This week’s Beginning of Us story comes from such a lovely person I have met through the world of blogging – Clare from Maybush Studio. Clare has a gorgeous little boy and a brand new baby girl born just yesterday! Her blog beautifully documents their life and her photos are stunning – make sure you go and take a look.
Over to Clare…
There probably aren’t too many people who can claim to have met their other half in the South Atlantic, but I’m one of them! Back in 2005 I made the exciting and terrifying decision to leave the world of commercial radio and take on a new challenge by joining British Forces Broadcasting. If I’m entirely honest my decision was also slightly influenced by being a single 29 year-old who had been tantalised by tales of eligible Army officers outnumbering single women by ten to one and so there was a part of me hoping for a work challenge and a life change all in one.
When I joined BFBS I had no idea where they were actually going to send me, the list of choices ranged from Northern Ireland to the Caribbean and the one place I thought they’d never send a newbie, was the one place they actually did decide to send me… 8,000 miles away to the Falkland Islands! On discovering my rather bleak posting, my ever-pragmatic dad consoled me by saying “just remember when you get down there, it will be a choice of you or ewe.. and the other one is spelt E W E…” (Thanks Dad!)
He was partly right though, Mount Pleasant is home to 1500 military personnel and only a handful of civilian women – The odds were definitely in my favour! Working and socialising dominates life for the singles at MPA, there were dinner nights in the mess, helicopter trips to remote bases and parties in bars. A gang of us used to hang out at meal times and spend our weekends watching films and playing board games and one in particular started to stick out, he was great fun but initially I didn’t think he was my type until one day when something seismic changed. I remember it vividly, Jim and I plus our friends went go-karting at the track on the base and then I had a flight booked to attend a dinner night at one of the radar bases. These away trips to the radar bases were a real highlight, but when I discovered Jim wasn’t going I started to wish I wasn’t either.
That night amidst the partying and drinking all I could think about was him, how he made me laugh and how much fun we had together. When I returned to Mount Pleasant I felt as though we were on the cusp of something, but just as I thought things might be about to develop someone dropped a bomb-shell, Jim had a girlfriend!
I was devastated, but I didn’t lose all hope and several weeks later Jim ended his relationship and we finally got together. We spent four months of our time in the Falklands living in each others pockets, seeing each other at every meal and spending every hour outside work together. Four months in the South Atlantic is rather like a year of dating on civvie street and by the time we traveled home we had plans to spend our entire 5 weeks leave together.
We moved to Germany that October and in the December, 8 months after we’d first got together Jim proposed while we were visiting his dad in Bahrain. We married the following June and flew to Canada two weeks later to start jobs together at the British Army base in Alberta. A mere 16 months had passed from the day I got on the flight at Brize Norton bound for the Falklands to the day I found myself at Calgary airport with a husband and a totally new life. It’ll be 10 years next spring since we met. We now have a lovely family home which we created together, two dogs, a four year-old and a second baby due any day. Changing my job might have felt terrifying at the time, but it was the best decision I ever made!
Thanks so much for sharing your story Clare – and what an incredible story it is too! You have both come so far and to think you met 8,000 miles away is just incredible! Who knows what your future may bring?!