We were leading a group of 44 Americans on their first trip to Israel.
On our first and only Skype call ahead of the trip, Colin seemed “super chill.” I didn’t actually know what that meant until I met him — until I fully understood the “C-Spec Effect.”
It was January in New York. Our flight was running late and I was holding down the fort at the airport, helping check people in. Through the chaos, a dude walks in wearing a white T-shirt, flip-flops and shorts.
Colin had arrived.
“Where is your luggage?” I asked him. “Right here!” he replied, pointing to the Jansport on his back. Whoa, this was going to be different...
The first 24 hours of Birthright trips are challenging: everyone is tired, jet lagged, hungry, and confused, but Colin flourished amidst the chaos.. He was looking up directions, negotiating with the currency exchange venders and taking care of struggling travelers all while keeping the group laughing and positive. Including me. Had I misjudged this Cali dude?
Three days later, after a staff meeting, Colin walked me back to my hotel room. We kissed. <3
I didn’t want to seem unprofessional, so for the following three days, I avoided him at all costs.
But I couldn't. Colin's charm and energy had me completely in love with him by the end of the 10-day trip. I found myself wanting to spend more and more time with him, dreading the return to our respective coasts.
And after I got back to New York City, I missed him. We didn’t have enough time together.
Four days later, on a Wednesday morning, I got a text.
“Look out your window.”
There was Colin, standing outside in a snow storm in the East Village, holding a bouquet of flowers.
The rest is history :)
It was a hot winter day in sunny LA when I logged onto Skype for our scheduled introductory staff meeting for Birthright Israel. I was full of much anticipation because I had finally made time to staff another Israel trip and was super excited to meet everyone!
When I logged on the site, the camera greeted me with a beautiful girl all cozy’d up on her bed and in her sweatpants. She was sitting there smiling at the camera with her hand half covering her face and looking at me with a very questioning expression. The girl was then introduced as my new co-counselor, Robyn!
I thought to myself, ‘YES!'
The meeting kicked off and I was trying my hardest to peacock on camera. Flexing my chest, giving big smiles, talking real deep and low, but she wasn’t having any of it. In fact I don’t think she even paid attention to me at the meeting. At one point the topic of weather came up and she pointed her computer out her window and showed us the snow. It was dumping, but it finally got her excited and her excitement for it got me excited! I knew I was stoked to meet her in-person.
Several weeks passed and the day of our trip arrived. I was assigned to staff a New York based group of 40 young adults from JFK to Israel. Walk in the park ;)!
My plane from LAX arrived to JFK a bit after our group meeting time. When I arrived, there was Robyn looking all cute with a beanie on her head and clipboard in her hand. She was giving instructions to the group and signing people in. I thought, ‘she’s hot and she can manage crowd control? Yes!’ We briefly introduced ourselves and she gave me this disappointing look like, ‘oh great this guy is late and he’s probably some slacker from LA.’ She proceeded to hand me the clipboard and tell me to ‘take over’ the check-in process. Bossy lady! I knew at that moment she would be a winner!
As the trip kicked off I made every effort to be near Robyn. I let her borrow my phone charger, I sat next to her on the bus and would walk with her during the group tours. I put on my best smile every day and tried to soften up her New York attitude, but fortunately she was already the chillest New Yorker I had ever met!
We connected on talking tech, our passions for Israel and entrepreneurship. I told her about our startup and the challenges we were facing. She was super interested in all of it - duh ;)!
It took a couple days, but on one of our excursions while staying at a beautiful boutique hotel on the Sea of Galilee- I went in for a kiss.
As the 10-day trip ended we both suggested to one another that our romance might be fleeting, but promised to keep in touch and one day visit one another.
However, as soon as I arrived home I could not stop thinking about Robyn.
We texted on a daily basis and spoke on the phone quite often. A couple weeks went by and I asked her what she thought of my coming to visit her? She said, “Sure! How about Spring?” I responded, ‘How about next week?’ She was super hesitant at first, but she agreed and I bought my ticket for our first visit together.
When I arrived to New York for this visit much earlier than she expected and surprised her at her apartment with flowers. She was over the moon with excitement and glee to see me! YES!
During the weekend’s long stay we explored the city together and visited some of her favorite neighborhood spots- Horseshoe bar, Sunny n Annie’s, Mogador and Caracas Arepa bar.
We topped off the visit by inviting some of our friends out to hang with us for drinks. During the evening one of my friends said, “Hey bro, you should move here!” I was like, “really?” and turned to look at Robyn for her reaction. She gave an approving nod that said, “Yeah you should!” This got my wheels turning.
I sold all of my belongings and bought a one-way ticket to NYC... and the rest is history!