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Falling in Love in ParadiseBy Elena   8/27/2009
It was a warm, tropical, Wednesday evening in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; February 18th, 2009. I was on vacation traveling around South America and it was the night before the famous 'carnival' was to begin. I was hanging out with my friend Renato, who I was staying with, his roommate, and a couple of their friends. And while I certainly was enjoying the Brazilian eye candy, I wasn't planning on meeting that someone 'special' on this trip. But apparently fate already had different plans.
So, we were walking down the street, looking for a fun spot to stop, listen to live music, and dance (you can find music and dancing all over the place, in the streets, this time of year in Salvador). Suddenly, Renato's roommate spotted an old friend of his walking along by himself. They greeted each other, and his friend decided to tag along with our group.
The moment I saw him, I had to keep my jaw from dropping. He was so handsome! He had a brilliant smile that practically lit up the street at dusk (or at least in my imagination it did!). Even his eyes smiled. He was just a bit taller than me, and had beautiful milk-chocolaty brown skin, and a perfect little nose. And of course, being the coward that I am when it comes to guys, there was no way I was going to approach him and introduce myself.
Luckily for me, after our group walked for a little while and stopped to buy drinks, he approached me. He introduced himself and asked about me. I was shy, trying to explain in my broken Portuguese (or more like fluent Spanish trying to throw in any Portuguese I knew!) who I was and what I was doing there. But he didn't laugh at my silly mistakes or move on to talk to someone else when it took me several minutes to make simple things understood. He was patient, and sweet, and really made an effort to talk to me. We ended up laughing about our miscommunications and somehow still understanding each other perfectly. Then, we ended up in different conversations with different people as we walk along the road that hugged the coast and watched the waves roll in. But even while I was talking to other people, I'd find myself occasionally searching for him.
Eventually, we all found a big crowd of people listening to a live performance of a woman singing samba and other Brazilian music. So, of course we stopped and started dancing and singing just like everyone else! The atmosphere was buzzing with happiness and positivity. And he was nice, but I didn't think I had a chance. I mean, there were gorgeous, half-naked Brazilian girls dancing all around us. Why would he choose me? He was standing a few feet away near some of our other friends, and as I danced I would occasionally look at him, wishing he'd come dance with me. Once in a while our eyes would lock and I would quickly, awkwardly look away.
Finally, he came over to me. Inside, I panicked. I got what I wished for, now what? But I just kept dancing, and he started dancing with me, charming me with his sweet smile and quick feet. After dancing together for some time, exchanging shy smiles and occasionally trying to talk over the loud music, he asked me if he could kiss me. I replied with something like, "No, I hardly even know you!" to which he replied by wittily attempting to give me his entire life story in two minutes. He rambled on in Portuguese and I struggled to keep up, but the whole time that smile of his and the gleam of his eye was luring me in! And at the end of him filling me in he said "there, now you know who I am!" Of course, he was half-joking, but it was quite charming. I have no idea how much time passed, but we danced the night away, and eventually I did give in to a kiss. And that was definitely the right choice because oh was it wonderful!
Once the music died down, we all decided to go to the beach and Isaque, as I had learned was his name, and I continued to talk and learn about each other. At the end of the night (or should I say the beginning of the morning, since it was almost dawn!) he drove me back "home." When he asked if when he would see me again, my heart skipped a beat from excitement. We decided to meet the next day on the beach at two o'clock.
What seemed like a logical plan at 6am turned out to be a pretty bad one. You see, we obviously needed to sleep, and me and the friends I was staying with didn't even wake up until two o'clock. So by the time we got ourselves together and got to the beach, it was already past three. Not to mention this was summer and carnival and the beach was packed. I looked around as we walked trying to find a spot to sit, but there were people everywhere. How was I ever going to find him? Eventually I gave up and sat down. As I went for a swim, I kept an eye out for him, but had no luck. Then I laid out working on me tan, but still hoping I'd see him pass by, but nothing. Sad that I'd probably ever see Isaque again, I laid down for a nap.
Sometime later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I opened my eyes, and sure enough, it was him! In my blurry-eyed, discombobulated, just-woke-up state, I somehow asked him "how did you find me?" He just smiled and said he had walked up and down the beach a few times until he spotted me! I think I was in a state of shock. He had cared enough to search for me among the throngs of people! We talked and swam, until it started raining. Then we ran into an ice cream shop, leaving my friends behind. Well, we spent my last four days together seeing the city and just having a wonderful time.
He made me laugh, he made sure I knew how beautiful I was, he was sincere, he was sweet, he took care of me, he made me feel safe, he was passionate, he was so intelligent, and most of all, he made me happy.
But then I had to leave. It was the saddest moment of my trip. Tears were streaming down both of our faces, and we were stuck in an embrace that we didn't want to end. I was feeling hopeless, thinking that this could never possibly work. But after I left Brazil, he was all I could think about. We stayed in touch, and he convinced me that what we had was too special to give up. So here we are, six months later, going strong as a couple after I went back for a three-week visit recently!
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