“Come to Portugal,” he asked for the nth time.
It had been over a year since we discovered each other’s blogs on the Internet. What started with a series of comments on daily blog entries and photographs quickly escalated into text messages, emails, and Skype calls. We shared numerous common interests, but most of all, we admired each other’s lives.
The young man resided in Porto, a city that held my heart. Conversely, I was completing my master’s degree in Madrid, a place he yearned to visit.
We fantasized about traveling together, embarking on a grand tour of our respective cities. However, even after a year and three trips to Portugal, we hadn’t met yet. The thought of finally meeting him made me nervous; after all, I had never met anyone from the Internet before. Prior to the era of Tinder and Bumble, there was still a stigma associated with meeting someone online. Additionally, I questioned why someone like him would be interested in meeting a random person from the Internet. There had to be something amiss; there must be a catch.
Firstly, he was unbelievably attractive. His eyes were piercing, and his smile could illuminate a room. He had just the right amount of scruff on his face, and he seemed effortlessly put together. Secondly, the notion that someone like him would even have a slight interest in someone as awkward as me seemed unbelievable. It felt too good to be true, but the 24-year-old version of myself wholeheartedly believed he was the perfect match.
However, more than a year had passed, and in two months’ time, I would be leaving Madrid and Europe without definite plans of returning. It was now or never. Thus, I finally made the decision to book a budget air flight to Porto and meet the young man. I figured I might as well make a trip out of it and explore my favorite spots in Portugal too.
On a sunny April afternoon, I arrived in Porto. I took a taxi from the airport to the upscale neighborhood of Boavista, where my hotel was situated. After checking in, I immediately went to my room to take a nap.
“I’m downstairs,” he texted after an hour or two.
I hastily put on the carefully planned outfit, rushed to the elevator, and hurried through the lobby to meet him at the front entrance. As soon as I stepped outside, I spotted him waiting casually next to a silver European sedan. He looked impeccable in his…