I have been gearing up for this post for a while. The end of last year was a bit of a whirlwind and I wanted to put into words properly what it was like. But this is my story and it is the boys too and I wanted to do it justice.
This is really the second post of a two part story. Part one can be found here.
I'm pretty sure that there will be a part three too, and in time maybe a four and five.
You see, this is the second part of the story the boy and I are weaving as we negotiate what it is to fall in love, then move to different cities and then work out what will happen next.
I left part one with an expectation that long distance for us is a season. Not one we necessarily choose but one we choose to meet with grace.
Well, we entered my third year of university and his first year of work. We had both been talking about applying for teacher training courses and were dipping our toes in the application process when I left for Durham in October. At that stage we had thrown out the hope that we would end up in the same place to train.
The process for teacher training is long winded. You can choose up to three places to apply for then there is an online application and then interviews. Coupled with this were the 'windows' in which a reply could be made. For instance if one of us was offered a place we had just ten days to respond with either yes or no.
We therefore got to November with a lot of questions. For me there were a lot of 'what ifs.' What if the boy gets into Durham and I don't? What if I have to reply to a university before he has found out if he is accepted there? What if this crazy plan of trying to end up in the same place, falls through?
While I sat to puzzling over unanswered and unanswerable questions, the boy set to calming me down.
In many ways, after much talking, I started to feel a certain sense of peace about the process. If we ended up in the same place, it would be a joy. If we didn't, nothing would change from our current situation.
At the end of November the boy found out he had an interview at Durham and shortly after that they would be offering him a place. We were over the moon.
At the end of November I was a stage behind in the process and was not so patiently waiting for responses. I am not patient at all. This stage was hard.
I finally got offered an interview and it too was hard. Much harder than I expected and I came out despondent.
Again there was a period of waiting. All the while the clock was ticking on the boys application. He had ten days to respond to Durham not knowing whether I had got in or not but knowing both of us had got into our second choice.
Thankfully he has more patience than me and he waited. He waited on his application and he waited for me.
It was a Friday that I found out. I had been checking my emails all week and after no news was feeling flat.
That afternoon I walked up the hill overlooking the city. The sun was setting and there was a bite in the air.
I sat on that hill and just prayed.
That evening I checked my emails one last time. There it was. An offer. Nothing dramatic. Just an email.
But that email changed everything. That email set a date I could count down to. That email meant that after four years the boy and I would be in the same city. That email meant I could stay in my favourite city. That email meant I could train to be a teacher.
I phoned him as soon as I found out. He knew as soon as he picked up the phone. The boy is not overly demonstrative but on this occasion he had to leave the building he was in so he could yell with joy.
Our part one is, God willing, coming to an end. I entered 2015 knowing that huge change was coming but never feeling happier about it. Our part two marks the transition. I'm fairly certain part three will be challenging and funny and wonderful and hard as we negotiate 'close distance' again.