In January I was starting my second semester of my second year of college. I knew what my degree would be (that hasn't changed). I knew I wanted to live in Alabama once I was settled. I knew who I wanted to marry.
What I didn't know was that the marriage part was going to happen sooner than I thought, and I wouldn't be in Alabama, at least not for a few years.
In March, my then boyfriend was sent off to Parris Island for the beginning of his career as a Marine. Three long months later, he came home for 10 days. Families get 10 days back with their loved one before they're gone again. After those 10 days he was sent to North Carolina for the rest of his training. We had decided at that point if he was stationed in North Carolina, we'd get married sometime within the next year. We had a plan to get an apartment up there if we didn't want a house on base. I had already been looking for places we could afford. We hadn't planned for him to get stationed in Hawaii, however. Once that was found out, we decided to get married in sooner so I could be with him.
Originally, we had chosen to get married in November, in Hawaii. Slowly, over time, that plan changed and became October, and then September, and finally August. We found out that housing would be a pain if we waited until November, so we did it the day before he graduated Infantry Training Batallion (ITB). The next day, he graduated, we saw him for a few hours, and then he flew to Hawaii.
I finally made it to Hawaii two and a half months later in November. Now, here I am, over 4,000 miles away from the place I was born and raised, being a wife at 20-years-old. I've been given the opportunity of a lifetime to live in a place I never would have otherwise. A place that some only dream of seeing. To say it isn't bittersweet would be a lie. It very much is. I love it, though. It's an adventure. It's an adjustment. It's sometimes hard. It's sometimes easy. It's an incredible experience. I miss Alabama, but I get to visit, and I'll be back for good in a little over three years.
In the meantime, I get to be with my husband and explore a state we've never seen before. In one night, I went from a college student who could barely wake up before noon to a military wife who's seeing things she couldn't imagine. I have a huge house that I have to decorate. I have a huge kitchen to learn how to make any and every recipe possible. I never expected any of this would happen by the time I was 20, but here we are.
It's different, but it's special, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.