I briefly lived in San Diego and loved so many things about it. After getting to know Pete and realizing we had a lot of the same likes, I figured it was the perfect place for us to spend a few days exploring together. I booked us a room at The Dana on Mission Bay. I had stayed there a couple times before with friends and on one occasion we got this amazing room with a little patio that lead to the hot tub. I thought I had booked the same room online, but when we checked in and all, we were sent to the very back of the property to an area that looked like we had checked into a cheap motel! I was mortified. ON top of that, I had lost my bank card between Las Vegas & San Diego so Pete ended up paying for our stay there as well. So you can imagine how I was feeling the first few hours in SD. Completely embarrassed and with absolutely no desire to do much. I didn’t want to waste the night so after Pete calmed me down and assured me things were okay, we decided to explore a bit of the Pacific Beach area.
It was late and it was a Tuesday night, so I really wasn’t expecting much of a nightlife, but we still tried to go to a few bars. One thing we weren’t aware of was the fact that most bars don’t accept foreign IDs, so Pete was turned down from a few. It wasn’t until we got to Bub’s @ the Beach that the bouncer was kind enough to let him in after we told him what had happened at all the other places we tried. Bub’s was perfect! Not only is their kitchen open late, the food is great and the ambience is fantastic! Since it was Taco Tuesday on their daily specials, we opted for some tacos. I am the Taco Queen. If you ask Pete what my favorite foods are he will reply with “Tacos and chicken wings”. I absolutely love them! I think we each ordered 3 tacos each. All different so we could try all the varieties they offered. And let me tell ya, I was not one bit disappointed! They were all delicious! Since Pete didn’t have proper identification we couldn’t enjoy a few cold ones with our tacos so after we finished our meal, we opted to go do a late night walk by the boardwalk then I picked up a few bottles of beer on the way back to the hotel.
The next morning, we got dressed and I drove us to Downtown San Diego. It was late morning and we were getting a bit hungry so we stopped by one of my all time favorite sandwich places, Grab & Go. They have several locations throughout San Diego, but my absolute favorite spot is the one in the Little Italy area on Indian Street. They have a few tables outside on the corner of the street so it’s nice to just chill and have a quick bite to eat there. After our brief brunch date in the sun, we walked around the harbor. We walked past the popular USS Midway and a Tom Cruise impersonator and on to the little Seaport Village area.
While in San Diego we also visited the famous San Diego Zoo. We were looking forward to the Zoo so much because we both love animals, but the weather wasn’t on our side. At first it was just a drizzle. I looked at him and he said it’d be find and that it’d probably go away soon. We walked in and started walking around, the more we walked the more it started raining. Just like us, animals don’t really like to get wet, so to our disappointment, most of them were hiding out. We saw maybe 10 animals (Not including all the reptiles) I remember seeing a Tasmanian Devil, Elephants, some of the big cats, a sleeping polar bear, pinguins, some birds, and 1 of the 5 pandas. We were about to walk out when it started seriously pouring and as Pete looked around for a place to get some cover, he walked right into the SNAKES! Perfect hiding spot but if you know me, you know I absolutely hate snakes. I put my big brave girl pants on and dealt with it for a bit because it made him happy. He was like a little kid in a toy store! “Look at this one Keri!”. After going around the snake cave, it was time to leave. We had gone around the entire zoo and seen as much as we could with the rain. We ran back to the car but still got soaked and were freezing. Thankfully I had put some beach towels in the back because we were supposed to go hang out at the beach after the Zoo.
That night we went out for a meal at a nice BBQ joint in the Hillcrest area of San Diego then took an Uber to the Gaslamp District where I took Pete into one of my most favorite bars there, Vin de Syrah. It’s a cool underground Alice in Wonderland themed wine bar. It’s hard to find if you don’t pay attention to the signs. Once you find the way down the rabbit hole, you’ll be confused as to which is the right door because it’s actually a hidden door. So much fun watching people go the wrong way once you’re inside! After Vin de Syrah I took Pete to The Tipsy Crow followed by Double Deuce and finally Patrick’s Irish Pub.
On our Final day in San Diego, we were looking for a place to have a decent breakfast and came across Shakespeare Pub in Old Town San Diego. Proper English Pub owned by a man who’s father was from the same town Pete was from. I had my first Full English Breakfast there, which was deliciously made. After our meal, we set off to Yuma, Arizona to spend Christmas with my family.
It was a little past sunset when we managed to get out of the airport. We got on the freeway and headed north to Las Vegas. We drove a few miles before we hit traffic. I hadn’t really thought there would be so much of it on a Sunday. But I didn’t really take into consideration that it was the week before Christmas. I suppose, everyone was out doing last minute shopping. It wasn’t long before we were out of the Los Angeles area and on the open highway to Sin City!
We had been planning for this day for months and even though we were both exhausted from our long day of traveling, we were looking forward to going out for dinner and drinks and exploring Vegas together. Since Pete was the one who suggested we visited Vegas, he’s the one that took care of booking our hotel. All he had told me was that he had gotten us a room at the MGM. I had stayed at the MGM once before when I went with friends. There were 5 of us crammed in a 2 queen bed-room with one bathroom. Also, I don’t remember much from that trip other than loads of shots.
We arrived at MGM a little past 9pm. Pete checked us in and lead me to the elevator which took us up to the 13th floor. We walked down the long hallway to our room and walked in. This was definitely not the little 2 bed hotel room I remembered. He had booked us the MGM Executive King Tower Spa Suite! There was a huge couch facing the big screen tv next to the big windows overlooking the city. Behind the TV was the biggest, fluffiest, most comfortable looking bed I had ever seen. Then the bathroom. OMG that bathroom! BIG wide mirrors, giant jacuzzi tub, and the shower! Pete really went all out for this and I was completely impressed! After I got done freaking out over how amazing the room was, we freshen up then Pete mixed us a couple rum & cokes, before we headed downstairs to hit the town!
We had absolutely no idea what we were gonna do. We just started walking towards the strip, but once we got out of the casino, we realized it had started pouring. I think we were both relieved the weather was crappy because neither of us hesitated to go back inside and just grab something to eat inside. We agreed on Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill right by the slot machines. Probably because it was the only place that was within sight. We got seated and that’s when I realized that this was basically our first date! Not really what I had in mind as our first date, but it turned out to be really good. We ordered a few appetizers, a flatbread pizza and a bottle of wine. After we finished, we walked around the casino for a bit. Grabbed a couple beers and sat at the slot machines. We each put a $20 bill in and started playing. I was donzo within 5 minutes. I am the worst gambler in the world. I get really impatient and just do max bet until I’m out of credits. Pete on the other hand, was doing the minimum bet and winning. After a while we decided on one more drink then up to the room to get some rest so we didn’t sleep in too late the following day.
The following morning we woke up and got ready to explore Las Vegas. As I mentioned before, I had only been there once before and hardly remember most of that weekend. Pete had only been there once as well the time he was doing the training in Yuma. Him and a few of his fellow work mate’s had taken a road trip up to Vegas and he liked it enough to want to go back.
We made our way out of the MGM and in search of some food. We walked north on the strip and came across the Hard Rock Cafe offering unlimited mimosas and bloody mary’s. Figured we’d start there. We got seated by an open window overlooking the strip. It was a nice, not too cold December morning. We looked over the menu and decided on two different brunch plates. I ordered a bloody mary and he order a mimosa. After we were finished with our meal, we just asked for a drink menu forgetting we had unlimited drinks. The server told us they normally don’t switch out unlimited drinks, but that if we wanted to try the Bellini she’d bring us a couple. After about 4 Bellini’s each we were hammered. It was barely 11AM and we were already completely trashed at the Hard Rock Cafe! We didn’t even make it past noon before we were ready for a nap. Way to start off our first romantic weekend together, right?!
We headed back to the hotel where we fell asleep again only 2 hours after leaving the room for our Vegas adventure. We must have been really tired because it wasn’t until 5PM when we both woke up groggy and still a bit drunk! We chugged down water and took some advil to compose ourselves then jumped in the shower and got ready to once again, try to make it out to have a Vegas adventure! We finished getting ready and had a few pregaming drinks and off we went.
We walked the strip hand in hand, talking and laughing and just enjoying being in each other’s company that we really didn’t do that much sightseeing. We just went from bar to bar, talked to a few other tourists and just genuinely enjoyed being around each other. It wasn’t until we go to The New York New York hotel that we finally found the right spot to spend the rest of the night at. There’s this cute little dueling piano pub inside the NYNY that is by far one of our most favorite places. The atmosphere is fantastic! The people, the staff, the ambience was just all great! We loved every minute of being there. It was getting late and we had too much to drink that day so we decided to make our way back to our hotel, but not before stopping by the slot machines. I’ve never been much of a gambler so I wasn’t really paying attention to the machine. And as I mentioned before, when I get inpatient I usually just max bet so I can finish sooner. Well, I was so into talking to Pete that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing really. The machine just started going off as if I had won the jackpot. Turns out I had, but not really. For the first time I did the minimum bet so instead of actually winning the whole jackpot I only got like $97. Which is still more than I initially put in, but if I hadn’t been so distracted by Pete’s big blue eyes and his accent I probably could have won that jackpot and left Las Vegas with a pocket full of cash!
I don’t remember much about the walk back to the hotel. I just remember waking up the next morning at 10AM and realizing we only had an hour before checkout! We must have had a really good time out because we were both really hungover, I have no idea how we managed to pack and make it out of there looking decent in an hour.
Read all about my first major embarrassment in San Diego, Pete getting drunk off Sambuca with my dad at Christmas and the rest of our first two weeks together in the upcoming posts!
Six months had gone by and THE day had finally arrived. Pete was on an 11 hour flight from London to Los Angeles* and I was driving 6 hours from Scottsdale to pick him up. For weeks we had planned how we would spend our first two weeks together. I was to pick him up at LAX then we’d drive to Las Vegas for a couple nights. After Vegas, we’d drive down to San Diego for a couple more days, then Christmas with my family and back to Scottsdale for the remainder of his trip.
I arrived at LAX about 4 hour too early. I drove around the airport a couple times to familiarize myself with the roads and exits and not get lost once he arrived and we headed out. I wanted to be confident and know my way around. After about 6-8 laps around the airport, I decided to find a good spot with not too many cars around. You know, just in case he wanted to spontaneously make out with me. Jooooking...No in reality, I knew he was a more private person than I was so I tried to make our first meet as comfortable for him as possible. I was completely freaking out inside, so I could only imagine what he was feeling. He was the one that took a trip across the world to a country he had only briefly visited once before.
I waited in the car listening to our Spotify playlist for a while. I think I finally decided to start walking inside the airport an hour and a half before he was due to land. As the time neared, I started getting more and more nervous. I was having second thoughts about the outfit I decided to wear. Then thinking, “Was my top too revealing?”. “Was wearing boots a good idea?” “Is my hair still looking okay?” “Will he like me in person?” “Wait! What if I don’t like him in person?!” “What if he’s not the same guy as in the photos?!” We’d facetimed only once and his room was a bit dark so really, I could be the one getting catfished now! Or “What if he didn’t actually get on the plane and I’ve been doing all this traveling and waiting for him not to show up?” I remember a million questions were going through my mind.
Then, after scouting what seemed like a million faces, I saw him walking out of the arrivals gate. The moment I saw him was the moment all my doubts and fears disappeared. I was standing right in front of where people walk out, but was pushed behind a big family waiting for their little boy coming back from a year abroad. Pete didn’t see me right away, so he walked the opposite way. I had to push my way to the other side of the room to get to him. To me it was like a scene out of a movie. It felt like I had lost my person and I was trying to make my way back to him but people kept pushing me further away. Then we locked eyes and he smiled. For a moment there, there was no one else but him. We hugged and kissed and got the hell out of there!
I think walking back to my car was a bit awkward. I ended up forgetting where I had to go so we took a longer way, which lead to us sharing the elevator up with people. There was a bit of that awkward silence and a few looks at each other that made me giggle. When we got to the car, we put his luggage in the trunk and he pulled me in for a real kiss. Our first real kiss was at the top of the International Terminal parking lot at LAX as planes took off and landed.
Read all about our Las Vegas adventure, my first major embarrassment in San Diego, Pete getting drunk off Sambuca with my dad at Christmas and the rest of our first two weeks together in the upcoming posts!
I was on my way back home to sunny Scottsdale, Arizona after spending 5 months living in California. I had moved to San Diego to pursue a relationship I wasn’t even sure about. Since I had never really taken a chance like that, I didn’t give it too much thought. I packed my bags, rented a u-haul and moved across state lines. Five months later, I realized it had been one big, expensive mistake. And as much as I loved San Diego and wanted to stay, it never really felt like home, so once again, I packed my bags, loaded up my car and drove back to Arizona.
A few months later, my best friend asked if I wanted to go to San Diego for Memorial weekend. I had recently ended my 9-5 work to pursue my own venture, and wasn’t really in a position to take such spontaneous trips, but I also needed to get away for a bit. What better way to reset my mind and pull myself back together than a trip down to a relaxing beach. After a nice couple of days in San Diego we started our journey back home. Back to the unsure and back to reality.
The town we grew up in is located right in the middle of San Diego & Scottsdale. Our families still live there. We decided it’d be a good idea to stop by my parent’s house for a little break and a home cooked, and free, meal from Mama G. While there, my friend fell asleep on the couch and I took a break from the million questions my mom was asking by hiding in the bathroom. There, while sitting on the toilet, I turned my phone on and opened my Tinder app. Wasn’t seriously looking to find love. Not in Yuma, Arizona. Especially not so soon. But I was bored and wanted to see how many of the “single and eligible” bachelors I knew.
A few swipes to the left and bam, a blurry picture of a guy giving two thumbs up in a suit & tie, big smile and the most enchanting blue eyes I had ever seen had caught my attention. I immediately swiped right and to my surprise, he had liked me first. We were a MATCH! “Oh cool” I thought to myself as I went into his profile. He had two additional photos and a one liner: “British not American”. The fact that he was not from Yuma, or even this country intrigued me, so I sent him a message.
a few photos we sent each other
The first six months of getting to know Pete were exciting. Though we hadn’t met in person yet, I felt a strong connection to him. Every morning I would wake up excited to read his texts and every night I would stay up way too late talking to him. After he’d gone to sleep I’d sometimes scroll up through our messages and read them all over again. I think at first we both kept each other a secret from people. But it wasn’t long before friends started suspecting something was up. At least on my end. For me, it wasn’t that I was embarrassed that I was dating and getting so attached to someone I had never met. Or that we matched on Tinder. I think I felt it was the only good thing going on in my life at that moment and I was afraid of messing it up by sharing it. I also had no idea where it was going. For him, I’m pretty sure he was just embarrassed. Though he’s also said “ it was exciting at first, but weird. You could have been anyone or lying about everything!”
Anyway, it wasn’t until about a month or two after our first exchange that I shared my little secret with my best friend Jojo. We had a girls weekend in San Diego. It was supposed to be this wild and crazy single girls trip, but I just wasn’t too interested in flirting with guys or participating in the scoping of the millions of beach hotties that crossed our paths. I even declined a drink from a handsome guy at the bar! I SAID NO TO A FREE DRINK! That’s the moment I knew Pete was someone special to me and that’s when Jojo looked at me and said “Keri, is there something you want to tell us? Are you dating someone?!”
I don’t think I could have lied even if I wanted to. My face gave me away and that's when I asked him “So, what are we doing?” to which he replied “ Well, we are two adults agreeing to exclusively get to know each other.”
“Oh, okay so you’re my boyfriend,'' I said.
I then turned to Jojo and go, “Yes, I have a boyfriend.” And that’s when I spilled the tea for the first time.
Little by little I let other friends in on my not so secret English boyfriend. I even told my mom about him! Which was a big deal, because in the past I had never let her know I was dating someone unless there was a chance she’d get to meet him. Which hadn’t happened since I was 17.
I don’t think anyone had any real objections to my LDR in the beginning. It wasn’t until a night out at dinner, when after showing a group of friends a photo Pete had sent me of him and his nephew that one of my friends said, “I bet you that’s his son and he’s on vacation with his wife and kids!” that I started to doubt what I had with Pete was real. My friend could have been right. What if I was just a fun pastime of his. What if he was married and had children and a whole life I didn’t know about? I think that was the first time I freaked out on Pete. I started being a bit short and distant with him. And he noticed right away. So I told him what had happened and though I could tell it annoyed him, he calmly clarified things for me and sent me photos of his sister with her family. I think that was the hardest part for me in the beginning. Putting all my trust in someone I hardly knew. Thankfully after a few more freak outs and “Stop doing thats” we managed to get past it all.
In the middle of those first six months, I started looking for LDR forums and blogs to guide me in successfully managing to cope with distance. But I don’t think I found anything that was actually helpful. Nothing I read seemed genuinely honest and most of the stories were from LDR couples that were in the same country, just different cities or states. I did however, watched an episode on The Big Bang Theory where Penny & Sheldon take a 36 question quiz that is meant to make you fall in love with someone. I did some research on it and I found an article in The New York Times titled “The 36 Questions That Lead To Love”. I asked Pete if he would be open to taking it. And to my surprise he agreed. Since it’s a long questionnaire I emailed it to him and asked him to send it back when he got a chance. In the meantime I answered my questions and sent them to him in a separate email.
Those 36 questions helped both of us get to know each other in a way that I don’t think we would have if we hadn’t done the little love experiment. We discovered we had a lot more in common than we originally thought. We had the same life goals. And what I loved the most about it was that it let me know he was just as close to his family as I was to mine.
A few weeks after the 36 Questions, we were on the phone for a while talking about our day and planning for his visit. When it came time to hang up and say goodbye, it got weird. We had the most awkward goodbye in the world. So I texted him after saying, “that was the most awkward goodbye ever”. He agreed and said “yeah, it really was. It was like I wanted to say something before hanging up but wasn’t sure if I should.”
Yes, the first big ILY was via text.
I said, “Yeah I know! But I only want you to say it if you truly mean it.”
“I think I do.” he said.
That’s when I knew we were in it for the long haul.
Check out the next blog post to read about Our First Meet!