This is the second part of our love story- how we met and started dating. I split it up since it was getting pretty long, but this part is looking to be quite a bit longer! Sorry ’bout that. You can read part I here.

So…Europe.

Kathleen and I set out several days ahead of Tim and traveled around Croatia and Medugorje. The plan was to then travel to Italy, catch a ferry, and meet Tim in Greece. We had a great time, did a LOT of traveling (bus, 2 overnight ferries, more bus), tried to convince ourselves we didn’t over-pack,Croatia4 and took in many sights!

PicMonkey Collage

Croatia

Bari

Corinth

Now for months I had felt nervous anticipation at the thought of seeing Tim again. I couldn’t help feeling twinges of excitement, however, I kept trying to prepare myself for the likely possibility that there was no interest on his end. I didn’t want to ruin the trip for myself or anyone else by letting my emotions go overboard. On the flight over Kathleen also warned me that she wasn’t sure what his future plans were- maybe even the possibility he would re-enter the monastery for all she knew (my hopes dashed even further).

Well, I couldn’t help but think about what our first meeting in Europe would be like- I assumed we’d meet him at the train station in Corinth or something. Kathleen and I were chilling out in our hotel room hours after our arrival in Corinth when we heard a knock on the door. It was Tim. I sat absolutely glued to my bed with a dorky/ awkward smile on my face while he and Kathleen hugged and caught up with each other. I actually can’t remember what I first said to him, but it was probably something scintillating like, “Hi, how was your flight?”.

We all then went to dinner at Woody Woodpecker’s restaurant down on the beach:

Woody

But the food was amazing!

and Tim and I sat next to each other:

Just act casual, self.

Just act casual, self.

While it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world traveling with this guy I really liked, all the while assuming he didn’t like me back, the trip was seriously great. We all got along really well (which I know isn’t always the case traveling in groups!) and had fun taking in the sights and eating amazing food.

PicMonkey Collage2

Plus we bonded over the challenge of trying to capture pictures of “Shants”(not shorts, but not pants. A fashion explosion among European men).shants

After Corinth we took a bus to Athens, and here’s a cute story from that part of the trip. We were touring the city that first day and passed by some tree or bush with periwinkle flowers. Tim picked one and then asked if either of us wanted the flower. No way was I gonna speak up, but Kathleen boldly told him to give it to me. I, of course, kept it and pressed it in a book. I still have it, framed on my dresser, sentimental pack-rat that I am.

boats

After a couple days in Athens we took an overnight ferry to Samos, one of the Greek islands. The seats we had were very much like airplane seats and had no foot rests, so it was hard to sleep. At one point I made an exit to go get some air on the top deck. On the way I made a detour to use the restroom and to check out the rest of the boat, so it was maybe 15 minutes before I climbed the stairs to the top. It was dark out, but I could see a man sitting on a bench. I didn’t want to disturb this stranger, so I stayed standing in the back, faced the water, and said the Divine Mercy closing prayer -in part for safety, and in part for help with these ridiculous feelings I still had for Tim (stinkin’ emotions!). A moment after finishing, I noticed that the man was coming towards me, and then I could tell it was Tim.

He mentioned he’d been there several minutes, thinking that I would be there too. My heart pounded a bit and the thought entered my head that maybe he was interested in me after all. We started talking about all kinds of things. Family, friends, our jobs, what we thought about such and such. Then he hit me with a zinger question: Did I have any plans to get married soon?

I kept my face as stoic as I could but inside I was going berserk. What is he thinking?! Who asks a question like that? Especially a guy to a girl!! Clearly I’m not dating anyone so, NO. And that’s what I told him- nope. He then said something like he couldn’t ever imagine himself getting married unless he was in the right relationship. Wham– to me this meant no girls he knew (me) were interesting enough to him to want to date.

We continued on with our conversation and watched the sun rise over the horizon. Then we decided to go back inside, and he asked if I wanted to get some coffee. That never happened as all the food areas were closed, so we headed back to our seats. I immersed myself in a book, but I was aware that Tim (sitting next to me) was busy writing something in his notebook.

Taken right after we disembarked the overnight ferry.

Taken right after we disembarked the overnight ferry.

After I had time to process our conversation and his crazy question, I came to the conclusion that if he had the guts to ask me such a question, he probably was not interested in me at all romantically, and saw me like a sister (I know- end it with the back and forth feelings already!). I’m the kind of person who likes to confide in another after I’ve processed something, so I kept waiting for a moment to talk to Kathleen privately. I was able to a little bit when we went to the beach, but it felt like that guy was always within hearing distance.

We almost broke our necks getting there- but it was worth it.

We almost broke our necks getting there- but it was worth it.

Psiliamos

Next we moved on to another island, Patmos- where St. John wrote Revelations, and then took a short ferry ride to Kusadasi, Turkey. After finding a nice hotel/ hostel place and settling in, the owner offered to drive us around to different tourist sights (for a price of course). One thing I remember about that day was that it was HOT. Hot as hades. We went to Ephesus, saw lots of ruins, a rug and ceramic shop, more ruins…it was a long day. And it was that time of the month if you catch my drift. Suffice it to say I was feeling a bit grumpy and non-social. All I wanted was to get back to the hotel and take a nice shower.

Eating a traditional Turkish meal

Eating a traditional Turkish meal

We all went our ways once we returned to the hotel, and after my shower I went out on one of the balconies to read a book- ironically it was The Wedding (by Nicholas Sparks). I heard a knock on the door, it opened, and there stood Tim. He stammered, “Sorry, I never do this.” I nonchalantly hid the book title. He sat down and continued that he wasn’t sure how to say this, and he never does this, but, “Would you like to see each other back home?”.  My heart was pounding, but I let out a “Sure, I’d like that”. We had another long talk about lots of stuff, including the hows/whens/wheres of our interest in each other. And he told me he let some of his friends know he was moving to California for a girl. Be still my heart.

balcony

(Cue T. Swift) I close my eyes and the flashback starts: I’m standing there on a balcony in summer air.

I’ll try to speed up the rest real quick like.

Kathleen sweetly let us go by ourselves to dinner that night. We went to a causal Turkish place…and I paid. ;) Tim had his credit card stolen earlier that day and I forget why his debit card wasn’t working either. We walked around the quay, got ice cream, then went to Starbucks for (you guessed it) coffee. He suavely took my hand and held it as we were walking around. When we got back to the hostel we played a competitive game of cards.It was a great first date. :)

Kusadasi

Almost a couple for one full day.

About what Tim was writing on that ferry ride. He wrote a poem about how he blew his chance to ask me out. He let me read it a few days later, and I was blown away. It was one of those non-rhyming kind of poems that I could never write even if I had 3 English Lit degrees. I truly married up. When I think to, I thank him for going out on that balcony.

Aaand that’s the story of our beginning! Thanks for sticking with it. :)

Have some time to burn? You can read the story of our engagement here.

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