Nasir here – sitting in Newark International Airport with NO wifi, so I’m casually typing away on the “notes” tab on my laptop. You’ve gotta love that travel life.
Alright, let’s jump right in! History is essentially the documentation of events or people or whatevaaa else. So, in honor of LGBTQ+ history month in the USA, we’re going to publishing a ton of LGBTQ+ content on Shut Up and Go – let’s make our own personal history. Or better yet, HERstory or THEMstory.
For our first post of the month, I got to interview Rafael and Cristian. Firstly, I love We Fly High posts because we learn the most about ourselves when we learn about others. On top of that, our guests this month met each other on the Shut Up and Go Facebook group, and now they’re dating. Mhm… our FB group functions as a travel tinder, huh?
Let me not give too much away, meet Raf and Cris.
As per usual, give us all the deetz. Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your favorite candy?
Rafael: Well, my name is Rafael Masson, I’m a 23-year-old Brazilian who was born into a family of Italian immigrants. I’m a food lover, photo geek and traveling is my passion! I was born in a small town in southern Brazil called Chapecó, but answering where I’m from is actually a very hard thing to do. The thing is, I used to change cities a lot due to my parents work. So far I’ve lived in Chapecó, Florianópolis, Chapecó, Florianópolis again, Bournemouth in the UK, Florianópolis, Santana do Livramento (at the border between Brazil and Uruguay), Florianópolis, São Paulo, Florianopolis again (that’s my safe spot), Athens, guess what, Florianopolis again, Covilha in Portugal, Milan and I’m just packing to go back to the mountains in Portugal. Uh, long story. Hmmmm, I guess I can say my favorite candy is anything that is super sour. <3
Cristian: Alright, peeps. My name is Cristian, I’m Italian, and I’ve lived that Shut Up And Go life since I was 16. I lived in the United States of America as a high school exchange student. I then moved to Denmark to start college and I ended up in England for an Erasmus exchange. I was told I had to do an internship to complete my studies in DK so I moved back to Colorado where I worked at a Video Production Company. I am now spending the summer at home, where I met Rafa. He is now moving back to Portugal, while I’m moving back to England.
So, this “We Fly High” is super unique. Usually, we only focus on one person, but I really love the story of you two. Tell us about how you two met.
R: So, this is quite funny. I remember I discovered the Shut Up and Go Facebook group because Jo mentioned it in a video. She was in Rome and was talking about how she was learning Italian and I got sooooo interested. I think it was around May or June when I saw that video and by then I was already getting prepared to come to Italy for my Erasmus Internship. I got so excited about meeting new people and practicing my Italian that as soon as I finished that video I just went on Facebook and wrote:
“Hey guys! I’m Rafa from Brazil, I speak Portuguese 🇧🇷, English 🇬🇧 , Italian 🇮🇹 and some Spanish 🇪🇸 .
I’m currently learning Italian and would love to start on Greek 🇬🇷 and Mandarin 🇨🇳, anyone willing to start on s conversation to practice?”
Well, I think this was how we met. He was one of the people who replied to my post. After that, I remember we exchanged our Instagram accounts, I saw that he was a cute guy but we didn’t talk much. Later, just a week before I came to Milan, I posted on my Insta Stories that I was looking for recommendations of places to rent in Milan and he replied to that as well. I remember I was at the Supermarket with my friend in Portugal when I saw his message saying that he didn’t know any place but he would love to have a coffee with me. The thing is that I’m actually not a coffee guy but I couldn’t resist to that lovely invitation, hehehehe. He didn’t know (now you do Cri, hehe) but he was already my crush after that. After his message, I was really looking forward to meeting him in person.
C: This is going to be funny but Rafa and I actually met because we are both members of the Shut Up And Go Facebook group. He is Brazilian and was looking for a place to stay in Milan over the summer, so we started texting on Instagram.
After meeting on the Facebook group, did you have any reservations about meeting up in person?
R: After his message, I was really looking forward to meeting him in person.
C: Yes. I remember thinking that his pictures were amazing, and so was his creativity. I definitely wanted to meet up for a coffee, but we ended up having Aperitivo (happy hour) in a really crowded area of Milan on a Friday night last June.
Woah, so the Shut Up and Go FB group is basically travel-Tinder? HAHA. I’m totally joking. But I’m a sucker for a good love story. Tell me about how dating has been going?
R: We kept in contact online, talking about everything and nothing, and I guess he really called my attention because of the many places he has lived in. So, I arrived on a Tuesday and the next Friday we already had our first date. Luckily for me, that coffee became an Aperitivo, something really typical for a summer night here in Milan. We met after work and I was suuuper excited to finally meet him. I was a bit nervous but wanted to play it cool. I arrived in Navigli a couple of minutes beforehand and at the same time, he told me he was running late. I got a little bit more nervous and started texting all my friends on WhatsApp about it. The time passed (he wasn’t that late) but when I saw him I was so enchanted by his lovely spirit. I mean, I knew I was about to meet a handsome man, but I wasn’t expecting that he would be THAT BEAUTIFUL! Soooo… We started talking in Italian, while heading over to one of the many bars in Navigli. It was really hot that day and I wore a jacket. Maybe I overdressed that day a little bit, but you know… The bar is set a little higher when you go out on a date with an Italian guy, especially in Milan, the city of Fashion, hehehehe. Anyway, the time literally flew by with him that night. We talked about Brazil, places we’ve visited, and well then suddenly, it was already time to go. I remember that, on that day, I had to meet some Brazilian friends who where coming from Portugal and Spain, so I had to leave quite early. After our first date, we planned a few more, but, because he had to fly to Spain for a while, they were few and far between. The thing is that he texted me saying that his friend had to cancel their get-together because she had to study, so he was free for the Saturday night as well and of course I accepted to go out with him again.We met that day and had so much fun. Visiting China Town, having pizza at 2 am, … And for the first time ever, WE KISSED! UHUUULLL! It was amazing. After that, we had soooo many dates it’s quite hard to remember all of them. Basically, we have been seeing each other every day since. We became friends, then lovers, and now he is my boyfriend. <3
C: It has been amazing. Honestly, just the week before I met him I was going through a rough time. I was really disappointed and I wasn’t really feeling like trusting anybody, but then he came along. We have now been seeing each other for over two months and it still feels like the first week.
Tell me more about your side hobbies! You’re bloggers and photographers – tell us more about some projects you’re working on.
R: Well, apart from traveling, one of my hobbies is to cook and eat different foods. On Brazil’s Independence Day, I’m going to cook some Brazilian foods at his family’s restaurant. Another thing that I’m passioned about is film and photography. Last week, I visited the city where my ancestors lived, here in Italy, before they moved to Brazil. It was an amazing experience and now I’m working on a video about the story of my family, which will be shown at a family event where more than one thousand people will attend.
C: Both of us like photography, although I’d say that Rafa is the talented one out of the two when it comes to photography. I’m more like the “model” of the couple. I like to write, which came as a surprise to me. I started writing about my travel experiences when I was 17, and I’ve never stopped, since people seem to enjoy my stories. I love watching tv series, and so whenever I have the chance, I apply to be an extra on tv. I adore music and travel.
Tell us a funny travel story.
R: I guess we’ll probably have the same funny story. The thing is that I’m quite clumsy hehe. So, we went to Reggio di Calabria, a lovely place right next to the island of Sicily (people say it hosts the most beautiful kilometre of land in the whole country, and that’s actually true hehehe). After a two-hour train ride, we went to do some grocery shopping, and afterwards, we went to the B&B I booked for us. I thought (from what I’d read in the booking’s reservation) that we could check-in from 11 am. We arrived a few minutes before that, but there was no one there. I received an email from the BnB saying that we should have told them what time we were going to arrive, but duh we were already there so we said so in the email. After some time, someone came to open the door to us. The woman who received us didn’t quite know how to speak Italian or English, so our communication was really hard. She gave us the keys and cleaned our room really fast. We went out to see Reggio, swam, had some ice cream, and walked a lot. Seriously, that day we walked so much that we can even say that Reggio has the most beautiful 15087929379 km rather than just one, hahahahah. After that long day, we were exhausted and just wanted to shower before going out for dinner. When we got to our BnB, Cris got the keys out of my backpack and tried to open the front door of the building. I was talking to my mom on the phone so I didn’t quite pay attention to that but he wasn’t able to open it. We just rung the bell and someone opened the door for us. We got inside the hall of the building and needed to open the door of the BnB. Cris tried doing that, but failed. I hung up on my Mom and I tried to open the door myself, but it just wouldn’t open. At that point, Cri already started to get nervous, we were so tired it didn’t take much, hehehe. We started thinking that the lady gave us the wrong keys, or something like that. I texted the BnB owner saying that she gave us the wrong keys and the door wasn’t opening… and received no answer. I tried to call them, nothing… On my fifth attempt, they answered me saying that someone was on their way. Some minutes passed by and we were waiting in the dark hall (there was a motion sensor but we were too tired to move around), when a short middle aged guy came in and, with an unsatisfied look, made his way towards us. We talked with him saying that those keys were wrong, we showed him that they weren’t working, he took the keys and said that they couldn’t possibly be the keys that the lady gave us because they didn’t have the logo of the BnB. He took his keys and opened the door. At that point, Cris was really mad at him, hehehe. They got in together and while I stood up from the stairs, something clicked inside of me… I put my hands inside my backpack to check… And… I didn’t know where to hide when I found out that I had the right keys all along, in my backpack… The thing was that I totally forgot I had brought the keys to my apartment in Milan with me. I don’t know how I didn’t realize that earlier but yeah, I had the right keys with me all that time. So I just called Cris and said, “Look” holding the right keys. I didn’t quite know what I was supposed to do, should I play it dumb or just go ahead and say it. Cris and the BnB guy both looked at me like SERIOUSLY?! Hehehehe Well, that guy probably must have said some really bad words on his way back to his bed after his unnecessary visit.
C: Alright. Picture us. We are in Reggio di Calabria, which is located in Southern Italy. Rafael booked a room in what we thought was a hotel. It ended up being a room in a shared flat, without a reception. So, anyways, we had a chat with a lady from the building while waiting for someone to check us in. A young lady came to the apartment and told us to come back at three because our room wasn’t ready, but she ended up cleaning it in less than 20 minutes so she let us in. Duh, I wasn’t gonna leave without being able to check in. We left to enjoy the city and, after a long afternoon of swims and walks, we were ready to take a shower and go out for dinner. Rafa was busy on the phone, so I took the keys out of his backpack and tried to open the main door of the building, with no success. I got annoyed and rang the bell of the apartment. It opened. Next step was opening the door to the place. “It must be a flawed key!” I thought, “I will have more luck with this one”. But no, absolutely no luck with this one either. I tried and tried again. I was sweating. We were inside the building without any window or anything that could let some air in. The light kept turning off and back on (it was a sensor). At this point, Rafa texted the landlord once and called him three times. Eventually, someone answered the phone saying that someone was on their way. “These keys are not ours…” a middle-aged guy told us with pride. “I’m sorry to say otherwise, but this is what the lady gave us this morning.” I said annoyed, because by then I could have been outside enjoying a pizza, but instead, I was there arguing with him and sweating like never before. “These are not our keys” at that point I can see Rafa in the back showing me the keys, which had been at the bottom of his backpack all the time. I had made the mistake of grabbing the keys to his apartment in Milan. It didn’t come to his mind that I was forcing keys that didn’t belong to that place. At least, in the end, we were able to shower and even eat a pizza, nearly as a midnight snack! What. A. Night.
What’s your best piece of advice for people who are looking for love abroad? Give us some tips!
R: Hmmmm… This is a hard one to answer. I feel so lucky I’ve met such a lovely person like Cris. I had the feeling of having met my soulmate. Well, I guess that isn’t really a thing you can do to find love abroad. What worked for me was saying yes to a coffee.
You’ll never know if a simple coffee turns out to be the start of the best summer of your life.
C: Honestly, usually, I’m not exactly lucky when it comes to love, even in my own country. All I can say is that it comes when you least expect it. It really does. Just be nice to everyone, you never know who might end up being your soulmate.
Any last words?
R: Always check your keys before calling for help in the middle of dinnertime (don’t disturb Italians during their meals, they sanctify their food!) hehehe
C: Dang, I feel like I could write for hours, so I will stop here otherwise you will have to read a piece of text longer than Dante’s Divina Commedia. Ciao!