Where are you from and where is your significant other from?
My husband is a Florentine, born and raised in the Santa Croce neighborhood of Florence. I am from Seattle originally. Before moving to Italy, we were living in Chicago, IL, USA.
Curator's Note: The globe-trotting nature of this story already has my full-attention. Let's keep going...
Where and when did you meet your significant other?
We met in the fall of 2003. We were both studying abroad in Nantes, France. My husband, Ciro, was studying mechanical engineering and lived in the dorm room directly above mine. I was studying French literature.
Curator's Note: Oh those sexy Italian mechanical engineers, don't I know it (my husband is one too).
Who made the first move?
A point of contention, but I think my husband made the first move. However, he is convinced that I did. I guess we’ll never know the truth.
Curator's Note: That seems to happen quite a bit with couples, it's interesting actually. Someone should study the dynamics of the first move.
If your significant other was the "foreigner"in the situation in which you met where did you initially think he was from?
When we met, we were both the “foreigner.” He told me that I looked like the Asian girl from Gilmore Girls. Frankly, I was offended. I told him that he looked like Robert Downey Jr. He didn’t know who that was (this was pre-Iron Man folks) and asked me if Robert Downey Jr was bald. Since his friend had already told me that he was Italian, I didn’t have much time to ruminate over his origins. I guess, he was always Italian to me. The Italian Robert Downey Jr. (Btw, Ciro vehemently rejects this comparison)
Curator's Note: I'm going to have to agree with you on the Robert Downey Jr. observation. Also, the Asian girl comparisons...I've heard every possible suggestion in the book. You should definitely not be offended by this one because once my MIL told me I looked like Wendy Deng Murdoch (she's 49 by the way)!
What was your first impression of him?
I don’t know. I think I thought he was kind.
This isn’t a first impression, but one of the earliest memories I have of being impressed by him. I don’t think he even saw me, but I saw him on his bike. He was riding his bike while talking on the phone and rolling a cigarette, all at the same time. I was so impressed by this that, even now, I can only recall it in slow-motion with dramatic music in the background. It was, and still is, one of the most awe-inspiring things I have ever seen. I think that was the moment that I fell in love with him.
Curator's Note: This is so particular and odd that I love it to bits and pieces. I think I'd be impressed by this too. That is some legit multi-tasking skill right there.
Dish on the first kiss!
Honestly, I don’t remember our first kiss (oops). I only remember the first time we held hands. It was November and he took me to the Christmas market, in the Place Royale, on his bicycle. He put me on the seat and he pedaled me all the way down to the city center of Nantes. It was probably a good 3 or 4 miles (5-8 km), a lot of it uphill (hahahahaha). When we got to the Christmas market, it was packed with people. Up until this point, we had just been friends, but then he took my hand and we walked into the crowded marketplace. I think it was the moment that I realized that he had feelings for me.
Curator's Note: I just "awww"-ed out loud and scared my cat. This is cuter than any first kiss recollection! There's something so pure and innocent in hand-holding.
Where do you live now?
Since December of last year, we have been living in Florence. After wandering around the world, my husband had been wanting to come back to his hometown for some time. A couple of years ago, my husband got a job offer in Tuscany and we decided to move over here. We live just outside the city center with our dog, Aldo. He made the terrifying flight over here from Chicago, and now he’s the king of Tuscany.
Curator's Note: Can I please come and visit you and be your best friends? I adore Tuscany!
Have you learnt each other's languages?
The simple answer is “yes.” Yet the reality is a little bit more complicated given how important language has been in our relationship. We met in France and for the first 5 years of our relationship we spoke in French. Then, Ciro rightly pointed out that we weren’t in France anymore and it didn’t make sense to continue speaking in French. After that, we went through some awkward trials where we both tried to speak Italian or we both tried to speak English, but in the end, we decided that when you’re arguing, you just need to yell in your own language. So, we each speak our own language and it works. The only thing is that when we go out, people get seriously confused.
When we go back to Seattle to visit my family, he stays pretty mute because my whole family speaks in either Korean or Konglish. He is getting pretty good at Konglish, I must say. It’s more -nglish than Ko-, but it’s still an admirable achievement. Whereas when we go to visit his family, we speak almost exclusively in Italian. My father-in-law is from Romagna, so he teaches me little phrases and words in romagnolo to impress the family. I’m usually met with a thunderous round of applause for saying things like, “pumpkin,” or “nose”.
Furthermore, during our time together, our need for languages continued to evolve. Ciro spent several years living in the UK and the USA, so his English is sickeningly good. He’s even picked up a couple of phrases in Korean and can count all the way up to 7. We lived in Puerto Rico for a year and he learned and perfected Spanish during that time whereas I only know how to say “garbage can” and “hello”. And due to the time he spent in the Middle East, he can even speak some very basic Arabic.
As for me, I grew up speaking Korean and English, but I’m rapidly forgetting my Korean because I use it so infrequently here in Italy. My French is just becoming Italian, at this point, and my Italian is becoming Florentine. And as you already know, my Spanish is limited to el zafacòn and hola. I really hope to keep learning new ways of communicating with people. It’s fun and humbling to learn a new language.
Curator's Note: If you've read my blog, I'm so intrigued by languages and reading this literally gave me ALL THE FEELS.
Any advice for mixed/long-distance couples?
Advice for long-distance relationships? Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Take it from someone who spent about 8 years, back and forth, in a long-distance relationship, it’s stupid. Save yourselves the heartache and either take the plunge or let it go.
Advice for mixed culture couples? Not really. I think we are always in a mixed cultural situation. We always have differences due to race, gender, class, nationality, religion, age, political inclinations, contrasting personalities or a combinations of things. I think that the key is to be open and understanding. To understand that we all have different backgrounds and life experiences that shape our worldview and our values. Be kind, but also, stand up for yourself.
Curator's Note: *INSERT OPRAH CHEERING MEME HERE*
The thing you need to understand about me is that I don’t like attention and I don’t like big spectacles or ceremonies. I have never liked the idea of an extravagant proposal in front of all of my friends and family. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just isn’t for me.
Having said that, Ciro and I were in one of our long-distance periods. He was living and working in Atlanta and I was living in Chicago. He traveled a ton for work and on the weekends, he always came to visit me in Chicago. One Friday, he came to my apartment in Chicago and we were just hanging out. We were talking, but he was being weird. I asked him if something was wrong and he said that everything was fine. While I was walking towards the kitchen to make us something to eat, he called my name and went down on one knee. He very nervously asked me if I wanted to marry him. I said “yes,” of course.
As proposals go, it was perfect for me. It was intimate and sincere. We got married less than a year later in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Our wedding was the same, intimate and sincere. We only invited our closest family and friends, the whole wedding consisted of just 40 people.
Curator's Note: Adore. I just adore this.
What do you love most about being married?
We have been married now for 6 years and honestly, it doesn’t feel any different. Nothing has really changed between us, besides the normal developments of any relationship. What has changed is the way society views and treats us. People give more importance to our relationship when I say that I’m married or if I mention my husband. Ciro, too, noticed that when he needed to help his girlfriend with something, his workplace didn’t take him very seriously. Instead, when he needed to help his wife with something, everyone insisted that he leave immediately. It’s weird because, we were just as important to each other before getting married and we continue to be important to each other.
We have been together for 15 years, but we still feel like those two students studying in France. We still laugh at silly things and hold hands in the marketplace. It’s not so much marriage; it’s the being together that’s special.
Submitted by Arachi.
Here's how you can connect with her:
Vi auguro tante belle cose. xoxo
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at all of the Love Story Lunedì. There are so many amazing stories to read so make sure you're all caught up. And should you want to share your own story or know of a couple who would, please get in touch.
Here are our past Love Stories in no particular order:
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Genia and Mattia
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Amanda and Michelangelo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Carmela and Paolo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Evelyn and Fabio
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Margarita and Andrea
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Viki and Que
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Athena and André
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Rosa and Rocco
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Hayley and Mike
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Philippa and Nick
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Camie and Marco
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Alannah and Eros
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Cheyenne and Giulio
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jade and Daniele
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Chloe and Andrea
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Coral and Riccardo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Rachel and Riccardo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Daria and Francesco
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Briana and Dami
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Kayla and Luca
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Sarah and Michele
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Bailey and Carlo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Gregory and Stefania
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Sofie and Emilio
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Isabel and David
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jasmine and Massi
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Tiffany and Adam
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Angela and Davide
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Kristie and Graziano
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Brittni and Alberto
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Maddie and Gio
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jennie and Davide
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Lauren and Luigi
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Rebecca and Leonardo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jennifer and James