Toronto/London – 2006. During her third year in university, Riss signs up to be a camp councillor for the summer. Unfortunately, as summer approached, it dawned on her that she didn’t care much for teaching nor the outdoors. In fact, she realized that this was a terrible idea and she needed to get out of this situation fast. What’s an English major to do? She uses her imagination, of course! Instead of simply telling the camp she’s not interested, she makes alternative plans – she moves to the UK on a work-travel visa.
In London, she adjusts to her new work-travel life quickly, taking on a variety of jobs and going on small trips here and there. On one such day trip to Oxford, Riss gets a text from an old colleague, Inga, saying she’s here in London visiting her cousin Joe; he’s throwing a house party that evening and suggests she come. Riss declines. She’s tired and prefers to make it an early night. As she settles in on her couch, she contemplates the day with a glass of wine. And then another. And before you know it, she’s filled with a new-found energy and the thought of a house party becomes more and more appealing. She quickly gets ready, jumps on the tube and arrives by 7pm. Upon her arrival, friend Inga introduces her around.
Riss and Chris will disagree on what happens next. She will say that she noticed a tall man drinking Jack Daniel’s out of a bottle. Impressed, she walked over to tell him so. Chris will say that he saw a cute girl that he didn’t recognize and came over to say hello. What really happened, no one will ever know. But what we do know is that the party was super fun, Riss and Chris get friendly, and many decide to crash at Joe’s place for the night, including them. When Riss wakes up, she decides to write her number on a napkin and discreetly leave it for Chris. But before she can do so and make her speedy getaway, Chris wakes up and asks, “Were you just going to leave?” He walks her to the tube station and Riss thinks of all the reasons why this guy is not for her.
- He’s tall. She likes petite men.
- He has no style. She later learns he’s actually colour blind.
- He’s British. This can’t go anywhere.
She was 4 months into her UK adventure and starting to feel homesick. But despite all the reasons mentioned above, she gives him her number…and the message she later receives surprises her. The JD drinker from the night before sends the most formal text message, almost professional, requesting her presence at Hyde Park one Sunday afternoon for a full picnic. Confused and intrigued, she accepts.
Riss and Chris will agree on what happens next. It turns out to be the best date ever. So good, that on the tube ride home, Chris purposely misses his stop to ride it longer to her stop. There, she decides to ride the tube back with him to his stop. And like that, they spend the evening riding the tube back and forth between Kensington and South London to keep the date going.
Some other modes of transportation – above: Havana, Cuba. 2015.
Petra, Jordan. 2013.
Hvar, Croatia. 2013.