“I Feel Like The Banter Was Immediate.” Woman Changes Her Mind About Annoying Stranger In A Meet-Cute Straight Out Of A Movie. “We Were Going To Be Together.”

gabriel solberg and krystina burton smiling as they sit next to each other on a plane.

Whoever says romantic movies aren’t realistic has never met Krystina Burton and Gabriel Solberg.

Their whirlwind romance began in JFK airport — though, at first, Krystina thought the only feeling she’d ever have for the stranger who sat next to her was disdain. Why? Out of all the empty seats he had to choose from, she says he plopped his belongings down right next to hers.

“This guy doesn’t have spatial awareness,” she thought.

Gabriel remembers the events a bit differently.

“That’s her perspective,” he said laughingly. “When I went to that terminal, it was packed, it was full of people, and I just grabbed a chair that was empty. I only sat there for like five minutes.”

Still, in those five minutes, Gabriel was close enough to Krystina for her to notice his ticket had him sitting right next to her on the plane. Given the fact that he seemed to not grasp the meaning of “personal space,” she wasn’t looking forward to what the next six hours had in store.

Then Gabriel said hello.

By the time he acknowledged her, he was already in his seat on the plane. Krystina tried avoiding him by putting in headphones but was too slow, something she’d quickly be grateful for.

“I feel like the banter was immediate,” Krystina said. “As soon as I got on the plane and was getting to my seat, I feel like it just changed — there was no annoyance.”

Soon after, their flight was delayed — not that either of them minded. Gabriel and Krystina spent the entire time discussing anything and everything, including their careers and why they were traveling.

Because Krystina is a dancer, she travels all around the world, often performing on cruise ships or on tours. Her next stop, however, was home in LA.

As for Gabriel, he had spent the summer visiting loved ones in Europe. He had broken up with a long-term partner just five months before, so he wasn’t looking for a relationship, especially anything serious.

But, as the two of them started to go their separate ways at LAX, he told Krystina he wanted to see her again.

“I personally didn’t think it was gonna happen,” she said. “I knew we had some kind of connection because I could just feel it, but I was like, ‘Oh, sure, you’re going to just come back to LA and hang out with me? That’s going to happen.’ I just was not convinced.”

But Gabriel proved her wrong. A week later and they were planning a cabin vacation in Topanga Canyon in California.

Her friends, and even Krystina herself, were a bit nervous about the idea of a weekend away with someone who was still very much a stranger. But with a set of brass knuckles a friend gave her, she felt safe enough to go. Plus, it turned out to be a fun, romantic getaway!

In went so well, in fact, that instead of going their separate ways as planned, Krystina decided last-minute to join Gabriel on his flight back to NYC so they could spend more time together. And the rest, they say, is history!

“By the second time he came to LA, we were already talking about how we were going to raise our kids and stuff like that … So I think the constant was just that we were going to be together and be married at some point,” she said.

Just a year after they met, the two of them got engaged in October 2019! Their engagement photoshoot, naturally, took place in an airport.

“It’s like the cliché thing — stop looking for it, stop trying to be somebody you’re not, and just be okay with yourself, find yourself first, and just be okay with being by yourself and who you are,” Gabriel said.

Krystina added, “Because of the foundation that we had on the plane — talking about so many things, and especially all the things we talked about early on — I think that’s what kind of paved the way or the groundwork for what the expectations are, or who we are as people and how we match that.”

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