M: From that first phone call and until the present day Christer called me, no matter what part of the globe I was in, every day. Usually more than once. Phone calls became a lifeline, a sweet and intimate part of each day. A sense of closeness and deep friendship, heading towards a first real life encounter. Laughing, telling stories, praying and more laughing were an essential part of each day.
Upon arrival in L.A. I received not only an amazing care package stocked full of fun surprises from Sweden, but also a huge bunch of exquisite blood red roses. More cues of the romance to come. A treasury of love letters, a catalogue of postcards and an Olympic marathon of phone calls followed. Never dull and never boring, each one deepening an already strong friendship.
C: Important date: January 6 2001, Marian gave me her cell phone number. I immediately put her into my mtnsms.com list of people I sms daily. And that was really a frequent happening. Hundreds of sms:es… everyday the phone kept beeping. It always made me smile.
Important date II: January 9 2001, I send a box of stuff to Marian in LA (B4 she has gone there, to be there B4 her). Same day I tried to call on M:s cell.
Important date III: January 9 2001, I call and talk to Marian and Judo. (Marian thought she had dreamt it she said when we chatted next time).
Important date III: January 11. I say the words “I love you” on the telephone. I had a song in my head, “Say the words”, by DC Talk, I had it for several days and when talking I just said it.
SMS, emails & calls
By this time getting SMS:es and emails and talking on the phone was making me totally speeded and smiling all the time. Coming home every day was (and is) an adventure, cause you never knew how many creative postcards and letters would be found at the doorstep, just as well as coming to work for the same reason.
I knew I had 2 weeks of vacation to USA from last summer, so I thought I could go and visit Marian while she was in LA. I asked her if she would think it was weird if I would do that, but she said it would be cool.
Sleepless in Los Angeles
M: Eventually the day of Christer’s arrival in L.A. dawned. Weeks of sleeplessness had passed for me, and finally I was on my way to the airport. Having paid close attention to every detail I was as ready as I could be, and heart racing I stepped into L.A.X.
C: When the day finally arrived to go to LA I was calm collected and … excited. It was snowing in Sweden and my friend Mårten drove me to the airport and took a picture of me leaving and emailed it to Marian. On the plane I had a printout of all of our emails and chat sessions to read. I was praying for a good trip and for a good first IRL-session 😉
Issues at the airport
M: My phone rang, and the warm familiar voice I had grown to love greeted me, and asked where I was
– I was racing into the baggage claim area when the same warm voice said “stop”, I stopped, “turn right” I turned right, and there he was just around the corner. HE was sitting there cool, calm and collected. Smiling right at me, feet up on the phone booth he was using, right there in real life.
C: When I arrived at the airport I saw no Marian at the gate, end no Marian was there so I assumed she was on her way. I made my way to the conveyer belt and when I got there the bags had not even arrived yet. BUT there were some phone booths there, so I got out my Revo to fi nd Marians phone number. When I called her she had just got out of the car and was entering the airport.
“Where are you, where are you” Marian said. I said go to the conveyer belt and I am there… she said, “I am on my way there, where are you?” I then saw a pretty girl with red hair, so I said, “Turn to your right”, “Where, Where?” she said. I then repeated myself and finally she saw me as I was
sitting on the “shelf” of the phone booth.
M: I stopped dead in my tracks, feet frozen to the floor. At that moment I truly experienced that over used phrase, that “time stood still”. Now it was up to Christer to make a move, walking slowly towards me, in what seemed like a lifetime.
C: She saw me and came half running, half walking to me…
M: He then took me in his arms and hugged me tightly. We stood in that tight embrace for the longest time, well at least 3 minutes anyway.
C: …and we embraced each other as if we had not seen each other for a very long time (which was very true…). We then walked up to the conveyer belt holding hands and holding each other. It was sooo good to fi nally meet in real life. It was truly electrifying to be with each other. We took the bus to the car-rental place (thanks Scott for fixing that). Once there we picked a car out and started our trip in to LA. First thing that happened was that I got lost in the roundabout trying to leave the airport. We started holding hands as soon as we were on our way in the car. I am blaming the handholding and the loooove that was in the air for me not fi nding my way out of the roundabout…
M: Eventually we made our way out of LAX, and to the hire car yard. Once in the car we were on our way downtown – well that was after Christer in his nervousness and excitement drove around and around and around the same loop of LAX.
The Coffee Club was the perfect cosy venue for our first face to face date. I chose it especially as it had both tables and chairs and comfy sofas. Thankfully Christer chose a huge and inviting sofa. Perfect for the two of us.
C: When we got into LA, Marian had done her homework and found a supercool café where she directed me to. We sat down on their supersofa and ate some food and talked all night. It was amazing to see how good we connected right away IRL. With a risk of sounding a bit cliché, but when we met IRL, it was just like finding the last piece of a puzzle.
The next few days was truly like a movie, beach walks, restaurants, benches car rides. We went to Santa Monica beach, church (Cottonwood and Crystal Cathedra)l, Disneyland, Universal Studios and working at the LA Dream Center. The more time we spent together, the more we liked being together.
In Love in San Fransisco
I had planned that we should go to San Francisco while I was there. My plan was to pop the question to Marian there, “Did she want to be my girlfriend?” I even had a plan as to where I wanted to do it = Lombard Street… I had been there b4 and remembered it to be a cool place with the steep curly road with lots of flowers… Driving to SF from LA took us at least 8-10 hours, but we had a really good time. Talking, holding hands, singing, dreaming…
The more time went on I was more and more sure I could love this girl all my life. We prayed together and God spoke to us and we noticed how we had common dreams of what to do with life. The following day we went to pier 39 and looked around. and we had a meal at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company but that was just to kill the time before five o’ clock that day (Feb. 10). I knew what street we needed to get to, but first when we found the street, we ended up in the wrong end (which was nice too).
After looking at the view over the bay from the telegraph hill we came to the curly part of the street. We walked up the hill and laughed, took pictures and chatted away. As we got to the top and watched the view I did what we came there for. I asked her: Do you want to be my girlfriend? …and she said YES! After this, we had the longest kiss and were holding each other for probably 15-20 minutes. I was the happiest man on earth.
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