I knew a day would come where I would have to write this story down for my children to laugh at…and I suppose tonight is as good a night as ever.
Martin just came home from work (It is 3 a.m. here in Italy) and we giggled a little about random things and then fed our twin boys together in order to get a good nights rest. (Him of course…I am more like a vampire these days).
As I was breastfeeding Leo…I looked over and saw Martin watching Ale with the most tender look in his eyes. He is so sweet and cautious with the boys. He has this innocence like a puppy dog finding a baby chick. What do I do? Is he OK? Can I lick him to feel better? It is touching.
And that is when it hits me like a billion bricks full of light…I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
But how the he-haw-sally did I get here?
The thing is…I dig being alone.
Even in a relationship, I found myself alone more than I was with the other person. I enjoy my books, my walks, my intense workouts, my girls nights, my solo trips and especially my solo car rides of singing at the top of my lungs.
That is until I met this man.
All of a sudden I wanted to read with my legs on his lap, walk hand in hand, workout with him, party with him, travel with him and sing at the top of my lungs in the car with him.
I had just finished a 3-month adventure around South East Asia when I hopped on a plane to Europe to begin my study abroad semester in Innsbruck, Austria. I was supposed to be in Australia…but hey…Austria sounds close enough right? (Thank you Hawaii Pacific University haha)
My first day was an adventure, to say the least. I had made my way through some HOT countries for three months and only had a carry on with me full of bikinis, a yoga mat, 1 pair of yoga pants and some scarfs.
I showed up to Innsbruck in March and it was SNOWING.
Not just snowing…it was like January in ANTARTICA snowing.
My ‘buddy’ was there to pick me up (sweetest girl in the world) and she was shocked by my clothes.
“Do you have a coat?!” “Oh my GOD” “You will freeze!”
She was right. I did freeze. And two days later I came down with the worst cold/fever in the history of my short 29-year life.
I settled into Innsbruck quickly due to my sickness. I made some friends (they felt bad for me), I drank lots of tea in all the local shops, and I even made a few friends at the pharmacy. Sadly I was not getting better.
I missed the first week of school. That sucked. I had met some terrific girls beforehand and I was dying to talk to them and learn all about their lives but I was stuck in bed with crappy wifi and a heater that did not even work.
I messaged my girlfriend from Chicago and she told me to just go tinder it up. I remember her words clearly…
“Listen Dan…when the world throws you a flu….start swiping right my boo”
I give her 100% credit for my happy life today. 100%.
I went on. I swiped for like 10 minutes and it was over. I laughed out loud. OH, MY GOD, I am in the middle of nowhere.
I increased my search to include Italy…I was sick in bed for a week…might as well get creepy.
It was even worse. Where the hell was I?!
I tried again. Ok…I will go as far as some place called Lana. That is IT.
And I saw this photo. I actually said out loud “Well isn’t this the cutest thing you ever did see?!”
My roommate from China looked over at me in shock and I just giggled and said “Dog video” and she nodded.
I swiped on him…he swiped on me…and now we have twins. Haha just kidding.
So I messaged him…?!?!…yes I messaged first. I remember saying how cute that dog was.
He responded thank you and he is so sorry but he does not speak English
I responded with “You will learn”
Our conversation did not go too far. I think he was nervous and I was just too drugged up to care. Plus I just got into some serious documentaries on Netflix that changed my world (for that hour).
My sickness got worse. And worse. And worse. I could not swallow. I could not breathe. I could not move.
My mother and father freaked out and told me to get my butt to the nearest hospital.
Yes, mommy. Yes, daddy.
It was 11 pm and I dragged my butt to the local hospital via taxi. All alone. It was dark.
The hospital was like a zombie apocalypse happened. There was NOBODY there. NOBODY. I walked around the entire hospital and found nothing. I freaked out.
Who could I ask for help? Who knows German? And Martin came to mind. I messaged him right away.
He was so quick to help and I took photos of all the signs and within 20 minutes I had a doctor looking at me. Turns out that in Austria, you hit the big red button (in America we are told to never hit the big red button) to see a doctor!
Google translate and 10 conversations later…we started our friendship.
La di la and a week later I was feeling much better. I was also very happy when I found out I had a three-week vacation coming up (hell yea Innsbruck!). I told Martin (not thinking much of it) and he responded with…
“I just got a promotion and I have to take three weeks of vacation!”
(Only in Europe do you HAVE to take 3 weeks of vacation. Cheeses rice and crackers)
I looked at his message and said to myself….”Well….why not….you only live once”
I asked him if he wanted to do a road trip through Italy together (as friends) and he agreed! We set a date for a few days later for him to pick me up and we were going to head to Venice, Florence and Sienna.
Now…listen. I was nervous. He was nervous. This was not JUST a date. This was two strangers getting into a car together and going on a week road trip hundreds of miles through Italy.
But we did it.
He showed up, I showed up….he grabbed my suitcase…I giggled at his ford focus. We set out on an adventure.
He had clearly worked on his English. I had worked on my slow talking and barney style concepts. We laughed. We talked. I slept. He drove. We built a foundation.
3 hours later and we hit Venice. We were both broke (not broke but…let’s just say “budget conscious”) so we parked outside of the waterway for 4 euros a day and took a bus in. I dug this about Martin. He was on the same page as me.
I had reserved an Airbnb earlier in the week in the very ritzy part of San Marco for only 50 bucks a day. We set out to find it.
One water taxi man said “80 euros” and we laughed and almost gave him the finger.
Another man said “50 euros” and we laughed some more and actually did give him the finger.
Finally, we saw the public water taxi for 2 euros and took that into the San Marco center.
If you know me…or have traveled/hiked with me…you know that I do not follow directions very well. I see something pretty and follow it and get lost. This time I was looking at Martin and he was looking at me and we missed our stop.
Once we realized this we jumped off that water taxi and laughed. Shiiiiiit. It is almost night time and we have not found our Airbnb and we have to walk so far to get there! But sometimes you miss your stop for a reason.
We stumbled upon this sunset as we were dragging our suitcases over countless bridges and zigzags.
It was the most beautiful night in my memory of life.
Once we found our Airbnb (I believe an hour later) we were greeted by the most adorable Italian man and he and Martin chatted in their sexy language while I gazed upon them in glee.
Our room was presented to us and we were told that a local wine cellar was just down the steps to the right and the best cafe in the world was down the steps to the left. We went right.
We talked…we translated…we drank…and we fell into “like” with each other.
We cuddled. We cuddle the exact same way today. His chest is the only chest that makes me fall asleep instantly once I am fully snuggled inside. (Our boys feel the same way).
Our Venice trip was amazing. We continued our road trip through Florence, Sienna, and Verona.
What do you know…I had a 10-day solo trip to Amsterdam planned that was coming up in a few days. We were sad about it but we decided to make our last night together really count. We stayed in an Austrian village full of snow and listened to local music and laughter while devouring spinach dumplings and drinking German ale.
Would I ever see him again? Who knows.
My trip to Amsterdam was crazy. I met hookers, priests, go-go dancers, engineers…you name it. I had a blast. I smoked weed, I danced, I went to every single museum (EVERY SINGLE MUSEUM) that was on the IAmsterdam card and just explored my butt off.
But I missed him. What the hell?! Did I miss a man? Why? Since when?
10 days later and I was back in the Innsbruck airport (right next door to my dorm). Low and behold…Martin was there to pick me up and take me on another trip before classes started in 2 days
Our relationship grew.
I took the bus every weekend and he stocked his fridge full of wine and beer.
He picked me up from the bus station and I gave him the biggest hug and kiss in the world.
I cooked him delicious vegan meals and he pretended that he didn’t miss meat.
He took me out dancing and I taught him how to dance.
I got drunk and ranted to him about how he should change the world and he refilled my glass of wine.
He introduced me to all of his friends and I pretended to understand what they were saying.
We fell in love.
The first time Martin told me he loved me was about 2 1/2 months into our relationship.
He told me to wait in the car as he was preparing something special.
I waited…and waited…and waited…. then he appeared all excited and said “OK! Let’s go!”
I walked into his apartment and saw this…..
I jumped into his arms and kissed him and we melted to the ground.
To be continued….