I woke up with the sunrise just as the plane was approaching Madrid.
An extraordinary, pink stripe lined the horizon and a piping hot coffee sat on my tray table. I took a picture and a sip and prepared myself for landing.
And by prepare myself, I mean I ran a comb through my hair, re-applied some blush and mascara, and tied a scarf around my neck. I’d give my teeth a quick brush at the airport once we were on the ground. It was hard to believe this day was finally here, but as the Spanish countryside slowly came into view from my window seat, reality began to set in:
I had just flown halfway around the world to visit a man I had met seven weeks prior in a karaoke bar.
As you might have guessed, Blue Eyes and I kept in touch after our enchanted night in New Orleans. Shortly after I arrived back in California, I received a text from him asking if I had gotten home okay. By the time he landed in Germany two days later, we were connected on Facebook. The next night, we were playfully texting and he once again brought up the idea of Spain. Part of me assumed he would have forgotten inviting me during our walk in NOLA, but a bigger part of me hoped he had actually been serious.
He was serious. I booked my ticket the next week, exactly ten days after we kissed in the rain on Bourbon Street.
As I walked off the plane in Madrid, I had more than just that first night in my memory box. Over the past few weeks, we had exchanged thousands of messages, gone on six 2-hour long Skype Dates, and had been waiting in full anticipation for this moment. Standing in line at the restroom, I looked at the picture of the sunrise. It seemed almost magical to me. I had arrived in Spain at the beginning of a brand new day, a day that began with such color and vibrancy, and somehow I knew that this trip would be magical, too. With a final glance, I sent my positive thoughts out into the universe and put my toothbrush back in my bag.
It was time to see Mr. Blue Eyes.
I didn’t exactly know where to meet him so I just followed the crowd to the baggage claim. I was in the process of trying to connect to airport wifi when I saw my rather oversized suitcase appear on the conveyor belt. That was quick, I thought. Must have been those positive vibes. As soon as it reached me, I lugged it off the belt and immediately set it on all four wheels. Together, we rolled through customs and headed towards the exit.
Before reaching the doors that led outside, I looked to my right. That’s when I saw him. Standing against the wall, he was scanning every person that walked by. Finally, I caught his eye. There they were: those eyes. I stopped for a moment and just looked at him. He was wearing a cozy, long sleeve shirt with slacks and brown boots. He smiled. Then, smiling myself, I walked to where he stood and let him wrap me into a tight hug. Oh my god, I’m here. He’s here. And we’re hugging. A sense of relief washed over me – not because he hugged me, but because the hug felt just as good as it did when we said good-bye at the elevator in New Orleans. I felt incredibly alive.
Soon after our embrace, he grabbed my hand and my suitcase and led me through the doors to Spain. (Spain!) We walked the short walk to where he had parked the red Fiat we would be cruising around in all week. I mean, could we get any more European? Once I settled into the passenger seat, I officially processed what was about to happen: For the next six days, I would be riding in this Fiat through Southern Spain with the man I had patiently waited seven weeks to see again. It was quite possibly the most outrageous thing I’d ever done.
You only live once, right?
We hit the road, still marveling over the fact that we were together. I placed my hand behind his neck and gently rubbed his head as the GPS lady, who we began to affectionately call Linda, directed us away from Madrid. Our next stop? Well, I didn’t know right away. Blue wanted to keep each stop of the trip a surprise. Pinch me.
Eventually, after a few hours in the Fiat, Linda guided us to the city of Toledo. We parked the car, I threw on my hat, and we started walking. We hadn’t even traveled one block when Blue stopped. He turned, pulled me close, and kissed me right there in the middle of the sidewalk. He really kissed me. I mean, this kiss rivaled the Bourbon-Street-in-the-rain-at-2am kiss – so much so that a woman actually leaned out of her apartment window and yelled down to us in Spanish. I don’t know what she said, but it definitely made us laugh.
With the first kiss of the trip successfully completed, we happily joined hands and began our tour of Toledo.
As much I loved taking in the views of this beautiful place, I spent half the day just taking him in. Studying his face, holding his arm, stopping for a kiss. To those that passed us on the street, I’m sure we looked like a normal, happy couple that had been together for some time. Little did they know, this was our first real date. (And it was in Spain. Pinch, pinch, pinch.)
Speaking of firsts, we shared our first cup of coffee in an eclectic cafe located on one of Toledo’s many side streets. It was the perfect place to sit, rest our feet, and just be. Chatting with him over two Nespressos felt just as natural and comfortable as I remembered.
The rest of the afternoon was lovely. We looked in shops, took pictures, and visited the sights. After a sufficient tour, we said good-bye to Toledo and got back on the road. Where to next?
By early evening, we arrived in Granada. It was still light out and the city was bustling. Rather than go to our hotel first, we just parked the car again and set out to wander the streets of this new city. Naturally, we were beginning to feel tired so the tour of Granada wouldn’t be as ambitious as our previous adventure in Toledo.
AKA, we needed a cocktail.
The two beers in Granada were the perfect follow-up to the two Nespressos in Toledo. It was here at this corner cafe that we got to know each other better. There are certain things that every couple learns in the beginning of a relationship: what he was like in high school, where she went to college, how they got to where they are today. Sure, I knew Blue pretty well at this point. (I did just fly across the world to vacation with him.) We had obviously discussed many things through texting and during our Skype dates. But there were certain things that I just wanted to talk about in person. I had intentionally saved some questions until we were together again and could physically engage with one another. It was important to me that we have these moments in a regular setting, and not with a computer screen between us.
Boy, the no computer screen thing was ah-maze-ing.
Granada was amazing, too. After exchanging several stories over the first and then a second beer, we decided to relocate. To close out the night, we found a rooftop bar that had music, a wine list, and the most gorgeous views of the city.
I took a photo of one of those views, perfectly framing it with the sides of the window. It looked like a dream. In that moment, I remember thinking how lucky I was to be there, how beautiful our world is, and how magical life can be. Blue and I could have easily parted ways in New Orleans with a fun night under our belts, never to speak or see each other again.
Happens all the time.
But for some reason, we persisted and ended up sipping red wine at a corner table while the sun set below the monasteries of Spanish Granada.
Like the sunrise that began my day, the sunset that ended it was just…magical.
Keep Reading: 5 Moments That Prove the Power of Positivity
P.S. Missed the beginning of this series? Find the complete Modern Day Love Story here.