The summer I turned 16 was one of the best summers of my life. I had the opportunity to go to a camp called World Changers in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I had been to this camp before, but not in PR. I enjoyed doing mission working and construction projects; however, to be honest I was dreading working in the 100+ degree heat. Boy am I glad I went!
The first day of camp we met with our construction groups. I remember coming back to the barracks that night and announcing that there weren't any cute boys in my group. My mom, who was the nurse on the trip, quickly reminded me that boys were not why we came on a mission trip.
I really don't remember meeting Brian that first day. However, the second day I did notice him. I quickly realized that he and the other girl in our group from his church were the most "like me." We got to talking and realized that we lived only an hour apart and our youth leaders were actually related.
What really caught my attention about Brian was the way he interacted with the little girl who lived in the house we were working on. She was such a beautiful little girl and she loved to tease him. He was so playful with her. It was precious. The other thing that really caught my eye was how hard of a worker he was. He did not stop for breaks. I really pushed myself that week to keep up with him. Brian is still really good with kids (even though he swears he is not ready for one anytime soon) and is such a hard worker (borderline perfectionist, which of course I can relate to.
I remember telling my mom after the second or third day on site that I met the kind of guy I would want to marry. I remember her looking at me with bewilderment and asking why I would say something like that. I explained that he was so hardworking, funny and kind--- so different than the guys at my school his age. Looking back, its crazy to believe we had this conversation. I was a kid for crying out loud!
I teased him all week by calling him "COUNTRY" -- I had never heard someone talk so country in my life. This too hasn't changed about him. He is southern born and bred.
We really became good friends. In fact, we both had "relationships" back home and werent really on the prowl. hehe. When we returned from the work site, Brian and I would wait in line at the pay phone together to call our significant others. I really just saw him as a friend, although maybe I did have a little crush. Everyone teased us about "liking each other" --- I always defended myself by claiming we just had a lot in common.
I really wanted to say bye to him the morning we left camp. But, I couldn't find him. Apparently, his youth group had taken an earlier bus back to San Juan. I remember being really bummed that I didn't get to say bye. I will never forget that when we got to the airport that morning, I ran into him outside a gift shop. Apparently, they had some car trouble and were just arriving at the airport too. I remember being so glad that I got to tell him bye. I can still picture him turning around and walking down the terminal towards his flight. I remember tearing up a little and thinking I might not see him again-- I remember thinking-- Carol pull yourself together, you are being too emotional, you don't even like him and you have a boyfriend.
Brian and I began to talk on instant messenger through July and August. We were both still in relationships when September rolled around, but were "dumped" the weekend before Sept 11th, 2001. On Sept 11th 2001, Brian and I were talking on the Internet about the events that had unfolded in our country that day. I remember being especially worried because my brother was in the Navy and I had a cousin in the secret service. Brian called me that night for the first time and asked me to meet him at a football game that Friday. His high school was playing a school about 15 minutes from my house. I ended up meeting him at the game, and the rest is history....We officially started "dating" October 17th, 2001 and have been together ever since... Almost 9 years!