this past week has definitely been nothing short of a blessing. the stresses of being away from home, missing people, and working a full 40 hour week started to get to me. tuesday was a pretty rough day and when i got home from work i went into my room and cried a little bit. i was exhausted after riding my bike home from work, and having a water bottle thrown at me by some guys, so i took a little nap. the rest of the evening i was in a fog and groggy. i went outside with jordan so she could smoke and as it started sprinkling i said, "see, this is why i want a car. i want to be able to drive the streets at night and explore things ive never seen before." we went inside and before i could sit down jordan said, "put on your shoes...we're leaving." so at 9:15pm we left the house in out pjs and started driving. after getting free vanilla chai's from our favorite starbucks we took off down highway 98. even though it was raining we rolled down the windows and both sang along at the top of our lungs to the words of all our favorite songs. it was pitch black outside and trees and water surrounded our drive. with it being so late at night there were barely any tourist out on the road so our drive went by easy and traffic free (which is nearly impossible in this town.) we talked and laughed and had serious conversations about life and love. before we knew it it was almost 11 o'clock and we were in panama city florida. gorgeous lights from hotels on the beach glimmered in the background and tiny little beach shops starting popping up on the side of the road. the rain had started pouring so hard that we decided it would be best to head back. the drive home was just as fun and as i stared out the window i smiled at all the undiscovered adventures i know await me in this new part of the world. we finally got home close to 1am and i fell into my bed completely exhausted.
that night jordan stayed up all night to take her husband to work at 5am so she could drive me to work since it was raining. i woke up to the sound of thunder and rain and the smell of a fresh cooked breakfast. i hurried downstairs where we watched fresh prince of bel air as i got ready for work and scarfed down the delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and cheese, hash browns, bacon, and pancakes that jordan had made for me. i literally was giggling at how excited i was for such a yummy breakfast.
work went by fast and in the middle of the day the shop got a delivery for kate sutton. it was a vase of some of the most delicious smelling flowers i have ever smelled. my mom and dad had sent me flowers all the way from california and had them delivered to me at work. even as i type this they are still sitting on my desk and still look and smell just as beautiful.
friday after work jordan picked me up with my makeup bag in the front seat and told me to get ready. i fixed my make up as we drove to our favorite starbucks to do our usual of playing cards til her friend patty got off work. we started playing rummy when a young guy about our age sat down at the table next to us. within a few minutes he asked what we were playing and if we would teach him. of course we said yes and one game of rummy turned into two which turned into a few hours of laughing and joking and talking. he might be one of the strangest guys i have ever met but also one of the sweetest and most genuine. he went inside for a minute and jordan looked at me and said, "so when are you guys getting married?" the funny thing is i hadn't even considered him in that way. i told her i thought he was weird but funny. when i said that she just stared at me. she then told me he is EXACTLY like me. i didn't see it. i know im weird but come on...really? that weird! i guess maybe she's right but still. anyways, he came back outside and we talked for a long while about concerts in the area, california and church. he told me he goes to a church in the same parking lot we were in and invited me to go with him. he asked for my number and said he'll call me and we can go together sometime. the three of us talked until patty and one of his friends came over. the five of us talked for a little while until they had to leave and we had to take off to go to a movie. we said our goodbyes and left. it was so nice to have made a new friend and i was hoping i would see him around starbucks again.
me, jordan, and patty went and saw the lucky one, the newest nicholas sparks movie, and to all the ladies reading this: GO. the movie was pretty good but zac effron looked so handsome i thought i might hyperventilate. after the movie we went to chillis and got some appetizers and food and laughed and enjoyed being out together. as soon as we got home i walked in the door and fell asleep as soon as i hit the pillow.
saturday's are normally our beach days but we woke up to gray skies and the nightmarish black clouds florida thunder storms are notorious for. after getting ready for the day we dropped her husband off at one of his favorite hang out spots and took off for destin. destin is just outside of fort walton beach but also the most touristy spot around. if you need something, its in destin. i wanted to buy a new computer and the only best buy is in destin. so in the pouring rain we made the trek out there and i finally got a lap top! its adorable, fast, and i got a great price on it! im so excited. after best buy and talking to one of the funniest employees ive ever met we went on over to ulta. or better called: jordans oasis. i swear that girl would live in there if she could. we looked at eye liners and mascaras. smelled lotions and sampled eye shadow colors. after a long time and a couple purchases we headed back out to face the sideways pouring down rain.
when we had pulled into the parking lot jordan had pointed out a restaurant called cracker barrel and said she had always wanted to try it but no one ever wanted to go with her. we decided to give it a shot and the moment we got to the front door i already knew i was in love. rocking chairs and oversize checkers boards lined the porch and the sweet sound of dolly parton filled the sound waves. we walked into the door, which is actually a store before the restaurant, and i actually let out an excited gasp. little american decorations were scattered around and old fashioned soda bottles lined the wall. every few minutes one of us would say, "OH MY GOODNESS come look at this!" and we would talk about how adorable it was. i don't think ive ever found a store cuter or more perfectly filled with all the things i love. we got sat at a table to eat right away and our cute little waiter who looked like a jonas brother brought out our waters and my sweet tea. we both ordered chicken fried chicken and mash potato's with vegetables. our food came out by the time we finished taking pictures and it was hands down one of the best meals ive ever had. warm biscuits and strawberry jelly filled out bellies and my cup of sweet tea emptied faster then our waiter could fill it. we both let the other try our other sides and literally smiled the entire time. at one point i was eating my sweet, cinnamon apples and a country version of amazing grace started playing in the background. i was at the point of such complete happiness that my eyes actually filled with tears. i couldn't believe it. i had no idea that cracker barrel was a chain because being there made me feel like i was in someones home and being taken care of like family. we shopped around the store a little more before leaving and when the cashier told us to, "come back soon" when i said i will i truly meant it. we sunk into two of the rocking chairs out front with stuffed bellies and as the rain poured down we rocked in our chairs and played a few games of checkers. jordan doesn't like country music much but with the rain, the music, the chairs, and the game she told me she was unbelievably happy. to be honest, i never wanted to leave. i felt like i was truly home for the first time since being here. we got in the car to make the trip back home and talked about how perfect everything was. we got back into fort walton and picked up her husband and finally settled in at home.
we made little mixed drinks, played with napoleon, her dog, and painted nails in my room. around 9 my phone started to ring and i saw it was an 850 area code which is the one here in fort walton. to be honest i know three people in all of florida, one being jordan, the other her friend patty, and the last being my boss. i answered the phone and within a few seconds my entire face turned a dark shade of tomato. it was stephen, the sweet guy from starbucks. i forgot he had asked for my number. jordan was beside herself giggling in my pillow and i was flushed and unbelievably embarrassed like a middle schooler. he was his usual goofy self and even played the accordion for me on the phone. he invited me to church in the morning and offered to give me a ride since he knew i only had my bike. i said i'd love to and agreed to call him in the morning to make sure he was awake. i got off the phone and instantly we started to plan what i was going to wear.
i woke up sunday morning and washed, blow dried, and waved my hair for the first time since being here. i called to make sure he was awake and definitely woke him up. boys have the most obvious sleep voices. he told me he's gonna get ready and he will meet me at church. after we hung up i talked to jordan and was kinda bummed. he had offered me a ride before and in all reality if jordan's husband was gone i wouldnt be able to borrow her car like i usually do on sundays. a few minutes later, and as soon as i decided i wasn't going to go (not without being lectured by jordan for not going!) he called me back. he asked if i needed a ride and was sorry he hadn't asked. i said i would love one if he didn't mind and told him where i was. he got there fast and opened the door for me when i hopped into his red chevy pickup truck. i wore my new summer dress and a pair of flats and after all the time i spent doing my hair, the windows were rolled down and it blew around making me look like mufasa. but strangely i didnt care. he showed me a few of his favorite local bands and we got to church before i knew it. the one thing i can say about stephen is he isn't a typical military guy like i have known. usually you can sense a military vibe from a guy but i had no idea until he had told me. he grabbed us some waters from the refreshments table and led us to our seats. the church was pretty good but if im being honest i missed my usual church the whole time i was there. but there were a lot of people my age there and i plan on hopefully going on thursday nights once i get a car. after church we talked to one of the guys in the band me and stephen were talking about the whole time during worship. the bass player was an older guy and had long brown hair. the whole time he was dancing around and rocking out. he looked like he was having enough fun for the whole entire church and we were captivated by him and his spirit. he was hands down one of the funniest people ive ever met.
it was really windy outside but the weather was perfect that i wanted to soak it up in every pore of my body. in the parking lot of church and starbucks is the tallest flagpole in northwest florida so stephen told me about it and we walked over to it trying to guess how tall it was. as we were walking around he asked if i was hungry or if i wanted him to take me home but i said i was hungry so we went to a little japanse/chinese food place and got some food. i got a sesame chicken and white rice plate and he got a hot and spicy chicken and some crab cream cheese rangoons for us to share. we originally got our food to go because we were gonna go to a park but it was way too windy. so we sat inside and talked for a good while. we both tried each others food and everything was really delicious. i even tried the crab cream cheese rangoons! the thing that stuck out to me the most about him was he asked me about me. ive rarely had guys in my life, especially friends, genuinely ask me about me. he asked me to tell him about sacramento and why i moved. he asked me about what i want to accomplish while in florida and how i express myself creatively. he told me about the places in the world he has seen and about his family at home in illinois. we talked about how we both like adventures and discovering new places. i told him about my life list and all the things i want to do around here and that hopefully i can make friends that want to explore with me. just then he stuck his hand out to shake mine over the table and said, "hi, im your new friend that's gonna go explore with you and help you accomplish all those things." we shook on it and started talking about all the neat things around here. we got our to go boxes and walked around a little more talking and laughing. finally he took me home and thanked me for going to church with him.
i walked in the door and felt completely and totally happy. and not for the normal reasons. as amazing and handsome as stephen is i don't think of him that way. we are a lot alike but instead of clashing we really mesh together. we see things the same way and i have hope in our friendship. i feel like its a big blessing to have met him :)
after that me and jordan cleaned a little bit and left to go meet patty to check on her puppies that are now only a week and a half old. i held my favorite one who i named pumpernickel and nicknamed meatball because hes the biggest one out of all of them. we played cards afterwards for a little bit with one of the guys from starbucks and then went home. i set up my new laptop and finally got to skype with my mom, dad, aunt janet, and grandma for the first time since ive been here. it was so nice to see them and talked to them face to face. we talked for a little under an hour and after we were done i crashed and went to bed.
(im sorry but isnt he the cutest thing ever? he was the first one to open his eyes<3)
and here i am monday morning at work. jordan took me to work this morning and made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. she definitely spoils me sometimes. tomorrow i will have been here a month and that to me is still baffling. all in all its definitely getting easier here and im so thankful that everything has been so wonderful these past two weeks. i love you all. happy monday:)