As a 4th of July treat for all you lovers out there, we’ve got a Sappy Love Story from a beautiful military couple, Katie and Zach Landis. (The two are now living in Germany, where Katie writes a blog called Army There Yet? about their life and adventures!) This is our sincere thanks to all the men in service and the women who love them well, keeping our yearly Happy Birthday America celebrations (and the freedom that accompanies it) a reality.
He Just Kept Calling…
I didn’t like him the first time we met. In fact, he was standing in between me and my bed, and that is a BIG no-go in my book. Not LITERALLY standing between me and my bed, lest you get the wrong idea. We had just met, after all. No, we were at a Mexican restaurant (where all good things happen, this we know). It was December, sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. A group of my girlfriends were out celebrating someone’s birthday. Dinner was winding down, and my dear friend Cameron leaned over to me said something like “Hey, Zach is going stop by to say hey!”
Zach. All I knew about him was that he was a dear family friend of one of my best friends, and she had been trying for months to get our paths to cross. It was finally happening. I felt a little flutter of nervousness, but quickly turned back to conversing and laughing with my friends over some cheese dip. Priorities.
I remember the exact moment when he walked in. I was pleasantly surprised. He was good looking. He was built. He had a beard. This was a MAN. We were just getting the check as he sat down. We started to chat. He seemed nice enough…but I was tired. I had work early in the morning. I had a 40 minute drive ahead of me. I wanted to go home and get in bed. He was telling a story that WOULD. NOT. END. I may have abruptly left. Not the magical meeting I had envisioned.
Not to be dissuaded, my friend Cameron gave Zach my phone number and said, “Call Katie for details about New Year’s Eve” (Everyone needs a friend like Cameron in their life). On New Year’s Eve, he called. He said he’d stop by our party, and he did. He stuck pretty close to me that night, and I wasn’t complaining. He was growing on me, but I knew he was leaving the next morning to fly to his new home in Seattle. I lived in Atlanta. That’s like halfway across the world. Plus, he was in the Army. I wasn’t thrilled about these things. But it was New Year’s Eve and we were having fun. We flirted, we laughed, we shared a kiss in the driveway as he was leaving (with all my friends peeking out the windows watching us…romantic), and then he was gone. I thought that was the end of it.
But then, a few days later, he called me. We had a great conversation. I liked him. He was kind and funny and smart. I was intrigued. After that, he just kept calling. He slowly but surely won me over, completely and absolutely, one phone call at a time. I hated that we lived so far apart. I didn’t love that he was in the military. I hated the 13 months he spent in Afghanistan, a time that our very new relationship struggled in ways I could have never imagined. But he remained steadfast and consistent…the man who just kept calling me, just kept pursuing me, just kept steadily showing me a stable and true love.
We spent nearly 3 years dating long-distance, Atlanta to Seattle. We spent a lot of time on the phone. We tried to see each other every 6 weeks, but it was often longer in-between visits. It was not easy, but now I rarely take spending time with him for granted. We were engaged on Valentine’s Day and married on October 1st of 2011. The day after our wedding, we drove up to Northern Virginia to our new home. Because of Zach’s military assignment at the time, we both went straight back to work the Monday after our wedding. Our honeymoon wouldn’t happen until nearly 8 months later. One month after that, we moved again…to Germany. We now live thousands of miles away from our friends and family in a foreign country, and while it has been difficult, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are on an incredible adventure together, and while I would have never imagined that this would be my life, I am so thankful that the man I met in the Mexican restaurant just kept calling…
Image by Char Beck