Yes the big day has come and gone. I am now officially married to my beautiful wife Mariko (though I guess saying married to my wife is rather redundant). A LOT of has happened in the past few days, probably more than one blog post could handle... or more than I can handle writing in one post. So I am going to break it up a bit and do three posts of all the fun-ness. Post #1, which if you can't guess is this post, will be a little background on Mariko and my relationship. Post #2 will be pre-wedding fun, while the wedding day and post-wedding day fun will be included in Blog post #3.
Now I shall begin with the background, mainly for those who aren't familiar with story, but also for those who may not have remembered all the details. Mariko and I met in the summer of 2006, where she was applying for a job at Bass Shoes in Castle Rock. I was her interviewer. She was very cute and professional in her business suit, and that set a big plus in my book (I mean how many high schoolers dress up that much for a job interview at a retail store). She was hired shortly afterwards and began working with me. To be honest I did think that she was cute, but I was giving it my best effort to not like her.... I mean at her age an 8 year age difference is quite a bit. But she won me over in the end, and so we talked a little more each day. Now for those of you that are familiar with Mariko's mom Gretchen you can imagine her chagrin to hear her 17 yr-old daughter talking about a 25 yr-old man..... well I guess any mother can imagine that chagrin, not just those that know Gretchen. Her parents told Mariko and that we were not allowed to date until she turned 18..... and happened to be 10 months away, but very understandable.
So time progressed and Mariko and I talked more and more. I met her family a little bit more as we got closer, though I could tell that Gretchen and Midori, Mariko's little sister, were still not very keen on me. Nothing personal mind you, just a little wary I believe. And then Mariko turned 18 and announced to her parents that we were dating! A very fun time as I began to slowly be introduced to her family a bit more. It was interesting to see Mariko's relationship with her family and friends, as I could tell we both had lived different lives growing up. Both had good lives, just different. I have been blessed with a VERY large, and at times complicated family that tended to fluctuate a bit . While Mariko had a large and VERY close family that got together as frequently as they could.
Mariko soon entered college and I began a new job. She was going to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, while I was a Store Manager at Colorado Mills Mall in Golden. I was living in Castle Rock at the time, so the distance was not too great, but definitely not optimal. Being a Store Manager meant that I didn't always have a lot of time off, but every day off everyone knew that they would find me in Fort Collins with Mariko. On other days, I was able to spend more time with her parents and sister (as they had warmed up to me quite a bit by that point). As college continued for Mariko we both moved in together during the beginning of her Sophomore year at CSU. Normally her parents would be against that type of living arrangement for her, but I'm fairly sure they had a good idea that we were not just a quick fling at this point. Plus I'm sure her parents were happy that she would be living with someone else that they could trust to watch out for her, and make sure that there were no Lemon Cooler cookies lying around the house for Mariko to eat or other such catastrophe.
We enjoyed our little home in Fort Collins together, a rather simple apartment that we seemed to spend more time in than out partying. But time progressed as it is prone to do, and we continued being in love. I knew that it was just about time for us to take the next step. Mariko was returning from an Agronomy Club trip and I was picking her up from the airport. Looking back, and using my 20/20 hindsight vision, I should have realized that she would be tired and hungry and slightly grumpy. But I was in love and giddy... and don't have much patience once I decide to do something. So I picked Mariko up from the airport and took her out to eat and proposed to her! I had called Gretchen earlier that day, mentally chiding myself for not telling/asking her before I picked up Mariko. She was excited and happy, which made my nerves easier to handle. And though Mariko was tired and slightly grumpy, but no longer hungry, she accepted and thus we were engaged.
That is a footnotes version of our build-up from boss/worker to fiances. Though there are many, many fun and interesting stories that could be added in there, I felt it was best to give the bare bones of the story out.... otherwise I would be typing for quite a while and some, if not all, of you would be nodding off as you read it. Stay tuned for the next chapter of our Lovey Dovey story!