I started this blog a year and a half ago while sitting in an airport, waiting to head off on my first big, international adventure. I had just graduated from the University of California Davis and was leaving the only other place I had ever called home since leaving my parents’ house at 18. Now, 18 months later, I have had the glorious privilege of traveling to 19 countries, living in Guatemala for six months, and starting my master’s degree at the Oregon University of Health and Science. I thought that after Guatemala I would come home, go to graduate school, get my degree, and settle down. I thought that I would find a nice Oregonian to fall in love with and we would live in Portland, happily drinking craft beers and running in Forest Park. However, life had other plans in store for me, plans that started innocently, simply by flirting with a hot Australian at a salsa class in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
Kane and I met at Erika’s salsa school, Salsa Rosa, in Xela (the indigenous and more commonly used name for Quetzaltenango). My roommate, Lien, and I were just leaving our group lesson and the next lesson was starting, a lesson that happened to include a very attractive Aussie. As Lien and I debated whether or not I should stay to dance with him, Erika made the decision for us, waltzing over saying, “Stay, we need more girls, you can dance with him!” while shoving me in the direction of Kane. We danced and talked, I told him about my plans to learn Spanish in Xela then go home to get my master’s degree, he told me all about his free-form adventure through Central America. He had spent months in Mexico, drifting from one place to another slowly enough to find the best tacos in Puerto Escondido, the best tacos in Mexico City (see a theme here?), and the idea that he should probably learn some Spanish (to better order tacos most likely), so he hopped on down to Xela, a city famous for cheap language schools, and decided to stay a week or two at most. Then he met me.
We moved in together after 2 1/2 months, faster than most, but it made sense as he was looking for more affordable long term housing than a hostel and I was looking to escape the disaster that was my host family. Long story short it went wonderfully and we decided to travel after my program was over in Xela. We made our way down from Guatemala to Costa Rica over about a month and a half, stopping in Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua along the way. Unfortunately, reality hit and in Costa Rica we had to go our separate ways, me back to the US for graduate school and him back to Australia for work. I have never cried more in public than I did that day in the airport, watching Kane’s plane take off, taking him away from me. One would think this would be the end of the story, that the distance would be too much, but somehow we have made it through. There have been may different iterations of the plan that has taken me here to Los Angeles International Airport waiting to board a flight to Singapore, but the one thing that all those plans had in common was that we decided to fight for us. We did not want to break up, we would make it work, and we did. So that’s how I came to be here, with another plane ticket and another backpack, but this time I also have a leave of absence from school and a work visa for Australia.
In just about 24 hours I will land in Singapore, where the love of my life will be waiting for me. I almost don’t believe it yet, after all, it has been 5 months and 1 week since I last saw Kane. The distance was extraordinarily painful at times, but in these past 160 days I have learned how strong I am, how strong we are; I have learned that while I love him more than I ever thought possible, I can survive without him, even if I don’t want to. The decision has been made for a while, but today I have made the first step to stop just surviving and to make the changes necessary to live the life that makes my soul sing, with the person who makes my heart smile. I am confident that this is the choice I need to make for my own happiness and I am going with all my heart. I will miss my friends and family back home, but for now I need to start my grand Australian adventure. No one can know what the future holds for certain, but from where I’m sitting it looks pretty good.