Today nire senarra (my husband) and I celebrate five years together. Not five years married, just five years of knowing each other and learning about each other every day. Now I know that may not seem like a long time to some of you. And on the other hand that may seem like an eternity to others. I fall in both categories. Some days I marvel at the fact that we’ve lasted that long. Someone other than my family has tolerated me that long? I catch myself thinking some days. But it’s true. A person that loves the good and bad has been able to last with me five whole years. He must deserve a medal.
Most people ask us how we met. We’re an unlikely couple, you see. A short, blond-haired, blue-eyed American girl and a tall, Basque guy with dark features. One’s outgoing, well-traveled and independent while the other is shy, extremely family-oriented and the most loyal friend you can find. It would seem that we have more differences than similarities but we somehow make it work. So here’s our story of how we met.
*Side note: Mom and dad, I believe I told you a very PG version of this story so if you want to believe that your little girl has never done anything wrong in her life, stop reading here.
February 2, 2008 I got a phone call from a student. It was the big night of Carnival here in Spain and I had just moved to Irun. I was literally getting ready to walk out the door to head to Donosti to meet some friends when my phone rang with an unknown number. I answered and was immediately invited out for a night on the town with a student and some of her friends. Since I had just recently moved to Irun and didn’t know a soul, I was game. I thought it would be a fun way to meet people and get to know the city a little better. I met up with E and her friends and after doing some botellon in one of the plazas, we started bar hopping. Since it was Carnival, everyone was dressed up and I had a great time meeting people, making new friends and taking tequila shots. E and her girlfriends took good care of me and I was having a blast. Around 2:30 am they told me that we were going to head to the next town over and go to a discoteca. Sure! I was down! So we caught the bus and headed over. I had never been there before and honestly didn’t even know where we were going but 20 minutes later we arrived and there was another party going on there.
I had only been living in Irun for about a week but I could tell that this was the place for me! We went into the discoteca and danced and drank more and it was a crazy party. A few guys were interested in me and I ended up having fun with a few of them but it was all harmless. I was just there with my girlfriends and wanted to dance. At some point during the night I started dancing with a cute guy and, to be honest, I don’t remember much but I just remember having a great time dancing with him. I must say that my husband and I now have very different stories of what happened. According to him, I was giving him “come-hither” looks. I maintain that I don’t even know what that would look like.
So we danced all night long and after some time I decided that I wanted to get some fresh air so we went outside. I do remember going outside with him and sitting on a rock wall and having a conversation in half-Spanish/half-English (a premonition of what our relationship would be years down the road!). After some time, E and her friends came found me and told me we were leaving. I told my new “friend” that it was nice to meet him and walked away. E, shocked that I was just going to walk away like that, told me give him my phone number. “Mi numero de telefono?” I asked. “For what?” “So you can hang out. Maybe get coffee one day together,” E replied. Yeah right, I wasn’t interested. I already had friends and I didn’t think I needed another one I met in a discoteca. We discussed this for a few minutes and after she saw that I wasn’t giving in, E said “Well give me your cell phone then. I’m getting his number for you.” I didn’t fight back and handed over the phone.
While E and my future husband were exchanging phone numbers, he suggested that I stay with him for a while longer and that he would drive me home whenever I wanted. I just looked at him flabbergasted and said in a drunken Spanglish slur “Who do you think I am? Yo no soy some slut that ire contigo wherever you want. The next thing you know estare muerta en la playa raped and beaten y mis padres will never see me otra vez.” My husband just looked at me clearly confused and said “Que?” If I had only known at that moment that my husband is the most harmless person on this planet and that he would have taken me home like the true gentlemen he is.
But, alas, I went home with my friends and left him alone to think about the crazy American girl he had just met. When I got home at 7:30 in the morning (!!) I decided that I needed to make some pasta to soak up all the tequila and vodka (bad combination, btw) I had drank. While I was making the pasta, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to text this new “friend” of mine. I didn’t know his name and I wanted to be able to put a name to the story I would tell my friends the next day. So I sent him a text saying that it was nice to meet him, adding at the bottom my name with the hope he would do the same if he responded. Not even 30 seconds after sending it I heard the familiar beep of my cell phone letting me know he had indeed responded. He too was happy to have met me but, damn it, there was no name!
The next 2 days we sent text messages and finally decided to meet on a Monday afternoon to go to Donosti to dar una vuelta. He picked me up in his parent’s car and years later we both admitted that neither of us truly knew what the other person looked like the day of our first date. In our now sober state, we were unsure of this new relationship and I certainly was wishing for some liquid courage to help with my nerves and Spanish conversation skills. Turns out I didn’t need any wine (or tequila or vodka) because he made me feel at ease and the conversation went smoothly. And I started to feel something that day I hadn’t felt for a really long time. Five years down the road and the feelings haven’t gone away. So here’s hoping the feelings don’t go away for another 50 years.