Our beginning…to now! A condensed version :]
Welcome to the crazy, chaotic but amazingly wonderful life of Luke and Manda (written by Manda and read by Luke). Since this is my first post, I will tell you a little about us and where we are at this very moment in our lives.
I am a junior at the University of Alabama, majoring in journalism. I plan to go on to get a master’s degree in education and teach secondary Egnlish/language arts at the high school level for a few years before obtaining a PhD and becoming a college professor. Luke is a senior or “firstie” at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. After he graduates on May 26,2012, he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. As you see in the picture above, he recently found out on Dec. 2nd that his branch will be Field Artillery! I was so proud of him for getting his first choice for branch, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us during his Army career.
Anyway, Luke and I met in the summer of 2010 at U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, located on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. As a native of Huntsville, I have worked at USASMDC as a summer intern for the past five summers, writing feature stories and technical fact sheets for their Public Affairs Division. West Point sent Luke down to SMDC for a three-week internship in engineering, since he is a systems engineering major at the very beginning of that summer. We met, talked non-stop for 40 hours a week (neither of us got much work done! haha), went on a few dates and began to fall in love. I was only 19 years old when we met, and it seems incredible that we found each other and have made it work as well as we have (although I must admit, he has been the glue that has held us together many times.) I consider myself to be an extremely lucky girl to have a man like him to love.
After that three-week time period at SMDC, Luke had to go back to New York to supervise Beast for the new cadets at West Point. That lasted six weeks, and we weren’t able to talk much during that time because he was very busy and spent a good bit of time in the field. He came back to see me for a weekend during his summer leave after Beast though, and we knew we wanted to make it work, even from thousands of miles apart. And so we began what has been the greatest l0ng distance relationship of my life.
Long distance isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but when you love someone the way we love each other, the kind of love that awakens the soul and makes you feel more alive than you have ever felt in your entire lives combined, we have found it can work (And work amazingly, I might add!) We have had many adventures together throughout our relationship so far, and I can say, we have both traveled a fair amount. He is from Hickory, North Carolina, so even over the upcoming Christmas Break, we will be traveling between Huntsville, AL and Hickory to visit both of our sets of parents. We have spent time together in Huntsville, Ala; Tuscaloosa, Ala; Auburn, Ala; Hickory, North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; New York, New York; West Point, New York; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Gatlinburg, Tenn; the Bahamas (a cruise this last summer) and one ill-fated trip for our one-year anniversary to Jackson, Mississippi. Lol I guess you could say we are becoming somewhat experienced at traveling. (Since we started dating, I have learned to pack so concisely that I don’t have to check a bag, which is somewhat of a miracle for me!)
Our next stop? Lawton, Oklahoma, well Luke will go to complete his BOLC training next Fall for Field Artillery. That will last about four to five months, which is shorter than what some branches have to do, so I guess we are lucky there. After that, he will have to report to his first post location (which as of now is still up in the air, much to my dismay, until Post Night on Feb. 2nd!) We are crossing our fingers to get somewhere in the South so we can be closer together while I finish my last semester of college and begin graduate school.
I can’t wait to see him again in just three short days for Christmas Break, where we will have almost two whole weeks to spend time together! This is extremely exciting for us, as we are always living for the weekends when we can be together. We were fortunate to see each other seven times over this past semester, which is really good, considering how far apart we live. Our last visit was actually only two weeks ago! I flew up to New York to surprise him for our 1 1/2 year anniversary and branch night! We had a blast celebrating with a chocolate and seafood buffet for dinner on Friday night at the Thayer Hotel and a champagne brunch at the same location on Sunday. We spent a lot of time on post, which was nice because I finally got the grand tour. (We usually spend our New York weekends in the city, sight seeing). Here is a picture from our Sunday brunch:
Hopefully, I will have many more updates over the Christmas holidays. But just in case I don’t find time to write on here between now and when Santa Claus comes to visit, Merry Christmas everyone!