Our journey begins as far back as 1995; a time when we were just two young, energetic children. At the mere age of 5, we met in kindergarten school in Ottawa, Canada and contrary to popular opinions of romantic stories, it was far from the so-called puppy love. Mateusz's memories of a young Adriana are not the fondest, claiming she was a pesky bully who teased and annoyed him endlessly; even tattling on him to the teacher about his innocent enjoyment of a cookie before the start of lunch hour when we were permitted to eat. Of course, Adriana claims to this day that she remembers no such stories and believes that her behavior at the time must have been a sneaky ply to make sure he noticed her from the very beginning. After about four years of elementary school together, Adriana left the school we attended when her family moved into the city: news which was of sheer excitement and relief to Mateusz. However, despite the rocky beginnings, Mateusz recalls thoughts of Adriana trickling into his mind every now and then throughout high school, meaning her initial strategy as a child must have indeed worked. The same could have been said for Adriana, who decided to find out what had happened to Mateusz after about 8 years since they last saw each other. A quick Facebook search and friend request on Adriana's part started it all, for soon afterwards Mateusz was eager to determine a way in which to break off any current relationships in order to get closer to Adriana. When we were both around the age of 18, Adriana finally proposed to have a little reunion by getting together, which would include another, mutual elementary school friend of ours. Mateusz quickly disregarded the idea of another friend joining, and was delighted to call this the first date. At the beginning of the summer, we met for dinner at a small, courtyard restaurant in the Byward Market. Mateusz wore his trademark skinny, grey jeans and a casual plaid shirt to try and play it cool, while Adriana changed her outfit so many times just to try and find the right look that would make her seem hard to get. Seamless dinner conversation turned into an evening walk, which then turned into a late night outing for the shared favorite of ice cream, which eventually turned into a second outing. We were smitten. The thought of Adriana made Mateusz radiant and each date that followed had Adriana in deep anticipation for the first kiss. The problem was that we were both aware that at the end of the summer, Adriana was to move to Montreal to begin her studies, and we were unsure if we should continue to see each other. Despite our apprehensions, a late night talk on Adriana's front steps the night before her departure led to us deciding that we should give it a go, and Mateusz sealed the deal with a goodnight and goodbye kiss. This was just the beginning.
We spent the next year apart as we both completed our first year of studies in university. Mateusz would commute up to Montreal late into the night just for a chance to surprise Adriana the next morning. We would enjoy Montreal together, having long conversations over coffee in Old Town in the cold winter months. At first it didn't seem too difficult to us because it was still so new, but as Adriana began to shed tears each time they had to say goodbye again, it became increasingly hard on both of us even bringing us to the point of questioning if we should continue the relationship. The warm spring months brought promise as summer was drawing closer meaning that we could once again start to spend more time together. After that first summer, Adriana had decided to transfer schools and remain in Ottawa to continue her schooling. Her compassionate efforts to bring us closer together proved to be futile, as Mateusz soon after was offered the chance to move to Paris to continue his studies and research in architecture. With heavy hearts but confident thinking, Mateusz boarded a plane to France and we had to say goodbye once again; this time not having any contact for over 6 months. Paris was cold and lonely at first. Attempting to enjoy a new city alone seemed next to impossible, and the days were spent awaiting warmer months because that's when Mateusz knew that Adriana would finally join him in Paris. Sure enough, June arrived and as Mateusz stood there in the middle of Aeroport Charles-de-Gaulle with a humble bouquet of flowers, Adriana came down the escalator with a large luggage and a big smile. We spent the summer gallivanting through Europe together; boarding planes spontaneously to Rome to stay at a quaint bed and breakfast, taking a quick train over to Stuttgart and Munich to check out some architecture, enjoying the beaches and escarpments along the south of France, even renting a boat on a tiny isle off the coast of Italy without any plans of returning back to shore. Days back in Paris saw us slowly migrating our way through the city: morning runs for fresh baguette and cheese, long walks and art gallery touring during the day, and endlessly sitting at streetside cafes sipping coffee and discussing life in the evenings. It is in Paris where we fell in love all over again, and we owe this city the honor of being the city which inspired us and our love of travel. As summer drew to a close, we left Paris in search of a new journey, but that summer has stayed with us and will continue to be one which we look back on fondly.
When we returned to Ottawa, our energies and goals were becoming overbearing. We became increasingly focused on our aspirations and finding a new path, that we lost focus on each other as a result. As the cold winter months of that year approached, we decided it was best for us to take a pause from our relationship and re calibrate our values. We did this without any promise or plan to return to each other, but rather allow the universe to guide us where we needed to go. After about 6 months or so apart, it began to become increasingly clear to both of us that we were missing something in our lives when we were without each other. Thinking at first that we were searching for something new and different, we realized that those new and different things were simply empty of value and excitement when we couldn't share them with one another. With a secret bouquet of roses sent to Adriana to surprise her, Mateusz had initiated a rekindling between the two of us. It was the first promise of a future together; one that was cemented in the belief that we were really meant for each other. The long summer days took off to an incredible experience of reuniting and soul-searching once again as best friends, even taking us back to Europe for a trip travelling through Poland together. On the final day of that trip, they decided to once again embrace a relationship together. But as fate would have it, soon after that decision, Mateusz had decided to move to Toronto to pursue a Masters Degree and start his internships in architecture. Despite the start of yet another distanced relationship, this one felt different. We knew that Toronto and the opportunities it held represented a future for us and where we wanted to go in our lives. Even though they spent the next year and a half apart, the distance was no matter. Their was a renewed connection and understanding that felt insurmountable and limitless to us. Sure enough, once Adriana had completed her degree in Ottawa, she was off to Toronto soon after to begin her career. When we moved in together, everything felt like it stitched and molded together organically and naturally, like there was nothing that had to be changed or worked on. We took on everything with excitement; exploring a new city with delight and surprise, designing our space together and crafting an environment for the both of us, cooking together and learning about food, ingredients, and experimentation, planning our future travels to cities we were eager to explore. We had found the platforms through which we shared a creative energy, and this made the next step all the more obvious. With all of the excitement and new horizons that seemed in our reach, we began to plan a little trip to New York together to celebrate. Little did Adriana know, that this would be the trip that Mateusz had been planning and looking forward to months before we had begun talking about it together. The decision to take on the next step of our life together was crystal clear, but keeping it a secret from Adriana proved very difficult. Even though she attempted to pry into the subject matter every now and then, Mateusz did his job in ensuring that Adriana wouldn't be suspicious of what was to happen during their upcoming trip.
We jumped a plane on a bright Wednesday morning in early July, and enjoyed the first few days relaxing in New York, sharing old memories and making new ones. On a late Friday night after a day of leisurely migrating around the city and a lovely show at the Lincoln Center, Mateusz began to become anxious as he felt the energy of the night was perfect. We hopped in a cab, in search for a place to grab a late drink. Thinking on his feet, Mateusz told the driver to drop us off at Buvette: a quaint little French gastrotheque in the West Village which seemed like a fitting reminder of the memories we had in Paris together. When we got there, Adriana became much too excited and began to run with exuberance over to the front door. Of course those lovely cobblestone streets of West Village would turn on us, as she managed to get her heel stuck in a crevice; twisting her ankle and dropping to the ground. Feeling determined and staying on track, Mateusz helped her up and carried her inside, insisting they grab the quiet table in the back corner for a little privacy. As he knelt down to ice her ankle gently and she sipped a late night coffee, Mateusz took the opportunity of being on his knee to ask a small question. And at that little table at 1 in the morning, he proposed that they spend the rest of their lives continuing their journey together. To his surprise and after a few delicate tears rolled down her cheeks, Adriana said "absolutely." So here we are now: we have taken on mountains together that have shaped who we are as people, and these mountains have given us the strength to embrace and conquer anything. Our experiences, memories, endeavors, and journeys were the inspiration to create this platform to share with you. The explorations we have endured have brought us closer together as individuals, and have taught us that no matter the obstacles, our future as best friends is without limits.