I met my first crush on a family vacation in Turks and Caicos when I was 12. We reunited 8 years later — and now we're engaged.
14.11.2023 - 04:05
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Alyxandra Hodges, a content creator who lives in Turks and Caicos and runs the popular TikTok account @alyxandraofficial . She is also co-owner of the boat charter company Moana Charters , which she runs with her fiancé Liam Karam. This essay has been edited for length and clarity.
When I first met Liam, I was visiting Provo — short for Providenciales — for summer vacation with my family and childhood best friend in July 2012. My family started visiting Turks and Caicos in 2005 when I was 5 years old, and our favorite beach became Grace Bay, which is located on the island of Providenciales.
After dinner one evening, we were walking back to our room when my best friend Marissa and I spotted a group of boys playing on the croquet lawn. We were excited that there were younger kids around to possibly hang out with — especially cute boys. I was a shy kid and way too nervous to even think about going up to them, but my best friend insisted.
We spent that evening running around the resort, playing capture the flag, and learning about each other. There was a moment when we were all sitting on the croquet lawn, and I remember Liam and I just locked eyes with each other. He would look at me and smile, and I would giggle and just stare back. I had never felt that drawn to someone before. From then on, until the end of the vacation, we hung out with them just about every day.
A lot of people wonder where my parents were at the time, but they did know about the boys. We were only allowed to spend a certain amount of time with them during the day, and it was only allowed to be on the property.
Liam was my first kiss because of a game of "truth or dare" that we decided to play one evening during that vacation. The whole group already knew that Liam and I were crushing on each other, so my best friend, being the confident one that she was, dared me to kiss him. It was so special being my first kiss, although I distinctly remember my braces getting in the way and not knowing what the heck I was doing.
When I finally had to leave, it was one of the saddest days I'd ever had. I remember hugging Liam and not wanting to let go, and him promising he'd see me again one day. My best friend and I sobbed the entire flight home.
Liam and I kept in contact for a few months over Skype and Facebook, but with both of us being so young and living in different countries, it was just never going to happen. We stayed friends, chatting here and there, but slowly faded away from each other.
When I would go back to Turks and Caicos through the years, I would always message Liam to see if he was on the island. But when he and his brother were about 15, they started school at a