My European Romance
I admit I was apprehensive about my senior trip to the Chartres pilgrimage in France. In all of my seventeen years, the farthest I’d ever been from my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan was to Florida with my grandparents. I wouldn’t have the security of going with someone I knew this time. Hiking sixty-two miles over three days with a group of complete strangers was a daunting prospect for my younger self. I had no idea that this trip would change my life.
It was the first day of our journey and the sunlight soaked French countryside reflected my cheery mood. I wanted to try something new, meet someone new, it was a day for adventure! I overheard a warm, male voice speaking a foreign tongue and glancing around, I found the speaker–a young man, at least six foot four, with hair so blond it almost didn’t seem real and eyes as blue and deep as the night sky. Curious about where he was from, I approached him.
“So…are you Dutch?” I queried, trying to make conversation.
He smirked and pointed to the little flag peeking out of his backpack. “I’m Swedish.”
I started pestering him with questions about his homeland and asked him to teach me some words. Before I knew it, the day was nearly over. Talking with him made the hours fly by. I felt an intense connection with him, as if I’d been searching for him my whole life and my heart had finally come home.
The next two days were a blur of giddy excitement as we hiked and talked about anything and everything. I don’t know how he put up with my endless questions and cheesy jokes, but he even seemed to enjoy them! Those were two of the best days of my life; everything was perfect. When the time came for us to part ways, it felt so wrong. My heart was urging me not to leave him, and despite us having just met, I knew we were supposed to be together.
We texted constantly the next few weeks, and before long, plans had been made for me to visit him in two months. Those two months crawled by, but during that time, we fell deeply in love.
The day finally arrived, and I was on my way to Sweden! My stomach was a churning mess of butterflies the entire twelve hour journey. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him in the airport–so similar, yet so different from what he sounded and looked like over our video calls. He was perfect. My first meeting with his family, on the other hand, was a mess on my end. They were the some of the sweetest people I’d met, despite having to put up with my jetlagged self. I actually dropped my salad in my lap at lunch!
The next two weeks flew by as we spent sun soaked days exploring the islands of the Swedish coast and nights roaming the streets of Göteborg or just staying at home sipping sangria (at 18, I was legal to drink in Sweden) while cuddling up to watch a movie. We even took a ferry to visit Denmark!
Only a month later, he visited me in the USA. My family fell in love with him, and we showed him many of the beautiful Michigan sights, including Mackinac Island. During this visit, four months from the day we met, he proposed. Of course, I accepted!
The journey to getting him his fiance visa was long, arduous, and cost about two thousand dollars total (very expensive for us). It took seven months total. Being away from him was so hard but so worth it. We managed to find ways to keep the romance alive, whether watching movies together, playing online games, or simply talking for hours until we fell asleep on the phone.
I spent those entire seven months just hoping and praying that my groom would make it in time for our wedding. We’d planned our big day to be May thirteenth, one year after our meeting. The date grew closer and closer as we waited and wondered to see if he would be allowed to come. Eight days before, his visa arrived in the mail. Five days before, he rolled into Michigan. We were reunited at last!
Our wedding day couldn’t have been better. His family was able to fly over from Sweden for the big day. Our mutual friends from our trip in France were able to attend the wedding and be in our wedding party. Our day was filled with joy, tears, laughter, and of course, lots of dancing!
We have now been married for almost two years; we’ve had our ups and downs, but there’s no one else I would have rather gone through them with. We have recently embarked on the wild ride of parenthood and are enjoying (almost) every minute of it! He’s my best friend, partner in crime, lover, soulmate, adviser, and the father of my child. He is my husband.
Catherine Claesson is a mommy blogger and virtual assistant with 3 years of writing experience. Catherine, a Michigan native, and her Swedish husband became first time parents to a beautiful little girl in November, 2018. When Catherine’s not working at her laptop, you’ll find her drinking coffee, changing diapers, and binging Netflix shows. She specializes in email management, online content creation, and ghostwriting. You can learn more about her services and check out her blog at notebooksandninjas.com
Catherine, your love story makes me think of a movie! I bet your story could be made into one! Thank you for sharing your story and enjoy your little one being little!