On how we met, or “I can’t believe it’s been 9 years”

“Hi, mein Name ist J….”

With these three German words, J’s and my relationship began exactly 9 years ago today. He was this handsome Freshman in College and I was the exchange student from Germany. Two other exchange students and I had gone to the Freshman party on Campus and I didn’t really expect anything more from this night  than meeting some nice people, hanging out, and having some fun.

J was open, friendly, like most Americans. I was freakin’ excited when he introduced himself in German and burst out “OMG, you can speak German”, to which he replied “I’ve overheard you speaking German, but no, this is all I can say so far. I’ll be starting my German classes next week”. I laughed. We’d definitely broken the ice.
I didn’t think much of it when he started small talk, followed us into the gym and sat down with us. It felt so normal to talk to him, almost as if we had known each other for a long time already. Like old friends.

I expected him to get up, tell me that it was nice to meet me and that he had to go meet up with some of his buddies any minute during our conversation, but he didn’t get up. He also didn’t tell me that he had to meet up with other people. J stayed and we ended up talking through half of the night.

Having just gotten to the US three weeks prior, I was thrilled to meet more people on Campus and to possibly have found someone who would take me to parties and events, so I didn’t have to hang out with the other (German) exchange students all the time. Admittedly, on one hand, it’s pretty comforting to have other exchange students around (because we’re practically all in the same boat – newbies on an American University Campus), but on the other hand I really didn’t want to hang out only with other exchange students for the duration of my stay. I wanted to meet Americans, experience life from a different perspective and most of all, improve my (spoken) English.

Even though I was majoring in English, Geography and P.E. – my conversational English was rusty. I just hadn’t had much opportunity to converse in English before.
I think J could tell. It took him a while to figure out that I was able to follow his every word, but that I just couldn’t put together responses quickly enough. How embarrassing if you’re sitting next to a supercute guy and you’re frantically searching for words.

J walked me home that night and stopped by the next day with a friend, just to say “Hi”. I thought it was so nice of him, he was afraid of imposing. (Guess that’s a topic for another blog post.) We hung out for a little while and when they left, J gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered in my ear “I feel a connection. There is something between us.” I thought he was being cute, felt flattered and definitely had some butterflies in my stomach, but never in a million years would have expected things to play out the way they did.

In the following weeks, we spent more and more time together. I canceled my flight home in December and stayed another 2,5 months to get to know him better, and then returned to Germany with a big lump in my throat. The part I didn’t tell you is: I had a boyfriend back home. A boyfriend of many years. I think I had already known that things weren’t going so well when I left for my exchange semester. I felt like I needed a time out, some space to straighten out my feelings, and the exchange semester came right at the perfect time for me to get some time to clear my head. Only that I hadn’t expected to meet somebody else while being away. In fact, the LAST thing on my mind was getting involved with someone else (HELLO EMOTIONAL TURMOIL), least of all falling for a Freshman in College, 6000 miles away from home. But things like that sometimes just happen.

J came to visit me in Germany the following summer. Lots of people thought I was absolutely crazy for leaving my boyfriend to be with a 19-year-old kid from the US. I probably was! But truth be told, I couldn’t care less at this point. I had been pleasing everybody around me for the better part of my life and this time I was just going to trust my guts. Was I sure that things would work out with us? NO. But for the first time in a long time I felt this to be the right decision, one that I had completely made on my own without consulting anyone about it.

J and I have been married for over 4 years now and even though we have faced many challenges in our relationship that I probably could have saved myself from if I had chosen the “easy” path and stayed with my ex-boyfriend, I don’t regret having made the decision that I made.

So yeah, meeting him was totally random and so unplanned and we had absolutely NO idea at this point that this would become a wonderful love story. YES, a love story that had to overcome very many obstacles including months of separation, fighting for the legal right to be together and proving to the world (and the US Immigration Services) that our relationship was real and that relationships across the Atlantic can indeed work out.

Love was the last thing I had expected to find on my study abroad adventure, but I guess, love found me.

  1. Wow, what a love story. Congratulations to you both! I hope you’re having something planned for today…
    .-= Deia´s last blog ..Flowers =-.

  2. beautiful, babe. happy anniversary to both of you! <3
    .-= kim´s last blog ..30 Days of Truth Day 05 =-.

  3. Ah, great story. Exactly what I like to read. :-)
    Happy anniversary to you two!!
    .-= Steffi´s last blog ..Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life =-.

  4. I love a good love story! This is so cute! Thanks for sharing it with us :)
    .-= lauryn´s last blog ..From New England to New Orleans =-.

  5. I love this story!! It’s crazy how when the “right time” is for things to happen sometimes, it’s the WORST time, lol, but I’m so glad you listened to your heart. Happy anniversary!!
    .-= Emily Jane´s last blog ..Shelving the Past =-.

  6. Isn’t it funny how this happens? When you least expect it, your eyes meet and it changes everything.
    Happy Anniversary to you both!
    .-= Maribeth´s last blog ..2301 Posts &amp Counting… =-.

  7. What a cute story :)
    .-= Fabulous´s last blog ..Protected- Well hell-o =-.

  8. I don’t think you’d ever told me how exactly you met, how very sweet!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Fate =-.

  9. Awww happy anniversary!! How awesome – 9 years!!wow! Glad things worked out the way they did :) miss u guys! Xoxo

  10. Awww! More of this please! I enjoy reading about you and J so much!!!! And Happy Anniversary!!!!

    You probably know already that Collin and I met 9 years ago as well… in fact our first conversation and first dance was on 10 August 2001. But we didn’t start taking it more seriously until November that year. AND I also had somewhat of a boyfriend back in Germany. However, we “took a break” during my exchange year. It worked out well for me. Haha! :)
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..The Tour =-.

  11. Although I knew this story it once again touched me and brought me close to tears…
    Happy anniversary! To the next 99 years together :)

  12. Such a great story- congrats on 9 years!

  13. Happy anniversary!

  14. i love your story san! what a beautiful love story! and 9 years?! wow! so happy for you & J!
    p.s. cutest photo ever from you guys!!

  15. what a great story! my mister and i have been together for 9 years too!


  16. Aww, great story and what a cute picture, you guys look sooo happy.
    I met/talked to my hubby 10 years ago during an annual open house on his airforce base (I was there to talk to my ex about our relationship). We didn’t really “click” but when I was there again next year (again because of my ex) he remembered me, we talked and I visited him at his place a few days later. I only wanted to stay the weekend but in the end stayed all week (it was summer break). So this year also marks 9 years…basically I could thank my ex, I was there because of his unclear feelings for me/us and found the man of my dreams.

  17. Ohhhh, I loved this!!! I am such a sucker for stories like yours. I love that you followed your heart, way back then, and look where it led you.

    One of my greatest regrets from college is that I didn’t do a semester abroad (my sports scholarship wouldn’t allow me). I don’t know if I would have found love, but I have no doubt I’d have a whole book full of great stories to tell!
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..Mo’ money- mo’ problems =-.

  18. wow, that was nine years ago? Congratulations you two! Love, Susi

  19. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks

    October 6, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I feel a connection. There is something between us. Those words sent (good) chills down my spine. For a freshman in college to come up with those words is amazing and impressive. What a find, San, what a find. And what a great story to follow … it really is amazing!

  20. Such a great story! Happy 9 years!

  21. This is so beautiful! You just can’t plan life, and thank goodness, you wouldn’t have planned for this and look at how CUTE you guys are!! I love hearing about your relationship, I don’t know any couples in relationships as long as ours at home, and seeing how other people have tackled their lives together just makes me all warm & fuzzy. Congratulations :)
    .-= Kyla Roma´s last blog ..Yes Moments &amp Daily Wonder =-.

  22. Love this, it’s so open and honest! Love that a 19 year old was so open and forward with you! Great story!

  23. OMG! that is such a cute picture. I’m so excited for you. Happy anniversary!!!!!!!!!! lots of love from Justin and I and a big hug from Germany!!!
    .-= Tinka´s last blog ..Going Private =-.

  24. aw what a great story and love truly did find you :)
    .-= katelin´s last blog ..This &gt That =-.

  25. Thanks for sharing this wonderful love story. I wish you both all the best! Big steps sometimes pay off!

  26. Awww, I loved reading this post! :) Love indeed did find you and I love it that you trusted your guts & only pleased yourself not others. You two are so cute together! Sorry for the delay on mailing you something, I will get to that this weekend since this week has been crazy. <3
    .-= steph anne´s last blog ..Where I’ve Lived =-.

  27. I love when unexpected encounters turn into love stories. Nine years is quite the accomplishment!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Online once again =-.

  28. i so still remember the day you returned back to germany. it was your birthday and your family planned a surprise party for you. and me and the 2 other girls knew how you were in the mood for that. NOT. and how we sat in your old room asking for a pic of the cute guy and you had to play: i am so happy being home again. NOT. lol and how awkward it was to be around your so called boyfriend at home.
    i guess destiny can be a bitch sometimes. a bitch in that way that something very special and unique happens to you but at the same time the shadow of all of those obstacles that have to be overcome. but i know it has a reason why god blesses some people with something unique in their life:-)

  29. This is such a wonderful story! It makes me happy that you found happiness in such an unexpected way!
    .-= Impossibly Alice´s last blog ..I Am Not A Morning Person =-.

  30. Wow, you’re quite popular San :)

    This is the cutest story, I’ve always wondered how your relationship unfolded.

    Happy Belated Anniversary!!

  31. I looooove this love story. <3
    .-= Suburban Sweetheart blogged this: Take Heed ‘Cause I’m a Lyrical Poet =-.

  32. I’m having goosebumps all over my arms. So beautifully written, that story really touched my heart!

    I’m really, truly happy for you that everything worked out the way it is now! :)

  33. Oh my gosh, that part when you said he whispered that he felt a connection, that there’s something there… I got goosebumps! It was like it is right out of a novel! Stories like yours keep me hopeful, guys like J keep me hopeful that holding out for the right one is the right thing to do. Thank you so much for sharing this link with me today, I enjoyed reading your story! What a unique and amazing love story. So sweet!

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