From Mexico with Love

Written by Iuliana Papuc

It was the summer of 2009. Great weather, sunny days, plenty of free time and … a laptop. At that time there was a trend using Yahoo Messenger and the Chat Rooms where you could interact with people from all over the world.

So, I was spending my summer evenings in front of a computer chatting with different people from different countries, practicing my English. Since I was a little girl I have always been fascinated by foreign languages and English and Spanish were always among my favorites. But it seemed that online, there were not too many people who were willing to just TALK. Most of them were looking for a different kind of amusement and that was easy to notice when many of them were asking for a Web Cam before they even said HELLO.

I said to give it a try on a Spanish Chat Room. It would have been great to put in practice all those years of intensive Spanish classes with… Marimar, Maria la Del Barrio, María Mercedes, and many more telenovelas starring Fernando Colunga and Thalía. Like many of my Romanian compatriots I also learned spanish by just watching telenovela every day. Besides that, I don’t find anything else useful from this “hobby”.

And suddenly, it happened! I do not know how, but the universe, the stars, the telepathy or you name it, made it possible to find each other on that night of September, in cyber space. It was “connection at first sight” (I still can’t believe it) and we seemed to know each other for a lifetime.

The days passed, and after a few weeks we were already connecting constantly, and despite of the different time zone, we were “seeing each other” almost every day. We were talking for hours about everything and everyone. Not to mention that I was practicing my Spanish and English at the same time. Months later I was stil not able to believe that two people, from two different continents, separated by an ocean and ten hours difference found themselves in the same place, at the same time.

After 4 months of Skype, phone calls, text messages, laughs, a lot of fun, sleepless nights and a “connection” too good to be true, the inevitable had to happen:

“I want to see you in person, so I’m thinking of spending the New Year’s in Bucharest with you.”

Clearly, from the moment I knew he bought his flight ticket to Bucharest, I was not able to sleep anymore. Why was I so excited? Yes, we’ve talked many times about how magical would be to meet each other in person, but seriously, who would have thought that he would be willing to get on board, fly to Europe for his first time just to meet me? At that time I did not believe it will happen.

But here he comes, San Francisco — Paris — Bucharest. I don’t know how, but I managed to get to the airport. My heart started racing when I heard the announcement on the loudspeakers “The flight from Paris just landed”. That’s it! If I would think running away, this would have been the perfect moment. With hundreds of questions crossing my mind and my heart pounding out of my chest, there in the crowd, between those sliding doors, surrounded by laughter, cries, hugs, reunions and breakups, our eyes have finally found each other.

What came next was MAGICAL. Nine days later and I woke up from my fairy tale and realized that everything got back to “normal”. We were “connected” again but I was in Bucharest, and he was back to San Francisco.

Time went by so fast and after six months the summer was back. It was June 25th, 2010 when I found myself with a huge baggage and too much enthusiasm at the Bucharest airport, waiting for my flight to Mexico. A little vacation I thought — no harm to anyone. It was now my turn to get to know his origins and the great mexican capital with more than 20 million inhabitants, even though my best friend already promised me she’d kill me if I get to visit Mexico before her! Well, the story was too good to be true and someone had to ask all those questions and doubts that I kept avoiding in my mind and who better to do that than my protective sister.

“Are you leaving? To Mexico? Why ? With whom? How much will you stay there? Who are you staying with? Are you crazy? What if he won’t be there for you? You’re not going anywhere!!!! “

Yes, it was hard! My sister, protective just like a mother, could not accept that her little sister at only 22-years old was going to grab her suitcase and fly to another continent. How could I convince her that what I felt was not just a whim but something more, that I knew and trusted him (yes … I know, it’s hard to believe it, but I’ve got “that feeling”). I promised her I would call from every airport and that I would take care of myself JUST LIKE A BIG GIRL. As all separations in airports, there has to be tears, hugs and a lot of promises. Once I left the airport I had about twenty-four hours to cry, dream, cry again, and to get excited. Despite of all those contradictory feelings that I had, I knew for sure that I’ve made the decision with my heart.

After 24 hours, two stops, tiredness and anxiety I finally arrived. Bienvenida a Mexico! And just as a reminder that I was still a Romanian, when we got off the plane, there was this airport custom officer who was welcoming everyone, but for some reasons he made me and other three of my compatriots wait next to him until everyone got off the plane. I realized then that we were taken to a second inspection. All passengers were on their ways but I was still on this small room, with a bunch of other people, waiting for my passport. I have already “made my plea” (in Spanish, of course) presented my two-ways ticket (yes, it was a two-ways ticket), but still, two hours later I found myself in that same room with no cell phone reception, and nothing else but my backpack. But as I told you from the beginning, The Universe already made its contribution and just when I was about to fall asleep, that nice officer returned my passport and wished me “disfruta tu viaje”.

If that waiting time was so overwhelming for me, especially after a long flight, imagine how he was feeling. He knew that my flight had landed but two hours later, and a few more dozens of planes landed, I would still not show up. Of course, when we finally got together it was DREAMLIKE, but only after I’ve spoken with my whole family and assured them I was on good hands, I was able to enjoy my vacation.

Since that date (it’s been almost five years) I am living my life in a mexican style, happily married with many tacos, tortillas, chile, mucho español, and no more telenovelas, (I have my own now). We are still thinking that we are on vacation, and how could we not with this gorgeous California weather and a different sunset every evening. The flight ticket was eventually only one way, because I went back home only after 2 years and 3 months…ups… correction: WE WENT BACK!

To be continued…


Originally published at iulianapapuc.com.