As an American born to Italian parents (both my parents were born in southern Italy), I kind of always figured I’d end up with an Italian! We’ve known each other for years, but didn’t get together until six years ago while I was studying abroad in Roma for a semester. He came down from Milano to visit me for the weekend, and after a wildly romantic two days, I fell head over heels for him and that Milanese accent! Ever since then, we’ve had a long-distance relationship, except for two years ago when I lived in Milano for a year to pursue a post-graduate degree. I decided to go back to New York for personal reasons at the end of the year; so, out of the six years we’ve been together, only one was spent in the same continent. Now that I’ve moved back to Milano, we’re ecstatic to see what life has in store for us!
Where are you from and where is your significant other from?
I’m from the United States (specifically from the Bronx, New York) and Rocco is from San Donato Milanese, Italy.
Curator's Note: I'm not going to lie, Jenny from the Block is playing in my head right now.
Where and when did you meet your significant other?
We officially met back in the summer of 2004, but didn’t become a couple until February 2012. Both of our fathers were born in the same town in Salerno, so when I visited my family in the summers, he was always there. Funny enough, my brother hung out with him and they went out often as part of a larger group of friends. I was only 13 at the time, so I usually stayed home. Eventually, as I got older, I started hanging out with the group every time we visited Italy in the summer.
Curator's Note: Like I said, sounds like a teen novel in the making.
Who made the first move?
He did, and I think I slapped him! I remember back in 2010, during a summer vacation, he was supposed to go to the gym with my brother, and—instead—accompanied me on a walk around our town. We were sitting by a fountain when he moved next to me and tried to kiss me, but I pushed him away because I wasn’t feeling it at all.
A year later, he tried again and succeeded (haha!), but nothing came of it since I was only on vacation in Italy for a month. It wasn’t until the spring of 2012, while I was studying abroad in Roma, that we became official. By May, although it was the end of the semester, we knew it wasn’t the end for us; so, we committed to doing the long-distance thing.
Where did you think he was initially from?
I knew he was Italian, but he could have easily passed for Turkish or Albanian.
What was your first impression of him?
Word around our fathers’ town was that he was a ‘player’, and even my nonna warned me about hanging out with him because of his ‘bad boy’ reputation. I think that’s why I avoided getting too close to him in the beginning, but—then—curiosity eventually got the best of me!
Curator's Note: GOD DO I LOVE ME A BAD BOY. What's so fascinating about them?!
Dish on the first kiss!
Well, as you know, he failed the first time! The next year, though, in August of 2011, we were in his car and I think we had just dropped our friend off after attending a rock concert in another town. It was super late, and I went to kiss him on both cheeks to say goodnight, when he suddenly turned his head and kissed me on the lips. I didn’t push him away this time…
Where do you live now?
We’re now staying in San Donato Milanese, but soon we’ll be moving into our apartment in the city center.
Curator's Note: I need to come to Milan for a visit!
Have you learnt each other's languages?
Yes! His English is quite good since he studied in London for bit after university, and he also utilizes it at his job. I am fluent in Italian after not only growing up in a very Italian family, but also having studied the language in both high school and college.
Any advice to “mixed” culture couples or couples doing long-distance?
My nuggets of wisdom to people in long-distance relationships are to have faith, stay busy and ignore the doubters. It is so easy to lose hope and allow sadness to seep into every aspect of your life. I know because I did exactly that once I returned from studying abroad. I didn’t want to do anything but cry, think about him and cry some more. Eventually, eight months passed and I became too distracted with my last-semester-senior-year responsibilities to be sad all the time. Of course, you will miss him or her every day, and you’ll probably tear up watching couples hold hands as they walk on the street. You have to believe, though, that one day, that will be you two. You will be told that you’re crazy, and asked how you can trust your partner to stay faithful. The best thing to do in these types of situations? IGNORE THEM! Let them think what they want; you know your relationship better than anyone, and—if the cynicism from loved ones gets to you— talk to them about it!
Curator's Note: Haters gonna hate. This advice was ON POINT Rosa.
Submitted by Rosa.
Here's how you can connect with Rosa:
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.
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