In my opinion, my parents had the most romantic meetings ever, once in a yacht club in Hong Kong, and again on the other side of the world, in a bay in the Caribbean.
At the time of their first meeting, my mother was about twenty-five years old, and working in a jean factory in Hong Kong, while my dad, two years older than her, was an architect’s assistant. Both loved sailing, and had their own separate sailing groups. These two groups somehow met up, and my dad challenged my mom to a race, saying that the losing team would have to take the other team out to dinner. My mother accepted bravely, despite how much better the other team’s boat and crew and equipment were. Obviously, after a disastrous race, she and her team lost.
So, my dad, ever the womanizer (although when I see old pictures of him I wonder how), smoothly suggested that she take only him out to dinner, instead of the whole crew, and my mother accepted.
They went out to a very atmospheric restaurant, and, as far as I’ve heard, had a near perfect date, finishing with a romantic kiss on the docks.
Then my father said that he was engaged.
I’ve never heard this part in detail, but I like to imagine that he received a monumental slap, which he quite honestly would have deserved. Imagine falling in love with a charming man, only to have all your illusions broken by a few words. You can bet your life that if someone did that to me he would end up with a red, hand shaped mark on his left cheek.
Anyway, I would have liked to tell you that my parents, being the reasonable people they are, realised that they probably shouldn’t see each other any more, and parted ways. They didn’t. In fact, though it embarrasses me to say it, they had an affair which lasted many months, until my father was a month or so away from getting married, and they separated.
One month later, my mom was sharing a flat with a friend, when a girl came into the apartment in tears. She was a friend of the friend, and, incidentally, the girl that my father was meant to marry. Until he broke up with her a week before the wedding.
I’ve only just realised that my father really was a terrible person… Age, or maybe love, really can work wonders on some people.
Moving on with the story, my mother was pretty annoyed with my father for being such a jerk, and swore to never have anything to do with him again. A few months later, she went on holiday to the Caribbean, where she stayed on a friend’s boat. As fate would have it, my father was on a boat right next to hers, and when my mother discovered that, she was thrilled and annoyed in equal measures, but decided to do the civil thing and go see him.
When my father heard that a blonde girl from Hong Kong was looking for him, his mind leapt straight to thinking of his ex-fiancee, and he was ready to pack up and flee the Virgin Islands. Luckily, he did no such thing, and he and my mother met up. A few weeks later, they were going out, and have been together ever since.
Years later, they had my big brother, Inigo, and two years after that, on the eleventh of June 1997, they had me: a bald, red faced, dual nationality baby.
I was born in Oregon, USA, meaning that I automatically became American, but, due to both my parents being british, I also have the british nationality. I have no doubt that this is going to be incredibly useful in future.
I shan’t bore you with all the tiny details of my life, because that would make this an autobiography as opposed to a blog. I’ll just tell everything up to the last year in the briefest way possible, and then we’ll move on.
When I was four, my parents suddenly decided to move to France, so we did, to a small village in the South, near Pau, a few hours away from Toulouse.
We lived there four years, and then, as my dad still had an architectural company in the Caribbean, B.V.I, we moved to a small island named Tortola, where I spent third and fourth grade. Over that time, I had a mad crush on my best friend, Charlie. He was my first love.
We moved back to France for fifth grade, and then to the B.V.I again for sixth. Finally, we returned to France when I was twelve, and have been there ever since. Two years ago, in 2011, we moved from Pau to a tiny village in the mountains, which I’ve come to pretty much love, despite how reluctant I was to move here at first.
So there you have it, a shortened version of my strange life. It’s a bit unconventional, and complicated, but I love it… Especially as it’s a really good conversation starter.