The following day, Annie and I went to find Buddy to go out dancing at a local "disco". When we knocked on his bedroom door, his two roommates answered, dressed in their pajamas and brushing their teeth. We introduced ourselves, they introduced themselves (Drew and Phil), we all laughed at the fact that they were getting ready for bed, and we were getting ready to go out. We got Buddy and left.
The next morning, Annie and I were eating breakfast before class, and Phil and Drew asked to sit with us. We said sure, and they came back again for lunch and then dinner that same day! They said they were pulling a hat trick, and we were like, "What's a hat trick?" Oh, we must have been good company ;) Actually we thought that Drew had a crush on Annie, since I was already dating someone and I definitely wasn't looking at guys in that way.
But Phil became a very good friend, very fast. I surprised myself when I told Annie that I wanted to marry a guy just like him. Then I realized what I had said, and began to reevaluate the three-year relationship I was in. If I wanted to marry a guy like Phil, then why was I dating a guy unlike Phil?
After more friendly conversations with Phil, I knew I was starting to like him a bit too much, and I had to call my boyfriend back in America and break up with him. Yes, I was that girl. Breaking up with a serious boyfriend on the phone. I'll always feel guilty for that, but what was I supposed to do? He didn't take it well and since he had already bought a ticket to come to Austria, he said he was still coming over to visit me later in the semester. I offered to pay him back for the ticket, but he insisted on coming.
In the meantime, Annie and I attended a safety talk given by the Director of Student Life, and he told us that girls should not travel alone to Eastern Europe...especially girls with blue eyes and blond hair. Annie and I just looked at each other, with our blond hair and blue eyes, and started re-planning our trip to Poland that was to take place that weekend. We knew that Drew and Phil were great people, so we wrote a little note to them asking if they would accompany us to Poland. They wrote back that they would. Very mature of us :)
The day before we were to leave on the train for Poland, there was an announcement made that we would be having a Valentine's Ball on the following Sunday night. Annie really wanted to go, but she wanted a date, so I mentioned to Buddy to ask her (as friends) and when he asked her to go with him, Annie said, "But only if Colleen goes too". I shook my head, because of course I didn't want to be a third wheel, and Phil piped up and said that maybe I could go with him. Swoon! He asked me out :)
On our Poland trip, Phil and I hung out a lot. We sat together on the train, walked arm in arm around Poland, and had coffee while everyone else checked their email at the Internet cafes.
Pope John Paul's house
On the train ride back to Austria, I ended up falling asleep on his shoulder (accidentally?!?!) and we stayed that way the rest of the trip. Swoon again.
Later that week, we went to the Valentine's Ball together, and we danced Holy-Spirit-style (you know, make sure you leave room for the Holy Ghost!). At one point, it was getting warm inside, so we went out on the cold balcony and danced to Amazing by Lonestar. It was utterly romantic.
So I liked him, and I thought he liked me, but we weren't officially dating yet. All of the other students were teasing us, asking if we were dating, and making me blush. My 21st birthday was coming up, and I had planned to spend it in Paris with Annie and my best friends from home who were all studying in France that same semester. I told Phil about my birthday plans, and he asked me if he could take me out for my birthday a couple days before I left. We went to a restaurant in town and had such a nice dinner, then on the way home he shyly said "So you know I want to ask you out...but I want to make sure you are ready." I said "Yup, I'm ready" (broken hearts heal fast when true love is applied)!! (This is the actual road from the restaurant back to our dorms where he asked me out)
And so, we officially became a couple on February 23, 2000. Things were going great, but that didn't last long....