Yes, I actually went to Brazil to meet a man, for the first time, that I had only known through messages and video chat for 7 months! I know how crazy it sounds, but I don't regret one bit of it. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Was it risky? Oh yeah, but it was worth it. Would I have done it for just anyone? Absolutely not. This was a very unique situation.
I had never travelled out of the country before this trip to Brazil, so I had a lot of preparing to do for this trip. I had to get a passport, I needed to get fully vaccinated, get COVID tests, find suitcases, buy filtered water bottles, new clothes, outlet adapters and other travel accessories. I flew with Delta, as I do almost every time. I love Delta! It is a great airline, and I have never had an issue with them. I left in July and planned to stay for two weeks. (SIDE NOTE: I will probably write about traveling internationally during the pandemic in a future blog) The travel itself was a little stressful once I got to the airport in Sao Paulo. GRU is a huge airport with no tram or train for riding from terminal to terminal. FYI, if you are traveling from the US to an international airport and then getting on another connecting flight, you will have to pick up your checked luggage and then check it back in. I wasn't aware of this until the pilot came on the intercom and told us right as we were coming into Sao Paulo. It was tough to make my connecting flight, since I only had a two hour layover, and I would've missed it if it weren't for the very nice Brazilian employee who helped me get to the correct terminal (which is an option for certain flights apparently).
Once I got to the reginal airport in Belo Horizonte (my final destination), I had been traveling for a total of 19 hours. I was stinky and sweaty and so nervous, but I was so excited to meet the man of my dreams. I knew Bruno would be waiting for me outside the airport shortly, so I picked up my luggage and found the nearest restroom to try and freshen up. I was so nervous that I couldn't stop sweating, so I came out of the bathroom and sat down on a bench with my luggage and decided to wait there. I had been sitting there for maybe 5 minutes when a Brazilian airport security guard came rolling up on his Segway.
"Aimee?" He asked.
I replied with a nervous, "Yes?"
My brain was racing to figure out how and why this man knew my name when he asked me something in Portuguese.
I replied, in what I'm sure was a horrible accent, "Eu no falo Portuguese." (which, ironically, means "I don't speak Portuguese" in Portuguese)
He then pulled out his phone and began typing on what I could only assume (and hope) was Google Translate. He handed me the phone and under the Portuguese words was the sentence, There is a boy outside for you. My heart literally skipped a beat. Well, he was there and there was no more putting off this moment. I gave him his phone back and replied with a polite "Obrigada" (thank you). I stood up and looked at the doors I had to go out of, knowing he would be right on the other side and still giggling from realizing that he must have told that guard to come get me.
I took a deep breath and started walking through the sliding doors, and, as I did, I tried to pop my head out first, ahead of my luggage cart, to scan the crowd for him. Almost immediately, I saw him because he really is so tall! As soon as our eyes met, I said the first that came to my head, "Hello!"
When I saw him all my nerves melted away as if I knew everything was going to be okay now that we were together. I felt a since of being at home which is unusual given that I was in a country I never been. I could tell he was so nervous and it was so cute. I couldn't help but smile. I was so happy to finally see him and hug him. He was real!
We took our first picture outside the airport on my phone. He was exactly the person I met on the phone. He was so handsome, had the best smile, was so genuine, and he was so sweet (he carried ALL of my bags and opened my door for me). We had two weeks to really get to know each other in person and decide if we wanted to continue our relationship and take the next step. We were off to a great start, so we packed up the car and headed out on our adventures!
Over the next couple of weeks, we travelled to different cities, rode a Ferris wheel, went to a zoo, played games, ate delicious food, laughed A LOT, watched movies, and got to know each other so much more. This trip really just solidified everything for us. I got to really understand where he comes from and how his country, his home, and his life differed from mine. I got to see his hometown, the city he went to school in, and some of his favorite places. I got to meet his family who were all so welcoming and nice to me. Everything went better than I could've imagined. He was such a gentlemen, paying for me, holding my hand and opening doors for me. I felt very protected and cared for. By the second or third day, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man. The 7 months of communicating online allowed us to get to know everything about each other. Then being together for two weeks really just made it real and confirmed that not only are we compatible emotionally, intellectually, but physically as well. Not to mention, we were in one of the most beautiful countries in Latin America, so that was definitely a perk!
So how did the proposal happen? Well, we had discussed it before, obviously. I definitely think, if you are going to ask someone to marry you or you going to get asked, you should have talked about it beforehand and have an idea of when it's going to happen because you don't want any bad surprises when it comes to getting engaged. So, we had talked about possibly getting engaged on the trip because we knew that we were both ready for that next step in our lives, we both felt over the moon for each other, and we knew that we didn't want to wait to start our lives together. Also, living through a worldwide pandemic changes the way you think. I felt like I had won the lottery with this man, and with the way of the world, I figured if I found something good, I needed to hold on to it because life is short and you never know how many days on this earth you have. When I talked to Bruno about it, I told him that I brought a specific dress that I wanted to wear when he proposed. I told him that he didn't need to tell me all the details. He could just let me know what day to wear the dress and he agreed.
Towards the end of the trip, we went to spend time with his family at his uncle's ranch. I knew that he wanted to ask me that day because he had the ring and he told me he was ready. He suggested that we go spend some time with his family and leave after lunch and then he would take me to one of his favorite spots. I asked him if we could come back to his house after we left his uncle's ranch (so I could put my dress on). I didn't want to wear my dress to a farm, plus it was cold. He agreed, so we had a plan, but you know what they say... you make plans and God laughs. Well, we ended up staying at his uncle's ranch way longer than we planned (although, I had a great time, they were so polite, and they fed me all day, so I can't really complain), and we didn't have time to go to his house before the sun set. As we were leaving, I was a little frustrated because I bought that dress specifically for my engagement, and now I couldn't even wear. On the contrary, I was going to be wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt, a jacket, and dirty boots. I sighed and looked at Bruno, and right then I decided that it really didn't matter what I was wearing or where we were or what I looked like. I just new that I wanted to be with Bruno, so I told him to just take me to the spot he wanted to take me to.
He brought me up this hill that over looked a valley of beautiful mountains, hills, and a glimmering lake as the sun was just setting. It was one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. It was like looking at a painting. We got out of the car and he asked me to marry him right there. I couldn't believe I had somehow found this amazing, smart, kind, funny, and handsome man, and he felt the same way about me.
I said yes, obviously!
I am so glad I decided that having to control the situation by wearing a specific dress was just stupid, and that the main thing was just to enjoy the moment. It was such a beautiful moment and the lesson I took out of it was just a perfect example of how Bruno affects me. He is such an easy going person and he really knows how to keep perspective and enjoy life, and I can sometimes be anxious and stressed about little things, so having that experience and choosing to not let something like that bother me really makes me so happy to know he has such a positive effect on my life already.
Leaving Bruno was by far, the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I'm literally crying writing this last part because it is burned into my memory just as much as seeing him for the first time. I tried not to think about leaving until right before I had to, but that was hard. Parts of the last day I just wanted to cry, but I tried to hold the tears back as much as possible. Imagine finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, your partner, the love of your life, and then imagine having to leave them not knowing for sure when you will see them again. (I'm sure a lot of people felt this during the pandemic.) It sounds just like a horrible romantic movie, but it is one of the worst feelings in the world, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I wished there was a way I could shrink him and take him with me or somehow stay longer. It just wasn't enough time, but, really, it would never be enough time.
We got to the airport, and Bruno helped me check my bags in and translate for me to pay what I needed to pay. Thank God he was there to help me because I think I would've had a hard time not being able to speak the language. No one spoke English at the regional airport. After we checked my bags in we started heading to the security and I was getting sick to my stomach because I knew I was going to have to leave him soon and I almost
couldn't handle it. (Wow, this is hard to relive right now) We got up to the second floor and immediately there was a person checking tickets, so I knew Bruno wouldn't be able to go any further. I stopped and looked up at Bruno with tears in my eyes and I saw he was tearing up, too. I hugged him and I couldn't hold it in any more. I burst out crying. I told him how much I loved him, what an amazing time I had, and how I didn't want to leave. If I could've, I would have stayed in his arms forever, and we would have went back to his car and left together, but I couldn't. I had to get on the damn flight and leave my best friend and the love of my life behind, not knowing when I would see him again. I walked through the tape to go toward security. I turned around every few steps to see Bruno still standing there watching me. I took a few more steps and realized that in a couple more steps I would be behind a partial wall, and he wouldn't be able to see me anymore. I turned around one more time to see him as he was walking to where he could see me better (so cute). I waved one more time and mouthed the words I love you one more time. Then, I turned and walked away.
The next 24 hours sucked! I cried pretty much the whole way home. I got so lucky that I didn't sit by anyone on any of my three flights home because I was a silent mess. Once I got home, I tried my best to focus on the future and getting Bruno's visa started. That's what I've tried to do ever since I had to leave him is try to focus on our future. The K1 visa process is very long and because COVID put everything on hold for a while it's an even longer process than normal. We are in this for the long haul. We want forever together, so if we have to wait a year or so to be together, then that is what we will do. What is a year in terms of a life time anyway? (at least that's what we keep telling each other) Long distance is hard sometimes, but I am so blessed and grateful to have this amazing man in my life, and I would rather have him and miss him then not have him at all.
It's been five months since my trip to Brazil. We still video call every day. I get a good morning text from Bruno every single day (since he's 2/3 hours ahead of me and he wakes up first), and then he tries to call me on his lunch breaks and, at night, we video call again for hours sometimes before bed. It's not the same as being together physically, but we both trust each other 100%, we both try to stay positive, and we both do little things that we can to help make it easier. We also both try to stay busy with work, so the time goes by faster.
Looking to the future, it is full of great things. 2022 will be the best and happiest year of my life! Most likely, sometime this year, Bruno's visa will hopefully be approved and he will be coming to the United States on a K1 fiancé visa. I will get to marry my best friend and show him our beautiful country for the first time just like he showed me his. Every time I get frustrated with this process, I think of our birthdays we will get to spend together, the trips we will take together, the adventures we will have, sharing Thanksgiving and Christmas together. I think about all the extra food I'm going to have to cook at the holidays when he gets here because he eats so much (haha), I imagine us snuggled up on the couch watching Christmas movies (because he hasn't seen any of my favorites and I made him promise not to watch them before he gets here), and imagine us getting married and how amazing that day will be. Then, I imagine us building a life together, and how satisfying it will be to know we fought so hard for this love of ours. Love is not perfect, and we both understand this. Being together won't be all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but I want the bad times, too because that's life. There is a lot I'm sure I left out because there is really so much to tell that I could fill a book. Our story is complicated, long, frustrating at times, but it is so beautiful to me, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with the sweetest and most incredible man I've ever met.
I love you baby, and I can't wait to see you again!