Monday, April 27, 2009

Love is a Minefield

It goes without saying that while opposites allegedly attract, most relationships of lasting value are based upon the commonalities. My relationship with Jay is no different--but there have been a couple of defining moments that clearly and succinctly illustrate our differences:

1) Walking to work one morning, we passed by a local social entrepreneurial coffee shop with a sign advertising their fair-trade brew. “What’s fair-trade coffee?” Jay asked me.

“Are you asking because you don’t know what it is, or because you’ve never heard of it before?”

"I don't think I've heard of it before. What is it?”

I could only respond to his question with stunned silence. It was hard for me to believe that in 2009, someone wouldn’t know what fair-trade coffee is, let alone have never heard of it. (We do live in Toronto, after all. Even the Starbucks on every corner is pushing their fair-trade blends.) But knowing Jay, I pushed back my disbelief and quickly explained fair-trade farming.

“Oh,” Jay said, thinking for a moment. “I thought it was an exchange service. You know, like maybe a homeless guy could bring in bottles for coffee. For instance, 10 bottles would be a fair trade for one coffee.”

2) The first time Jay and I went to the movies together, I insisted that we take the streetcar. Okay, fine. “But how much does it cost?” he asked me. He’s lived in the GTA for most of his life.

So when I suggested to Jay that we head to Croatia this spring, I was hardly surprised when he scrunched up his face and asked, “Will I be mugged?”

Our first and only trip together was two months ago, planned and booked by Jay, to a five-star resort in Cancun, where we needed a special access card to enter our wing of the resort, received 24-hour butler service and had a bidet in our room. In other words, it wasn't exactly how I'm used to travelling. And clearly, what I had in mind for our spring vacation isn't exactly how Jay is used to travelling. (I'm not sure if he's ever even stayed in a hostel before.)

But one of the reasons I get along with Jay so well is because he’s game for anything. He just needs a bit of convincing first--that’s all. We both agreed that whatever destination we chose would have to be affordable. (This is recession times, after all.) I assured him that with Australia, Vanuatu, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe under my belt, I’m a pro at budget travel. And Croatia, at it turns out, is pro at offering budget accommodations. It seemed like a perfect match.

Despite the low prices, the coastal waters and the architecture, Jay maintained his reservations, though. "There's still landmines in Croatia, you know," he told me one night, only-half joking. He started thinking that maybe going to Malta to visit his family was the best course of action. And I was starting to agree. It was overwhelming to think about planning a vacation that somebody I care about so much might hate.

But after talking to his Croatian coworker about Krk, Jay started to get excited about the idea. In fact, staying true to his laid-back nature, Jay was beginning to see the destination as the gateway to a different kind of travelling--the kind that involves local markets instead of room service and bunk beds instead of king-sized plush.

“I kind of like the idea of going to Croatia for my first 'adventure' type trip,” Jay told me. (I held the word “first” very close to my heart.)

So it's settled. We're going to Croatia.

And while we're both open to new experiences and game for anything, I can only hope that Jay doesn't get mugged--or step on a landmine.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Fair trade may or not be fair. Depends.


    3. Have fun. Croatia is beautiful. Old Split, Dubrovnik, the islands in-between are spectacular.


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