In the beginning…
In 1983, a little boy named Jeremy was born. Jeremy grew up with his older brother and parents in Victoria, B.C. He spent his whole childhood on the island, collecting golf balls to sell, launching potatoes, and eventually rowing and studying his way through high school.
Almost a year after Jeremy was born, in 1984, Lynnette was born. Lynnette grew up in a small town, Kelseyville, California with her parents. Her older sister, being 14 years older, left the house days before Lynnette started kindergarten, so she grew up mainly as an only child. Lynnette lived in California until she finished grade 8. Then she and her parents moved to Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Jeremy first applied for the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program in 1998, but was not accepted. Determined to go on exchange he applied again in 1999, this time successful. He was first told he was going to Finland, but he said no (thankfully!), so they later came back and told him he was going to Belgium, which he agreed upon. That same year, when Lynnette was in grade 10, she also decided to apply for the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program. She was accepted and was scheduled to go to Belgium, as was Jeremy, on August 22, 2000 for one year.
How we met
On August 22, 2000, they said goodbye to their friends and family and embarked on a life changing experience to Belgium.
They met in the Seattle airport for the first time along with two other exchange students all heading to Europe for one year. All of them were only 16 and 17 years old. Once they made it to their destinations in Europe, their host families picked them up at the airport and they all went their own ways. Jeremy went to Tournai and Lynnette went to Charleroi, a 1-hour train ride apart.
The weekend of November 11, 2000, Jeremy and Lynnette met up again at a Rotaract weekend activity in the Ardennes. They hung out all day, participating in all of the strange activities the Belgians had planned for us; including dangling a carrot between their legs and trying to get it into a bottle. That night there was a costume dance. Lynnette attempted to dress up as one of the Destiny’s Child singers along with two other girls that were also from Charleroi. Jeremy was dressed as a jester, jingle bells and all! That night, they talked and talked and talked some more. All of the other exchange students were watching them with anticipation that there would be a hook-up! Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, they kissed… a kiss that clearly changed their lives forever.
They spent the rest of their year in Belgium seeing each other maybe once a week, if they were lucky, as they lived in different cities. That wasn’t so bad, because when they returned home, Victoria for Jeremy and Cannon Beach for Lynnette, they still had a year of high school to complete. That year, they saw each other maybe four times. It was tough, and Lynnette’s parents had to invest in a ‘free calls to Canada’ phone plan. But the year went by and soon they were off to university, the start of many years of their new life together.
10-years after the first day they met, after many years of school, travels to South America, and the first few years of their careers, Jeremy proposed. They were on the big island of Hawai’i on a 2-week vacation camping, hiking, and swimming around the island.
On August 23, 2010, three days into their vacation, they had spent the day wandering around Hilo. That evening they planned to go star gazing up near Mauna Kea. But before heading up to the top, they decided to go in search of some lava tubes. According to the map, it should have been only 1-2 miles off the road. So they parked the car and started their search… an hour later, after walking over the rugged ‘aa’ (pronounced ah-ah) lava terrain, having found NOTHING (stupid map!), they had to turn back – they wanted to see the sun set from above the clouds. However, time was short, the sun sets earlier in Hawai’i, and so they ran back over the same uneven terrain to the car.
Once they were at the visitors center, they put on their toques and coats (it’s freezing cold that high up) and ran up to the hill to watch the sun set. The sunset was gorgeous… and that’s when Jeremy proposed. Crouched behind a rock “fiddling with the camera” (actually getting the ring out) he took a picture of Lynnette. Then she walked over to see if the picture turned out and… Still crouched behind on the rock on one knee, Jeremy asks, “Lynnette, will you marry me?”
Well, we finally tied the knot! We were married on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011 while celebrating 11 years together and the first day of many more.
The wedding was a small, intimate, non-traditional wedding.