I mentioned that the big camping trip was a real turning point in "our story." It was when I started to become more open to being in a relationship. When I started to think about planning my future around someone else instead of just myself. And when I started to realize that, hey, our two families are a good match! But the real change occured a few months later, when Jon's parents invited my dad, mom and I to visit the Coast Guard Academy with them and watch Jon play a football game. And when I started to get to know Jon a little better as a person and not just a potential significant other to ponder over.
I was really nervous about the upcoming weekend. Soon after camping Jon and I went back to our respective academic lives and although we still kept in touch via IM and the occasional phone call, (and might I add that I actually called him at one point that semester, I think for the first time!) being apart for a few months doesn't exactly fuel a relationship that hasn't had much to stand on in the first place. So it was with a little uncertainty and anxiety that I crammed myself into the back of my future in-laws Explorer for my first trip to New England.
Jon had class and football practice during the day so our first stop was Mystic Seaport. It was such a sweet, little nautical place. I really fell in love with New England this trip and the Coast Guard Academy. And I'm still dreaming of one day doing a tour up there, living in a historic home with a low stone wall around the yard, weekend trips with the family on our sailboat, Saturday football games at the Academy and seafood dinners on the water. Just a thought.
After Mystic Seaport we stopped by to watch Jon's football practice and then walked around the school. If you know Jon's mom, she likes to make memories and have a fun time. So she picked up a pair of these on the trip up there, and put them on just in time to greet her son. He was super excited about it.
On Saturday we got to watch the cadet's parade (I'm sure there is an official name for it but I don't know these things!). We toured Chase Hall, the dorms, and got to check out Jon's room. I remember thinking it was very sterile. Jon had left us a little note and some postcard pictures of London for me. His mom, like any good mother, opened his drawers to check things out - totally, completely, perfectly organized. I was impressed, and a little intimidated. In fact, at this point, things were feeling a little awkward. Like I said before, I had absolutley no military knowledge before meeting Jon. I didn't know what an officer was, I didn't know what going to an Academy meant. I just didn't know how that stuff worked (I still don't know a lot of it). But I do remember wondering how I could ever fit into this kind of lifestyle. I later wrote:
By now I'm beginning to feel completely inadequate, stupid, non-elegant, etc. Basically anything negative.
Things lightened up a bit at the football game. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed myself, even though the Bears lost. But Jon played impressively well, and I was quite proud of the fact that I not only watched the entire game from start to finish, but that it actually made sense. Of course, I asked lots of questions but I learned a lot that afternoon.
|This wasn't the same game, as evidenced by the scoreboard in the background.|
They have this dance in the spring where Junior's get their class ring. They and their date dip it in The Water of the Seven Seas and then, traditionally, kiss. Rough.
I spent the rest of the trip home wondering who Jon's date would be for The Ring Dance.