The day we met...
I will remember that day forever. Even now when I think about it, about how it happened, it's kind of surreal, but I guess that's what love is!
That day, very early in the morning, my best friend drove me to Charles de Gaulle Airport. My flight from Paris to Miami was going to take off around 8:00am. I was very excited and very scared at the same time. I was going to a different country, to learn a language that I wanted to speak for so long but was incapable of learning in France. Because I had some free time after my last contract ended, I decided it was a good time to do it! It was kind of a "now or never." Luckily I had friends of a friend who lives there and were nice enough to let me stay with them while in Miami.
It was going to be an amazing unknown trip, a big adventure and it was exactly what I needed in my chaotic life at that time. I was 24 years old, free like a bird, and open-minded to almost everything. I just wanted to take things as they come and not plan anything. But I never imagined that as soon as I landed in the US, my entire life would be changed forever.
The plane ride was extremely boring. It was on American Airlines, with no TV. I had no books to read and my computer was brand new and so totally empty of any entertainment. Luckily no one was siting next to me so I slept most of the time. But before the flight began, I glanced at a guy as I walked to my seat. We made eye contact as I passed. He was sitting a few rows in front of me, and during the long flight, he passed by me a few times in the aisle. He told me later, months after we started dating, that he would intentionally get up to go to the restroom so that he could pass by me, to meet me and begin chatting. But he hadn't yet worked up the courage.
By the end of the flight - I think about 10 or 15 minutes before landing - I stood up from my seat to look where he was, and at that exact same time he turned around to look in my direction. As soon as our eyes met, I sat back down right away to hide myself, in a kind of awkward situation. When it was time to exit the plane, I was at the back and one of the last to leave. I didn't realize yet, but we had to take a shuttle from the terminal to get to the customs line. Anthony exited the plane a little before me, but just missed the first shuttle. He was in a rush since he had to make a connecting flight to San Francisco (where he was living at the time). His frustration at missing the shuttle quickly subsided as he turned around to see me approaching behind. He told me later on that he felt like it was luck or fate to be given a chance to finally speak to me.
After we exited the shuttle, he followed me to the customs line, but instead of going to the US citizen line, he went with me to the visitors line and finally approached and opened conversation. The first thing he said was to ask if I spoke English, to which I replied, "no, not at all..." Oh gosh, I don't know how we understood each other at that time, but somehow we did. Waiting in line together, we had time to chat a bit and exchange some information about ourselves. I mentioned that I was going to stay in Miami for almost 3 months to learn English. I told him that I came to the US before to visit New York a few times, and that I loved the city very much. He told me that's where he's from and that it would be fun to visit the city together... Already at that time planning our future! ;) He told me about his job and I tried to explain mine but he didn't understand with my limited vocabulary at the time. It seemed like a long conversation, but it may have only been about 10 minutes.
We got to the customs counter, and he asked me to wait for him once I passed the customs agent but the woman was so rude with me that she got me scared and I didn't wait. She was questioning me about who he was, and why was I speaking to him - if I was looking for a husband to become American and all kind of nice accusations like that ;) I was scared that she was going to send me back in France right away! Little that I knew at the time, but she was actually going to play matchmaker next with Anthony. He told me weeks later, that she was extremely nice with him and told him that I was a beautiful and smart girl, and he should get my number! But he didn't have a chance to yet, since I was so scared and went to get my luggage right away. In the back of my mind I was hopping that he would arrive just after, so I prepared and took out my phone to get his information.
Just as I pulled out my phone, he was right there, coming toward me. I remember asking him his name, and when he told me Tony Maroon, I said, "oh like Maroon 5!" He laughed at me and I smiled, thinking it was funny. Just then he told me for the first time how beautiful my smile was. We picked up our luggage and it was time to say goodbye. As we parted, it was a very awkward moment for me as he gave me a warm hug goodbye. Hugging like that when first meeting is something we never do in France so I really didn't know what to think. It was kind of surreal, and at that time quite frankly, I thought I would never see him again...