Pickle and I celebrated our first anniversary last week. I have to say, it didn't quite go as planned - thank goodness our first year of marriage was nothing like our first anniversary, because it was a doozie! It was all wrapped up in good intentions and a love though ;) To start, I'd planned to take Pickle to dinner at 360 Bar and Dining at the top of the Sydney Tower - at first, we planned it for Wednesday on our actual anniversary, then decided to make our reservation a bit later, then decided to change it to Friday instead so we didn't have to work the next day...then it was freezing cold and pouring rain, so we just nixed the whole thing and grabbed dinner on the way home from work at Exotik (which, contrary to what the name might lead you to believe, is not a strip club, but a below-average-for-Florida-yet-above-average-for-New-South-Wales South American restaurant in Newtown). We had guava and lulo juices, nachos (for some reason, we opted for these over empanadas - bad move), fried yuca (yum), maduros and pao de queijo. We jammied up as soon as we got home and watched a movie on the couch...which is basically Pickle's favorite thing anyway.
The following day, we headed out for Pickle's planned portion of the anniversary: Whale Watching! I was so excited for this surprise - he planned it without even telling me. Luckily, the frigid rains ceased and all signs pointed to a beautiful day at sea. ...all signs but the crew member who announced that the current wave height was peaking around 5 metres (that's over 16 feet, my fellow Americans) and many passengers could be guaranteed of seasickness. As the crew member noted it would bring calmer seas, I told Pickle we should return the following day. I was in the process of checking the weather for Sunday, but as luck would have it, this was one of those extremely rare occasions in which we both acted decisively...Pickle was already heading onto the boat in a subtle panic, noting excitedly "everyone else has already boarded!", so...off we went! Although the sky remained spectacularly ominous, we didn't see any rain that day - everything was absolutely fine...for the first 3 minutes. As soon as we were at the edge of the harbor, we kicked it into full gear, and when we hung suspended in air for a brief moment before free falling down from that first high wave, the color drained from poor Pickle's face like water from a sieve. He spent the entirety of our THREE HOUR tour at the back of the boat, his head between his knees for the first half and tucked into the fetal position underneath a bench for the last. Pickle made it very clear he did not want me hovering with concern, so I went to the bow of the ship and attempted to capture some images of the whales, checking back in periodically. The crew was right about the seasickness - I'd say by the end of it, a good 65-70% of the passengers were lying on benches or on the back deck, and the complimentary paper bags were getting plenty of use. (Fortunately, Pickle did not require a paper bag.) The humpback whales were a bit tricky to see with the huge waves, though we did encounter several, including two calves. While our first whale watching experience was a bit of a bust, I think we'd both give it another go...on a much calmer day.
Afterward, I was certain Pickle wouldn't be up for dinner, but he noted that he was feeling better and getting a little hungry, so we went to New Shanghai for overflowing plates of xiao long bao, crispy duck buns, and spicy peanut sesame wontons (and the best taro milk tea I've ever had). Unfortunately, 4 xiao long bao and half a spicy wonton in, Pickle started feeling a little queasy and had to call it quits.
While our plans played out more as misadventures than adventures, we came out with stories to laugh about. Our actual anniversary was on a work day, and, although we celebrated on the weekend, when I woke up for work on July 6 to shower, I found a first (paper) anniversary surprise from Pickle in the bathroom that made me laugh :)
We both had gifts for each other as well. I stuck with the paper theme and bought us a question-a-day journal. It's designed with one question for each day of the year but has entries for us both to answer it three times, so in subsequent years, when you return to the same question, you can see what your previous responses were. We still frequently play question and answer games, "would you rather..." and other conversation games like that and we spend a lot of time chatting, debating and discussing random things, so I thought it might turn into a fun evening or Sunday ritual. Pickle gave me the most thoughtful and heartwarming present. For our wedding, he re-wrote the lyrics to "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds and played guitar and sang it to me after his vows. For our first anniversary, he had the lyrics placed in the negative space in one of our wedding photos and had it printed on canvas. I love it so much!