If you are lucky, you can point to a handful of life-altering moments in your lifetime. Maybe the day you earned your first cheque, your first real life goal accomplishment, your last cigarette… Those moments manifest themselves in funny ways, usually at times when you least expect them. It’s not just simple memories and it’s not moments where you desperately cling to every single detail of that instance, it’s much more than that. Usually you don’t know that this particular moment is going to change your life until after the fact.
For me it happened on an ordinary day some time in June of 2009. I was sitting on a train with two suitcases and all my belongings surrounding me, somewhere between PA and VA, on my way to meet A. This was prior to smartphones and the constant need to being connected on all kinds of channels and platforms. I was alone with my thoughts, just wondering where life was going to take me next. I wasn’t scared or afraid of my future, not like people are today. Nowadays, people have this overbearing need to always know where they are going next, why they are choosing X over Y, how they get from A to B. I wasn’t like that. I was oddly okay with what ever came next, I had no plan, no idea, no worry. These days I get this sense of panic every now and then. Sometimes I worry, that maybe I haven’t done enough, maybe I need to progress faster… But back in the day, no such thing existed in my mind. Blessed are the worry free people.
It was my last day as an au pair and my heart shattered a million pieces on the drive to the train station earlier that day, but that wasn’t THE moment. Although in hindsight, closing that chapter in my life might have contributed to THAT moment. I was content with my life, there was no right or wrong in what ever came next, I was in this weird state of mind where you didn’t quite realize your full potential just yet but you still tell yourself that you are destined for greatness.
It was close to 9pm, a warm summer night and the train was packed with lots of people who were done with the day or getting their day started. Many people looked at me as if I was the crazy one, all I did was sitting at a window seat, holding on to my teddy bear on my lap (there just wasn’t any space left for my teddy in my suitcases, so I had to do the only thing that made sense: have my teddy on my lap, not all that crazy, right?) As the train approached my stop it dawned on me that I had about 3 minutes to get all of my stuff down a narrow three-step staircase and onto the platform before the train left for its’ next stop. I couldn’t call A and tell him where to meet me (fun times during the cell-phone free days), so I just had to do it myself.
After all, I am a strong independent woman, I can handle three steps and lifting about 70 pounds of stuff in less than 3 minutes! As the heavy door opened and I attempted to lift the first suitcase, mind you teddy bear in my right hand, a very friendly guy next to me asked me if I needed help. Before I was able to answer his question, he lifted my second suitcase out of the train, meanwhile another guy behind me took my suitcase out of my hand and lifted it down onto the platform. A third guy helped me with my backpack and I was barely able to walk down three steps without having to carry anything. I was just amazed at the kindness of people, these days people barely hold the door open for your or say please and thank you. But I smiled from one ear and thanked each person individually, all of them getting back onto the train while I was standing with my two suitcases on a dimly-lit platform.
Out of seemingly nowhere A appeared wearing a white long sleeve shirt, a pair of jeans and strolling casually towards me. His long wavy hair covering his face. He spent all day working and from the looks of it, didn’t have the best day at the office, but in a split second, when he saw me and all my baggage, his step quickened and a genuine smile appeared on his face.
That was the one moment, the one life-altering moment, that forever changed my life. Since then, there have been many other moments, but honestly, non quite as magical as that single one. It was then, that I realized that I loved A to the depth of the oceans and back. Sometimes, life is quite dark and quiet and we cannot make sense of the cold and loneliness, when we are continents apart but then, it dawns on us: all oceans are connected, they are the essence of life and just like that, just as we come to that realization, that even if we can’t spend every waking minute together, we still are part of each other, we still are here for each other we still are the bird and the fish roaming the ocean’s of the world – together.
This past week marked our three year anniversary of our court-house wedding, and although we kept thepaper wedding small and in no way did it compare to our Italian wedding, we still celebrate us, this time in Maastricht…