Valentine’s Day seems like a good time to share how Justin and I met. It’s a long story, and I’m wordy, so I’m breaking it into a few parts!
One of the main driving factors to my move to North Carolina from Michigan was the weather.
See, I’m from Illinois and for some moronic reason I decide to head more north for college, despite hating the dreary and grey days of winter. So, I spent 2 years in Michigan, pretty unhappy.
I went to beauty school during high school. That may be a foreign concept to you, but it was a trade school that allowed me to both complete the 1500 hours required to become a cosmetologist, as well as completing the bare minimum required to graduate high school. This program was encouraged for students who knew what direction they wanted to go in life, if they offered it at the trade school, or for those who didn’t see college in their future for whatever reason.
So at 17 years old, I had just graduated high school and also became licensed to do hair. It was wonderful. I had dreams of going to NYC to do hair for runway shows, or becoming an educator for a product line I really loved. I was encouraged by my instructors that I was a good teacher, so I thought that could be a good path for me.
My dad, though, strongly encouraged me to go to college. Reluctantly I applied to one single college in Michigan, after the application due date in fact, and was accepted. I left a few months later.
By spring of my sophomore year in Michigan, I was done. I didn’t care about college, I couldn’t find a major that made sense for me, I didn’t have a friend group that I really felt connected to, and I wanted a change. I wasn’t brave enough to study abroad, but I thought transferring to a different college within the US would be a fun enough change without going too far out of my comfort zone.
During this time, my family and I had been traveling down to South Carolina for vacation, and I always thought North Carolina was so beautiful. I can still picture the scene from the western part of the state when we were stopping for gas during a road trip when I decided to pursue colleges down south.
I applied to a handful, from South Carolina to West Virginia. My mom and dad went with me on different visits, and it was the North Carolina trip with my dad that was the decision maker for me.
The University we visited was in a college town that had a lot of familiarity to me, but was also very much a different culture. The campus didn’t seem overwhelming, and I liked the location of it within the state of North Carolina.
It’s funny, I can’t remember making the ultimate decision to transfer, but shortly after the visit I found myself moving into my studio apartment in a really junky building near campus, with my mom and sister there to help.
I drove them 2 hours east to the airport when it was time for them to leave, and cried on my way back to my new college and new life. And then I got a speeding ticket because I was going about 85 miles per hour and paying zero attention to my speed. I was amped to be alone and start this new chapter of my life!
I was, though, completely alone, so I watched the entire first season of Prison Break in my room, eating too much french toast, for a few days. Then I decided to check out some college organizations to meet friends. The college I left in Michigan was a small ‘christian’ school, and I was now at a secular university. So I wanted to find a Christian group that I could connect with as that was important to me.
I scrolled through the Cru (formerly Campus Crusade) website and found a woman’s name and e-mail address listed. I clicked on it, and sent her an e-mail that basically said this:
“Hey, I’m new here and don’t know a single person in the entire state of North Carolina. Can you take me to something so I can meet people? Thanks!”
She wrote back fairly quickly, and we made plans to go to this group called “twenty something”. It wasn’t affiliated with Cru but it was something she attended through the church she was going to.
So, that following Thursday she pulled up to my building in her VW bug and I hopped inside. We drove over to this warehouse and entered into this large group of probably 30-40 people, if my memory serves me correctly.
My new friend introduced me to some people, and we made small talk for a bit before the evening started. Finally, some music started to play cueing the start of the night, so we wandered over towards the seats.
There were about 5-6 of us, and I saw that the very front row of seats was wide open. I suggested we go to the front, and as we all took our seats I looked up and saw this really cute guy standing on stage with a guitar.
I. was. smitten.
After the evening wrapped, this guy hopped of the stage and came over to introduce himself. It was a small enough group that I could tell everyone knew each other so I really didn’t think it was a big deal. I was clearly the new girl.
We chatted a bit, learned we were taking the same philosophy class that semester, and made plans to meet at the library the following Monday for a homework assignment.
He asked for my number, I gave it to him and he gave me his. Then we parted ways and I turned back toward the new girlfriends I had just met an hour or so prior.
“Did Justin Bryan just get your number?” one of them asked me, surprised.
“Yeah, we are in the same class so we are meeting at the library!” I replied, with the suspicious notion that this guitar playing guy may do this to a lot of girls.
“Wow, he never does that.” she said.
“Oh!” I said, smiling with a bit of relief and also flattery.
Phew, because if this guy was just some kind of flirt that got all the girls numbers, I was not interested.
We texted a bit that weekend, both anxiously anticipating Monday to come quickly, and I’ll never forget seeing him walk up to me outside the library in a black t-shirt on a 100 degree day, glistening with sweat from his 8 block trek.
I was really happy to see him again.
Part 2 coming soon.