by Tammy A. Kosco
I remember waking up in San Diego, on a warm, sunny day hearing the birds, feeling that something really positive was about to take place in my life that would be memorable.
I was listening to Jason Mraz singing "Love is a Four Letter Word", and just feeling in the zone. I remembered the "Miss Travel,” a travel dating website; I think I had previously seen it on television or googled the "best dating websites.” It was two days before Easter and I had a nudge in the pit of my stomach that told me I did not want to spend Easter alone. My family lived in Pennsylvania and Illinois. They already had plans and they considered my poor planning as a nuisance to them. I find it inspiring and love that I can be spontaneous and last minute. I think it's appealing and a good quality.
Every now and again I returned to the site. I made a profile for myself earlier in the year...but nothing really leaped out at me. But now, on that warm, sunny day, I felt magic in the air, if there is such a thing, and I looked on the site to see who favored me. I noticed a very handsome young man who had the sweetest smile and the most educated eyes...nice shape, very attractive and I liked what he wrote in his profile. I decided to write him and he wrote back almost immediately. We locked in a semi so to speak, meaning we had a lot in common we both had worked for the American Embassy and our passion was crypto security. I learned his name, what he did for a living and I went with my gut and felt serendipity in our connection. The timing could not have been more perfect; he was literally on his way to the airport to go to China to check out some possible business factories and the famous Canton Fair which, I learned, has happened once a year since 1957 in Guangzhou, China.
We spoke over the phone and via Whatsapp. It was inspirational but was it real? Was it too good to be true? Would I be safe? Was it practical? Those were some of the questions I asked myself. Yes, yes and yes. I was one of the lucky ones to have made a great decision about whom I chose and he chose me back. He said if I wanted to go to Hong Kong he would fly me there the very next day. One thing I learned in my life is that it's better to say "Yes" and then I can always say “No.” Even though there were butterflies in my stomach and tension, I heard myself saying “Yes.” On Easter day I was on my way, passport in hand, to meet a person I had never met before, and I was going across the world to do so, to a country I was not familiar with.
I ended up with a ten year "Chinese Business Visa,” which was a journey. I figured out my staying in Hong Kong for four nights and navigating the city all on my own...kudos to me... and I even figured out how to get to the correct train that would take me to Guangzhou, China.
We met at the train station in Guangzhou, China. When I learned that there was more than one entrance, I just breathed through the panic in my heart and body and somehow knew that everything would work out perfectly, which, in the end, it did. He looked exactly like his photo, was exactly who he said he was, and that very first time seeing him was like seeing an old friend again. We spent five wonderful days together, holding hands, checking out three different business factories and small villages. The list goes on; we ate at various amazing restaurants, shopped, checked out famous local villages, took a river boat ride, explored city after city...had massages...pinch me is this real?...learned the local customs together. At the Canton Fair we walked and walked. And then it came to a close. He had to fly back to work but he did not want to leave me. He asked me where I wanted to go by myself. Yes, alone, navigating solo once again. A part of me thought how nice it was to be together exploring this world, and another part felt like a baby chick whose time had come to leave the nest after enjoying its loved ones.
I chose to go to Guilin, in the South of China. He got in his taxi and I got on my first bullet train. We said our goodbyes with the hope of seeing each other again someday, and we wished each other the best.
Tammy A. Kosco is originally from N.E. Pennsylvania but resides in San Diego. She enjoys walking the beach and mountain biking when she is not traveling the world. She received her first inspiration as a child from a subscription of "National Geographic". Great love for learning: especially when it comes to travel, food, and people. Tammy has a son, daughter-in-law, and 2 beautiful granddaughters who are her inspiration. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org