When 2015 turned into 2016, I was sitting in my parent’s house, watching the television without really seeing it and trying to wrap my head around the events of the previous week. (My brother, bless him, had opted out of partying with his friends in favour of staying at home and keeping me company, which was a really lovely gesture even if I wasn’t in a position to appreciate it at the time.) A few days earlier, I had been planning my return to the United States after a brief trip to visit my family in England. A problem with my visa meant that, instead of starting the new year with my fiancée, I was now facing an indeterminable wait on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean, unable to return to the home I shared with the woman I loved until my paperwork was in order once more.
In the end, it took me ten months – ten long and difficult months spent wondering if my fiancée visa would be approved, let alone when it would be approved – to get back to Emma. Instead of the spring wedding we’d originally planned, we were married in November, just a few short weeks after I finally made it back to the country. As wonderful as the ceremony was, and as happy as we are to be married, I think it’s safe to say that nothing about 2016 was how we’d imagined it was going to be. We both felt that it was important to start off 2017 properly, and set the tone for a year that is going to be so much better than the last.
Since we got married in Annapolis, the historical and picturesque capital city of the state of Maryland, it seemed only right to start our first full year as a married couple in Annapolis as well. I had happy memories of going to Annapolis with my family as a child for the boat show, which is why it came to mind as a perfect wedding spot. Though back then I would go into all the boats, pretend I was a wealthy but eccentric lady with 3 dogs (named Mr. Skittles, Buttons, and Ladybird) and I would live on the boat with millions of dollars and sail around the world… and today I am a semi-broke recent student having a nautical elopement with my adorable British lady (with no dogs but a lovely fish at home). Surprisingly the reality is better than my childhood stories.
After enjoying a delicious dinner with nachos! at the Ram’s Head Tavern (and maybe playing a bit of Pokemon Go), we strolled down towards the waterfront. It was busy, but not overly so. Although there were plenty of people around, we were still able to find a
bench to sit on while we listened to the live music playing in Susan Campbell Park. When it got closer to the midnight moment, we had no trouble finding a nice spot on the dock from which to watch the fireworks.
Now, I will freely admit that New Year’s Eve has never been my favourite holiday, and not just because it so often seems to be focused on excessive alcohol consumption. I’ve just never understood the point of centring resolutions and fresh starts round what is, in the grand scheme of things, a fairly arbitrary start date. That said, there was something incredibly special about ringing in 2017 with my wife at my side and fireworks exploding in the sky above our heads. (Even if the fact that Americans don’t end their celebrations with a rousing group rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ was a bit of a culture shock.) 2016 was a very difficult year, filled with incredibly high highs and painfully low lows. Emma and I are determined to make up for as many of those lows as possible in 2017, and we’re starting this blog to document our adventures. We’re very excited to share them with you.