We got married! Really-really! On August 13, 2008. For those of you that have known us for a while, you must all be thinking -- finally! We just had to find a really special place and way to do this, to match the special way and place we met. So, here it is - a destination wedding on a glacier cruise. (no frigid jokes, please) This may be our 3rd try at a date (my Dad's surgery, that would have kept him from attending on our initially planned date and his passing postponed things a few years -- I just couldn't think about a wedding for a while). We were actually married on Eagle Glacier just outside of Juneau, Alaska and it was SO BEAUTIFUL. The ice, the lush rain forest, the snow, the rain, the beauty. I would recommend this to any adventurous couple. Just wear boots and hiking gear. If you need a "dress" experience, I would not recommend this route. Stuffing a wedding dress into a helicopter would have taken away from the experience and I can just envision the pilot trying to navigate while pushing white silk with an overlay of antique lace out of the way-- LOL.
We took a cruise on Princess August 10-15, 2008. We were on the Star Princess due to the fact that it would get us to Juneau on August 13. It was all a part of Ahmed's romantic plan to get married on the exact date we met 10 years earlier. He wanted to do something outdoors, something as big as our first date. That was the day we spent getting to know each other hiking in North Carolina. He spent about 30 minutes trying to find a clever way to holding my hand when all of a sudden a huge tree was just lying in the trail. He was such a gentleman and told me to wait while he scampered over the log and held his hand out for me to take. His smile could have lit up the world. He even got to recreate that on our honeymoon--the hiking, the log (thank God for trees falling the forest), the hand, the smile. The hiking was definitely my favorite part of the trip, I'm a forest spirit myself. But I know his was scuba diving and yes, scuba diving - in Ketchikan, Alaska. He was able to share one of his passions with me and it made me love and respect him all the more. Seeing a school of fist beside you or a bright orange starfish on the reef behind a stand of seaweed, it was breathtaking.
The whole trip was magical. From seeing dolphins and whales off the ship to exploring in the old growth rain forests, to diving with fishes, the trip was amazing. But of course the most magical part was marrying my best friend, my love, my hope, my Ahmed. Seeing the love in his eyes while standing on a glacier of blue and white, lost against a sky of blue and white; it was blissful. And the year that has followed has been blissful as well. We are two lucky souls to have met in the first place and two grateful souls to be able to spend our lives together.
So you want to how this special way in which we met? Well, here it is ... We met while hiking in the mountains up in Linville, NC. Not too amazing you think? Well, I'm a country girl from Seven Springs, NC and Ahmed was born in Cairo, Egypt. So how did a girl from such a whole in the wall meet a man from the cradle of civilization? Well, I was in college at Meredith in Raleigh, NC while Ahmed was living in Durham with his parents (yes, the whole family immigrated from Egypt, on my Mom's birthday no less) while attending school at UNC-Chapel Hill. (He later transferred to NC State, so don't go be hating on him--smiles!!!). As they say, "we saw each other from across the room", (sigh, how romantic) while on a tour at Linville Cavern. And girls and boys it's true, the earth stopped moving, the wind blew for the first time all day, the rest of the world fell away and we could only see each other. At that point, we both knew we had to have this other person in our lives. So, in the typical Ahmed 'gallant' way, he made sure he could go on the mini-tour of the bottomless well with me by bumped two children and a little old lady out of the way. Really, she almost fell over (but he apologized profusely). His come-on line was, "you can get a better view from over here" -- giggles -- and yes, he (& thinking of that day) still gives me the giggles. After the bottomless well segment of our tour, the lights were turned out to give you an understanding of what pitch-black darkness really is. And boy is it dark! While the lights were out, our travel companions had this to say: my aunt, Betty, told me she kept thinking, "she should pinch his butt"; my sister, Karen, latter told me all she could think of was "she should pinch his butt". Ahmed's brother, Smiley, kept thinking, "he should pinch her butt"; and yes, the two of us kept thinking, "I should pinch his/her butt". (No one has been able to determine what Ahmed's best friend, Kimmie, was thinking during this time but we love him anyway - LOL.) I boldly asked Ahmed for his phone number (which made him the mack-daddy to Smiley and Kimmie the rest of their trip to Grandfather Mountain). That was August 13, 1997. We had our first date on Sept 1 hiking in Umstead Forest in Raleigh, NC. Our hiking date turned into an all day affair. We even stayed up half the night talking about our hopes, dreams and aspirations. He couldn't wait to drive back over to my place the following day where he professed undying love and the need to have me in his life forever (sigh, I am such a lucky girl). He even asked my parents if he could marry me just a few months later in November. It may have been a long time since we first fell for each other back in 1997 but I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have gotten to marry my best friend in 2008.