Dear [redacted name of ex-boyfriend that will likely send me a passive-aggressive text for writing this],
Our abroad experience was TheBomb.com. We made the most of it. We really almost did it all.
We royally fucked up our first travel plans, but rather than mope — well, we moped, but we rallied — we intentionally missed a flight and stayed in the grungiest, weirdest hostel in Barcelona and walked 4 miles each way to the Eixample and the Old City. We ate at a restaurant that Pablo Picasso used to frequent and went to his old house to see a bunch of his art. And then we kept revisiting Barcelona because Valencia was amazing but sometimes the quaint started to feel mundane.
We spring-breaked in Italy. I was hangry in Rome and ate pizza I didn’t like and then was a bitch about it for hours, and you still wanted to hang out with me. We saw Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” and then I threw up on the floor of the Uffizi Gallery because we had won a flip cup tournament the night before. We went to Ravenna and saw the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia — it was spectacular and I didn’t throw up there.
We spent a perfect day in Porto after nearly no sleep and then walked across Portugal and managed to find enough peanut butter for me to survive the journey. We went to London and Paris, and we fell in love with Bristol, and you even conceded that you enjoyed some ciders there.
But babycakes — and I say this all with the biggest smile and warmest of hearts — you ruined my Instagram feed.
It’s been months since I’ve seen you and weeks since I last badgered you to talk to me, but I can still feel you rolling your eyes at that statement. You were always too cool, and I got it, but I’m not, really.
Maybe I wanted to be elusive and above social media in high school when I first tricked you into talking to me, but I moved to California, and I guess became as obsessed with online attention as everyone else. And yet, I ended up with no pictures in front of the Amsterdam sign and a singular selfie in front the Eiffel Tower. And it was all in an effort to prevent that eyeroll from happening — that one I can still feel.
If you don’t believe me, scroll through my feed. There’s a picture of your all-too-perfect Dulce de Leche brunch — the one we would walk 40 minutes on Sunday to get because we were hungover and American and needed brunch and that was our only option — and your post-eyeroll face, a reaction to me taking a picture of my perfect brunch. The photo is captioned, “I took a brunch pic to insta and then he got annoyed at me for being a girl.” I’m glad I didn’t apologize, and I’m glad I called you out, but I wish I had made you take pictures of me at the Eiffel Tower.
Traveling with you was perfect in so many ways, but it was also isolating. I got lost in who we were together rather than who I am independently of you. Having spent most of our relationship literally thousands of miles apart, we struggled to find a way to balance time together, to remember that going out with Heather without you one night wasn’t a big deal because I would see you the next day. I didn’t see the tulips in Amsterdam because you didn’t want to go, something I’ll honestly never forgive you for, but why didn’t I just go on my own?
I let myself become too entangled in your idea of me, in my idea of what traveling with you would be, and I wouldn’t tell you to slow down when you were walking too fast until it was too late and you were already blocks ahead and I was already crying. I then complained to your mom about your fast walking when she visited us, which was not that cool of me and I’m sorry.
But all of that said, very few can handle me being angry with them just because I’m sleepy or haven’t had enough to eat as well as you can, and very few are as down to do double museum days and then stay out until nearly morning. Very few people spend their time abroad working on their mile time and cooking dinner for their naggy girlfriend almost every night. And as much as you would never want to admit it, we both know you were really into my selfie stick.
So all in all, I’m pissed at you perpetually for my lackluster like-counts on my photos and that I didn’t get to see tulips that were once as expensive as houses, but I’m thankful for the lesson. And I’m incredibly thankful that you spent six months and all of your savings in Europe with me, because really I’m just mad that I don’t have more evidence of our time there.