Sunday, April 10, 2016

10,000 miles: August 2014-March 2015

This was the stage of our relationship that involved flying back and forth to other continents in order to hang out. I decided to add up all of the miles that we traveled to see each other.

Once I got home to America, I wasn’t entirely sure if I ever wanted to talk to David again. Besides him being weirdly intense that day in Paris, I just didn’t see logistically how we would ever be on the same continent again.

That changed when we started having weekly video chats. It made me remember that he was usually fairly normal and I really enjoyed talking to him ;)  Another game changer was that pretty soon after I moved back home, he decided that he was determined to come visit me in WI. I was slightly skeptical, but mostly excited to play tour guide and to have my family help me decide if he was cool.

Drive Gap, France -> Geneva, Switzerland, Flight Geneva, Switzerland -> Chicago, IL, Drive Chicago -> Germantown: 4610 miles

After talking about once a week and being apart from April-August, we picked him up at O’Hare on August 14th, 2014. We spent a week doing things both with my family and just the two of us... Nauvoo, downtown Milwaukee, Chicago, and Madison, and even a Packer game. It ended up being fun and not awkward.

On one of his last days in WI (August 24th), we decided to officially be in a relationship. We weren’t sure exactly when we would see each other again, but we made tentative plans for him to visit Israel in winter and for me to visit France in spring.

We continued video chatting once a week and texting every day when he went back to France. I eventually moved to Israel in October. One day when I got a little bored in class, I did some research about flight prices between Israel and France. I realized how cheap it was, and that it might actually be doable to go on a trip sooner than expected.

This wasn’t entirely David-related, but it was definitely one of the major factors. I got the idea about going when I heard that he was going to spend the weekend in Strasbourg for the opening of the Christmas markets. I definitely couldn’t let him go to MY city without me, especially during the magical Christmas season.

Besides wanting to see him again, I hadn’t been to France since April. This was the middle of November, and I was starting to suffer from not being there for so long. The struggle was real.

I immediately decided that it would be more fun if I didn't tell him I was coming and instead just showed up in his country and surprised him. I bought my tickets and just 3 days later I flew to France.

Train Haifa, Israel -> Tel Aviv, Flight Tel Aviv-> Paris, France, Train Paris -> Strasbourg: 2361 miles

We had a pre-scheduled video chat, so I did it from my hotel room in Strasbourg. I offered to show him the "view from my dorm in Israel." I showed him the view out of my window, which was clearly France, and he didn't catch on quite yet. His response was "Wow, Israel looks a lot like Europe!" haha  Eventually I convinced him that I was actually in France and then he was excited.

We had an extremely fun weekend wandering through the Strasbourg Christmas markets and decorations. One of the highlights was when we were supposed to be doing a scavenger hunt with the other YSAs, but we got separated from them in the huge crowd so we just did our own thing. That was so unfortunate! Another highlight was walking across the border to Germany together, just because you can do that from Strasbourg.

This mini weekend trip turned out really well! There's nothing more magical than Strasbourg during the Christmas season. It filled the void I was feeling from missing France, and it reaffirmed our decision to be dating despite living on different continents.

Train Grenoble, France -> Strasbourg, France, Flight Strasbourg, France -> Tel Aviv, Israel: 2246 miles

I went home to WI for Christmas. On the day I flew back to Israel, David met up with me in the Tel Aviv airport. There were a few little hiccups during the first few days- trying to get my lost luggage back, needing to book David a different hotel past midnight because it was too late to check into the one he already booked, his credit card getting blocked, me being an idiot at figuring out the Haifa bus system, and me being super jet lagged and then getting a bad cold on top of that.

However, we persevered. We celebrated our first and only New Year's together in my little dorm room. The next day we saw the Bahai Gardens in Haifa, and then headed to Jerusalem for the weekend the day after that. Good memories include (surprisingly) getting lost on the bus in Haifa and getting soaking wet in the rain in Jerusalem and taking refuge in Dormition Abbey. Oh, and hearing him say the 2 Hebrew words he knows, Shalom and Toda, to literally every person he came across. It was really fun to show him some of my favorite places in Israel. 

BYU Jerusalem Center
Jerusalem Dome of the Rock
Haifa Baha'i Gardens
I was proud of David for navigating around by himself on public transportation despite never traveling internationally alone before. I mean, I obviously couldn't date someone who's incapable of getting around in a foreign country where they don't speak the language. That's like my favorite hobby.

David's Israel trip turned out to be another successful international outing for us.

Train Haifa->Tel Aviv, Flight Tel Aviv -> Geneva: 1885 miles

We didn't have too long to wait until the next one. During my break between semesters about 2 months later, I met up with David and his family in Geneva, Switzerland. It was my first time meeting his family. Not only did I meet his parents, but I met multiple aunts and uncles and cousins. They kept asking me why I wasn't talking more, and I was thinking, uh, because I'm meeting a huge group of people for the first time and it's all in a foreign language.

All of his family was very nice, and they took me sightseeing around in Switzerland and France, despite a blizzard in Lausanne. After a few days staying at both his aunt and uncle's house and his parents', me and David took off alone for some more adventures. We made a stop in Strasbourg before heading to Paris for the rest of the week. It was one of the best vacations of my life. The highlight was the day we spent in Versailles. It happens to be both of our favorite place in France. How could it not be? We ended the day taking the train back to Paris, falling asleep, waking up and then 5 seconds later deciding to jump off early and go hang out at the Eiffel Tower to watch it sparkle at night.

Another point for David on this trip was that he successfully carried my 50 pound suitcase all over the country, most notably up and down lots of stairs in the Paris metro. That was another requirement I had for whoever I dated ;)

The next month, we came this close to meeting up in Greece for a pretty epic trip. Unfortunately, I ended up needing to fly home to get knee surgery instead. Good thing David was moving to America in a few months...

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