In the fall of 2009, after three months of emails, texts and calls, I found myself about to throw up. Wait, what? Oh yes, I was standing in the airport in Atlanta, waiting for A. to get there, and I was nervous. I’d just made my way through Atlanta traffic, which at the time, I thought was terrible (hah, but now I’ve seen Los Angeles) and I drank a Starbucks Frapp. Stupid idea when nervous. Caffeine jitters + butterflies = bad. The biggest thing: I was waiting to see a guy that I hadn’t seen since 2005.
That’s a whole different story, but here are the basics: A. and I met while on a summer student leadership program in Washington, D.C. He’d flown in from Dubai, me from Georgia, and hundreds of other high school kids from around the States and the world. We’d met, talked a few times, even got a few pictures togther (I’ll show those another time), but nothing romantic or even really in-depth. He was outgoing and the life of the party, and I was a bit shy and opened up to fewer folks.
Fast-forward to 2009, and one day, A. calls me. We had exchanged numbers when he came to the States to go to Boston University, and had talked every once in a while. How cool was it to have an international friend, right? (Small town girl talkin’).
Little did I know, the few calls we exchanged over the summer in ’09 would start something in my life that I had never expected. In late summer, A. called me and we talked for hours. It wasn’t really romantic per-say, but we were definitely a little flirty. We talked about everything. Life, movies, what we liked to do, things we believed. Never once did we feel awkward or face a weird silence. We just talked, talked and talked, and then we finally hung up to eat dinner with a promise to talk again soon.
It was very soon. The next day, we talked again. And the next day, and the next day… until our talks had become deeper (and more romantic!), and we both realized: hey, I think this is something. A few months after our first long conversation, A. hopped on a plane from Boston and I found myself about to throw up while waiting in the airport.
I was waiting in the Starbucks just outside security, when I received a text. “Hellooooo, Georgia!” (Heart almost jumped out of my throat). We exchanged texts and I let him know where I was. Then, I waited. (Cue intense feelings of sickness).
Finally, after thinking every person rounding the corner was him, there he was. Oh God, I was nervous. I smiled and walked up to him, and then… he did the double-kiss European thing. And what did I do? I just stood there awkwardly laughing while he kissed both cheeks thinking, “I don’t know what to do. Ahh, he’s so foreign.” (Because I’m a goober, folks). A GOOBER.
We started to walk out to my car, and finally I had gotten over being wildly nervous (now only mid-level nervous), and I took his arm while we walked because… we knew each other. We had talked every single day for three months. We’d video-chatted. I knew this guy. Nothing to be nervous about.
Our drive home was long: 1 and 1/2 hours from the airport to Athens. We talked, held hands (eek!), and I laughed as A. commented on the differences between Georgia and Massachusetts. Umm… yeahhhh.
It was all so exciting! To have him in person, and realize, hey, this thing we’ve got going… it’s pretty serious. Because it was.
We spent the weekend getting to know each other better in person (!!). We walked around Athens, UGA’s campus, ate out way too much, and discovered that we were head over heels in love with each other.
It was simple. We were together. And boy, were we happy about it. After three days of bliss, we reluctantly headed to the airport in the wee hours of the morning to get A. to his flight. We made it there just in the nick of time… and missed it. In retrospect, A. could’ve made the flight and just left his bag (we missed the checked bag deadline), and I could’ve shipped it to him.
Instead he got himself another ticket and we went back to the car to decide what to do since his flight wasn’t for another 6 hours. We were tired and I was not looking forward to saying goodbye, so we drove to a good friend’s house to nap for a while until we had to come back.
6 hours later, we were back. We got out of the car, said our goodbyes, and I made it through without getting upset. I was back in the car and A. was walking into the airport, then turned to wave goodbye one last time, and I lost it. I cried all the way home. (Thanks to my wonderful Mom, who talked to me half the ride home and cheered me up!).
And that was it. The beginning of us. We spent two years dating long distance, flying back and forth until we graduated and I made the 20+ hour drive to Boston, where I stayed.
What are the odds that we’d meet in high school at a leadership conference? That we would talk again? That two people from very different worlds would come together and be together.
Slim odds, I’d say. But damn, I am happy that the odds were ever in our favor. 😉