How It Began

Let me take you back in time. Five days into a trip to Bali, my friend Katy and I have made our way to the coastal town of Tulamben for scuba diving. The location, formerly a sleepy fishing village, has come to some notoriety for it’s walk-out reef and shipwreck diving sites. Between morning and afternoon dives, I’m resting in the shade with a book and feeling altogether peaceful. A morning below the waves in a new world of color and life left me indescribably calm. Whether owing to general island bliss, the deep, yogic breathing employed while diving, or the higher than typical nitrogen levels in my blood, I was floating on a cloud. And that’s when I met Stephan for the first time.

Bali Coast

He had just checked into the bungalow next door and walked over to say hello. He had a calm and confident way of speaking an enormous, heart-tugging smile. I learned he was from Berlin and had spent the better part of a year traveling around Asia, working all the while as a software designer. Since his time in Thailand, he had been freediving. We stood there talking for a rather long time. He joined Katy and I for dinner that night, and later changed his travel plans to join us in the next city, Ubud, for the remainder of our stay. That’s how it started.

Even as I write this, I can’t get over how unlikely the whole story is. After a patchwork of maximum visa stays and WhatsApp romance, I’m still so smitten with this man. We both took risks on each other but time has proved what my intuition told me right away. A year later, we're together here in Heidelberg, one of the most beautiful cities in Germany.

It’s a bright morning and the sun is just starting to warm the city. After breakfast with Stephan and my dear friend Christina we’re planning to hike near Heidelberg Castle. Christina just arrived yesterday. She left San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to begin a backpacking journey that she’s dreamed about for years. I’m so proud of her. I look forward to hearing about all of her adventures, and being together now is surreal and joyful. So, with excellent company and a full heart I’ll wrap this up and start my Sunday. Until next time.