I knew right away that youwere it for me,Beau Taplin
there were no reservations
or second thoughts,
I saw you and in an instant
knew in my bones,
my soul had known your
soul lifetimes ago.
Believe it or not but there was a time where internet was something that only a few hundred people on earth (as in: the entire planet) were using to connect with each other. This time was 1994 and among these people was one student from the Netherlands. He loved the swedish band Roxette so while he was studying he joined an IRC (think: primitive Messenger) chat group called #sweden in order to connect with swedish people who might be able to fix him some special Roxette CDs (the things before Spotify).
There also was a time where people sent postcards (as in: via snail-mail) while they were on holiday. This time was 1995 and among these people was the same dutch guy who was on holiday with a group of friends. One day, all of his friends decided to go to the beach but he decided to stay behind to write his postcards. One other friend then decided she would stay behind as well. She then happened to see her friend writing a postcard to a swedish guy which to her seemed pretty strange because as far as she knew, her friend had never traveled to Sweden. On a whim, she decides to write a few lines on her friend’s postcard to this swedish guy. It looked something like this:
Hi! I don’t know you but my friend tells me you are a nice guy. I don’t know anything about Sweden except Roxette and Stefan Edberg. (and is Oslo your capital?) I am curious about you and about Sweden. Do you want to be my penpal?
The dutch girl gets the address of the swedish guy and writes him a letter (as in: on paper). The guy answers (again: on paper) and asks if she happens to have access to something called email. As it turned out, she did not. Because who had at that time and what was it called again? But her father had just gotten an email account through his work because, you know: new media. So he gave his daughter access to this account as he (together with the rest of the world) was not using it yet.
August 1995 – October 1995
Emails are sent back and forth every single day between Sweden and Holland. Both feel a strong connection but being shy and young adults and all, it takes the swedish guy becoming pretty drunk at a student party to write I love you to the dutch girl. After receiving this email, the girl takes her bike for a ride (as dutch people do, right?) and reaches the conclusion that she feels the same way.
The dutch girl tells her family and friends that she has a boyfriend but she has never met him IRL (In Real Life). As you can imagine, her family and friends think something is seriously wrong with her.
December 1995, 05:30 in the morning on a day just before Christmas
The dutch girl and her friend wait at Amsterdam Amstel station for a Eurolines bus to arrive from Sweden. No cheap flights existed yet, neither did mobile phones. Remember it’s the 90’s we’re still talking about so cheap bus tours with shady drivers was pretty much the only affordable way for students to travel.
After a while, multiple busses arrive simultaneously at Amstel Station. If you ever have stood close to a touring bus; they are huge! And out pour tens of people at the same time. The girl and her friend frantically search through the crowd, trying to find this one swedish guy. And all of a sudden, she sees him. Still inside a bus, waving to her.
Down the narrow stairs from the bus then descends this blue-eyed, blond-haired, leather jacket/white knitted sweater/tight jeans-wearing guy. On the pavement stands a very self-aware/pimple-faced/just turned 18 years old girl in too-wide clothes. They hug, kiss and the dutch girl falls in love with the swedish guy right then and there on the spot.
The dutch girl and swedish guy continue their studies but travel 13 times by touring bus back and forth between Holland and Sweden. In between they email and chat via internet (through a modem, remember those?) almost every day.
After three long years, the dutch girl travels to Sweden and moves in with the swedish guy. The day she arrives in Stockholm, they switch language and have only spoken swedish with each other since.
I am still living together with my swedish guy and our two now almost grown-up teenagers. Our path has not always been easy but I don’t think anyone who is in a relationship with the same person for 24 years feels it is a walk in the park all the time, regardless of how much in love they are. Check out my previous blog post about Romantic love if you are interested to read more about our story (spoiler alert: it involves throwing our wedding rings in a lake).
On a final note: I think there is a good chance that we are the first internet couple in the world who still are together to this date. Isn’t that pretty cool?
Photo: Taskin Ashiq – unsplash.com