updated 07/08/2014 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/08/2014 AT 1:30 PM ET
Andi Dorfman is the Bachelorette!
After a dramatic exit from Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor, the assistant district attorney, who lives in Atlanta, is searching for love once again on ABC’s hit franchise. Andi, 27, will be blogging for PEOPLE.com every week about the men, the dates and the difficult decisions she’ll make on her road to romance.
So check back each week. You can also follow Andi on Twitter.
Hometown week is here! This was the week that I had been waiting for all season long! Hometowns! I was ecstatic to visit the men’s families, plus for the first time of the journey, the men would have to plan the dates! More importantly, though, I come from a very close-knit family that is outgoing and always has a good time together, so I was looking forward to meeting each of these four families and was trying to picture my life with them.
A Bumpy Ride on the Way to Nick
As soon as the rose ceremony finished I was on a plane from Brussels to Milwaukee. I had a smooth flight to New York, but as soon as I got there, the rain started, and that’s when the trouble began. All of my flights were cancelled that day, and there were several moments I wasn’t even sure if I was going to make it to Milwaukee! Finally, I was able to hop onto a shuttle to go to a different New York airport, got on a flight to Chicago and then, finally, drove to Milwaukee. This was by far the toughest travel day yet.
As a result of all the cancelled flights, needless to say, my bags did not make it to Milwaukee. The next morning, I woke up super early to get to the mall and shop for an outfit. I really wanted to look nice for Nick and his family and was so happy I was able to put something together!
After all of that, I was finally ready and excited to see Nick in his hometown of Milwaukee. I met Nick at a local market and Nick told me that he also had travel troubles getting to Milwaukee and actually landed that morning! I can’t believe we both almost missed the hometown! After snacking on some yummy cheese curds, Nick took me to this brewery where he had a surprise for me. What you didn’t get to see was that Nick had a table in the back with all of his friends waiting for us to sit and hang out. Nick got so emotional when he was reunited with his friends, and it was really sweet to see that side of Nick. It was refreshing to see Nick in his element with his friends because I knew he had been having such a hard time being around all of the guys in the house. And then there was polka! My polka dancing was about as bad as we all have come to expect from me, but it was fun to “hop” around nonetheless.
The thing I was most nervous about for Nick’s hometown was trying to remember all of his siblings’ names. Nick has 10 siblings and let me tell you, it seems like a whole lot more when you see them all in person. Nick’s sister Maria was definitely the most concerned about the situation. I really appreciated Maria’s questions, though, because it was all out of love for her brother. My favorite conversation of the night definitely had to be with Bella, Nick’s youngest sister. Bella was so adorable, but she also caught me off guard with some tough questions! I think Bella definitely has a career as a lawyer in her future! All in all, it was really great to see Nick with his family. I learned a lot about Nick that day and I was just so happy that my first hometown went as smoothly as it did!
Chris s Grand Gesture
I was the most excited to go to Arlington, Iowa. I really wanted to prove to Chris that although I live in a city, I am a country girl at heart. This hometown was also the most important one because I knew if Chris and I ended up together, I would be moving to Iowa. It was crucial for me to see if I could establish a life here. I honestly had never pictured a life in Iowa before, but Chris was such an amazing guy that I wanted to give it a chance.
I met Chris at his house, and let me just say that I was impressed. He lived in this huge place all by himself and he was so cute because he kept saying how it needed a woman’s touch. After that, he wanted me to take a ride on his tractor and we had such a good time. We had such a blast driving around, and we even tried to scare the producers by driving it toward them! The best part of the daytime had to be when Chris had that plane fly over our picnic. I remember being so blown away by the gesture. I loved watching Chris transform from the secret admirer to this man who would fly a banner announcing his feelings to the world.
Meeting Chris’s family was one of the highlights of the entire week. His family was the type that you just can’t help but want to be a part of. They were so welcoming and warm. I loved that his sisters were able to poke fun at Chris but also brag about him like loving sisters do. His mom gave me such incredible insight and encouragement about life on the farm and about life in general. Everyone was truly happy for Chris and so supportive. We ended the night with a game of “Ghost in the Graveyard,” which really made me feel included in this wonderful family. I definitely left Iowa with a new perspective on Chris and on our relationship.
Josh Falls in Love
I met Josh on Bayshore Boulevard in his hometown of Tampa Bay, Florida. It was great to see Josh because our chemistry was through the roof, especially after learning in Belgium that Josh was falling in love. I was really hoping that Josh was going to take me to play baseball, and I was excited when he told me that’s what we would be doing that day. I knew baseball was a huge part of Josh s life, but I didn t realize that Josh had struggles with the sport and how he doesn’t play anymore. I felt honored that Josh shared baseball and that part of his life with me. My favorite moment, though, is something you didn’t get to see! Josh made this hugely romantic gesture and gave me a bouquet of ten roses. Josh went on to explain that the first seven of the roses symbolized the amount I had given him so far, and that the remaining three symbolized the roses that he hoped I would give him, including that final rose. A very bold gesture, but very romantic!
It was time to meet Josh’s family, and I was nervous to say the least! Throughout getting to know Josh, I knew that he always put his family before himself. I admired that quality about Josh but really wanted Josh to be focus of that hometown. I knew it was going to be especially challenging, because at the time of the visit, Josh’s brother, Aaron, was in the midst of preparing for the NFL draft. The fact that Aaron would potentially be drafted was obviously a huge deal and something that Josh and his family were enormously proud of. I knew Josh was going to want to know everything about his brother’s football career while he was away, but I wanted there to be a balance between football and telling the family what Josh has been up to as well. I was happy to see how interested the family was in Josh and how supportive and happy they were for him! I was genuinely surprised when Josh’s mom told me that Josh was definitely in love. That made me feel so much better about the hometown and what Josh and I were building.
"Marcus Would Make an Incredible Father"
The final hometown brought me to Marcus’s family in Dallas. I love the city of Dallas and was excited to spend the day with Marcus. Marcus and I spent the day exploring and seeing the areas of Dallas that he hangs out at. My favorite part of the date was, obviously, when Marcus reenacted the strip show. I can’t believe he remembered all the moves! I think every woman in America can agree that Marcus is hot, hot, hot!
After our date in Brussels, I learned a lot about Marcus’s family and learned that his father wouldn’t be at the hometown date. I wanted Marcus to know that I didn’t care about that; I just wanted to meet the people who love and support him. Marcus has always been very open about his past struggles and the tough times that he and his family had gone though, but honestly, you would never know meeting them. I was so pleasantly surprised to see how much love there was with Marcus’s family. Talking with his family made me see where Marcus draws his strength from. They truly are a family that has overcome a lot and still have hearts of gold! One of the highlights of the night was definitely watching Marcus interact with his niece and nephew. They really looked up to him, and I could tell that Marcus would make an incredible father. I left Dallas feeling like Marcus could give me the world.
The day I got back from Marcus’s hometown, we were all summoned to Chris Harrison’s house. None of us knew what was going on until we learned of the tragic passing of Eric. It was extremely hard to watch back. There are really no words to describe how we all felt that evening. It was devastatingly sad then, and months later we are all still grieving over this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with Eric’s family.
The Rose Ceremony
Having learned of such sad news the day before the rose ceremony made that night even more difficult. I remember talking with Chris Harrison and not being able to control my emotions. We were all still grieving and in shock, and I didn t know if I could even go through with a rose ceremony. I had to take a moment to regroup, but I knew I had to try and push forward.
I sent Marcus home that night, which was the hardest decision I have made up to this point. Marcus had done everything I could have hoped for and beyond. He was honest, open and extremely vulnerable. I knew Marcus could be an amazing husband and father and truly give me everything in this world, but I also knew I didn’t have that great love with him. It’s crazy to think I was in a position to turn down an unbelievable guy like Marcus, but that just shows you how great each of these guys have been.
Next week, only three men remain, and it’s overnight time. It’s a big week for me, especially considering that this was a tough week for me last season. I can’t wait for you to see some spectacular dates in the Dominican Republic!
Thanks for reading as always! See you next week!