I used to hate it when married women said annoying things like “If you stop looking, you’ll find him.” What’s even more annoying is that it was totally true.
So for my first blog post, I thought it most appropriate to tell you that it all worked out for me romantically… in the end. Five years of searching, using everything at my disposal, including friends, internet dating, speed dating, rock climbing, workplaces and a whole lot of other crazy pursuits, and I finally found him – when I stopped looking!
It was after my last go-nowhere internet date, that I finally said “ENOUGH! I’m sick of dating. I’m sick of looking. I’m sick of feeling lonely and rejected. I’m over it!” It wasn’t one of those pretend-stop-looking things (where you hope that if you say out loud that you’re going to stop, the whole reverse-psychology-of-the-universe-thing would finally help you out); I was genuinely fed up and finished. I thought I’ll never get married again because I’d never love anyone enough to do so.
But I wasn’t going to sit and cry in the corner – “I’ll focus on my performing career, I’ll improve my repertoire, and I’ll finally learn to play the piano,” I said to myself firmly, as I packed my bags for the holiday park job I’d just accepted – aka my Dirty Dancing fantasy (see About Me if you have no idea what I’m talking about).
The holiday park was, let’s be honest, a hole. And that’s putting it nicely. The idea was there, it just wasn’t executed very well. And by that, I mean the main house was a beautiful, traditional building (a little spooky, but a good starting point for my Baby and Johnny aspirations), but the guest cabins were mouldy, damp and horrible, and you had to feed the electricity metre with coins every five minutes. There was an okay indoor pool, and a dank games room, suitable for children aged about 7-8. The pay was atrocious, and the owners were… interesting (but more on that later).
There were five other staff living there, and they were all students from overseas, working in the UK on English Programs. As the resident entertainer, I was supposed to have my own cabin, but I was given a lovely, young French room-mate. She was very pretty and cute, and a few of the boys who worked there fancied her. They used to pop by our cabin and say “Is Francoise* here?” When I said no, they’d say “Okay, bye,” and leave.
When you’re living in the middle of nowhere, with no transport, and the nearest civilisation is four miles away, it can get pretty lonely pretty quickly when your workmates don’t include you. What I didn’t realise is they were told not to bother me. “Entertainment and cleaners don’t mix,” the owner told me.
“Buggar that!” was my immediate response. I called my mum and whined, “Nobody talks to me. I’m in the middle of nowhere. I think I’m going to buy a car.”
Mum, wise and practical, replied, “Well, they’ll certainly talk to you when you’re the only person with transport!” I bought a car, and got invited to the pub.
When I first met Andrés, it wasn’t stars and thunderbolts. It was kind of a nothing event. I learned he was from Ecuador and was studying to be a chef. He was kind of cuddly at that time, had recently shaved his head, and was a bit grey-looking from eating pasta, cornflakes and white bread every day because of their meagre income. Also ten years younger than me – he didn’t strike me as my match made in heaven.
Then one day, I was cooking alone in my cabin, and decided it was time for me to make the first move – if I was ever going to be real friends with these guys. It honestly hadn’t even crossed my mind they could be anything else. I went up to their cabin, where Andrés and Cyril* were watching TV. “Hey, have you guys eaten lunch?” I asked at the door, hopefully. “I’ve made some chicken curry.”
“Well, we’ve eaten, but we could eat again,” Andrés said, smiling. The two of them came down for some curry, and after an hour or so of Andrés and I chatting non-stop, Cyril excused himself. One hour turned into four, and we didn’t run out of things to talk about. I think we covered just about every important topic in life: religion, family, aspirations, morals, relationships and money.
I couldn’t believe this guy I’d hardly spoken to for several weeks had turned out to be funny, smart, charming, interesting, and so easy to talk to. I delved into dangerous territory. “I’m 34. If I get married again, I’d want to have a baby straight away,” I said, breaking all the rules in the book. I didn’t care though. I’m a firm believer you should always speak your truth. The right person will appreciate it.
Our conversation only ended because I had to work, and he mysteriously turned up at the bar, to ‘change some money’. Really, it was so he could watch me singing.
So we knew we liked each other very quickly, but Andrés was being cautious. “We can’t get involved in a relationship,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “You’re from Australia, and I’m from Ecuador. It will just be too difficult to leave if we get too serious now.”
“Oh, don’t be such a drama queen,” I said, waving away his protestations. “I’ll just be the Australian girl you had fun with over the summer. We’re not going to fall in love.” I shook my head and laughed at this silly over-actor.
We used my little car to drive all around the local area. We went to the beach, had lunch at the pub, and laughed over stupid signs in tourist areas. Three weeks after that chicken curry, I came to talk to him, head down, and admitted, “I think I might be falling a little bit in love with you.”
“Me too,” he said.
Another three weeks after that, we were in the pitch darkness of my room, because we had to hide from the prying eyes of the owners and their children, who didn’t approve of staff getting too friendly. “You are everything I’ve ever wanted in a woman,” he whispered. “You wanna marry with me?”
“YES!” I said. What was that about not looking for love?
I never did learn to play the piano.
* Names have been changed
He hates this photo, but I love it. I think it looks like a GAP ad, or maybe I’m just delusional.