Yes, I’m rubbish when it comes to keeping my friends up-to-date with my life.
Yes, I had a truly amazing summer
Yes, I am guilty of seriously bad judgment when it comes to a certain aspect of my personal life
Yes, I have been denied entrance to a night club
Yes, I’ve been kicked out of a summer house
Yes, I am madly in love
- - - And yes, it’s a different one
- - - And yes, this one deserves me
- - - And yes, I am happier than I’ve been for years
Yes, I am back in Thailand, already working my butt off to provide as many people as possible with as good a holiday as possible
Now that we’re clear on that, I’ll elaborate….;)
First of all, let’s get the tedious subject out of the way. I can’t count the number of people who have called me an idiot, fool, gullible, naïve and similar descriptive words after hearing the updates from my personal life earlier this year. You were right and I was wrong. Leopards may camouflage their spots, but eventually the spots shine through, and anyone hoping to be able to change or cure that, is indeed a fool. Love doesn’t cure anything; it just makes us blind ;) I must admit that I am very impressed by all my friends: you stood by me through abuse and depression and you have tried your best to “save me”. Yet, nobody has said “I told you so” (yet) ;) ……..Since you’ve gone through the really tough times with me, now it’s time you get some good news ;)
The summer in Denmark offered quite a variety of experiences; there’s being spare mum for my 2-year-old niece, there’s welcoming her tiny sister to this world, there’s seeing my oldest niece’s son for the first time, there are social gatherings left, right and center – including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day lunch and New Years Eve. In between there was time to chill and talk with my awesome family, and I spent lots of time with my gorgeous siblings and their equally gorgeous spouses and children. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I can’t say it often enough: I absolutely love my family and I am so grateful for having each and every one of them in my life. Even through my idiotic decisions the last couple of years, they have been ready to catch my fall and help me back on my feet. They have suffered with me, but they have never lost patience or abandoned me :D
This summer had a few firsts for me as well: first time I was kicked out of a rented summerhouse and first time I wasn’t allowed into a night club. It was also my first visit to Weymouth and it was the first time in a few years that I’ve felt ecstatically happy – and yes, there is a man involved and his name is Paul. It wasn’t, however, the first time I met Paul, nor the second…….
Bear with me for a quite long, yet in my humble opinion sweet, story of two people who meet, lose each other, and then have to go through so much hardship before they finally meet again and live happily ever after:
February 2005 I was on a business trip in Dubai and decided to take a short holiday, which I spent diving off the east coast of the Emirates. I’d booked a transfer with them and was picked up by the owner himself, who happened to be in Dubai that evening. Have you guessed his name?? It was an almost 2-hour drive, but we talked and talked and talked and were quite surprised when we were suddenly at our destination. During my week there we spent a lot of time together and also went diving. I had the biggest panic attack I’ve ever had – which Paul handled with an incredible amount of patience and understanding. He says he doesn’t remember that bit, but I don’t really believe him; I think he’s just letting me keep my dignity ;)
There was definitely a spark there, but circumstances were against us. I still had a proper job, earning real money, I was living in the Netherlands and I had my own house and (lovely) car. It was all a bit complicated and so we kept contact for a couple of months, but neither of us was ready for the big step, and our contact sort of faded away. Shortly afterwards we were both in new relationships.
Thus unknown to Paul, I moved to Thailand, did my divemaster, worked a bit and then I moved to the Philippines where I did my instructor course and worked for a very nice resort. Customer service was top priority within the resort, so for instance a dive staff member always picked up the guests from the boat, walked them to the resort and did a tour of it, explaining everything. It was much appreciated by the guests. This meant that we had morning meetings where – among other things – the “meet & greet” was delegated and we were all informed of names etc of the guests.
If I’d had coffee, I would have choked on it, when one morning in spring 2007 I was given “meet & greet” duties for the first part of a group. When I saw the name of the dive shop, I double-checked the name of the group leader. Yup, it was Paul. Blushing heavily, my colleagues quickly realized there was a story and made fun of me, while the red colour of my skin intensified ;) Paul wasn’t in the first group though, so I didn’t pick him up, but at least I was warned.
Paul wasn't warned ;) He arrived the next day and naturally we ran into each other in the resort. It was a precious Kodak moment when his jaw dropped ;) He didn’t know I’d become a dive pro of course, so it was a complete surprise to him. We talked and chatted a bit in the evenings and there was definitely a connection - which we didn’t pursue though, since we were both in relationships.
After Philippines came Saba. I was out of one relationship and into the next. Then I moved to Thailand again and back to Saba. Indonesia aaaaand Thailand again. As readers of this blog know; the relationship was turbulent to say the least, until one day in June this year, I saw history repeating itself, finally had enough and ended the relationship.
Paul and I had been in sporadic contact for a few months, but it was purely professional – I was hoping to convince him to bring a group on the Oktavia. Anyway, our personal circumstances made us single on exactly the same day this year, and Paul suggested (jokingly I thought) to visit me in Thailand to get away from everything. I told him I’d be in Denmark and then he said he would visit me there! What???
As you know, I have learned from bitter experience that people aren’t necessarily trustworthy, reliable or honest, and I feel myself being more cautious as opposed to earlier, when I would trust people almost unconditionally. So while I thought it was fun to innocently flirt via emails etc, I didn’t expect him to actually come to Denmark – it seemed a bit hasty and silly (ok, to be honest I thought he just wanted to get laid and that it wouldn't be worth the money and effort to fly to Denmark just for that). After all, we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years, and a week can be a very long time if it’s spent in awkward silence.
Obviously, I needn’t have worried. We continued right where we left 6 years ago in the Emirates, it’s quite bizarre really. We spent a wonderful week in Denmark and rented a small summerhouse (read: hut). Unfortunately, the landlord had forgotten another booking and so we were kicked out 2 days earlier than we planned. That meant one night on a mattress in the living room of my sister’s house (two huge glass fronts and no curtains!) and one night sharing a single bed ;) It could have been me testing his ability to adapt, adjust, be spontaneous and relaxed. It wasn’t. But he would have passed it with flying colours ;)
Saying goodbye at the airport was difficult. I knew what I was feeling, but I was afraid of getting my hopes up and get hurt. I felt that I couldn’t afford to be humiliated again. Uncharacteristically, I was quiet and put myself in waiting position, playing cool towards my family “oh we’ll see what the future brings”. Hahaha, how very teenager ;) Again, I needn’t have worried; when Paul wants something, he doesn’t let details like distance or logistics stand in his way. And it became apparent that Paul wanted me too!
Flights were expensive from UK to Denmark and back; the solution was to fly me to the UK instead - that's when I was in Weymouth without letting anyone know. I honestly didn't realize how many nice people I know in that area plus it was a spontaneous decision. Next time I’ll let you all know in advance :D. It was another fantastic week. I met his family and some of his friends. Funnily enough, during a night out I was actually denied admission to a club for the first time in my life; the bouncer claimed I was drunk. Which, ironically, I wasn’t then (that came later). Apart from that bouncer, I was greeted with open arms and hospitality everywhere. Paul had effortlessly integrated himself into my family, and now I was welcomed into his. It was awesome and so everyone’s happy all way round, except that little “but”……….
It’s tough to live on separate continents when you’re in love. Paul’s solution? He’ll be here in two weeks (actually 13 days and 8 hours, but who's counting ;) ) and spend at least part of the season in Khao Lak and Phuket. He’ll work here on freelance basis - quite a step back for a master instructor who’s owned a dive center for years, but he says I’m worth it :D
I’m completely smitten and I feel both loved and appreciated. Being with Paul feels right in so incredibly many ways and I’m excited about the life and future we can build together! I’m happy we found each other in the end. Our lives would have been different if we’d dared back in 2005, but I’m thinking we weren’t ready for each other. No use crying over spilt milk anyway – we are together now and that is all that matters :D
So, that's the status......
Yes, I'm one super-happy girl (can I still be a girl when I’m 40?? I sure feel like a teenager ;) )
Yes, I deeply love the man I'm with
Yes, I thoroughly enjoy being loved and treated like the best invention since sliced bread :D
And yes, I’ll definitely TRY to be better at updating you ;)
Much love & warm thoughts to all you wonderful people out there