My First Abroad Romance, Part 1

One of my best memories from traveling was when I had my first romance. I was 20 years old at the time and I was studying abroad in London. I had wanted to study in Paris at the time - I was almost fluent in French then - but the only program that was available to me was at the Science Po. I was a political science major and that is the most difficult Political Science program in France and I was told that if I wanted to study abroad there I would spend the majority of my time in the library. No thank you. London it was. No language barrier, easy classes and the freedom to travel anywhere cheaply - thank you Ryanair. Even though I was studying abroad I had never really traveled somewhere for a weekend entirely by myself. These were also the days before smartphones even existed - hard to remember such a time - so it was not as easy then for me to meet new people while traveling because there was no Tinder. I decided to test myself and see if I could handle being completely alone - I was not yet ready for an entire weekend - so I booked an overnight trip to Brighton, a beach town an hour outside of London.

Everything worked out very well. I made it to Brighton and went exploring. I´ve noticed that though I´m very comfortable during the days - it´s the nights that I don´t like to be alone. I returned to my hostel and made friends with a German guy -Christian - who was staying in the bed above me. He was also living in London and had came down for the night alone and we were around the same age so it was a perfect match. We were immediately attracted to each other. He was very thin, much taller than me with brown hair and piercing brown eyes. We decided to get dinner together and found out that we had a lot in common. After to dinner we went to many bars along the beach and wound up drunk, sitting on the sand listening to a drum circle filled with Africans and some various locals. We sat in front of the bonfire holding each other and laughing at the randomness of the night. I remember that we to a dark spot on the beach and spent what felt like hours kissing and laying together. It was a magical night. Eventually we returned to our hostel and fell asleep cuddling. We woke up the next day and went our separate ways, promising to meet up the next week in London to go to the Globe Theater to see A Midsummer Night´s Dream - my favorite of Shakespeare´s plays.

Getting in touch with Christian was not easy. Again, this was before smartphones existed and to be honest I really don't know how we managed to connect. It was a flurry of phone calls to his flat with random roommates answering the phone never knowing his whereabouts. One day I was able to finally connect with him and we agreed to meet on Thursday afternoon at the theater. Thursday came and I was super excited. I picked out a little black dress – my date uniform - and did my hair and makeup specially for him. I could not stop smiling in anticipation of seeing him again. At the time I did not have much experience with dating so this was a huge moment for me. I bought chocolate digestives for us to share and arrived to the theater early, which is a rarity for me. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity and my heart sank to the floor. No Christian. I found a pay phone and called his house and a flatmate picked up and said that he had no idea where he was. I picked my heart up off the floor and decided that it would not be an entirely wasted afternoon and bought a standing room only ticket for 5 pounds. I entered the theater crushed, found a spot in which to stand and took out my digestives. The play began and slowly a smile eturned to my face. I really do adore the play and seeing it in the Globe Theater is a really special experience. A must for any visitor to London. About 5 minutes into the play I felt a set of arms hug me from the back. I turned around and it was Christian. I began to cry because I was so happy. The play was so great and he stood behind me the whole time with his arms wrapped around me, sharing the Digestives and enjoying the play as much as I did. We spent the rest of the night exploring the city - going to different bars for a pint because neither of us wanted the night to end. He was leaving to return to Germany on Saturday and he was very sad about it. So was I. I was not ready to say goodbye to him because I finally found someone with whom I really connected.

Experiencemary egan