(psa joe won both of his hearings yesterday. both landslide victories. color me proud.)
I can’t help but think about Joe today and all that he has accomplished since we moved up here.
5 years ago, when we met, he was just a guy with some urban planning books that he occasionally read in the back of the tour van. Maybe he had his heart set on this goal, but he hadn’t taken any big steps yet to pursue it.
A year later he started studying for the GRE. I remember he was so out of academic practice that he had almost no self-confidence as a writer, a reader, anything. He relearned all of that stuff on his own volition. I remember him practicing for even the math portion of the GRE with a vigor that really seems impossible in retrospect.
He took the test, applied to schools. We started to build our dreams. He started writing even before school. Just sort of stretching his muscles. In fact, I remember the (weeks? months?) that even went into his application essay. It was so important to him because he KNEW his story deserved a good telling. He wanted to do the story justice, because he had lived it and knew it had value.
We ended up here in Minnesota and Joe was never too embarrassed or proud to admit that the learning curve was stiff. He studied for hours every day, and practiced the piano for hours on top of that. He read and wrote and reread and rewrote. He even bought supplementary books – some denser than the assigned reading—just because his hunger for knowledge is never satisfied. Joe met success at every turn in graduate school, but never as a result of anything less than his best effort. I watched him with awe for those two years. I also learned so much from him. It was a gift to be in school together.
This time last year…yes, this time last year… Joe was un and underemployed. He was working afternoons at the city, wrangling the Piazza project in the mornings and evenings. We were driving up and down Grande Ave taking pictures, planning events. Joe was doing billboard research for the city and maybe kind of contemplating a future in land acquisitions for cell towers, if they would have him. He was sad and frustrated, he felt like he might never find the fit.
Now, a year later Joe is still working his tail off. In fact, Joe’s hard work is the most common theme from our five year friendship and relationship. But now, he is being called upon to make tough calls, to interpret laws, to be the face of the City of Minneapolis in very public and very contentious issues. He has a sexy beard, a tweed jacket, and a brain full of hard earned knowledge. And most importantly, he has the respect of his peers and his supervisors. He is literally living the dream with grace, effort, strength, brilliance, and commitment. I don’t think I could be more proud of my husband Joe Giant. I really don’t. I beam with it all day.
I know that today isn’t really that big of a deal (he has a public hearing), but at the same time, it is. Joe is a city planner. And that is awesome.