I've never understood how couples who break up stay friends. I suppose it only works in situations in which the feelings have mutually fizzled and the break up is amicable. It just seems it would get complicated to meet up platonically if one person still has feelings for the other. In our case, we both still had feelings, and we did try to meet up platonically, but it just felt too much like dating. After one particular breakfast get-together, I gave him a mixed CD of my favorite love songs and told him we had to stop seeing each other, for real, So here. Listen to these songs, and think about how much you really do love me but you just don't know it yet...
Fortunately, I had plenty of things going on in my life to distract me from our break up. I had already agreed to join a local San Diego family in Italy to care for their three-year-old. With a 6-week trip to Italy coming up in a couple of months, I definitely had some preparations to take care of. I also had started interviewing for full-time teaching jobs. Plus, I had just agreed to show a friend of a friend around San Diego. Joe (a friend from NYU who had just graduated from medical school and had a friend moving to San Diego for his residency) warned me not to date this guy. I assured him I was in no place to start dating again.
To get to know Joe's friend, we started emailing each other. He was flirtatious in the emails, and it made me smile. It felt good to smile again. As you might have guessed, the flirtations turned into asking me out on a date shortly after he arrived in San Diego. We had a great first date. Joe's friend was handsome and charming, but on my way home afterward, all I wanted to do was call Isaiah. All I could think of after my perfect date with another man is how much I missed Isaiah.
Joe's friend was a great distraction for a few weeks, but then I started to panic a little. We were hanging out a lot, and I was starting to really like him. Then one night, Joe's friend kissed me, and in his arms I burst into tears. I couldn't do this anymore. It seemed too fast. I still had feelings for Isaiah. Joe's friend deserved someone who was emotionally available, and I certainly was not. After that little scene, Joe's friend drove me home and told me I just needed time and we would take things slow. But that's not what I wanted. I called Isaiah that night, and suddenly he said what I had wanted to hear for the last six weeks, I love you.
We were back together, but the next chapter of our relationship would have to wait because I was about to leave for Italy. Once there, we talked on the phone only about once a week because I didn't take a cell phone with me or buy one, so all our chats happened in the middle of a busy square using a calling card and a pay phone. We didn't have deep talks about what it meant to be together again. We just needed to be together again and that was that. When I returned home, I jumped into my new teaching job and our new life as a couple again.
For the next year or so, we tried to spend as much time as possible together, which sometimes meant hanging out at coffee shops reading while he studied for finals (he was in his last two years at UCSD when we met) or him coming to my classroom on the weekends to keep me company while I organized or prepared lessons. We had our ups and downs like any couple. Actually, we fought a lot. I admit that I usually instigated our arguments. I think it stemmed from my insecurities about our relationship. I knew he loved me, but we never had "the talk." We never talked about our break up and why we got back together. To him it was a non-issue, but to me, I was like, What does this mean? Are we in this for the long haul? I hated to be that girl, but finally one day he could tell that I was just off, and I blurted it out, Do you want to marry me someday or what? I braced myself for the worst, but he calmly said, I never would have gotten back together with you if that was not my intention. But I am still in school. This is not the right time. Maybe in a couple more years.
As happy as I was to know he wanted to marry me someday, my impatience for marriage and babies had me like, A COUPLE MORE YEARS???
Meanwhile, Isaiah had just been accepted to a summer internship in Germany, and we were going to travel together for a few weeks before it started. We visited Paris, Nice, Venice, Florence, and Munich. It was around this time that we talked a little bit about how amazing it would be to live abroad some day. That fall, the company Isaiah interned for called him and asked if he would be interested in working for them in their Liechtenstein location (though he'd live in Switzerland). Of course he said yes, so by January of 2008 they flew him out for an in-person interview. The interview went well, and he got offered the job on the spot. I remember getting the call when I was picking up my students from recess. I was so excited that I was screaming and jumping up and down. I didn't know exactly how I was going to join him, but as far as I was concerned, I was moving to Europe with my boyfriend!!!!!
Isaiah wasn't going to graduate until June, so I had some time to figure out the details. I started looking into teaching at an international school, but the visa situation was getting complicated. Then I found an au pair website -- I could be a nanny! I quickly created a profile and started sending messages to prospective families. I ended up getting in contact with a single mom of two and we seemed like a good fit. We spoke on the phone, I signed a contract, and she was going to work on my visa application. Soon after, I got a pretty disappointing email from her. She still wanted to hire me, but I would have to work illegally because to get an au pair visa you need to be 25 and under, and I was already 26!