Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Wuv, twu wuv

I was over at Auds', and she says that Marcy at The Glamorous Life Association has asked the entire blog world to write a post about love, marriage, or weddings, or all of them, and then link up on her site.

Aw, why not a little twu wuv on a wet afternoon? Beats working!

March 2005: I was about to turn 33, living alone an hour west of London in a cute little 1-bedroom double-story semi-detached house that I owned. My job was satisfying and well paid. I had a good circle of friends and life was being very kind to me. I hadn't found someone good enough to marry and have kids with, but rapidly approaching my mid-30s I was becoming resigned to the idea of spending my life child-free rather than settling for an inferior bloke.

Since splitting with Mountain Man 3 years previously I'd kissed a few frogs (and was half-heartedly dating yet another), but it is my considered opinion that most men in their mid-30s who are single deserve to be! All the good ones were married, and I figured I'd probably have to wait a few years for the 40-something divorcees to start freeing up. Of course by then (plus a couple of years courtship) I'd be too old for kids, but they'd probably have some of their own so that would be ok.

I'd decided to go away scuba diving over my birthday in early March. The closest warm clear scuba sites to the UK are in the Red Sea, and that's where I was off to. I can't remember now whose idea it was, but Mom decided to come with me and learn to dive too! My boyfriend hadn't been able to organise himself to come along, so he didn't.

Scuba diving in the Red Sea is awesome! We spent a week in Sharm el Sheik and loved it. The resort is a westerner-friendly town, and unlike Cairo and other parts of Egypt I never felt threatened as a female. I spent the first day doing a refresher course and then signed up for a boat dive to the Thistlegorm wreck the following day. As the dive site was a long way off a minibus would be picking me up at 4am...

...I am so not a morning person! I dragged myself onto the bus and huddled against a window, staring blearily out at the lights of Sharm as we trundled to the next hotel to pick up some more divers. A large man sat down next to me and we murmured a quiet greeting. He noticed that I was alone, and asked me if I wanted to buddy up with himself and his two mates - an English couple sitting in front of us. I agreed as being without a buddy sucks, even though you're ok in a group. I was trying to place his accent - Kiwi? Aussie? (yes they do sound the same to an outsider)

In the end I got buddied with the dive guide who wanted to keep an eye on me, but my new (Aussie, actually) pal gave me a hand humping air bottles around and putting my kit together. It was an amazing day's diving and I couldn't wait to do again! I asked my friend where he was diving the next day and he said they were doing a private dive. Oh well, pity. I swapped emails with him and with one of his travel mates, as I was planning to visit Oz within a couple of years and it's always nice to see a friendly face.

The following day my dive operator took a group of us diving in Dahab - a short drive from Sharm. We dived from shore, and did some really mind boggling diving through caves and tunnels and along vertical walls of coral. In the early afternoon we all went for lunch in a Dahab restaurant - and there was my buddy and his friends! I waved, but as our dive leader seemed to have an odd relationship with their dive leader I didn't go over (turns out they're exes).

The next day was my birthday, and I saw my friend at the dive center in the morning - we were heading to the same site, yay! On different boats, boo! He told me he'd be drinking in a certain pub that evening with a group he'd met the day before in Dahab, and I said I'd look for him... and off I went to the marina for another glorious day of diving. Mom was qualified to dive by this point and came along - she had decided to carry on for her advanced certificate so dived with own instructor, but it was lovely to have her on the boat. I think we did a couple of deep drift dives.

That evening Mom was exhausted, but as it was my birthday she gamely took me out to dinner. After dinner I talked her into going for a quick drink "with these divers I met the other day" at the Camel Bar. The Camel Bar is an expat diver bar - a bit rough with peanut shells on the floor! I dragged Mom through 2 levels of the place searching for my friend, and finally found him sitting out on the roof terrace under the stars. We had a couple of drinks (Mom left after one) and I think if I hadn't been diving the next day I might have stayed out a lot longer! He walked me back to my hotel and kissed me on the cheek.

The next day I knew my friend wasn't diving, as he was soon to fly home. Mom and I were waiting in the early morning sunshine for our lift to the marina, when who should appear "just dropping his kit off" at the crack of dawn? How nice to see him again! We chatted a bit and then I had to catch my lift so I gave him a big hug and he was gone from my life...

...except that I couldn't stop thinking about my new friend. I got home to England, took one look at my boyfriend and gave that loser the flick.

Then I sent my new mate in Australia a quick chatty email - and proceeded to stalk him from across the globe to his delighted surprise. Just over 4 years later we are married and expecting a baby and living in a house we bought together in Sydney. He still seems delightedly surprised, and I am still prepared to follow him to the ends of the Earth!


Suzanne said...

That is one amazing 'how we met' story. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Mawwage is what bwings us togewer towday!

SFrangipani said...

Awesome story.....it's a great tale and your writing style is delightful.