May 24, 2007

The Master

Over two-and-a-half years ago I met a wonderful guy named Erik. He liked MINIs and road trips, was a computer engineer at JPL, was handsome... when I found out that he "liked" me back, well, I was over the moon! While we were still in the very early getting-to-know-you stage, he was planning a return to school for his masters degree. At the time I didn't really give his going back to school much thought other than thinking it was cool that he was making the effort.

It wasn't until shortly after our relationship had evolved into a romantic one a few months later, when he was accepted, that the idea of it maybe being a strain on us popped into my head. And even then, I wasn't too worried. I was totally head over heels for this guy, and I just knew we'd work it out.

After a wonderful spring and summer full of travel and adventure, Erik packed up his things and drove 100 miles north to this new "home" at his single-dorm at UC Santa Barbara. I drove up the next weekend to visit him, and have made the same trip up nearly every weekend ever since. Every Friday night after work I made the 100-mile trip up, grab us some dinner, and stay until Sunday night or Monday morning, in the latter case getting up VERY early in the morning to make the 2 hour+ drive down to Universal.

I'd be lying if I told you it didn't exhaust me sometimes. I had a rough go of it at the beginning. We had been spending a LOT of time together during the first six months of our relationship - having dinner together once or twice during the work week and then hanging out all weekend. And then all at once I couldn't see him during the week, and I had a hard time of that. My work-weeks were spent counting down the elapsed time before getting to hug him again.

For over a year-and-a-half, with a respite during the summer, this has been the case. It's gotten easier - not a lot - but slightly easier. The weeks don't seem as long as they used to, thankfully. As Erik was finishing up his last two quarters, we got to think about the future a bit more as he was interviewing at many exciting software companies. And when he accepted a job at Microsoft, I got something new to obsess about: relocating with him to Seattle. It has helped to pass the time.

So it's been a countdown of sorts - counting down the days until he graduates, the days until we leave for Seattle, the miles left on my MINI warranty (because a weekly 300-mile work commute plus a 200-mile weekend commute will tick off those miles like nothing else). Sometimes it's really been agonizing. If Erik wasn't such the fantastic, lovable guy he is, I don't know if I would have been able to survive it, relationship-wise.

But I'm very, very proud to announce that this morning, Erik finished his masters studies by frickin' NAILING his thesis defense. I've watched him go through so much through his two-year grad school career: the good times of learning new, interesting stuff; the negative thoughts and worrying about various projects; and, ultimately, the absolute high of acing PWNZING his exams and projects - ALL of them. He's worked so hard and has done so well, I just couldn't be more proud of him right now.

For all intents and purposes, he's now done. He's going to be printing out and turning in his thesis, and then that's it - no more classes, no more studying. He gets to spend his last couple of weeks on the beautiful UCSB campus relaxedly attending his labmates' own thesis defenses, catching up on some recreational reading, doing whatever he wants - and gosh, does he deserve it!

What I'm really happy about is that I have been fortunate enough to be able to take this journey with him - him driving, me the passenger (to use a bad analogy). We've had our ups and downs - goodness knows I've been a horribly overdramatic brat on more than a few occasions - but we're still together, still in love, still excited. And that makes me so so so so happy.

posted by julie at May 24, 2007 08:10 PM

things people have said

All of it's true, especially how wonderful I am. :D

so said: erik at May 25, 2007 10:13 AM