Nina:
It's strange how things happen... you are trudging through the mundane weary lanes of life when suddenly, out of nowhere, love walks in and touches your life in a way that you know that nothing could ever be the same again...
>> Continued
 

 

 
     
 

 
 

She's From:   United Kingdom
He's From:     United States

The 18th of June 2000 was the day when our relationship moved from the world of the internet and the phone to the tangible reality of Wisconsin.

     
 

My parents took me to Birmingham airport to catch a 10.20am flight.

They were both quite happy with me going to stay with Ben...I thought they'd have been more apprehensive. Although, when I phoned my mum from Ben's house to say I'd arrived safely she did seem very worried and nervous. Was I nervous? I guess it was more of an excitable nervous. I wasn't at all worried about Ben being some psycho or someone different from whom he'd portrayed himself as. But I was apprehensive as to how we'd get on in person and how we'd manage to make the transition from an online relationship to an 'in-person' one. Ben's my first boyfriend and I was a little worried that my lack of experience with relationships would be a problem.

 

 



   

 

 
       
 

Also, I'd known guys before who had really great personalities but I'd never fancied them. There was just no attraction and so I was hoping this wouldn't be the case with Ben & I.

My flight was due to land at about 1pm CST but there was a delay. Then it took a whole hour to walk from the plane through customs and baggage handling to the gate where Ben was waiting. All this waiting was definitely nerve wracking for him. It was also kind of hard to believe that we were both going to meet the person we'd spent so long talking to online. I was all impatient & excited after such a long flight but I wanted a chance to compose myself and brush my hair before I met Ben. I couldn't seem to find a bathroom though and so Ben just had to make do with me how I was.

I came through the gate and there was a big crowd of people waiting, which was pretty intimidating. I knew Ben the second I saw him though...that would have been a terrible time to make a mistake. I'd told him what my hand luggage looked like, plus I was the only one on the plane with light green hair, so he had no trouble recognising me. He was standing near the back, over to the left side of the crowd and I made my way towards him. He was supposed to be waving a beaver chewed stick...this was his romantic meeting gift to me, as I like collecting things from nature. He had the stick under his coat though and so I think I went up to him and asked where his stick was. That moment is kind of a blur though now.

Neither of us liked being in a crowd and so Ben carried my suitcase, gentleman style, to his car, which was pretty close by. Then as we stood by the boot/trunk of his car he asked "Are we going to do this?" I thought he meant 'were we going to leave?' but he opened his arms to hug me. Thus we broke the awkwardness and hugged for the first time. I've read lots of other couples sites and many people seem to kiss each other as soon as they meet. This wasn't right for us though - we were both shy and needed to relax around each other a little more. Ben has since told me that he didn't expect me to be attracted to him and he didn't have too many expectations of a romantic nature. This and his nervousness meant that he wasn't going to be pouncing on me to kiss me. And I certainly wasn't going to be making a move on him at the airport. We're both glad we took our time.

We then made the two and a half hour journey back to Ben's house, talking about the scenery and such as we went along. I particularly noticed the abundance of pornographic warehouse stores on the highway, similar to the DIY stores on English motorways. We were greeted by the welcoming stick on Ben's porch. Are you seeing the theme here? Not flowers but sticks. Our own variety of romance.

Well, I'm not going to go into much personal detail about the first few days of our meeting. One thing I will mention is something on the non romantic side of things. I sometimes get travel sick and luckily I managed to survive the flight without being ill. However, it caught up with me later that first night. Ben & I were talking in his room and I had to run to the bathroom to be sick. It was a combination of the travel and nervousness. It did take us a little while to adjust to being together in person and for us to be comfortable and natural with each other. We were careful not to rush things and therefore ruin the emotional bond that we'd built online. Happily, we soon got on well and were at ease together. As for our physical appearances, Ben was fine with me having piercings and saw right past them. I felt the first tingly spark of attraction in the car on the way to Ben's, as I saw the arm rest and imagined us holding hands there.

Ben & I spent two weeks together in Wisconsin. We got to know each other a lot better and had lots of fun together, doing the traditional date stuff that we'd been unable to online. We saw Chicken Run at the cinema. The two main characters were an English hen and an American rooster who fell in love. We also were quite touristy...visiting Lake Michigan and a local craft barn. I met & stayed with Ben's parents and went to church with them one Sunday. I had my 20th birthday whilst I was there and Ben's parents were really welcoming and gave me a cake and presents. We spent the last couple of days before I had to leave in Chicago and visited Navy Pier.

It was such a horrible moment at the airport having to walk away from Ben...I turned to go but then went back to hug and kiss him one last time. I sat on the plane crying...one of the cabin crew came and asked me if I was alright. I got out my bag of crystals to calm myself down and inside it was a ring. I didn't quite understand then, as we don't have a British equivalent, but it was Ben's high school graduation ring with his name and birthstone. I've worn it round my neck since I got home. The best decision I made was to take the risk and the initiative and visit Ben...everything was so good between us in person and things have just got better since. I'm not saying that we have the perfect relationship, especially as it was so hard with the distance...but we worked through any problems we came across.

During the weeks before Ben came to stay with me in September, we spent hours talking on the phone overnight. I put the phone down on one such night, a few days before he was arriving here and instantly thought: "I've just been talking to the man I'm going to marry." I was thinking much further into the indefinite future, yet as it turned out Ben proposed to me on the night of the 20th of September.

Certain things just have to be done in person and proposing is one of them. I've heard of people who say that they're 'internet husband and wife', as they've gone through some 'online marriage'. Ummm, that doesn't seem to be taking the institution of marriage too seriously. Ben and I hadn't talked about marriage before really. In August my e mail service had been offering up little wedding trivia facts and I'd been e mailing them to Ben...so we'd talked about certain customs and traditions in general. Also, when we were in the park in June we'd seen a couple rehearsing a wedding and we both said how we didn't really see the point in that. We hadn't talked about the possibility of us being married one day though. Yet when Ben was here in September, I knew he was thinking about asking me to marry him and I knew that if and when he did, I was going to say yes. I didn't really have to do much thinking to know that. It just felt right. I can't imagine a better person to spend my life with. It was Ben who had to spend days considering if, how and when to ask and worrying about not having a ring yet. I just got to be passive and girly whilst I waited for Ben to think through everything.

We went to the theatre that night to see Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which being a Romance, ended with two marriages. We then took the bus home and went for a walk into Beeston. I could feel that Ben was working up to asking me, but I wasn't nervous as I had the easy part. We sat down on a bench in the town square and I waited. I was being quite impatient, shame on me, especially as Ben was all apprehensive thinking that being 20 I'd see myself as too young to be married. But no, I've always wanted to graduate from university and get married and have children. Maybe because that's what my parents did, but that's always how I'd pictured my life. Thankfully it's all turning out as I'd hoped.

At about 1.30am Ben looked into my eyes:
"I want to marry you."
"I want to marry you too." 
"Will you?"
"Yes."

And then we held each other tightly with all the good love feelings and Ben's relief passing between us. All the good feelings felt even better now, when we kissed it was like kissing for the first time again. I'd imagined being in such a committed relationship before, but I never knew how comfortable I'd be with that someone. Ben and I can be totally silly together, but we can also be completely honest & sincere This really helped us to overcome the distance and work through any problems we had when we were apart. 

We chose an engagement ring together in Liverpool...a very lovely 18ct white gold ring with three diamonds. I had a bit of a hard time accepting that I deserved something so pretty and sparkly and lovely...but I'm definitely accustomed to it now. Ben had yet to meet my parents when he proposed. That weekend we went home to spend a couple of days with them. We didn't tell them that we were engaged though and I wasn't wearing the ring at this point. My parents both really liked Ben and when I did tell my mum on the phone the next week, she wasn't surprised and was very happy for us. I did tell my brother, Jordan, that Ben and I were getting married and he was all surprised and kind of screamed, hehehe. Ben told his parents when he went back home and they're both very supportive of us too. Yey.

I needed a K-1 visa to move to the USA and marry Ben. Our experience of this process is detailed on our homepage (see link below). Our application began in January 2001 and I received the visa on May 16th '01. I was lucky to spend 4 weeks with Ben and his parents during March & April. I emigrated to the USA on June 24th and we were married on August 20th 2001. My parents and brother flew over to be there and we had a small family wedding. It didn't go exactly to plan - the pastor was 45 minutes late and then kept mispronoucing my name. But the important thing is that we're now together forever. It does take some adjusting - going from being a British student to an American housewife...but I'm perfecting sloppy joes and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. 

I'm so very thankful to have found my husband online. I never imagined that I'd leave England to marry a man I met in a yahoo chatroom. If you'd told me this years ago, I'd have thought you were crazy. It just goes to show that love can be found in unusual places. For anyone interested, our website is here.

"Jennie"

Looking for Part One? It's here.