Tuesday, November 01, 2005


How you know you've met the right person:

Reason #1: You just know.

That's right. It's true. You just know.
It may take some time for you to figure it out, but one day you realize that you're happy, you're not making any compromises, and the only thing you really want is their presence. To say there won't be a few setbacks here and there would be lying, and Nathalie and I definitely have had our share of misery, misunderstandings, and misfortunes, but we've overcome them like champs, and these events just further strengthened our relationship.

I think the moment when I really knew that I was happy with Nathalie was when I couldn't answer her when she asked what I wanted as a gift for my birthday. Before I knew her, I wanted a whole slew of things: All-Clad cookware, fancy gadgets, huge TV with a state-of-the-art sound system, newer car, nicer this, newer that... But at that moment, I had her and she was everything and the only thing I've ever wanted and would ever want. I was happy, and it didn't stem from owning material things or from social status or anything else. My happiness came from her, and from her happiness with me.

This idealistic image of the relationship I had with Nathalie was tested on August 28, 2005. That night, as one of the biggest and strongest hurricanes in history was about to make landfall on a direct hit to New Orleans, I had a moment of clarity.

Earlier that day, in disregard to evacuation mandates, we drove into New Orleans to salvage a carload of sentimental and essential items from our house, cramming what we could into Nathalie's Camry. We then elected to stay behind and to care for the patients that could not be evacuated from the hospital. Guessing that our little wooden house wouldn't stand a chance against 165mph winds, we placed everything in the center of our house, said a short prayer, and then drove into the hospital to weather out the storm.

Nathalie and I, along with 3 other residents, commandeered a hospital room and several gurneys. We sat around and told stories, trying to displace our fears about the coming storm, and trying not to listen to the winds howling outside. I looked at what Nathalie and I had brought in: a duffle bag of clothes, 4 days worth of water and PBJ, a box containing our ID's and other documents, and my Swiss Army knife that my brother bought me. Outside, the night sky would erratically light up an eery green as transformer after transformer blew out across the city, illuminating the debris flying around.

All of us in the room had a good laugh when one of the residents pointed out that the government built hospital we were sitting in to ride through the storm was built by the lowest bidder using the cheapest materials and the cheapest labor. As the storm grew stronger, we all decided to go to bed early, so that in case we were still alive in the morning, we could get to work doing whatever we needed to do. Might as well be well rested.

Even at this time, knowing that everything I've ever owned was about to get destroyed, and that this may be the end of everything I've ever known, I was at peace. Because the only thing I really cared about was right here with me, in my arms, lying next to me, trusting and knowing that I was going to take care of her. And I knew that no matter what happened, even if I lost it all, everything was going to be OK as long as Nathalie and I were together. I took one last look around the room, said a short prayer, gave Nathalie a kiss, and with a sigh of hope, I closed my eyes to go to sleep. And I was at peace.

And at that moment, I knew without a doubt.
I knew that Nathalie was the one for me.

The decision to marry her was easy. Finding the engagement ring of her dreams (and mine) was a bit of a pain, and I'm now an amature diamond expert, but nothing was a bigger pain in the ass than planning this wedding. So I'm not ashamed to say that I'll be happy when it's over and I no longer have to worry about it. But it's a labor of love and I know it makes Nathalie happy, so despite the various glitches we've had along the way, it's been fun. And Nathalie confessed to me the other day that she too will be glad when this thing is over.

So Nathalie and I will begin our journey as husband and wife this Saturday. We'll face the world as one and go through life together, holding hands and helping each other along the way. I'm not sure what to expect, and neither does Nathalie, but we're excited and we're going to start this journey off right with the biggest party of our lives on Saturday.

In the meantime, we're going to finish some last minute things and tie up the loose ends. I'm also putting the blog on hold for a bit. But I'll be back to writing shortly. And yes, there'll be pictures.