Over a month and a half ago, I finally turned 30. You’re probably wondering why it’s taken me so long to write about this. Or at least, why I’m writing about it at all.
Well, for the former, I wanted to write this sooner, but now that I’m site expert for Doctor Who Watch, it’s taken up a lot of time, as a result. However, it’s a bank holiday today here in Canada, so I finally have some free time to do this.
As for why I’m writing this? There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it was because that turning 30 was something I had been thinking about for a long while. Not just during the last few months of my twenties, or even the last year. In fact, it was something I had been thinking about since I first started planning for Canada.
Before arriving in Canada, I had lived with my parents my entire life. I hadn’t even moved out for university, as I never actually went. Now, living with my parents didn’t bother me, especially with the economy and house prices being what they are. These days, a lot of people are either living with their parents or have had to move back in. That’s just the day and age we live in.
However, what did bother me was the reason why I was living at home. Was it really just the reasons I had listed? Or, in my case, was it simply because I was afraid? As much as I hate to admit, the latter reason was the one that felt closer to the truth.
Living with my parents when I was 30 wasn’t an issue. Living at home without even trying to be independent and give everyone some space definitely would’ve been a problem.
This was one of many key reasons why I wanted to do more than just move out. I wanted to take on a huge challenge to go with it. Hence, why I aimed to move to Canada. (You can read more on some of my other reasons here.)
A couple of years later, and I’m living a wonderful life in Toronto. I miss my family and friends a great deal. But I’m still glad that I faced my fear, and did something big before I turned 30.
A story of boy meets girl (online)
The other reason I needed to write this? And a key reason why the very week I turned 30 was one of the best weeks of my life? Meeting my girlfriend, in person, for the first time.
I realise that this is the first time I’ve mentioned that I’ve been in a relationship. Mainly because, shockingly, I really haven’t blogged at all this past year. The last time I wrote something personal was back in early December last year. And that was about my trip back home, too!
It was also a few weeks before me and her first started chatting. Which started out very naturally.
I had noticed her before, on various Doctor Who groups. It was kind of hard not to, as she was as big of an Eighth Doctor fan as I was. Anyone who knows me knows exactly how rare it is for me to say that someone loves the Eighth Doctor as much as I do. But she clearly did, so, as I had done with a few other members, I decided to start messaging her.
Now, she could’ve just ignored it, and knowing how many creeps there are on the Internet, I would’ve completely understood that. But she said hi back, and we got talking about the Eighth Doctor very quickly.
Now, I’m not sure when it was I knew that this was different. At the very least, different to casually chatting with many other fans online.
Was it when we started to talk about other things? Was it when the messages went from simple paragraphs to full-length pages? Was it when we started talking about long-distance relationships? (Specifically, how they never work?)
New Year’s Eve was when I knew for sure that I wasn’t thinking of her as just a friend. When I got a message from her just before midnight, I was instantly happy. She mentioned how great the past week had been. I mentioned the same. A part of me was still trying to keep it friendly, but I knew it was something much more than that. Which was probably why I quoted a film that we had been discussing the previous evening:
You know, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
A little word of advice: if you really want to remain “just friends” with someone, don’t quote one of the most romantic movies ever made. So it was a good thing that I wanted to be more than that.
Over the next few weeks, the chatting started to change. First, it was just a little flirtatious.
(If you’re wondering, it was me who risked flirting first. When I knew how I felt, I decided that it was best to risk flirting, just a tiny amount. If she ignored it, then I’d aim to move on. If she thought I was a creep after all, then better I got shut down sooner rather than later. It seemed like a million to one chance that she’d flirt back. I was so incredibly happy when she did.)
Then, as the chatting went on, it got to be even more flirty. I was beginning to hope, in a big way, that she liked me in that way. But I wasn’t sure how to ask her for sure.
Then, for a couple of days, I wasn’t able to chat with her. Considering that I had been chatting with her every single day up to that point, that suddenly seemed like a bit of a dick move on my part. So I messaged her, as soon as I could, explaining why I had been quiet. Then I just blurted out that I liked her. A lot.
That probably wasn’t the coolest thing to do, I’ll admit. I’ve been given advice, more than once, that I need to be more of an asshole and just act cool. But that’s never been my style. Besides which, honesty in this case definitely worked. She told me she liked me too.
After that, chatting just became even easier. We went from messaging each other to Skyping very quickly, which really was fantastic. (Particularly since we knew for certain that we weren’t just catfishing each other. Be honest, you were wondering about that.)
It’s kind of funny. Like I said earlier, neither of us wanted a long-distance relationship. Especially as we had both done it before. And yet before we knew it, that was exactly what we were doing.
But it very quickly became clear to both of us that this was different to anything either of us had done. That the connection was stronger. That the fact that we didn’t want this, and yet couldn’t help ourselves, said everything. Before I knew it, I told her I loved her. And she said she loved me too.
And this is what brings me to why the week I turned 30 was such a wonderful week. Because she made sure to visit me for it.
A story of boy meets girl (in person)
On the morning she arrived in Toronto, I was, quite naturally, incredibly nervous. The past few months had been wonderful, and we had seemed to connect so well. But what if it wasn’t there in person? What if I was so nervous, that I just messed it up?
Waiting for her at the arrival gates felt like a long time, and didn’t do my nerves any favours. But the moment I saw her, I knew – knew – that it had been well worth the wait.
After a massive hug and a brief kiss, I helped her with her luggage while we got onto public transport and made our way to the hotel. On the way, we chatted a lot. Not just with each other, but with a guy who was in a serious long-distance relationship himself, and was even engaged. (I’ll not gonna lie, it was hard not to take that as a very good sign.)
Eventually, we made it to her hotel. Initially, there was some difficulty, as her room had been cancelled by mistake. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long to clear it up, and she could literally sleep easy that night.
Understandably, she was still pretty exhausted from her flight. But she was also hungry and eager to see at least one sight in Toronto, so I took her to one of my favourite places in the city: BMV Books.
There are quite a few of these throughout the city, but the one on Bloor Street near Spadina Avenue is definitely the biggest. For a book lover like herself, seeing a shop FULL of discounted books was an absolute dream.
That was the first of many places I took her to throughout the week. And the time we did spend together at so many places was wonderful. Naturally, I took her to Cherry Cola’s, particularly on the night when Blackdog Ballroom were playing. She really enjoyed herself there.
The day after that, we went with a couple of friends to Niagara Falls. That really was an amazing sight. Not only was the boat trip we took amazing. It was also hilarious how, in the politest way possible, the commentary we heard basically said, “Yeah, America has its own falls, but it’s not nearly as awesome as the Canadian ones!”
The day itself
And of course, the day of the birthday itself was incredible. Beginning with some amazing presents, including an obscure Eighth Doctor book that only she could’ve got me, we then had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. (Which apparently does more than just cheesecake. Who knew?)
Much later in the day, we then went with my housemate to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, performed with a live orchestra. Which of course, was amazing. I was so happy that I got to enjoy that experience with two fellow geeks.
But even better, they surprised me with karaoke afterwards. It was a nice surprise (even if I neglected to bring ID with me. I know, I know, drinking on my 30th should’ve been expected, but I was far too used to getting absolutely trashed on my birthday weekend rather than on the day itself. Luckily, no one asked me for my ID anyway). We only got to sing one song each, as it was incredibly busy. But overall, it was a wonderful night.
Going to so many awesome places and events was great. But even better than that? It was the quiet moments. Moments like getting to hold her hand in public. Or when we would just lay in bed while watching a film together.
That last example in particular was saved for her last night here. In some ways, it was a difficult night, for both of us. We had grown so used to each other’s company so quickly. Neither of us were ready for the week to end.
But in other ways, it was almost one of the best nights, too. Just lying in bed, her head against my chest as we watched a few films. These movies included The Purge, Dredd…and of course, Casablanca. It was a perfect last night for us to share. The kind of night that made me think, “Yeah. I really can imagine spending the rest of my life with her.”
When I said goodbye to her at the airport, it was incredibly hard for me to do. But I was so grateful for the time we did spend together. I’m also grateful for the fact that I’ll be spending time with her in August. I cannot wait for that.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to treasure the memory of us together. And to the woman I love: thank you for such a perfect week.