Almost 18 years ago, while backpacking with my roommate through the Yucatan, we’d decided to stop over in Tulum, Mexico (we were living in Mexico City as exchange students at the time) and stay a few days at Don Armando’s, a very rustic little place where you could rent a hut and a hammock and enjoy virgin white sand and turquoise waves (perhaps you might even be inspired to write a book about it some day).  Little did I know that within hours, a gorgeous man, with deeply tanned skin, long waves of black hair, and a delicious muscular frame would ask me to dance to Bob Marley and become the the love of my life.  


Fast forward two years later…he and I were living together in Mexico City. I was working on my Masters and wondering what would happen next to our relationship–in one year, I would need to go back to the U.S. and start paying off those student loans. And while I was wildly in love with my boyfriend, I had to face reality: he didn’t speak English or even have a passport and his enormous family was in Mexico. I couldn’t stay, and he wouldn’t come with me. It would never work out for us, which broke my heart.  

But on our two year anniversary, we would return to Don Armando’s, and he would propose with some of our best friends there to witness and Halley’s Comet overhead…

He would move to the U.S. with me, for a few years, anyway.


That next year was one of the hardest ever.  We had to get him a visa to the U.S., and I can tell you it’s not like in the movies. At every turn, it seemed a new issue popped up on the paperwork, but bottom line, the biggest hurdle came when his attempt at getting his Mexican passport failed. If he wanted one, he’d have to enlist for military service because he’d waited so long (it’s some weird Mexican law).  

Javier Olivares

I’ll never forget the day he showed up at home without his beautiful black locks–a requirement for enlisting. He looked adorable, needless to say, but at that moment I knew he was truly willing to give up everything for me–his home, his family…his hair. 🙂

A year later we were married near San Francisco.  


That was 15 years ago and while much has changed (and he never did manage to grow back that hair), to this day he continues to be the love of my life.  Happy Anniversary, my love.