People sometimes ask how our relationship started.

The answer is: it depends.  Our friendship probably started over Ruhi Book 1, back in 1999.  I don’t have any photos of that.

Nor of the occasionally-touch-base-on-the-internet phase in the years that followed.

It turned into a more genuine sort of friendship in Jef’s car, as he drove me places when I had just moved back to Cleveland from Malawi.

But it blossomed in Adventureland.

Adventureland, although it took place primarily in the Cleveland Metroparks, was less a place than a concept.  Each Sunday, Jef, Robert, and I would meet with a bunch of responsible grown-up types for breakfast at a local greasy spoon.  And afterwards, we’d head out adventuring.  Adventuring usually involved climbing on stuff, wading through water, doing handstands, short bursts of running, and climbing on more stuff.  Whatever got us sweaty and fed our souls.

I can’t think of a better way to get to know someone.  At least, if creativity, physical activity, periodic immersion in nature, and a sense of playfulness are a part of your shared values.  If not, I recommend doing your taxes together, or something similarly useful.

Adventureland became so ingrained in our relationship that, even after we didn’t have a formal group anymore, it became one of the major foundations of how we live.

We had fun in abandoned structures.

And, um, half-built castles in the backwaters of rural Ohio.

By the time we were actually a couple, stopping to walk a chalk labyrinth hand-drawn by an unknown stranger in a gazebo was as natural to us as breathing.  We drove to Ypsilanti, Michigan just for African food.  (I wish I had photos of that.)  We made detours for silliness and beauty, everywhere we went.  And we went a lot of places.

Although we were completely in earnest in our quest to know one another, play pervaded lives.

Now that we’re all marriage-ified, our adventures include exploring the dynamics of our new life.

This means that even laundry is an adventure now.

(Sort of.)

And exploring our suddenly expanded idea of family.

Food has been a big adventure for us.  Running around in the woods still is, too.  And the quest for a non-snobby,  locally-owned coffeeshop on the east side of Cincinnati that has wi-fi and stays open on Sunday evenings has been an epic journey worthy of Tolkien, I promise you.

We’re not really sure where we’re going to be in a year, or what we’ll be doing when we get there there.  But I can tell you with certainty, we’ll always find our Adventureland.

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