About a year and a half ago, I asked Walter what he thought about me enrolling in a multimedia journalism certificate program. The catch was that I would have to take Saturday classes for two years, and each class would be over three hours long. At the time, Walter and I were engaged but still long distance. Taking a Saturday class would seriously limit my availability to travel to New Jersey, and would take precious time away from weekends when he could come down to DC to visit. I knew it would be a sacrifice for us.
I think you should do it,” he said immediately. Yes, it would be tough, he agreed, but we would make it work. And if anything, he said, it would motivate him even more to keep applying to jobs near me so that we wouldn’t have to be long distance anymore. I applied to the program and was accepted.
In fall 2018, I started learning new skills like photography, shooting video, and editing audio and video. Class assignments pushed me out into the community for interviews and I found myself completing homework after work while trying to juggle wedding planning at the same time. Walter had to do most of the traveling down to see me and financially we figured out how to share those costs, which would have been more even in other circumstances. We had to be more intentional about planning out our weekend time together.
Walter’s flexibility and support allowed me to pursue a path that will help my career in the long term, but , meant less time for us and more travel for him in the short term. Today, Im in the second year of the program, which has become even more demanding. Distance is no longer an issue, thankfully, since we’re married, but there are still challenges. This semester, I started learning how to code, which meant serious study almost every night, as coding did not come easily to me. And since my Saturdays are still tied up, that has meant when Walter wants to go home to Jersey to visit his parents, I can’t always come. Luckily, the end is in sight. The program ends in May, but I know Walter’s patient, sacrificial, and loving support will not! And for that, I am grateful.
Here’s Walter’s perspective:
Anna’s first semester acted as extra motivation for me to try to find employment in the DMV area so we could have more time to spend together. Toward the end of that semester, we were blessed with a job opportunity that came up at the perfect time and was conveniently located right outside of DC. During Anna’s second semester I was able to split time between helping with the wedding planning and getting used to the area and new job, so it was a huge transition period for me.
Now that we’re married, Anna’s time in class meant something different. Now its free time where I can catch up on errands, which usually just means meal planning and cooking for the week. I’ve always been mildly interested in cooking, but too lazy/spoiled to do it on my own, so there was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. I not only needed to learn to cook for myself (easy), but I needed to nail down Anna’s preferences as well (hard). It turns out I couldn’t just buy enough of one type of meal for a week, it was (allegedly) boring. I also couldnt just focus on making the meat interesting, but the vegetables as well. We like to experiment with different diets, so meals are sometimes Whole30, pescatarian, or keto, sometimes all three!
Now that I’ve been doing this for a few months, my mindset is more streamlined, and I actually enjoy and look forward to cooking while Anna is in class! Ive also learned how to cook by making multiple appliances work for me at the same time, so I usually have something in the slow cooker, air fryer, instant pot, stove, and sometimes the oven. I still hate cleaning though. When Im not cooking or cleaning, I’m reading. I’ve completed almost a dozen books this year so far.
Even though I had to give a little more than Anna had to take this time, we both found ways to benefit from this. We love each other dearly, and we know we can get through anything. How we get through things will look differently every time, but we both find our ways to get the most out of it. We’re both looking forward to the challenges marriage will bring us and to the ways we’ll work through them together.