Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The Story of How We Met: Jenni's Story

The story of how Will and I met is pretty unique, and so while it might get quite lengthy to read—I hope you do because we think our story is definitely one to tell!

For all you old school people out there this may come as quite a shock, but yes, Will and I met online. (Gasp!) And we can’t really count the number of times when we have been asked where we met, and after telling them, we have seen a hesitant reaction of “Oh....really?.” But as our relationship continues to be rock solid and one full of fun, laughter, and love -- I believe that we have perhaps inspired others to step into the 00’s and accept that online dating is how a lot of people are meeting today.

Both Will and I had some things happen in our life leading up to our meeting that had a great deal to do with the timing of it all, and the how’s and why’s. I had just gotten out of a long term serious relationship with a guy I had dated for about a year and a half down in Utah. Will had also just gotten out of a long term serious relationship with a girl he had dated for about a year. I had also just moved back to Washington State to live with my family after being in Utah for 4 years.

For the full version of how we met though, keep reading...

Jenni’s story:

After living in Utah for 4 years, late in the summer of 2003 I decided to move back home to Washington. To make a long story, me moving back to WA to live with my parents happened after a series of spiritual promptings and experiences that told me this was what I needed to do in my life at that time.

I worked at a mortgage office for a couple of months in Arlington, Washington, where there was another woman working there who was also LDS. One day she told me about this great web site that she and her daughter were both members of, and how they had both met some really great LDS guys and she encouraged me to try it out. I really did not want to, but she ended up convincing me to sign up for an account to try it out. So I did. And to my surprise, it actually was a lot of fun! While I did have to weed my way through some, let’s say “interesting” people, I did meet several quality guys from my area that I went out with and had a great time.

It was around the end of September when I received a message from someone with the username “Skifreak”. He sent me a “smile” and so I viewed his profile. He had so many things in common with me and so many great pictures of him doing things from jet skiing, to scuba diving, to hiking, etc. I thought he sounded like a really fun guy so I emailed him back. Turns out his name was Will Thomas and he was from Portland, OR.

(A screenshot of Will's profile)

Here are some more of this studdly pictures that were on his profile. I love an outdoorsy adventurous guy, so that is what did it for me as you can see from his photos. :)

We continued to email back and forth and we soon found out that we were in similar situations:

We both had just ended long-term relationships. This common link enabled us to form a friendship where there was no pressure, no come-on’s or anything -- just a pure desire to be friends and to have someone else there who understood what we were going through. We were both also looking for someone with the qualities we desired – someone who was a church-going and God-loving person, someone who was fun and outgoing and who loved to get out and do things. We eventually exchanged phone numbers a while later (For some reason I would not give Will my number the first time he asked for it, but I made him wait a while).

During this time, I was still dealing with unresolved issues with the guy I had previously dated and there were a lot of times when I needed someone to talk to about what was going on, and Will was that person for me. Never once did he say anything negative about my ex-boyfriend (in an attempt to put himself in a better light or something). I went through several months of back and forth feelings of getting back together with my ex in Utah, and through it all Will was always there reminding me that my Heavenly Father knew my needs and I was not alone.

Will and I finally went out on our first date at the beginning of November. November 4th, 2003 to be exact.

It was the first time we had ever met in person. He drove all the way up to Camano Island from Portland to see me, and that alone pretty much impressed me. I introduced him to my mom, and then we made sandwiches for our picnic and then headed out the door for the day. We went over to Mt. Erie for a picnic lunch, and then explored much of Whidbey Island, and also took the Keystone ferry over to Port Townsend. The date was just really comfortable and relaxed, and we had much to talk about.

A funny little story from out first date...

While we were on the ferry, we were out on the front deck for a while and it was pretty cold. We were standing behind a wall that blocked the wind while still wearing heavy winter jackets and gloves and hats. Will told me “I’m going out to brave the wind” and then left to go stand out on the deck. A while later he came back and I was giving him this funny look, and asked, “Are you done yet?” He was confused and said “Done with what?” I said “You said you were going out tobreak wind!” He busted up laughing while his face turned red at the same time. He said, “I said I was going to BRAVE the wind!!” We both laughed for a long time about that. Yep. I thought Will was stepping outside, on our first date, to pass gas.

So anyway, I saw Will a few times in December as well. He invited me to come down to be his date for his ward’s Christmas Formal.

And then he also stopped by to see me on his way to and from Whistler for a skiing vacation. All this while he was just a really great friend to me and I for him and we enjoyed each other’s company. We joked around, laughed, and just had a fun time together.

(These next pictures are from when he stopped by on his way to Whistler. My dad talked him into taking our family Christmas photos, and then he (my dad) sneakily found a way to take pictures of us together. Look how awkward we looked. We hadn't held hands, kissed or anything at this point. If you can imagine my dad telling Will, "Put your arm around her, get closer!". Haha)

We also got to play some Christmas piano duets together - which was fun.

While Will and I were developing a great friendship, I was still trying to figure out if I was going to get back together with my ex in Utah, things in that department were continually looking more and more shady. We tried to make it work so many times and I could just never get a feeling that it was right. I went through a lot of depression and anxiety trying to make this decision regarding him, even though we’d called things off earlier summer of 2003, here it was December and we were still trying to make things work.

Then things did start to work...but with a different person...

Will asked me if I wanted to do something with him for New Year’s Eve. I told him I would be free to get together, but I think I was kind of nervous about it...because you know...I wasn’t sure what we were going to do at midnight when everyone else did that traditional kiss thing. And you have to remember also that at this point Will and I were ONLY friends, and I had a guy back in Utah that I was trying to figure out things with.

Will drove up to Seattle on the evening of December 31st and picked me up from Benaroya Hall (where I was working). We walked up a couple of blocks on Pike Street and ate dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. After dinner we went to a movie, and by the time the movie got out it was 11:47pm. We had 13 minutes until midnight and not a clue of where we were going to spend it. I had the quick notion that we should drive over to Gasworks Park on Lake Union to watch the Space Needle fireworks. So we got in both of our cars and zoomed down to the park and made it there by 11:57pm. We parked, got out of our cars and ran down to the lake to get there just in time when they were counting down to midnight. And to ease my own nervousness, no kiss happened and it was just fun!

It was the next day where things started to change for me.

I guess it was the whole trip that did it, but it wasn’t until when we were out skiing where I had my big realization. We got up early January 1st and headed up to Steven’s Pass to go snow-skiing. The whole day was just a lot of fun. We goofed around, and I crashed a couple of times, laughed a lot, etc.

Later that night we went and got some pizza, and then afterwards tried to watch Pirates of the Caribbean but we were too tired.
It was after Will went home to Portland that I realized how happy I was when I was with him. It was a different kind of happiness, it was almost that level of happiness you feel when you know you’re in the right place in your life. Does that make sense? With his positive attitude, sense of humor and the way he approached life - Will made me want to be a better person. His positive energy lifted me up whenever I was around him. I felt very different around Will than how I felt with my previous relationships. I was truly really happy. For the first time, I realized that I may have had more than just friendship feelings for Will. I knew it was a fact when only the day after he left I already missed him and couldn’t wait to see him again.

But so what happened with the guy from Utah you ask? Well, he ended up coming to visit me one last time at the beginning of January, and we talked and came to an understanding that things just could not work out between us. If it had been almost 2 years and we still couldn’t ‘get it together’, then it just wasn’t meant to be.

Will and I continued to do things together on a friendship basis for a short while before things finally became "romantic". However, I did tell him how I felt during New Years – which was pretty bold of me if I might say. I don’t usually just come out and tell a guy “Hey I’ve been thinking about you and I think I like you more than a friend”. But if anything, it opened up the door so he knew how I felt. He obviously reciprocated and said that he had experienced a wonderful time with me as well over New Years.

Over a serious of a couple of more trips to each other's homes those first couple of weeks in January 2004, we finally had our first kiss by the end of the month. And we've been together ever since.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!

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