We met through a national service program called AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in January of 2006 while training to become Team Leaders. We had both served through the program during the previous year in different parts of the country, but as luck would have it, we both ended up in Perry Point, Maryland for our final year with NCCC.
Training was boring to say the least, and while half-way paying attention to the mostly useless information that was offered to us, we were able to get to know each other a little better. We worked together doing fun and exciting things like cutting down trees with field saws, clearing trails for a camp, and finishing training challenges in the fastest amount of time possible. In the off time our friendship grew through watching movies, listening to music, running, soccer, and ultimate frisbee. Before you knew it we had been through a month of training and we had started dating.
Soon after our friendship had become something more we were bombarded with teams of 18-24 year olds that we were in charge of and were sent from Maryland down to Mississippi to help with some Katrina Recovery. I was in Kiln working with community relations at a volunteer center and Chris was in Wiggins helping out at a Girl Scout Camp. While we were a little over an hour apart, we still managed to get together about once every two weeks or so and hang out at Camp Iti Kana. From there we explored Hattiesburg, went on a couple of runs, explored camp and enjoyed the lake. Of course time flew and before we knew it I was moving back north and Chris stayed in the south.
Through limited phone conversations due to time changes and intense work, we managed to continue to get to know each other in our months apart and were happy to join back up over summer vacation. We enjoyed time in Camden, Maine and did a little hiking (where we got slightly misguided after blazes to a trail disappeared) and camping in Camden Hills State Park. After a couple of days though we were off to Nebraska to attend Chris' brother's wedding. It was a nice trip and I was introduced to Chris' family for the first time. It was a pretty quick trip but we had a great time.
After returning to Maryland once more, I was sent to the south and Chris had his chance to stay in the north. Once again we had crazy schedules, but managed to take a little time off and Chris flew down to Louisiana to visit me for a long weekend. We explored New Orleans and visited the zoo and aquarium. Before we knew it though he had to return to his project, but we had hopes of seeing each other again in just a few short weeks while we prepared for our final projects.
As my time to return to Maryland drew closer, Chris discovered that he was going to embark on a journey out west where he would be helping fight wildfires in the desert. His time out there coincided with my return north and so once again we were in our own worlds for a couple of months.
We were able to take a quick vacation together during our final service projects. I rented a car and drove from my project in Connecticut to Maine where Chris was working. We each had a job interview to squeeze into the visit, but then proceeded to drive north to enjoy the colors of autumn in Acadia National Park. We hiked the West Face of Cadillac Mountain (the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard) and then I managed to get us slightly lost (in the dark) on our way back to the car. But we made it out safely and before we knew it our projects were ending and we were back in Maryland.
After a whirlwind of activity that included: our teams graduating and flying home, Thanksgiving (during which Chris met my family), reorganizing/building tool sheds, inventorying tools, cleaning and repairing chain saws - we were done with our service year and were thrown into what is warmly referred to as Life After AmeriCorps.
Our life since then has been full of travel across the country, moving, and getting engaged.
Our new adventure began on January 21 when Chris proposed and the never-ending plans that are required to get married began piling up...