Couple holding hands
Couple holding hands

On the surface, Sandra Stachowicz appeared to have a full and happy life – gainfully employed as a book publicist and author in Edinburgh, she was engaged to be married to her partner of nearly nine years.

However, underneath all her personal successes, the 35-year-old felt that “something was missing”.

Her feelings came to a head in spectacular fashion after she and her business partner launched their first erotica series, entitled ‘Rebel Romance: 15 Stories Of Unconventional Taboo And Wild Romance’.

One of the contributing authors had penned a story that stirred a distant yet very fond memory in Sandra, with the book detailing a raunchy real-life tale about the writer’s love affair with a Colombian man.

Sandra and her old flame Juan

This steamy story brought back echoes of Sandra’s very first boyfriend, a Colombian man she’d dated for four months back when she was a 22-year-old Erasmus exchange student.

Sandra, who is originally from Poland, first locked eyes with Juan Carlos Montoya Gomez while studying translation in Barcelona. Although their romance didn’t last all that long, Juan left a lasting impression on Sandra.

She recalled: “He was attentive, caring and would often make out of his way to make me happy, such as buy me drops when my eyes were red after a sleepless night, buy me a purse when I routinely carried spare change in a glasses case instead, sweaters when I was cold, or Alka-Seltzer when I was hungover after a night out”.

They’d tried to get back in touch over the years that followed, but, as is life, nothing ever quite worked out.

However, looking back on old photographs of herself during her time with Juan, Sandra was struck by how she appeared to be “radiant, loved up and just full of joy”, remarking, “the spark in my eyes says it all”.

With this old flame ignited once more, Sandra wasn’t able to stop thinking about Juan and even began having “precognitive dreams” or “premonitions” about him. For Sandra, this was significant as she rarely remembered her dreams unless they held an “important message” for her.

Sandra explained: “In one of the dreams he proposed to me, something that I later shared with him. Juan Carlos’s reaction was priceless. In one of the subsequent dreams, I saw us living together. My precognitive dreams gave me the much-needed courage and a second chance at love”.

Sandra’s nighttime premonitions have previously proven to be startlingly accurate. When she was just 15 years old, she dreamt that her father would die in a car and just a few days later, he tragically passed away from a heart attack. He’d been inside a friend’s vehicle at the time.

“Over the years, I had precognitive dreams about friends and family members, some of which I haven’t seen for years, all of which came to fruition,” she continued.

It’s little wonder therefore that Sandra took her precognitive dreams seriously and with a little encouragement from her business partner, decided to reach out to Juan online back in October.

Sandra initially hesitated before hitting ‘send’ on her first message but, much to her surprise, she received a response from Juan “within seconds”. It wasn’t long at all until the pair were enjoying a catch-up call on Whatsapp and Sandra realized exactly what had been missing in her life for so long.

“In hindsight, after being together for almost nine years with my former fiancé, I realized I became the person I didn’t like”, admitted Sandra. “I have changed in ways I couldn’t reconcile. I became a shadow of my former self and lost the spark for life”.

Recalling their very first video chat, Sandra revealed that she “felt like a high school girl who had a secret crush on her much older geography teacher”, remembering how she “fidgeted in my office chair and turned all red”.

Interestingly, despite her understandable nerves, Sandra realized that she and Juan had “a lot more in common” 12 years on, with both being business owners with “a similar view on life”.

Sandra had already “been toying with the idea” of ending her relationship “for quite some time”, having sadly realized that they “were just a mismatch in terms of values and our vision and plan for life”.

Being the sort of person “to burn all the bridges behind me without looking back” with “no half measures”, a newly determined Sandra decided to leave Edinburgh and her fiancé behind, opting for a second chance of love with Juan.

In what must surely be one of the most drastic New Year’s resolutions of all time, Sandra booked a one-way plane ticket to Colombia to be with Juan, travelling 5,212 miles away from the city she’s lived in for the majority of her adult life.

The reconciled lovers won’t meet again until 28th January, when Sandra arrives in the Colombian capital city of Bogotá. Although her friends and family members know about her shock move, only her younger sister Marta knows the full story and motivation.

Sandra, who is keeping the romantic details private from her loved ones until she lands, has said that her choice, unfortunately, hasn’t yet registered with her fiancé, who still believes her stay in Colombia to be “just a short holiday break”.

However, Sandra appears to have no regrets, adding: “I am happy with my decision. I believe everything happens for a reason. Some love stories take a little longer to percolate. What is meant for us can never pass us by”.