I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I lived there for 26 years. Honestly, sometimes I still find it hard to believe that I’ve been in this country for 11 years and even more unbelievable that I can speak this darn language. English. I can’t believe I actually speak English. Yes, I am proud of myself, but I just want to tell you a little story.
Eleven years ago, I was lost. I was sad and did not know what to do. I knew I wanted to get out of that situation but I just did not know how to start and believe me, I am always the one who knows the way, always the one who thinks positive about the worst situations… I got a phone call, from very far away. Who else could help you or even sense that you need help, but a true friend? When I heard Renata’s voice I broke down and thought to myself, how am I going to tell her I am getting a divorce. She was one of my bridesmaids less than a year ago. She was very supportive and at the end of the conversation she invited me to come to her house, in California, and stay for a while, to relax and be away from everything that was hurting me. I did. I never called Brazil home again.
Let me just say, loving someone and being loved was never a smooth process for me. I loved my ex-husband and I know he loved me but today, I just think we were very immature and we did not know what we know today. So, I left behind 4 years of law school, packed 2 luggages, told my mom a million times I would be ok (my poor mom) and flew to LAX with 2 luggages and lots of hope for a new life, thanks to Renata. Is there any greater name for a friend?
After 4 months in her house, I decided I wanted to stay more. I rented a place and found a job. I was a proud nanny of an amazing little boy, Sammy; well, he is not so little anymore but he sure showed me how to care for a little one and Carrie and Mike were a blessing in my life to trust me, to be patient, to teach me English and to always be a friend when I needed.
I was loving life, learning English and thinking about finding love again. I dated some guys but the ones who really liked me I did not have the same feelings towards them and the ones I liked, well, did not work out.
It was November, 2002, my mother was visiting and one of my friends had a going away party. She called me and took me out of bed to have some drinks and dance at El Ranchito in Newport Beach. Little did I know that I was getting dressed to meet the love of my life. We were having fun, drinking blue hawaiians on the dance floor. My gosh, this guy keeps bumping on me. “Hi, what’s your name?” “Luciana!” We exchanged numbers and he called me 2 days later. I made him wait until my mom went back to Brazil (like 10 days) and finally had a dinner date.
I will be very honest. I was not excited about the dinner date. His voice was weird (I could not recognize his midwestern accent at the time so I just thought he was weird). I was tired and actually thought about cancelling but got home from work, took a shower and got dressed for the date. He rang the bell.
I opened the door.
Stop. Take a deep breath, Luciana!
There he was. A smile that still melts my heart, a huge bouquet of pink lilies and a bottle of a great red wine. Hi! How are you?
hmmm…Wow, come on in! Something inside of me knew he was the one. I swear I knew right there!
We had our first date at Capriccio Italiano in Mission Viejo and we were there for 4 hours. I remember I was nervous and did not stop talking. He told me he was just 23 years old, he had just graduated from college and living his dream, living in Chicago for his first “real” job. Holy S… I became his first girlfriend that day. I was 28, divorced, trying to speak his language, trying to make a living in this country and having some fun.
Let me just say, 10 days later he told me he loved me, he wanted to be with me forever. Forever? Wow. I was beyond nervous and excited. I was in love.
February 7, 2003, he flew in from Chicago and took me to Capriccio Italiano for dinner, he got down on his knees and asked me to marry him. I was shaking and said YES! (I called my mother in Rio to tell the news, she was crying saying that she knew, he had called her days before to ask the permission to marry me, they had never met before and didn’t even speak the same language. They both had a dictionary in their hands).
Four months later, we drove to Las Vegas and got married. Just the two of us. We partied all night at the Bellaggio Hotel. We called our parents and friends the next day to tell the news. We did it in a very romantic way, it was perfect. I will cherish that day forever.
This June, we will be married for nine years. He is my best friend and my partner in life. He is always by my side. He has always put me first and this is just incredible. There is not a plan for the weekend or for fun that I’m not included. He’d never leave me to play golf or basketball with the boys, he plays with me. We do life together. I love that about us.
It seems like it was yesterday…. nine years ago today, I said yes.
P.S. Just a side note. I asked Matt to proofread this post and he told me that my story is lacking lots of information, like me being on the El Ranchito dance floor, slapping my bum bum to the sound of “I like big butts and I cannot lie”. I really don’t recall that but he tells this to everyoneI think he had lots of drinks that night. Anyway he said he should write his own version of our story. I think it is a great idea. Let’s see!
One of our first pictures together. Sometime in December 2002.
Our Engagement night at Capriccio Italiano – February 7th, 2003
The restaurant was full and he got up from his chair and said to everyone
“I just asked the woman of my dreams to marry me and she said yes!”
Everybody applauded and we ended up with multiple bottles of champagne on our table.
My roommate Lilian took this picture when we got home. I was over the moon!
Las Vegas, June 14th, 2003. The day we got married.
How did I get so lucky?