Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ania and Jaime’s Love Across The Ocean Story

Our story is almost 5 years old now. We met in Ireland. I am Polish and he is an American. We were in a long distance relationship and now are happily married and living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Irish Part

Evidently, the luck of the Irish was with us on the 23rd of Oct 2004 when we saw each other at the door of the Kinlay House Youth Hostel room number 116. Was it love at first sight? I would say there was definitely something in the air.

Galway-our first and only picture together, taken by Lili

I dreamed of finding the love of my life one day but that meeting was so unexpected! I never ever imagined I could fall in love with an American during his vacation in Ireland while I was an au-pair for The Coote Family in Dublin. We spent three days in Galway and it was enough time for the seed of love to start to germinate. We were very interested in each other, we spent hours talking, being open and honest. I found trust in Jaime to share my secret with him. I have a big birthmark on my cheek which I covered using some camouflage makeup but, somehow, I felt free of my complex and I wanted to share my true face with him. And what happened? What was my biggest worry occurred to bring us even closer together. Jaime knew what I was feeling because he was the only white kid on the Navajo Reservation and he knew how it felt to be different. We often come back to those moments and those feelings of connection and attraction we found in Galway.

Meeting Jaime made me happier and I already considered him a very good friend of mine. The complement he paid me when there was time to say goodbye was like the best thing I had ever heard. ‘I would like to meet someone like you in the States’ he said. His words were so valuable to me that I thought: ‘Well, if HE says that, I don’t care about other people judging my looks.’

a very romantic e-mail attachment

When each of us came back home, the distance between Dublin and Albuquerque wasn’t able to break our communication. We started to develop our relationship via traditional letters, everyday e-mails and phone calls. Sometimes it was easier to write some personal stuff than to say it so we kept writing and falling in love with each other. By the end of that year we decided to officially declare we were a couple and I heard the first ‘I love you’ on New Year’s Eve.

Our next meeting was in March 2005. Imagine going to the airport to pick up your boyfriend whom you only seen once! Well, we could not stop kissing. My host family acted on behalf of my parents preparing dinner so they were able to get to know the person who will take me on a rental car tour around Ireland. It was our first trip with each other. They say people can really learn about the other person when they spend 24 hour together. And during traveling there are many challenges to face but we passed it with flying colors.


In September 2005 Jaime visited Poland for the first time. We traveled for ten days, visiting sights around my country and he had a chance to meet most of my family and practice his Polish.

Kraśnik- my home

Then, back in Ireland, there was the first Christmas together which we spent with my Polish friends at Iwona and Marcin’s place. We traveled around, visited Galway and of course the hostel where we met. We spent the New Year’s Eve with our friends in Dublin.


It was on that trip, on Achill Island, when Jaime first asked me if I would consider marrying him. I said yes but we decided I needed to finish my educational obligations in Poland. Talking about our future together was very natural. I think we knew it quite early in our relationship that we have future together.

The Polish Part

I returned to Poland to finish my studies but I was even further away from Jaime and since I couldn’t get a visa to go and visit him in Albuquerque. The only way to see each other was him flying to Poland. He arrived in Warsaw in September 2006 and we spent a whole month together traveling in Eastern Europe. We were fortunate Jaime earned a 4-week sabbatical from his employer. We visited Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. I had a wonderful time! We both love traveling.


We didn’t see each other for seven months until late April 2007 when after visiting my home and traveled again. Jaime officially asked me to marry him! It feels wonderful for a girl to hear those very words. At that point of my life I wasn’t wearing makeup for quite a long time. This is how being in love makes you feel more beautiful and confident.


Over the summer I was visiting my host family in Dublin while Jaime was shopping for an engagement ring. He wanted to get something I liked so we discussed it briefly but the ring was to be a surprise. It was so romantic that he took another trip in September to offer me the beautiful ring in his trembling hands, kneeling and asking the big question: ’Ania, will you please marry me’?

That time we also had an official dinner at my home and Jaime asked my dad for my hand: ‘Czy mogę poślubić Anię?’ He practiced his Polish, especially that very sentence hard.


When he visited me in March the following year I wanted to show him even more of Poland. We have always appreciated the time we could spend together in person and the hardest part was being unable to say when we will see each other again.


I remember our airports meetings. Seeing each other after several months was a blessing but the time to say good buy always hurt. We decided it was enough of pain and traveling across the ocean. We decided to apply for a fiancée visa for me. Due to my bad luck with the embassy we found it the best way plus we already knew we wanted to marry each other. Jaime started the process in May 2008.

Approval on visa application

I was graduating that year and I was under a lot of pressure. The visa process was very demanding and took a lot of time, effort and money (it was absolutely worth it). Whoever went through this process knows how much work it is to undergo all the requirements. During my interview I remember being asked what it was about my boyfriend that I loved him so much. That day was our success. Our journey took another step. I was so over the moon that we were finally allowed to be together!!! I found the first phone booth and called Jaime to share my happiness. He was 8 hours ahead, waiting for my call in the middle of the night. We talked for one hour on the street in front of the embassy on Piękna in Warsaw. What a relief it was to get visa in hand on the 31st of December 2008. We were so thankful and Jaime quickly booked for a ticket to Poland (guy spent a fortune on those tickets). The packing was done, some gifts bought, work finished. I met my family, friends and coworkers to say good bye.

The American Part

We left Poland on the 22nd of Jan 2009. Our flight from Warsaw was 4 hours delayed before it even left the airport so we knew we won’t make it to catch a connecting flight to Albuquerque. I was excited about the trip but Jaime suffered his back pain and we wanted to be ‘home’. He decided to fly with me due to immigration procedure I needed to undergo in Chicago. It was all a good experience, though. We arrived so late that there wasn’t any waiting or questioning. I heard a lovely welcome by an officer who, seeing me, asked who the lucky guy was. Jaime was so proud. We stayed in Chicago that night and flew to Albuquerque the next day. New Mexico seemed beautiful to me - such a variety of landscapes and amazing architecture. It is too hot here but I can manage.


We were obliged to get married within 90 days so the easiest was to tie a knot in the local court. There were 9 of us present there on March 20th 2009 (one day after Jaime’s birthday): the newly weds, Jaime’s parents: Karen& Jim, Laurie & Tim, Mona & Howard and Charles. We were married by a judge in fancy cowboy boots and the ceremony wasn’t long. Even though none of my family was able to be there, we had a beautiful day and a lovely reception.

Albuquerque –wedding day

I am happily married to Jaime who supports me in my challenges in America. He gives me time to find what I want to do. It is not easy to start a new life in a new place. Finding a job and making new friends don’t come easy.

Thinking of what I do not have I thought that I do have something wonderful to share which is my romantic story. I hope it can help some couples to believe that a long distance relationship can work. True love can conquer it all- the distance, the language barrier, etc. Another thing is that many people worry that appearance has a significant impact on relationships. Look, I have a birthmark right on my face and I am loved by someone I love. So let’s believe in the power of love. Love is the most important thing.