The last four and a half years have been an amazing roller coaster ride. We’ve condensed our story as much as possible so we can share our adventure with you!
How we met (2010)
Our story began in August 2010 when we both moved to study abroad at La Universidad de Málaga in the south of Spain.
I had brought Amstel beers to my new apartment to socialize with my roommates and their friends, which instantly caught Arno's attention (being a Dutch brand, unbeknown to me) and he started our first conversation – we can’t even remember what it was about anymore.
We went on our first date later that week. After taking a late night walk up the castle steps to view the city by night, we went to the beach where Arno surprised me with a late night picnic. He had all my favorite things: Fresh baguette sandwiches with different types of cheese, olives, wine, beer, vodka, and cola, all laid out on a blanket with candles.
After that we quickly fell in love and were inseparable. Arno became a ghost at his beachside apartment and became the fifth roommate at ‘Calle Nosquera’ (my place). We had lots of fun adventures and road trips across Spain. I knew Arno was undoubtedly the one when he biked over 20 minutes with a radiator from his apartment and carried it up eight flights of stairs to my room just because I mentioned I was cold.
The Long Distance Marathon (2011 – 2012)
After six months together, Arno had to go back to the Netherlands. This started our infamous ‘long distance marathon’ where we were both determined to prove to everyone (and ourselves) that long distance relationships CAN work! We took every opportunity we had to see each other. I visited Arno in Holland several times and he came back to Spain to see me. We spent countless hours on Skype, sent each other love poems via email, and gifts in the mail.
Even countries apart, we were always there for each other. When I was hit by a man on a bike in Germany, resulting in a broken front tooth and stitches, Arno was just a Skype call away to sing a hysterical me to sleep with Dutch songs. When I finally moved back to Canada in 2011, Arno came for a month to help me settle into a new apartment before University started back up. There was nothing that could keep us apart or break us up.
Reunited (2012 – 2014)
In 2012, we both finished our degrees and Arno decided to move to Canada to be with me. Luckily, he was able to get a one year work permit quickly through a special program. Our Skype-marathon days had come to an end and we were finally able to move into a little one bedroom apartment in Guelph in July 2012. It was a dream come true after living apart for a year and a half.
Arno extended his work permit again and we declared ourselves as common-law partners, eventually submitting a spouse-sponsored permanent residency application for Arno in November 2013.
The Proposal (June 30, 2014)
This past summer, life became even better when Arno surprised me with a proposal during a trip we took to Holland to catch up with his friends and family. He, with the help of his family, had recreated our first date in Málaga on a grassy pier by the lake just off a quiet bike trail. There was a blanket, a little table setup with a picture of us on our first date, candles, champagne, and a rose. And when I turned around to ask him what was going on, there was Arno, on one knee with a ring in his hand! How could I say no!? We were both so happy!
Who would have known that by making the decision to study in Málaga four years earlier we would meet our other halves?
Lasting True Love (2014 – 2016)
When we returned to Canada, we just felt so incredibly happy and fortunate. We both had jobs, we were living together, and now we were going to get married! But at the end of summer of 2014, we received some bad news - Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) were changing immigration laws to be significantly stricter.
We watched with horror as the processing time for permanent resident applications crept higher, from eight months when we applied to twelve months. We realized Arno’s work permit would expire before we had an answer to our application. Arno’s work offered to sponsor him but unfortunately we were rejected because a law change meant no foreign workers could be hired in our region because the unemployment rate was too high. Arno had to then apply for a visitor’s visa to restore his status in Canada, meaning no more work. This would have been fine for a time, but the wait has increased (it’s at 17 months now!). We decided it made sense for Arno to return to Holland while we waited for the first stage approval so he could potentially work and have health benefits.
We thought our days of Skype marathons would be behind us, but alas, they’re back with no definitive end-date. Checking the CIC website’s processing times is a daily ritual for us, but we’re looking at the end of April 2015 right now.
We’re staying optimistic because as long as we have each other nothing can tear us apart!
We can’t wait until September 10, 2016, when we will be fortunate enough to have our friends and families from Canada, Holland, and beyond all gathered in one place to join us in celebrating our love for each other and our future together as husband and wife – it’s something we both hold on to in these days we are forced to spend apart.
Arno + Miranda
p.s. You can learn more about us and our story at www.arnoandmiranda.com
Three Quirky Facts
1. We always wanted to have a really good song to be ‘our song’. We soon found out that you don’t choose the song, the song chooses you. After our first three month gap of being apart, Arno came to visit me in Spain. We were lying in bed chatting and I was half falling asleep. Arno said, “Miranda, just go to sleep, I’ll be right here”, and I jokingly (but, also, not) started singing… “I don’t wanna close my eyes, I don’t wanna fall asleep, ‘cause I miss you babe, and I don’t wanna miss a thing.” Arno, being from Holland, didn’t know the song and was impressed. He was later introduced to the Armageddon hit and the wilds of Steven Tyler.
Sure enough, this song was something we started singing (with true-to-life Steven Tyler enthusiasm) to each other when we would finally see each other after our multiple, many month gaps apart. It wasn’t until we were at another couple’s wedding shower and were playing a newlyweds game that we realized, “Oh no, our song is an Aerosmith single.”
2. People aren’t dancing in the streets enough! We do our part to rectify this by regularly dancing mid-walk. Our go-to move is the spinning twirl, where we each take a turn giving the other a spin mid-walk. We’re hoping that it will catch on.
3. We’ll just come out and say it – we Skype sleep together. This means we will actually leave Skype on and running while we sleep. If at all possible (depending on our internet connections), we just leave it on all the time, even if aren’t actively talking. It just makes us feel more connected knowing the other is on the other side of the computer.