Let me start off by saying, I had ZERO interest in ever going out with a tourist. I was very adamant and outspoken about that decision as well. Finny was the one who had to convince me to give a tourist a shot. Little did we know that shot would start that same evening...
It all started on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023. It was the night of my dear friend Finny’s going away party. We started the evening out at the Blue Marlin. Just a few ladies hanging out, having a drink. Since I was at the end of a non-contagious sickness, my “drinks” consisted of iced tea.
We asked Finny what she wanted to do, and she was open to suggestions. Finny is from Argentina, and it was Latin night at Sun Downers. So, off to Sun Downers we went. Finny, Kat, and I arrived upstairs to find it packed as usual. We said hello to everyone we knew there and started chatting, dancing, and having fun. Just living in the moment. A table cleared, and we grabbed the chance to sit for a moment.
I noticed the guy standing behind Finny. He is tall, bald, bearded, and very good looking. The first thing I actually noticed about him was his kind eyes. I caught him looking at me a few times too. Here is something to know about the town of West End. Everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business. If you see someone you haven’t seen before, they are more than likely just a tourist. I had definitely never seen this man before because he is definitely one I would remember.
The band announced it would be their last song for the night, so Finny, Kat, and I decided to hear back to the Blue Marlin. As we were leaving, I saw a guy I know named Jerom. He was standing on the other side of Mr. Handsome. I chatted with Jerom briefly and then left.
Us ladies had a drink at the Marlin and then Finny said she was going to head home. People started arriving at the Marlin from Sun Downers because Sun Downers closes earlier than that Marlin. Kat was talking to some people she knew, so I was going to leave too. As I was walking out, I see my friend Wessel who is with Mr. Handsome and another guy. I saw hi to Wessel, who introduces me to the guys: Casper and Ben…aka Mr. Handsome. We start chatting, and I quickly decide to not leave. We had so much fun talking, goofing off, and just getting to know each other. They couldn’t believe I could keep up with them energy wise and be completely sober.
It turns out Ben and Casper are from The Netherlands which is where Wessel and Jerom are also from. Ben and Jerom were roommates in college. This was Ben and Casper’s first time to the island and met Wessel earlier that day through Jerom. They came to help Jerom move to Guanajaja which is a neighboring island.
We talked a lot about diving, as one does on this island. Ben and Casper are both certified. Roatan has many beautiful dive sites. They asked me my favorite. I have quite a few, but one of the ones I mentioned was Mandy’s Eel Garden. Ben looked at me like I was crazy. He was picturing in his head a bunch of large green moray eels. He had no clue what a garden eel was.* I pulled out my phone and googled it to show him a picture. When it pulled up on my screen, I said, “Here, look.” I didn’t hand him my phone. I turned it towards him. He stepped up next to me, put his arm around my back to my side, and pulled me in close. My heart rate started to go up a little with his strong arm around me. “Keep cool!” is all I could think to myself.
(*A garden eel is small! The males get no longer than 20 inches and are usually about half an inch wide. They live in holes in the sand. When you swim towards them, they retract into their hole. They are completely harmless.)
(Green Moray Eel on the left. Garden Eels on the right)
By this point in the evening, the bar is filled with a ton of people I know. Friends are coming up to say hi. I am introducing them to Ben, Casper, and Wessel, if they don’t know him. It was quite a busy night. Then there is my friend Roy. He sees me, as he calls it, “turn into a lady.” According to Roy, I am batting my eyelashes, making googly eyes, and flirting like crazy, but Roy said he didn’t know who with. (insert face palm) Because of this, Roy is making faces at me from across the bar the rest of the night.
It is now midnight, and the Marlin is closing. A bunch of us talked about going to another place. I invite Ben and Casper. They talk about it and decide not to because Casper is diving in the morning.
The next day, I was hoping to run into Ben and Casper again. I was hanging at the Marlin waiting for Kat to arrive. She was always late. While there, I see Jerom, Ben, and Casper walk by in the direction of Sun Downers. I wait for a bit and text Kat about it. I meet Kat in the street and start to head to Sun Downers when I see them. They were eating at Raul’s Tacos. We needed to play it cool, so we continued to Sun Downers.
While there, Taylor joined us, as did Fernando. The group was talking and listening to the live music. Suddenly, Fernando gets this smirk on his face. Jerom, Ben, and Casper had come up the stairs. My heart started racing! Fernando says hi to them and gives them hugs. Then they see me, and I got the same. We chatted for a little bit, and then Taylor, Kat, and I left. Taylor hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so we went back to the Marlin where she had ordered food. The guys said they would come over when the band was done.
You see, Sun Downers closes at 10pm. Other than New Year’s Eve, they have always closed at 10pm. So, when it got to 10:30pm, and they still weren’t there, I knew they weren’t coming. It is only a 5-minute walk from Sun Downers to the Marlin. I decided to head home because I was finally cleared to dive again and was going on a fun lionfish hunt the next morning.
Thursday night is karaoke night at the Marlin. I love karaoke night!! I was there hanging with Roy and Kelsey. Roy is filling Kelsey in on all the details of Tuesday night. While he is doing this, I see Ben and Casper walk in and beeline it towards me. We immediately start talking. I introduce them to Roy and Kelsey. We talk about Casper’s dives, Ben’s ear, what happened the night before… After the bar closed, they apparently hung out on the beach just talking and lost track of time.
I hung out with Ben and Casper the rest of the night. We had fun talking and dancing. Kat arrived and also hung out with us. About 10:30pm, I sang “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus. Ben said he had no idea I could sing like that. Well, of course not, we just met. A bit later, Kat casually took Casper away to chat, so Ben and I could be alone. He would put his hand on my lower back every once in a while but made sure to be a total gentleman.
At the end of the night, there are a few songs the DJ always plays, and everyone dances too. I was dancing to “Wobble,” and Ben was trying to keep up. At the end of it, we were laughing so hard. He put one arm around my back, his other hand on my cheek, and pulled me in for a kiss! Our first kiss, and it was amazing!!! I couldn’t stop smiling.
Ben and I hung out as much as we could through the rest of his holiday in Honduras. Sadly, he had to leave on Monday, May 8th. We were dreading the time running out. I didn’t want him to leave, and he didn’t want to go. Watching him walk down the stairs and out the door was extremely hard. He told me later that if I had asked him to stay, he would have.
We kept in touch mostly via text. One day, he asked how my day was, and it was too much to text. I sent him a voice note. That turned into phone calls when the 8-hour time difference would allow. Then we started to video chat instead. We would talk 2-4 times a day depending on our schedules. It didn’t take long for Ben to decide to come back for a visit in July. Not long after that, he asked what I thought about him moving here to be with me and become a PADI diving instructor too. While I was nervous at the thought, I was excited too. We talked about everything that could and would come up. In less than a month, he quit his job, started the process of selling his Jeep, purging and selling things at home, getting a friend to rent his apartment and buy all the furniture, and then move back into his parents’ house for a bit before leaving. After deciding to move here, Ben, being the hopeless romantic that he is, officially asked me to be his girlfriend! (swoon!)
We still talked every day. No topic was off limits! We were both very nervous but extremely excited about him being here. Ben and I agreed on full transparency. I felt comfortable talking to him about what made me nervous, and he felt that same. Before he even moved here, we talked about kids, marriage, money, future plans… all the things most people don’t want to talk about in relationships. We like having this information out in the open and being able to talk about it.
We were apart for 8 weeks. It felt like an eternity!! That last week being the longest of course. However, we finally arrived at Sunday, July 2nd. The day Ben arrived back on Roatan. I picked him up from the airport. Seeing him walk through those glass doors made me so nervous. Something we had talked about had finally happened. Once he was moved into our apartment, it felt so natural having him here. Like he should have been here the entire time.
We are still together, and neither of us would change a thing. I fall more in love with this man every single day!