As a group there were mixed feelings about being so far from home for the upcoming holiday mixed with great anticipation at exploring an unknown land and meeting her people. As an individual, Melissa was facing feelings of a different, unexpected sort. Having sworn off men for her entire college career, she was surprised to find herself crushing on the "quiet guy". Having spent the previous summer working alongside this humble soul in the beautiful mountain space that was HR Wilderness Camp she knew the depth of his kindness, quiet wittiness and ability to tackle mountain-man-esque activities with a vengeance, however she was surprised to feel her heart quickly falling for Mike Harrington.
Having made it out of Denver regardless of extreme winter weather conditions and safely landing on the opposite side of the globe the whole crew set out to discovering the lay of the land and the hearts of the people with packs on their backs. Days of trekking through villages, meeting village chiefs, monks and loads of children did little to distract Melissa from the ever growing desire to catch the eye of one particular gent.
The trip took shape with a number of memorable episodes including a night at "Spider" monastery, joyfully sung Christmas carols from the mouths of children, avocado smoothies, Buddha-filled caves, traditional foot massages and the expressive faces of so many beautiful people.
As the trip came to a close and Mike and Melissa spent some last moments with the tour guide and his wife, Melissa confidently claimed that her college singleness would take her well into her adulthood. With a knowing look in his eyes, the guide made eye contact through the rear-view mirror where only Mike and Melissa sat as the rest of the team went by taxi and spoke a set of prophetic words while glancing between the two "Or maybe not."
When asked about falling in love, Mike is often unsure of an exact moment. Melissa however knows that each day of that fateful trip during the winter holiday of 2006-07 had her falling more and more in love with one quiet, humble, god-fearing soul.
It wouldn't take long before those feelings came spilling out in all their raw honesty...but that dear readers, is a story for next time.