I’ve never been much of a romantic. I wasn’t the girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I didn’t have TV crushes or even that many boys in my life that I wanted to date. In my early twenties, the last thing on my mind was to get into a serious relationship.
One year, I was working on housekeeping and cooking staff at an organization near Frankfurt, Germany. Being half German, I loved being back in this country and was simply enjoying every minute of it. Because I had an intern sort of position, I attended numerous seminars to meet and connect with other people my age who were doing similar things in different places all throughout Germany.
October of 2016 I was at such a seminar….but this one was special, only those with passport countries other than Germany were allowed to attend; and since I have both an American and German passport, I was able to go. Little did I know that it would be at this seminar that I would meet my future husband…
If you ask him, it was clear we were meant to be together from day one.
As we sat in a circle and said where we were from I noticed him almost immediately. He is a six-foot two-inch red-bearded man who exclusively dressed in NBA gear. This all in all appeared to be a very American guy.
However, when we went around introducing ourselves, he said he was from Portugal, with a perfect American accent. And of course, when it was my turn I said I was from Germany, also with a perfect American accent.
Being the only American English speaking people in the whole room, we found each other after to get each other’s stories. We found out we were both TCKs, grew up with Christian parents, and loved being involved in ministry.
That’s basically where it ended. We didn’t talk a whole lot those three days of the seminar, but we left on the same train to go back home and traded phone numbers because that’s what you did at these seminars, you made connections.
We got to the central train station and went our separate ways, and made some nonpermanent plans to maybe meet up sometime.
A few days later, I got a text from the American guy with a Portuguese background and name, Xano (pronounced “sha-nu“).
We started texting…and didn’t stop…for four months.
We only saw each other once in those months..we met in a German city one afternoon when we both had off, but that was it.
Otherwise, we just texted.
He will tell you from his side it was love at first sight, he knew he had to befriend me, and it was worth only texting with me for four months because that was the process.
I, on the other hand, didn’t have that same realization.
I was very contently single, not looking for anything, and was just happy I had found a friend who knew about those TCK struggles that I also dealt with. However, it didn’t take me long to get this feeling that I was falling in love, and that every time my phone chimed I was wondering if it was him (I ended up changing the ring for when he texted I wanted to KNOW it was him).
This is where our story could get frustrating for some people reading this…we both liked each other…why did it take months of us texting for us to finally confess our feelings?
This was because I grew up very traditional; it was the man’s job to make the moves…and Xano, well, he just didn’t want to ruin what we had and he wanted to make sure I felt the same way as he did. We also had Third Culture Kid struggle, where we had made a connection that we liked, and we had an underlying fear that maybe this person would end up going away. Our whole lives were full of people we had to say goodbye to, either because they were leaving, or we were.
On January 2017 I sent an emoji…a heart eye emoji…and that was it. He caught on, I had let my feeling finally show and that was it, we met a little over a week later and it was official: we were dating.
I would love to say it was smooth sailing after we finally confessed our feelings but it wasn’t.
We dated long-distance; neither one of us drove and we lived three and a half hours and about $50 away from each other via train. We met up about twice a month if we got lucky.
We knew we were meant to be together, and even though some would try to get in our way…we knew there was no going back..we were both in this for the long run.
June of that year he took me to his hometown in Portugal, and in one perfectly magical moment he proposed and I said yes. It was perfect timing and he knew it…we were both about to finish our internship and we had to decide where we were going to live. Some people were surprised, but we decided to move back in September 2017 to where Xano’s family was from in Ohio…and six weeks later we were married. All the things we went through to be together was worth it, the distance was worth it, the four months of just getting to know each other was worth it. God had everything in control and it all worked out according to His perfect plan.
We’ve been married almost three years now, and I can truly say they have been the best years of my life. So l, who wasn’t looking for love and wasn’t really a romantic, fell head over heels in love with a Portuguese American man who God magically placed in my life. I wouldn’t trade any second of our story for the world.