For those of you who don’t know the story of how Manuel and I met, here it is…
10 years ago today I headed off on a vacation that would literally change my life!
Months before that vacation happened my friend Taz asked if I could get time off to go away with her. At the time I was a freelance reporter/camera operator for Shaw TV in Scarborough/Pickering. My initial response “No way!”. In theory of course I could take time off but I was afraid to. I was afraid to lose my place in some invisible pecking order of news reporters. So initially I said no. Thankfully Taz was very persistent.
I eventually (and very reluctantly) gave in and said yes. The catch? I told her I’d go with her for only 4 nights because I would be too upset to be away from work for a full week. (Was I crazy? Now my vacation days are worth more to me than gold!). Taz and I searched around and found a really good last-minute deal for a 4 night trip to Cancun. Cancun? Where on earth is Cancun? I had never heard of it and knew nothing about it.
Our friend Claudia decided even more last-minute to join us to this mysterious Cancun location. Our day of arrival in Cancun, Mexico was April 16, 2002. The day I met Manuel…April 16, 2002. Yep Manuel and I met the very first night of a vacation I didn’t want to take!
The rest of the details change slightly depending on if myself or Manuel is telling the story (he still swears I chased after him and I’m sticking by memory that he saw me and couldn’t live without me!) Either way we met that first evening. He was the waiter/MC at a Hotel Zone bar called Mexxxtreme (a bar whose tagline was “Yes this is the place your parents warned you about! ” lol). We looked at each other, gave a little smile and he walked right over to introduce himself to me. We spoke for just a few minutes before he was being called by his manager to do something. As soon as he walked away I turned to Taz and Claudia and said “I just met the man I`m going to marry!”
The rest as they say is history. I spent the rest of that mini vacay balanced between beach time and site seeing with the girls and hanging out at Mexxxtreme in the evenings with Manuel. Manuel came to say goodbye to me at my hotel early morning on the day we were leaving to go back to Toronto. I can remember not being very upset saying goodbye to him because I truly knew it was more one of those “see you later” moments than “goodbye”!
We spent the next 2 months going through dozens of long distance calling cards and chatting online for hours on end until I finally decided to go back to Cancun. I figured spending more time together was the only real way to decide if we had more than just a spark or interest in each other. I also wasn`t ready to visit him once a year on vacation and call that a relationship after only spending 4 initial days together!
So the girl who wouldn`t even take a week off from work suddenly had new motivation to book a 3 month stay in a city just months earlier she had never heard of. In the end…taking the time off work that summer to fall in love was the best decision I ever made!