Monday, September 1, 2014

11 Years Together

So originally I was planning on recapping the Disneyland Half Marathon I ran yesterday... that was until I looked at the date while I was working this morning and saw it was SEPTEMBER 1st!! This date probably isn't significant to you, but it is to Ryan and I.

Ryan and I started dating 11 YEARS AGO TODAY!

I know I've probably told the story before, but I thought today would be a great time to rehash it. So here goes, the abbreviated version of the Love Story: Carlee & Ryan Edition.

I met Ryan my freshman year at the University of Michigan. We both lived on the same part of campus and went to the same church, New Life Church, which meant we were in the same ministry (the campus is so large that they have to break it into smaller geographical areas for a stronger sense of community and fellowship).

The first time I knew I liked him (remember, at this point I was a 18 year old silly girl) was when I saw a giant X on his hand and the words "Lord find me" written under it in Sharpie. I have never actually asked him about it (and I don't even know if he would remember this himself), but to me it was like an "X marks the spot". I had dated a couple guys seriously in high school, but neither of them were what I would have considered Christians (don't get me wrong, they weren't bad kids or anything, God just wasn't on their radars). I remember being drawn to Ryan because of his desire to draw close to God. At that point though, I think it was more of just a crush on the skater, art school kid ;)

On Jaws at Universal Studios in the summer of 2003

Well, as luck would have it, he actually liked the girl that lived across the hall from me in the dorms... I would see him stopping by her room and get a little twinge in my heart. I actually remember telling one of my girlfriends on the way back to the dorms after our Stats 350 lecture that "I know he would like me if he just got to know me".


We both ended up going down to Orlando for the summer between our freshman and sophomore year with our church as part of a Leadership Training (LT) program. While at LT, we were required to hold a full time job as well as attend all of the teachings and participate in the weekend service projects. The church had a relationship with Universal Studios, so if you went down to LT and didn't have a job, you could work at the theme park without much of an interview process. No one likes job searches, so we both took the Universal gig (I sold Dippin Dots and slushes, while he was a line cook at Captain Quints by the Jaws ride making funnel cakes). The jobs were pretty craptastic (don't get me started on Universal ;)), but I have to be thankful for it because it brought me closer to Ryan. I mean, what draws folks together better than commiserating about a terrible summer job?!

In Dr Seuss' area at Universal Studios in the summer of 2003

There were only 7 of us from our part of campus that went down to LT that year, which meant we were ALWAYS together (4 girls and 3 guys). We carpooled to work together, sat together at teachings, hung out at the beach together, walked to 7-11 for giant Slurpees daily, you name it, we were near each other that summer. We really got to learn a lot about each other during that time, all while we were "just friends". Everyone knew we liked each other, so after we all went home for the rest of the summer (I think we had like a month between LT and school starting), the other ladies asked me about him. I remember telling them "I could see myself marrying him." HA - this was before we even started DATING!

In the girls apartment at LT, summer of 2003.
Not sure if you can tell, but we are HIDING that we were holding hands...
I doubt we fooled anyone ;)

Well, thankfully it seems like Ryan felt somewhat the same way, so when we got back to campus in the fall of 2003 Ryan asked me to be his girlfriend (a collective AWWWWWWWW just spread over my readers, right?!). We have been together ever since...

Now don't get me wrong, we have had our fair share of ups and downs over the past 11 years of being together, but you know what? He is my best friend and I wouldn't change a single moment of it! He is an AMAZING man and I am so lucky to spend the rest of my life by his side.

11 years down, forever to go!

[Full disclosure: he is in Japan right now art directing his first photo shoot {SOOOOOOOO PROUD}, but that may have a little something to do with my sappy emotions right now too ;)]


Diana B said...

Aww! Too cute! Congrats!

Lora @ Crazy Running Girl said...

Too sweet! My husband and I will celebrate 11 years together this December... he was also dating someone else when we first met. ;)

~ Lora @ Crazy Running Girl