A Scotland Rendezvous, Chapter 1
As the plane was lifting off from the Charles de Gaulle tarmac–my second connection on this trip–I thought, “Well, there’s no going back now.” Actually, that was the exact thought I had when the plane left my connection in Cincinnati. And the same thought when the wheels came up when leaving my home town in Salt Lake City the day before. Three times I had the opportunity to bolt and I didn’t.
I was heading to Scotland–a country that wasn’t even on my bucket list. Pretty much all I really knew about Scotland was shortbread cookies, kilts and Highland dancing. I hadn’t even seen Braveheart and I wished I would have studied up on the country before this trip, but it was sudden. In fact everything about this trip was sudden.
I leaned against the window and looked out at rainy Paris thinking about how I can’t turn back when the man in the middle seat next to me asked, “Are you going home or visiting?”
“Seeing friends there?” he asked.
“Well, not exactly,” I fessed up. “I’m actually rendezvousing with a man I met online. We’re meeting in person for the first time.”
The other man on our row who I now realized was traveling with middle-seat man then joined in the conversation. “Oh, that is so Carrie Bradshaw! I want to hear!”
Even though my life wasn’t exactly–okay, not even close to–Sex and the City, I went on to explain how over the past six weeks I had been corresponding with a Canadian man who was studying at the University of Dundee.
Telling my story to my seat mates helped lessen my anxiety, but only until I landed. I nervously went through Immigration and Customs and then I stopped by the Ladies Room and checked my makeup, brushed my teeth and then looked in the mirror one more time and took a deep breath. I wondered what was going to happen next. Was he going to like me? Was he going to be disappointed?
I finally mustered up my courage and made my way toward the doors where I exit immigration, leading to where loved ones meet and where my Internet suitor would be. Standing there I thought, “Now my life is going to change.”
I looked for him. I couldn’t see anyone who resembled the photo I had seen online. I stood there, knowing that I just needed to be patient. This is not something to rush into. Then I thought, “Shouldn’t there be music swelling just about now?” At least that’s what I thought because isn’t that what happens in every movie with Julia Roberts?
And then I saw him–a man rushing in as though he was missing his train. He had flowers in hand and we both recognized each other from our pictures. We gave a stilted hug, chatted about the long flight, then he grabbed my bag and we walked out to his car.
His name was Steve and he drove me from Edinburgh to Dundee while we nervously talked as I looked out the window, which would normally be the driver’s side where I come from, but Scotland is one of those countries where they drive on the left.
I was taking in the timbre of his voice and noticed how Scotland looks just as I imagined: Rolling green hills and the occasional sheep. When I write I always try to avoid the cliche, but when I travel I always feel satisfied when I run into the cliche, so that I know I’m not lost and have landed exactly where I intended.
We eventually arrived at his flat and he took my bags upstairs. It was Easter Sunday and the church bells were ringing all over Dundee. Or maybe that was my movie-script version of what was happening with me. I was smitten.