"All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love." — Leo Tolstoy
Yes, this is a story about love. It's about finding a needle in the haystack. It's about serendipity.
The story thus far
At precisely 1 year ago (March 24, 2008), the following tweet appeared on my Twitter app:
"vargasl: Looks to be a LONG night writing copy...need some music to chill...suggestions?"
I still have no idea when/how I started following Lauren Vargas (vargasl), but when this tweet popped up to me, loving chill out music as I do, I replied:
"leonardocsouza: @vargasl my favs for a long night: Diana Krall, Bebel Gilberto, Norah Jones, Kelly Sweet... nice and relaxing... :)"
Little did I know how much this simple reply would change my life!
To keep the story short (believe me, when I tell this story to friends - which I still do whenever I have the chance - it takes around 2-3 hours to finish) we kept going back and forth on Twitter, first through tweets, then through DMs (Direct Messages) and then, when 140 characters started to seem too little to express ourselves, we moved our conversation to GTalk. There we started to get to know each other better... to get to know about our passions (music, books, screenwriting, traveling, etc.)... and almost every day we would talk and talk and talk and talk... and, once again, mere GTalk wasn't enough to us anymore, so we moved to Skype, and there we heard each other's voice for the first time and, after a few days, saw each other "live" for the first time. As time passed by and our conversation evolved through all these tools, so did our involvement.
Yes, there is no other word to describe what it is to be sending DMs back and forth during the day + talking through GTalk + countless long (and so pleasurable) talks on Skype.
As usual, after a while, Skype was not enough either, so we decided it was time to meet each other in the real world. One day, while talking on Skype, we just looked into a map and decided our destination: Montreal.
No, none of us had ever been to Montreal before, neither had we taken up a long flight to a foreign country just to meet someone we had found online. Did it sound crazy even to ourselves? Yes, it definitely did, and we even made fun of ourselves because of that, but no matter how odd it seemed, on my heart I had the certainty that I HAD to do this.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
What happened in Montreal that June just proved that my intuition was right, as we had one of the best times of our lives there.
After Montreal we met again in Seattle a month and a half later (end of July) and, as everything was flowing so naturally, she came to visit me here in Sao Paulo (Brazil) for my birthday (September), where she met my family (who fell completely in love with her - seriously, you have no idea how much my family loves her, it still amazes me).
Then, after 3 too-anxiously-long months, I went to Dallas for her birthday (December), where I met her beautiful family and her immensely-cute-who-has-a-special-talent-to-make-me-melt daughter (this was my turn to be completely taken by her family - it really felt like home while I was there).
To finish off this travel-around-the-world year, we went to Paris over New Year's, and to Lauren's total surprise, while one year finished and another started, I got down on my knees and asked her to marry me. I can't even begin to describe all the thrilling sensations that ran through me while I was down there for the 10 longest seconds of my life waiting for her answer: which came in a torrent of "Yes! Yes! Yes!".
After that, I came home with a mission: to get a job transfer to US (something that I always wanted to do for my career, but now I had even better purposes :)).
To our complete astonishment, it took less than 3 months from the time I got back from Paris, found an internal position in Boston, got approved, went through all the work visa process and got it approved too.
What the future holds
In 12 days (on April 5) I will be arriving at Boston to start my life there... to start in a new country, in a new role... and late on August, when Lauren moves there to live with me, it will also be the start of a new family... our family together.
I really don't know exactly what the future holds ahead for me, but given this amazing last year that I got as a present from Destiny, I can't wait to see what is coming up next.
About one thing I'm certain though... that all these online tools (Twitter, Flickr, Skype, etc.) will definitely play a major role by bringing together our combined family from all over (Dallas, Sao Paulo, Boston, Oklahoma)!
Happy anniversary, my love! ;)
P.s.: If you want to read parts of this story from her point of view as well, just check her brilliant post at the Connected by Distance project.
P.s. 2: In case you are really in the mood and want to hear some of the reasons why she is so important to me, just read a few of her immense list of virtues. :)