I always get sentimental and love-dippy this time of year. It was around late October/November that Kulani and I started dating 13 years ago.
I met my Polynesian hunk-of-burning-Johnny-Lingo love while living in the old and cheap Miller Apartments in downtown Provo, Utah; a hop, skip, and jump away from BYU campus. It was the institution Kulani and I were attending for purposes of higher education with the side hope of finding a spouse.
Of course, that's not what I was thinking back then, no sir. I was a liberated woman who had her eyes on a mission and career. Getting married? Psha! That's for suckers, saps, smarmies. (I love the word smarmy: def., smug, falsley earnest, ingratiaing. Maybe it doesn't work here, but I have found few places the word doesn't work. Dang, I've got smarmy laundry to do!)
And I was having one of my best dating eras of my life. For a girl who dated maybe four previous times her whole college career, in my third year of school I found the guys coming out from the cracks in the sidewalks. I was living the life, baby, and you can tell that to Telly Savalas. All was going according to my plans, which would culminate in me breaking everyone's heart to leave for a mission at age 21.
And then put the brakes on, folks. I caught a wave of southern Utah heat that beated in the chest of a raven-haired brilliant man. That would be Kulani.
Here's a picture of him back in the day when he still had a full head of hair and right after he came back from a mountain bike ride that ended in one of his famous crashes:
As if the picture isn't convincing enough as to why I chose my man. But he had other redeeming qualities besides just Polynesian good looks. For purposes of this post, let's say he had me at lobster and honey-curry chicken.
Kulani was not the typical BYU suitor. I love my BYU and don't you go around bad-mouthing it, now, you hear? But truthfully, the guys sometimes acted a tad immature, and there was game playing to be played fah shah. For example, a guy could never act too interested in you in case there was a bigger fish to fry, if you catch my meaning.
But I never got that sense with Kulani. He was genuine and earnest from the get go. I could tell fairly quickly that he was really into me, and I liked that. He wasn't shy about it, and he didn't play any games. He was who he was. Not a playa.
And to impress me one night, he made me dinner. The first dinner he ever made for me. And for those of you who know Kulani, the man can cook. He'd cooked me a burrito before that when I stopped by his apartment at lunchtime once. Most college students just put bean and cheese in a burrito, right? Well, Kulani had Mexican rice, peppers, some tasty meat, etc. in his burritos. Seven-layer burrito of heaven.
But he wasn't the cook he is now, mostly because of the busyness of school and lack of money, but he was still a great cook. And he loved to cook. I'd never met anyone who loved to cook. And the cooking the dinner for me would have been great on its own, but he also cleaned his apartment. And Kulani HATES to clean, and neither did any of his roommates, as their apartment was pretty much a giant trash can. He also borrowed some nice dinner plates and tablecloths and cloth napkins from his sister in Spanish Fork, and he set a beautiful card table for our first dinner. The man was trying to impress ME--girl raised in a family of 10 whose family regularly used paper towels as napkins. SO cleaning AND cooking? Ladies, I know you're with me when I say, "aaahhhhhh."
But that's not all, oh no it's not. The meal Kulani cooked me, up to that night in my life, was one of the best of my life. He cooked me slipper lobster tails and honey-curry chicken. I'd had lobster tails once before at a cheap restaurant in Las Vegas: not impressed with it, really. But the slipper lobster tails Kulani cooked me with melted butter, fuhget about it.
And honey-curry chicken: easily one of my favorite recipes. I'm posting it on our sister cooking Web site, so you can make some for your honey tonight, and maybe you'll get some curry later in bed (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). (I've never heard IT be called curry, but what hasn't IT been called? I mean, really, heaven knows we need more code words for IT to keep the little ones in the dark.)
So there you go. Maybe I'm easy to please, but really, my bar was set pretty high, and Kulani flew over it like he was a pole vaulter going over a high-jump bar. Honestly, if it weren't for Kulani in my life, I'd be doing the $5 Footlongs every night. And hosting a luau and quarterly food appreciation dinners? That's all Kulani's doing. He's the life of my party. I'm just holding on for the ride.