I'm from Edinburgh, Scotland, and my boyfriend is from a tiny town called Ariano nel Polesine in the Veneto, right on the border with Emilia-Romagna.
Where and when did you meet your significant other?
Three years ago, I moved to Italy to work and live in a new English School (incidentally, living in a school is not recommended!) in the Veneto. I was the only teacher along with an Italian secretary and the owner of the school. During my first week, we held the inauguration party at which I was obliged to make a speech in Italian (utterly terrifying). Afterwards the secretary invited me for a much-needed drink with her Italian friend and my soon-to-be student. I remember only a few distinct details from that evening which were that the student in question, Leonardo, had an enormous beard which he'd grown for his sixth annual visit to Oktoberfest, that I laughed till my stomach hurt, and that I learnt about some story of monsters in a nearby river which he now refuses to believe he told me about.
Who made the first move?
His version of the story is that I only became interested in him when he changed car from a Fiat Uno to an open top two-seater Mercedes. The real story is a gradual blossoming interest due to after-lesson drinks and dinners. One in particular stands out as Leonardo plied me with mojitos and then somehow convinced me to play piano in a bar with some old men. The morning after 4-hour lesson with nursery children was far from fun.
What was your first impression of him?
Generous. I know now that Italian men feel they can never let a woman pay but Leonardo takes it to a new level. In the first year I don't think I managed to pay once, though I used to leave bank notes hidden around his car.
He was also very funny and entertaining, partly because of what he talked about but also a little bit for his fantastic English slip ups! He'll hate me for writing this but on his first meeting with my parents he decided he should call my Mum 'ma'am' (he originally learnt English from watching a lot of American films), but unfortunately due to his pronunciation it sounded like 'mum'. After a little while I asked him if he thought his choice of address was perhaps a little premature...!
Dish on the first kiss.
After an exhilarating late-night ride in the Mercedes I was about to go back into the school where I lived at the time when he grabbed my hand and kissed me against the car. Perhaps he is half right then that the car assisted in our love story...
Where do you live now?
We live in a town called Adria in the Veneto, near to his hometown where he works. It's not a big place with lots of things to do, but on the plus side I've never paid more than 3 euros for a spritz!
Have you learnt each other’s languages?
Yes, even a bit of his dialect to his dismay as he can no longer have secret jokes with his friends. His favourite line when I didn't understand used to be 'ti spiego dopo', I'll explain later, which his friends naturally found hilarious. Now, whenever I understand and tell him he's an idiot, his friends find that hilarious. Sometimes I feel like we're a comedy duo.
Any advice to “mixed” culture couples or couples doing long-distance?
For mixed culture couples I think it's really important to learn and practice both cultures. Obviously as I live in Italy we do many key Italian cultural things like aperitivi and drinking wine, but he's great at trying out my traditions too. He absolutely loved the Highland Games we watched in Scotland and he's got a weird obsession with black pudding - we do some interesting Scottish-Italian fusion dishes!
Submitted by Rebecca.
Here's how you can connect with Rebecca:
A huge, heartfelt thanks to Rebecca and Leonardo for sharing their love story with us.
Vi auguro tante belle cose. xoxo
I am so grateful to all the couples that have contributed to this series thusfar. Please make sure to share and spread the word, if you're reading this and your own life is a great love story or you know of one, send them my way! There's no criteria for the love stories, it doesn't have to be international either, I have tailored questions for everyone.
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For a bite-size snack of make-believe romance, read these short stories:
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