My Dearest Miško,
I received this journal in the summer of 2017 from a group of Benedictine nuns in Fabriano, Italy. I volunteered at their gorgeous monastery for two weeks during a summer marked by blissful uncertainty. I had an itch to travel but no job prospects. And, when I left the monastery with this new journal, made with love by the nuns themselves, I worried I would never find a story adequate enough to fill its pages.
Two months later, that all changed. I was curled up on a couch in a Colorado basement (long story) when a position at The Slovak Spectator opened up. I applied, and a couple of weeks later, I got the job.
I promptly moved to Slovakia.
Rode the 207 tram.
And then, I met you 🙂
I wrote this two years ago in a very special journal that I gave to my fella Miško in celebration of 11 months together. I filled the first half and then gave it to him to finish.
Now, the journal is completely filled with our story (including some romantic tales of last year’s nationwide Covid testing in Slovakia) and on the very last page is a picture of my face the moment my partner of three years asked me the easiest question in the world to answer by the bench we sat on at the end of our first date.
That’s right, I’m engaged!!!! My Pinterest feed is plastered with photos of sunflower arrangements, wedding hairdos and desserts – so many desserts! When I’m running, I periodically look down to make sure my beautiful engagement ring is still on my finger just in case the slight breeze manages to pry it off. And when I’m with Miško, the guy who broke the ice by literally breaking (accidentally) a seatbelt on the 207 tram, everything feels exactly as it should.
I am a strong believer that you create your own destiny, but at the same time, I think a return to Bratislava 19 years after I lived here first was always in the cards. I barely have any memories of my toddler years here, but I had felt an inexplicable pull to return to this magical city several years before moving. Life has an amazing way of circling back, doesn’t it?
I still believe life isn’t so much about making the right or wrong decisions; it’s about embracing the chaotic mess of living and seeing the timeline of our choices through. But when you meet the right person, when your first conversations sound much like those shared between old friends, it really does feel like a higher power is nudging you towards your destiny and you can’t help but embrace all the goudas and cheddars of romance. Yes, we are soulmates; we are puzzle pieces who found their way back to one another. We are in love and out-of-our-minds excited!
Next autumn, I get to share my quirky and beautiful hometown with my soon-to-be-husband and his family along with our international friends during a Slovak-British-American celebration of love and the monumental meet-cute that led me to my Miško.
Since our shared journal is now full and this is indeed my favorite story to tell, I hope you’ll indulge me as I give you a little more insight into the wedding planning process in the coming months. Our New Hampshire wedding (followed by a celebration in Slovakia) will truly be an international affair and amusing cultural misunderstandings are bound to ensue, so buckle up (figuratively, of course, because we all know how Miško is with seatbelts).
God bless the 207 tram!
PS: Last week, I found this tiny heart while shredding some cabbage. It’s a good reminder that love hides in plain sight (more specifically, in dense, leafy vegetables).