We were married in May. A planned elopement. The only decoration for our wedding was the Just Married sign strung along the back of your car. I made it out of construction paper from JoAnn's the night before.
We wanted our wedding to be extremely intimate, and in the last year it blew up the Internet. When Googled, your name is now more closely associated to our wedding than your snowboarding career (sorry about that).
We made love for the first time. We were husband and wife for the first time. We traveled to San Francisco together so our families could congratulate us in person, then we went to the Caribbean for our honeymoon where you very quickly learned I was a terrible swimmer (thank you for still making me feel like I was a mermaid). We continued to learn things about each other all year, good things and bad.
I hope it's always like that.
In June, you started working full time at Anchored Ship. The coffee shop where I wrote my book the previous year... our coffee shop. You fell in love with coffee seemingly overnight. You used to carry that Coffee Manual everywhere with you, until the pages were so worn you had to print out another copy. I tried to read through it multiple times, but never could finish. Your love of coffee inspires me, and motivates me. I love how purely and passionately you fall in love with life. You put all of yourself in everything you do.
You told me I was selfish. I had never known. I think I wrote a blog post about it. My sins, previously neatly hidden even from myself, were rapidly exposed, one right after the other. It wasn't easy to grapple with.
In July, I took my weave out. We ate Paleo. I remember drinking bourbon out of a mason jar on the beach as the sun was setting on Independence Day, fireworks mere minutes away, and missing you even though you were right next to me. I tried to summit Mt. Hood with you, unsuccessfully. Let's try that again this summer.
Our first year was hard.
In August, we traveled again. After a tiresome summer, we were both itching to pull our passports out. In the Canary Islands I went inside my very first casino with you and you taught me how to play blackjack. I remember taking a selfie in the bathroom that night wearing your Iron Maiden tee, thinking I was badass. When you were so sick with food poisoning in Morocco the next week I laid awake next to you night after night as you slept, listening to your heart beat, making sure you were alright. Remember that terrible meal we had in Madrid on our layover?
So many Starbucks stops. The more we fell in love with specialty coffee this past year, the more we seemed to end up at Starbucks. We both secretly love those red cups. That's how I know you're my soulmate.
In September, I began to admit to the world how depressed I was. I struggled with the weight of my life, the weight of past decisions. I said I was living for Jesus, but it didn't feel like it. You didn't fully understand how to help, but you tried. Thank you for loving me through the dark moments.
I worked on octopus paintings and you poured latte art.
In October, the rain came. Despite the gray, we continued to take bike rides together all over Seattle, you always leading with the occasional glance over your shoulder to make sure your visually impaired wife was doing okay. Which I was. You have taught me how to expertly weave through traffic, a skill that is already coming in handy in Portland!
In November, we explored Bend, thinking we would move there. Your coffee dreams were blooming faster than ever. It has been a privilege to watch your heart grow this past year. We biked up Highway 40 on Thanksgiving with your family, an easy feat for you, but a marked accomplishment in my memory as I continued to try to make my body stronger so I could keep up with you. I remember pedaling back to your Dad's house in Truckee that afternoon, watching families fish together on their docks at Donner Lake, feeling a deep yearning in my soul to have those peaceful moments be ours someday.
The deepest desires and dreams of my feminine heart, even the tiny ones so exquisitely tucked away that they're often forgotten, are completely met in you and the life we live together, serving our God hand in hand.
In December you picked me up from the Seattle airport when I flew home from Shanghai, wisps of smog still lingering in my lungs. We embarked on yet another road trip up and down the west coast. We decided to see The Hobbit together in Rancho Cucamonga and on our way to the movie we took a jog in the streets with Coldstone in our hands. The word Smaug still makes me laugh. We took your brother and sister snowboarding in Tahoe the day after Christmas. Memories over materials, you always say.
In January I learned how to make the perfect blueberry scone. We were pretty obsessed with Breaking Bad. We talked a little about Portland. We prayed a lot together. I met with my ophthalmologist, who told me I'm losing a degree of vision every year. Comforting and terrifying at the same time.
Before we began dating, I was obsessed with my eye disease. It very much defined me. I thought about it almost constantly. It was always an excuse — usually, a valid excuse. Frankly, I just felt sorry for myself. With a jolt, I'm realizing that I never think about my disease anymore. And so much of that is due to your impact, your love, your kindness, your support, your example, your leadership. I can choose to not allow my impairment to get in the way of my life, or I can choose to let it be an excuse (even a valid one). You taught me that.
In February I scraped up my knee when I crashed my bike after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl as we rode down the street, high on life and maybe a little whiskey, high-fiving other screaming fans. I ate more Skittles that month than I'll ever care to admit. We took the ferry out to Bainbridge Island a few times. We laughed a lot. I woke up to snow when you were in Maine. We ate sushi the night of your birthday, the same night we decided we would move to Portland after months of deliberation.
In March you quietly accepted your job at Windell's. We took a train to Vancouver and made fun of Canadians and learned what a beluga was and ate and drank a lot. Remember that conversation we had that one time about how taste is such an underrated sense? Not for us, babe. We wine and dine well! Also that month, A TV reporter interviewed us. I don't remember what we talked about because all I saw was her huge pearly white smile.
We entered our late twenties. We've been adults for awhile, but now it really feels like it.
In April we learned you really can never trust a mollusk. My parents visited us, and we had a blast. I stopped into Anchored Ship to get coffee from you after my workouts. I decided to get baptized on Easter Sunday, which was one of the best moments of my life. It meant the world to have you there, supporting me through that time. Then I got the job in Portland, and moved down, away from you, away from our home, unexpectedly early.
It has been an incredibly difficult year, and simultaneously an incredibly joyous year. So much transition I wasn't ready for (are we really ever ready?) and so many nights questioning myself, questioning God. You were moving away from one career into another while I was trying to figure out how to move into one. Unexpected quarter life identity crisis.
Our Pinterest culture obsesses over marriage, the ring and dress and wedding invitations and all that, but not the nitty gritty day-to-day life that really makes up marriage. Past the elopement video that went viral, past the Instagram photos, past the charm, in our first year we learned what living together and accepting one another really meant. I am more committed to you today than ever. Thank you for being strong for me this past year, and being a leader simply by the way you live your life. I would marry you again in a heartbeat.
Happy Anniversary, Huz. I love you so incredibly much.