…When I, by chance, met the love of my life on a couch in a hostel in the west of Ireland. It was November 2006.
Farewells with my sister at Sydney Airport, circa October 2006
The month before, I had left my comfortable, old life as a Sports Copytaker at AAP in Sydney, Australia, and moved to Ireland. I’d overcome my existential crisis (“How do I fit my life in a suitcase?”), said my tearful goodbyes to friends and family, and flew halfway around the world.
Me and Craig at the 2nd Test of the International Rules at the famous Croke Park
I spent three and a half weeks travelling around, drinking in Galway with other Aussies who were also there for the International Rules, hiking in Killarney, partying in Cork, madness in Dublin, and meeting new friends (Hello Gill! Hello Alice!) whom I knew were more than just passing acquaintances. And then I made one of the best decisions of my life: to return to Galway and base myself there.
Sleepzone, Galway — where it all started…
I returned to Sleepzone — the same place where I’d stayed with the other Fanatics for the first game of International Rules. I met the local cast of (mostly Aussie) characters who were living at the Hostel and two nights later, just after dinner, my life altered in the greatest way.
The couch — originally a deep green leather, but has been updated since 2006
He was wearing a green polo shirt with a white long-sleeved Celtic undershirt and an A’s baseball cap. And he was cute — but was SO AMERICAN! < insert roll eyes here >. Nevertheless, I was like “whatever” — I wasn’t even going to bother entertaining the idea that he was good-looking and making my little heart skip a beat, and thus make myself nervous about just speaking to the bloke…
James, with English Dave in the UK, the night before he met me (yes, world travellers wear the same get up multiple days in a row!)
The comedy show on TV had just finished (The not-so-funny-but-has-a-funny-voice, Carl Barron) and I asked if I could switch the channel to watch some rugby. He agreed and we started chatting about rugby (an American who knew about rugby?!?!). And then we started chatting about cricket (an American who knew about cricket?!?!?), then Aussie Rules (an American who knew about Aussie Rules?!?! GET ! OUT!). I pumped him for more information — surely he had an Aussie parent or something to explain his knowledge of all that I held dear? Nope, just a night owl who loved watching the weird, international programming in the middle of the night on ESPN 3 and he’d also done his semester abroad in London.
I wish I could say he had me at “hello”, but that would be an exaggeration. In retrospect, he had me at his explanation of why John Eales was a far superior Wallaby Captain than George Gregan. SWOOON!
The Sleepzone Kitchen and Common Area (with Richie the busker from Melbourne, on the right)
We stayed up late talking about everything under the sun. A wonderful first meeting! We met up again as we both did the 9:50am race into the kitchen to make breakfast before it was closed at 10am for cleaning: cut from the same cloth! From then on, we were inseparable.
I shared my tea and food supplies with him, and a few days later, rooms were reshuffled at the hostel and I landed in the same 8-bed dorm as James. From then on we were inseparable. Each night that week, we stayed up later and later, just chatting and getting to know one another (enduring the wrath of the Canadians in our room) and then doing the 9:50am beeline for breakfast.
A week after I met him, I took off to meet Craig in Scotland and go watch the Wallabies with the Fanatics. Sweet life, hey?
Anyhoo, so Craig and I had a good ol’ chat about things and I told him of this lovely American chap I’d met and who promised me he’d have an apartment for us sorted out by the time I arrived back in Galway a few days later.
I wanted to believe that this was the case, but meeting people on the The Road is a different experience to Real Life (would you be living with someone in the real World four days after meeting them? Definitely not!). I was so impressed when I returned to Galway to see that not only did he find a great little place in town with an amazing view of the Loch, but my little pumpkin had also gone out and bought the essentials like a doona/duvet and pillows. Bless! He was semi-domesticated, too! Thoroughly impressed! James was planning on sticking around for a few months, so this made sense to share a place and just see how things went… and he stuck around, for almost a year
The view of Loch Atalia from our little home in Galway
It was almost two months to the day after first meeting me when we went out and farewelled the Aussie Nightwatchman at the hostel, DOMINATED the dancefloor at the famous Róisín Dubh (Row-sheen Doove), and he told me he loved me for the very first time on the Wolf Tone Bridge. SIGH!
James standing by the mighty Corrib, at theWolf Tone Bridge
It’s funny because from the first night we met, we have always just been. I love that about us!
James earning our grocery money busking on the streets of Galway
My life is wonderful now that James is in it. I liken the experience like suddenly viewing life in Technicolour, much like Dorothy Gail does after she lands in Oz. Corny, but true.
Visiting Tesco via the park
…. and now, four years later, and with the pleasure and delight of being able to call this most awesome and sweet and lovely man my husband, I wanted to take a moment and say thank you. Thank you, Universe! Thank you for all of the heartbreaks along the way, for all the decisions (both good and bad) I made that led us to crossing paths. And thank you to James, for loving me right back.
Working on his Dylan act
Watching Galway United at Terryland
I love Galway!
He makes everything… grooooovy
Heading out to Richardson’s on Eyre Square
Never believe anyone who tells you Ireland is not that cold!
A rare non-rainy (but cold!) evening in Salthill
Good Luck, Galway!
And from here…
Passing the time before we get hitched
Yay for Vegas! Yay for us!
I love my life with you!