First of all, I want to say we have never before explained in so much detail how we really felt about each other while falling in love. But now, as we celebrate 5 years of relationship and 1 year of engagement, we took the chance to put pen to paper, so to say, and reflect on what brought us together. Andrea and Paul
Andrea first came to Vienna to work part-time as an event organizer and part-time as a babysitter. The idea of her moving came from her uncle, who needed a babysitter for his 3 children. Apart from that he also offered Andrea a job at his company. So even if she didn’t know so much about the country and the language, Andrea accepted to do this immediately after graduating from university. She planned to go for 3 years, so she could be back in Poland and have a career by the age of 25.
Paul had moved to Linz with his parents during school, from Argentina. His father, an Austrian, found a job that brought the small family back in the country. His mother is from Great Britain so Paul was always used to being in an international environment and he even speaks 5 languages. During university, he moved to Vienna for a master’s degree and started working for a start-up in the technology field.
I knew I liked her as I saw her ambitiously move around with speed, trying to get an impossible task done.
They met at an event where Andrea was part of the organizing committee and Paul was an attendee. In the afternoon, after most guests had left and the organizers started cleaning, Paul found himself still discussing with his team in the lobby of the venue. Once their work meeting was over, he saw this small girl struggling with carrying way too many catalogs, not managing to push open a door. So he decided to be a gentleman and help her with the door, and he did so for about 10 minutes until she finished carrying all the heavy materials out of the building and loading them into her car. He also made the first step to ask for a cup of coffee in return for his help, which she accepted.
I fell in love with how at ease he made me feel to speak in German
They found themselves in one of Vienna’s famous coffee houses, ending the day on the same note. They realized they felt similarly about networking events, about coffee, about Vienna, about almost everything they were speaking about. Even if their entire conversation was in German, Andrea never felt more understood or comfortable speaking the language. Even if he sometimes avoided certain topics because she knew her vocabulary was limited and she had difficulties expressing herself, Paul was patient and eager to fill in her missing words when she struggled to say what she wanted to. It was the longest conversation Andrea had ever had in German. Because Paul was used to people speaking more languages, none perfect, he found it easy to communicate to Andrea. And Paul remembers being impressed with her life story and her plans for a future career, and how much clarity she had about her life.
After 3 months of weekly meetings for coffee, we agreed we could be more than friends.
Andrea knew she liked him instantly, and she accepted multiple invitations for coffee over the course of the next months. But as they were getting to know each other and she was used to Polish relationships, she began to think Paul didn’t like her that much. Why else would he not ask her to be his girlfriend, after so many meetings?
Paul had been used to a long process of getting to know another person, and he didn’t have the feeling he could manage a relationship and his work at the same time. But after 3 months, it felt as if he could have more time for going out and he found himself calling Andrea more often. And so he asked her to be his girlfriend, and 3 years later they got engaged, now planning a wedding in spring 2021. ( Still keeping our fingers crossed for you!)
By now, Andrea is very comfortable speaking German and, of course, she gave up her plans of going back to Poland and started studying in Vienna. Paul is very much looking forward to starting a family and move back to a smaller town in Austria. They still have their weekly meeting ritual and share the best conversations over a cup of coffee.
In retrospect, being international is what made us fall in love.
Andrea fell in love with how much acceptance and tolerance Paul had shown, how patient and encouraging he was about her German skills.
Paul fell in love with her ambition to achieve a lot, even if she was clearly not feeling at home in Austria, and in time, seeing her adapt and learn so fast, impressed him more and more.
They celebrate their international love and how each of their journeys shaped them for a happy multicultural relationship.