Friday, October 15, 2010

How I Met Your Father

Delia recently posted about how she met her husband (it's a great story - go and read it here). It got me thinking and I have now poached her idea for myself.

During the 9/11 attacks I was visiting South America with my sister. We were in Buenos Aires, Argentina visiting relatives and decided to take a day trip to Colonia, Uraguay. As we crossed the Rio Plata, the first plane hit the towers. We had no idea. By the time we got off the tour bus (Colonia is fascinating, by the way), the small town was deserted. No one was in the streets, no one was mending the tills in the stores. Finally, in one small jewelry store, the owner said, 'You are American, no?' When we nodded she said, 'I'm so sorry.' We were baffled. She tried explaining to us what was happening but my Spanish was good enough for asking directions, ordering food and bartering cash. My limited knowledge of the language was not good enough to understand that she was trying to explain how my country was under attack. Finally, she said, 'Come.' She lead us into the back of the humble shop to a really modern, fancy office complete with a state-of-the-art computer with a giant screen. 'New York,' was all she said. I went to the NY Times page and my sister and I read about what was happening.

Stunned, we left the shop and eventually ate at a restaurant where a 10 year old boy translated CNN International for us during the meal. He asked, 'Why are you here if you don't speak Spanish?'

Good question. I had had four or five years of Spanish over the course of my education and still only mastered the bare bones. So I made a pledge to myself that day as we sped back across the Ria Plata: I would learn Spanish. I've been to many, many Spanish speaking countries and other countries, the least I could do was become conversational.

When I got back to New York - several days later (we couldn't leave on our original date due to the grounding of all flights) I started looking for a Spanish language class. I found one and signed up. It started in January and I couldn't wait.

I arrived at the first class jet-lagged from a birthday trip to London but excited to get down to business and finally master the Spanish language. I was really surprised I wasn't the first one in the classroom, another woman, Joya, was there. We chatted briefly until a man walked in - Fen. He was tall, dark, handsome, etc. I didn't even give him a second glance, but Joya did. Her eyes lit up and she started talking his ear off. Other people started rolling in, mostly women, and they all joined in the Fen adoration club. One of the ladies crooned to him, 'I could listen to you talk all day.' Heavy sigh. I didn't know I could roll my eyes as far back in my head as I did that day - but I can. Fen is from New Zealand and he does have a really lovely accent, but I was there to learn, not to flirt, for heaven's sake!

This went on for about two weeks. The ladies flirted with Fen and he remained completely oblivious. He's a bit shy and really wouldn't know if someone was interested in him or presume it (I should know, I all but took out a full page ad in the Times so he'd take the bait!). I still didn't give him a second glance. Until one day when we were learning about time. Un punto means on the dot - and he kept saying it, trying to make a joke. Finally I looked around at him (I sat in front, he sat in the back) and smiled cheerily (I was trying to shut him up). He nodded and I could tell he was pleased with himself that someone 'got it'. In that instant I KNEW he was special and I had to get to know him. I knew he was going to be someone significant. He was going to be mine - next week.

I set my plan in motion - watched where he walked out of the building that night. The following week, I dressed up a little and 'just happened' to be in front of him when he left the building. My cell phone 'was acting up' so I stopped to 'fuss with it.' He stopped and we walked along for a while, I dropped some hints but he didn't catch on so  I asked him if he wanted to grab a coffee. He replied he didn't drink coffee. 'Okay, a beer, or hot chocolate?' He perked up and said okay. Sheesh! 

He refers to that night as The Spanish Inquisition. I asked him a million questions as I'm wont to do - but I had to make sure he was worth pursuing because he clearly wasn't the hunting type. He isn't and if I hadn't gone after him we would not be together. He thought I was out of his league. I'm not. We've been together for nearly 9 years, married for 7 1/2. We have our Cate and X too. He's the only man I aggressively pursued and he was worth it.

Under the tree every Christmas there is a saucy gift labelled: To Fen Baby, Love Joya. All's fair... 

Y mi Español es muy malo, pero tengo a mi hombre! Está toda bien.

So raise your glasses to the gals who go for it! How'd you meet your husband/wife/partner?


  1. Oh, great story! I knew you met in Spanish class, but never heard the details. (I also did not know you were out of the country on 9/11)

  2. Ooh, love it. I keep telling my daughter that not all guys do the pursuing. Some actually don't mind when a female asks them for a coffee!

  3. BTW, I've nominated you as my second ever "You Must Go and Read This..." recipient. (See Expat Mum blog.)

  4. Great story! I met my hubbie on craigslist. Yes, craigslist. I posted an ad and he was one of the few that answered using complete, coherent sentences. Yay for good grammar!

  5. Oh lovely story. Yay for girls who go out chasing!

  6. Corey - Yes, we were visiting my cousin. When I got back I realized our neighbor Kev was missing. Tragic time. (Corey and I were roommates for years)

    Toni - thanks so much!! I'm honoured. I'll go have a look.

    Mujerboricua: When Fen emailed me and correctly used a semicolon - well it true love!

    PantsWithNames - Chase away, I say. If I hadn't I wouldn't be where I am now.

  7. Ah lovely post. The first part reminded me of how I learned about 9/11 - we were on holiday in Sicily, and spoke no Italian, so didn't have much clue what was going on. When we got back, I vowed to learn Italian and signed up for classes!

    I met my husband many years before that, at University. I wrote about how we met here

  8. A truly lovely story! Fen sounds great and, even to a straight man, is quite the looker!

  9. Nappy valley girl: thanks for sharing! Great story. Funny how we both decided to learn a language due to 9/11.

    Spencer: You should hear him talk!!

  10. Well done for pursuing Fen, you sound like a great couple!

    I met my husband when I was 17 or 18 in a pub in the town where we both grew up. He was a friend of a boy who was in my brother's class. I thought he was lovely from the minute I saw him - very gentle, kind, lovely looking. After a few months of saying hi in the pub, he got my number, called me and asked me out. Sixteen years on and we have been married for nine years, have our gorgeous six year old boy, ever hope of expanding our family, and live ten miles from our hometown. My mum once told me that she thought I'd have just one boyfriend, she was right, I was so lucky to find him when I did!

  11. My word he is a nice looking lad. Your two wee ones are too cute!

  12. I met my husband on a stress management course which we were both attending!! xx

  13. What a long journey! Wow!

    My partner was the best friend of my ex. Hmmm... all makes for an interesting life.


    We met in a bar (common as muck) ;)

    Becca x

  14. love it! Y si quieres practicar dime no mas! (soy chilena) Now I met my husband the Nissan Pavilion an outdoor concert area (near Washington DC) when I was working selling ice cream. I was moving to Spain in a few months and saving money. Long story short, he was with a friend and two girls. "his" girl was not happy about me moving in on him, but tough luck. I also pursued because I thought "este esta demasiado bueno!!" hahaha...and I won. Met him on a Saturday, Monday we had lunch, and we never separated after that, he even came to Spain twice!! carnios, Maria xx

  15. Lucy, great story! Thanks for sharing.

    James, I certainly think they're all gorgeous!

    Bombshellicious - I guess that cooled some of the stress! good for you!

    Becca, common is good! Hooray for bars!

    Maria, Todo se vale en el amor y la guerra!! Good for you.

  16. What a brilliant story.

    I met my husband at work - yes, that old cliche. It took him a while to realise why exactly he wanted to spend all that time with me, why he didn't want me to be with anyone else, and why he couldn't stop thinking about me once I quit my job and headed to France for a year. Oh yeah, he thought, maybe I am in love with her after all! Like the meeting at work thing, to say good things come to those who wait is also a cliche. But in my case it's true. I waited, and he's good (very good).
    Great post. :-)

  17. I met my wife while hiking in Ireland. She was with a group from Britain and was very quiet. I starting talking with her three days into our week of hiking and by the last day I knew she was The One. Within six months I had moved to England married her. That was nine years ago; it still remains the best thing I have ever done ;)

  18. What a cute story!!!

    I met my boyfriend as I was crossing the street in NYC. We had mutual friends but didn't know each other so the friends I was with stopped to talk to him. When we all parted I told my friends they had to set us up immediately. The rest is history. =)

  19. That's a great one! And I love how it was fate for you to meet in that class :-)
    I met my husband in a nightclub in Dublin, and by the end of the weekend, I knew we'd be getting married. I'll blog about it one day.

  20. Good place to meet! We also met in class, but it was physics. We were still at school.

  21. Learning Spanish from a Kiwi?! Ha ha

  22. Hey Erin-
    As a neo-Luddite, I don't even know if this older post will get to you--but I wanted to let you know I love the blog and loved reading about how you met hubby. It's a good thing you didn't move to Spain to learn Spanish instead!

  23. Don't use a personal A after any form of the verb TENER. AND PLEASE get in touch with me. I have great news to pass on and haven't been able to find you.


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