In April, after 3 months of Skyping and waiting I was finally able to see my baby again. I waited at the Fort Meyers airport with my homemade bristol board sign for my man’s delayed flight. Finally, he came down the stairs and waived to me. I trotted over coyly in the heels I’d changed into a few minutes before and gave him a hug and kiss. There was a curious feeling of familiarity and strangeness between us, as we stood chatting and holding hands waiting for his bag. There was no mistaking his handsome looks even in sweatpants and a few days of stubble.
After a night of zero sleep on account of there being no air conditioning we ended up at Denny’s for breakfast at 6am. We pointed out the booth we’d sat at during our very first breakfast together on our very first trip coincidentally at 6am. We had the strawberry banana smoothies we both love. Next we visited his favourite store (Wam-Mart!) and then checked into a Days Inn that had air conditioning and a pool. We visited Fort Meyers beach along with a friend of mine and swam in the ocean, ate at a beachside restaurant and got super sunburnt! Then we went to Smugglers Adventure mini putt. Think mini putt with pirate ships and alligators; it was neat. We also went to see Divergent at the movie theatre in town. First movie we’ve ever been to together! Josh slept through most of it but it was still a fun night.
The next day was cool so we walked Fisherman’s village (a cute shopping strip in the harbour). Josh tried saltwater taffy for the first time; we winded in and out of the many nautical-themed shops and checked out the military museum there. That evening we went to Josh’s favourite wing place and tried “gator bites.” Yes, gator. It wasn’t so bad; kind of like a slightly chewier chicken. We also tried biscuits and gravy on this trip (big in the South) it wasn’t terrible though it looked kind of gross :p.
On possibly the busiest day of our trip we explored the Tampa Aquarium which was awesome! Afterwards we went to check out the Tampa Bay Brewing Company cause we’d seen it on the tv show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives but it was closed down. Luckily we had a back-up dive from the show and ended up at Danny’s All American Diner. It’s a little chippy truck but it was probably one of my favourite things we did on the trip. What? I like food. I had the Chilli Cheeseburger and my sweetie had the Triple D Triple Play burger, plus we split a side of mac and cheese. It was all delicious! We had some time to kill before going to the drive-in so went bowling; I won one and Josh won one (that’s fun to say), and I got a pic taken with the largest bowling pin in the world. Finally we topped off the day at the Fun Lan Drive-in which I’ll admit looked preeetty sketchy but turned out to be alright :). It was Josh’s first time at a drive-in; I can’t wait to take him to the one back home when he visits me this summer!
Another big thing we did on this trip was take a 2-day cruise to the Bahamas. It. Was. Freaking. Awesome. Neither of us had been on a cruise before so it was a totally new experience for both of us. The food was great and we met people from all over the world. When some dancing started up I grabbed my shorts and ran up to dance to a song I love (“Wobble” – V.I.C.). After I came back and sat down I thought ‘my shorts aren’t frayed at the bottom… and my shorts don’t have a bird on them… whose shorts am I wearing!?!’ Luckily I don’t think their owner noticed what I did and I quickly took them off and put them back where I’d found them. I thought they felt a bit smaller than usual! Josh always gets a kick out of all the unbelievably clumsy stuff I do :p. My poor guy wasn’t feeling so great the first night; the water was very choppy and everyone looked super drunk hanging onto walls and railings while the boat rocked back and fourth. His strep throat meds that upset your stomach plus the rocking was not a good combination so we had an early night and he woke up feeling much better :).
In the Bahamas I took him on a surprise snorkeling date which we absolutely LOVED. The coral reef was beautiful and the varieties of fish were stunning. At one point three tiny jellyfish brushed past me and I freaked out a bit and swallowed some water but I didn’t get stung luckily! Shortly after Josh had one brush past him. Scary! We got some great photos and video with an underwater camera. As we looked at the photos afterwards we noticed I had a bit of a bathing-suit malfunction (think The Inbetweeners Fashion Show episode). I’ve gotta be thee most embarrassing girlfriend ever. Why does he love me again? We bought some bits (before I met Josh I never would have said “some bits” lol) at the market in the Bahamas and my baby got a drink in a coconut. Everyone there wanted to talk to him about England. They were like ‘oh Canada, cool… wait you’re from ENGLAND! Tell us about England!’ haha. Then we laid out on the beach and snorkeled near the shore for the afternoon before catching a bus back to the ship.
The ride home on the cruise was quite a bit smoother. I sang a song at karaoke (Heads Carolina, Tails California). Me and Josh danced for the first time ever at the ship’s nightclub. He’s an adorable dancer; I need not have worried he’d be one of those really awkward white-man dancers. Not that I wouldn’t love him anyway :p. It’s a strange feeling dancing on a moving/rocking dance floor. We topped off the night with a couple of chocolate dipped strawberries. . We arrived back in Florida the next morning and took our bug-addled car to Fort Lauderdale for the afternoon. It was really gorgeous there. Josh got a case of the giggles in the car while we were stuck in traffic which of course got me laughing. We laughed about the bugs on the car, people falling, my bathingsuit malfunction, my accidental shorts-stealing incident.
The next day we traveled to St. Pete’s beach where Josh got to meet someone in my family for the first time! My aunt Joy and Uncle Bruce seemed to really like him and he said he could have sat and talked with them for days and that they were the nicest people you could ever meet. I knew they’d love each-other :). We walked hand in hand collecting seashells with my cousins three year old boy and I teased Josh about having competition :p. We swam, went for seafood on the beach and even saw a beach wedding. The five of us watched the sun set over the water and had some chamomile tea. It was a great day. At the end of it my little cousin Kael said “can Alanna sleep with me?” and Josh said “what a cheeky bugger” haha.
The next morning began with seeing a manatee in our backyard (dads house is on a canal). That’s the first time either of us has seen a manatee so that was amazing. We did some shopping and that night (sadly, our last evening) he took me out to our favourite restaurant for an early birthday dinner since he won’t be here for my birthday in May. We had a lovely meal and he brought along a giant wrapped box. He got me the most beautiful nautical purse I’ve had my eye on for a loong time but that was way too expensive. I definitely felt spoiled! A woman came around selling flowers and he bought me a beautiful pink rose that I was constantly smelling after he left the next day. He also left me one of his T-shirts that I may or may not be sleeping with and cuddling. Okay, guilty as charged. One day when we were at the Days Inn he slipped a note under the bathroom door that said “I love you.” I’m so lucky to have such a thoughtful boyfriend who does stuff like that. I love him :). When he was leaving I stuffed a letter and a package of beef jerky and chocolate chip cookies in his carry-on for the flight.
We had some long talks on this trip about our relationship. So much of our relationship is perfect but there are parts that we feel we could make even better. I usually only talk about all the great stuff but like any relationship we have some challenges and that can be really scary. But I’ve realized I’m falling more and more in love with my boyfriend as a person. It’s easy to imagine that your partner and your relationship is 100% perfect when you are away from each-other, and I kinda thought distance was this wonderful way that you could ignore relationship issues.
. But now I realize that I want to see him everyday. I want us to be together. I miss him and I want to work on things that we just can’t work on long distance. I want the good and the bad. I want the daily little things. I want the full experience. We’re talking about myself getting a work visa and moving to be with him in the next year or so which is sooner than our original plan. I felt like we were a bit disjointed as a couple during the first half of this trip; but something changed in the middle and we became us again. Whether it was our tearful conversation, meeting my family or as he told me today, how he appreciated how I took care of him when he was feeling sick, something drew us together again and we remembered we aren’t strangers. It can be hard to stay “us” long distance.
. We are both determined to make things work because we love each-other. He is the best I’ve ever had, has made me happier than I’ve ever been and I can’t imagine being with anyone else. He has my heart, all my love, and I believe in us. I adore that British boy.