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The phone rang as I was about to go to bed.

“Hey, I hear congratulations are in order. Your paper got accepted!”
“Thank you!”
“That’s really great! Say, are you coming just for the conference or do you plan a longer trip?”
“I’m going to visit some friends, spend a few days in New York then a few more days in San Francisco“.
“Is LA on your itinerary?”
“No, not this time. I think I had enough of LA to last me a while”
“Oh, OK.  So I have another offer for you.  One I hope you won’t be able to refuse. A friend of mine is attending the same conference as you and afterwards he and his girlfriend are coming down to LA and we are going on a trip to the Grand Canyon area together. I would be really happy if you joined us“.

Oh, I though to myself, this is what it’s really all about.  He doesn’t want to be a third wheel. He doesn’t want to go by himself when they are a couple.  Well, too bad for him.

“No, I think I’ll pass. My schedule for this trip is pretty full”
“I wish you would reconsider. I would like to discuss something with you”
“Well then, in that case I guess you’ll have to come up to Vancouver”

I smiled to myself as I drifted to sleep.  I was very proud of myself.

6:45am the next morning my phone rang again.  

“If we change our plans and go on a trip of the Canadian Rockies starting from Vancouver, will you join us?”
“I still don’t think it’s a good idea”
“OK, listen, here’s the deal. The thing I wanted to talk to you about, it is an idea I had. I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while now. I wanted to ask you to come here and live with me. See if maybe we can have a future together. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I really want to try. I have a feeling we can make this work. I really want to talk to you about it face to face.”
“Oh, and what about the magic that is lacking?”
“This is what this trip together is about. I think all we need is some more time together. Things have changed for me. Will you at least consider joining us?”
“Let me think about it and get back to you.”

I couldn’t help but wonder what brought about this change.  The answer came soon in form of a letter.

“You asked me on the phone what has changed, and I owe you an explanation.  You see, at the time of your last visit I was seeing someone.  A Israeli girl I met at school.  We were both outsiders, both of us missed home and she was like my life line.  Someone from home in the midst of all the strangeness.  When you told me you were coming for a visit, I was very excited. I was honest with her, and told her about you.  Since she and I weren’t committed to each other I didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong. But she got really upset and shortly after your visit she went back to Israel.  See the irony? My relationship with you caused what I had with her to end, but what I had with her stood in the way of my relationship with you.  Confusing, I know.

I wanted you to know, that I think about you a lot.  We were never a “couple” so to speak, but there always was some kind of a connection, and a lot of respect on my side.  I don’t know what kind of a future you can build on respect, but I think it’s essential for any relationship. I know we have a lot fun together, and I think there is a great potential here.

I hesitated for a long time before I decided to ask you my question.  I know it’s a lot to ask, and there are no guaranties.  You told me on the phone that you are thinking about getting a PhD which makes things even more complicated.  I don’t feel I can ask you to give it up.

What a relief...  The ball is in your court now to do with it as you please.  It’s hard for me to go on writing without your feedback, that’s why I wanted to talk to you face to face.  I’m waiting to hear your decision”

The next day I emailed him, saying that I will join him and his friends on their trip.

Once again, plans were made. My guy’s parents were spending the summer in SF, and he planned to visit them before meeting the rest of us.  My first stop was NYC, and the other couple were coming from Europe.  We were all going to meet at the Seattle airport, rent a car, and drive to Vancouver the day before the conference started.  

How I love NYC!  I had a great time walking up and down the avenues,  constantly rehearsing my presentation in my mind (I was SO nervous about it!).  On my last night I went out with my friends, had a great dinner, drank some wine, and when we got home I set 2 alarms clocks just to make sure I didn’t miss my flight, scheduled to leave at 9am the following morning. Next thing I knew, I opened my eyes, looked at my travel clock  and almost got a heart attack. It was 8:45am.  The wine and jet lag hit me at the worst possible time.

Not knowing what to do I woke up my friends, and they took charge of the situation.  They sent me to take shower while they called the airline and made arrangements for me to take a later flight. In 30 minutes I was ready to leave, a taxi waiting for me downstairs. There was only one thing left for me to do.   I had to notify my friends that I would be late.  That meant calling my guy at his parents house at 6:15am PST on a Sunday.  Yes, that was my first conversation with my future father in law.

It was a very long day for all of us.  The other couple’s flight got delayed, I couldn’t get a direct flight so I was very late, and my guy drank many cups of coffee at a Seattle coffee shop called Starbucks.  Eventually we all made it to Seattle, rented a car and drove to Vancouver.  We got to our hotel at around midnight, and had to be at the conference at 9am the next day.  This time, since they all knew how irresponsible I was, my guy set his own alarm clock to 7am.  I was dead tired, and fell asleep immediately. Next thing I know, I opened my eyes, looked at my travel clock and almost got a heart attack.  It was 8:15am.  I woke up my guy hysterically telling him that we are going to be late.  He looked at his own clock and said “are you crazy? It’s 5:15am!“. Oops... I was still on NY time...

We did make it on time to the conference, my talk went well, and 3 days later we were on our way to the National Parks of the Canadian Rockies.  We had the most amazing 2 weeks. Most nights we camped out, each couple in his own tent.  We hiked a lot and saw beautiful sights.  But most important of all, there definitely was magic in the air, and this time I knew he felt it too.



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