“That’s it! I’m done! I’m going to die alone because I’m seriously done with dating!” This was the declaration I made to my best friend right before I impulsively booked a solo backpacking trip to Europe. But this isn’t just another “eat pray love” story, and if you’ve already pegged me as that spontaneous girl who always goes off on adventures like this, guess again. I was 28 years old at the time and had been a dedicated, loyal employee at the same corporate job for 10 years. I didn’t just up and quit either, I actually had accrued a month paid vacation from my company, and I knew this was the time to take it. I had hit a really low point in my life, and I needed to quite literally, run away from everything.
A few weeks before I left for my trip, I was in a wine-induced haze when I met a cute guy named Patrick at the bar. He asked me to add him on Facebook, but his last name was ridiculously complicated – something that I couldn’t even spell sober, let alone intoxicated. I took a crack at it anyways and typed in Patrick followed by what I thought could have been the beginning letters of his last name. The first search that came up looked close enough, so I hit “add friend” and closed my phone. We continued to chat for a few minutes, but that was pretty much it, and the next morning I had already forgotten about the whole occurrence. That entire night was a bit of a blur.
A few days later, I “checked in” on Facebook while at a baseball game and received a notification that this beautiful human named Patrick had “liked” it. I was certain that I had never met this person before, because I would definitely remember someone who looked like that. When I clicked on his Facebook page, I discovered he lived in Germany, which stumped me even more. Why was this stud from Germany liking the status of a girl who lives all the way in Canada? Well, I figured I should just ask. I messaged him and inquired how we knew each other, to which he replied, “Easy… you added me!” I had to think hard about it for a few minutes until it dawned on me – I must have added the wrong Patrick on Facebook a few nights earlier at the bar, and instead, added this Patrick – gorgeous-stranger-from-Germany Patrick.
Slightly embarrassed but with nothing to lose, I messaged him back something witty, and soon, our friendship was born. Patrick later told me that he accepted my friend request because when he clicked on my profile picture, he “saw a pretty girl dressed head to toe in Toronto Blue Jays gear.” Turns out, despite living in Germany, Patrick has always had an infatuation with Canada.
Before long, Facebook messages turned into phone calls and Skype sessions. I would video chat Patrick with no makeup on, and I made zero attempt to tone down my crazy because I thought there was no way our friendship would ever amount to anything. I didn’t care about being perfect in front of him because I figured we’d never meet in person anyways– I mean, I lived in Canada and he lived in Germany!
Over the next few weeks our bond grew stronger, and I decided to ask Patrick if he wanted to come meet me in Ireland during my trip. However, he couldn’t get the time off work, and to make matters worse, he told me I’d be there during his birthday. He told me how badly he wished he could join because the year before he had spent his birthday alone, and it was depressing. I hated the idea of him not having anyone to celebrate with again and thought to myself, “Not on my watch!” So, I rebooked my ticket with a stop in Berlin to surprise him on his birthday. Then, I messaged his sister on Facebook about my plan, and she helped me coordinate the whole thing.
On the day I was to arrive in Berlin, I was delayed and ended up being stranded in multiple airports for 24 hours. Luckily, Patrick’s sister was so accommodating in moving around her schedule so she could pick me up, but because of the time I’d lost, we ended up having to surprise Patrick at the dentist office of all places! When he walked down the stairs, it took him a few seconds to realize it was me standing there, but when he did, his eyes filled up with tears and he ran over to me. He then swallowed me up in the biggest hug of my life (He’s 6’8 so that’s pretty easy for him to do.)
I remember thinking he was the most beautiful man I had EVER seen and being painfully aware of the fact that my airport trek had left me looking completely disheveled and in desperate need of a shower. However, none of that seemed to matter. We were both already falling in love.
After my surprise visit, I proceeded to backpack through Europe as planned, but I ended up making a second detour at the end of my trip to spend another week with Patrick in Berlin before heading home. After that, we decided to give long-distance a shot. We took turns visiting each other, and on my next trip back to Berlin (only 6 weeks later), he asked me to marry him.
Eventually, I did quit my job, and moved to Germany to be with the guy I love. That was 5 years ago, now. Sometimes I still can’t believe this is my real life. And while I do miss Canada a lot, I know we will end up back there eventually. Luckily, I was able to find an amazing job in Germany, and we both travel to Canada to visit several times a year – not to mention all over Europe, which is pretty epic.
I never in a million years imagined my husband would be a man I accidentally friended on Facebook who lived halfway across the world.
It’s crazy to think I gave up on dating when I was 28 years old and married Patrick only two years later when I was 30.
It may sound completely cliché, but the reason why none of my other relationships ever worked out is because none of those men were Patrick. It’s just that simple.