• Kirsten Conrad

Spilling the T (an untraditional love story)

"I had clearly never seen the movie Taken and, after confiding with my friends, I ignored any safety advice I have ever been given."

Coming off the worst year of my life, I finally had a reason to get up and celebrate - I graduated nursing school!! As a reward to myself for not leaving halfway through school on a one-way flight to Thailand, I spent a solid chunk of my life savings on a month-long trip around Europe. This trip gave me so much more than I ever anticipated, most importantly being my boyfriend, Tomas. There were SO many obstacles that nearly kept me from going on the trip in the first place, let alone meeting T. He hates to think about how many little things could have prevented us meeting but I find it all the more exciting.

travel nurse and lifestyle blogger kirsten conrad with boyfriend tomas mccabe
A lot of Tomas' family and friends call him 'T' (including me!)

Starting off the trip, some of the girls I was traveling with were excited at the idea of meeting European men, whereas I could not care less. Who cares about Italian men when there’s Italian gelato?? Honestly. I was so much more concerned about how many different types of pasta I could try and calculating how much wine I could drink per day to classify it as being cultural instead of just an excuse to day drink.

That is, until I arrived in London.

After a day travelling and a couple of hours site seeing around SoHo and Oxford Circus, my new friends and I plugged in our outlet adapters, squeezed into our tiny hostel bathrooms, and got dressed for a night out in London. I should mention too that this evening nearly didn’t happen. We decided last minute to join our tour group on a pub crawl - and luckily one Tomas happened to be running.

I can vividly remember when I first saw him; I was in Leicester square and he stepped out of the first bar with blue pub-crawl wristbands in his hand. I knew I had to talk to him (and so did several of the other girls - I couldn’t blame them. He was hot.). My ever-so-smooth move was to ask him where I could get a burger. Thankfully, he was going to sneak away from the pub crawl to grab a burger himself and asked me to come along. Leave my friends with a stranger in a city I’m unfamiliar with?? Sure!! Maybe not the smartest idea, but we’ve been dating two years now so thankfully it worked out.

travel nurse and lifestyle blogger kirsten conrad with boyfriend tomas mccabe

That McDonald’s burger turned into a weekend of Tomas showing me around London. He asked me over said burger if I’d want to go out with him the following night. He was working a pub crawl in a different part of London, called Shoreditch, and I happily agreed to another night out on the pub crawl. This turned into an all-nighter with his friends, including lots of dancing in various bars and ending the night swimming in a nightclub that has an indoor swimming pool/hot tub (not as creepy and gross as I thought it would be). I made Tomas, still soaking wet and shivering from the 3 am nightclub swim, make sure I got back safely to my hostel in the wee hours of the cold morning, only for him to come meet me again that afternoon and show me around the city in the daylight.

We did meet later that day at Embankment station and spent hours hand-in-hand strolling around London, laughing and learning more about each other. He taught me how to make a proper English cup of tea, and I taught him my best worst joke. I walked him to work, knowing my time with this wonderful Irishman was coming to an end. He gave me a kiss and told me he might have to visit Texas sometime. Although I didn’t believe he actually would, I still floated the whole way back to my hostel bunk bed, before setting out the following morning towards the next stop on our trip.

travel nurse and lifestyle blogger kirsten conrad with boyfriend tomas mccabe in edinburgh
Together in Edinburgh 2018

I left London with a lovesick heart. I remember lying on my bunk in a rainy Amsterdam and calling my mom to tell her I could not stop thinking about the boy I'd met in London. She rightfully told me to hush up and enjoy my trip.! I laughed and took her advice, but in the back of my mind was Tomas, and a tiny ache that I would most likely never see this human again. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling hung up. I barely knew this person, but it was so evident in our short time together that we just clicked.

That Friday in Paris, I was in the Louvre pretending to understand art when I got a message from Tomas joking that Paris was overrated and I should come back to London to see him. I had clearly never seen the movie Taken, and, after confiding with my friends, I ignored any safety advice I have ever been given and got on a train back to London. I was there with him for less than 24 hours, but in that time he told me we could make the distance work and promised he’d visit me in Texas. As much as I wanted to believe him, I was still skeptical.

However, he kept to his word and flew to Texas, and we spent the next year and a half flying across oceans to see one another, managing to make it to Croatia, Scotland, the Netherlands, and Wales while we were at it. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s definitely not a traditional love story. That being said, it’s my favourite love story, and we have big plans to keep seeing the world together! We’re both really happy to finally live in the same country, and I still love to make him tea the way he taught me when we first met. :)

Cheers y'all!

Kirsten x

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