I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.
My husband Andrew and I have now been married for five years, and while we've been luckier than most, in some ways it's been much harder. To start, I'm American, and he's British. We met online several years before we were married, got to know each other with long hours of chat, and then finally met on the east coast of the US. Once a quarter we would travel one way or the other, he would visit me in Arizona, and I would visit him in the UK. We got along so well, that when I visited England for Christmas & New Year in 2008-09 he proposed! I was ecstatic, but was instantly bombarded with the thoughts of where we would live, where we would get married, how exactly we'd make it all work out.
Eventually we sorted it out, and on January 30th of 2010 we were married in Las Vegas. It wasn't the cheesy Elvis wedding or anything like that, but a small chapel with my parents and grandmother, and his mother in attendance. Suited us both perfectly as neither of us wanted the huge glamorous wedding. We spent the rest of those two weeks traveling around Arizona, showing Andy and his mum the different sights and experiences that state has to offer. We decided during those weeks that I would move to the UK once my visa had been approved, and in a few years we'd move back to the states once the chance came up.
Throughout all of this, my father was battling lung cancer. He passed away the same day I received my visa to live in the UK, so a definite bitter-sweet moment in my life. My husband felt horrible because he was due to go to Sultan for his POs course, and couldn't travel to the States to help my mom and me through this hard time. Mom and I got through it, and started sorting out the house and all the lovely legal paperwork that comes with a family member passing away, all the while I was setting up my plans to move to the UK. Twenty-five days after my father died, I was on UK soil July 1st 2010, trying to figure out if this was the right move after all, leaving my mom alone in the states and moving here so soon after everything that's happened.
The weekend that I moved to the UK was the same weekend Andrew was going down to Sultan to start his thirteen month course. I felt kind of like I was tossed into the deep end of a pool and told to 'sink or swim.' On my own, not only in a new city, but in a new country. I wasn't able to drive (yet), so I was completely reliant on the couple of neighbours that I'd been introduced to, and lots and lots of phone calls to Andy and my mom back in the states. The first two months of phone bills were quite expensive, as you can imagine! When Andy got hurt during PT he was able to come home for a few months, but that also meant he would be going back to finish his course, gone for another few months again.
By the time he was back home in Yeovil, it was the start of Dec 2012, and one of our neighbours posted a video of Yeovilton MWC performing 'Silent Night' Under the Concord at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. I couldn't resist! A choir was the perfect thing I needed to help get me out of the depression the last 18 months! I'd be able to get out of the house and meet many new people who would also know the same hardships I'd been through. So I got the address and joined that week. It was the best decision I'd made since moving to the UK!
I love my husband dearly, and God knows he's done all he can with supporting me in a new location and new situation, but there's nothing like these ladies in the choir, all right there with me. Not only in singing the same part, but in living the same life. These ladies have been here for each other as long as the choir has been established, and they will always be there for each other no matter where they may end up. We've seen ladies leave and comment just how supportive other choirs are, and we strive to be just as supportive for any of the new members that join our choir as well. I'm proud to have had the opportunity to join this choir and be a part of it, and I'm working on a way to start a choir in the States once Andy and I move back to Phoenix.
As I'm writing this 5 days before our 5th anniversary, I'm definitely looking forward to many more years with the finest bunch of ladies I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.