This week we are bringing you a love story of international proportions. This is a couple whose journey has been the epitome of serendipity — it’s like a real live Sleepless In Seattle! Their story even won a local competition and was published in The Glenview Lantern. We hope Ari and Piotr inspire you to take chances, remain patient, and expect the unexpected in love.
Photo by Jolie Images
“Little did I know that a small chain letter e-mail would change my life forever…
Back in my early high school days, a dear online friend loved to send chain letters. I mostly ignored them, but this one caught my eye — Not because of what it said, but who it was sent to.
Along with the usual suspects, there was an e-mail address that stood out: “terran_hunter”. “Well what is a terran and why is he hunting them?!”, I thought to myself.
I sent that person an e-mail asking about the name and also hoping I could find a new interesting chat buddy. Well … ‘interesting’ would be one way to put what I found.
The person I found on the other end of the e-mail thought I was a hacker. Yes, you read that right: he thought I was a hacker/scammer trying to steal his identity. It took him a long time to finally understand that I was just a normal high school student just like him.
We started to talk, then video chats, and even birthday cards … For seven years we grew closer and closer. This boy who played video games, loved computers, watched anime … this boy who was always happy to listen to my stories, my joys and my worries … this boy whose voice I never heard nor never felt his warmth, he wormed his way into my heart.
He was the love of my life…
But he was in Chicago, and I was in Bali.
I knew I loved him, but I also painfully knew it would never work. I played it safe. We were best friends, each never making a move for fear of ruining something good that we had – a fear only solidified by the distance.
Fate though, has a strange sense of humor. On a whim one day in college, I decided to apply for a US student scholarship, never expecting to get in. But I did. I got a full ride – all expenses paid scholarship – to study at the University of Arizona for two months. I could barely contain my excitement to tell him the great news; the news that I would finally be able to meet him.
But it was not to be. He was going to go study in Europe for two years. With my hopes and dreams crushed, I cursed the heavens as I went to sleep that night. It rained that night. It rained a lot.
As time passed, I got over it and resigned myself to never being able to see him. But it seemed my luck hadn’t run out yet. He surprised me with a question a little bit before his trip: “Would it be ok if I visited you in Arizona?”
My emotions flooding back in, I didn’t know what to do, so I said: “Yes! Very yes!”
We arranged to meet on the first night I was in the USA… But that never happened. He was supposed to arrive several hours ahead of me to get everything ready, but his plane was delayed by 6 hours. By the time he knocked on my door, it was already midnight.
Even with the plan falling apart, it was everything I imagined it would be and more. It was magical and perfect – my most memorable night ever.
We spent one month together, and at the end of our time he proposed.
After that he flew to finish his first year in Europe and I flew back to Bali.
So that we could be together, he flew to Bali and stayed there for three months.
After that we both flew to Europe and I stayed with him there until he finished his studies.
Then I had to fly back to Bali and him to Chicago.
Finally, came the excruciatingly long process of getting me to the USA on a fiancée visa,
(which we did and then quickly got married).
So many trips around the world, so many different things to experience and so many great memories — all because of a simple chain letter.”