You can check out Part one of our story here.
It has been a few weeks since I wrote the first part of this post and the reason I haven’t written part two sooner was bad time management mixed with being nominated for two Liebster awards and writing the first and second posts for those as well as being nominated to do a 3 Day Quote Challenge which all took longer to complete than I thought.
I then visited my first ever Comic Con, Wizard World Richmond and wanted to write about that while it was all still fresh in my mind.
But the amazing story of the journey God has taken Hannah and I deserves to be shared with the world, so without any more delay, here is the rest of our story.
In January of 2013, Hannah made her way to Scotland for what would be a 6 month trip so that she could get to know my friends, my family and get to spend some time being part of my life just as I had gotten to experience when I visited Colorado for 2 weeks just 4 months earlier.
I decided that I wanted to greet her at the airport with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in hand. I purchased Hannah’s favorite flowers, red roses and gerbera daisies, from two different flower shops as apparently the initial shop I visited didn’t stock one of the flowers (not to mention they couldn’t even pronounce the name of the flower) and proceeded to create a wonderful, homemade bouquet.
I arrived at the airport a couple of hours early and waited for the arrival board to show that Hannah’s plane had touched down and she had arrived safely in Scotland. The plane touched down a little early and I waited with baited breath as a flood of people came through the arrival doors at Glasgow Airport excitedly wanting to see her face again. And I waited… and waited… and waited… until the crowd that had come through the doors had pretty much dispersed. I assumed that she had gotten held up so I patiently kept waiting, looking to be ready when she finally came through the doors. After another plane had landed, all the people that had been on it came out and dispersed, I started to become concerned and decided to ask the staff member at the desk near the arrival door if she could check and see if Hannah was still back there. While she checked, my mind was racing, worried that she had missed her flight and was now stranded herself in the Iceland Airport and was putting a plan together as to how I was going to get to Iceland and make sure that she was OK.
Thankfully, the flight wasn’t necessary as Hannah had arrived in Scotland but was experiencing further questioning from Immigration control. Apparently when you come over from the USA to the UK with no visa and no return ticket purchased, Immigration control gets suspicious and decides that they need to look at your story a little more so that you don’t come into the country and take advantage of the UK’s resources and then never leave.
But after questioning Hannah, and then also questioning me with how long she was planning to stay there, how would she be taken care of and provided for and where she would be staying (telling them that even though I was her boyfriend she wouldn’t be staying with me because we were Christians really confused the airport personnel), Hannah finally came through the arrival gate almost 2 hours after she landed and we were FINALLY reunited. As it was early, our first stop was Starbucks in the airport where we could just compose ourselves after a rather stressful start to the trip and just let it sink in that we were finally together again.
From there we jumped on a bus to Glasgow city center where I took her to one of my favorite sushi places for lunch, “Yo Sushi”. We were honestly still settling into the fact that we were together and Hannah was still recovering from a long plane journey and detention from immigration. So I quickly took her to my place and decided to go to the Glasgow Fort shopping mall so where we could look around the shops until we met, with my Parents and the people Hannah would be staying with, for dinner that night.
By the time we headed to the restaurant that night, on a cold January evening, Hannah was falling asleep in the heated restaurant as we waited for a table. But as ever, she was a trooper and made it through dinner, and as expected, all of my family and friends loved her.
My mum and dad absolutely adored her and Iris, my friend she was staying with considers her a sister as Iris’ mother considers Hannah her “white daughter”. And not only that by Hannah absolutely loved all of them and that is all I could ask for is that the most important person in my life would get on so well with everyone else in my world.
I had taken the first week of Hannah’s trip to Scotland off of work so that we could spend some time together and even though she had visited Scotland 4 years prior, I wanted to introduce her to MY Scotland and what I loved about my country and create some new memories of these places together.
We visited Glasgow and I showed Hannah Glasgow City Center and where I loved to spend most weekends that I could. We also headed to Edinburgh, Scotland’s Capital City and went along the royal mile walking the cobbled street and seeing Scottish History meeting Scotland Today.
We also visited one of our favorite destinations in Scotland, Stirling. I introduced Hannah to Stirling Castle (and later Wallace’s Monument) and some of the amazing views that you can see over the whole city.
Stirling Castle Courtyard
View from Stirling Castle
View from Wallace’s Monument
We had a lot of fun the first week Hannah was in Scotland and it was great to experience Scotland with her. And just like I got to experience in Colorado, I was able to introduce her to my friends and family as well as the my church and youth group and it was such an amazing experience to have her become part of my world.
And honestly that is the best way to describe most of Hannah’s time in Scotland, we were able to do something that we had never been able to do before, we were able to physically be involved in each others world. We could spend time with friends and family as well as each other, we were able to go out to dinner or go to the movies or just take a day trip somewhere without the need of Skype and our imaginations. A day trip to East Kilbride Shopping Center or spending a whole day in Glasgow going around shops, having a sit down dinner and going to a movie were grand adventures because for 1 1/2 years we had been talking online with no way of doing any of it.
Although we enjoyed the little things we still took advantage of all the big moments that we could while together. And on our first Valentine’s Day together in person I arranged a booking in a restaurant, we got all dressed up and I even gave Hannah a single rose which has become a signature of Valentine’s Day for us since the Valentine’s Dance the previous year. Unfortunately we ended up going to a cramped hole in the wall restaurant (not what I had imagined it looking like when I looked at pictures online) and the food wasn’t exactly 5 Star, but it was about the opportunity to go out together for Valentine’s Day that we will never ever forget.
Honestly, being together in Scotland was a chance for Hannah and I to take the next step in our relationship. We had spent so long speaking to each other online and Colorado had opened the opportunity to spend time together in person and see if our relationship could go beyond a computer screen. But we now had to know if we could last more than a 2 week vacation together and last beyond the rush of emotions and actually enjoy doing everyday normal things like going to work, coming home and cooking dinner, being around friends and family for an extended period of time and we knew that our relationship was going to have to grow and change in order to flourish and in the end, if it was to work, it would lead to us getting married and one person having to leave behind their home and create a new home somewhere else.
Those 6 months had a lot of ups and downs and a lot of great times and hard times. This is by no means a bad thing but Hannah and I chose to be completely open about everything in our lives and everything we had been through. This meant we shared some highs together and also had to hear and work through some of the low points that had happened in the other persons life. But at the end of the day, we knew that we wanted a relationship where we were totally honest with one another. We wanted to be real with each other and not hold back anything and try to keep a superficial, surface level relationship, we wanted to have something deeper than that, and y’know what, our relationship grew so much stronger because we did that with one another.
Then, one night in May. I asked Hannah if we could take some time and pray as I had had a pretty rough day and also wanted us to try praying together more as a couple. We put on some worship music and separated a little to pray on our own before we came together to pray. Within the first 10 minutes of praying, I honestly felt God speaking to me, and although I can’t remember his exact words, I definitely remember what he was telling me to do, He was telling me that it was time to propose to Hannah.
I do want to state firstly that I Loved Hannah with all of my heart, and I still do, and I really wanted to marry her and have her as my wife, that is not the reason for my response. The reason for my response was, due to previous experiences in my life, I had a fear of making a mistake and doing something contrary to what God wanted me to do, like a severe overwhelming fear sometimes, so I over-analyzed and questioned everything, including this.
When I heart God tell me to propose, I responded as you do by explaining to God that it wasn’t the right time or place as I didn’t even have a ring to propose to her with. God very graciously brought to my mind the movie, “The Count of Monte Cristo” (2003), which Hannah had introduced me to earlier in her trip. In the movie, Edmond Dantes (Played by the legend Jim Caviezel) proposes to the woman he loves using piece of string as he didn’t have enough money to buy a ring for her. So I decided to go into the kitchen and cut a length of string and keep it in my pocket while we continued to pray. I spend the next hour or so talking to God and working through my nerves/fear/excitement/all of the above that I was actually about to propose. I then pulled Hannah aside and prayed for her briefly and decided to stand her up while I got down on one knee. I, believing she knew what was coming and hoping she could help calm the nerves, asked her if she felt it was the right time to do this and Hannah completely overwhelmed by what she knew was coming wasn’t able to really respond and could care less about anything except the question she was waiting to hear. I then asked her if she would marry me and when she responded yes, I tied the string around her finger as a ring.
And by the Grace of God, we somehow managed to get enough money for a ring and I took Hannah Engagement Ring Shopping which was such a fun experience and a delight getting to see her face light up as she picked out a ring. And the ring was exactly the style of ring that I had always had in mind to buy her, so everything worked out great.
My parents had a small impromptu Engagement Party at the house for us just for the 4 of us and they had a specialty cake made (which didn’t have the correct date of engagement on it, lol) and had some Shloer (non alcoholic wine for us to celebrate with.
And we received our first engagement present, His & Hers champagne glasses. Only, my mum clearly didn’t look closely at the glasses when buying them. Instead of buying us His & Hers glasses, she bought us His & His glasses. Of course we have never let her live that one down.
Hannah and I had started thinking of dates and looking at locations for a Scottish wedding as we believed God wanted us to be in Scotland. Hannah had felt called there for years and I had no inclination about leaving. But for some reason things just didn’t seem to feel right and we weren’t sure why. Then one night after I came home from work, Hannah told me that she had been praying with my mum and my mum had had a vision of the American flag and wondered if maybe God was calling us to America. Hannah and I prayed that night and felt immediate peace that we were meant to be in the States. Only after did we realize that a friend of ours had actually spoken a prophesy over us that Hannah may be closer to home than she thought and 1 year later we realized what that meant.
We then had a big engagement party with our friends and family at my church. It was an engagement party for us to celebrate but was also a leaving party as Hannah would be leaving for the States in the coming weeks and I had purchased a ticket so that I could come over a few weeks later to help prepare things for the wedding in America. I would only be returning to Scotland for a few months after this before fully moving to America.
We had a great time seeing everyone and celebrating with people that had become such a massive part of my life and now also Hannah’s life too.
Hannah’s last week in Scotland we actually traveled with my Parents, I had quit my horrible job as I was heading to the States in a few weeks and wanted to enjoy this time with Hannah. Hannah and I got to visit Wallace’s Monument, Culzean Castle and Robert Burns Cottage. And against a wonderful backdrop we had an impromptu Engagement photo shoot, the only one we would be able to have.
At the end of Hannah’s trip, we said a hard goodbye at the airport, although not as hard as Colorado as we knew we would only be apart for 2 weeks before we were together again. I hugged her and kissed her before she boarded a plane to America.
I honestly expected to finish the story in this blog but I think there will be one more part, the Conclusion of our story. So please come and check out the 3rd and I promise this time, final part of our story.
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