DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — The first time Christina Burton met Gabriel Solberg, she alienated him.
Burton, a 30-year-old dancer at the time, lived and worked in Los Angeles, waiting for JFK to return home from an audition in New York.
It was early in the morning and the airport terminal was empty. There was a long row of benches in front of her, but a man had put his bag on the floor in front of him and sat right next to her, which annoyed her.
It was Solberg, who was 34 at the time, returning from visiting family in Europe.
Tired of layovers at the airport at night, he paid little attention to his surroundings.
“This guy has no spatial awareness,” Burton recalled.
The two strangers were sitting so close that Burton could see the seat number printed on Solberg’s ticket when she realized he was also sitting next to her on the plane, which only made her feel bad. comfortable.
She was in no mood to sit for 6 hours next to someone who had no sense of personal space.
It was July 2018, and given when Solberg is quick to fend for himself, he remembers events a little differently.
“It’s from his perspective,” Solberg told CNN with a laugh. “When I walked into that building, it was so crowded, I barely got an empty seat, and I just sat there. there for five minutes.”
Burton reports that Solberg sat down briefly because he jumped out of his seat as he announced his boarding, confirming his suspicions of his arrogant nature.
When Burton finally boarded her Alaska Airlines flight and saw Solberg already in her seat next to her, she quickly tried to put on her headphones to avoid any conversation, but she wasn’t quick enough and he started talking to her right away.
Indeed, Solberg didn’t notice Burton in the passenger hall, but he did notice her as soon as she boarded the plane, and approached her row of seats, noting that her smile made her smile. surprised.
With a smile, he said to her, “Welcome, weren’t you sitting next to me in the hallway?” Burton replied, with a smile on his face, “You’re the one sitting next to me.”
Burton’s first impression of Solberg as arrogant and selfish quickly faded, and the two began to argue.
romance on the plane
The captain announced over the loudspeaker that the plane was delayed and was unlikely to leave the airport for two hours. Burton and Solberg sat in two aisle seats, while the passenger by the window fell asleep almost immediately, so they felt lonely.
While waiting for the plane to take off, Solberg and Burton were moving from the stage of knowledge to broader topics.
“We talked about everything,” Solberg recalls.
From their job, where they live, to why they travel to Los Angeles.
And the duo discovered that a love of travel brought them together. Solberg is of French and American descent, raised in Germany so has spent her life traveling, while Burton’s work as a dancer has taken her all over the world, from performances on cruise ships to tours across the United States.
When the flight finally took off, the duo felt like they had known each other for years.
Although they watched movies on board, they chatted and laughed throughout the flight.
“I told him how terrible his movie choices were,” Solberg said.
“We were trying to watch Planet of the Apes, which I thought was a good movie, but he said it was the dumbest movie he had ever seen,” Burton recalled.
She was fascinated by Solberg’s openness and humor, and he was clearly a likeable person.
The six-hour trip also allowed them to have more serious conversations as they discussed spiritual topics, religion and their outlook on life.
Solberg explained that at the start of the flight it was clear they were strangers, then the passenger in the window seat slept the entire flight and woke up to find them engrossed in conversation.
However, they were suspicious for different reasons.
Sloelberg came out of a long relationship about 5 months ago, spent the summer visiting relatives in Europe, and when he met Burton, he was on his way to Seattle to visit family, and he says the romance was out of his mind.
“My attitude about relationships was that they weren’t right for me,” he recalls.
Likewise, Burton says she wasn’t looking for a relationship either.
“I’ve never dated anyone before, I’ve been living my life as a single woman with a good friend of mine in Los Angeles,” she says.
The eight-hour “date” on a plane came as a surprise to both of them, even if it wasn’t an instant hit. They felt their communication was natural and easy.
“It made sense,” Solberg said.
When the flight landed and the passengers disembarked at the Los Angeles airport, Solberg and Burton prepared to go their way.
“I said to him, ‘You know there’s something going on here,'” Solberg recalled. “So I’ll be back in a week, and we’ll see about it together.”
“I personally didn’t think that would happen,” Burton explained. “I knew there was some kind of connection between us because I felt it,” she said. Before continuing on her way, Solberg hugged her, and although Burton thought she might never see him again, she texted her sister and friends to tell them what had happened. .
“I knew I was going to go back,” Solberg says, texting her brother, “I met the girl of my dreams.”
A week passed and Solberg returned to Los Angeles and invited Burton to plan the meeting. This contact lasted between two and three hours.
Solberg remembers how awkward it was, because he had just spoken on the phone to someone who still classified her as odd, as easily as if he had known her for years.
“It’s very strange, as if we’ve known each other for a long time,” he recalls.
Burton suggested we go to dinner and go to the movies, and Solberg said it was a long way to see her, so they should do something more interesting, and he suggested renting a cabin in the Santa Monica Mountains, California.
Burton was thrilled to see Solberg again, but her friends and family were genuinely concerned that she was traveling to a remote place with a man she had just met.
Although the property is more rustic than Solberg expected, the two had a great time there.
On the day Solberg was supposed to be in New York, the two went out for lunch and discussed the course of their relationship, and it was hard for them to part ways again.
“We were frustrated,” Solberg recalls. The two decided that instead of saying goodbye, she would accompany Burton Solberg to New York to continue the adventure there.
As for Solberg, he admits that while he says his relationship with Burton wasn’t official, his actions “didn’t really reflect those words.”
However, Burton has made it clear that her dancing career comes first. When her agent called about an exciting audition opportunity, she cut short the trip to New York and flew to Los Angeles early.
Burton and Solberg explain how his career gave him the ability to live anywhere. In the end, the two only spent two months traveling back and forth to see each other before Burton decided to move with Solberg to New York.
In October 2019, about a year after they first met on the plane, Burton and Solberg announced their engagement while vacationing on the Italian coast.
Solberg almost forgot to take the ring with him, and Burton’s mother had to meet him at the airport to deliver it without Burton’s knowledge.
When the two decided to book an engagement photo shoot with photographer Tyler Petty, the location was obvious, the airport, specifically in Terminal A at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., a hub of the transport with a vast historic terminal designed as the perfect backdrop.
Their sweet encounter was also reflected in the wedding invitations, designed to look like plane tickets. Burton and Solberg planned a magical wedding in St. Lucia.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put plans on hold, but in recent months the two have started planning their wedding again. Preparations are made more complicated by the fact that Burton is currently working in Germany.
The duo admit the long distances aren’t easy, but they both enjoy watching each other progress in their careers. They agree on their long-term goals and ambitions.