I am in the same boat as you guys were. There was something between me and Orthodoxy. I cannot even remember how I first got whiff of Orthodoxy. But I remember I was in New York visiting my sister and we drove by an Orthodox church. I started talking about the church with the little misguided information about the Orthodox I know. I said they were like Catholics but don't follow the Pope. And they use 2D images (at the time I don't even know that Icons are called Icons, I think I even said stained-glass windows) instead of statues. I would say that is pretty good for someone who really has no idea what Orthodoxy is. But somehow, in my past, the idea of Orthodoxy was planted. I cannot remember, and this is the first instance I can remember that I spoke to Orthodoxy.
Fast forward about 3 years ago. I discovered a Greek Orthodox parish close to where I moved to. I was intrigued. I wanted to go once but I was too shy. It was the time I was increasing my Roman Catholic faith. I started reading about the Orthodox and got to know more about the differences. Married priests, no Immaculate Conception, no Original Sin, leavened bread. Then I learned about the Eastern Catholic Church and met a priest who is biritual and served as a substitute in our parish. This gave me the first courage to go to an Eastern Catholic Liturgy. I went to learn. It was a Chaldean Liturgy so it is not something that will attract me to stay, it was in a completely foreign language. Next was the only Byzantine Rite Catholic Church in my town that has English services. The Ukrainian Catholic Church. But before that, I was exploring other aspects of the Catholic Church and I was trying to increase my spirituality. I went to a Traditional Latin Mass twice but I didn't feel the connection. Plus, traditionalists rub me the wrong way. I just couldn't accept their shallow reasoning for a lot of things. Then after the second TLM which was on a First Friday, I went to my first Divine Liturgy that Sunday. I cannot explain the joy that filled my heart. Plus the people were also warm and welcoming. And there was a very friendly subdeacon who welcomed me. And a huge plus factor, it being a Ukrainian Church, the subdeacon was non-Ukrainian like myself. I knew I could make a home there if he could. So in 2 months, we became regulars.
Now, I know the Eastern Catholic Churches struggle a lot with Latinizations. But this parish I go to is the proponent in the Eparchy in returning to true Eastern traditions, and this subdeacon I met is very faithful to those traditions. He stood the entire Liturgy even though there was an option to sit through some of the Litanies. He stood during the Anaphora and the Prayers Before Communion when half of the parish knelt. Oh, I forgot to mention, he stayed in the pews rather than serve at the altar because he had a great voice and was pushing for the adaptation of the Anthology, so he served more in the capacity of a cantor than a subdeacon.
Well, unfortunately, he left. But I continued on trying to learn more about the Eastern faith through various sources which includes Orthodox clergy. The problem is when I try practicing what I am learning, I find out I am alone. No one else is doing what I am trying to do. Unfortunately, not even the clergy. I suddenly felt disconnected. I felt out of place. So I went and visited the local OCA parish and met the wonderful priest there. I first tried to correspond with him via email which he accepted. Then even offered to meet with me at a neutral location, which we had for two times now.
My journey is still ongoing. I'm not even sure I am going to jump into Orthodoxy. My biggest hurdle right now is the Papacy. I've never really challenged my belief on it until recently. And even if the Pope is wrong, should I abandon him as opposed to staying and praying for change? Also there are a lot of other issues so I don't think this journey will be complete, regardless of the final destination, for a while. Maybe years. But I am going to start experiencing Orthodoxy to know that this is my spiritual home. As the priest told me, Orthodox cannot be learned, it can only be experienced. I mean, there are books there to help us, but if you really want to know what Orthodoxy is, you have to experience it. I have been to Vespers once to his parish and I will be attending Divine Liturgy this Sunday. It still won't be a regular thing, I do still plan to going more often to my UGCC parish. But I will show up from time to time and meet with this priest at our neutral location whenever we both are available, for the foreseeable future.