Monday, 25 July 2011

A Love Story



In less than a month, Marco and I will be celebrating our first 365 days of being married. Our one-year wedding anniversary is on 21 August. 

As I did not have a blog (nor would I have had the time to write one) while we were organizing our love fest, I thought I'd indulge myself and reminisce about the wedding, our relationship and the planning that went into the big day over the next few weeks. 

Let's call it:

I know I have shared little bits about our wedding here before, but this time I am going to go all out. I am planning to put out a wedding-related post each day up to the day of our anniversary, so there will probably be some wedding DIY, some wedding food, some wedding frustrations, and definitely a post about my hen weekend.

I am going to start things of by telling you how we met:

I moved to London in 2004. I was young, single and dead set on having a great old time. Even before my actual moving date, I had checked out some personal ads on a website that I knew travellers and expats used to network and meet other people in order to make life in the big city fun, sociable and less lonely. I already had my good friend Christina, who had moved to London a few years before me, but I also wanted to make new friends. 

I emailed with a few guys and girls who sounded nice to organize some meet-ups. I had seen an ad by this one Canadian guy, Marco, who was looking for people to do "normal" things with, like going to the movies, or meeting for a chat over coffee. He said he enjoyed travelling and hiking. I thought that maybe he was a bit old (nine years my senior, would you believe it?!), but I had always been a big fan of all things Canadian, so he had that going for him, and I replied.

This is what I wrote to him: 

From: Annika
To: Marco
Subject: Your Gumtree.com ad: Canadian looking to meet new people
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 11:07:30 UT

Hey there!

Great! I am into normal things, too! Especially the sitting-around-with-a-coffee-in-my-hand-stuff! :o)

Am 27, female, German, have just arrived and am looking for nice people to spend my time with.

So are there any good places to go hiking around London?

Am looking forward to your reply!

Have a fun weekend!

Annika


This is what he wrote back:

From: Marco
To: Annika
Subject: Re: Your Gumtree.com ad: Canadian looking to meet new people
Date: Mo 02 Aug 2004 23:59:11 CEST

Hi Annika.

Thanks for answering my Gumtree ad. Surprisingly I got quite a few responses which is nice so I'm busy replying to people who took time to email me. To complicate my life BT cut of my internet in error so I'm waiting to get that sorted. Busy week this week as I'm on a surprisingly difficult Project Planner training course and I changed jobs. So once it all dies down I'll get in touch and hopefully find time to meet up. Being from Vancouver I always like to sit around with a couple of coffee so no problems doing that. Haven't done much hiking around London yet. Would love to. I do a lot of biking along some of the canals in North East London and sometimes I cycle to work at Oxford Circus. What part of London are you located? Where in Germany are you from? Hear from you soon.

Cheers

Marco

So very Marco, moaning about his internet and his training course...  In the end, we did arrange a meeting for the afternoon of 13 August in front of the Virgin Mega Store on Tottenham Court Road. We went on to a lovely Italian café that I knew and chatted. We then went on to a pub in Covent Garden and chatted. After closing time, he walked me to Leicester Square tube while we chatted. And chatting, I'll have you know, does not come easily to me - not with complete strangers. But this stranger was funny. And interesting. And tall. And he had gorgeous brown eyes. I felt at ease around him. More than at ease. In fact, when I came home to my friend Christina's house, where I was staying while I was looking for place of my own, I established that I had met the man I was going to marry. No joke! Christina can confirm! I stayed up all night and watched Four Weddings And A Funeral, because I was too exhilarated to sleep.
Lucky for me, Marco seemed to like me too, as we kept emailing and texting and met up a few more times. I just had to find out if he maybe also felt more than friendly towards me. 

I bought new outfits to wear to our dates. I wore skirts, mostly, because I once caught him checking out my legs... I cooked for him. I took him to the movies and to dark live music venues. You know, so that he could get comfy around me, if you get what I'm saying. Nothing. 

I wrote him a late night email once, after one of our outings, pretending to be tipsy and more or less confessing that I saw more in him than a buddy. Nothing.

I thought that maybe he really just wanted to be friends, because that had been what he was looking for.

But still, I thought he was sending out all the right vibes. If he had not been sending those vibes, I would probably just have declared defeat. After all, I had sworn to myself never to make a move on a guy again, after one too many heartbreaks in the past.

On 30 September, 6 weeks after our first meeting, we were out together again, looking for an Irish pub with live music somewhere in West London. We never actually found the pub, but had a great evening nonetheless, just walking the streets and talking. I was growing more and more desperate, especially as my Canadian was to depart on a trekking holiday to Nepal in two days time. I feared he might chance upon a sexy lady backpacker or a sweet Nepalese beauty and forget all about his German friend in the UK. So, here is what happened on the way home.

We had some part of the way to go together and were sitting next to each other on the Underground. I swallowed all my pride and rested my tired head on Marco's shoulder. 

Surely, any guy who was interested in the girl would put his arm around her, take her hand? No, not this one. 

So the girl, not believing that all the signs could have been wrong, asks him: "Is this okay?". And he says: "Yes!" So simple. 

We had to change onto different trains at Leicester Square. Which is where we then had our first kiss when saying goodbye, on the Southbound Northern Line platform. And the rest is history, as they say.

It turned out that Marco had been falling in love as well, but was also a master of self-restraint. He had not wanted to get too close to me, knowing that he would have to leave me behind for a while to go on his trip. So, he went to Nepal for 3 weeks, and that was the last time we were ever apart for any amount of time. We moved in together in fall 2005, bought a house in 2007 and had our first cat Mae move in with us in 2009. 

And the moral of all this? Love will hit you when you're not looking. Or: If it feels right, make the first move! Or: The shy girl's guide to winning the heart of a timid boy.

How we came to get married? That's a story for another day...



Linking up here!



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9 comments:

  1. That is such a lovely and genuine story! Thank you so much for sharing it! I'm really looking forward to your month of wedding posts.

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  2. What a wonderful story Annika! He sounds like a wonderful guy, and you make a beautiful couple!

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  3. Annika, that is a lovely story. I'm glad that you took the time to write it. You definitely had patience my girl.

    Looking forward to reading about your wedding. xo

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  4. Such a sweet love story.

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  5. Very sweet...congrats on your 1st year. : )

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  6. That is so sweet! I've got a shy boy myself. Congrats on the anniversary! <3

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  7. love stories are my favorite kind of blog posts.
    and yours is ADORABLE.
    i love that he was playing hard to get with you - too funny.

    you were bold girl. :) i am so glad it worked out, it is such a cute story!

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  8. How lovely! it is wonderful reading how you to met. And great that you made it happen! Sometimes people have to be shown what is good for them :-)
    Alles Liebe
    Jutta

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  9. I just read your story, and it's possibly the sweetest, nicest, natural story ever of two strangers meeting and falling in love. I'm smiling now!! Actually..i think I could read this as a novel....because you've written it so effortlessly and with such a quirky humour! xoxo

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