What a year

My wife Ellen and I celebrated our First Anniversary this past Sunday, July 11th.

We did so at B. Smith’s restaurant in Washington, DC. It warms my heart that we’ve spent 3 firsts in black-owned restaurants, a trend I want to continue:

  • First Date: Kingfish Cafe in Seattle, which was also where I had my first dinner with my parents after moving to Seattle in 2005.
  • Night I proposed (First night of Engagement): also at Kingfish Cafe
  • First Anniversary: B. Smith’s in DC

This have been a fantastic year and experience for me and for us. Since last July, we’ve:

  • I quit my old job at Microsoft.
  • We got married.
  • We honeymooned.
  • We sold my condo outside Seattle.
  • We drove 2 cars across the country from Washington to Washington.
  • I started my new job at the Center for Community Change.
  • Ellen accepted a new teaching position.

What I’ve learned

Marriage is an everyday thing

Weddings happen once. Marriage is something you participate in every single day. That’s been the best part. Figuring out the day-to-day stuff is less mundane when you have a partner.

Dishes suck when you do them in solitude. Doing them with someone to converse with makes it better than bearable. Plus the self-satisfaction that comes from a well-kept home is knocked out of the park when it’s a team effort. Also, laundry is much easier when the person that hates loading the washer/dryer and the person that hates folding are husband and wife. Compliments attract.

It’s more fun introducing people to your wife than your girl[friend]

I get a kick out of it. Ellen get’s a kick out of it. Everybody wins.

It’s like people take you more seriously. For example, I know that when people see me at age 27 talking about stuff I and/or my wife do, they assume a higher level of maturity and responsibility. It garners more respect.

Similarly, it’s funny how extended family reacts differently to the 2 terms.

Not old-fashioned, not new-fashioned: just our-fashioned

We both have our own old-fashioned tendencies. There’s never a circumstance where I’m comfortable with Ellen walking alone after dark. I also like to drive anytime we’re both in the car. Ellen likes proper dinner parties with real place settings. She likes classic, older homes.

We’re kind of new school at times too. I think land lines are a waste of plastic (how’s that for being green :-)) We both dig electronics.

But we too agree on things that others think are crazy. We just cut our cable. Next month we’ll turn in our car and be carless (the 1st time for me since my 16th birthday). We think paper towels are symbols of a bygone era.

None of this is necessarily revolutionary, but it has been an experience in writing our own script. I highly encourage it.

I can’t wait for my next day, month, anniversary. What a year it has been.

I Love You Ellen.

One Love. One II.

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

One response to “What a year”

  1. Jim Bowman says :

    Yes, “It warms my heart that we’ve spent 3 firsts in black-owned restaurants, a trend I want to continue.” Oh. Hmmm. Well, our 41st we just spent in white-owned restaurants, in one of which the proprietor sat down with a crowd of people whom he knew and may have been related to. In the other, for breakfast, one of many local eateries owned by white people of Greek ancestry, if not birth, I had too much pancake. Otherwise, we walked around a lot and fell down only once. Next year in Athens!

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