June 10th, 2011 wasn't supposed to be an eventful day. I got off work early (one of the infamous German Feierabends) and called my friends in Berlin, trying to set up plans. All of them were out of town for one reason or another, and I returned to my apartment at 4pm, feeling sorry for myself that I had a whole long weekend ahead of me but no one to spend it with.
I called my mom to complain, and while we were Skyping a text flashed on my phone.
"This guy from my internship program invited me out tonight."
"So? Why don't you go?"
"I dunno...he's kinda weird, Mom."
"Well, what else have you got going on tonight?"
Grudgingly, I put on eyeliner and some skinny jeans and caught the U-Bahn to the trendier side of Berlin, where I met my fellow intern for döners and a beer. He ended up being really funny, and I had to admit, going out had been a good idea. We decided to have a drink at the hostel bar across the street, but soon lost each other in the crush of Friday night partiers. Before I knew it, I was standing by myself with a beer, trying not to look uncool.
The nice thing about drunk people is that they're easy to talk to, and I soon found myself welcomed into a group discussing their upcoming trip to Prague. While we talked, a blond guy joined the group, and asked the Turkish guy next to me in perfect American English,
"So, where we headed after this?"
While he talked to the Turkish guy, I couldn't help being curious about this newcomer. It's not uncommon to meet young Americans in Berlin, but he seemed different. He wasn't a bearded hipster talking about indie bands or a party bro out to get drunk on his summer off. He seemed mature and effortlessly cool and interesting. Plus he had incredible muscly arms.
(I'm only human, people!)
So, curious and excited by the prospect of speaking English rather than muddling through German, I uttered the smoothest pick up line I could think of.
"Hey, are you American?"
Maybe it was the eyeliner I had so artfully applied, or maybe my hair was just lookin super awesome that night, or maybe the stars aligned and destiny fell right into place, but Fionn didn't think I was a total weirdo for asking and we struck up a conversation.
He was a West Coaster, I learned. He was stationed in Germany with the Army in a place I'd never heard of and humored me while I tried to impress him with my knowledge of the military. He was visiting Berlin because he also had a long weekend but since he was new to Germany he had no one to spend it with. So, rather than spending his time at home, bored, he hopped the next train to Berlin.
(I would soon come to know this as the famous Fionn travel spontaneity)
Our conversation flowed easily. We made each other laugh. He regaled me with his crazy travel stories and I told him about my adventures abroad and the challenge of taking this job in Berlin. I learned he could speak some Russian and I spent twenty minutes trying to teach him to order a beer in German. He was the first person I'd ever met who had traveled more than me.
Before I knew it, an hour had passed and we were still talking away. The group he was with announced they were heading down the street in search of a new bar, and we followed them, wrapped in our own little conversation at the back of the group. We stopped for pizza and I tried to teach him how to order, eventually giving in and talking to the grumpy looking Turkish pizza seller myself.
"Here," Fionn said, tearing a chunk off of the slice, "For your hard work."
After much deliberating (it's crazy hard to decide on where to go when your group consists of 9 drunk out of towners speaking 6 different languages) we finally settled in a USSR themed bar, leaving the others to dance and flirt and party while we kept talking, mostly about Fionn's crazy study abroad time in Russia and Ukraine.
By the time I remembered to look at my watch, it was nearly 4 am. I was tired, but didn't want the night to end. Still, knowing how long it would take to get back to my apartment, I announced I should probably head home.
"Should I go with you? It's not the best time to be on the subway by yourself."
"This time of night it'll take almost 45 minutes one way!" I exclaimed, "You can't go all that way just to turn around."
"Well, give me your number then. We can hang out tomorrow."
I was so thrilled he actually wanted to see me again! We exchanged numbers, and I insisted I really had to get going. He walked me down to the U-Bahn platform, which seemed so cute and chivalrous. Since the train was on the night schedule, it was going to be nearly 10 minutes before the next one.
We looked at each other and there was this moment...maybe it was the eyeliner, or the drinks, or the fact that I'd never had such a great night and couldn't believe I had this awesome connection with this smokin' hot dude I just met, but we both just smiled and leaned in.
And he kissed me.
Where we first met! This picture was taken January 2014
That's right everyone, I have officially known my darling Fionn for 3 years as of today! So prepare yourselves for the love story :)