My Almost Perfect Summer Romance in Spain
You know the cheesy saying that you’ll find love when you least expect it? You roll your eyes when people say it to you until, of course, it actually happens. In 2011, I headed to Spain for my third summer in a row working abroad as an English camp counselor. I jetted off with a group of other Canadians from across the country, met up in Madrid, and took a bus to the more rural location of my summer camp. This time, I was going north to Cantabria. I was excited to explore a new part of this beautiful country near the ocean. It felt like the makings of an ideal summer and as it turned
For me, the best part about traveling is becoming instant best friends with almost everyone you meet. Where you came from or where you’re going lose their relevance, while being in that one place together connects you all. That’s when I met him. I can’t even explain how it happened; it’s as if we both had a connection and it just clicked.
But the reality of our circumstance was that we had none of the everyday worries we would have experienced at home. We didn’t have to worry about making time for each other, because we lived in the same place.
We fell hard and we fell fast, but we were in one of the most romantic places in the world, after all. We spent our breaks together at the beach, under the Spanish sun and would ask our campers to deliver each other love letters while we were off teaching our own classes and activities. We stayed up all night talking to each other under the stars. It was easy and effortless, the sort of thing that doesn’t happen often and definitely hasn’t happened to me back home.
But the reality of our circumstance was that we had none of the everyday worries we would have experienced at home. We didn’t have to worry about making time for each other, because we lived in the same place. No opportunities for jealousy arose because we didn’t have internet or phones and didn’t interact with anyone aside from the 30 other Canadians who became our new best friends. If we wanted to hang out or talk, we’d go next door into each other’s cabins. I like to imagine relationships were this effortless back before technology.
After spending six weeks completely head over heels for each other, we parted ways to travel Europe on our own. I explored Italy, one of the most romantic countries in the world. Although I loved every minute of it, I longed for that time each day I could get WiFi to see if he had sent me a message. We kept in touch throughout our travels, sharing stories and talking as much as we could until the day came that we would be able to be together again.
That day soon came when we returned home to Canada. This was the true test. The funny thing about a romance abroad is thinking that when you come back home, it will be the exact same as it always was. However, we were living in two different cities with two completely different lives. I was still a student, while he had a career. Nonetheless, we were committed to trying to make this work. After all, how could we leave a love like that back in Cantabria?
The funny thing about a romance abroad is thinking that when you come back home, it will be the exact same as it always was.
We lasted in a relationship together for about three months. His commitments and life didn’t fit with mine. Days would turn to weeks that we didn’t see each other, and each time we’d say goodbye it became harder and harder not knowing when we would be together again. Eventually we broke up, and it was as heart-wrenching and as painful as ever. You know that feeling when you get back from a trip and it takes a while for it to hit you that the trip is over and only a distant memory? I don’t think that hit me until we parted ways. I didn’t feel like I was just losing him but also the love story we had created in Spain.
Three years later, my heart has obviously healed, but I can still remember what it was like falling in love under the Spanish sun. It was a kind of love that has since encouraged me to never settle for anything less than those butterflies I felt when we’d kiss on the sandy white beach next to the beautiful ocean.
I have yet to return to Spain. At first, it was because I thought it would be too painful to be in a place that holds so many memories. Now it is because I feel like I shared something magical with Spain, and I’m not ready to return until I can be sure my new memories will be just as magical. They always say you leave a part of you in every place you visit, and I left a part of my heart that was reserved for my summer romance. It’s a part that I’m all right with Spain having.
My Almost Perfect Summer Romance in Spain photo for Lauren Marinigh.