Today is our first-date anniversary. Five years ago, it was a rare sunny day in Juneau, Alaska and Kevin called me last minute and asked if I had any plans. I didn’t, so we agreed to go for a hike. Neither of us started the evening thinking it was a date, but by the end we were both smitten. I’m sure that most of you know the story about how we met, but I love to reminisce so let me back up to the very beginning.
We both moved to Juneau, Alaska around the same time (summer 2008) and for the same reasons: a job and an adventure. I got there first and started looking for an apartment for me and my cat, Lulu. It turned out it was very difficult to find pet-friendly housing. I initially was looking for a one-bedroom but quickly expanded my search when I realized how few landlords allowed cats. I looked at a two-bedroom apartment that would take my cat but it was more than I could comfortably afford on my own. So I posted an ad on craigslist looking for a roommate to sign the lease with me.
While a lot of people emailed me, only one person seemed like he had actually read my ad (everyone else was interested in “the apartment I had available”). I emailed him back and we agreed to chat on the phone (he was not yet in Juneau). That particular apartment wouldn’t take his dog (Roxy!) but after talking a bit (as well as scoping each other out on Facebook and calling each other’s references) we decided to team up and look for apartments together.
To make a long(ish) story short(er), I ended up bailing on him shortly thereafter. I found a house that was awesome and conveniently located to work, which would take my cat but not his dog so I emailed (such a coward) and said, “sorry, best of luck to you.” I didn’t expect to hear from him again.
A couple of weeks later I went back to Vermont to study for the Alaska bar exam. My family had rented a cabin on a lake for two weeks and I’d study in the mornings and play in the afternoons. I didn’t get cell phone reception so would call to check my messages every few days. One day there was a message from Kevin, inviting me out with some of his new co-workers. I had already missed the outing so I sent him an email, saying I was out of town and would get in touch after I was done with the bar exam.
A couple of weeks after that I invited him out to go pick blueberries with a new friend of mine. It ended up being a group of four (my soon to be best friends in Juneau) and we had milkshakes and hiked up a trail to pick wild blueberries. It wasn't love at first sight for either of us, I think we both thought the other was nice enough. I was actually most impressed with Roxy, since she figured out pretty quickly she could pick blueberries directly off the bushes herself (rather than waiting for us to give her one, like the other dog on the hike did).
I think we hung out a few more times in groups before our first date - went for a run, went to a party, and played some wii. But it was the hike on 8/15/2008 that sealed it for me. We hiked up to the restaurant on Mount Roberts. I wasn't in great shape at the time and was happy that Kevin seemed fine with me taking some breaks along the way. We sat at the bar and had several beers and talked so long that we had to ride the tram down with the employees finishing their shifts. We then had a late dinner and headed home. There was no kiss that night (that happened two days later) but I knew something special had happened. Sure enough, pretty soon we were spending all of our free time together. We moved in together less than a year later and I followed him across the country soon after that.