I am feeling super accomplished since returning from Sydney to London. Maybe it's having completed the essentials of basic wedding planning - the trifecta of church, reception, photographer - but whatever it is, I'm basking in the glow of being a fully fledged bride-to-be.
That being said, all of this has had me thinking about how nontraditional we are.
I don't see Jase and I as a run of the mill couple. We have always floated through our lives and our relationship at our own unique pace, which doesn't always fit with the normal, traditional way of doing things. As I've gotten older, I care less and less about fitting in to other people's perceptions of what should happen and when - but it's still hard not to compare sometimes. Such is life.
We met while fairly young, with me having just turned 18 and having just started my first year of university. Because of that, we dated comfortably - for years. By the time we had started looking to the future and the possibility of working abroad, it was fairly obvious that we were in it for the long haul; but this little adventure would bring about quite a few new hurdles our way.
For a start, Jase ended up getting a work opportunity that was too good to pass up, which saw him leave Sydney five months earlier than we had anticipated. Being in a long distance relationship is tough; my kudos go to all couples who persevere through them. I learnt a lot about myself in that time we spent on different continents, but it also made me realise the good things that we had - and to appreciate everything we had going for us.
Anyone who knows me could probably tell you just how much I was craving an engagement ring over the past couple of years. Jase and I had the usual bumps in the road, but were as strong as ever - having survived the months apart, the moving in/cohabitation stage, and each of us finding our own feet and routine in our new life here in the United Kingdom.
I was annoying. (Trust me, I know. I was there, hearing every whinging word that came out of my mouth and cringing at what a GIRL I was being. Poor Jase.)
I wasn't being high maintenance and wanting to get hitched straight away - I just wanted the next step to happen. I'm so glad that the boy managed to keep his engagement plan a secret, because I loved it even more not knowing it was coming.
Unlike most newly engaged females, I had no great plans for the actual wedding once the ring was on my finger. I say 'most' very lightly, as I don't like to generalise - it's just that our situation was once again a little different than most. We both knew we would get married back in Sydney, and since we had no plans to leave London at the time, planning was put on hold. The Internet is great when it comes to planning, but it's not the same as being there in person and getting a real feel for a location - so we waited. That's just what worked for us, a nice long engagement that we could celebrate while still on our European adventure.
I love the kind of couple we are. It makes me incredibly happy that we are both individuals who can give the other the space they need to be themselves. When the boy needs to be flexible with contract locations, we work it out. When I want to be independent and have girly travelling time with friends, we work it out. Whenever random things are thrown at us, we work it out. It's just what we do.
So now it's real. And it's real because... we have a date! An actual, set in stone, money-deposited, honest-to-goodness date.
The best is yet to come!
Anyone who is following me on Twitter may have seen a tweet of mine from this afternoon which was a bit random and out of the blue. The one I'm talking about looked like this:
Ahoy, friends. I have been a slack little blogger - the past few days I have been telling myself to post just before bed, only I'd eventually get up there and crash without getting the chance.
So, I'm more than a little obsessive compulsive when it comes to planning and organisation. I spent the Easter break packing my suitcase for the trip home, and thought I was sorted then and there. The idea was to take as many extra clothes back home with me as I could - so that I could leave them there, and return with a relatively empty suitcase.
Extra clothing? Check. Trinkets for friends and family? Check. Shoes I don't wear often? Check. Books I needed? Check.
Sorted. Or so I thought.
Since last weekend, my suitcase has sat proudly in the hallway, basically ready to pick up and go. It wasn't until I woke up this morning and started getting dressed for the day, that I realised what I'd completely forgotten to pack.
Underwear of any and all kind.
Not even a lousy sock.
Now that could have potentially been very awkward indeed.
Suffice it to say, I re-packed everything again this afternoon. A few thorough checks later, and I am officially done. My suitcase weighs a few kgs over the 20-kg weight limit - but I've always managed to get by with that, so fingers crossed it should be fine. If not, I can always reshuffle things around and put on a few extra layers of clothing for the flight! My carry on bag is chock full, and my handbag is plane-ready, with everything neatly baggied and organised.
And most importantly, my planner is labelled, dated and ready to rock and roll - I honestly cannot wait for these wedding venue visits I have lined up. I've checked in online already and my plane ticket is printed and is sitting in my bag, ready to go.
Now to get the blasted flight of doom over and done with!
Tomorrow morning I'll be heading off to Paddington (with J's assistance; he's good for hauling heavy suitcases up flights of stairs) and then will be farewelling the boy and catching the connecting train to Heathrow - where I'll sit with a coffee for a few hours and read, because as you've probably guessed, I'm one of those people who gets to the airport obscenely early just in case. Yep. That's me.
So, if you've got me on your twitter feed (and if you haven't, add me: breathegently) I'm going to go right ahead and apologise in advance, because I'm sure I'll be posting far too many updates tomorrow. And since it'll be the last time I use my iPhone for a while, thanks to the outrageous price of roaming internet abroad, I intend on making the most of it.
See you on the other side!
If you're reading this right now, you've probably just come from my old blog. And if you've made it this far, I salute you.
This time next week, I'll be finishing up at work and getting ready for my last night in the UK before my two-week Australia visit! I am MORE than a little excited, and working from home tomorrow before the Easter break PLUS the long weekend, is going to make the time fly by.
Speaking of flying... I've been on a mission this week.
What is that mission? I wanted to find out everything I could about getting randomly upgraded on a flight. The flight from London to Sydney (and vice versa) is a horror, nearing 23 hours of flying time. It's broken into two legs, with a couple of hours stop-over in Asia (usually Singapore or Thailand) and I won't lie: it's painful. I've done it loads of times now, and it doesn't seem to get any easier. In fact, knowing what's ahead tends to make it just that little bit worse.
Because the countries are so far apart, tickets are expensive. As such, the only way I can afford to fly is cattle-class, also known as economy class, where most of the mere mortals end up. It's painful. It's squashed. And I inevitably end up stuck behind a very tall gentleman who reclines his chair for the entire flight. Interestingly, no matter how far in advance I plan my flight, and I'm a notoriously early planner (have had this flight booked since last November), I never end up with a row to myself. I always end up stuck in the back end of the plane, completely surrounded by people. It's awful. I hate it.
You see, I feel like I've contributed to my side of the positive flight karma system.
I only fly with one airline, because I'm a Frequent Flyer and I like to accumulate points. I fly with Qantas, because I'm Australian and I always book with them if I can... it makes sense to get as many points as possible.
And honestly, I'm an awesome traveller. I never piss off the flight attendants. I always smile and say thank you. I put up with the screaming children and the reclining passengers, and I try very hard not to elbow my seat passenger while I'm buttering my bread roll with a plastic knife. I also wear deoderant and brush my teeth and tend not to get up a lot during the flight, as I hate crawling over the top of people that are trying to sleep. I am the ideal passenger!
Because I'm a single traveller, I'm always the one that Qantas call upon to move seats - usually to accommodate for groups or families that for some reason have ended up split up on the flight. And every single time, I do it. Why wouldn't I? I would hate to be on the other end of that deal and stuck sitting with a stranger while my entire family sit together. I'm nice about it. I don't mind, at all. As long as I'm near a window that I can fall asleep on at some point, with my head at a 90 degree angle, I'm happy. (Well, as happy as you can be on a long-haul flight.)
Even still, even the times I've been switched, it's just been to another squishy economy seat. I've never managed to score an upgrade. Ever. Every time I fly, I hope this will be the day it happens, but so far I've been left unlucky. I'm hoping next week will be the one.
It seems like every second person I know has been upgraded at some point or another. I spent my lunch break searching for clues, and have found out that Qantas is notoriously bad with handing out free upgrades. Bummer! So far, I've been advised to be nice to the check-in and gate crew (check, I am always nice!) and to dress smartly, so no jeans or uggs for me. Those things, I can do - and usually do anyway!
Have you ever been randomly upgraded? Tell me all about it... and rub your luck off on me!