Chris Worrell May 16 at 9:53am
oh jennifer bergman, how's life treatin you these days?
That was it: that’s how it started. That one Facebook message has taken me on a journey that I never believed possible. And it’s filled my life with such love that I never knew I could have. One year ago to the day from when I write this is when Chris and I reconnected. We had known each other in college-but only as acquaintances. We were both from small Kansas towns in the same league, but he was just enough older for me not to know him. So I was only around him for a brief period of time my freshman year of college since we didn’t actually go to the same school. After that time, I basically forgot about him- besides the occasional post I would see on Facebook.
When I got that message, I debated on whether or not I should respond. I didn’t really know what the point was, but at the same time, I thought it would be nice to catch up. Little did I know that Chris had contacted me from halfway around the world. He was currently deployed with the United States Army in Afghanistan. At first, our contact was merely in a friendship sort of way. But within a few weeks, I could tell that my feelings were starting to turn towards a deeper path. It was scary. Loving a soldier is difficult- but falling in love with one in the middle of a war 8000 miles away is terrifying.
I was amazed at how much access I had to Chris. We sent messages back and forth as often as we could- which ended up being every couple of days. Towards the end of his deployment, he had a bit more access to the Internet, and we got to see each other for the first time in 7 years. Although his computer access didn’t allow him to have sound, we could still see each other- which was amazing. Chris has the best smile- and the hottest dimples you’ve ever seen and every time I saw him smile, I fell a little bit further. (He will kill me if he finds out I’m talking about his dimples!!)
After 6 months, Chris left Afghanistan to go back to Italy, where he is still stationed. At first the only form of communication we had was phone calls. Which mean we had to buy phone cards. A LOT of phone cards. But eventually he got Internet which meant we could Skype, so we could both see AND hear each other. And then it was Christmas- and he had leave. And instead of going straight back to Kansas, he made a detour in Dallas. It wasn’t just 7 months of waiting for the moment to see each other. It was 7 years and what felt like a lifetime of waiting. That moment of seeing him at the airport for the first time was the most incredible moment of my life. All the nerves and worry and yearning and love were all wrapped up in that single second, when our eyes met. And we both just knew that everything was as it should be.
We had the opportunity to spend the holidays with our families- and then right before New Year’s Eve, I got to fly to Italy to spend two amazing weeks with Chris. From New Years Eve in Venice to spending time at his apartment in Vicenza, that trip was a dream come true. When I knew I was going to Italy, I knew I could find some treasures to bring back to the states with me- and the first person I thought of that could appreciate them as much as I did was my friend Jillian. Ever since my junior year of prom, I have been wearing Jillian’s jewelry. Her talent doesn’t surprised me, but it always impresses me. I love her innovative use of materials and above all, I love her passion and purpose. So when I found a store in Rome that had a plethora of baubles, stones and jewels, I went wild. I got a small bag of goodies to send back to Jillian, and felt so guilty not being able to bring more. She made a few pieces out of my favorite finds and I can’t wait to see them. To forever have something to wear from this incredible trip and to have it made by my dear friend is priceless to me.
My love story isn’t over yet. Chris still has about 2 years left in Italy. Until the day we can be together on the same continent, we use Skype, Facebook and phones to communicate. And although it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. He keeps me going. He reminds me to not focus on what we don’t have, and to focus on what we do. He loves me completely and unconditionally. He is my everything and my best friend. I am so grateful for him and so blessed to be able to share my life with him. And it still makes us laugh when we think about how all this started by one random message……
(Jillian here again) How great was that?! Here's what I designed for sweet Jennifer... I decided that if I wanted to wear jewelry to remember a trip it would need to be either something to wear every day or something that really jumped out and made a statement. Jennifer sent enough materials for both, so both is what I did! Take a look...
Here's the simple everyday necklace...
And then the statement piece.... (that cord took 4 hours, I'm not sure I'll ever do one again!)
And then mix and match earrings--these guys are vying for my all time favs...but they're hers!
And the mix and match bracelet! Which is super fun because....leave a comment and a similar styled one with glass beads from Jen's trip can be yours!!!! Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sandcastlejewelry and leave a comment on our profile photo too for a double entry! :) Good luck!