It all started in 1994. I was 16 yrs old and a sophomore in High School. I told my parents that I my French teacher was organizing a trip to Paris and that I wanted to go. So, instead of a car or a sweet 16 party, I went to Paris for 8 days. I will never forget that trip. It completely opened my eyes to a whole new world. I was amazed at how friendly the French were. (I’m brown.. I don’t look like your typical American) I remember my best friend and I were always being approach by different people. We loved it! We weren’t dressed up. We didn’t wear make-up or make sure our hair was perfect, we were just there to see the sights. A classmate of ours was upset because she was trying to get attention from people and it wasn’t working. It was that trip that made me realize that Europeans appreciate the inner beauty before they appreciate the outer beauty. That’s when I said… “I want to marry a Frenchman.”
Fast forward 10 years later. In April of 2004, I was able to go to Europe with some girlfriends from Church. This trip included Italy, Switzerland, France and UK. It was a fantastic trip but it was Italy that won my heart. I went back home after 10 days and I told my parents that I want to move to Italy. I kept going on and on about how wonderful it was. The lifestyle, the people, and the food!! After a few months, the feeling never went away. I remember watching Rick Steves’ on TV and telling my mom that I wanted to go to Italy for Christmas. I told her we should go together and that it would be a lot of fun. As time went on, I started to focus on my work and trying to find someone to share my life with. Obviously they wouldn’t be European but as long as they had a good job, it was ok with me.
Then on September 11, 2006, I received a message on MySpace. It read:
ur very nice
would u like to enter in contact with me
I remember looking at his profile and thinking he was NOT attractive but I noticed that he was from….ITALY!! I thought it would be nice to finally be able to learn some Italian so, I answered back and we began to chat. He had just arrived in Texas at the end of May 2006 and was on a work Contract with Lockheed Martin. One day, he asked if he could call me and I said that was fine. He asked me out on a date and it was set for September 23- which was his birthday. Since it was his first birthday in the U.S. I made him some brownies with reese’s peanut butter cups in them.
**our first date**
We met at my favorite Italian Restaurant near my house. I saw him as I pulled into the parking lot and I remember thinking how NOT cute he was. That first date was so awkward. I didn’t know what to think. I knew Italians were romantic, and touchy-feely but I thought he was weird! I do remember going home and writing about how it was a great date but after a few days, I didn’t want to see him anymore. Mainly because the novelty of dating an Italian wore off. On the first date, he was already holding my hand, kissing himself, gave me a nickname AND said he wanted to take me to Italy and meet his MOTHER!!!! It was too much for me and I didn’t even think he was cute.
However, he had asked me out again for the following Saturday and I had already said yes. So, our 2nd date was at an Air Show which was a lot of fun. That day, when I saw him, he looked different somehow and I thought he was cute.
**our second date**
Less than a week later, he picked me up at my house and took me on our 3rd date to the museum. As we walked around, he was talking about the paintings and I started to cry a little bit. I thought… “I think I really like him”. After the museum, we went back to the Italian restaurant where we had our first date. We were met by my best friend Marc. After dinner, my other best friend Joni joined us for dessert. Before our dessert came out, the waitress came to our table and brought me some flowers. She said, “These are for you, but they’re not from me.” I looked at Carlo and he said, “I hope you like them”. I CRIED AGAIN!!!!! No one had ever done anything like that for me. I knew then… that I was in love. (he had bought the flowers and taken them to the restaurant before picking me up)
**our third date**
5 days later, he told me he loved me and asked me to go to Italy with him for New Years. He knew that my mom had concerns about him so he invited her to come along as well. My mom said she wasn’t ready to travel overseas so, I asked my sister to come with me. By the end of October, we were engaged and before we left for Italy, we set our wedding date for May 2007.
Carlo’s contract ended on December 31st, 2008. For 2 years and 7 months, he was in Texas. For 30 years of my life, I was in Texas and now I’m in Italy. I have left, everything behind. My family, my friends, my job… my life.
It wasn’t a hard decision, but it sure was hard to say good-bye to everything I’ve ever known. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who has done everything in his power to make me happy.
We arrived on January 3, 2009 and the minute we got off of the plane, our adventure began. Trying to adjust to an Italian way of living has not been easy but it sure has been a lot of fun!