In this latest foreign affairs feature, Bristol students anonymously recount their intimate, and often unfortunate, moments on the road.
"He dreamed of moving to London one day to start his career as a sommelier"
I was seeing an Italian guy throughout my entire time working in Italy - we went on romantic dates, I met his friends and went out with them, and I even met his family and took his dog for a walk once! We knew our time together had a sell-by date but he’d often tell me how he dreamed of moving to London one day to start his career as a sommelier, and told me I was now another reason why he wanted to move there.
After I had been home for a few weeks I noticed he had blocked me on all social media, but didn’t take much notice of it because he had still been sending me messages saying how much he missed me. Long story short, I found out that he had been in a relationship for 4 years with a girl who he had introduced to me as his friend whilst I was there.
"Karma works in mysterious ways"
“I never told my ex-girlfriend that on a ‘boys’ holiday’ to Prague, I slept with an Aussie traveller. Come to think of it, I never told the boys that I did it in our shared hostel room either. My companion and I raced back to the club in a cab, hoping to pass our disappearance off as an extended cig break. Not that I even smoke or anything.
Karma works in mysterious ways, though: that girl and I are no longer ‘dating’, and I’ve not seen that friend for over a year.”
Lads holiday booked ✅ #fat7daysesh— Joseph Summers (@JfsummersJoseph) February 8, 2018
"She’s been to the Tate and has seen Prime Minister’s Questions"
I jetted off to NYC last summer, only to end up spending Saturday night at ‘Sapphire’, an upmarket Manhattan gentleman’s club.Frankly, I quite liked what I saw and it turned out so did she. She, my interlocutor, was a student trying to pay college tuition.
She loved blue eyes and British accents.
She loves “tall, tanned guys, with stubble”.
She’s been to the Tate and has seen Prime Minister’s Questions.
So, she brought me to a private room to explain just how much she loves blue eyes, British accents, tall, tanned, Tate-going, PMQs-watching guys.And it turned out she liked them a lot. For free. I got her number and found her IG. Her bio says she’s a “performer and aerialist”.
I hope she stuck with college though.
30 minutes later...
Emboldened by this success, I looked on as another woman approached. She, too, liked blue eyes and British accents. Minded to move through the gears a bit quicker this time, I asked for her number.
“Honey, do you know how many blue eyes I see every day?” she shot back.
You can’t win ‘em all.
"Maybe it was the tartan kilt..."
Perhaps it was his strong hands grasping the pipes, or maybe it was the tartan kilt and the mystery of whether he was wearing anything underneath. Whatever it was, the only thing I know for sure is that I fell in love with a Scottish bagpiper on my trip to Edinburgh.
An anonymous contributor and her love
"Thanks, compadre, but no thanks"
“I became friends with a bar tender at a gringo-filled club in downtown Bogotá. He was fairly personable and threw a few free drinks into the mix, so why not?
When he found out I was leaving the county, he decided it was the right time to text me to ask whether we could spend the night together just once before I left.
Of course he had a long-term girlfriend. I wasn’t surprised. In fact, at times I reckoned polygamy was institutionalised in Colombian culture.
I never understood why he thought he had a chance. I was even good friends with his girlfriend!
“She doesn’t have to know,” he initially told me. I then received an ambitious message - “Only once, between you and me. I won’t see you ever again” - but he quickly backtracked when I lost my temper. He eventually apologised and we parted ways on fairly good terms. Thanks, compadre, but no thanks.
Don’t really know what else to say. It was weird.”
"Allez les gars, envoyez-moi un message"
“When I was working as an au pair in Germany, I fell in love with a local Berliner. Having a partner who is a native in the language you are learning is a great way to pick it up quickly. I’m now working on my French so allez les gars, envoyez-moi un message... ;)”
“Maria, la chiave!”
“Your first crush. Lives long in the memory, doesn’t it? I was in Portugal on holiday with my parents and sister, kicking back by the pool under the baking sun. Girls were a still bit of a mystery - I think I was still in the maddening PlayStation days - but when I caught sight of another young holiday-goer elegantly lowering herself into the water...
“Stop! You’re staring,” rang in my ears.
I couldn’t help it. Long brown hair, tanned skin, cute smile and big blue eyes. She looked a little older than me and a lot more self-assured. And when I heard her speaking in Italian I thought she must have been sent by the gods.
I desperately wanted to pluck up the courage to talk to her, to try out the one phrase I knew in her language, “Maria, la chiave!” - what was I thinking?! - and set myself the impossible task of attracting her from afar. Puff your chest out, tense constantly and act as if she didn’t exist.
I had little success. A furtive glance across the breakfast room sparked far too much excitement on my side, and mild bemusement on hers.
Days went by until one morning I told myself enough is enough. I strode purposefully to the pool - I’d noticed she’d gone there just before lunch every day.
Lines? Check. Smile? Check. English charm? Check.
She’d already left. Gutted. Lesson learnt.”
Featured image: Epigram / Ellie Caulfield