The formal in Arkansas sounds sweet and wonderful, but I messed it all up. I'd met someone new right before the formal and thought the Irishman and I were better off just friends.
That was my story and I was sticking to it...even when the Irishman managed to have flowers and earrings for me when I picked him up from the hotel before the formal. This was most impressive because I was his chauffeur for the weekend. (It turns out he had talked my sister into picking up some flowers for him while they were at the baseball game where I was working.)
The low point of the weekend was on the drive back to the airport in Tulsa when I told the Irishman I thought of him more as a brother. Yep, I did. This would be why I DO NOT consider the formal to be our first date. There was a major debate about this at my wedding shower. Yeah, not one of my finer moments! I cringe even putting this in writing...
Thankfully, this was not the end of us!
The next summer we both returned to camp. The Irishman was in charge of making my schedule. Thankfully he saw a future in us
In typical fashion Grandma Betty made a great meal. The Irishman and I then stayed up late watching taped episodes of ER. Right after
We also said that we would keep things quiet for a while. Yeah. Right. All of the admin staff knew by 10am on Monday morning that we were dating. About two weeks later I left camp early to start grad school. We talked on the phone every night and the Irishman came to visit me on his way back to Ireland.
This begins the "You've Got Mail" portion of our relationship. Seriously. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan? That was us. Except that we didn't get to run into each other around town and exchange insults. (If you haven't seen the movie I recommend it highly!)
We both looked forward to the time each night when we would log into AOL Instant Messenger. We would spend hours each night talking online. For years afterwards I swear could hear the little noise the computer makes when the other person has typed a message. Morgan's siblings do a really great impression of it...I guess after 2+ years of listening to that noise you get good at it!
I have no doubt that the teachers I did my student teaching with thought Morgan was a figment of my imagination. They all
March 2003 in Cork, Ireland
We both went back to work at camp the following summer. We valued every minute of the summer. After that I moved to Florida and Morgan went to London for a year. He did a year-long program there to become a certified elementary teacher. I was teaching and rushing home each night to talk to Morgan online. I was living alone at the time and rushed home after school to chat for hours online. The Irishman was living with his sister June and staying up until all hours of the night
driving his sister crazy with the little noise the computer makes when the other person has typed a message chatting online with me. We allowed ourselves weekly phone calls. I went to Ireland for a week after Christmas.
Spring Break 2004
On spring break I went to London. The Irishman took me to see the sights. You would not believe the number of pictures I took on that trip! The normally very honest Irishman
who still feels slightly guilty about not telling the truth told his teacher that he had a job interview in Ireland and then...
Paris Day Trip, Spring Break 2004
...took me to Paris for the day on the train instead. Very cool. I also learned on that trip that the Irishman can speak enough French to get by in the city. I had no idea. It was mega-romantic though. (I on the other hand speak NO French and had difficulty with a French bathroom, but that is another story...)
The next summer we decided that the "You've Got Mail" phase could not go on for much longer. We'd talked about each spending a year in the other's home country before getting married. Jobs didn't work out that way. Jobs still haven't worked out that way. They will in time though. We still plan to go to Ireland as soon as jobs and such work out. The Irishman is very Irish.
On my 25th birthday, the Irishman moved to Florida. (It was the best birthday present I've ever gotten!) He took out a loan to pay for a work visa and set up the "lad pad." We were finally living on the same side of the pond.