On a frigid night in February, I was supposed to show a prospective student around Bloomington, but it turned into an evening with a beautiful linguist flirting about perscriptivism. Before she left, I asked for her number. She gave it to me, double checked it, kissed me, said “call me, let me know if you’re serious,” and left the club. I was. When I got three calls during our first date saying that my apartment was on fire, I told her “I’m not a fireman!” and did everything I could to rush back to her.
Twelve days later I would say “I love you” before we parted for twelve days – the longest we’ve been apart since we met. Two days into that, she called me to ask if I would be in Bloomington for the summer and how to plan her summer travels. Little did she know I had a question of my own and invited her home to meet my entire family and my longest friends at my friend’s ordination in Kentucky, followed by meeting the rest of my family while I attended a conference in Berkeley. “If you want to get to know me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.” The next day she said yes.
As summer got started, we decided that spending May and June visiting family wouldn’t be a true summer vacation, so we made plans for a long weekend in Playa del Carmen, the Mayan Riviera, and Chichen Itza. After traveling through 8 airports together this year, we’ve already booked trips through 10 airports next year, with trips to Miami, Raleigh, Austin, NYC, Istanbul, and Malta by the end of March. While I’ve spent much of my life traveling, never before have I had help — nor have I ever been upgraded to first-class international.
Even more than a travel companion, Emily has become my partner. When I needed someone as I lost Granddad, she was there for me that night and flew in for the funeral. In our everyday life together, I know she’ll get me to the gym, remind me there’s sunshine (usually somewhere else ;P), take me for walks, and keep my head on as we build a fantasy dynasty. Not just that, but our energy flows very naturally between us — some nights she’s there to hold me until I unwind, while other days I’m there for her with a grilled cheese sandwich and a ride home from lab.
So on this Christmas, I have everything I need — a loving girlfriend and a great partner — Emily, I love you.