Monday, June 11, 2012

He's the One.

When they found out I got engaged, several people asked me how I knew that Ariel was the one for me, especially since we have only known each other since December 6, 2011 (when we started chatting on FaceBook). I'll start by saying that although living 6,000 miles (9700km) apart is extremely challenging, it provided us with the opportunity we never would have gotten... to truly learn who the other person is.

Four days after we started talking, I was interested in meeting him. For months and months, we continued talking and realized that we have so many things in common.

It's really easy for me to answer the question, "How did you know?" in my head and heart, but not so easy for me to put it into words for the questioner. Nevertheless, here is my attempt to do so.

Before I met Ariel, I had a checklist with characteristics I was looking for in a guy. I was also pretty much ready and willing to settle (since it was extremely unlikely for me to find the man I was looking for). I had come to the conclusion that there was a certain person out there that I needed, but simply wasn't sure he existed. Before quitting, I prioritized my list of needs (and threw in a few wants), knowing that some were more important, some were less important, and some would have been nice (a "bonus") if I got them but could do without them. People laughed and asked me if I planned on finding just one guy who had everything I was looking for.

But it seems that within six months of my decision to get married, I got lucky enough to find the one man in the world who has met each and every request on my list, and what an amazing man he is (he's also a really good looking guy - icing on the cake)!

He thinks like I do, has a great sense of humor, a lot of patience, and has a big heart. He comes from a big family and they are important to him. His health and fitness is a priority, as is his Judaism. He likes to learn and is chivalrous. He is kind to people, no matter who they are, and works hard. Our style and taste is extremely similar, and we both love to go hiking, camping, reading, and playing/listening to music. He is strong, opinionated, extremely intelligent, thoughtful, and oh, have I mentioned kind?

We both have open minds and interests in trying new things. We both enjoy traveling, learning about new cultures and languages, and are foodies (and drinkies; is that a word?).

I love when he holds my hand without thinking about it. I like that he has his own interests, priorities, and friends. I like that he is a goofball. I like that he accepts things about me even when he doesn't understand them. I appreciate that he encourages me to do things I love, and I love that he surrounds himself with good, quality people.

In some respects, our personalities lean in different directions. I am more practical, he is more of a romantic. He seems to have an easier time focusing than I do (or he fakes it well). I am a uber-planner, he is more spontaneous. We balance each other well.

Most of the time, we communicate well. There are times when we don't, and when we are having trouble sharing or phrasing things quite right. But we both understand the importance of it and keep working at it until we are both (reasonably) happy.

In the end, what it comes down to, is that I don't have to try with him.

Every relationship takes work, but I don't have to struggle with him. I don't have to explain my love of Judaism to him or what Hebrew/Yiddish/holidays mean. I don't have to make excuses to travel, and I'll get to learn new languages with him. We can listen to, and learn playing, music together. Not only are we on the same page, but we have been reading the same book as well.

Not only do I love the man, but I like him as well, and I believe that is more important.

He makes me want to be a better person, a better attorney, and a better Jew. I want to be his amazing wife and mother to his children. I know he feels the same way because we've discussed everything, both easy and tough.

I look forward to what the future holds for us, but right now, I'm loving the present... and the man, my other half, my b'shert, with whom I get to share it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My LDR has an end date!

41 days (that's five weeks and six days) until my fiance actually comes into town and my last long-distance relationship ends. He's buying a one-way ticket from Israel to Michigan and I will most definitely be personally picking him up from the airport.

It's going to be pretty stressful for him until his moving day. He has to finish his university exams, complete a week of Army training (miluim), and finish four papers (if I remember correctly). Not only that, but because he's an amazing guy, he's agreed to help find us a bartender for our wedding and help make decisions about party favors (benchers or other creative ideas).

But one way or another, he'll be here in the United States with me. For the first time ever in our relationship, we'll get to live in the same city. We will be able to see each other every day, go out on real dates, and do things normal couples do.... like snuggle on the couch and watch movies together, have conversations in person, go for ice cream, speak to each other in the same time zone, etc.

The idea of having him around all the time is a little odd and different. Not bad, by any means, but certainly different. To be able to have him around all the time is exciting and a little nerve-racking, if I'm completely honest with myself. Ariel and I have known each other since December 2011, but have lived 6,000 miles apart from each other the entire time. We have FaceBook chatted, Skyped, texted via Whatsapp, and spoken on the phone. We have spent a total of approximately 25 days together in person (over three trips). Each time we get back together, there is an adjustment period. But once it passes, each day spent together gets better and better. So if we live in the same city, I can only imagine how great things will be (once we get over the initial adjustment).

So... between now and July 19th, I have to pack up my life, go through things, throw things away, give things to charity, sell things, and, basically, minimize my life. I also have to continue my legal work, find a job at a law firm, help Ariel find a job, find an apartment for us, and, yea, finish planning my wedding. They say that if you can survive planning a wedding, you'll be just fine. I'm starting to really see that. So far, so good.

We'll be living in the same city for about seven weeks before we get married and move in together. What an exciting and positive change in my life -- bring it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Wedding... 90 days out.

I just want to be married already...

Last night, I dreamt of my wedding and it wasn't what I had imagined. It wasn't in the hall we had booked (it was in a much smaller one) and the decorations were anemic. I don't remember much about it except that it wasn't what I had wanted. I do remember, however, that at the end of that day, however disappointing the party, that Ariel and I were married.

I have discovered that planning a wedding is mentally draining and emotionally exhausting. I used to plan weddings and parties for a living at a five-star hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, but it's not quite the same (since that actually was my job). Now, I am planning the wedding, working as an attorney and entrepreneur, and packing/moving all my stuff in order to move, and have things weighing on my mind (finding a place for my future husband and me to live).

My truly wonderful fiance, a dual-citizen, currently lives in Efrat, Israel and isn't moving to the States until the third week of July. In addition to being extremely difficult being apart from him, he's limited in what he can do to help plan.

Technically, we got engaged on April 2, 2012, but for personal reasons, we didn't announce it officially until the next month when I returned to Israel for a week in May. Our engagement is only five months long, so in the meantime, I was productive: I picked out a dress and started all the research necessary to plan a wedding. I ended up finding a place to hold the wedding (that will actually seat 300), and since the engagement party, I have chosen a videographer, and have narrowed down the photographer, band/music, and am now looking into the caterer.

Honestly, the catering is what I'm dreading the most. I have to make many phone calls (in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Chicago), ask all the questions, possibly travel to taste food, discuss cost, and make decisions without my fiance.

Our wedding is a destination wedding, taking place in South Haven, Michigan. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the lovely state of Michigan, the sunset side on Lake Michigan is stunning. It houses cities such as Muskegon, Fennville, St. Joseph, Holland, Saugatuck, and, of course, our gorgeous wedding city of South Haven. If you've never been to South Haven and western Michigan, I suggest strongly that you put it on your bucket list.

Another stressor: Since this is a destination wedding, guests have to book hotel rooms far ahead of time (because it is a resort town on a holiday weekend), and I was limited in how many I could block. I'm an alpha female for the most part, I'm a planner, and it's difficult for me to have to rely on other people to get things done (i.e. booking hotel rooms and airline tickets). On the one hand, I need to let things go what I cannot control. On the other hand, if people don't book their rooms, they will have nowhere to sleep... Ah well, I suppose that won't be my problem (unless guests decide that means they cannot attend the wedding and screw up my numbers).


Sometimes venting helps...

My fiance does immensely. Thank goodness!!

Even seven hours ahead of me, he keeps me as level-headed and calm as possible, is always asking what he can do to help (and does it), and makes me laugh. He can tell when I'm stressed, when I'm tired, and adjusts beautifully to each. I am so incredibly lucky to have him in my life.

All in all, I really can't complain since it could be worse. At this point, what I would suggest to brides:

(1) don't get engaged unless you're able to fully announce it;

(2) keep the engagement long enough to get everything planned, but short enough to make it a transitory period of time (you are only engaged to plan the wedding);

(3) listen to your friends who are getting married, who recently got married, and use their advice! They have just been through everything you are going through. Why reinvent the wheel when you don't have to? Save energy (and money if they know someone) - you'll need it elsewhere. That being said, use your judgment and don't be afraid to say no. It is your wedding and it only happens once.
(4) be organized!!! Keep track of all your receipts, to-do lists, who you have to call by when, and don't be afraid to ask vendors what you think are stupid questions. I've asked questions that vendors were surprised by, and were glad I asked.. and lastly, advice I have heard from many people:

(5) something will go wrong at your wedding. Accept it. Once you have that in mind, when something does indeed go wrong, you'll have anticipated it and it won't throw you for a loop on your most wonderful day.

Just remember, no matter what happens, at the end of the day, you'll be married to the most wonderful person on the planet who was designed in the heavens just for you. That's all that really matters.