Many say that love actually can be found all around us–if we look hard enough; especially at airports. No one’s seen with tears of anger when they greet someone or feels hate while holding up a “Welcome Back Home” sign–but for me, I used to feel the extra load of loneliness when traveling–I never had that special someone wishing me safe travels or greeting me with a smile on my return flight home. But things have changed. In as little as two months–my life is different; because of the boyfriend, Santiago.
When we met, I knew there was something special about Santiago, something different–a calming yet refreshing vibe and I quickly recognized his worth–and the only question was; did he feel the same? You see, when dating, especially in New York, the problem isn’t meeting people, it’s meeting people on the same dating page as you. And we’re faced with so many new issues: who pays on the first date or when to bring your shampoo over to when do you say, “I love you.“ But as Santiago and I took it date by date, shaping our own dating experience and ignored several “rules” placed by people who just really wanted to make a buck or two with their “expertise” advice, we kept our eye on the big picture–respect. It also didn’t hurt any that we’re both Mexican and “do the nasties” any chance we get–don’t judge.
So when I decided to take a trip to Iowa–where I run to when I need some time away from the city to reconnect with family–I did the unthinkable–I asked the boyfriend to come even though we had only been together for one month. He agreed. (Not sure which one of the two was the craziest; me for asking or him for accepting) But we did it–we took the leap–against the advice of a few experts and close friends. I wasn’t sure if I was sure–did I really want him to come? What if we fought? What if my family didn’t like him? What if he didn’t like my family? There were so many “what ifs” in the picture–so I did the one thing I’m good at–I got a new canvas and started a new art project. I made the decision to take a leap of faith based on our excellent communication, mutual respect, and his love of family.
Tonight is our last day here in Iowa, we leave for the airport tomorrow at 6 am and head back to Brooklyn. And it’s been an amazing week, he seamlessly fit in and created bonds with all of my family; I can’t begin to describe how all the kids have latched onto him–even the youngest of the bunch, Isabella (the two-year-old visiting from Croatia) and who can’t pronounce his name entirely but runs to our room in the mornings and yells, “Donde esta Ago?” Which translates to, “Where is Santiago?” I think he’s going to miss her the most–I found the two having a tea party with her speaking Croatian while he sang her a Spanish folk song about a China tea shop. Neither one of them understood one another, but the smiles and hugs they exchanged told me that language wasn’t a real priority.
I’m glad Santiago came along and made such a huge splash in the hearts of the poeple here in Iowa. His kind heart and generuos spirit were greatly accepted and appreciated. He and I grew closer on this trip as we learned how to handle stressful situations without exchanging one harsh word–that’s an accomplishment. As the world grows with knowledge that’s available online, books, and audiotapes, and with so many sites on “how to date”, “the rules to land a man”, and guides on “what not to do when dating”–I can’t help but wonder, “When will we learn the simple rule of just following our hearts?”