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From the time I was twelve years old, I wanted to live in California. I would see pictures of the coast, the Golden Gate Bridge, the rolling hills of poppies. I knew I needed to be there. My mom would ask, “Why California?”, and to be honest—I didn’t even know. All I knew, is that at some point I needed to live there. Looking back, I know exactly why I felt drawn there: because that’s where I would find myself, and my soul mate.

Fast forward 14 years: I’m not 26 years old and still living in the same town I grew up in, and the same town I went to college in. I was managing a memory care unit at a nursing home right across the street from where I went to high school. It was late at night, and I was watching Netflix on the couch (like I did every night), when I thought to myself, “Is this the way I want to spend the rest of my life?” Now, looking back I know that it was my true self talking. And where have I always wanted to live? California. But where?

The first city that popped into my head was San Francisco. I went on Craigslist to look for places and of course all of them were crazy expensive! I finally found one for ~$900—the house looked old, and the photos had cute dogs in them. The person also described themselves as a former drag queen turned dog sitter—his name was Ruby. I was all about it! I sent an email about myself and how I wanted to escape Wisconsin, and I signed it “Midwest hippie”. A couple of days later I got a response. We chatted back and forth, just getting to know each other. Time passed, and I kind let go of the California dream—maybe I was just being impulsive.

Ruby messaged me a couple weeks later, wondering if I still planned to come to San Francisco. I said I was trying, but honestly, I feel like I’d given up. Finally, one day, he sent me a job posting. The email said, “it won’t get us to be roommates, but it will get you to SF. Let me know if you want me to forward them the resume. The posting was for an in-home caregiver. Rent was free, and I would provide care to an elderly woman with dementia. I instantly got excited. I went to school for gerontology. Old people are my passion. I sent Ruby my resume and crossed my fingers.

A few days later, I was working a crazy shift at the nursing home (we were short staffed, as usual), and I was running around like crazy. My phone rang and it was from a California number. I let it go to voice mail. He said his name was Paul and he was very interested in hiring me. His wife was also from Wisconsin, and he would love if I would call him. I got so excited, and I told all of my co-workers, “I can’t explain it, but I think I have to go.”

A couple of days went by. I started to feel content, and I kind of forgot about the job in San Francisco. After a hard-emotional day at the nursing home, I stepped outside to cry. That little voice in my head told me, “just call him.” We chatted for a while and he asked if I could be there in two weeks. “Absolutely!”, I said.

The next two weeks were a blur. I quit my stable, full-time job, leaving almost everything I had, packing up my valuables and planning my new life in San Francisco. With my sister’s crafty packing, I had my two suitcases and I was ready to go.

Two weeks from that initial phone call, I landed in San Francisco. I spent the next month exploring the most beautiful city, meeting new people, trying new food, getting lost and finding my way again, learning public transit, and completely falling in love with myself all over again. Then it crept in—the inevitable loneliness. I only knew Ruby and the two elderly people I worked for. I had met some people at the Pilates studio where I worked, and my yoga classes. But the nights were lonely. One night as I watched the sun set, my friend texted me saying I should try OkCupid. I could even use it to find people to hang out with. It couldn’t hurt.

I made my profile and started to look at my matches. All of a sudden, a super handsome guy popped up on the screen. We had mutual interests—he loved flowers, and one of the pictures was him working on a motorcycle. My face was flushed. Should I message him? No, too forward. What if I don’t and regret it? Dammit Taylor, it’s 2018, and women can message guys. Just do it. I typed, deleted, edited, and finally sent the message. He replied, and if I remember correctly, I offered my phone number. We texted about flowers, traveling, and a variety of things. It felt so comfortable. He asked about a date, and I was so on board!

The night of our date, the blood sugars of the woman I worked for were off the charts. Her husband loved to give her sweets and regarded her medication regiment as “not important”. There goes my date, I thought to myself. I texted him that I didn’t know if it could happen that night, or not until later. He told me he was willing to wait. My heart skipped a beat. I finally got her blood sugars down and got her into bed. As I got dressed, I was surprised that I wasn’t nervous. He texted me he was there. I ran down the stairs, and there he was. I melted. He had a red, white, and blue plaid button-up shirt, a Red Sox hat, and the biggest smile. I got in the car, and we started talking like we had known each other forever. We both loved nature and we both dreamed of having a piece of land to grow flowers, produce, and have animals. He was passionate about flowers and food. I loved the way he spoke with such passion and conviction. He was intelligent and I loved his accent.

We drove to Golden Gate Park and looked for the bison. We smoked weed, talked about football, and laughed our asses off. Like something out of a romantic comedy, the sprinklers went on and we laughed as we ran. We walked on the beach at night and talked and talked and talked. Turns out we also had the same taste in music. At one point, I said how much I love the banjo, and he said, “You’re not going to believe this…” Every minute I was with him, I fell harder and harder for him. We ended up at Fisherman’s Warf. Trevor laughed and told me he had lived here for years, and purposefully never came to Fisherman’s Warf, only to end up here on accident. He asked me if I’d ever had In-N-Out. We ate burgers (always get it animal style!) and talked about where we were from. It was late when he drove me home, and I truly didn’t want the night to end. He got out of the car to say goodnight, we hugged (KISS ME! KISS ME! KISS ME!) My head in his chest, I look up…BAM! Magic! Fireworks! The most perfect kiss, so effortless. I truly believe the world stopped for a minute. I love the way his lips tasted. I completely and utterly melted. It took my breath away.

I walked up the steps to my room, feeling only what could be described as love drunk. I literally couldn’t breath. He completely swept me off of my feet.

The next few months, we spent falling deeper and deeper in love. I had my first psychedelic experience with him, where while holding each other we decided we were spiritually married, and that we wanted this forever. We took long drives down Highway 1: rolling hills on one side, and the immense Pacific on the other. I’ll never forget him pulling over, we stood out on the edge, looking out at the ocean, just holding each other. I could feel his heart beating. We kissed with the sound of the ocean in the background. I knew I would follow him anywhere. He was my person.

We took a camping trip to the Redwoods, where we got to feel small among the trees. We pitched a tent in the woods and spent the day all rolled up in each other. Talking about our future children’s names, what they would be, and what our life would look like. We spent long hours in the California traffic, and it was never bad because we were together (almost always with a doughnut from Colonial Donuts in Oakland). I loved our beach-filled days near Santa Cruz, at a beach we dubbed “McGlynn Beach”. We could spend the day there and see no one. Sun burned and usually full of sand, we would cap off our day at Surfrider Cafe.

I had to go back to Wisconsin for a wedding the second week of July. Of course, I asked him if he would be my date. I was so excited for him to meet my family. At this point, we had already decided that we wanted to be together forever. I had started looking at what it would cost to get married in San Francisco. I brought it up to him, and he said, “should we?” We both went on the computer, searching. There was one day a few weeks out, the day after we got back at 10:30am. We booked it. I knew my dad would say yes, and if he didn’t, I really didn’t care. I was marrying my soulmate.

We had an amazing time in Wisconsin. At my cousin’s wedding we had our first dance. As we moved across the dance floor everyone around us melted away. It felt like we were the only two people in that room. In our “love bubble”. A couple days later we took a road trip to my favorite place in Wisconsin, Door County. Nestled up on the peninsula and bordering Lake Michigan, it feels truly magical. I took him to my favorite state park, and we sat on the rocks watching the waves crash in. Even though I knew we were getting married in a couple days I was surprised when he pulled out the most beautiful Ruby ring. “I know you knew this was coming, but will you marry me.” Of course! I couldn’t wait for my forever to start with him. Apparently when he asked my dad, he said yes but encouraged us not to rush. Kind of late for that I thought.

Two days later we were headed back to San Francisco. We had an afternoon flight out of Milwaukee and our connecting flight was out of Minneapolis. They were close so when we landed in Minneapolis, we knew we had to hustle. As we got to our gate in Milwaukee big red letters on the sign said DELAYED. Our heart sank! Our wedding was early the next morning and we couldn’t bear the thought of missing it. We went to the gate staff to explain our situation. There was nothing we could do. Finally, we were able to board and we knew there was a good chance we couldn’t make the connecting flight. We were sweaty, frustrated, and so disheartened. As the flight landed in Minneapolis we ran to our gate. We were so nervous we were bickering back and forth as we ran. We made it. With minutes to spare we made it. We held each other and boarded the plane. The whole flight I was thinking about our wedding and how blessed I was. We met a girl on the plane who was talking to us about her school and her travels. As the plane landed, she said “Congratulations! Have fun at your wedding tomorrow.” It really hit me. In 10 hours, I will be getting married.

Our flight landed at midnight and it was about 2am when we got home. We were so excited it was hard to fall asleep. We woke up a few hours later and started getting ready together. He went to grab coffee and I started doing my makeup. A friend of his from work came to help me with my bouquet of lavender and anything we might need. I made my own flower crown out of hydrangeas and as I was making it I thought about the Scott McKenzie song “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” I was ready to go. As a little girl I never dreamed of a big wedding. I wanted simple. As I looked in the mirror at my Buffalo Exchange throated dress, my cowboy boots, my flower crown, and my simply perfect ring. This was what I had always dreamed of.

The before and after of the wedding were a tad chaotic. But the vows and the honeymoon were absolutely perfect. I ended up having to get the people I worked for ready in my wedding dress because they woke up late. My husband forgot his ID, our friend brought gifts to the courthouse, so he was stuck at security, the elderly man I worked for had to be silenced for disrupting people’s ceremonies and following our vows he was kicked out of the mayor’s office. Despite the chaos, I looked into his eyes and said I do. I felt so full of emotion and so much joy. So happy and blessed that I found my human. Now I know why California was calling and why I needed to go. I needed to find him. 

A lot has happened since then. I stayed in San Francisco and followed my dream of attending a yoga teacher training and becoming a yoga teacher. A lot of winding roads lead us to Madison Wisconsin. In May 2019 I found out I was pregnant and on January 6th I gave birth to the most perfect little boy. Our son. I still have days where I look at my husband and say, “Can you believe our love made this?”.

There have been a lot of ups and downs. Highs and lows. There have been moments where calling it quits seemed like the best option. Marriage is hard. Loving someone for better or for worse is sometimes really hard. But I can honestly say that despite it being hard it is so worth it. I found my soulmate and built the best little family.

For all my fellow women dreamers. Listen to that voice inside you. If it’s telling you to try something new; travel, move, or whatever it is. It’s never too late to listen to that voice. Listening to that voice isn’t always the easy choice and it can be so scary. Trust it and trust yourself.

– Taylor, Wisconsin

All Love Letters’ are pristine, posted as they were received. Please forgive any spelling and grammar issues, since the writing was done in the throes of love, and sometimes love doesn’t care about commas or misplaced letters.

Being marvelous and being brave means you’re willing to believe in the wonder of who you are and take the risks you need to take to Bloom Breathe BE Be authentically YOU Break the mold Expand Evolve Flourish Grow Heal Fail Learn Live Thrive Transform Triumph Trust Succeed .