Friday, July 29, 2011

I took a two week cruise that changed my life. My mom, sister, and I befriended all of the crew members we met, but one in particular caught our attention. I, alone, caught his. Pavle was a buffet steward during the day and wine steward during dinner at night. He was from Macedonia (a country surrounded by Greece, Albania, Serbia) and I was a sucker for his accent and Mediterranean skin.

In the first week, I was oblivious to the attention Pavle gave me. My mom and sister constantly told me that he was smitten with me and couldn't keep his eyes off of me. I guess I just hadn't noticed it. I shrugged it off, but I became a little more aware of what they were talking about.

In the second week, on May 18th, 2009, my life changed. My mom, sister and I were sitting at a table after Pavle's wine tasting seminar and I motioned for him to come over. As we we're all talking, I noticed his hand lightly brush my shoulder... and then lightly brush my back... It hit me like a ton of bricks and from that moment on, everything changed. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat. All I did was think about him, and all I wanted to do was see him. I had never felt that way. I planned my daily itinerary around his work hours so we could see each other. The crew wasn't supposed to "mingle" with passengers, but he spent as much time as he could at our table, despite getting spoken to by his superiors. There was a magnetic force between us that was apparent to everyone. He had flowers sent to our room, chocolate covered strawberries and wine...

On the last day of the cruise, we vowed to keep in touch. There was a glimmer of hope as the ship would dock in San Francisco, about half an hour from my home, every 10 days and I could pick him up for lunch or take him sightseeing. When I got home, I emailed Pavle immediately and I didn't hear from him for three days. I cried for hours, I missed him so much. I continued to email him, but no response. The first "10th day" came so I decided to go to the pier and see if, maybe, he'd come out. He never did. I saw another crew member we had befriended (who was also a friend of Pavle's) and I was disappointed to hear that Pavle couldn't get the day off and that his e-mail wasn't working. I took his friend around town, but I didn't want to be with him; I wanted to be with Pavle. I passed along pictures of us via his friend. And that was how it was every 10 days: no word from Pavle, I showed up at the pier, messages via his friend...

I found out Pavle's last day of his contract was July 13th. I had to see him. I needed some kind of closure before he flew back home knowing that we might, quite possibly, never see each other again. July 13th came and we saw each other before he boarded the bus to go to the airport. We were so happy to see each other! I met up with him at the airport. He gave me perfume. We had our first kiss. We were inseparable for the hours leading up to his departure. And then he was gone. I went back home deflated. He emailed me immediately after he got home and our courtship began -- corresponding with each other via emails, Facebook, phone calls. I miss yous, I love yous, I can't live without yous...

Pavle was determined to see me again. Soon. He came to San Francisco in September. He came for me. He was here for a little less than a month and then I decided to follow him back to Macedonia. I would leave in January, 2010 and stay for a month to make sure it was what I wanted. It was and IS what I want. I spent most of last year in Macedonia and we got married, here, on January 13th.

Corny as it sounds, I have truly never known love like this before.

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