It’s certainly true that love often finds you when you least expect it—even when you’re thousands of miles away from home. Meet three globe-trotting ladies who made the right connections in a foreign country. As they share how work or vacation encounters overseas blossomed into romance, they also get real about the obstacles that come with finding The One abroad. Yet despite the language barriers, cultural differences and legal red tape, these happy couples realized there’s no stopping true love.
When Tinder Bar Becomes Hubby
Jessica and Oscar
Using dating apps while traveling isn’t exactly a recipe for lasting love. Yet for Americans stationed abroad, meeting people online can be an effective way to date. Port Arthur, Texas, native Jessica Crook, 37, met her now husband, Oscar Mosquera, also 37, through Tinder while she was working as a science teacher in Santiago de Cali, Colombia. From the start, she knew Oscar was different. “When we went out, he’d bring me back home to make sure I was safe, even though he knew he wasn’t coming in,” she says. “I’d never been treated like that by anybody else.”
Shortly after they began dating exclusively in April 2017, Oscar, a personal trainer, proposed. With the full blessing of their parents, Jessica and Oscar were married in December 2017 in Colombia before a crowd made up of two joyful families that didn’t speak each other’s language. Fortunately, Jessica’s sweet southern drawl slips easily into fluent Spanish, because Oscar’s English is limited. But the language barrier couldn’t dim the happiness of two becoming one.
They hope to relocate to Texas, where Jessica was offered a teaching job, but this plan rests on Oscar’s being granted an entry visa. “We tried twice to get him a travel visa, but they denied it,” Jessica says. “Now we’re praying that they grant a conditional visa.” One thing is sure: For Jessica and Oscar, home is wherever they are together
When A Chance Meeting Leads to Love
Kamilah and Jose
In May 2014, Kamilah Keith, 35, was working in the Dominican Republic. She had worked on the island six years before and had even predicted she’d marry a Dominican man. This time around, a friend was in town who wanted to visit the tourist city of Punta Cana. After making the two- hour trek from Santo Domingo, Kamilah and her friend arrived at a security checkpoint, a little lost. Jose García, 34, approached the car to offer directions, and sparks flew between him and Kamilah.
After exchanging numbers, the two bridged their geographic distance by meeting up at places like Chili’s and Johnny Rockets. Eight months later they were en- gaged. The proposal was storybook. However, there was an elephant in the room. “There’s something called sanky panky, which refers to Dominican men who search for an American woman to be their sugar mama,” she says. One pal even advised Jose to dump Kamilah once he’d gotten his green card. But Kamilah is not the least bit worried that he married her for U.S. citizenship. In fact, the couple didn’t even move to the States after getting hitched in 2015. “May is a really important month, because it’s the month we met and the month we got married,” she says. Instead, they relocated to Equatorial Guinea, a small Spanish-speaking country in Africa.
I want someone who is going to complement me. My husband pulls his own weight, and I love that.
They planned to settle in Honduras next, but when Kamilah got pregnant, all that changed. They were concerned about the Zika virus, she explains, “so we are now staying in Washington, D.C.” In April Kamilah and Jose welcomed their son, Lukas. Kamilah is currently the main breadwinner in the family, while her husband cooks, does laundry and tends to their home. “The money is not important to me,” she says. “I want somebody who is going to complement me in other ways. He pulls his own weight, and I love that.”
When the Guy Across the Bar Is The One
Kathleen and Mike
While on a group trip to the French Caribbean island of Martinique in November 2018, Kathleen Adams, a restaurateur from New York City, headed to a beachside club/bar called The Sunset. It was her best friend’s birthday, and the drinks were flowing. Across the room, Kathleen spotted a tall, handsome man named Mike Maitrel-Burgard. It was the quintessential record-scratch moment. “I say to my friend, ‘Oh, that guy is cute,’ ” recalls Kathleen, 31. “My friend pulls me over to him and says, ‘She wants to dance with you.’ ”
Kathleen and Mike, an executive chef, ended up talking all night, and they continued the conversation via texts after Kathleen returned stateside. She was scheduled to jet off to Bali for New Year’s, so Mike, 29, did what any smart man does when he’s met The One: He flew to see her the week after Thanksgiving.
Following a charmed week together in New York City, Mike decided to quit his job and move to Harlem to be with the love of his life. “He sacrificed so much just to be here,” Kathleen says. “Seeing how dedicated he is to me and to building our relationship gives me comfort.”
Once Mike’s visa is converted, he’ll be able to continue his career, but the process involves a lot of paperwork and waiting. Kathleen has no doubt that the connection made abroad was worth it. “We have so much in common in terms of our passion for hospitality, traveling and family,” she says. “Normally I’d never date a guy I’d met at a club, but he was just so respectful.”