How Family and Italy Helped This Pashby Become a Pashby Maul
It’s high time that Day 39 got its’ follow-up blog as we celebrate the part that Italy plays in our amazing story of life together. So where were we? You heard about my Italian relatives and our annual reunions beginning in 2011. But what about Drew? Where does he fit into all of this? To find this answer, we need to rewind to 2009. Sorry there isn’t an easier way to tell this story, but the series of events that brought us together is so amazing that I hope you’ll stay long enough to read through to the end!
From 2007-2009, I was working in Bahrain at Al Raja School. It was my first country and job as an expat, fresh out of college, and there were so many things I enjoyed about the life there. One thing that I still enjoy about expat life everywhere is that friends become a family while overseas. I just happened become friends with the Hudson family (from Virginia and also living in Bahrain as expats), who I kept running into at concerts and randomly at grocery stores and eventually realized that we were going to end up friends! I left Bahrain in June of 2009, and Drew arrived in Bahrain for a year-long assignment in October of 2009. Yes, we missed each other. But who should Drew befriend while he settled into Bahrain? None other then the Hudson family!
After they got to know Drew, the Hudsons started writing me and telling me that they made friends with someone who they thought I would hit it off with. Apparently, they were telling the same thing to Drew. Neither of us were impressed by growing our Facebook friend list with random people whom we had never met, so we just ignored these suggestions. We maintained this status quo until Drew was days away from leaving Bahrain to move back to Italy in October 2010. Somehow, Mitch managed to convince Drew to sit down and add me as a friend. So there we were, Facebook friends and not really caring about the outcome at that point!
In the summer of 2011, PashbyMom mentioned that Elena was getting married, and I was faced with the real joy and possibility of actually getting to go back to Italy to see the family. My main issue was that I didn’t want to attend the wedding without a date. The only person I knew in Italy at the time happened to be none other than Drew Maul, so I decided to go out on a limb and ask if we could actually meet, as the Hudson family had encouraged us to. The main catch was asking Drew if he would mind being my wedding date for a 12-hour celebration. Luckily, he said yes, of course.
So there we were: two people who had just met, wishing my relatives well and representing the American part of the family, with 2 hours strolling in Venice before my plane back to Kiev on that Sunday. The weekend was probably on my list of Top 10 cultural experiences, and Drew and I hit it off in a friendly way, but nothing more really happened beyond that after my return to Kiev. Until… We started talking on Skype a lot. After I started talking with him on Skype more then my own family, I decided that something might be different about this guy. Luckily, he felt the same way. We decided to date long distance between Toscana and Kiev and used all holidays and available funds to travel to each other whenever possible.
We were engaged on 24 June 2012, after Drew moved up to Vicenza from Toscana. That really helped make our traveling much easier and cheaper because Wizz air has a direct flight from Kiev Julyany to Venice Treviso! For the rest of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, we did the long-distance thing until our wedding on 6 July 2013. We’ve been living the adventure together ever since! We are so thankful for our expat family, The Hudsons, and for my Italian family, and mostly to God for orchestrating all of the right pieces at the right times to cause us to meet each other.