I had three months off to travel the world.You get this in Oz if you work seven years for same company, its called long service leave.
I go to London and on first day I went to Big Ben. I want to get the standard tourist shot – me and BB (cheesy but I am an Australian and it is the other side of the world!). Was about to ask this guy to take my photo and he lay down on the grass and shut his eyes.
I turned to the nearest person. It was a girl reading a paper and asked her to take my photo. Got talking to her. Her first day in London too. We decided to have a look around and got lost as both of us have terrible sense of direction, spent the day immersed in laughter and saw Lloyds building about 10 times unintentionally. She was Quebecois and spoke hardly English. Never the less had a blast.
Agreed to meet at Big Ben next day. Next day, I’m standing there and thinking, “who is that beautiful girl waving at me”… Turned out to be the girl from the day before. To be honest the first day I hadn’t really though much about her looks as I was jet lagged to hell and thought it was just a few hour wander around London before we went our separate ways.
She’d come to London to learn English, ended up running away with me and we travelled all over Europe, living in a tent and surviving on pancakes and cheap wine. After three months of sunshine and adventure, we parted as she had to go back to Quebec to study and finish her degree. I had career and masters to finish on other side of the world. I had never had three months of my life that were filled with so much happiness and felt very lucky to have shared this time together with someone so special.
Try as I might, I couldn’t get her off my mind. All my friends said ‘forget it, just a holiday romance – it would never work in real life’. I talked to others who’d tried to rekindle these sorts of romances and it had failed. The time had been so great that I didn’t want to spoil it with some clumsy attempt to recapture the magic. After all 9-5 is very different to hanging out in France and Spain.
About a year later I got a lump in my side. I was diagnosed with aggressive cancer. I remember sitting in the doctors surgery and thinking ‘this cant be happening – I haven’t finished my masters yet!’. I was trying to joke with the doctor and he wouldn’t smile and he told me that if it had got into my system I probably had one more year. This was a very dark period, but also it made me think very deeply about life, my priorities and how precious time is.
I had to go into hospital and have the thing cut out immediately. Lay in bed afterwards and vowed that if I made it through I would track the girl down and ask for her hand in marriage. Long story short, I made it through.
So I sent a postcard to an old address she gave me . Someone read the back of it and realised it might be important and got it to her.
Well, she said ‘Yes”
We have now been together for ten years, still the most amazing woman in the world and as beautiful as when I first met her. We still have no sense of direction and as a result have got wonderfully lost all over the world together.
I don’t know why it is that some get the chance to meet someone so special. I wish it could happen to everyone.
Having walked through the dark valley and also having won the hand of the woman I loved, I value every single day.