7.4
April 30, 2019

When you Fall in Love with a Foreigner.

When you fall in love with a foreigner, you’ll never see it coming.

You’ll wake from a nap to the ping of a Tinder message.

He’ll be in town for just a few days—and he’ll ask if you want to meet up and “make out.” You’ll be looking for something casual, something unattached, something without strings, something where you can effortlessly crawl out of his bed before morning breaks.

So you’ll say yes.

You’ll drive to the house where he is staying, and he’ll make you sweet potato soup.

You’ll spend hours walking, talking, smoking. You’ll spend moments sharing the vague and detailed and distant and intimate facts of your lives. Until, eventually, he’ll give you a smile and he’ll lean forward and he’ll kiss you.

In the hours that follow, you’ll explore each other’s mouths and bodies and sweaty, shaking skin.

When morning has almost broken, he’ll ask you to stay. And you’ll have forgotten all about casual and unattached and without strings.

So you’ll say yes.

You’ll call in sick to work for three days straight and spend every waking and sleeping moment in his presence.

By 36 hours into this non-stop, all-consuming, knee-buckling first date, you’ll already be in love.

And he will be, too.

Before long, he’ll ask you to visit him in his country.

It will seem crazy and fast and absurd and irresponsible. But it will seem even crazier to let him leave your life.

So you’ll say yes.

You’ll buy a plane ticket. You’ll pack up a single suitcase, board a plane, and hurl yourself into the unknown. You’ll arrive, bleary-eyed and overwhelmed and nervous, in his country.

He’ll take you to his favorite hummus restaurant. He’ll introduce you to all of his friends and all of his family. He’ll teach you how to say “watermelon” and “table” and “I love you” in his language.

You’ll camp at the beach, and the sounds of the Mediterranean will sing you to sleep while you press your body to his.

You’ll drive into the desert and dance under the sun.

You’ll explore the streets of his city and wander through the markets and inhale the wild smells and the chaos that feels nothing like home.

You’ll go out to dinner one night and, over beer and khachapuri, he’ll ask you to stay. There will be a million reasons to say no and only one reason to say yes. But that one reason will have already drowned out every other reason and every doubt and every hesitant voice in the back of your head.

So you’ll say yes.

What follows will be nothing like what you expect. What follows will not just be a fairy tale. What follows will be an adventure and a hurricane and a broken heart and a tragedy and a thousand tears and a thousand more laughs.

You’ll find out what it’s like to be an immigrant.

You’ll learn what it means to ache for home.

You’ll discover who you are when everything you’ve ever known falls away. Who you are when you are stripped bare. Who you are when you are forced to face all of your shit and all of the darkest parts of you.

It will be a reckoning. A nightmare. A dream. An all-out, heart-shattering, inescapable thunderstorm that will set your life on fire.

~

When you fall in love with a foreigner and have to decide whether to leap, do it.

Move.

Go.

Not because it’ll definitely work out or definitely be perfect or definitely be what you expect.

But because, even if it doesn’t work out or it’s imperfect or it’s nothing like you’d expect, you’ll wake up one day and realize you don’t even recognize yourself.

In the process of diving deep for love and moving to the other side of the world, you will discover everything there is to discover about your sweet, innocent, struggling self.

The journey will push you so much and change you so completely that you will reclaim your life and start truly living it.

So, when you fall in love with a foreigner, just say yes.

Take the jump. Do the dumb thing.

Because it’s not just about love or fate or chasing after men.

It’s about you.

It’s about the ways you will emerge and never be the same again.

author: Kelsey Michal

Image: Author's own

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Natashia Newhouse May 5, 2019 1:22pm

This is so beautiful!

Allison Smith May 3, 2019 1:23pm

Awesome.

Michelle Gean May 3, 2019 9:25am

Love this, Kelsey.

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Kelsey Michal

Kelsey Michal grew up in Oregon, leaving her with a particular fondness for the mountains and greenery of the Pacific Northwest. She is an avid hiker, runner, dancer, yoga practitioner, writer, baker, musician, and cook. Kelsey is currently an Elephant Editor, freelance writer, and yoga instructor. Find her on her website, Instagram, or Facebook.