Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How Much?

Many of you will be familiar with the early days of a "serious" relationship. It can be quite an expensive time, since you have not yet settled into the humdrum routine of spending nights watching TV, getting the recycling ready to go out, and so on. Instead, you're going out to restaurants and doing lots of fun stuff. Now imagine what this period might be like for a long-distance relationship.

When B. and I figured out that yes, we were dating, there was certainly some sticker-shock involved. We both, of course, made quite a few transatlantic flights. B's parents and one of her sisters came to Ireland for a vacation with some genealogy thrown in, and B. came with them for part of the trip, so one of my cheaper flights was to Dublin to meet the family. I discovered it pays to complain about poor service. On one of my trips to the US, there was not only a delay followed by a cancellation, but it was handled terribly by staff; a letter to head-office resulted in a free flight.

One of my regular trips was so we could go to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival held in July in upstate New York. This festival is very special to us. Along with many other wonderful artists, we got to see Dar Williams, who was responsible for our relationship in the first place (she did find out about it, and has been very good to us over the years!). We became festival volunteers together, which not only made it a relatively cheap date, but also brought us together with a wonderful "family." Falcon Ridge was so dear to us that it also became the place where I proposed to B, in a solar shower stall in our campsite (yes, were were fully clothed, and yes, I got down on one knee, even though it was wet). Despite the surroundings, B. said yes!

And then there were the phone calls. Advice to anyone embarking on a long-distance relationship: Make sure you get on a calling plan QUICK! B. and I were calling each other just about every day. B's first phone bill after we started phoning each other regularly was enormous. But she got monthly bills. Mine came quarterly! Once we got onto sensible international calling plans, things were not so bad. I'm an early-morning person, and B's a night-owl, so the five hour time difference worked well for us; we'd call each other at Midnight Eastern Time, which was 5am in the UK. We'd talk for a while before I got ready for work.

Any idea how much it costs to import a husband? The story of our dealings with the INS will wait for another day.


Lexie said...

I liked it, it was so nice (and sweet!) I especially enjoyed the part about proposing B. to marry you, that was so romantic-especially since I never had the pleasure someone to propose me to marry him..I mean, yes, I'm married but ..well..I proposed my husband to marry me, lol!

Very well written and interesting as always Graham...and as always I can't wait to read more :)

Mouse said...

That sounds such a romantic (and different) proposal .... a wonderful memory for years to come and to pass down to the kids and grandkids :)

Anonymous said...

My first phone bill was $1000!!!!!!!
These days Graham has calling cards to talk to family and friends in the UK. It is cheaper than the landline plan was last time we checked.