January: Lisa and Mike meet for the first time in Brisbane airport. They spend two weeks in Ballina trying to figure out whether building a relationship from the ground up over seven thousand miles is completely mad.
February: Mike calls Lisa his girlfriend for the first time in a mass email. Lisa reads it and figures they’re officially dating. Lisa returns to LA and Mike to PNG. Mike calls Lisa on the phone for the first time. Lisa doesn’t recognize his voice, then refuses to believe it’s him, then the phone goes dead. Welcome to long distance dating.
March: Mike and Lisa discover Skype-dating. Lisa settles into a new apartment in LA and Mike moves into a new cottage in PNG (since most of his stuff was stolen by raskols earlier in the year, this doesn’t take him long). Lisa travels to DC for work and meets Mike’s parents for the first time, without Mike.
April: Lisa and Mike discover Skype dating doesn’t work so well when Mike spends weeks in the bush. While in the bush Mike spends the time thinking proposal and wondering how he’s going to get a ring in PNG. In LA, Lisa is clueless, and working on her next novel on child trafficking.
May: Mike gives Lisa the shock of her life by proposing on May 10, a week after arriving in LA for a month. Lisa says “yes”. Then she says “time out.” Then she says “yes” again on May 13.
June: Back in PNG Mike spends Saturday mornings scuba diving, Saturday afternoons on Skype dates, and Saturday nights showering under a downspout during thunderstorms. Mike thinks he’s died and gone to aid worker heaven. Lisa gets a taste of the American bush during a weekend in Kansas (complete with air conditioning, showers, and cable tv) and continues to work on her second novel.
July: Skype dates. Lisa goes to Florida for the Christy Awards. She doesn’t win. Mike spends his last weeks out bush in Vanuatu and Bougainville. Mike gets giardia again while stuck in Bougainville due to an airline strike. Lisa continues work on her second novel.
August: Skype dates. Mike says goodbye to PNG by spending as much time as possible underwater and then biking 200 km in 2.5 days. Lisa puts her 2nd novel temporarily on hold because it’s too depressing, and starts her 3rd novel instead.
September: Mike arrives in LA and has a meltdown in the supermarket juice aisle on day 2. Mike and Lisa spend time on picnic blankets eating strawberries and drinking wine. Lisa appears on the cover of Christian Singles Magazine and is soundly mocked by all her friends and her fiancée. Lisa puts her 3rd novel on hold and starts her 4th.
October: Three weeks after Mike lands in LA, Lisa heads off for 2 weeks to Kenya and Tanzania to run regional training. In LA Mike attempts to write stories about his time on the field but ends up stuck. In Tanzania, Lisa ditches her 4th novel and decides to write a memoir.
November: Lisa heads to Washington DC to host conferences while Mike takes over as chief LA-based wedding planner. Chief Australia-based wedding planner (Lisa’s Mum) is pleased with this development, as Mike is as efficient as she is. Mike takes Lisa on a hike. Lisa discovers that Mike’s notion of “fun hike” is very different than hers. Mike and Lisa talk about hiking with their pre-marital counselor.
December: Mike buys Lisa her first ever Christmas tree of her own, then realizes he’s never had one of his own. Lisa decides she’ll share with him, just this once. Lisa and Mike count down the days to the wedding.
We’re excited about 2009, and hope you are, too.