so it seems I've met someone...
I was flying back from my business trip from Ithaca, NY (I was up there testing some optics for the FORCAST camera which will fly in SOFIA, a 747 with a 2 m telescope in the back). I flew from Rochester to Washington Dulles, and there I switched planes to a flight back to Austin. I sat down in my aisle seat, hoping I'd repeat my luck from the last flight, and have the row to myself. For five minutes, it was looking like I'd lucked out again, but then a very pretty girl came walking down the plane and took the window seat next to me. We didn't talk too much in the first hour of the flight, only I asked her for a pen so I could do some work on the flight. I read a paper or two and made some notes, but it wasn't too productive.
Eventually, (I can't remember how) we started talking. It turns out, her name's Nathalia, and she's an au pair for a family in Virginia. She's from Columbia and wanted to practice her english. Her english is still a little rough, so I got a chance to practice my spanish as well. It was fun because my spanish is about as good as her english. All in all, it was one of the most interesting conversations I've ever held on a plane. Not because the subject matter was terribly interesting, but more because it was fun trying to converse with someone with whom you only had half a language in common. We would each say something in the our native language, and if the other person still had a look of non-comprehension on his/her face, we'd try our best to say it in the other's language. I was amazed at how much spanish I still knew, as well as how much I'd forgotten. As the flight went on, more and more of my spanish came back. It was quite fun.
She's studying to be a Chemical Engineer back in Bogota, and she's almost done. However, she doesn't want to graduate quite yet, because it's harder to get a visa if you're not a student. She really wants to come here to America to re-start her degree at an American University, because the job prospects are much better with a degree from America.
Anyway, she was coming to Austin to visit her cousin for Thanksgiving. I gave her a list of things to do while she was in Austin. I suggested stuff like 6th street, the Alamo Drafthouse, Town Lake, Hamilton Pool, and Trudy's, to name a few. We exchanged phone numbers once the flight landed, and we went our separate ways.
Much to my surprise, she text messaged me after a few days, and we continued our broken conversations. She really wanted to go salsa dancing, but since her cousin was ~35 with three kids, he really didn't have time to take her out. Since I had a homework assignment due on wednesday, we decided that I'd take her out salsa dancing on wednesday night, after I was finished.
Thanks to a miscommunication, I ended up swiping Vince's car on monday night and we went out for coffee and then to RLM to see the Austin skyline at night.
On the way back home, we stopped at the capitol building and took some pictures.
Finally, Wednesday rolled around. I fought 5:45 Austin traffic and picked her up and met her cousin and his wife. They seem like nice people. We then went to Gueros and had some dinner. I had the chile relleno, and she had faijitas. For a hispanic person, she really has no tolerance for spicy food :-P. To be fair, Gueros does have some pretty hot pico de gallo. Anyway, after dinner, we walked across the congress bridge to Copa, a latin bar which claimed (on the website) to offer salsa dancing lessons ever wednesday night. However, since this was the day before thanksgiving, it ended up being closed. So, we ended up toodling around 6th street. We went to Nunos to listen to a band for a little bit, and then to Maggie Mae's to people watch from the rooftop. After we left Maggie Maes, we ran into Sarah and her crowd. She was in Austin with her boyfriend (Matt) to help her little sister celebrate her 21st birthday. We ended up hanging out with them for the rest of the night. Matt is Peruvian, and spke a little spanish with Nathalia. We ended up in a bar/club just off 6th street. Much fun was had by all, except when Emily's purse got stolen. The good news is, someone ended up turning it in, I think, so I don't think she has to worry about replacing EVERYTHING.
I took her back home and dropped her off. Before she went inside, she gave me a little figurine of a Columbian Chiva (basically a bus people use to get around in rural Columbia), a bracelet with the colors of the Columbian flag, and some columbian sweets, including bocadillo. Bocadillo is... well... kinda sweet and chewy, but yet still kinda crunchy. I think they make it out of cane sugar and guayabas. Whatever it is, it's very good.
We didn't kiss goodnight, per se... She did request that I kiss her on the cheek, but I think it's more of a custom, kinda like a hug or a handshake here in America.
Anyway, she flew out on friday, and she's now back in Virginia. However, we've exchanged skype numbers, and we've talked enough to definitely say there's something there. Sucks that she lives in Virginia. Oh well... we'll see.