Aah the innocence of relative youth! After my first trip to England I returned to NZ and went to Auckland to live and work. When I could I would go to Kerikeri for a weekend, or a holiday. It was on one of these occasions that I got to meet an American named Ian Stone.
It was your usual meeting - he needed a ride to Auckland from Paihia, we had room in our car. Ian and I were in the back seat ... talking! Right from the start he caught my attention. He was knowledgeable, whitty, educated, had an accent and more importantly at the time - was drop-dead-gorgeous. During the course of our conversation I found out that he was winging it when he got to Auckland and that he had nowhere to stay. So what was a girl to do ... I offered him the couch at the flat where I was living at the time. I knew my flatmates wouldn't mind, and too bad if they did anyway!
He ended up staying for a month or so before he headed out on his tour of New Zealand. We kept in contact while he was gone and when he returned to Auckland he came and stayed with me again. I remember the day before he left to go back to America. We borrowed a friend of mine's car and drove down to the Coromandel Peninsula because he'd heard it was beautiful. We had a great day - we talked a lot, we debated a lot, we hugged a lot, we even cried. In the months we had gotten to know each other we had found a different kind of friendship.
Before I took him to the airport we had decided not to do the clingy thing and just let him go. On the drive out there all I wanted to do was tell him not to leave, to stay with me and we'd work it out, but since that wasn't what we said we'd do, I kept it inside. We got to the passport place and started to say our last goodbyes - it was very tearful and we got a few of those "rolling eyes" looks thrown our way. I couldn't care less. Many times I wanted to tell him not to go, but I didn't. I sobbed for many, many hours after he left and for a very long time, he left a deep hole in my heart. I felt we were connected in ways I'd never felt with a man before.
Over the years we kept in contact by phone or by mail. It was Ian that eventually got me online (and subsequently met Todd) by saying he would email me more than he wrote - so online I went! And the rest is history!
When Todd and I were planning our Phoenix wedding service, I sent invitations out to lots of people because I knew they wouldn't turn up, and this way I wouldn't offend anyone. I asked Todd if I could invite Ian, and he had no problems with that. I was pleasantly surprised when Ian said that he would be attending the wedding. Unfortunately his girlfriend at the time, Sue, couldn't make it so I wasn't able to meet her. They have since gotten married and now have two absolutely adorable young ladies to keep them busy!
It was wonderful to see Ian again after nearly 12 years apart and I am so glad that he was part of our Phoenix wedding. He invited me to his wedding, but at the time I think I was very heavily pregnant and couldn't make the trip - or we were moving from Montana to Maryland ... but I was disappointed that I couldn't make it and finally get to meet Sue.
Ian is now the proud owner of his own veterinary clinic (if you click onto the link then that's him, the handsome one fourth from the left with the big grin on his face) and is doing really well for himself and his family. He has always loved people and animals and has a way with both. We chat on the phone every now and then and email each other just to keep up to date with what's going on in each other's lives. He is a special friend that has a dear place in my heart - and I'm so very pleased that we got to meet each other.
This is Ian and I at Todd's and my Phoenix wedding. Ian was so wonderful to come all the way from California for our special occasion, and it was so great seeing him again after all of those years!