When a dating website leads to a last-minute invitation to China, Tammy A. Kosco set aside her fears and said “yes'“ to a romantic adventure with a stranger. (Spoiler alert! — he was not a serial killer.)
Irene Sardanis and her husband love to travel. They disagree, however, when it comes to where to stay. He prefers the basics: a bed and a bath. She wants spacious rooms, fresh flowers, and a balcony with a view. On a trip to Italy, after enduring one too many drab, dark, and dismal hotel rooms, Irene rebelled, took charge, and found the ideal room for romance with passion as her reward.
story and photos by Rachel Dickinson
A week before what would have been my parents sixtieth wedding anniversary I found myself heading to Quebec City and the Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac, the very hotel my parents stayed in on their honeymoon. I believed, at the time, that this was strictly coincidental, for I had no desire to recreate the beginning of a failed marriage, but a part of me also strongly suspected that there was no such thing as pure coincidence.
Usually, at this time of year, I’m thinking about hearts, flowers, and chocolate in sweet, loving surroundings. I can’t believe that every year I descend into embarrassing fantasy clichés, so, this year, I’m trying something different. I’ve set out to find places where you or Cupid would never think of going. Places you can immediately eliminate from your Valentine bucket list.
(Almost) Together at Last:
Just over three years ago I told my girlfriend, a girl I had only met three times before—and over a two-year span—that I loved her. After she reciprocated, we only saw each other a half dozen times each year, at most. Our relationship was based on upgrading our cell phone plans to include unlimited texting, late night web-cam “dates,” and taping TV shows so we could watch them “together” over the phone.
When I proposed and we were engaged, she decided to move in with me, which required her to quite literally pick up her entire life and move cross-country from New Mexico to Georgia to be with me. Shortly after she moved in with me though, she flew back to New Mexico to plan our wedding. A few months later we were wed in front of our family and friends; we became husband and wife—no more his and hers—and promised to be with each other forever. Life was great.
Living with an awesome (and amazing and beautiful) woman puts your life on a whole new level. It was great having her there all the time. Together, we would cook breakfast and dinner and eat in our backyard under our canopy; we explored our new town and went out on real dates. We would watch our favorite TV shows while lounging next to each other, instead of over long-distance phone lines. We were in a great groove, and spent our time building a life together. We had a pizza week (where we made pizza from scratch every day for an entire week); we welcomed a puppy into our family, built a garden, and then rebuilt the garden while teaching our pup that it's bad to eat our newly-planted veggies. Again, life was wonderful.
All of this bliss was, of course, short lived. We had spent just over two months together—the longest we’ve spent together in our entire relationship—before I got orders to deploy to Qatar.
We love it when we can pass along an opportunity for free travel. Even better when it's a reward for persuasive writing! So, if you (or anyone you know) are planning to tie the knot, check out this opportunity for eco-conscience brides and grooms from the USA and Canada to win the wedding of their dreams in the Cook Islands. The winning couple also gets to bring along four family/friends to celebrate!
Prizes includes roundtrip airfare on Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to the Cook Islands, accommodation for the bride/groom plus four guests, and an eco-friendly wedding ceremony and reception including South Pacific traditions.