My boyfriend broke my heart minutes after I passed through customs. Heartsick and deflated, I was all alone in Berlin, Germany, far from home in Tennessee. Having sold most of my belongings back home to afford the biggest gamble of my life, I was unsure of what I was doing there.
Six months of living off coffee and cigarettes left me feeling even worse. Even the joy of working as a jewelry designer in Europe couldn't fix the sense that I was lost in a strange place. One morning, I woke after a dream so vivid feeling like I'd been with someone beautiful. I wrote all the details about this man: I wrote about his laughter, his love for travel, and his kindness. I decided to heal my heart; that's what love should feel like. I made the hard decision and flew to the states to stay at my mother's house in Kentucky planning to save some money and head back to Berlin in a few months. After finding a job and doing yoga everyday I felt better, but my focus had radically shifted. I became interested in using art to heal others and volunteered at an art studio for adults with disabilities.
We met on the internet (which I'm still strangely embarrassed to admit). On our first date, I missed the bus and Brian picked me up on his scooter. It was awkward but fun: we talked all night until I realized I had to work the soon approaching six am shift. Getting through work was awful, but every time I thought of him my heart jumped a little.
On our third date and Brian cooked dinner at his tiny apartment. We didn't stop talking the entire night, sharing stories about our families and our dreams-until we kissed.
We got to know each other and found out we had similar stories: his brokenhearted love story ends at the altar in Tokyo instead of the airport in Berlin. Our parents grew up in the same town and my father went to high school with his mother. After both of us traveling around the world, we found each other in Kentucky.
He was funny, irreverent, and kind. Being with him gave me the same feeling as that beautiful dream. I quit smoking. My heart healed. I was offered my dream job of working in the art studio for adults with disabilities and felt this sense of possibility. I never made it back to Berlin.
A year later, we were sitting in the backyard sharing a beer and enjoying the warm rays of the sun on our backs. We talked about the future and we agreed that we would get married one day. Then Brian asked if this meant we were engaged. I supposed we were.
Neither of us believe in soul-mates; there are an infinite number of people we could have chosen to spend our lives with. But what I can say is that our life together will be a life we could have lived with no one else: so we've chosen this life. We're getting married this summer and there's nothing we would like more than to have two storytellers capture the beauty of these moments.
*This is a picture of us on an impromptu trip to New Orleans. We drove all night and stopped at the Waffle House for breakfast. We're not looking our finest, but it's a good representation of us.
Olivia has a phobia of doctors, blood, and needles...Brian is training to be a doctor.
Olivia is making their wedding rings.
Brian didn't consider himself a “dog person” before living with Olivia's dog, now he wants him to be a part of the wedding