When they were children living on opposite sides of the world, Christine "Tin" Miguel and Matt Mandino had something in common: they were afraid of flying.
Growing up as one of six children in the Philippines, Tin would hold her sister's hand in a tight grip whenever they flew. In the US, Matt was so nervous about boarding a plane that his parents had to drag him to the airport. "I was afraid of heights too," Matt laughed.
As they got older though, both were seized with a sense of wanderlust. Their desire to see the world outweighed their initial fears, and eventually, they not only conquered their fear of flying, but they made it their careers. Tin became a flight attendant and Matt, a commercial pilot.
It was because of their jobs in aviation that they both found themselves at a restaurant on the beach near Chennai, India, in June of 2012. Matt was living there, working for Indian airline Jet Airways. Tin, who was based in Saudi Arabia, had a layover in Chennai and had decided to spend the day at the beach with a colleague. They headed to lunch at Santana restaurant (178, Fisherman's Colony, Othavadi Street; +91-944-429-0832,) overlooking the water.
"We were the only ones in the restaurant when Matt and his friend walked in," Tin recalled. "I thought he was cute and, for some reason, felt like I'd known him a long time."
Matt was also instantly attracted. "Her smile was so pretty and comforting. I went up to her and asked what she was eating. She said 'calamari', and I actually reached down and grabbed some off her plate because I'd had a couple of beers. Usually I'm not that outgoing," he said.
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