping that everything would go perfectly. That my family would like him. That he would like my family. That we would still like each other face to face...you may laugh at that statement, but it was a real fear. What if we weren't what we had expected/anticipated/thought the other would be? What if only one of us still liked the other? What if neither of us did? I couldn't breathe or stand still and my heart was beating out of control.
And then it was 5:00...and I was standing there and I got a text saying he had landed, wondering who had ordered all the snow. I texted back saying I was standing to the right of the stairs when he came down and that he had ordered the snow. And then I waited. And waited. People kept coming out, and no Matt. One of my former youth group kids, coming home from school for the holidays even walked by and we said hi, hugged, I explained that I was waiting to meet my boyfriend for the first time, and she quickly excused herself. And I still waited. Hmmmm...people were walking past me with British accents and still no Matt. And then no one else. I was very confused.
Then all of a sudden this guy, with lots of messy hair came barreling through the doors and taking off to the left at a very quick pace. It took me a second to realize that he was here and completely missing me. So I'm waving my hands over my head and shouting out his name, shouting out his name a few times and he finally realizes that it's me, but with a very quizzical look on his face. We met said a quick hello, his luggage hadn't arrived, and rushed off to the baggage counter. It wasn't until we were standing in line that we actually had our first hug.
And how did it feel? To be perfectly honest...there were so many different feelings and emotions and thoughts going through my brain. I had no idea what to think or feel at that time. It was quite overwhelming. 8 months of seeing his face on a computer screen and hearing his voice through a speaker and there he was standing next to me. Holding my hand. He was real! It was great! It was scary! It was weird! But mostly it was wonderful!
In hind sight we have both said that it was probably for the best that we met the way that we did. 8 months of build up can create some pretty high expectations and all of those were thrown out the window with one bag being left behind in London. It broke the ice really fast and made it feel like I was meeting an old friend, someone I've known all my life and it made it much easier. It would be great to have this super romantic story of seeing each other across the airport, running into each others arms, followed by a long embrace, but well, that's not how it happened and now we have a funny story to share with everyone.
We got everything sorted out for his missing luggage and took off for our first official date, a Starbucks. It was nice to just sit down for a few minutes and catch up on the past 36 chaotic hours and just be together, doing something normal, without a computer monitor surrounding each others faces. After Starbucks we headed down the road to see my friend Christine so Matt could get his hair cut. And boy did he have lots of hair...and it was thick and curly. Christine kept telling him he needed to keep it longer because he had such great hair. She did a great job too. Thanks Christine!
Hair cut finished we headed to K-Mart to get a few essentials from K-Mart and headed back to the house. I really enjoyed showing him my house, the house he had only seen bits and pieces of behind me on the computer screen. Lola also seemed excited to meet him. Here was the person behind the voice she kept hearing every day. It was also nice to just sit next to him on the couch and talk and hold hands and be able to touch him and know he was really there and that we weren't dreaming up the last 8 months. I was sleepy from all the stress of waiting and the anxiousness of it all, but I can only imagine how tired Matt was. So it was time for some shut eye before he had to meet the family the following day...Thanksgiving day in the US!