Love, Travel

My Fairytale

and this girl deserves one too…

Once there was a little girl that used to dream about walking through vineyards and castle hallways. She dreamt about seeing her prince ride up on a white horse. She used to look at magazines of grandiose dresses in the library after school while waiting for her mother to finish work. For her birthday one year her mother presented her with a small ceramic bear holding a frog, inscribed beneath the smiling bear was “Someday my prince will come.” And the little girl believed he would.

The girl grew up and had her heart broken a few times as well as broke a few hearts herself. She learned about life, about people, about relationships, about friendships and about herself. Her parents divorced. She moved. She started over. She left people behind. People left her behind. Her brother died. She became fearful of the people close to her leaving or worse, dying. Trust was a difficult concept and she had long ago lost the ideal of her prince charming arriving like a valiant knight atop his white horse. She left all ideas of marriage and happily ever after behind.

Then one day after years of long relationships, short relationships, and various breakups, she found herself on a deserted beach with her best friend.

the two friends on tioman island

They were entertaining themselves with various made up swimming techniques in the crystal clear water and as they sprang up from one of their underwater twists, there was a boy swimming towards them and pointing to the shore. He was waving his hands and saying something about monkeys. There were no white horses around, but this was clearly her valiant knight warning her that monkeys were going through their things on the shore. The girls shouted to their friend who was sunbathing, but to no avail did he understand what they were shouting about. They swam back to shore and discovered their things strewn about. That’s when the girl met the boy that would later invite her to travel with world with him. Her prince had arrived.

The girl was staying on a small island off the coast of Malaysia with her friends. It was April, 2004. They had decided it would be a relaxing holiday. They were not looking for any princes to come into their lives. But something changed that evening over drinks, dinner and a conversation that began under the stars and lasted until the sun rose.

the girl looking at the boy

the boy looking at the girl on the evening they met

The girl began to lose her heart to this boy that had sprung from nowhere into her life. He left the next day and although they exchanged emails, would she really hear from him again? Two days later, after she arrived back to the mainland by bus with her friends, she was waiting in line at the money machine and when she looked up, there he was. Somehow, there they were in the same place, unknowingly the other would be there. After this chance meeting –some might call it fate– there was no doubt in her mind that she would hear from him again.

A month later he arrived in Bangkok. She met him at the skytrain where he stood with his bags at he feet waiting to wrap his arms around her in a hug. While he stayed with her in Bangkok, he greeted her with fresh flowers and snacks from the local market after school. They talked late at night and into the mornings. They spent time with her friends. She shared all of her favourite Bangkok places with this boy that had mysteriously entered her life and who she believed would mysteriously leave as well.

reunited in bangkok (that is a tank top I’m wearing!)

How was she to know that just two weeks after spending time with her in Bangkok he would throw his arms around her and shout “I think I love you!” She would shrink inside herself, afraid of such a forward profession of the heart. The next day she wouldn’t speak to the boy. She would clean her flat furiously and he would wonder where she had gone so deep inside herself. She was afraid of what that word love entailed. It would take her weeks to say it back but when she did, she felt her heart open up again for the first time in years. Truly and completely.

They began a journey together not many who hardly knew each other would dare to embark on. She met him in Vietnam, one of her favourite places. They travelled from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh and back to Bangkok for a brief stopover before heading into Burma, somewhere she had always dreamt of visiting. This boy was making her dreams come true. And so was she.

hindu blessings in nepal

They continued travelling together into India, Nepal and back into India. They sadly departed each other in the Delhi airport as he headed to Israel-Palestine and she moved her things from Bangkok to Michigan. What would they do then?

She found it difficult to be apart from this boy that she had opened her heart to and after just a month they decided that she would join him in Nazareth. She was no longer that little girl dreaming of horses and princes, but a woman who had seen things that many will never see in their lifetime. They discovered each other while continuing to discover themselves.

glowing in nazareth

After a world of eye opening experiences in Israel-Palestine, they moved to the UK where she spent time with his family and they both tried to find work in London. Life was never without challenges. As an American, finding work in London was nearly impossible. She found herself leaving her prince a few months later to spend time with her family in Michigan. Soon after, she took a job in Switzerland so that they could be as together as possible across an ocean.

The girl no longer dreamt of her prince on her white horse. But sometimes this man in her life would call her his princess and she would recall those fairytale dreams she dreamt as a child.

kisses in switzerland

They travelled back and forth to see each other as often as their jobs and money would allow. He accompanied her to the states to meet her family for Christmas where a secret conversation occurred between him and her mother she would only learn about later.

They looked forward to their next holiday in Spain. Their first holiday alone in nearly a year. It started off rough as they each took turns with a bout of stomach flu. But by the time they arrived in Sevilla, Spain, they were rested and well. On February 10th they spent the day exploring the city in the sun. After a siesta in the evening they would enjoy tapas and sangria. On their way to a flamenco show, they became lost in the cobblestone streets. They walked into a large courtyard with a fountain and the famous Sevilla Gothic Cathedral lit over the wall in the background. There were orange trees on either edge of the small alleyways leading out of the courtyard.

full courtyard view the next morning

the fountain

The woman watched as this man knelt on one knee, claiming he had to tie his shoe but instead looked up at her, presenting a tiny blue box, opened to expose a sparkling diamond. She stared down at this gem of a man before her. Her companion. Her best friend. Her partner. Her prince. She remembered that evening nearly two years ago in Bangkok when he had first declared his love and how she had been afraid, but this time, she was ready. A smile spread across her face and she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Say yes!” He smiled. “So I can get up!” “Yes!” She yelled and as he stood she threw her arms around him and he lifted her off of her feet, carrying her to the fountain where he sat, placing her on his lap. She smiled and tears of happiness rolled down her cheeks. Her prince had come. He had been by her side all along.

newly engaged

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2 thoughts on “My Fairytale”

  1. What a beautiful story!!! Thanks for sharing it and the lovely pics. How very special that you have those 2 photos of you looking at each other the day you met. And I love that your very first encounter was a monkey warning (bet there aren’t many people who can say that!) You guys really are one of the sweetest couples I have ever met :-). Happy ‘first meeting’ anniversary xo

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