And one of the best things about traveling is the feeling you get when it's time to go home. Even though we weren't heading to see my family, knowing I was about to meet the families of the guys I had grown so close to was incredibly exciting. While traveling back to the States, I envisioned what each family would be like, but, boy, was I wrong with a couple of them!
Let's start with Constantine's hometown. Throughout our relationship he was often telling me, "Once you see me with my family, you'll understand. That's when you'll really see the real me." I knew that if it didn't go well, this would probably be the end of the road for the two of us. I'm so attracted to both Constantine's looks and honesty that I really wanted it to go well.
Constantine spent so much time talking about his family and how important they were to him, I always felt like he was holding back and was never really comfortable dating in this process. I can understand that because you are removed from the comfort of your normal life, family and friends. In a way, it can make you feel incomplete.
Homebody ConstantineFrom the moment I saw Constantine in Cumming, he was like a new man. He seemed relaxed, warm, and incredibly happy and confident. I learned so much about him and everything made sense to me now.
Constantine's family is his life and they make him whole. I think more than any other hometown visit, being around Constantine's family let me know that they would be a constant and welcome presence if we chose to spend our lives together. One moment you didn't get to see was his mother sharing a story with me about when she was sick, and Constantine stayed by her bed until she got better. It really touched my heart; I knew he was a good man who puts family first, and I was right.
I also learned on this date that being Greek Orthodox was a huge part of his life. I had never known religion to be that important to him, and it really took me by surprise that he never mentioned it to me. I assume it was fear of dissimilarity. Overall, my relationship with Constantine reached an incredible place on this hometown date.
Ames's InsightMoving onto Ames. Ames is probably one of the most intelligent, optimistic and insightful people I've ever met. I was very excited and curious to meet his family and see how Ames became the man he is now. And they were incredible!
I was so comfortable talking with each of them, and I learned a lot more about him from his family. His mother is a strong, intelligent, independent and admirable woman. I see a lot of her qualities in Ames. I also loved Ames's sister Serena. She is definitely someone that I could see as a friend or sister-in-law. Serena asked me questions regarding my spark for Ames, and this was actually something I felt I was missing at this point.
I really like Ames, but I have always waited for the romance to really happen. I saw a bit of his spontaneous side in the elevator in Hong Kong, but I feel he always talked about how he was romantic more than he actually was. This hometown date was really my last attempt to see if it could be there.
Serena had great insight because even she wasn't sure if I felt it. I was hoping to see it all come to fruition on this date, and while I did see and feel more, it wasn't enough to let one of the other guys go.
My next stop was Sonoma. I had never been to Northern California so I was excited to see what it was all about. Sonoma is such a quaint little town, it made me feel like I was really home.
Ben's family was one of the families that surprised me the most. In my mind, I thought they were going to be loud, outgoing, and somewhat goofy like Ben. I was so surprised to see that they were quite the opposite. They were sophisticated and conservative. His mother reminded me of Coco Chanel! I was so nervous talking with her and felt somewhat intimidated.
Ben's family has been through a lot in the past few years and I sensed a guard and protectiveness over him. Watching Ben's interview brought tears to my eyes. It was nice to see him dig deep into his heart and be comfortable showing emotion that he held in for so long. This is one of the things I love to see throughout this journey. It is about finding love, but it's also about finding yourself and I'm so happy to be a part of that with Ben. Honestly, I always enjoy my time spent with Ben. He's so fun to be around and lives a truly incredible life.
Romantic with JPMy last date was with JP in Long Island, New York. At this point, it felt like forever since I had seen him and I could not wait! On one of our dates I made fun of him because he said he liked rollerblading in New York City. I told him that rollerblading didn't seem like a sexy pastime for such a stud. This was my payback. He took me roller-skating hoping that I would fall on my face, but to his dismay, he was the one that fell!
But the best part of all was that I felt like I was at a middle school dance. It was romantic and silly, and I remember thinking just how happy I was in those moments. I was really nervous to meet JP's family for a different reason than he probably thought. I was scared that they wouldn't be pleased that I wasn't Jewish. Religion does not matter to me, but I had no idea how they felt about it, so I went into this date with nervousness on my shoulders.
What a relief! His family was so supportive and sweet. They were also very concerned about JP getting his heart broken. It became clear that he had a very emotional breakup that affected him greatly, and all they want is to see their son happy. I also learned that JP gets his sweet smile from his mother, and his intellect from his dad. I had so many great conversations with everyone, but the best part was seeing his Bar Mitzvah photo. Sweet mullet, JP! Now we all know why he shaves his head!
I really couldn't have asked for a better visit with each family. I feel so fortunate to have such a high caliber group of men with me, and I loved getting to see them in their element. In the end, I really felt as if I was missing a romantic connection with Ames. I knew saying goodbye to him would be hard because the last thing I wanted to do was hurt someone I respected so much. Ames is the true definition of a good man and I know he will make a wonderful woman very happy one day! You're the best Ames!
For more on The Bachelorette, check out Chris Harrison's blog on EW.com