I moved to London, England from native Germany in summer 2004. I was young, single and dead set on having a great old time. Even before my actual moving date, I had checked out some personal ads on a website that I knew travellers and expats used to network and meet other people in order to make life in the big city fun, sociable and less lonely. I already had my good friend Christina, who had moved to London a few years before me, but I also wanted to make new friends.
I emailed with a few guys and girls who sounded nice to organize some meet-ups. I had seen an ad by this one Canadian guy, Marco, who was looking for people to do "normal" things with, like going to the movies, or meeting for a chat over coffee. He said he enjoyed travelling and hiking. I thought that maybe he was a bit old (nine years my senior, would you believe it?!), but I had always been a big fan of all things Canadian, so he had that going for him, and I replied.
We exchanged emails and we arranged a meeting on a mid-August afternoon, in front of the Virgin Mega Store on Tottenham Court Road. We went on to a lovely Italian café that I knew and chatted. We then went on to a pub in Covent Garden and chatted. After closing time, he walked me to Leicester Square tube while we chatted. And chatting, I'll have you know, does not come easily to me - not with complete strangers. But this stranger was funny. And interesting. And tall. And he had gorgeous brown eyes. I felt at ease around him. More than at ease. In fact, when I came home to my friend Christina's house, where I was staying while I was looking for place of my own, I established that I had met the man I was going to marry. No joke! Christina can confirm! I stayed up all night and watched Four Weddings And A Funeral, because I was too exhilarated to sleep.
Lucky for me, Marco seemed to like me too, as we kept emailing and texting and met up a few more times. I just had to find out if he maybe also felt more than friendly towards me. I bought new outfits to wear to our dates. I cooked for him. I took him to the movies and to live music venues. Nothing. I wrote him a late night email after one of our outings and more or less confessing that I saw more in him than a buddy. Nothing.
I thought that maybe he really just wanted to be friends, because that had been what he was looking for. But still, I thought he was sending out all the right vibes. If he had not been sending those vibes, I would probably just have declared defeat. After all, I had sworn to myself never to make a move on a guy again, after one too many heartbreaks in the past.
In September, 6 weeks after our first meeting, we were out together again, looking for an Irish pub with live music somewhere in West London. We never actually found the pub, but had a great evening nonetheless, just walking the streets and talking. I was growing more and more desperate, especially as my Canadian was to depart on a trekking holiday to Nepal in two days time. I feared he might chance upon a sexy lady backpacker or a sweet Nepalese beauty and forget all about his German friend in the UK. So, here is what happened on the way home.
We had some part of the way to go together and were sitting next to each other on the Underground. I swallowed all my pride and rested my tired head on Marco's shoulder. Surely, any guy who was interested in the girl would put his arm around her, take her hand? No, not this one.
So the girl, not believing that all the signs could have been wrong, asks him, "Is this okay?" And he says, "Yes!" So simple.
We had to change onto different trains at Leicester Square. Which is where we then had our first kiss when saying goodbye, on the Southbound Northern Line platform. And the rest is history, as they say.
It turned out that Marco had been falling in love as well, but was also a master of self-restraint. He had not wanted to get too close to me, knowing that he would have to leave me behind for a while to go on his trip. So, he went to Nepal for 3 weeks, and that was the last time we were ever apart for any amount of time. We moved in together a year later, got a cat, got married in 2010 (yay!), travelled together, and now have two cats. And the moral of all this? Love will hit you when you're not looking. Or: If it feels right, make the first move! Or: The shy girl's guide to winning the heart of a timid boy.
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