Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our Story

Fall 2010 I was talking with my best bud Heather at the library up at USU. We were supposed to be studying (that's what you do at the library, right??), but ended up talking about how nice it would be to go somewhere for a summer, just to the East coast somewhere. We just wanted to do SOMETHING. Once we had this idea, it kept growing and growing. There was no going back. (Keep in mind this is still at the library.. attempting to be quiet but getting SO EXCITED) When we decided we actually wanted to go through with this, we called her mom and presented our idea and our reasons why. Her mom actually had a negative experience nannying out East, and planted the idea in our minds to go to Sweden. "We totally know people there!! That way I know you would be with them, and you would be safe." She said. We were stunned. It felt good :)

We skyped the people we would eventually be staying with, to get on equal grounds about what to expect and such. Nothing too much happened after, just fantasising about going and wanting to go. In January it became a reality when my friend Alyssa told us about her parents sky miles. We planned it out, and decided they would buy all the tickets for us, and we would pay them back. We chose May 12th to depart from the states, and August 6th to return home. We found a SUPER good price on tickets. On January 17th we found tickets for 850 bucks for round trip. The offer couldn't be turned down.

(Little did we know that the two dates we chose was a miracle. 3 or 4 days before we left we found out we couldn't be in the country for more than 90 days. We were there for 87 I believe. Pushing the limits much? Yep!)

My mom told me my family could not me support money-wise to go and play in Sweden for three months. (She REALLY did not want me to go. Maybe because I was supposed to meet Joel?? Who knows ;))

Thus resulting in me dropping our of school for a semester and working two jobs from 10 a.m to 10 p.m, which did not make my mom very happy either. Haha and I don't blame her!

My three best friends and I saved up until we left in May. Little did I know how this trip would change my life.

I was dating a guy before I left for Sweden, and was determined to marry him and did not want to find love in Sweden. Isn't that when love usually happens? When you aren't looking for it?

We finally got to Sweden after the longest flight of my life, and after my feet stopped swelling. (they were BALLOONS.) (Sorry I am going into too much detail here... this is bringing back a whoooole lotta memories! :)

Once we were in Sweden, we had a blast. Meeting all these new people, going places, walking on the ancient cobble stone streets... I felt so cool.

After a week of being there, someone mentioned to us to go to a birthday party and meet some people our own age. (Since the only people we knew were the people we were staying with) we were SO NERVOUS (at least I was) and didn't know what to expect. We didn't even know the person whose birthday it was!! After getting there, it was refreshing to meet all those young folk. Seriously, we talked for hours and hours with a bunch of people having a blast.

We had been at this birthday party for a little while, when a friend of ours from our ward walks in!! It was another refreshing moment to see someone we knew. Little did I know my future husband would be walking in right after her. I was immediately drawn to him, and amazed at how handsome he was. I HAD to get know him. Those thoughts were cut short when I saw how close they were walking, and I was devastated. I thought they were dating. All these emotions within 3 seconds?? Ridiculous. What I didn't know was they had just come together, and were good friends and grew up together. I did not know that at the time, though ;)

I tried to keep tabs on him throughout the evening without much luck. (I also didn't know that he was into Thai boxing and that he had a fight coming up the next week. He was on a strict diet but this Saturday was his eating-day, so he shoved as much food from the birthday party as he could into his body, and was sick the whole night. Poor boy!)

After realizing how late it was, we didn't want to over stay our welcome and overwhelm our new friends too much. We left, and I didn't even get a chance to talk to Joel.

A week goes by, and we heard about this institute/seminary graduation taking place and there would be a dance after. Kelsey felt uncomfortable going because she was engaged, and Heather then felt uncomfortable going because she had a boyfriend back home. Thus resulting in Alyssa and I bravely going to this shindig together, without our whole group. We arrive to the church (late of course) and who do I get to sit next to on the back row??? Yup. Joel Herrey himself. All I remember was I was suuuuuper nervous to sit next to him. We introduced ourselves, nothing spectacular. When the congregation stood up to sing (in Swedish) Joel leans over to me and says, "If you want to pretend to you look like you are singing in Swedish (since I couldn't whatsoever), just mime 'watermelon' over and over again, and you should be fine." I decided to trust this attractive young man and take his advice.

Not much happened after this encounter.. but after the ceremony (when all the students received their diplomas), there was the dance - the dance as to why we were there in the first place. And oh dear was it awkward. It was called a 'family dance', and not at all what Alyssa and I were expecting. Just trust me when I say it was awkward, ok?

We had a hard time handling this awkwardness, so Alyssa and I ran into the bathroom only to walk in on a girl awkwardly wiping her sweaty armpits. More awkwardness, wherever we turned. We then had to awkwardly leave, and happily found the nursery, and started playing with the kid blocks. Finally safe. And we laughed, and laughed, and laughed about how funny this situation was, and how this was not how we imagined this dance turning out. At all. After a while someone found us and said the dance was a bit more enjoyable, so we decide to give it another try.

We actually had a lot of fun dancing with some of our friends! No more awkwardness, finally. All the while I watched Joel out of the corner of my eye, hoping he would come dance with us. It was then when I noticed who he was really after this other SUPER cute girl we had met earlier. He was completely oblivious to how obvious it was that he really wanted to date her. I had this all figured out within 15 minutes basically. While we were dancing, I was watching him watch her. Kinda creepy, but true. I saw how much he truly wanted to date her, and decided to put Joel Herrey on the back burner of my mind for now.

When I got home, I was confident enough to add him as a friend on facebook so I could at least stalk him and see how he was. To me, seeing how a person is over the internet can be a real deal breaker. While I was stalking him, I was impressed however. I noticed how involved he was on FB, he posted good things, and some funny things as well. Nothing bad :)

Lets see... that was at the end of May, and I don't think I had anymore contact with him until about mid July. Around this point was when the drama with this boy back home was finally ending. It took him forever to get skype so we could talk, and I missed him a lot. We talked on the phone a lot (and when I got home my phone bill ended up being $666 for just one month. Oops!) and came to the conclusion to put that on hold for a while. With him it was finally nice to get an answer. Either yes we were dating or no we weren't, so for me this was a breath of fresh air.

Joel at this point was tired of trying to date this one cute girl. She had turned him down multiple times and he had just about stopped looking for someone to date seriously.

Mid July my friends and I decided that we wanted to go to Family Home Evening to meet other young single adults at the Institute! We hitched a ride with some friends and headed to Gothenburg. While there we had a spiritual lesson, played a game, made pizza and talked with all the young single adults there, continuing to meet more people! Joel was there of course, and somehow we started talking about the differences and similarities between Sweden and the states.

I don't know what I said to him at that time, but when I got home I had an email from him on facebook saying, ""Hey! I don't have a phone number to reach you so I suppose Facebook is the way to go! What are you doing Saturday? I just came up with a great idea for a date! (If you let me take you out, that is..) So what do you say? Around noon-ish?" Good thing I added him on facebook a little while back, or who knows how he would have gotten a hold of me. And oh dear was I ecstatic.

Us on our first date

Our date was on July 17th, a Saturday. It was relaxing, fun, natural and happy. We laughed SO MUCH!!!! There was no drama, or any stupid dating games trying to play hard to get or anything. Since I was leaving for home in three weeks, we knew (or so we thought!) nothing could come out of this date. There was absolutely no pressure to impress the other, we could be ourselves. I was living in Alingsås at the time, a good hour and a half away from Joel in Gothenburg.

This picture was taken on our first date, and we already look like a couple...
I was so nervous to travel by myself into Gothenburg. Not nervous to be alone with Joel, but the fact of me having no sense of direction. (Good thing I didn't tell my mom about this, or she might have been a bit worried.) Plus I had never been to this part of Gothenburg, where he was having me go by myself. Eventually I got to Saltholmen, where the famous archipologas (is that how you spell it?..) islands are. I was so nervous from traveling and it was nice to finally meet up with him. Joel had the idea for our date to go swimming in the ocean and eat a nice lunch he had packed for us. I remember it being sunny and listening to Jack Johnson. We talked a lot about ourselves, just getting to know each other... and I also remember him asking me what my favorite music band was. I said, "Uh, September??" That was ALL I could think of, my mind was blank. I know like, 3 of her songs, and all the rest are super dirty haha!

Our date ended up being 9 hours long. A first date that long??! It went exceptionally well, and I didn't want to go home even after that. But, I was asked to give a talk in church for the next day so I had to go home and prepare for it.

In my mind it was a really good date, one of the best i have ever had. Joel was thinking something similar, but was nervous to ask me out again. At this point we were just good friends, and he didn't want to come across in the wrong way.

Our first date was on Saturday, and he asked me out for the coming Wednesday! I agreed, and oh what a good date it was. Similar to the first. Relaxing and again there was no pressure to be someone different. He made me dinner, and we went on a long walk to the ocean by his apartment. We were talking like crazy and were so busy taking pictures of the swan in the sunset in the water, only to realize that I had just missed the last train to get back home. We laughed for a good 30 minutes at this fact. What would we do now?? Thus resulting in us staying up all night at his apartment, watching kid history, (He had never seen them or heard of them! I have NEVER seen anyone laugh so much at them) and him playing the guitar. All night. You would think it would have been "dangerous" for us to stay up all night.. alone in his apartment. We hadn't hit that point in our relationship to even hold hands yet! All night we laughed and laughed like such good friends, and once it started getting brighter we decided to hike to the top of a hill and see the sunrise. Watching the sunrise together, Joel put his arm around me. At this very moment a spark ignited inside of me. We both felt the little magic stirring between us that morning :)

Yeah... this beauty came on our date!

On our second date we saw the sunset and the sunrise. Overall that date was 12 hours long. And we loved it.

Our sunrise
That weekend, after our second date, my friends and I had plans to travel up to Stockholm on Friday (about 6 hours away, depending on who drives), to go to the temple on Saturday, see the city on Monday, and do last minute tourist shopping before we went home to Utah in a few weeks. Ironically enough, Joel was headed to Stockholm to attend a boxing camp that same weekend. How funny. His boxing camp ended Sunday afternoon and we talked briefly on the phone just to check up on each other. When I told him that we were going shopping on Monday he boldly invited himself. And I agreed :) We all met up and shopped for 6 or 7 hours. He took it like a champ!! All day shopping we walked super close next to each other, and eventually he started putting his arm around me.

We made plans for him to ride with us to Festinord the next day (Festinord is a week long activity for the young single adults all over the Nordic countries in Europe), and as I hugged him goodbye he gave me a sweet kiss on my cheek. I was in heaven. As he left, my friends flocked around me and hugged me out of happiness at what just happened. Ya know, the typical girly things. Talking and going over every move he did to assure me he liked me, as if the kiss on the cheek wasn't enough.

RIGHT before he kissed me on the cheek!!!!

When we met up Tuesday to drive to a different city, I made sure there was an empty seat next to me. THAT was the one clue to him that I was interested in him, and that he could make the next step. Hehe.

Festinord. The "meat market". A place for young and single adults to hook up. A place where many others have met their spouse. When we got to Sweden, everrrryone asked us if we were going, because it is such a blast. It is similar to EFY, just not as spiritual if that makes sense. There are games all week long, hanging out, sports to play... you name it.

During Festinord...

When we got there, Joel was with us. Aaaand he never really left my side the whole week. He only did when either of us had to go to the bathroom, or sleep. Tuesday was the first day of Festinord, and that was the day he kissed me. Remember how long it had been since our first date? Almost two weeks people.

Every night during Festinord there is always a dance concluding the night (much better than my first dance experience in Sweden). Tuesday night we were dancing, when he told me he needed to go to an ATM machine to take out some money. As we turned to leave, I mentioned to my friends that "we are going to an ATM" wink wink ;) Hehe. But, he really did have to go to an ATM machine. On our long walk back, we noticed an outdoor pool area. It was fenced off because you had to pay to enter, and obviously closed because it was later in the night.

Like the rest of our dates, Joel decides to be adventurous and wants to hop the fence. Me, getting worried that we would get caught and wanting to follow the rules.. I hesitated for a minute. Then I decided to be adventurous and awkwardly hopped the fence. Joel followed swiftly after.

And oh boy was this romantic. As we walk towards the water, he snuck up behind, grabbed my sides and scared me, only to get a little closer to me. He then wrapped me in his arms and asked if it was okay for him to kiss me. I told him, "A kiss means a lot to me, and is a serious commitment." (Basically, in college I was used so many times. Boys kissed me and I thought everything was fine until I didn't hear from them ever again. I was tired of being used, and I wanted to say that so he knew where I stood.) He agreed with me, let me go and then we continued walking towards the pool and sat down.

We talked about who knows what. Eventually we laid down on the cold and stony concrete so that we could stretch out our arms and touch the water, only to get closer and closer together. It was starting to get a bit chilly, so of course we are going to cuddle. In the distance we could hear some kids jumping into the pool, probably from Festinord too. It was basically pitch black over on that side of the pool so we could barely see anyone, we just heard the shouts followed by a bunch of splashes. I could sense the romantic vibes going on and eventually we got closer together. He started by kissing my forehead.. then to my cheek.. and finally my lips.

When we first kissed I was blown away of how good it was. I realized I had never before had such a good first kiss, and I loved it. It just felt incredibly right, I can't describe it any other way.

As we head back to the dance, I felt so good. Content :)

That was how the rest of the week went. Meeting people, doing activities during the day, going to the dances at night and spending time together. Without Festinord, I don't know how else we could have gotten to know each other as well as we did. Basically, it was the perfect timing of everything.

During the "gala night"

During the week of Festinord you go to bed super late and wake up super early to participate in all the activities. Thus resulting in your immune system dropping like a rock and the week after the event is for many people a much needed recovery week. This was our last week in Sweden and Joel got sick. My friends and I had every day planned out to what we wanted to do to a T, to go swimming and having goodbye parties etc. Joel was finally feeling better, so we planned to have a date on Wednesday.

Now we were officially a couple, and we decided to go swimming one last time. It was a terrific date, just like the last ones.

Friday came and we had our goodbye party. Joel stayed up late to help me pack, and that is when I randomly told him I wanted to dance with him one last time. Thus turning into our tradition of dancing the night before we had to leave each other. We only got one hour of sleep by the time we were done packing, and headed to the airport.

Getting distracted while helping me pack ;)

At the airport I was numb of feelings, and had to leave him. So depressing, and glad I never have to do that again.

And after this we became quiiite familiar with skype and talked every single day. As soon as I came home to Utah and back to school, and when I started making my schedule for the semester, the first thing I put in was Skype time with him :) Surprisingly fast we decided that we wanted to get married. Later that fall he bought plane tickets to come over for Christmas and to meet my family, but most importantly, to propose. We got engaged on December 22nd at Temple Square, and married on June 14th that following summer of 2012.

I love you Joel, and I love living my life with you ♥

6 notes:

Sebastian och Eva said...

I've heard you guys tell this before, and I've read about it too, but this was fun to read anyway!! A beautiful lovestory <3 ps. that last picture of joel cracks me up!! hahah he and seb are so alike in many ways. they even kissed us the same way the first time!!

Megan and Jared said...

Aww!! I love this!

Anonymous said...

This is the sweetest thing I've ever read. Thank you so so much! You guys are a huge inspiration! I want to find just the same love as you guys have, aaaaw :D

Shantel said...

So sweet! I can't believe how everything worked out but I am so glad you are happy!

Mariana Patterson said...

Mollie! I loved reading this again :) I'm so happy you found Joel! Love you!

Kerri Andersen said...

aww such a cute story! love it! good thing you chased your dreams and went to sweden! :)