• Marina Chaffanjon

ONCE UPON A TIME, OR HOW IT ALL STARTED

Updated: Jan 28


Any good fairy tale starts with the first encounter and usually finishes with a wedding. «And they lived happily thereafter»… We will see how it will be thereafter, but to start with, I'll tell you about how it all started.

Love at first sight... or almost

The Chef (that's his nickname and it suits him wonderfully), French, and I, Russian, met in Dubai in October 2013. I had lived in this country for four months already when he came to the quiet harbor of our shared flat. Oh yes, he was my flatmate, but to be honest, I didn't want him there in the beginning. The presence of a boy in a girls' flat usually means dirt, sloppiness and, potentially, disputes between the girls. Moreover, just before the Chef, we had another guy living in our flat sharing - a Russian American and he ended up in prison for money laundry or something of this kind, I never really got to know the truth. I will skip here the story about a police raid in our flat and suspicious policemen interrogating me about the kind of relationship I had with the damn Russian. Not to mention that mixed gender flat sharing is simply illegal in the UAE. Even though the police is turning a blind eye at it, I didn't look forward to another visit from the police.

I quickly forgot all my arguments when I saw the Chef for the first time. He was polite, handsome and, most importantly, he was French (and as you know, I have a weakness for this nationality).


The Chef, as I saw him for the first time

Unfortunately, I can't say that I made the same impression on him. It happened on a weekend morning: with no makeup, my hair in a complete mess, wearing my old pyjamas and horrible glasses that made me look like a nerd, I was not in my best form. He confessed afterwards that he even said after to his friend that the cliché about the beauty of Russian women was much exaggerated and that he preferred the two other girls to me. No comment...

So he moved in our flat with three girls: me and two cabin crew Tunisian girls. Both the Chef and I had personal master-bedrooms, whereas the girls where sharing a living room together. Our "courting" period never really happened and we very quickly passed from the stage of neighbors to the stage of lovers, if you know what I mean. I like the official version of our love story invented by my mom for her future grand-children: mommy came back home late, it was dark, she lost her way, so your daddy accommodated her as a Prince Charming at his place.


Me, as the Chef saw me for the first time

We both were at that moment still trying to digest the previous heart-breaking relationships and did not expect much from this new light affair. But the destiny decided otherwise. After one month of sneaking every morning from his room to mine, we decided to rent out the Chef's room to an intern from his company and move in to mine. The landlord was obviously not aware of our flat affair and the girls did not seem to mind yet another guy in the apartment. Rental had never been that cheap in Dubai! One of the girls even fancied the situation so much, that she brought in her husband as well after the intern left. Thus, the other girl found herself another room-mate. Instead of four, we ended up being six, one year after - what a mess! And the landlord eventually go to know the truth, so our rental fee increased substantially. It was high time we moved out to an apartment just for two of us. And so we started living together for real...

There was, and still is, between us some kind of weird powerful chemistry that creates an explosive mixture of strong love-hate relationship. We are the exact opposites of one another.

He

He is a self-confident perfectionist, sharp, taciturn, rational, highly logical and uncompromising. He likes sports cars, phone games and adventurous traveling. He dares to challenge authorities, he is never late, he is very demanding, he gets bored easily and he is ALWAYS RIGHT. He doesn't enjoy working, his theory of life is that we work to live, not live to work. Despite numerous affairs in the past, it is a man of high moral family values, very loyal and loving. He thinks that one shouldn't have too many friends, but for those few ones he can do anything. He has an excellent sense of humour that, in addition to his unstoppable will to always miss-behave, makes me turn red in public, but laugh out-load at the same time.

Me

As for me, I'm often day-dreaming, I'm emotional, talkative and absent-minded. I like reading, writing and I always have over-ambitious un-doable plans for my own self-development. I'm continuously late, I'm not rigorous enough, I am very fast, usually I do first and then only start thinking. I'm hard-working and career-motivated. I'm light-hearted and fall easily in love. I have a lot of friends and I love all of them. I even manage to stay friends with my exes. I don't believe enough in myself, I like asking myself philosophical questions and tend to over-complicate things.

Us

Our only point in common is that I am also ALWAYS RIGHT, but it doesn't help. Well, not quite so, we share one very important interest: we both enjoy traveling, living abroad and, what is more, exploring this world TOGETHER. I know that whatever happens, I can always count on him, I can leave the world behind and jump into the unknown, hand in hand with this person. Sometimes he brings me back to earth when I dream too much, and sometimes, on the contrary, he encourages me to dream bigger. I calm him, sooth him, assure him, I make him laugh and with me he is never bored. I can shout at him, hate him sometimes because he is so different from me, but I know that in him I found my other half.

And so we are getting married! Next time I will tell you more about the plans for our big fat Franco-Russian Greek wedding!


Marina and Chef


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