It was the summer of 2008, and I was right in the middle of my 1-year long military service. I had recently been transferred from the border island of Lemnos back to Athens (more specifically in the Greek Pentagon), and I was serving there as a driver for high-rank military officials (mainly brigadiers and generals).
Among the other benefits of this position, every now and then I had the chance to enjoy having some weekends off. This wasn't considered a leave so I wasn't technically allowed to leave the city during these weekends, but... it was summer, the weather was nice, so when one day in mid-July I was invited by a couple of friends to go visit a Christian campsite north of Athens (which happens to be right next to the water), they didn't have to ask me twice! We had a great day swimming and chatting with old friends, but our time was very limited and we soon had to go. We started walking all over saying goodbye to people, and this is when I saw Meggan for the first time... I'm not claiming that my heart stopped beating (for a long time at least ;) or that the world stopped spinning on that exact moment (if that happened, I guess other people on this earth would have noticed it too), but I definitely stood there for a few moments watching her do the dishes. Finally I walked up and introduced myself. A nice and very friendly conversation followed which unfortunately lasted only for 6-8 minutes, because my friends had to remind me it was time to go. Meggan didn't forget to mention that she was in Greece only for a few more weeks, moreover I still had 6 months left to serve in the army, so I was thinking that that would be the first and last time I saw her, when on our way back to Athens I said to one of my friends: The girl I want to be my wife, would have to be a girl like Meggan.
Fast forward six months... and I was still in the army, when out of nowhere, Meggan showed up once again! Since my social life (because of the army) was extremely limited, I randomly met her a few times here and there, until that day in the first half of February arrived when my military days were over for good.
There are plenty of "little" things that happened during the months that followed. Things that helped us get to know each other, maybe not thoroughly yet, but surely in a deep way. Things that wouldn't necessarily have led us to a special relationship (like the "Twenty-Four" song incident that Meggan mentions on her side of the story), but everything that happened gradually helped us to open our eyes, to see not merely things we shared so far, but also some of the paths that God had already prepared for us to walk onto (Ephesians 2:10).
So when the time was right, we both were convinced that the friendship that was developing and growing right in front of our eyes, had more in it than everything we could have asked for. When our minds finally came to an agreement with what our hearts had been telling us for a long time already, we placed ourselves on the same tracks; we set the date for the launch; and we're now in the process of fastening our seatbelts...
Let the Roller Coaster ride begin!
It was the summer of 2008, and I was working at a Christian campsite north of Athens, Greece. Many people came and went all summer long, and I LOVED it... especially because I enjoy making new friends so much!
One night in mid-July, I was helping my dish crew clean up after the evening meal when a new visitor walked up and introduced himself. We had a nice conversation for ten minutes or so... as he stood there watching me do the dishes. :p He was nice, cute... and his name made it into my journal that night:
"I talked and laughed with Pavlos who was here for maybe just a day or two... And their singing of "You're Beautiful...it's true..." Funny :) ~July 13, 2008~
Fast forward six months... and I had returned to Athens, Greece to spend a year working with Hellenic Ministries. It was so fun reconnecting with people I had met the previous summer, but almost as exciting was making more and more new friends! Within the first week, I had added Pavlos to the list - the new friends list, that is (yes, on facebook too!). I know, I know... it was the wrong list to add him to, but unfortunately I had temporarily forgotten about our first brief meeting that previous summer.
Fast forward another six months... and I finally realized I had added him to the wrong list when I "re-met" him. :) Apparently he remembered previously meeting me all along, but never thought to mention it. At this point, we had become friends. We hung out with many of the same people and served in some of the same ministries.
Ironically, a few of my best memories with him have a "dishes" theme... Like the time I hosted his Bible study group at my apartment, and he came into the kitchen to help me do the dishes. :) And the countless times we were in the dish room cleaning together after love meals for refugees. :)
There are plenty of other memories that eventually started standing out to me more... like his compliments, encouragement, and patience - especially in teaching me Greek phrases! :) He was also very caring and concerned when I had an annoying health issue for a few months. He certainly was topping my list of "guy friends," so why not become extra special friends? Well, I honestly can't say I was dwelling on that thought... but eventually we made it to a point where... we couldn't be otherwise. :) It's so fun to fall in love with your best friend!
At midnight on my 24th birthday, Pavlos blue-toothed me the song "Twenty-Four" by Switchfoot and told me I was going to have a great year. Little did we know how incredibly special the year would be - for BOTH of us - TOGETHER!!! :)
Cleaning up the dishes...
**Dishes were the unique "guest book" at our wedding - two decorative plates for people to sign. :-) **My bridal shower gift from my grandma was hand-made embroidered dish towels. Looks like we'll have fun doing dishes together for the rest of our lives. :)