The story behind our hibiscus mint tea.
Phil and I were babies when we got married. And we were babies when we hit our first milestone: 1 year of marriage. In that first year, we packed up our lives, quit our jobs, and moved from Austin to Seattle. That’s what happens when you’re so young, poor, and reckless that you have nothing to lose. It was scary and blissful, just like those few days in Bellingham, Washington.
Desperate to escape our 500 square foot apartment, we found an AIRBNB on the fly, and drove north with Brooklynd in the backseat. If you’ve never been to Washington state, know that those few hours in the car were dreamy, lined with the tallest, oldest, greenest trees we’d ever seen.
We chatted, reminisced on our time together, and distracted each other with photos from our wedding. Two years before, we were two lonely people waiting for things to change. On the drive up to Bellingham, it hit us that we were no longer lonely, but we were alone together. For the first time, we were away from everyone we knew and we had no choice but to make it work. No friends close by to ask advice from. No family to run to. No church. Just us, Brooklynd, and long stretches of evergreens and the gloom of grey always hanging overhead.
Bellingham was the perfect place to celebrate. We drove up to our little guesthouse and walked through a flourishing Eden of trees bearing fruit, lush garden beds, and cobblestone. I pulled a grape from the vines that lined the rooftop and Phil laughed as I took a bite and made a face when the sour taste exploded in my mouth. And so our little adventure began. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place, buried by tall foliage, cozy, and intentional. We couldn’t be happier.
For our one year anniversary, Phil made me a book filled with reasons why he loved me. I had a local artist write him a song. And we sat in the garden and exchanged other gifts. We laughed, read marriage advice our friends wrote for us a year ago, and drank.
I remember feeling nervous, not wanting to mess up such a sweet moment. I knew from his movements and posture that he felt that same anxiety. Little did we know we’d spend many more years together enjoying a kind of love where there is little pressure, just freedom to be, and love, and be loved. But back then, we worked hard to prove ourselves. He fed me a five-star steak dinner. I booked a sunset sail for us to journey out into the icy west coast waters. And we started our first tradition—taking anniversary photos in whatever wedding clothes we could still fit into.
Bellingham feels like the kindness and foolishness of youth. A time when all we cared about was being together and being happy. And a time when there was nowhere to go but up.
We couldn’t imagine a better way to remember our first year anniversary than the humility and sweetness of our berry hibiscus tea. Every time we drink it, we could clearly find ourselves in that garden oasis again, plucking berries and grapes from vines, and feeling the nervous energy of still-young love.