I’m from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Just for a bit of geographical context, Alberta is the province to the east of British Columbia (that’s where Vancouver is). Edmonton is the capital city and more or less like any North American city, a river runs through it and there are lots of tall buildings. Massimiliano is from Bergamo, Italy, a small-ish city about a 45 minute drive from Milan. It’s a beautiful medieval city with the mountains as a backdrop.
Where and when did you meet your significant other?
It was summer, nine years ago. We met at a club that no longer exists called The Bank. It was a specific summer that I happened to be going out a ton with my girlfriends. Most of us were single then (you know how it is!) and so dancing every Friday and Saturday was almost a guarantee. This was our official “meeting”, however, we found out later that we had actually met a few weeks before that! I was working at Abercrombie and Fitch and Massi had come in to try on a hoodie. I remember exactly what he was wearing and that he had an INVICTA backpack (ALL Italians from a certain generation have this backpack), which is why we were able to figure out that we had met earlier. He had lost his luggage on his flight over to Canada and was in Abercrombie trying to get new clothes. I was in charge of change rooms and I can remember almost perfectly helping a cute boy with an accent, a ponytail, yellow T-shirt, and that tell-tale backpack!
Who made the first move?
I can’t remember. My girlfriends probably because I told them that he would be my next boyfriend so one of them asked one of his friends to take our picture. That picture is the one below! After Massi photobombed us, we started talking and then we met the next day on campus and ate donairs. This was funny as well because while we were having lunch together at an outdoor table, my ex-boyfriend walked by and, innocently oblivious to the fact that I was on a “pseudo-date”, proceeded to take a seat with us. So my first date with Massi with actually a triple-date with my ex!
I thought he was either Italian or something Southern European, like Greek or Spanish or Portuguese. Actually Brazilian also crossed my mind before I found out.
What was your first impression of him?
I remember seeing Massi before he saw me probably. He stood out of the crowd immediately for so many reasons. He was dancing alone, really giving it on the dance floor, wearing a black button-down dress shirt and tight, white jeans. Of course the shirt was strategically unbuttoned to his sternum, he was wearing a gold cross and sporting a ponytail. I couldn’t have created a better ITALIAN boy prototype if you had paid me!
Dish on the first kiss!
We were in a frat house since that’s where Massi was living at the time. Very romantic right? We had just come back from dinner out and I was wearing a little black dress and spinning around on his computer chair (the ones with wheels). He was sitting on his bed, watching me and we were laughing about something. You could feel the inevitability in the air though, you know how you just know something is about to happen. At a certain point I felt the chair stop and he pulled it (and me) towards him. And the rest is history!
Where do you live now?
As you know if you follow this blog, we live in Bergamo. Massi also lived in Canada with me for six years while I studied at university.
Have you learnt each other’s languages?
We like to think so! It’s a continual process though, we are always learning new things in both languages and constantly make fun of each other’s mess ups or grammar errors or accents.
Any advice to “mixed” culture couples or couples doing long-distance?
If you’re long-distance, I remember someone else telling me that the most important thing is to never leave each other without knowing when you’ll meet again. You always have to have a date set that you can look forward to, otherwise the distance can become unbearable. If you’re a mixed couple, I think it’s important to stay true to your respective cultures and support each other’s cultures. For example, Massi was the one pushing me to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, even though it’s not part of Italian culture and admittedly, I love the fact that he loves these things.
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