It's strange how things happen... you are trudging through the mundane weary lanes of life when suddenly, out of nowhere, love walks in and touches your life in a way that you know that nothing could ever be the same again...
>> Continued




She's From:   United Kingdom
He's From:     Australia

It was 1995, the Internet & the excitement it can bring was no more than a hobby that I knew was in existence & being enjoyed by others.

  At this time, I'd not experienced the world of the net & it was all alien to me.

I always thought it sounded interesting but never thought I'd actually become involved with it. Nor did I predict the impact this one leisure activity would have on my life today!

I've had a great interest in radio for many years now & often seized the chance to go & visit a real studio with a friend & sit in on a live show or put together our own personalized tape. I had a huge interest in a Hospital Radio station in Kent, UK & the one month a year radio station they put together, which was broadcast every July to the local area.






In November 1995, I visited the studios with two of my friends. We were having fun putting together a personalized tape & videoing each other. We could see in the distance, in one of the other studios that there was a guy presenting a show. I was told his name was Stephen. I never really went home with any clear memories of the guy in the other studio that day but I saw that he looked quite nice...but that was from a distance of course. After our visit, my friend, Julie had joked that the "guy in the distance" had "eyed me up" as she put it but I laughed it off & never really thought anything of him again. We watched the video we made from that day of us all in the studio. It was amusing & there were some distant clips of the mystery guy on there too.

In 1997, I finally joined the world of the Internet. I had heard a fair bit about it at that point & thought that it sounded interesting & a good way to meet new friends. My friend, Julie had got on it a few months before & she seemed to be really enjoying it. I decided I just *had* to give this new world of adventure a go ...and what an adventure it has been too!!! I invested in a computer in April & was on line by the end of June. I decided to surprise Julie & send her an email off my new account. She was amazed to hear from me. I started out by emailing friends who were already on line & then gradually I began web surfing & discovered penpal sites, etc. I began chatting on the phone & meeting some of my net pals in person, which is always really exciting. I downloaded ICQ in March 1998 & found myself forming a new contact list of cyber buddies.

Then, one day in April 1998, I received a mailing list by email, which was sent out to all the supporters of the Hospital Radio station in Kent I'd visited. I'd noticed one of the people the email was sent to, was Stephen, the guy who'd been at the station the same time as me. The guy I'd seen in the distance. Since I quite fancied having a new pal who had the same interests, I thought I'd write to him to see if he's like to have me as a penpal. I sent an email to this guy who I believed lived in England, to see if he'd like to write to me. I checked my mailbox the first week or so after I had written but no avail. I decided maybe I should try writing to someone else instead. Then, when I wasn't expecting it, I suddenly received a reply from Stephen!! It had taken him 2 weeks to reply (but better late than never! Hee!). I got a very nice email back from him saying he would like to write to me. He wrote in depth, told me about himself, took an interest in what I wrote & asked me questions. He also had a good sense of humour. The type of qualities I like in a pal. The big shocker was discovering he was no longer living in Kent, UK but was in AUSTRALIA!! I.e, the other side of the world. He'd moved there 2 years before. I must admit to being a tad disappointed as he seemed really nice but I didn't let it get in the way of us having a friendship. From then on, we began writing almost every day. We chatted about our lives, had a laugh, etc. I got excited logging on to see if there were any emails from him each day :-)

About 3 weeks after we bagan writing, I suggested to him that he might like to try downloading ICQ as it would be a *great* way to chat as we'd only ever chatted by email. The following morning, I logged on to see if there were any emails and suddenly an authorization request to be added onto someone's contact came in. It was from HIM. I was amazed that he had got it downloaded so quickly really. I hastily accepted him & added him to my contact list. Then, to my surprise, I got an ICQ message saying, "You've been added". I was soooo excited as it meant he was LIVE on line that *very minute*. We went in ICQ chat & it was really amazing to be talking with him in real time. He was calling me his babe, etc & we were having a cool chat. We continued to chat on ICQ on a regular basis. We found out a lot about each other this way & is an alternative to email & exciting knowing he was sat at his computer at that minute typing to me. I would often log on to ICQ & hope his little blue name would appear!!

Shorty after we chatted on ICQ for the first time, we began to discuss the possibility of speaking on the telephone for the first time. You can get quite reasonable phone deals overseas these days so it wasn't impossible for us to chat on the phone at all. I'd spoken to & met net pals in the past & people have always been who they say they are & how I imagine them to be really. I decided to give Stephen my number. He suggested a day & time he might call. Then, the day & time arrived & so did the ringing tone on my phone. I felt a shudder through me as I knew I was about to chat to chat to the guy who had only warmed my heart with words up to then. I loved a nice voice on a guy too & just couldn't wait to hear how he sounded. It sure *was* Stephen & we chatted easily about anything & everything for about an hour. He sure did have a gorgeous voice :-) We began talking on the phone regularly after that, as well as emailing & meeting each other on ICQ. We got closer over time & I looked forward to our phone chats & they became more important & exciting than email/ICQ.

Sometime in June, I got an email from a friend of Stephens from Kent called Brian wanting to be email pals. Stephen knew I liked writing to people & making new friends male or female & since he seemed really nice & we had the same interests, I thought I'd write to him. We became good friends & I met his wife who is really nice too.

During the summer, I had a visit to Kent to stay with my friend, Julie & took the opportunity to meet up with Brian whilst I was there. Brian came to pick us up & we went to a nearby pub & had a good chat. It was really weird & amazing meeting someone who had known Stephen for many years but I was still yet to meet him...and was scared that I never would. Brian was even wearing a T - shirt Stephen had sent him. I spent ages getting ready & wanting to create a good impression as I know Brian would be "reporting back" to Stephen. In fact, it was quite a scary thought!!!

I also thought to send some photos of myself to Stephen around this time. He'd seen the photos on my website but thought it'd be good to send him some by "snail mail" as it's a lot more "personal". I wrote him a couple of letters as I enjoy writing & sent him cassettes of me talking on them. I spent *ages* deciding whether or not to send him a video of myself. I decided against it at that time.

A *very* exciting day came in August. It was the day he phoned to say that he was coming over to the UK to MEET me!!! We'd often talked about meeting in real life & we both knew we thought a lot of each other & that we would like to meet in person. I couldn't believe it & was so excited. It was planned for him to come over to the UK in December, where he'd spend some time with me & some time with his family.

Not long before we met, I received some video footage of Stephen in Australia, which Brian had recorded on his recent holiday there. I was ever so excited seeing Stephen, his unit, etc. It gave me a good insight to his surroundings & life in Perth. I was mostly excited at how good he looked on the video!!! After all, my vision from 1995, was from a distance & when he was a few years younger. I watched the video over & over.

On 11/12/98, I travelled down to Kent as it was the BIG day. The day I would finally get to meet Stephen after communicating with him via the phone/Internet for 7 months. I was really nervous (& excited) as I travelled to Chatham, Kent to meet Brian from work that afternoon. (I was to stay with him & his wife you see.) Stephen had arrived in UK early that morning. I couldn't think straight as I looked around the shopping centre in Chatham to kill time before Brian came out of work. It was unbelievable to think I'd have Stephen stood in front of me in person. The very same voice & personality over the phone, but locked in a body next to me!! Once Brian & I met, he then drove me home to his place in Kent to get ready. Whilst in the car, Stephen called us on Brian's mobile. It was really weird speaking to Stephen knowing he was now in UK & I'd actually be MEETING him AT LONG LAST within a couple of hours!!! We arranged to meet at a nearby pub (10 minute walk away)

So Brian walked with me down to the pub. I was sooooo nervous walking down there. I must have been shaking. Hee! We got there before Stephen (at least I thought so at the time!) Brian said he'd wait with me until Stephen arrived then disappear when he saw him.

Unknown to us, Stephen had been hiding behind a bush waiting for Brian to go before he appeared but realized he wasn't going anywhere so came out of his hiding place. I was talking to Brian when he suddenly said, "Hi Steve" & disappeared back down the road. Then I looked across the road & there before me was STEPHEN!!! I couldn't believe it. It was so weird seeing him in front of me in the flesh! We gave each other a hug then went into the pub, where we chatted all evening. It was so exciting finally meeting him after all this time of chatting on the phone, etc. The moment I'd visualized all these months was happening! He was just as gorgeous as I thought he'd be!!

We spent the whole weekend together in Kent before travelling to North Wales, where I'm from. It was really thrilling having Stephen visit my home, to see my bedroom, the famous computer we chatted on, to meet my family. It was exciting to have him in my world. He spent 3 more days with me before returning back to Kent to see his family. The following week, Stephen came over to stay with me again. He spent Christmas with my family & I. It was lovely to have him over & the fact it was Christmas made it even more special. We did all kinds of things throughout our time together in the UK. We went to restaurants, pubs, visiting places, etc. I took lots of photos & video footage of course. It was devastating when he had to go back to Australia shortly after but I did accept that the moment had to arrive.

We continued to chat on the phone/email/ICQ just as we had before we had met & Stephen had invited me over to Australia to spend more time with him & to see what it is like there. I was really excited about meeting him but part of me felt it to be impossible as I was really scared of flying. It also seemed a big step to travel alone. It was also a big move to give up my job & travel all that way away from my family & friends who are just as important. I wanted to meet Stephen again but was aware of the obstacles that awaited. Could I go through with it? I spent a good couple of weeks agonizing over what I should do & if I could go through with it. What if this & What if that? Eventually, I did the deed. I went into a travel shop with my friend Allie & booked a flight to Perth, Australia. I couldn't believe what I'd done. It seemed so unreal. I phoned Stephen to tell him & he seemed really pleased (which was a relief).

Gradually, the big day got nearer & on 7/4/99, I boarded the plane at Manchester airport. My parents, sister, Helen & friend, Allie saw me off. I was really, really nervous but it was one big adventure & I'd get to see Stephen again. Although I was scared taking off, I soon got settled & kept myself busy reading & writing letters to my friends. Eventually, one day later, I finally arrived into Perth - Stephens world!! I was *very* tired by this point & was so pleased when I saw Stephen & was in his arms again!

I got settled into my new environment. I loved Perth straight away as it is such a beautiful place & I could see why Stephen chose to live here. I guess it wasn't until I arrived here, Stephen & I *really* got to know each other. We did all kinds of things. Went to Melbourne, travelled in Western Australia, went out to pubs, restaurants, the cinema (something I never used to do much before), shopping, visiting places, and generally just spending time together. It was cool to finally be able to see what life he leads here. I'm still in Perth with Stephen & taking every day as it comes. We have fun together & have our ups & downs & know there are many obstacles to overcome if we are to be together a long time. Whatever happens though, I won't regret knowing Stephen & the impact he's had on my life. Travelling to & living out here has been a good experience & something I'd probably never have achieved otherwise & I know that if we *do* ever have to split up & I return to the UK, I have given it a fair go.