What many don’t know is that I have a fast-growing bloggy bucket list of some fabulous women I’d love to meet at some point in my life. Though Nev of Pretzel Thief lives in Australia and I don’t currently have the funds to afford such a vacation, I imagine it’s only a matter of time until I pack my bags and grab my newly renewed passport to head down under. Nev is the kind of chick I’d soon become good friends with. We’d stay up late to giggle and gossip late into the morning’s wee hours. In the meantime, however, I eagerly anticipate each heartfelt email I receive from her as though it were coming from a long-lost friend. She has a quirky sense of humor and a beautiful free spirit, and if that’s not enough of an incentive to make you visit her blog, she was also 1 of 5 finalists in a national short story competition in Australia. Please show some love to her as she shares her beautiful romantic tale and then go check out her awesome blog here!
(If you would like to be featured in the “Finding Love” series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!)
[DISCLAIMER: (1) Being that I’m in the great land of Oz, our spelling is à la British English; and (2) I don’t use my husband's real name on my blog so the faux name, “Yogi” – hee! – is what I refer to him as. Try not to laugh too hard when you come across passages along the lines of “fell in love with Yogi”. I’m still chortling, though.]
“Huh. I’m married,” I think. “Holy snakes on a plane, I’m married. ME!”
There are days when I still have these amusing “realisations”. At 26, I sometimes still feel like a kid. All the same, getting married was a natural progression and something I dove into elatedly, even though I hadn’t been in any sort of a hurry to do so.
But let’s start from the start, though, mmmkay?
The “how I met my now-husband” part is not exactly conventional but also not unheard of: Yogi is my brother’s best friend. SCHYEAH. I met Yogi mid-2000 after he and my bro had met at work and become fast friends. He exuded a quiet confidence, but was also talkative, warm and awesome. I thought he was handsome and cute, and BOY was he tall…! (He’s 6ft3!)
I developed a major crush on Yogi, which involved but was not limited to listening to indie rock music in his presence so as to impress the bejesus out of him. Snerk. My crush eventually waned; I mean, I was only sixteen! (Yogi at the time was 21, so no way was anything gonna happen, DUH.) Fast forward almost five years later…Yogi and I ended up spending quite a lot of time together, by default, as we’d hang out with my brother and his then girlfriend. I relished getting to hang with him big-time. There was chemistry between us, as there always had been in the past. I didn’t think much of it, though. (A-hoy-hoy, denial!)
One day, after a day of by-default hanging out, I fell into a slump. My mother pondered me quizzically and said, “What’s wrong, kiddo?”
“Nothing, ma, I’m fine.”
“You’re not fine. You were rapt all day and now you’re all…well, THIS.”
“It’s nothing; I don’t know,” I muttered.
“C’mon, tell me.”
And on and on this dance went, until mama asked me point-blank, “You haven’t fallen in love with Yogi, have you?”
I burst into laughter. I laughed so hard and hyena-like that mama followed suit, so absurd a sight I was. As I cackled, the laughs suddenly turned into, you guessed it, tears. (Pah!) And with this out-of-nowhere hysterical crying, I looked at mama and nodded.
Yes, I had fallen in love with Yogi, as a matter of fact, and I had only just realised it. Right then, right at that moment. Mama was naturally thrilled. I, on the other hand, wanted to crawl into that good ol’ proverbial hole. In love with my brother’s best friend? What was wrong with me? THERE ARE RULES. (Ah, those unwritten “Thou shalt not covet thine brother’s best friend” rules.)
My brother accidentally found out (through his girlfriend, in whom I had confided) and, unbeknownst to me, TOLD YOGI[!!], said he thought we’d make a fantastic couple and basically gave him his blessing if he decided he wanted to pursue something. Yogi did. Haha! (Fear not, they’re still best friends!) When we finally got together, it was…SQUEE! First kiss? Phenomenal. Every weekend was spent together. We started cohabitating a year into our relationship.
Yogi proposed to me August 2, 2009 in Novi Sad, Serbia. (We’re both Serbian, but born and grew up in Croatia. I immigrated to Oz mid-’94, Yogi mid-’97.) We were at the awe-inspiring 17th century Petrovaradin Fortress, having coffee and big-ass pretzels for brekky (yeah, baby!). After walking around the fortress – and Yogi taking photos (he’s an accomplished photographer) – I sat on a bench overlooking the Danube and Yogi cracked a joke as he snapped away in my direction. I doubled over laughing and he walked over, then kneeled before me. I didn’t think anything of it until Yogi looked up at me with a certain look (the look) and started saying all these wonderful things, and the whole time I’m thinking, “Wait, what the— no! He’s not actually going to…”
Oh, but he did.
He took a beautiful ring out of his pocket and I burst into tears and, er, OBVIOUSLY said yes immediately. When we got married on November 20 last year, it was an amazing, unforgettable day. We were both relaxed and euphoric and rejoiced in every awesome moment!
I am beyond blessed to have Yogi and what we’ve built. We make each other laugh, we goof around; we talk about anything and everything. Like any couple, we argue and quibble but make up quickly most of the time! We were both forced to grow up before our time, having gone through the civil war(s) that followed Yugoslavia’s disintegration. We’ve both consequently faced tragedy: him by being forced to escape his place of birth with his family or face death; me by losing my beloved father who was one of the far too many civilian casualties of that godforsaken war. This has definitely made us cognisant of the brevity of life and not to take it for granted. Yogi is my soulmate and best friend. He is one of the kindest, most noble, wise and amazing people that has graced my life. (He’s also got a killer sense of humour. Trust.) Yogi makes me want to be the best person possible for both him and myself. And after 5ish years of being together, he still surprises me anew and inspires me in infinite ways.