Hello lovely bloggers. Today, in celebration of our 8-year anniversary, I decided to share how my boyfriend and I met. 8 years is so close to a decade, and dang, doesn’t that seem like a long time? I realize many of you may not be interested, but if anything, I’m writing this for myself. (Okay, that’s a lie. I tried really hard to make this slightly less than WAY too long, just for you!)
My parents took me and my brother to Puerto Rico for a family vacation in 2004. I was very upset because teenagers get upset about everything I had just started dating someone whose name I can no longer remember. On our first day there, my grandparents already had company, although it must have been only 7 am. Why the hell was everyone up already? We wandered downstairs and saw two men, my future boyfriend and his cousin. Want to know what my first memory of my boyfriend is? I got to watch him kill and de-skin a chicken. I know, talk about love at first sight. Before I continue, I should probably mention that, at the time, I only spoke English and he only spoke Spanish. The really stupid part is that Spanish was my first language. But I broke up with Spanish once I met English. Shame on me.
My boyfriend had become friends with my grandparents a while back. He would visit them every so often, but during the two weeks I was there, he started coming over EVERY day. I found myself looking forward to seeing him, despite his slight staring problem. Even though we couldn’t communicate, we still enjoyed just being next to each other. I lived for the moments when we’d accidentally touch elbows or bump into each other. One day, we were going somewhere, and we invited him to come. My mom wanted him to sit in the front seat but I looked at him and bravely pointed to the back seat, hoping he’d get the message. He did, and it was awesome. My brother was in the back too, so I was forced to sit very close to my crush. I didn’t mind…our legs were touching and I was in heaven.
Anyway, to make a long story slightly less long (you have no idea how much I had to cut), I’ll skip to the last night. We all went out to eat at a restaurant. I held my breath/crossed my fingers/prayed that he would take the hint and sit next to me, in the chair that I was casually pointing to, and he did. We both had our arms on the table, practically glued to each other. I found myself moving my chair closer to him, which my mom noticed and did NOT like. I was practically on his lap. The poor thing looked so nervous. When the food came, we put our arms down, because hello, table manners. He watched me every time I put the fork in my mouth. Maybe he was picturing me putting something else in…never mind, let’s keep this clean.
During dinner, he started playfully kicking me under the table. Somehow, we ended up twisting our legs together, kind of like holding hands, but instead, holding legs? It was weird but awesome at the same time. “He likes me, he really likes me!” When it was time to leave, I realized I didn’t want to let go of his leg. But once we let go, I realized that, OWWW, that was a really uncomfortable position to be in for the last hour. During dinner, the subject of pictures had come up. We didn’t have a camera (I know, wtf?) so he offered to buy a disposable one, and I offered myself to him. No wait, that’s not right. I begged offered to go with him. Dad didn’t like it, but in the end, my brother and I went with him in his car, and everyone else crammed into my grandma’s car. I was so happy, even with my younger brother in the back seat, probably acting as chaperone under dad’s orders.
When we got to the store, I felt really tempted to hold his hand. Partially because I liked him and partially because I sensed I might lose him. And sure enough, he tried hiding from us once or twice. He’s cute like that. You’d think it’d be awkward being in a store with some guy who doesn’t even speak the same language as you, but it really wasn’t. I was falling for this guy I barely knew and couldn’t even speak to. We bought the camera and then headed back to my grandparents’ house. He pointed out various places on the way, and I nodded, because, yeah, we couldn’t communicate. We finally arrived and my parents started breathing again, relieved to see that he had brought us back safely.
We took pictures, which made the poor guy uncomfortable. You’d think he’d never been around a girl before, poor thing. Later, we were all sitting out on the balcony and I noticed he was tying his shoes like a little kid. Two bunny ears or something…looping both sides and then tying them together. I commented (and someone translated to him) on how I thought that was weird, how you only need to loop one lace. Naturally, he wanted to see how I did it. So I got down on my knees and tied his shoes. I had to show him like 5 times. Down on my knees, isn’t that so romantic? Sadly, it was getting late, so we all had to say goodbye. When it was my turn, I kissed him on the cheek and gave him a hug. He passed out in shock. I think he was only expecting a hand shake. Before fading completely from my view, he turned around and waved to me one last time, and I started to cry for this boy I barely even knew.
At the airport the next day, we called grandma to let her know our flight was on time. She put him on the phone, and I was like, WHOA, WHAT, ME-NO-SPEAKY-SPANISH. So this is how our conversation went.
Shortest conversation EVER. A few hours later, we got back to the states and called grandma again. She told us that everyone was at the house talking, and when she had looked over at my guy, he had tears in his eyes. He was crying FOR ME. Do you have any idea how touched I was by that? How many men would cry over a woman they had just met? I cried so hard just hearing that. I knew we had to find a way to keep in touch. I wrote him a letter and mailed it to my grandma. He was so surprised and nervous when grandma gave him the letter that he couldn’t even read it right away. Isn’t he such a dork so cute? Then again, I was pretty nervous and super excited when his first letter arrived. So that’s how it started. We actually wrote each other letters, the old fashioned way. (I still have all his letters saved in a box.) Aside from letters, we also spoke on the phone once a week during the first year. It was awful at first, but I practiced my Spanish and after a few weeks, I got much better. (And yes, I broke up with what’s-his-name as soon as I came back from vacation.)
After a couple months, he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. Everyone thought we were crazy, and I guess I understand. Most long-distance relationships don’t work out. But when you love someone that much, you make it work. It was hard only seeing each other a couple weeks out of the year. We spoke on the phone almost every day, and eventually we bought webcams, so at least we could see each other. It took a lot of work and several years (we were young and had no money), but he was finally able to move here in 2011, and we have an apartment together. People had their doubts about us living together too. They said it’d be even harder than with most people because we didn’t have a “normal” relationship. But just as before, we beat the odds. Moving in together just felt natural. It was worth the wait and we’re very happy. Well, most of the time. Hey, no relationship is perfect. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.