A Date, A Plan, A Canal
by Melanie Wetzel
At the beginning of a relationship, individuals use dates to get to know
each other ... as individuals. But not so long thereafter -- about the time
a spare toothbrush starts residing in someone's medicine cabinet -- dates
become much more elaborate, involved tests: will your special someone fit
in with your family? Your interests? Your decorating taste? (Let's face
it: you did not take Mr./Ms. Maybe to your cousin Fred's wedding because
you thought s/he would enjoy it.)
But I say that scattered dates are not the best way to determine if two
people have what it takes to stay together in motion sickness and in health.
Let me suggest a long vacation together, preferably in a foreign country.
Canada doesn't count.
My pet example: Central America on $25 a day. From the Yucatan to the
Panama Canal, you'll see thousands of small but significant Right-or-Flight
- If you think you'd love that girl no matter what, ride a $4 bus from
Guatemala City to San Salvador with her.
- If you think you have found the strongest, bravest man in the world,
see how he handles a night in a thatched roof shack in the jungle.
- She joins in the dancing at a traditional festival: good sign. She
requests the Macarena: run, don't dance.
- He tries to learn a few words in Spanish: good sign. Unless he is Cheech.
- If she tapes the money, traveler's checks and passports behind the
dresser in the hotel, she is sensible and cautious. Unless she tells you
that they are still there after your 6-hour bus ride to Managua.
- The ultimate test of lasting love? If you can get through the Tegucigalpa
airport together, you can get through anything together.
Melanie Wetzel has lived in Honduras for three years. She thinks
stateside dating is for wimps.
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