‘Where can I park my Batmobile?’
Oh dear. It wasn’t looking good for Jonnie. Fortunately for him, he had taken so long to reply that I had made other plans with friends to watch a rugby match and catch up that afternoon on Chapel street so I would be around anyway. It didn’t seem like too much of a hassle to pop out to meet him and I could always return to the group.
‘Tusk at 7’ I replied.
The Rugby was a doozy and the group I was with were very partial to a tipple. At 6.55pm I found myself swaying out of The Union yelling over my shoulder that I would be ‘Back in halfa because this guy is probably a knob’. I stumbled 50 metres down the road to Tusk, with its twinkling lights twisted round gnarly tree trunks, mismatched tables and cosy blankets for the chilly winter night.
I spotted him sat at a table under a heater and I knew in that moment I would marry this man… NOT. I was relieved that he looked even cuter than his photo and he had chosen a toasty spot for what could turn out to be a 20 minute date (yes I have had a 20 minute first date). An hour and a half later we were still chatting strong and having revealed that we both had back-up plans to watch the Australia vs. England Rugby match with our respective friends had the date had gone south, we decided that we would brave the match together.
We survived the match, and Jonnie’s cheesy lines.
We survived the match, and Jonnie’s cheesy lines. We also survived his confession that actually he had been so sceptical of the date’s chances of success (the Melbourne dating scene is brutal I’m telling you!) he actually had double double booked himself and was supposed to be at a friend’s birthday party and did I want to go with him. By now it was 10.30pm and when we arrived at, what I assumed was going to be a house party but was in fact a sit- down dinner party, over two hours late I was abruptly introduced to Jonnies closest friends. Not the ideal introduction. I *think* the birthday girl has forgiven me now (sorry again Justine- we love you and it was worth it right? Right??)
So despite our doubts (and evident lack of social etiquette!), that Saturday night marked the start of something neither of us could have expected. I remained dubious for a while, refusing to save his number in my phone and trying, and failing, to keep him at arms’ length for fear of this going the way of other dates. There was no magic lightbulb moment, no earth-shattering realisation but I felt a growing warmth, comfort, energy and peace. We had been together for six months when my father came to visit me in Australia and it seemed right that they should meet. Then we had been together for year and it seemed right that he should join me on my trip back to the UK to visit my family.
And then when we had been together for a year and a half it seemed right to say yes when he asked me to marry him.
We were engaged for another year and a half in which we travelled both with and without my family and planned what would turn out to be two very eventful and completely unforgettable weddings.
When we found out I was pregnant seven months later in February 2020 with plans to buy our first home and welcome my family for prolonged visits later in the year, it seemed like everything was falling perfectly into place for my transition from British Backpacker to Aussie Mama. Little did we know what 2020 would bring.