This is the first real picture of us as a couple. Back in grade 10 (grade 12 for him), when this all began. So let me set this up for a second.
In grade 10, I was really religious. I went to church and youth group weekly, and I was very active in my church’s community. I was very devote, as were all my group of friends. We did a lot of different charity work, such as collecting canned goods for Halloween instead of candy, building a garden at a local home, and other fundraising activities. It was honestly a really great time in my life while it lasted. It did kind of end with a bang, but that’s a story for another time.
Anyways, one opportunity to God’s will was a chance to go on a mission’s trip to Nicaragua. Our church had fellowship in place with a place there where people go to stay while they’re on Christian mission trips. We also decided to do it together with another church in my town, one that we had a good relationship with. So anyone in either of the church’s teenaged youth groups could go. Several adults went as well to supervise. Before we could go, we had to apply and interview with a church elder to prove that we wanted to go for pure, Godly reasons, and not just for a fun trip.
So I applied, and was accepted to the trip. Now we just needed to meet with the team from the other church. I had never met anyone from that church, despite going to high school with many of them. The plan was to have weekly meetings for the several months leading up to the trip to everyone could get to know each other before landing in a third world country together.
Before these meetings started, I was hanging out with my youth leader, Bethany. She was the leader of youth at our church, and she was also a good friend of mine. I might not necessarily have the same beliefs as I did then, but Bethany was always an important person in my life. She was a mentor and a good friend, who helped me through a lot of the hardest times in my high school life. I’m still grateful for that. Anyways, she was talking to me about the other people coming on the trip, who she had met, and mentioned that there was someone coming that I would probably get along with. Her basis for that was being we both came from non-Christian homes, and had to cope with our parents not believing what we believed. This new friend for me was named Nick.
So then we all met. I remember meeting Nick surprisingly clearly, despite the fact that I met about a dozen other people at the same time. What can I say, love at first sight? More like school girl crush at first sight? I’d love to say that over those weeks of meetings, attending each other’s youth groups and general team building, Nick and I fell immediately in love. Honestly I didn’t really bond with him at all in those times. I’m really shy, and had a bad habit in high school to hid behind my much more outgoing and confident best friend Sydney. It wasn’t until we went to Nicaragua that I really got to know him.
A couple factors played into this. One was that we spent almost every car ride in the same van. There were two huge vans, and I spent most of my time in the one with Nick and several of my other friends. I was also in the same leadership group for the sports camps we did for local kids. By the end of the 10 days of rebuilding schools, running sports day camps, and visiting day cares he was becoming one of my good friends. Some people could already see the chemistry between us, and teased both of us for flirting.
So that’s basically the story of how Nick and I met. After returning to normal life, we because really good friends. Our friends groups were basically merged, and we spent a lot of time together just the two of us as well. We spent the next several months insisting that we didn’t like each other, we were like brother and sister, that’d be so gross, etc. Eventually it was my friend texting Nick, pretending I wasn’t there, and telling him to make his move or regret it that eventually moved this plot forward. He asked me out and the rest is history.
And yes, Nick and Nicole met in Nicaragua. It does have a nice ring to it.