“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”
CONFESSION: There are few expressions that I (used to!) loathe more than the above one. ”I mean, what does that even mean?!” I would wonder each time I heard it. ”“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”? What kind of nonsense is THAT? Life isn’t something that just happens. You create plans, and THEN life happens! Silly quote.”
But then when I found myself meeting the most special of gentlemen during the most horrific of circumstances, I fiiinally came to appreciate the beauty of the saying. ”Yes!” I thought triumphantly. ”You can’t plan everything, and you don’t know what’s around the corner!” Or, as Carl Sandburg so wisely once uttered, ”nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.”
In my (late) grandmother’s living room. This was a couple of days before she passed away, and cripes, I was BEYOND sad that day.
Two weeks’ ago today I flew to New Zealand to say goodbye to my incredible grandmother, Shelagh. The trip was totally impromptu (my father: ”Corrine, don’t be ridiculous. You’re about to be gallivanting across the globe, YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO BE MAKING LAST-MINUTE TRIPS LIKE THIS.” Me: ”Are you flipping kidding me?! WHAT is money in comparison to someone’s life? I’M COMING OVER TOMORROW!”), and honestly? It split my heart into a trillion pieces. Why even attempt to sound courageous? I sobbed! I howled! I cried continuously for DAYS, so my father, equally devastated, decided to whisk us away to the local pub one afternoon for a cheer-up beverage or two.
Father/daughter drinks at The Redwood Tavern.
And it was there that I met RICHARD. Entering the bar, my father (hi, Dad!) turned to me, pointed to him and hissed ”you see that young guy over there at the pool table? Yeah. GREAT guy. Really down-to-earth, with an excellent head on his shoulders, but he’s an infuriatingly good pool player!” I nodded, barely listening. I was too upset. But as Richard walked towards us, challenging my father to a game of pool and making general chit-chat, I found myself s-s-slowly being drawn to him. He was hilarious! (And there I was thinking that I’d never laugh again!) He was C-U-T-E! He was polite, he was charming and three hours later, as everyone prepared to leave, I found myself accepting his invitation to join him for a drink at his home. (I know… what?! I couldn’t believe it either, but if there’s one thing that I learned from my time in Blenheim, it’s to SEIZE THE MOMENT. Each day we have is a glorious gift, so why the heck was I going to waste it by going home and sleeping?! Nuh-uh. I wasn’t!)
We clicked. Oh, did we click! After a terrific evening together, Richard searched for me on Facebook the next day, asking if he could take me to dinner. I agreed, and we proceeded to have ANOTHER extraordinary night. Slipping his arms around me post-meal (is that too much?! I’m sorry!), he whispered in my ear, ”I’m SO glad that you agreed to meet me before you went home to Sydney. I couldn’t stop telling all the guys at work today that I’d met the most amazing girl, but that I was so worried I wouldn’t see you again.” I flew home to Sydney the next day, and assumed that everything would die down. (It’s only human nature, right? He lives in New Zealand! I live in Australia! What could possibly happen?!)
But he called me THAT SAME DAY, asking me to join him on his birthday holiday the following week to Australia’s Gold Coast. ”Please?” He insisted. ”I’ll even pay for your flight here!” I refused to take any money from him, but booked my tickets, thinking ”well, I took a gamble by agreeing to have a drink with him in the first place… so why not take another?!”
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”
As entirely mental as it sounds (and don’t worry, I 110% realise how crazy it all seems!), by day two, we’d already dropped the ”l” bomb. (That’s the ”I love you” bomb, in case you’re unsure!) And yes, even WE would burst out laughing at how rapidly/stupidly everything was progressing, but… it all felt so right. Perfect.
Getting ready to ride THE FLUME at Sea World. What a cheeky face!
Posing in front of giant mirrors at Dracula’s.
Yes, his text speak - especially as a copywriter! - drives me absolutely insane, but with messages as adorable as those, how could I even CONSIDER complaining?! He is the sweetest!
It couldn’t have happened at a more awkward time. Next Saturday, I’m boarding a plane for London (!), with no chance to return (I’m going to be traipsing through Ireland, Scotland, Nepal and India!) to Australia or New Zealand until at LEAST early December. How could I expect a guy as wonderful as Richard to wait? To put his life on hold? I couldn’t! I told him to enjoy himself, and that I’d contact him again when I got home, but all he could respond with was ”I’ll be here waiting for you. What we have together can only happen once, and I’m not going to pass up that chance… no WAY. I want you, and ONLY you. You are my one and only, Corrine. You’re my WORLD.”
Do you have any tips for managing long-distance love?! Argh! I’m so scared!
P.S. In case you’re wondering… yes, my last boyfriend, Tom, and I did break up. I decided not to write about it when it happened for VARIOUS reasons, but… not to worry. It’s all good! (Sheesh, we even still live together, for goodness sake!)
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