By now, you may all know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I’m a hopeless romantic, especially while traveling. While you may have read the story of how I fell for someone in Vietnam, you may have also read that it wasn’t the first time I fell for someone abroad.
Yes, the story in Vietnam is the most recent, but, one of my favorite stories is one that began about a year ago in Scotland. The night started up with relatively simple plans. Lara and I met up with Fiona, a friend from college, for dinner at a local restaurant. The plan was to head to a pub, then meet my cousins and a few groups of friends we made at the street party. But, that’s not exactly how things panned out.
After dinner, Fiona, Lara, and I decided to head into a pub near the entrance of the street party to load up on some drinks, not knowing what to expect upon entering the street party. The bar was crowded, but we managed to find a tight spot by the bar and braved the lines to order a drink. Since we were so tightly squeezed together, we started talking to three guys standing near us. Max*, Nate, and Jackson were from California, and we all seemed to hit it off immediately. They were like-minded travelers, so we figured we’d all head into the street party together.
This was by far the best idea we had. With six people instead of three, we were sure to get a good spot and ensure we only had to make one trip to gather enough drinks for the firework show. And, the idea was flawless, until about thirty minutes before midnight when everyone had to use the bathroom. Max and Nate went and came back quickly enough, so Fiona, Lara, Jackson, and I decided that heading to the bathroom before the midnight was a good idea.
Except, it was such a good idea that everyone else seemed to have it too. The lines for the porter potties were ridiculously long and somehow on the way to them, Jackson and I got separated from Lara and Fiona. While I was initially worried about the girls, I knew that they were together, we had our phones, and a place to meet up. Plus, I didn’t really mind being stuck alone with Jackson.
We seemed to hit it off from the start, both having an interest in traveling, we spent the time discussing the places we had been and where we planned to visit in the future. Eventually, we began talking to the people around us, and before I knew it, Jackson began introducing me as his fiancé. By the time it was our turn, we managed to spin an entire story about how we met, where we were from, and how he proposed. Surrounded by dozens of new friends, who were excited about our recent engagement, we made it out of the toilets just in time for the strike of midnight and a fantastic display of fireworks. In keeping in character, it was only appropriate that Jackson would also be my first kiss of 2011.
With the fireworks over and people heading to their next destinations to continue the celebrations, Jackson and I searched for our friends with no luck. Phones were busy with people calling to wish one another a Happy New Year, and we were stuck together, not that either of us minded.
We wandered the streets, talking to strangers, asking them where they were from and wishing them a happy New Year. With each friend we made, we, of course, had to share our story of falling in love and of our engagement. Eventually, our story of being engaged managed to form into a story of us being married, and there was a point where we both had a conversation about the fact that we should actually get married…obviously, we had both indulged in one too many beers that night.
Finally, after hours of walking, we found the bar where our friends were and spent the night dancing away. Eventually, when that bar closed, we found an old Scottish man, who took a liking to us and took us to another bar nearby where a band was playing. We danced some more until it was time for me and Lara to head on our merry way to the airport.
Jackson walked us back to our hotel, Lara and I grabbed our bags, and we were off with a kiss from my New Year’s Eve “husband.” Lara and I then spent the day in London before heading back to New York, and Jackson, Nate, and Max headed to Ireland for another week before heading back to California.
While Jackson and I stayed in touch for a little while, it didn’t last for very long, and even though it took me a little while to get over him and our New Year’s adventure, eventually, my life went on. It’s funny where life takes you, but the fact that we met these three boys made the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 just perfect.
*Names in this story have been changed