Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Name Change?

They say good things come to those who wait, and I guess 4 years is a good wait.


I'm NO longer another single guy!

Yep, I'm sure you're all dying to know the juicy details so sit back, maybe grab a cup of coffee, relax, and allow me to introduce you to the woman who has captured this little heart of mine.

We'll start with a quick refresher.

For those who've been following me throughout the 450+ posts over the last 3 years you'll know that I'm probably not your average bloke (I hope it didn't take 450-something posts and 3 years to discover that though!). And as you've probably discovered I haven't been as active as most single blokes my age in the dating arena. In a sense I'm a little traditional and old-fashioned with my approach and hold to a set of standards I need to find in someone who I'm physically attracted to before taking the next step.

Those standards have always been the following:

1. Christian. I believe there's a God, and my faith is in Jesus Christ. My partner would need to have a similar faith.
2. Laughter. As most of you know a woman who can make me laugh has a friend for life. Similarly, a woman who has a gorgeous laugh also has a friend for life! My partner would need to have both - quite the challenge!
3. Active. I enjoy exploring and doing things, and life is too short to be stuck behind a computer or TV screen all the time.

Then I guess there were other things that weren't really "standards", but would be more turn-offs, these would be things like:

1. Cats. I hate cats. Enough said.
2. Tats. I don't see the fascination in marring a perfect body with someone's graffiti and I don't care how hidden it is. It's gross. Same applies to piercings too.
3. Fats. Don't eat crap. "Take care of your body, it's the only one you've got," my father used to always tell us kids as he went to great lengths feeding us the right types of foods growing up. And while we resented some of the hippie food we were served I have to admit that I understand the benefits and actually enjoy eating that stuff now.

Then there were the things that turned me on, again, not really "standards", but things that if my partner had would be a bonus:

1. Heart. The relationship and love a woman has with her own family speaks volumes, even if the feelings aren't reciprocated back by her family.
2. Smart. I enjoy having an intelligent conversation - it can't be fun and games all the time.
3. Art!? (Well, I tried to continue the rhyme, but this one is "Age") Having had some good debates on this topic with Jen months ago, I've always been funny when it comes to age. I've never preferred any women older than me and definitely no more than 7 years - 8 years is just too close to 10 in my mind. Although, I did concede that once a woman hits the age of 25 age would no longer be a barrier (so, if I was 40 and she was 25 that wouldn't be an issue to me).

Anyway, that's been me, and I guess throughout the last 4 years with all the types I've met I've had many great tests on how well I've stuck to these standards.


Well, it all started at the beginning of this semester at university (late July 2008). Having enrolled in my tutorials, workshops and lectures for the semester I noticed that the crew I usually hung out with during these times weren't the same as the crew I did in first semester.

In fact, there was this petite little blue-eyed blonde-haired chic who's name I didn't even know that was in our class. She was with some of her female friends that she'd made throughout the last semester, and, just as I remembered from first semester had the same man-tourage (thanks Dana!) following her.

If she weren't dating any of these guys she'd more than likely have a boyfriend outside uni, I thought, and besides she probably would never reach my high standards anyway.

It was during the first week of second semester when a lecturer was doing the role call that I finally caught her name... and it amused me!

That's an interesting name, I thought giving a small smile as my imagination whirred away.

However, it wasn't until Wednesday morning during the second week that we finally had the chance to meet. As she had arrived late to class she sat a couple of seats away from me and upon realising that she didn't have the book we were going through asked if she could come sit alongside and have me share my book with her.

"Yeah sure," I said sliding the book over for her to read. I really wasn't quite understanding what was going on anyway!

"I remember the first time we met," she said reflecting upon that same moment, "I had never really noticed you before, but I guess because I never went to lectures and we didn't have any tutorials or workshops that were the same in first semester it shouldn't have come as a surprise."

I agreed.

"But I remember thinking to myself, 'Oh no, another hot guy who I probably can't have.'"

We both giggled.

Time stood still during that small window when we shared my book together. To be honest I can't even remember what we were meant to be doing my mind was in such a blur, but I do remember our tutor instructing us to get into groups and to analyse something... I couldn't remember what, but I just wanted to analyse her. Thankfully the other members of our group carried us, as all we did was crack jokes and laugh together.

It wasn't until nearing the end of the tutorial that she asked why I undertook teaching. I sighed within myself and thought, Here we go, this is where she'll now run...

"For the last couple of years I've been helping out with my church's youth group and have had an absolute blast. I just love kids, and I've always enjoyed helping people."

I waited for the snicker, but it never came.

"You go to church?" she asked, a little surprised.

"Yes..." I said, hoping to return the same question back, but was quickly shot another.

"Which one?"

"A baptist church up in Wanneroo."

I paused for a second noticing that she wasn't turned away from my response, so I then asked her, "Do you go to church?"

"Yeah, I do. I go to Mounties."

I couldn't believe it!

"Mt Hawthorn?" I clarified.

"Yeah, do you know it?" she asked.

"Yes, I do, my sister actually attends there and I've got some good friends there too."

I think we were both shell-shocked.

She asked me what my sister's name was and after I told her she added that she had only been there for a few months and that my sister's name wasn't familiar to her.

It was then that the tutor asked us to finish up the lesson as it was now done.


Knowing that she was new to the Mounties church I quickly thought of an idea, "If you're going to the evening church service this Sunday I'll tag along with my sister and introduce her to you so that at least you'll get to know another face in the crowd."

To be honest I just wanted to see her again and it was the lamest thing I could think of as she packed her stuff up ready to go.

"Yeah, no worries," she said, "I'll see you then."

It was then that a friend of her's in the same class asked what was going on as I raced out down the hall off to my next class. My mate Adam tagged behind and asked some questions, but I didn't prove to be too responsive as my little mind was still whirring away in a daze - I was on cloud 9.

It wasn't until I sat down in my next class that I realised that I had forgotten to grab her number!

Oh well.

Now if there's one thing I've learnt throughout the years it's that if you make plans for someone in their adsence then chances are the plans are going to fall, and this proved to be no exception. That night after uni I went home and asked my sister if she were attending church services on Sunday evening, unfortunately she replied that she had made other plans.


Wait. Why are you so upset, dude? I asked myself Why are you getting so emotional over someone you've only met for 40 minutes??

It was a good point. I had to calm down. I contemplated on whether to still attend, but thought it probably wasn't the best - it may have come across as having stalker tendencies! And besides I really had only just known this girl.

Need to take things slow... like normal, remember?

Even though my mind was made up I still wanted to do the honourable thing by letting her know that I wouldn't be there. So I looked her up on Facebook, saw that she was there and shot her a message telling her I wouldn't be able to make it due to my sister's other commitments.

"I couldn't believe how excited I was in getting to church that evening," she told me, "and when you didn't show I told my mum that I couldn't believe I had worked myself up so much about someone I hardly really even knew."

I wished then that I had've gone.

It was on the following Monday after the second lecture that she approached me and jabbed, "You stood me up!"

I turned around saw her smile, and returned with, "You didn't get my message?"

"What message?"

"I sent you a message on Facebook?"

"Oh, no. I don't have internet at home."

"Do you have electricity at home?"

She laughed and gave me her number so that *next* time if anything happened at least she'd know instantly.

Unfortunately I found it a little difficult talking to her after the Monday lecture as I had to arrange to meet with members of my group for a presentation we were going to give the following week. However, as I was too distracted with her I didn't know what plans were being made by my group until when we had finished talking and noticed that the lecture hall was empty.


"Umm, I need to find my group now," I said looking around to see if maybe they were hiding.

"Oh, I think I know where they've gone," she said as she led the way outside.

Here we got talking a little more as we walked up and down the university cafes only to find that the one she thought they were at they weren't at! I jided on her a little and after consulting the phone noticed that the group had sent me a text message on their cafe location - a cafe we had walked past too!

Group assignments suck, I thought as I found the group and parted with her.

When we had finished with our group work we made our way early to class and I found a spot where I placed my gear on the table. Adam came in soon after and placed his gear to my left leaving an available seat to my right. It was when the remainder of the class came in that she noticed where I was sitting and even with her man-tourage in tow sat right alongside me! It made some of the boys a little puzzled, but they threw out a friendly "Hello" to us all the same.

Now what made this tutorial even more special is that we were once again divided into groups according to the first initial of our name, luckily both her and I were in the same "P,Q,R,S,T" group along with two others.

And did you think we got any work done??

No way!

Once again we were laughing and chatting while the other members of our group did all the work. Some of the boys began noticing her behaviour and began asking my mate Adam who was in their group at just what was going on!

In fact, as I had to race (yet again) to my next tutorial Adam wrote a note on his workpad that said, "If you are ever asked by anyone about a certain 'relationship' just play dumb."

Initially I couldn't quite work it out. I thought he was prompting me to be aware of a question the tutor was likely to ask me about, maybe something about the current state of affairs between the government and the Teacher's Union - to which I really didn't have a clue anyway!?!

It wasn't until after the tutorial where Adam asked, "Did you understand what I had wrote in there dude?"

"Umm, nope!?"

"Oh, good, you would've played the dumb role well then."

I laughed and added, "I need prompting to play dumb??" (Haha)

It was here that Adam elaborated, "In that last class before that one I was in a group with some of the 'boys' who asked me about you and her. They asked if there was anything going on, if you went to church, and stuff like that."

"Oh, I wonder why they would ask that?" I kind of liked that now I had become the center of attention, but tried to hide it.

Adam took the bait, "Just the way she's been playing with her hair and doing things around you. I saw her do similar stuff at a party when she made out with James."

"Oh. So she's with James?"

"No, I don't think so," Adam added, "because her army boyfriend crashed the party and scared James away, the guy was massive!"

Now I was beginning to get confused!?! Adam obviously knew something more about this woman than I did and there seemed to be some sort of weird love triangle thing going on.


"Did Adam tell you about that night?" she asked as we walked along the Swan river. I didn't know how to respond, it seemed I was either going to have to lie and possibly get nothing, or tell the truth and possibly get my friend in trouble!

I tried lying.

"Umm, no, what things?" I asked.

"Oh, in that case it's probably best you don't know," she sheepishly replied.

No. I wanted to know her side.

"Oh, wait, was that the thing that happened between you and James?"

"So you know?"

"No, I don't," I smiled, hoping to lighten the mood. She smiled back, took a deep breath, looked down to the ground, then looked to the river.

"It was a mistake. I should never have kissed James, he's been a good friend at uni, and I should never have dated Corey, but nothing is happening between me and either of them now."

I left a little cautiously that night, uncertain on whether this chic was playing everyone or whether she was indeed serious. It was sure going to make for interesting discussion though.

"Okay, well thanks dude," I said as I left that night, "I'll see you tomorrow in class."

The next day hardly anybody was in the workshop. In fact, no sooner had I arrived into the classroom did Adam send me a text message stating that he wasn't likely to be in class today, "But have fun talking with you know who!" he ended - with a cheesy smilie face.

And just as I finished replying to his message had she entered the room by herself and sat down adjacent to my computer.

After exchanging some pleasantries and listening to the tutor waffle on about something redundant we actually went to work. It wasn't until the last 40 minutes of class where we couldn't but stand the silence that had been going on between us that we began talking again.

As the conversation took on various themes we decided to continue it over a quick bite and for the next hour we did so in the main cafe at uni. It was here that we talked about previous relationships the ups and downs we both experienced what we learned about each other (etc). And yet during that time I remained as aloof and as casual as possible. I didn't want to reveal too much of how I enjoyed her company, her smile, her laugh, especially after what Adam had told me about what had happened at that party a couple of months ago.

So when we parted that afternoon after lunch Adam was quick to ask the next day what had happened. Again, I was still a little cautious on showing my hand, I liked this girl, I enjoyed her company, so I told Adam that I was still getting to know her and that I'd love to get to know her more.

I think *he* wanted more goss, especially considering that both he and I were invited to a party Friday night where we knew she'd be. In fact, she invited both Adam and I over to her house for a pre-party party!

Knowing that I had to decline both invitations on that Friday night I decided to go into the city and find out more about what us Grad Dip teachers needed to do to get registered (both her and I admitted that we had no clue). After sending her a message asking her if she wanted me to grab her some stuff we talked over the phone about it and I agreed that anything I found valuable would be passed on.

Unfortunately it took me all day Thursday to get everything sorted, so on the Friday morning I sent her a message, "I think the info I have is practically priceless - I don't think we can put a price on it. You're going to need to appeal to my amazing charitable nature. :)"

To which she quickly replied, "Oh I am so excited to be made privvy to such priceless info - how shall I ever repay you!? Hehe does that count as appealing to your charitable nature? Seriously though, I appreciate your help Ryan, it was very kind of you. I'll shout you coffee/lunch next time we meet..."

Being at work I could only continue with texting (as annoying as it was), "Okay, I won't hold you to it though and a choc hazelnut latte gets bonus points! ;)"

She was quick to pull me up on the "queer" choice of a choc hazelnut latte to which I had to quickly respond that I had never had one before and thought that by asking for one it'd be a challenge!

And she was more than happy to accept, even if it meant phoning every cafe in Perth!

I had to laugh, so I sent a final message that day which said, "Haha, you must really want those bonus points then! ;-P"

And her final remarks were, "I just want to keep pace with you. You scored some points yesterday so I need an opportunity to catch up with you otherwise you'll have the upper hand, couldn't have that now could we!"


Anyway, Saturday was a busy day for us as I caught up with a group of friends in Freo. All was going well when Adam during the night sent me a text message on the previous night's frivolties, "Not sure whether you've talked to you-know-who yet today, so this message may be redundant! On the assumption that you haven't this is the go! She is DEFINITELY interested in you. For some reason beyond my understanding she didn't think it was reciprocal!! If you are interested a simple SMS or call saying you are would GUARANTEE you a go. Anyway, all the best man."

Oh no.

I didn't know what concerned me most about this message from Adam. The fact that he was able to get such information, or that he thinks he's doing me a favour by playing cupid! During that night I had begun telling Willo about this new chic and his advice was to go for it - "If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but don't let it fail by doing nothing," he said.

Good advice.

I know my aloof and casual nature has helped prevent me from making many mistakes, but it can also be my downfall by not reacting quickly enough.

I also thought that night that I'd let my folks know. If this chic was going to soon become a part of me then it was best that they knew what was going on, and I've never liked keeping relationships hidden anyway. So late that Saturday night my folks eagerly hung on my words on what had transpired throughout the last couple of weeks with this woman and voiced exactly what I needed to hear.

"I hope you're not doing this because Adam wanted you to," she asked when we caught up for coffee on Sunday.

"No, not at all."

He only confirmed what I wanted to do and just helped me out with timing it.

I seemed to be getting all the right signals from all angles. I knew my family and friends had always been good to me - it's why I treasure them so much and why I place such importance on the family unit. So on Sunday morning I took the plunge and asked if she wanted to go grab a coffee that afternoon.

She did.

And after setting up a meeting place to which I had arrived a little early I quickly walked into the nearby Gloria Jeans cafe and asked if they did choc hazelnut latte's. To my shock they did!

When she eventually arrived I moved on over to the Gloria Jeans cafe stood outside and asked, "You wouldn't have a guess who does choc hazelnut lattes?"

She couldn't believe it either and hurriedly bought me one.

Unfortunately it was gross, but I didn't care. She had bought it for me, and I was enjoying the scenery waaaay too much to worry about the coffee.

As we walked along the river we talked for hours.

She talked about the party, she talked about Adam's weird antics, what happened between her and James, what happened with the army dude Corey, what her family was like, her struggle with bulimia in her teenage years... and on and on... time flew by.

By the end of the day I was touched at how open she had been.

It was a lovely day, but it had to end.

The next day, Monday, last Monday, I had to do our group presentation thing in front of her. I didn't care about the rest of the class, heck, I had performed in front of most of them last semester - she was the one who was making me nervous!

After fumbling and bumbling my way through the portion of the seminar I had to give I was glad that that day was over. I handed her the forms and stuff that I had collected from the previous week's adventures at the DET and WACOT government departments and quickly sped off to my next class.

She was amused at some of the funny notes I had left on those government forms for her and she sent a message saying that if I don't succeed at teaching I should easily be able to get a job at either of those departments!

Great, I must've really sucked during my seminar that day.

"The boys are curious on whether anything's happening between you two yet?" Adam asked.

"Why's that?"

"Well yesterday in your seminar they noticed that you looked at her a lot."

"I DID?? How embarrassing! I tried my best to NOT concentrate on her!"

Tuesday has always been the best day since we've known each other. And last Tuesday proved no different. After class we went to the main cafe and talked some more. This time though Adam seemed to officiate proceedings (don't ask me why?!) and began to suss out what I was looking for in a girl, and what she was looking for in a guy.

It didn't really come as much of a surprise to either of us, that according to my standards she met all three - including the turn offs and turn ons! A first.

She mentioned something about a list that she has, but I just busted on her saying that she probably just makes it up as she goes along. That got a few hits on the arm.

On Wednesday I was able to enact revenge.

She had to perform in front of a small group, of which I wasn't a part of initially, but as the class was running behind schedule they had to re-order the groups around, and have a guess where I ended up?

Yep - her group. Muhahaha.

What made it all the more sweeter was that I had done my presentation for this class the previous week! So I just sat there and manned the video camera. I loved every minute of it - I just wish I had her tape.

"I couldn't believe you were in that class," she said reflecting back on it, "I turned to my friend Sarah and almost screamed, 'He shouldn't be in here!' and I almost cried when we finished because I thought I did so crap!"

I'm so glad I was in that class. She was awesome to watch.

"You were great," I said with all sincerity, "you're going to make a fine teacher. You certainly impressed me."

Unfortunately though she wasn't the only one who was giving a teaching lesson that morning so I had to fill out a review on everyone's performance, which was a little difficult while I manned the camera.

As she made her way to leave at the end of the class I looked at my half-completed review and said, "I haven't finished it yet."

It was a great ploy to get to see her again.

I was able to finish everybody else's review, but took time doing hers. (I know, I'm naughty.) That day I sent her a message saying that I held her "glowing" review for ransom and that if she ever wanted to see it again she'd have to take me out on a bicycle ride and wear me out.

She happily agreed, so we set a date for Friday.

However, things went one step better on Thursday night. Willo had organised during the previous weekend a night out at one of my favourite Japanese *buffet* restaurants. I looooOoOve Japanese food. So I teased to her that my boyfriend was taking me out on Thursday night throughout the entire week. Only to find that on Thursday morning Willo sent me a message stating that he couldn't make it.

I decided to go to plan B. I had been hanging for Japanese all week and my stomach was screaming for miso soup.

I risked a chance to she if she'd be interested on going out for Japanese... and...

It paid off!

We tried one restaurant which *I* thought was Japanese, but it wasn't so I walked out, and then we tried one of her Japanese restaurants (she knew the area better than I) and we stayed.

"You've mentioned that you've been on 'outings' with women before, what's the difference between a 'date' and an 'outing' as Thursday night certainly felt like a date?"

"An outing can be coffee, lunch or dinner with a friend. A date can be coffee, lunch or dinner with a partner. The difference between a partner and a friend is that you don't pash a friend."

As she had forgotten to take her keys with her when she left her house, when I picked her up (I seem to have this effect on women) we went to Burswood for a quiet coffee while we waited for her sister to arrive back home.

When the night was over I could wait to see her again. And I would - the big bike ride was next. The real test on whether this chic was all talk or not.

And boy was I impressed!

We went 40km with a short half-hour break at the half-way mark only to be faced with strong head winds all the way back home!! I couldn't believe how well she did.

I wanted this woman.

And so, at the end of the day, I asked if she wanted to go out on a date with me Saturday night.

She happily agreed... the 4-year drought had now ended.

When I picked her up that night I briefly met her sister who was preparing wedding invitations for her guests and as has been usual with each occasion we talked the night away. I couldn't even believe the time when I stole a glance at it - past midnight!

Was Verna (my car) going to turn into a pumpkin?

I hope not.

When I dropped her home again I had forgotten to give her the "glowing" review so I quickly turned around only to notice that she had once again forgotten her keys to get back in to the house! While her sister wasn't too happy after the phone call we giggled and quietly parted and slipped off into the night.

Tomorrow another adventure awaits us as she is house sitting a place up in the hills. I hope to take my camera and take some nice photos of the, umm, scenery.

So what's her name?

Her name is...




(For the uninformed, her name is pronounced the same way my surname is pronounced!!! And no I am NOT kidding. God must really have a sense of humour. LOL)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Oh Hovea

I went to a familiar place on the weekend - one of our national parks in the hills, John Forest - and thought I'd be super adventurous by going off the beaten track... again.

It's where the *best* photos are taken, right? I tried convincing myself as I took my first step into the deep green scrub, and I'll only walk to the top of this hill and then I'll come back down.

I didn't need much convincing.

And so up I walked - my camera and eye, sorry, I. And we walked. And... walked.

Gee, big hill, huh? I pondered taking a short breather peering back down the hill... not really recognising anything familiar down there.

A couple of kangaroos bounded their way through the bush off to my left as well as a couple of large butterflies dancing in the wind... all proved excellent photo opps, but they also proved a little too difficult to catch after a few minutes of chasing.

Drats! Oh well, this is pretty boring, maybe I should just head back to the track and make my way to the waterfalls before it gets too dark.

And so I did... kinda. Well, maybe not back BACK as in the exact, original way I *actually* came, as things weren't... kinda... like... sorta... what they were like when I went *up* the hill, and... everything looked really really different.

In fact, after popping through some thicket I stumbled across a small stream.

Ooookay, I don't recall ever passing this on the way up the hill??

But being a bloke I wasn't going to admit that I was a little lost... or a lot lost. In fact, lost isn't even in my vocab. Noooo. See, blokes have an innate GPS system. We know *precisely* where we are at any given point and at any given time.

Maybe you should just follow the stream, my conscience suggested.

Why would I want to do that??

Because that will likely lead to the river which will lead to the waterfall which will lead you to the path that you need to get on... you know? Back to civilisation... before rigor mortis sets in??

Pfffft... as if!

The place we needed to go was right over *there*. I eyed it with my eyeball. I could see it. I could sense it. I knew exactly where we were going.

So I leapt over the steam and continued on.


About an hour later, I was beginning to think that maybe the trees were blocking my internal GPS system! BUT I was really only taking this super long way around because I was looking for the best photo opportunities... I mean, if my body were to be discovered after several years of search and rescue there'd at least be some awesome photos on that camera, right?

(I could see the news headlines: Man Dies in Bush Taking Extraordinary Photos. Subhead: Photo analysts reveal that the man seemed to have been walking in circles!?)

It wasn't until I heard the sound of voices that I was finally able to find my way back to the beaten track. I heard some father talking to his little kids about the dangers of wandering off into the bush only to see me pop out and stumble in front of them with twigs, leaves and branches hanging off my body.

"G'day," I said as I confidently brushed myself off and walked past the stunned family trying my best to quickly find out just where the heck I was exactly!? I quickly wandered off in one particular direction, only to find that the waterfalls just so happened to be in the complete opposite direction. Typical. I walked back past the still stunned family, said my g'days again and ended up enjoying the rest of the late afternoon taking photos of Hovea falls.

[Photos were uploaded to my Flickr a/c... as you can see on the flicking little flash window thingie on the left. Enjoy.]