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?