Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl . . .
JP and I were both living in Taiwan for almost 8 months before we ever actually met. Except for a brief encounter in December when Carrie and I were party crashing and it turned out to be JP’s birthday party. It is almost strange that we lived in Hsinchu for so long together without meeting considering the small group of foreigners that hang out together. Finally in April our paths crossed again and this time there was an introduction. Instantly it was obvious (to everyone) that there was a connection but I was not looking to start anything while living in Taiwan. I was leaving in a few months and not planning on returning. Instead of going out we decided to be friends and hung out a couple times. From nights out in Taipei with friends to beach days in Nanliao we had so much fun together and our chemistry was undeniable. Finally one night after telling him that I did not want to go out I decided to grab him and kiss him. After that we spent increasingly more time together. At the end of April on the way to the beach with friends I crashed my scooter and JP saw it happen. He was horrified and ran to pull me off the road. As I laid there waiting for the ambulance he held my hand softly looking into my eyes and I knew it was done. We were too far in before it had even started. From that point on we were almost never apart. From birthday parties, camping trips, lunch dates, movie nights and just bumming around my apartment together. I was only there a few more months and we wanted to have a great time together even though we were not sure of what the future held. The closer we got the more we realized that what we had together was bigger than both of us individually. Only a few small talks were needed to make some major decisions. For us it was as simple as we knew we wanted to be together. JP was going to attend university in Taiwan for the next two years to get his Masters in Business. I was going to travel with Carrie and return to Canada to visit family. So, the decision was made that I would return to Taiwan to continue teaching. As time grew closer for Carrie and I to leave the idea of JP and I being apart for two months grew more and more difficult. It was then decided that JP would come and join us on our travels for two weeks in Bali. After Bali JP returned to Taiwan to work a couple of weeks then he flew to Canada for the final two weeks of August. We had the most amazing time together in Bali! It was paradise and a place we both want to experience again. While we were traveling and skyping between our trips we came to the conclusion that we could be traveling or living anywhere in the world and it would feel like home as long as we were together.
Returning to Canada was a strange and exciting experience. After being gone for 11 months and surrounded by different cultures, languages and foods it was very welcoming to be back to the familiar. Although so much time had passed in reality a year is not that long and nothing really changed drastically. Except for maybe me.
I loved every minute of being back in Huron County surrounded by friends and family but I was bored at times also. I was on vacation still and everyone else was working. Until JP arrived in Canada I was trying to entertain myself and wait for someone who wanted to hang out. I also felt a little out of place. I did not have a job or my own place to stay. It was very clear to me that this trip was simply a visit. I spent my time with all the friends and family I could. There were many people I did not get a chance to see and I think it was poor planning on my part because I came back with no plan. To those friends I apologize. Next trip home there will be a plan.
Once JP arrived in Canada I got really excited to show him where I am from. It was killing mom and I as we paced in the airport waiting for his delayed flight. Neither of us could stand still...I think she was more nervous to meet this new creature I was bringing into our lives. His plane landed and he was on his way through immigration but it was taking what felt like forever. Mom finally got fed up and said he has to be in the next ten people to come out those gates. She literally counted the people pass and on number nine she was worried about a man who came out and went back in. As she debated this number ten came through the gate with a huge smile on his face. HE IS HERE!!! JP spotted us right away and it was hugs all around. WELCOME TO CANADA! JP’s response...you have a whole lot of white people up in here! After more long hugs and tears we head for the car where mom has a nice treat for JP. Tim Horton’s maple donuts. It was love at first bite.
JP’s arrival in Canada was met with a great deal of excitement, not just from me but my entire family and many of my friends were looking forward to meeting him. Aside from meeting basically everyone in my life in two weeks we also wanted to travel a little in Ontario. This was JP’s first trip to Canada so I wanted to show him what I could. We spent a day in Toronto getting our Taiwan VISAs and touring around downtown. We saw the CN Tower, city hall, Lake Ontario, the Rogers Center, the Steam Whistle Brewery and had Toronto’s best poutine from a blue truck.
After Toronto we headed to Niagara Falls where we spent couple of days. JP was in absolute aw of the falls. Together we went on the Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury, the Whitewater Walk and best of all the Maid of the Mist.
After Niagara we spent sometime together at my family’s cottage in Bayfield, Ontario just off Lake Huron. The weather that week was amazing and we spent our days laying on the beach and relaxing. Another highlight of the trip home was my friends’ Justin and Sherri’s wedding. This was a chance for JP to meet everyone of my friends and celebrate an amazing night. Our time in Canada was filled with great conversations, dinners and drunken games of flipcup/beer pong. JP felt so welcomed as everyone opened their homes and hearts to us both. Friendships were strengthened on this trip and will last forever despite the time or distance. JP fell in love with Canada in the short time he was there. He could not get over how wholesome it is. Country life is something we are both drawn to and hope to return to someday. For now we are back in Taiwan continuing to write our story.