reader, I married him

It’s still a little hard to believe, but I’m married. Sunday night, after the ceremony and reception, we stayed the night at the Claremont hotel in Berkeley, and then returned home bright and early on Monday morning to have a last breakfast with L’s family before most of them left town. And now we’re home again, and everything is different, but also the same.

On Facebook, I posted the following:

I washed the makeup off my face last night, took the pins out of my hair, and hung up my dress. There I was, the same Saskia, but also a little different. We’re back to normal now, the two of us. Except we carry the love of so many people with us going forward, and that makes all the difference.

Thank you to everyone who made our wedding day happen. Thank you to my family, and Loel’s family, who are now also mine. Thank you to our officiant, who helped us craft a ceremony that reflected who we are and what we value. Thank you to our friends and family who came, and those who loved us from afar. We are so blessed.

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I have a husband now. I am a wife. L. and I have been joking around all day, saying things like, “this is our first breakfast as married people!” “hey, look, this is our first time walking Josie as married people!” and calling each other husband and wife. Per Dutch tradition, I switched my rings from one hand to the other, and although it’s a little jarring to feel them on the other side, I think I’ll get used to that pretty soon. It might take me a little longer to get used to these new identities, though, and this new reality  in which I am mine, always mine, but now also his.

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We leave on our honeymoon tomorrow: the Grand Canyon, Vegas, and then a stop in Salt Lake City, both so we can go to all our old haunts, and because I have a paper to present at the annual Mormon History Association conference up at Snowbird. (What, you didn’t spend two days in a conference hotel with a bunch of nerds on your honeymoon, talking about Mormon history? just me? Oh.)

I have some posts planned about our ceremony, what we wore, how much I cried (so much!), and how happy I am (so happy!). But first, I have to go enjoy this feeling of being L’s wife.

two years

Two years ago today, L. and I had our first date in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two years later, you can find us in Redwood City, slowly getting used to the non-winter winter (yay) and the terrible traffic (boo). Two years later,

  • Josie and Mara are still our favorites. Josie is supposed to sleep on her own bed, but more often than not, she nestles herself right in between us, and if she does it right and doesn’t move too much, we don’t kick her off. (The we in this scenario is all L., by the way. Josie doesn’t listen to me in the middle of the night.) Mara is an independent little cat, and likes to run around without supervision, in case you were wondering. She also likes to appropriate my carry on suitcase and use it as a bed, which I am less happy about.

Every day around 4PM, Josie migrates to the door and sleeps (mostly) patiently until L. comes home.

  • We have more stuffed animals than any two people should own. The newest additions to our stuffed family are two little pigs, called Bake and Grease. They go well with a larger pig, that Ikea might call Knorrig, but we call Porkupine.

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  • Breakfast is still our favorite meal, and we’ve been busy scoping out new breakfast places to replace our beloved Finn’s in Salt Lake.

At Finn’s, the day we left Utah.

  • We still like to read whenever we go out. At dinner the other night, an older couple came up to our table to comment on it, especially since L. was reading on his Kindle and I was reading an actual paper book. Was there any significance to that, they wondered? (The answer? No, not really. L. usually reads on his Kindle, and I go back and forth, depending on library availability.)
  • Since moving, people don’t laugh at the smart car any more. That is, as long as my wonderful new bike rack isn’t attached to it–then it’s fair game again.

  • We do day trips to Half Moon Bay now, instead of Cottonwood Canyon, and visit the San Mateo County Historical Museum instead of the Church History Museum, and the Cal Academy of Sciences instead of the Natural History Museum Utah, and Kepler’s Book Store instead of Sam Weller’s.


  

  • We still live less than a mile from a Mormon church, though. Some things never change.

one year later

This is the photo on my lock screen right on, and it makes me so incredibly happy to see L. smiling at me when I wake up in the morning.

This is the photo on my lock screen right on, and it makes me so incredibly happy to see L. smiling at me when I wake up in the morning.

One year ago today, L. and I went on our first date. I remember getting ready, wanting to wear my blue flats with my dress and tights instead of sensible boots, and regretting my choice within two minutes of leaving the house because it was so bitterly cold. I was running late, hurry-walking, and I remember turning the corner and seeing you standing there. You pretended you didn’t see me and turned the other way, and that made me smile because I do the exact same thing to avoid the awkwardness that is the last hundred yards. I shyly said hello, we walked in and were seated, and thank God there was the menu I could pretend to study for a minute so I could get over my nerves. I remember talking about Harry Potter at dinner (an expected topic of conversation since we were going to see the Utah symphony play the soundtrack after dinner), and laughing at the very bad puns Vlad the conductor made, and me suggesting we go have dessert at the Cheesecake Factory because I really, really didn’t want the date to end. I remember splitting a slice and talking until 11PM, ensconced in a booth and our own little world. Who knew two introverts could talk that much? I fell deeply, madly, head over heels in love and luckily you felt the same way.

And now it’s a year later, as unbelievable as that is. I’ve met your family, you’ve met mine, we went on trips together to Denver and Disneyland, and not to forget the epic LDS immersion tour (otherwise known as my research trip) this summer. We bought extra bookcases so I could fill the house with words, although it took you a while to realize just how many books I have and the prospect of them being shipped to Utah is slightly terrifying to you. I make you breakfast (but never oatmeal) and you make me grilled cheese and we both try to stop Mara the Cat from licking the plates. You listen to me talk about Mormonism and rant about patriarchy, spend nights at the library with me, and tell me of course I will find a job that makes me happy. You share your house with me, made me into a dog person, and let me drive your car even when that means you have to take the bus to work. I love the utter seriousness with which you and your friends play board games, and that you play Mario Kart with me any time I ask. I love how we watch Shield together, and Brooklyn 9-9, and Castle and Modern Family and Bones and a million other shows, and so many YouTube videos it’s hard to keep track. I love you, L., and the life we’ve built together, and how you make my life better, every single day. Eight more days until I fly home to Utah: I can’t wait.

Seriously, have I told you how much I love this dog?

Seriously, do you realize how much I love this dog?

L&S

Meet L. He’s kind, funny, quirky, and loves IKEA as much as I do. (Not a mean feat.) We met online (thank you, OKCupid!), spent two weeks exchanging increasingly longer messages (with a combined total of 30,000 words) and after a series of epic dates, each one better than the last, we decided to make this a thing. We went Facebook official on Sunday (I know, I know, why is that even a thing?!), so I figured it was high time my blog readers met him.

Once I'd told my mom we were kind of a thing, she requested a picture. This was the result. (The middle one is my favorite, even if it is blurry.)

Once I’d told my mom we were kind of together, she requested a picture. This was the result. (The middle one is my favorite, even if it is blurry.)

Why I like him? He thinks my oddities are adorable, rather than weird, says my accent is lovely and surprising, loves that I talk like I write, and listens to me talk about Europe without getting bored. He banned his dog and cat from the furniture as soon as he found out I was allergic, is generous with his time and his money, and is just the right kind of ambitious to fuel my own passions. He’s an artist, but not a starving one, and combines creativity with an analytical mind that keeps on surprising me. He shares my snarky sense of humor, sings along with musicals in the car (and doesn’t mind that I’m way off-key), and, truth be told, my knees go kind of weak when he looks at me.

Our first kiss was in an IKEA parking lot and as odd as it may sound, it couldn’t have been more romantic. Here’s to us making plenty more memories in the time to come.

happy valentine’s day, indeed

Yesterday, I got an unexpected present. There was a padded envelope in the mailbox with my name on it, and inside, I found this:

WP_000864After Christmas break, Dino had stayed with E., and I am delighted to have him back with me.

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With a sister like this, who needs a date? Thank you, E.

a love letter to my friends

I do not have a date for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. I didn’t have one last year, either. Don’t worry, I don’t really care. When I think about all the reasons why I’d like to have someone in my life, celebrating Valentine’s Day does not make it on to the list. (No offense to those of you that go all out–that’s just not my idea of romance.) But what I do have is an unhealthy fixation with Parks and Recreation, and thus the felt need to celebrate Galentine’s Day. So here we go: my love letter to my female friends.

I am blessed with so many lovely ladies in my life. You know who you are, and you make my life better every single day, with your Skype calls and blog comments and texts and cards sent through the mail, with HIMYM marathons and coffee breaks and museum visits, with chats about nothing and everything,  with endless patience for all my quirks, with refuge when I need it, and even when I don’t. I never do things the easy way (see: moving countries twice in three years), and I am incredibly appreciative of all the ways you cheer me on. I am lucky to know all of you. If most of you weren’t living an ocean away, I’d invite you all over for coffee and the breakfast food of your choice, but this will have to do for now. Thank you for being my friend.

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To any male friends reading this, I love you too. Just not today. via

(If this post makes no sense to you, it’s a sign you need to repent and start watching Parks and Recreation. Seriously.)

Aside

2013 in questions

2011 and 2012 are here. Also, following RA’s lead, I’m modifying the questions (which mostly means there’s only one music related one..)

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Lived in an US state that wasn’t California. Despite the fact that I go to the US twice a year or so, I’m generally there to visit my dad. I spent six weeks in Provo the summer before last, but this year in Utah is the first time I’ve lived outside of California for any significant length of time. Conclusion: Utahns are incredibly friendly (it took me weeks to realize the strangers offering greetings on the street were talking to me), Salt Lake City is incredibly not-diverse, and it confuses the missionaries when I can talk to them in Mormon-speak yet have no plans to convert.

Books, sun, and a bike. (November/Salt Lake City)

Books, sun, and a bike. (November/Salt Lake City)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Yes and no. Yes, because I resolved to go the distance, which meant for me basically to be present in whatever I was doing. That’s why I spent a lot of time on trains, to be involved in the lives of my family and friends back in the Netherlands, why I took that intensive German class, and why Skype is the best thing ever. But I also failed at this, since I spent most of that year in Germany hibernating and cultivating my inner introvert because it was just so much easier.

My resolutions for next year are, then, to relearn how to streamline the process of making friends, to follow through with the classes I signed up for at the gym (spinning and yoga), and to learn to snowshoe. (I also have a host of dissertation-related things I want to accomplish but my sister says they don’t count as resolutions, so I won’t bore you with them.)

E. and I with grandma

E. and I with grandma (June/Maastricht)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Did anyone close to you die?
No on the former, yes on the latter. My grandfather died on Friday, December 13 and I flew home for the cremation, then back to Salt Lake a week later.

4. Did you travel?
Yes. I crossed the German-Dutch border too often to name, but I also made it to the U.S. (first to California, then Utah, and two trips to the East Coast). Surprisingly little European travel this year.

Metro selfies with my sister, E.

Metro selfies with my sister, E. (November/Washington DC)

5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you didn’t have in 2013?
Honestly? A boyfriend. Dating sucks.

6. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Landing two fellowships: the Tanner Center one (I really didn’t think I had more than a slight chance at it: you should have seen my face when I opened that email) and the Prins Bernhard one. These should get me through my PhD with relatively little money worries (knock on wood).

At the Prins Bernhard fellowship award ceremony.

At the Prins Bernhard fellowship award ceremony. (May/Amsterdam)

7. What was your biggest failure?
I did not succeed at all at building a life in Dortmund that extended beyond my apartment and the office.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Oh my yes. Thanks to that ill-fated hike, I’m still feeling a little concussed.

T. and I (November/Salt Lake City)

9. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?
The Salt Lake public library. During my first weeks here, I had enough fictional friends to keep me company that I wasn’t lonely at all.

10. What song will remind you of this year?
Jars of Clay’s “After the Fight.” I saw them twice in concert this year, once with a good friend, M., the other by myself. I’ve played this song a lot since I got the album.

M. and I (February/Dortmund)

M. and I (February/Dortmund)

11. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Is it too late to say dissertation writing?

12. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I could have done without all those fellowship applications. Anyone who has guaranteed funding for their PhD, I alternately felt jealous and hateful of this year.

13. Compared to this time last year, how are you different?
I’m happier, I think. In December last year, I was still really struggling to find my feet after B. and I split up in October. I’m certainly a lot more social, I’m doing better at work, and I’m also going to church a lot more. All good things.

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At Mammoth Lake (August/California)

14. Compared to this time last year, how are you the same?
I’m still very much an introvert and happy with it. I also still spend a lot of time on Pinterest, although Netflix has become a fierce second contender.

15. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Very slightly, but it wasn’t mutual. No serious love for me this year.

16. What are your strongest recommendations for entertainment from this year?
Book: Code Name Verity; TV: White Collar; movie: Gravity (for its pure epic-ness and also because it might have been the only movie I saw and certainly the only one I saw in the theater); music: “Inland” by Jars of Clay.

Saying hi to Brigham Young at the Capitol (December/Washington DC)

Saying hi to Brigham Young at the Capitol (December/Washington DC)

18. What did you get really excited about?The public library here. I got a card my second day in Utah and have spent many, many happy hours browsing the stacks since then. I also got really excited about the Natural History Museum, which is how I ended up volunteering there once a week.

19. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I had a low-key 26th birthday, just the way I like it, with family and friends. Highlight was my dad taking me to a concert at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, which was new to me.

20. What’s a life lesson you learned this year?
Sometimes, it’s okay to give up. I hold myself to very high standards, so this took me a while to learn..

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Christmas Day (December/College Park, MD)