The 23rd of June, 2013

We’re at the airport, I hate airports.  They are a source of awkward greetings and tearful farewells.  This time it is a farewell.  My mind is scattered in so many directions, but all I want is to stay here with her.  It feels like I’ve only just arrived, but I have to go.

Getting my boarding pass and checking luggage is just a pain; it distracts and takes away from dwindling precious moments physically in her presence.  It all makes me so stressed. I just want to reel my head back and scream from the depths of my guts, but one doesn’t scream in airports these days so I hold it in and smile.  I turn that energy into jokes to lighten the mood.

My bags are checked now; we have even less time and I can’t seem to forget that.  We sit on a bench and enjoy each other’s company while having some lunch, but I know the worst is coming.  I can feel myself slowly numbing to the coming pain.  Then suddenly, here we are at the moment.

We’re standing at the base of the stairs that she can’t follow me up.  They lead to security and then to my gate.  She is the love of my life and the light that brings beauty to my world, all I want to do is stay here with her.  But, all I can do is kiss her goodbye and walk up those stairs.  We hold each other, kiss each other, tell each other how much we love, she cries.  I can’t.  She thinks I put on my soldiers face to support her, but in truth it’s for me.  If I don’t shut out the pain I’ll never make it up the stairs.  I feel horrible.  I want her to see what I feel, but it’s too much to handle in the moment.  We say “see you soon” and part.

I walk up the stairs, on the verge of breaking down.  At the top I turn and mouth the words “I love you”, as I blow her a kiss.  She’s only twenty meters away but already it feels like an ocean.  I keep her in my sight as long as I can.  I stride towards the security checkpoint, never taking my eyes off of hers.  It’s a constant fight to just out one foot in front of the other, because if I stop I don’t have the strength to get going again.  She passes out my sight.  I can’t help it, under my breath I mutter, “Fuck…”  Other passengers around me hear and take a step away.   I didn’t mean to startle them, but I couldn’t help it.  I hate airports.

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Origin Story

The daily prompt: Origin story.

We decided to do a joint blog adventure sometime around the end of the last visit. A drunken chat with a friend had rattled us in our faith that getting the Visa and thus being together forever, would not pose any serious issues. My friend who´s been through the visa application process herself, enlightened us about a thing or two. A couple of days of worry later, I breached the topic of doing something pro-active. In a worst case scenario situation, I thought it´d be nice to have a backup plan.

So that´s what this blog is. Our backup plan.

The theory basically goes like this. If you want to influence big-time decision makers, you have to get media attention.

So how does one go about getting media attention in a country with 314 million people?

None of us are very experienced in PR, let alone skilled, but these days it seems that topics that gets attention on either Reddit, Buzzfeed or Upworthy are all over the `serious´ media the next day (like this story for instance).

So basically what we need is to get online social media attention. In a world with 1 billion websites (as of 2013) honestly this seems fairly impossible, but others seem to have done it so why not us… we have a cute story of how we met, and everyone loves a story of lovers overcoming obstacles before finally in the end live happily ever after. So we decided to make a blog and have it be a part of an already established community of people who have an interest in other peoples lives and thoughts.

There are some added bonuses to having this blog, that actually weren´t a part of the original thought process.

It´s a way of effectively documenting our relationship. We need this not only to convince the immigration authorities that we are indeed a couple, but also because we have friends and family on both sides of the pond who want to be kept in the loop.

It provides a sense of doing something. When we decided to do the blog we had waited 3 months to hear something regarding the status of our application. We had ups and downs, times of crazy optimism and times of thinking it was all pointless, and all the while there was nothing we could do but wait. It was frustrating and nerve wrecking to say the least. The blog was a way to fill up that time as well as doing something pro-active, we weren´t just waiting anymore we were turning it into something meaningful.

Starting a blog about a relationship when you´re one year in, brings it´s own set of problems to be dealt with. If we simply started at the beginning, the present would become ancient history by the time it was covered, we´d always struggle to keep up. So we decided to start at the beginning and then take one great leap forward to the present and move back and forth from there. Posts were written, some were published and some were saved for later according to plan. Then 2 weeks in, we received the wonderful news, that the first part of our application had been approved.

So much is happening now, forms to fill out, documents to get, appointments to make, finally getting a bigger apartment for us to live in once I get over there, followed by the mandatory mental decorating (yup, I´m a girl all right), looking for shoes and dresses for the wedding, getting ready to sell the remainder of my things (if anyone´s interested I have a sewing machine, some lamps and a really nice `only worn a couple of times´ coat that will be great for fall). I sometimes find it difficult to keep up, like a marionette puppeteer whose strings are all tangled up. But we´ll stay the course and keep positioning our troops to be ready for what we pray will never come… the worst case scenario.

Beggars can´t be choosers

After a bit of research, it turns out I might have missed the mark on a few things regarding the papers I received from the embassy (If you didn´t already read my last post, here´s a link for it https://goingthedistanceforloveblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/so-i-finally-got-the-papers-from-the-embassy/)…. That is that the stuff I thought would be most difficult, actually seems pretty easy and the stuff that I didn´t think too much of, might pose bigger problems than anticipated.

Starting from the beginning:

Getting the documents I need in English is as simple as going down to the office and ask for them. Honestly I already suspected as much before I started my research, but you never know.

Even the photos isn´t a problem anymore… I talked with Michael at 3am, and he gave me a mental hug and told me that everything would be fine, so I dried off the tears and put on a smile, and what do you know, after a good night’s rest and a few well placed slices of cucumber no more puffy eyes for me.

The forms are what they always were, a bitch. But it´s nothing that can´t be handled with a bit of time, effort and access to online medical records (and a really good memory).

The Affidavit of support is all taken care of, it seems that I´m a very likeable person and that people are taking numbers to support me… I really don´t like this part though. I don´t think it should be necessary for grown people to have sponsors, but it would probably be the same if I was a Doctor or something, and at the end of the day, if it´s what the government wants, then it´s what they´ll get.

With regards to the medical examinations and the vaccinations, I was WAY off the mark. Waiting times aren´t even half as bad as I had expected, this is the good part. The bad news is the cost of things. For the Americans reading this, this might be difficult to understand. But in DK we have public health insurance which means that we don´t pay to go to public healthcare practitioners (obviously we pay for this privilege through our taxes, so it´s by no means free as some people claim it is). As I mentioned in my previous post, I got a choice between two clinics for the medical exam, and a quick trip to their websites tells me that the examination, x-ray, blood-work to make sure I don´t have syphilis (I don´t), and all the vaccinations I need will set me back 6000dkr… that´s around 1.000USD (On top of that is the 400 USD it´ll cost me to go to another country for the Interview). They recommend that all that gets taken care of before the Interview, but in no way does it guarantee an approval. Basically that means that a person could spend more than 1000USD for something that they would never need, if they didn´t get the Visa…. I don´t know about you, but to me that´s a lot of money, and it´s money I would definitely much rather have spent on building a life with my man. Unfortunately we really need that Visa, so I already booked an appointment and warned my boss that I´m going to need a couple of sick days after I get all the vaccinations…

Well that was my rant for today, and you know what they say, beggars can´t be choosers.

So I finally got the papers from the embassy…

For the past two weeks we have been optimistic and fooling ourselves into believing that from now on it would be smooth sailing. I mean, they wouldn´t approve our petition for a fiancée visa if they didn´t think that we´d definitely make the final cut, right….. WRONG.

We already knew that there would be an Interview in Stockholm and a medical examination, what we didn´t know was that apparently this is the easy part, but by no means the only part.

So the papers we have impatiently been waiting for, finally arrived today. But instead of it being a date for when I could get the interview, it was a list of different documents I had to bring, 5 forms that had to be filled in (several of which it seems we already submitted 4,5 months ago), and a list of medical examinations I need (including chest X-rays) and a long list of vaccinations I need.

Courtesy of the Internet

Courtesy of the Internet

 

Most of the things are easy enough to get, like a copy of my passport, birth certificate and police certificates. The only issue might be getting it in English. Hopefully they have a nice and easy English print out version, that I can just go get, if not then I have no idea how to do that.

`Evidence of relationship´ should be a no brainer, with 4 visits in a year, several Skype chats a week averaging 3-4 hours, daily mails, actual old school love letters, photos, joint blog, Facebook and twitter account, not to mention that our story will either be a part of a Danish docu-series following 7 couples for 7 years or a documentary of its own.

3 passport photos, that sounds easy, but after falling into a post-reading depression and the subsequent puffy red eyes, I should probably wait at least a week before having those taken.

Like I said easy enough things, but then there are the forms….

There is the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. Questions include: all the places I´ve lived for 6 months or more since I was 16… that´s 21 freakin´ years, All employment for the last 10 years and All educational institutions attended.

Then there is the Non-Immigrant Visa Application. Well, honestly that one is actually pretty easy.

We´ll fast forward to the Medical examination questionnaire. Where they ask me to list dates and reasons for any previous stays in hospitals in chronological order, and regarding diseases not requiring hospitalization to list type and duration plus name and address of attending physician (at least it´s not including child´s diseases, and common colds and influenzas). Honestly I don´t even know where to start, and I´m scared to death that I might forget something and that´s going to be the reason we get at big fat DENIED. Well at least I have the choice to pick between 2 physicians so, usual waiting time in DK taken into consideration, I shouldn´t have to wait more than a couple of months. On the upside that should leave me with plenty of time to give my mom the full 3rd degree about my medical history.

And then there´s the vaccinations…. Mumps, Measels, Rubella, Polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, Pertussis, Influenza type B, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Rotavirus, Meningococcal, Pneumococcal, and Influenza. Some of these I don´t even know what is, and apparently neither does Google Translate. Obviously there are some I already know I won’t need, either because I already have been vaccinated or because I´ve already had the disease, but good God that is a looong list of chemicals they want to shoot me up with. There´s a good chance I´ll need GMO labeling after that.

Hatchetface from the movie Crybaby, courtesy of the Internet. I´m aiming for being as cool as she is, when the start using me as a pincushion.

Hatchetface from the movie Crybaby, courtesy of the Internet. I´m aiming for being as cool as she is, when the start using me as a pincushion.

Then we have the `Evidence which may be presented to meet the public charge provisions of the law´. This basically means that they´ll look into my financialaffairs. I´m by no means a wealthy woman. I´ve moved in with my parents in order to save up money to live off until I can find a job when I´m in the states. Once again I´m scared that they´ll find my funds insufficient. I considered going to the track and see if I can make my money quadruple in no time, but somehow I don´t think a gambling addiction added to my medical history is going to be helpful.
Of course there´s the possibility of getting a sponsor which leads us to the`Affidavit of Support´. Obviously this is where my future husband comes in, but with him being a retired veteran a year away from graduating from college, he´s not exactly rich either, so maybe they won´t accept him as my sponsor. There´s no doubt that we would be able to live off his pension and my savings for at least that year until he gets a job, but what if they don´t see it that way.

All in all earlier today I was still in blissful oblivion thinking that it was all smooth sailing from here, now it´s red puffy eyes accompanied by a feeling that the Visa is further away than it ever was. Long distance really sucks when all I need is a hug from my love and to hear him say that everything is going to be all right.

Mission statement…

Now that the basics of how we met are out in the open, it’s time to talk of life and love at long distance. It doesn’t seem practical to try to cover all of what has happened in the year since we met in Barcelona till the creation of this blog, so we’re thinking we’ll just start with recent events and go from there.
Some of the more recent events that should be coming to a blog post near you are: The joys and pains of being apart and getting to visit, the ups and downs of applying for a Visa, the news of possibly being on Danish TV, wedding plans/ ideas, and any topics based on questions about long distance love.
We’ll be trying to ensure that there is a post every week. Our goal is to have a fun and casual blog that shares our ever growing love story with the world while providing a source of information for those in long distance relationships to turn to. We’ve all heard the rumors and stereotypes of long distance being a relationship destroyer, so we think it’s about time to hear about how it can not only work but makes the strongest of bonds.
If you have any questions about us or our relationship, looking for LDR advice from someone who´s been doing it for a while, or if you have a story you would like to share with the world, please write us at goingthedistanceforloveblog@gmail.com

How we met (Part 2)

At the beginning of last summer, the summer of 2012, I found myself in Barcelona, Spain. I had just finished a study trip around a few European countries with my University, nothing big just some credit hours over a few weeks. Instead of flying back with the other students, I opted to take an extra week in Barcelona. It was a little treat to myself for a lack of holiday for more than a decade.

I traveled with two other students, which is how my destination ended up being Barcelona. My interest in choosing my destination was as simple as having not been there before, and Spain on the Mediterranean coast seemed as good a place as any. We had booked lodging at a little hostel called the Feetup Garden House, relatively far from La Rambla (the major avenue and tourist central). It was a lovely little spot with two floors, a roof top patio, and an awesome courtyard to relax in.

After our flight in we got to the place and settled our gear in. The first day was rather uneventful, we did take in a little sightseeing, but it had already been a tiring day so we didn’t wander too far. We headed back to the hostel in the early afternoon and set about getting to know some of our fellow travelers. The three of us and a few other guests shared idle conversation and many beers until late into the night, just soaking up the night air on the roof.

Naturally the next day I woke up pretty hung over, reeking of beer and just generally looking like hammered dog shit. I was the living dead with only one desire, a cigarette. I pulled on a shirt and  some shorts, took a moment on my balcony to clear my head and get my feet about me, then lumbered out of my room and down the stairs. As I stepped out into the courtyard, the air was fresh and warm, and the courtyard looked lovely. To my right I saw an open table to sit at, and out of the corner of my eye to the left I saw other guests. I glanced in their direction to be polite, and see if I recognized anyone. A woman sitting at the table nearest me looked up and smiled. I smiled back, and determined that everything was all good with the other guests. Well at least I was able to convince myself of that for about half a second, before realizing I was in serious trouble.

I had sworn to myself that the one and only thing I could not do while on vacation, was to fall in love. Lust was fine but romance was certainly not. I’m a romantic at heart and falling in love would just complicate the ever living hell out of my life. But it was already too late, it had happened in a glance. She was just sitting there reading and munching on something, and she was gorgeous. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. It´ll sound odd, but there was something in her posture or the way she moved that just radiated confidence and personality. I could just feel her beauty in the air, it was amazing. I had glanced right and all was fine, then I glanced left and I was in love.

All of my mental preparation to keep my heart out of reach came undone with nothing more than a soft smile; I couldn’t even imagine what she could do with a laugh. So, there I was trying my best to play it cool, you know, like my heart hadn´t just skipped a beat and my mind wasn’t numbed to the point where counting to three would have been a problem. I sat down, lit my cigarette and promptly discarded any thoughts about relaxing. My new objective was to find a way to get to know this new mystery woman and spend as much time with her as possible, because I was sure that if I didn’t I would regret it the rest of my life. Even if I only knew her for a few days, it would be more than not knowing her at all.

So, after smoking my cigarette and determining that I had to find a way to talk to her, I quickly took off for my room to get a quick shower and grab a book. I was maybe gone a total of five minutes (it’s amazing how fast you can clean up when motivated), and then back at my seat in the courtyard doing my best to look like nothing was out the ordinary. As far as my planning to find a way chat with her had gotten, was that I needed to be in her vicinity, so that if a chance to talk presented itself, I would be there to take it.  After that I had no idea, so I spent the better part of the afternoon pretending to read a book and trying not to get caught glancing at her.

We’ll fast forward a bit till the evening. One of my partners in crime, a girl named Caitlin I know from the university, had joined me at my table for small talk. The woman who had managed to capture my heart with a simple smile gathered her things and left the courtyard. Not even a second later I turned to Caitlin and said, “Holy shit, you gotta help me! I have a big problem here!” She nervously asked me how big, and I believe I said something about how being dead would have presented me with less of a conundrum. So, I filled her in on the mystery woman and we started to brain storm on how I could make an approach without it being awkward.

As it turns out, my worrying was pointless, because no sooner than my mystery lady had returned, before she asked if she could join us at our table. I’m not exactly known for being able to hide how I feel, but I have my moments, and I consider staying calm at this moment to be the greatest poker face I have ever pulled off. Introductions go around and I finally had a name to go with this stunning vision, Vibeke. After that, the conversation just took a life of its own.

For the life of me I can’t remember most of what we talked about, I just remember soaking up every word and being unable to take my eyes off of hers. However, I do remember that we had so much in common, like a love for punk rock. As the night pressed on, more people had gathered around the table, but somehow we could not be swayed from talking more or less exclusively to one another. I didn’t want to stop talking with her, but as it got later I realized that I had to find a way to ask her to join me in my plans for the next day. Only problem was that I didn´t have any plans. Just bluntly asking could be awkward, and that was the last thing I wanted. What I wanted was as much time with this woman in my life as possible, even if it was just conversation and laughs. Then, after waiting for my opportunity, I found a gap to jump for.  She had mentioned that she needed to get to bed soon for her plans in the morning, and I eagerly, but smoothly, inquired about said plans.

She was headed to Parc Guell the next day, so I mentioned that, I might go give it a look during my visit, and she suggested that we go together. I didn’t waste a second saying yes, and there it was we had plans. We said our good nights and as I lay down to rest for the next day, I realized that despite my intentions of staying romance free on my trip, I really had no choice in the matter. As spooky as that was, it was also liberating.

The next day we headed to the park. After a little trouble with finding it (and some steep path climbing) we got there. We must have covered every square meter of that place, just squeezing as much time into it as possible, and on more than one occasion I was almost completely overrun with an unbridled passion to kiss her, but I feared crossing the line. I was afraid that the feelings weren´t mutual and that I would cross her boundaries. So, I kept my distance. After a while we found ourselves wandering all over the city and just soaking up everything we had to say to each other.

The spot where I almost couldn't help myself from stealing a kiss.

The spot where I almost couldn’t help myself from stealing a kiss.

We got back to the hostel late in the evening, and found a spot in the courtyard just chatting some more. I was still oblivious as to whether she harbored any romantic feelings for me, but over the day mine had kept growing, and I knew I was fast approaching the point of doing something really… stupid.

Realizing we could lose our time alone at any moment, I decided that I had to tell her how I felt.  I had stewed all day contemplating how to steal a kiss and show her I had romantic feelings for her. I wanted to tell her that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, that she had a personality so amazing that at any given moment I was sure this was all a dream, but I couldn’t figure out how to do any of that. So, I was at an impasse, and impasses are where I tend to get stupid. You see I have been a soldier for most of my adult life, soldiers learn how to problem solve by adapting, improvising, or overcoming. I had tried adaptation without luck, improvising was getting me nowhere so I was on my last leg with overcoming as my option. The trouble is that for a grunt soldier (like I was) overcoming an obstacle usually involves forcing an outcome whether it is the desired one or not. Essentially you just suck it up and charge head first at your problem with everything you have. So, instead of being smooth and romantic, I just flatly told her that there was a moment at Parc Guell that I really thought I should have kissed her. Not really a tactful approach, but it was my own awkward way of trying to tell her how I felt.

So, there I was way out on a limb and feeling pretty silly about it when she tells me that the moments I was describing she doesn’t remember. Man, my heart hit the bottom of my gut, but then hope kicked in. She said that there were plenty of other moments during the day where she had wondered why I hadn’t kissed her. Simultaneously my heart nearly skipped right out of my chest, and I promptly froze in amazed shock. The little man in my mind was jumping for joy saying ‘now kiss her you fool’, yet I just sat there like a bump on a log with a dumb look on my face. She wanted me to kiss her, I knew this, but I was in shock. Well, thankfully she wasn’t having any of that and broke the spell by kissing me. Sure enough that did the trick; as soon as our lips met, I snapped right out of it and we spent the rest of the night exploring this new way to enjoy each other’s company.

From this point it all becomes one big blur to me; we spent our days together exploring the city, learning more and more about each other. We held hands and kissed as often as we pleased, which was quite often. We lay in the park and held each other, and enjoyed wonderful meals as the cool evening air set on Barcelona. The nights were spent together in her bunk. Bliss is a feeling afforded to very few in the world today, but in Barcelona, bliss is exactly what I found.

But I knew our time in Barcelona was coming to a close. I had been acutely aware of the shelf life this relationship might have from the moment she stole my heart, but I knew that if there was anything in this world worth betting everything on it was her. I would stake it all on this relationship.  We had both said that we´d see where things went and take it as it came, but even though I had said the words I knew in my heart I couldn’t let this chance rest at just that.

I wanted to leave her with a gift. I had thought of this very early on and knew this gift had to be something special to show her how much she means to me, but I couldn´t think of anything I had to give that carried that kind of emotional weight. Then I realized I did have something, I had my dog tag. They come in a set of two, and I had worn the same set every single day since I became a soldier on my eighteenth birthday, and I was twenty nine when I met Vibeke. Those dog tags were the most precious possession I had in my whole life. I had given one to fellow soldier out of a bond of brotherhood so I only had one left around my neck. When this crossed my mind, I knew I had to give it to her. It was the only thing I could give that could possibly show her how much she means to me; because it was the only thing I valued most out of all I have.

So, on the second to last night I took her hand and told her I had something serious to share, that I had a gift for her. I took the chain and the tag off my neck and explained what it meant to me. I would have never thought I could part with something that meant so much to me but, but as I reclosed the chain around her neck, it felt right. The look in her eyes told me she knew how much this meant and that I was sure about giving it to her. I will admit that from time to time I do miss that chain around my neck, but I always know where it is and that puts the biggest smile on my face. It’s a year later now and she still wears it every day.

Sooner before later the inevitable came, our holiday was done and we had to part. Vibeke had plans to be in San Francisco in September and we had hashed out a rough idea that I might just join her out there, we had friended one another on facebook, and exchanged emails. We had done what we could to give our blooming romance a chance to flourish and see what happened next. We hugged and kissed so long that my travel companions were already making their way up the street without me. I walked out the first door into the courtyard and turned around to see her for what could have been the last time ever. I blew her a kiss, waved goodbye and turned around and left before I wouldn’t be able to force myself to walk away. As I caught up with the others, they inquired, “So?” to which I replied, “This morning was fine, but today just took a nasty turn into the suck…” Leaving that hostel was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.

P.s.  She says her stone was a stupid gift to me, but I still have it. When I feel down, I take it out of the cabinet where it’s displayed with my other cherished things and run my fingers over it. I’ll be damned if that doesn’t make any day better. (If you don’t understand this reference, please refer to our previous post).

Vibekes gift to me.

Vibekes gift to me.

How we met

As they say there are 3 sides to every story. Yours, mine and the truth. In the spirit of that the following 2 posts are his and my side of how we met and fell in love in Barcelona a little over a year ago. So what about the truth you might ask. I suspect it´s hiding somewhere in the middle.

 

In late may 2012 I decided to go to Barcelona on vacation. Too much work and the inevitable incapability to say no to do things that I want to do but didn´t have time for, had filled up all of my days for months, and had left me completely drained. So when I decided to go away on holiday it was to be by myself, exploring, photographing, relaxing and reading.

I had 10 days. I had planned it so that I had 2 days at a hostel in the city center and the rest of the holiday I was to spend at a hostel in the outskirts of the city. I had specifically been drawn to it because of the name, Feetup Garden house hostel, a name that promised exactly what I needed, time for relaxing and de-stressing.

The first 2 days I spent walking around Barcelona from 11 in the morning to 9 in the evening, walking everywhere and soaking up the southern, European big city atmosphere. When Wednesday arrived, and it was time for change of location, I was ready for some down time. I arrived at the hostel around 12 am and sat in the garden while waiting for the room to be ready. The garden was absolutely breathtaking, small cozy tables with lounge chairs and tall trees that provided plenty of shade and support for a comfy hammock. As I sat there waiting I decided to just take a day out of the calendar to stay and read. This might have proven to be one of the best decisions of my entire life. I sat in the garden, where I was reading my book `The Dice man´ by Luke Rhinehart. All was quiet, except for the wind in the trees and the birds. After some time I heard someone coming out from the door behind me, I looked up and politely nodded hello. He was tall, skinny and good looking, he had stretches in his ears and a Mohawk.  I´ve always been a sucker for a Mohawk, so needless to say he got my attention. He sat down at the table next to mine, picked up his book, and started to read.

I usually don´t smoke except for special occasions where I sometimes enjoy a cigarette, but the excitement of the situation made me smoke more than I had planned, so within the 3-4 hours sitting there, I ran out of cigarettes. So around 7 pm, I got up to go down to the local bar to buy a fresh pack. At this time a pretty and confident looking girl had joined him at his table. As I walked by, I did my best to be casual and smiled to them. But my mind was working overtime. Was she his girlfriend, just a friend who happened to be a girl, or a random stranger? `Dang it´ I thought while I proceeded to go buy my cigarettes.

When I got back to the garden, I was relieved to see that they were still there. I passed their table in order to go back to my table, but then I stopped, `this is ridiculous´ I thought. So I took a deep breath, turned around and asked if I could sit with them. They said I absolutely could, so I sat down and we introduced ourselves. His name was Michael and she was Caitlin. I casually asked if they were travelling together and Michael answered that they went to the same University, they had been on a study trip around Europe and got the possibility to extend their stay by one week. Caitlin and another girl had planned to go to Barcelona, he had decided to join them, and they had just arrived the evening before. It was obvious in the way he replied that he wanted to make sure that I knew that she wasn´t his girlfriend without saying it out loud. Once we started chatting we didn´t stop and within 10 minutes I knew that `it´ was something, although I didn´t know what it was. I knew I was attracted to him both as a person and psychically, and I could feel that he felt the same way about me. We talked about everything that evening, about his experiences as a soldier, about music and movies, the wonders of Roller Derby and life in general.

This is what the Garden looked like. We stole the photo off their website, but I hope they´ll consider this great advertisement and not get mad.

This is what the Garden looked like. We stole the photo off their website, but I hope they´ll consider this great advertisement and not get mad.

As time passed, more people joined us at the table and conversations were going on around us, but we only had eyes and ears for each other. As evening turned into night people started drifting off to bed, but not wanting to miss a minute, we stayed up until finally around 3 am, I said that I had to go to bed, I had plans the next day and needed to get a bit of rest. He asked me about my plans, “I´m going to Parc Guell”, I said expecting him to know about it, but to my surprise he had never heard of it, so I told him what I knew. “wow, that sounds pretty cool” he said (or something along those lines), ”Maybe  I´ll go there someday”…….. “well, do you wanna come with me?” The words had just slipped out of my mouth before I knew it and my heart was beating like a madman. I felt that I was being way too forward and was expecting him to make some excuse. To my surprise and relief the answer was that he´d love to go, so we agreed to meet in the morning.

The next day we went to Parc Guell, and like the night before we found ourselves with plenty to talk about. Finding the park proved a bit more difficult than expected, so we ended up walking up and down the mountain for a bit until we finally found it. It was a beautiful sunlit day and we took our time walking around seeing all there was to see. I think we were both quite content with making as much time as possible pass before leaving, and facing the possibility of having to say goodbye to each other for the day. We started to walk the streets without any plans just talking and enjoying each other’s company. I remember being confused, I knew without a doubt that he liked me, but through-out the day he had made no attempt at kissing me or holding my hand or anything of the sort, there hadn´t even been any awkward bumping into each other while walking. I thought that maybe he wasn´t attracted to me, that maybe he just thought that I was interesting and cool to hang out with… but the truth is that I´m really not that cool or interesting, so I quickly discarded that idea. We walked through the small streets of the old medieval city. When we got to a fork in the road, we´d randomly pick whatever direction seemed more interesting, and eventually made our way up to the area around Plaza de Catalunya in the newer part of the city.

We got back to the Hostel around 9 pm, and found a vacant table in the garden where we sat and talked. It didn´t take long before others started to join us, but I think they caught on to the fact that we´d probably rather be alone so they didn´t stay long.  Around 1am he nervously said that there was something that he´d like to ask me and he hoped that it wouldn´t make things awkward between us, but he kept thinking that there was a point while we were at Parc Guell where he should have kissed me. I have a tendency to tell the truth when directly asked, even at times when I should probably just keep my mouth shut, so I told him that I didn´t really remember the moment he was talking about, but that there had been other moments when he definitely should have kissed me. He looked at me and said `yeahh´ and paused for a while not really knowing what to do, so I thought fuck it, and kissed him. We stayed up kissing, talking and holding hands until 3.30 am when I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open.

We had 5 blissful days together, where we spend every possible minute in each other’s company. After the first night apart I even asked him to sleep in my bed in the room I shared with 5 other people, even after only knowing him for a few days I felt that there was something missing when he wasn´t there. We went out every day exploring the city as well as each other, we talked about the future, kids and the possibility of him coming to Denmark to live, all the while knowing that we weren´t making any promises that we were just having a wonderful summer fling, but at the same time I was profoundly aware of the fact that I had never felt this way about anyone before, that I had actually thought that I wasn´t capable of feeling like this.

On our second day of exploring Barcelona and each other.

On our second day of exploring Barcelona and each other.

As the days passed and the time for us to say goodbye came closer, we often talked about not pinning any hopes and dreams on a relationship, we knew that we definitely wanted to stay in contact, but having a long distance relationship was not likely to work out, so we spend the last days soaking up each other’s company. We both had to leave on Tuesday, he in the morning, I in the afternoon.  Our  last evening together was spend in the TV room cuddling on the couch watching `Into the Wild´. I remember fighting not to cry every time I remembered that it was our last night together. I wanted to give him something to remember me by, so I took a smooth stone from the garden and drew a small heart on it with a black marker and gave it to him. The first and second evening I had constantly been rubbing one of those stones in my hands and we had made fun of it. I don´t know what to say, but I  like stones, so it seemed like the perfect insignificant thing that I could give him, something that    would be specific to me and our time together.

The day before, on Sunday, he had given me his last remaining dog tag. We had been talking and joking, when all of a sudden he got serious and said that there was something that he wanted me to have. He slowly lifted the chain off his neck, opened it and put it on me. He told me that he had been thinking about it for a couple of days and it seemed right. He had been wearing them for 11 years, 4 of those years were after his discharge and maybe it was ok for him to not wear them anymore. Needless to say I started crying like a baby. In comparison, the stone I had planned to give him, seemed stupid and worthless, but it was the best I had. The magnitude of his gift is incredible and shows beyond a doubt how great an impact I had made on him and how much he loves me. I still wear it every day and it will forever be the most valuable thing I own.

After we finished the movie on Monday night, we sat in the garden for the last time, talking about our time together, and the no pinning of hopes and dreams, but I knew, even if I wouldn´t admit it even to myself, that it was way too late for that. I warned him that I would probably cry my eyes out when he left in the morning, I´m an emotional critter and I cry easily.

But to my great surprise I didn´t. When the morning came, we got up and he got ready to leave. We stood in the door and hugged and kissed until he absolutely had to go, but there were no tears. The pain was too great and I was completely paralyzed. We said goodbye and I went to lay in my bed all cuddled up, and all I could feel was the huge void in my gut where he had been. I was so painfully aware that he was gone, but I couldn´t cry.

Check-out time was already at 12am so I asked Christian, a guy who worked at the hostel that we had gotten to know really well, if I could stay in the garden until I had to leave for the airport. I didn´t want to go into town to be constantly reminded of things that we had done, and I most certainly didn´t want to walk around the streets of Barcelona with people staring at me because I was crying. So I stayed in the garden, reading, crying and talking to Christian. The trip into the city was just as awful as I had imagined, but at that point the only thing that was important was getting away from Barcelona as quickly as possible.  

Please share your own story of summer romance with us in the the comments.