My husband and I met in our respective home towns (which are only 10 minutes apart, and I spent a lot of time in the town – his town – 10 minutes away for most of my teenage years and early 20s), when we’d both, serendipitously, returned from living abroad. He in England for 2 years, me in Prague for 3.
It’s quite possible, actually, that we’d run into each other when we were younger. It’s pretty amazing that we never dated, because he was, at that time, the type of “troubled” troublemaker that I always fell for and latched on to and I was the kind of “I’ll fix you” martyr girl that he got into bad relationships with, as well. I think fate intervened to keep us apart, because we’d have never lasted if we’d met then. Instead, I met The Ex and acted out that drama with him and Mr Nikki had his ex wife, with whom he acted out a similar drama. (Although, while our respective relationship’s dynamics were similar, Mr Nikki’s type of trouble wasn’t nearly as vile and destructive as my Ex’s. I don’t say that because I’m biased. I say that because my Ex nearly choked me to death and whored around, while Mr Nikki was just young and irresponsible. But anyway.)
We met on a Wednesday night. We’d arranged to meet up at a diner, for dinner & coffee and wound up at a hole in the wall bar till 3 am. Saturday morning, we woke up in the hotel room where he asked me to drive to LA with him and claimed he wasn’t falling for me. (in a way that clearly stated the opposite.) Then we sat in my favorite local coffeeshop and talked about kids & family, Europe, and both our favorite city – Amsterdam. “Let’s go in the Spring,” he said.
We never went.
I’ve realized, the past few months, how resentful I’ve become of some external factors (another post entirely and something that’s being worked on) and the fact that I haven’t left the States for 3 years (save for Canada – and I LOVE Canada, but it’s just not the same.) When we’d met, when we’d sat there talking about Amsterdam, I envisioned us taking trips together. I was realistic, I didn’t expect it to be a nonstop stream of overseas flights, but I DID think we’d at least do something once a year.
So, FINALLY, we’re off to Pais Vasco and Amsterdam soon, with promises to not let so much time go by again.
It’s been so long, for me, and it’s occurred to me that while I’ve gotten to know him over the years and I’ve seen him in his true element – his “work” self, which is his passion and much of who he is, he’s never seen me in mine. I’m most at “home”, most ME and happiest while abroad. I’m at my best in unfamiliar territory, trying new foods, learning my way around foreign streets. I’m most social and at my best when navigating new social customs, tripping over languages I haven’t practiced in ages or am learning as I go. Many people say, “I love to travel,” but it’s different for me. I NEED it. I need it like breathing. I love my life here in Seattle, I love being a mom and our awesome “tree house” (that’s what everyone calls it) but I’ve also been very conscious of feeling like a small part of me has been wilting away here. It’s been far too long. And I’ve adjusted my expectations, as I said – I know we can’t go away nearly as often as when I lived in Prague, but I need a shot more regularly than every 3 years.
It will be hard, after this trip, to have to wait for the next one! But at least I’ll come back full of inspiration and memories (and Spanish food and Dutch pancakes) to keep me going. It’s a bit like returning to Wonderland. And a bit like going to meet myself again. I’m looking forward to finally, FINALLY, merging my two halves, the old and the new, together.