Happy Valentine’s Day you lovebirds!! I love Valentine’s Day because it’s not only the time to spend with the one that you love, but the people that ya love! I spent plenty of Valentine’s days eating my favorite chocolates with my mom or watching the sunset with my best friends. But I DO have a little lovebug to spend this year with :). Tonight, Christian and I will be cuddling up next to the fireplace at a cozy little Irish bar in Amsterdam (pub food is delicious!) and my last name is O’Banion, gotta represent the Irish at all times! (Google 'Dion O’Banion', yep MOBSTER!)
But but but!!! I have a little Valentine’s treat for you guy…a little look at Christian and I’s transatlantic love that we had to endure for a full 365 days :(…but it wasn’t all that bad :). After Christian and I spent 6 awesome months as exchange students in Finland, we had to return back to our respective countries and do long-distance FOR A WHOLE YEAR!!! Luckily, we got to jetset out and see each other quite a bit! Then that wonderful day in June 2008 came and I hopped on the plane to reunite with my Dutchy once and for all!
Have a fun-filled day of love!!
MET IN FINLAND
I left my warm beaches behind and arrived in Finland in the dead of winter in January with with an open passport, open mind and open heart. Actually I spent a few days in Amsterdam before I continued on to Finland :). Christian had just arrived from the Netherlands…and then we met, aaaand we were basically smitten from first sight! :)
OUR FIRST DATE
We spent the afternoon walking amongst frozen Finnish lakes, drinking hot chocolate and ended the night when he made me dinner.
WE SPENT ONE OF OUR FIRST TRIPS EXPLORING THE ARCTIC CIRCLE, FINLAND
We took the train for 12 hours to Northern Finland and spent a few days snowmobiling and dogsledding!
OUR FIRST OVERSEAS TRIP TO SWEDEN
We joined two of my friends from California on the 17-hour party cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm! Cruising through the Swedish archipelago watching the sunset, karaoke to Finnish music and a ball pit? It’s more romantic than you think! :) It was a blast!
IT WAS TIME TO LEAVE FINLAND, BUT I STOPPED TO VISIT HIM IN THE NETHERLANDS
We said our goodbyes to our new friends and 6 amazing months in Finland. But I visited Christian in his hometown (Maastricht, NL) for a week (ironically, my return flight left from Amsterdam)! I met his friends, family, we celebrated his birthday and he took me on a roadtrip to Luxembourg. Then we said our tearful goodbyes as I returned back to California...boo hoo :(.
I TOOK A 10-DAY BREAK FROM THE FALL SEMESTER AND WENT OUT FOR A VISIT!
We planned on not seeing each other until November but we just couldn’t help it! One-ticket to Amsterdam, please! We drove around the Netherlands visiting cute Dutch villages and we soooo stoked to see each other after 3 months apart.
…THEN HE CAME OUT FOR A VISIT! CALIFORNIA, VEGAS & A REAL AMERICAN THANKSGIVING :)
His first trip to America!! And it meant we got to wiggle our toes in the California sand, visit Vegas, San Francisco and celebrate a good ol’ American Thanksgiving with my whole family.
WINTER BREAK + EXTRA AIR MILES MEANT I GOT TO VISIT AGAIN FOR 3 WEEKS! AND WE WENT TO BRUGES, BELGIUM
I got to celebrate New Year’s Eve with him and his friends while we drank into the wee morning hours. Then he surprised me with a trip to Bruges, Belgium, for my birthday :).
SPRING BREAK AND EVEN MORE AIR MILES MEANT 10 DAYS IN EUROPE AGAIN! AND A WEEKEND IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA
At this point, I was accepted to the University of Amsterdam, got the great news about my scholarship and just had to go for another visit (I also got to move some stuff over..hehe)! My Dutchy took me to Vienna, Austria, to celebrate that we’d be united in 2 short months!
COLLEGE GRADUATION: CHECK—BAGS PACKED: CHECK—READY TO MOVE TO EUROPE: CHECK!
I finally boarded my one-way flight bound for Holland! After graduating from college, packing my bags, and spending 2 weeks with family and friends, I was on my way. My parents came out a few weeks later and we roadtripped around Belgium and Germany. We spent the first half of the summer lounging in Maastricht and watching European Cup hysteria hit the Netherlands, camping in Belgium with his family, soaking up the thermals baths in Budapest and he took me to see my favorite band (Death Cab for Cutie!), which just so happend to be playing in Amsterdam that summer. The below pic was the day we moved in! We spent the remaining part of the summer getting to know our new city we’d call home, Amsterdam…Home Sweet Holland!!
And now…5 years later (almost 4 years since I moved to Amsterdam!) and we are oh-so-happy and ENGAGED!!