Where are you from and where is your significant other from?
I am from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which I am sure few people are aware of. This area is mostly famous for once housing the Aryan Nations headquarters, but just look at how pretty Lake Coeur d'Alene and the mountains are, and don't think about that. Luca is from Mestre on the Venetian mainland, typically a destination for tourists wanting somewhere more economical to stay while visiting Venice.
Where and when did you meet your significant other?
Back when the first Twilight movie was in theaters, I agreed to accompany a friend to see it, and although I had never read the books, I knew it wasn't my thing, so maybe I was looking for something, anything good about this movie. And that came in the malformed shape of a taxidermized armadillo in the biology class scene. When I saw it in the background of the film, with its unnaturally straight legs, I was instantly enamored. Then, the armadillo disappeared between shots, and it became the highlight of the movie for me. Two years later I found a Facebook page dedicated to "Twilight's Magical Disappearing Armadillo". I sent a message, convinced that it was made by a friend from school (we were the only ones who knew about it), but alas, it was Luca! He had seen the Twilight films because of Rifftrax (Mystery Science Theater 3000 for new movies).
Curator's commentary: OMFG you guys, did you GET THAT?! Let's break this down- so the guy who created the "Twilight's Magical Disappearing Armadillo" Facebook page was LUCA. LUCA CREATED THAT and Kayla remembered the disappearing armadillo from Twilight TWO YEARS LATER and found his page. I just can't fathom this. It makes my heart sing. In case you're like me and the 99% of us who aren't as observant as these two, here is the stuffed armadillo that started it all...
What was your first impression of him?
Meeting someone in person that you've only known online can be a bit jarring. Of course, we'd seen each other before, but the webcam can deceive. I had no idea how tall he was going to be, and I thought he had a darker complexion due to years of dim lighting, but this didn't matter to me. What did matter was that I was in the company of a good and true friend. This is the part that surprised me most -- we instantly got along, and I never felt awkward or uncomfortable. Over those six years we had each been through big ups and downs. Though we weren't always in constant contact, I knew that I had someone to share my thoughts with, that he was always there to comfort me, and I was there in some dark times for him as well. Before we had even seen each other in the flesh, I already had a lot of trust in and respect for Luca.
Dish on the first kiss.
Our first kiss was in Milan, in the dark of the hostel room we shared, after a day of sightseeing. That evening he had already unintentionally wined and dined (and cheesed - my weakness) me at Rebelot, a fantastic restaurant in Navigli. Several months earlier I had come off a breakup of a long-term relationship, and having been in a foreign country alone for months, there was a desire to connect with someone. I was just drawn to him, I couldn’t help it. We had pushed our beds together to watch a movie on the laptop and I initiated cuddling. Soon we stopped the movie and laid in the dark, just talking and being close. Then he actually asked to kiss me. Maybe some girls wouldn’t like that, but I’ll never forget it.
After a whirlwind week, I headed back to the farm in Switzerland. I stood in the train corridor by the bathroom at a random electric outlet while my phone charged just so I could talk to him. Within hours of us saying goodbye, he invited me back to Italy for a friend's wedding in September. I tried to resist falling for him but I couldn't deny what I felt. He waited until September and seeing me in person again to tell me that he was in love with me.
Where do you live now? Where do you live now?
I am still living in Idaho, and he is working in Rome, but this September I am planning to arrive in Italy to get my master's degree in horticulture at the University of Bologna.
Have you learnt each other’s languages?
Luca is perfectly fluent in English, but the accent is still there (love it!). He learned English in school, but made huge strides on an exchange to New Zealand where he read Terry Pratchett books in English. As for me, I started to study Italian again (after 5 years' break) after we met in person. The first several times I was with him in Italy I could understand a portion of conversations, but I was terrified to speak. It has been a struggle overcoming the fear of making mistakes, sounding stupid, and feeling vulnerable. I spent most of 2017 studying intensely (learning grammar, practicing speaking with Luca, watching dubbed movies without subtitles, reading Harry Potter in Italian), and come my latest trip in December I was able to understand maybe 85-90% of conversations, and I could communicate with much more confidence.
Any advice to “mixed” culture couples or couples doing long-distance?
If you are the one in the relationship having to learn another language, whether it is in order to communicate with your partner’s friends and family, to get a job in your target country, or to move abroad and deal with all the logistical and bureaucratic complications that come with it, have patience with yourself. Don’t associate making mistakes with being unintelligent or a failure. Through mistakes you will learn.
For me, I thought that a high fluency level in Italian would make the best impression on Luca’s parents. I put so much pressure on myself just to meet some imaginary expectation in my head, and when I didn’t, I felt like a failure. But the thing is that they already knew the real me, and the kind of person I was, because of how I treat Luca. How we smile and laugh when we’re together, and how we clearly make each other happy. I didn’t need to learn Italian to prove anything. After I realized this, I began to learn for my own pleasure, to acknowledge the progress I had already made and to have more patience. After that, I was easily speaking to them, making jokes and making them laugh, and we became closer.
Story submitted by Kayla.
Here's how you can connect with Kayla:
Blog: La Cura dell'Uva
"Adventures in Italy as I study horticulture, sustainable agriculture, and viticulture. There may also be some casual mentions of cheese, wine, my journey learning Italian and fitting in as an American abroad."
Vi auguro tante belle cose. xoxo
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at these ones:
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Sarah and Michele
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Rebecca and Leonardo
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jennifer and James
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: Tiffany and Adam
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Angela & Davide
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jasmine & Massi
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Kristie & Graziano
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Brittni & Alberto
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Maddie & Gio
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Jennie & Davide
LOVE STORIES by Questa Dolce Vita: Lauren & Luigi
For a bite-size snack of make-believe romance, read these short stories:
Creative Writing: The Letter R (Explicit)
Creative Writing: Airport Arrivals
Creative Writing: Tanqueray and You
Creative Writing: A Thousand Lives
Creative Writing: A Sunday Kind of Love
Creative Writing: Perfect Strangers in Switzerland
Creative Writing: Rooftops and Rome
Creative Writing: The Morning After in New York
Creative Writing: Mulberries in Sicily