Synchronicity, Dates … And My British Passport

Cornwall 2013

When a day begins with a sunrise this gorgeous it may be reasonable to assume that something special is going to happen.

Five years ago today I sent the email below.

On 2008-01-07 at 04:19:19, reaching4Skye wrote:

I sent a real email to your other email address.
Sorry I dragged my feet a bit.
I hope to hear from you soon.

On January 7th 2008, he was a man I barely knew. We’d only exchanged one email after meeting on a UK dating site. He had a look that caught my eye, and I liked what he had to say in his Guardian Soulmates profile so when an accidental save to favorites action on my part sent him a message saying that I was a fan, he sent me an email that started a correspondence that led to marriage.

20051000- 017You may know this story if you’ve read GOTJ for long, but I want to point out a connection I found interesting in the date of the email above and something that occurred this morning.

After John and I married and I decided that I was going to apply for a British citizenship, I found myself hoping that I’d be approved in 2012 which was the shortest amount of time it could happen. Given that it can take up to six months for approval, I’d hoped my naturalization ceremony might occur around one of our anniversaries. We have a couple in January and February that are important to us. As if happened, I had my ceremony the day before Thanksgiving and after redoing my passport application four times, (don’t ask) I submitted the dreadful form and all the other documentation required for my British passport.

You can probably see where this going, right?

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day I contacted John after ‘dragging my feet’ as I said in my email. I was worried about things that as it turns out, have not mattered at all.

A black car pulled up in front of the house this morning. It looked like a black taxi you’d see in London only without the taxi sign on top and it was totally out of place in our little village. Seeing it through our kitchen window, I wondered for a moment if it might have something special for me.

Why something for me, you ask?

Because I had an identity interview last Thursday satisfying the last step needed to receive my British passport.

And today … look what showed up!  You can call it coincidence, synchronicity, or luck, but I think it’s pretty remarkable.


That’s right … my British passport arrived exactly five years to the day that I sent John my ‘ foot dragging’ email.


No laughing at my photo, please. You’re not allowed to smile in them anymore so it’s pretty awful.

Still, I’m pleased as I can be.

And I’m smiling now.

How about you … is there some bit of magic you can’t explain in your life?

Big or small, do share it with me in a comment below.

A Good Four Years

Online dating can be a nasty business from what I’ve heard and I can see why that might be so for many people. I’ve only had two experiences with it, one with my husband John who turned out to be exactly who he represented himself to be, and one a few years before that was disappointing and educational. I’ll leave it by saying there are some lessons I’d rather not have learned.

If you’ve followed my story you’ll know that I wasn’t really interested in dating men in the UK as much as I was reading about them. You’ll also know that I found John by a happy accident on New Year’s Eve after reading through several hundred profiles on a UK dating site.

I bring this up again because today marks four years since he received an email that I had no idea I’d initiated, from Guardian Soulmates informing him that he had a ‘Fan.’

If you’re interested in the romantic details, you can read more here and here. A lot can happen in four years and a great deal of our last four years can be found on this blog site and in my earlier version of ‘Gifts Of The Journey.’ 

John, romantic sweetie that he is, came into the room where I was sitting a few days ago and said that he had been rereading the emails from when we first met online and said that our conversations then, were much as they are now, honest, straight-forward, and without pretense.

I was lying on the couch looking rough this morning, a result of a post holiday illness when after reminding me of today’s date and the time that had passed, he gave my hand a tender squeeze and said, ‘They’ve been a good four years.’

He’s right, you know. With little effort we’ve been very happy and I feel so lucky to have found such a dear man.

John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper - 2011

Thoughtful Consideration

I could not let this day pass without acknowledging the significance of today. Every relationship has milestones and today marks one for me and John. Two years ago on January 5, John received an alert that I had no idea I had initiated while viewing his profile on the UK dating website, Guardian Soulmates.

After seeing this picture and reading his profile, I saved him to my favorites and went on with my day. Little did I know that saving his profile would send him an email saying that he had a fan. John responded with a email to me and after I recovered from my surprise, I sent him one back. He responded to mine and ended it with his email address for a more direct contact than through Soulmates and let me know he was interested in continuing to talk. I had not intended on establishing contact with anyone … I was really just looking at profiles as a distraction and out of curiosity. I wrote about this last year here in great detail, but I didn’t say then that after our initial contact on the fifth it took me until the seventh to send him another email.

It took two days of thinking about why I should or shouldn’t be developing something with a man in another country, but ultimately I thought, oh go onit’s not like you’re going to get married or anything.

John likes to think of  the fifth as our anniversary since it was our first meeting … at least through email. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long you’ll know that we have another anniversary coming up next month. I bet most of you won’t need a hint to guess what we’ll be celebrating then.

The Gift You Keep

John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper

John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper

Reposted from original GOTJ

Six months ago, if someone had said, ‘ Elizabeth, 2007 is going to end a little differently than you’ve planned, but the new year will bring you an unexpected gift,’ my response might have been something along the lines of … right!  Over the last few years I’d had about all the unexpected gifts I could handle and frankly I don’t do very well when people give me things.

A gift can be a burden when it’s not something you want. I am talking about those kind of gifts that still have a price tag attached to them. You know what I mean … price tags like guilt, as in ‘Don’t you like it?’  Or those that may have a longer shelf life such as, ‘How come you never wear, use, or eat the things I buy for you?’

And because I don’t like to have things sitting around taking up space, I will almost always return something not right for me. Returning a gift is usually considered the worst offense. So given some of my experiences with people and gift giving why wouldn’t I think, ‘Gifts from the universe … no thanks, I’ll get it myself if I want it.’

After all my needs were pretty simple. I had the love and support of family and friends. My marketing position with a hospice organization was providing enough to fund the more creative life I envisioned as a photographer and I was in many ways building a life that was exactly what I thought I wanted.

Things weren’t perfect in every way, but who really expects perfection. With the exception of a less than desirable love life, things were pretty good. Nothing seemed unmanageable and for once it seemed as if I was driving the bus myself instead of feeling like a backseat driver in my own life.

Then on an important night to be out, I stayed in.

Home alone on New Years Eve, I decided to take a look at men on a UK dating site. What could it hurt to have a look? I’m in America and they’re way across the ocean. No problem there, right?  Plenty of time to correspond, get to know one another, take your time, move slowly, hey … developing a long distance relationship could be sort of like having a pen pal. No pressure I thought, in fact it might work perfectly for me because I was usually too busy to sleep, much less date .

And besides, I was absolutely not interested in serious relationship then.

Uh right … I find that words like that spoken out loud or not, seem to work in a way similar to a modern-day love spell. As soon as someone says, ‘I’m happy just dating,’ the man or woman of their dreams appears and dramatically changes the plan they envisioned for their future.

I hear stories like that from time the time, don’t you?  Now it seems to have happened to me. Just when I wasn’t expecting it, this perfect gift dropped into my inbox and into my life.

I think I’ll be keeping this one.