CBC readers share their unlikely love stories
CBC readers share their unlikely love stories
My Funny Valentine
Rudi & Pascale
It was the fall of 1972. My German company sent me to work at a shirt factory located just over the French border. Little did I know how my life would change.
A day after I arrived, a beautiful girl caught my eye. There was, however, one big problem: I couldn’t speak French and she couldn’t speak German.
I found out from the plant manager, who spoke both languages, that the girl was his wife's good friend.
I convinced him to set up a double date, with him and his wife translating.
After that, Pascale and I met on weekends in a small café – me with several pocket dictionaries in my jacket trying to build sentences. It was exciting, funny, but more so very frustrating. I wanted to say so many things to her but was not able to.
In the spring of 1973, I was offered a job in Canada but I didn’t want to go without Pascale. We still couldn’t really communicate, but I felt in my heart this was the girl I wanted to hang onto forever.
We married in July 1973 and by 1974, I found myself living in Montreal learning English for work and French, of course, in order to speak to Pascale. Soon the company wanted me to take over their branch in Toronto, we moved, and Pascale learned English.
Many decades and three multi-lingual children later, we still haven’t mastered all our languages.
Our conversations at home switch between English, French, German and the odd words in Italian. Still our love has carried us for 40 years, and we hope for 40 more.
-- Rudi Kuehnhold
How time flies! Jim and I have been married now for 32 years. We are blessed with six wonderful children.
Looking back, it baffles me how we got together against all odds.
He’s Protestant. I’m Catholic. He’s quiet, reserved and shy, and I am loud, cheerful and always laughing. He came to Canada from New Zealand in 1970 and I arrived from the Philippines in 1976.
In 1978, our paths crossed in a disco club. I was there with my friends and sister. Jim was “window shopping” with his friends.
He tells people that he “picked” me; but I tell them that I was the one that seduced him with my dancing.
I like teasing him, and bossing him; and he doesn’t mind being told what to do. I suppose our differences are what attracted us to each other!
We got married four years after meeting. His siblings came for the wedding, and were surprised when they met me. I wasn’t the submissive "Oriental” girl they had in mind!
I laughed so hard. And I’m still laughing.
Evelyn and Jim with their four eldest children
Kenny Joe & Meralee
I was in Vancouver for an AC/DC concert. She was in Vancouver searching for actors from the movie Twilight.
I was from Kamloops. She was from Seattle.
We were staying at the same hotel and had a chance meeting in the hot tub for a brief 15 minutes. We chatted and soon split ways.
I thought I should have asked her to hang out, and I was kicking myself all night.
Luckily, I bumped into Meralee again before she left and asked to connect on Facebook.
Every day and night I checked and checked, and for a long ten days there were no updates.
Finally, she accepted and I was very happy.
We chatted until all hours of the night and eventually she asked me to call her. I was so nervous, but I called and soon we were talking regularly on the phone.
In October 2009, we met in Bellingham.
I kissed her for two minutes straight and we held each other.
It took two and half years, a lot of driving back and forth, and 30 trips between the both the two of us.
I'm a Native American, and the USA acknowledges the Jay Treaty – meaning I can live, work and go to school there – so soon I was staying for weeks at a time.
Now it's 2013. We live together here in Seattle and have a child together.
To make long distance love work, you need amiable sacrifices by both parties, and ultimately one has to make the ultimate sacrifice and move.
You need communication, forgiving bosses, and a reliable vehicle.
I fell in love with someone on the other side of a border, and I want people going through the same thing know it can work out.
-- Kenny Joe
Courtney & Peter
Peter and I are a recently married couple. Our wedding and the first six months of our new relationship have been full of surprises and compromises. One might say the lion fell in love with the lamb.
I am a huge extrovert with a fairly large comfort zone. My introverted husband can’t say the same. There’s also a 15-year age difference between us, and at first we didn’t have much in common.
Peter has since opened my eyes to activities I had never attempted, but most of all, thoughts and ideas I would never have processed without him talking to me about them. .
My best advice for introverted/extroverted partners is to have patience and build communication.
Communication does not always come in the form of words with introverted individuals, but sometimes through physical signs and body language.
It’s also important to sometimes have separate agendas. My husband has realized that I do not always wish to stay home, so I spend time with friends while he re-coops and re-energizes at home.
As two people on opposite ends of the spectrum, we have become well rounded and able to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.
There is constantly something new to do or to share with each other. And in finding each other, we have found balance.
-- Courtney Laura Grace
Once upon a time, my husband Dale saw me as his friend's kid sister. Fifty years later, I am his wife. It took us a while to get to this place in our lives together.
I first learned of Dale in 1973. He and my brother met in high school but Dale, who was older, went to university first. When he returned after his first year, he and a few other boys were invited to join our basement band. I was 14 and he was 19.
Our band played exciting venues like the Legion and church parties, and I developed a big time crush on one of the guys – but it wasn't Dale.
The years passed and I went to university. Then Dale and I got married to other people, had children and divorced.
We occasionally saw each other during visits to our hometown. Eventually, we bonded – at first by sharing our sadness over our failed marriages.
Romance finally sparked between us in 1995 – but because we agreed our kids came first, we did ten years of long distance dating.
In October 2007, we married and Dale moved to Vancouver Island to be with me.
In many ways, we're opposites:
I exercise; he doesn't. He loves eating meat; I'm a vegetarian. He's the eldest; I'm a middle child. I love getting rid of stuff; he's a collector – dare I say, hoarder.
But we’re both kind souls and we value family. We don't have grandkids but we do have four rescued cats. We love movies, and we know being married is sometimes just about choosing to be together.
We both know that no matter what ups and downs may happen, we're going to stick together.
-- Daragh Coulter
Gail & John
Prince Edward Island
Gail, John and their second son, who was born two years after their first son died.
As a young boy, John travelled with his family from the Island of Sao Miguel, just off the coast of Portugal, to Toronto.
John came from a family of love, and stability.
Gail, a Native girl from New Brunswick, moved to Toronto as a young girl. She came from a background of abuse and abandonment.
Although the two came from totally different paths, somehow the stars would align and bring their lives together.
All she wanted was to be loved, and all he wanted was to fit in to his new world
At seventeen she got pregnant. He ran in fear of this love-struck girl and their new baby boy. They became estranged.
Eighteen years later, John received a phone call saying his dying son would like to meet him. It changed everything.
Soon he was reunited with a son he had never seen and the girl he had not heard from in all that time. Gail was still very much in love with John.
From a wish granted to a dying child they would meet again, live and love each other as if time had stood still.
Now Gail and John live together on the red shores of Prince Edward Island.
-- Gail Duguay
DIANA + SILVANO
I met Silvano in a chat room in 2002. I was 16 and lived in Mexico. He was 19 and lived in Canada. We became good friends and later a "cyber couple."
We met in person for the first time in 2004 when I came to Canada to study English. Our love grew and became stronger, but I went back to Mexico in 2005 to go to university.
For seven long years, we traveled back and forth to see each other, but looking back, I wouldn't change anything we've gone through.
Being apart for so many years was painful but it helped us grow as a couple and as individuals.
My advice for other couples who are trying to make a long distance relationship work would be to always be truthful.
When I met Silvano in person there were absolutely no surprises.
We felt we had known each other in person that whole time because we had been honest with each other.
Also, finding ways to stay in touch at all times makes you feel like you are not apart.
We used to text message each other, talk on the phone and chat every day.
(Nowadays, staying in touch is much easier with smartphones and social media which weren't around when Silvano and I were in the middle of our long distance relationship!)
We finally got married in Mexico in February 2010, and I moved to Canada in March of that year.
If our love was able to survive being 5,000 km apart for 7 years, I'm sure it will survive any obstacles we may in the future.
- Diana Massimi