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Grace and William in Argentina (Photo: Grace Moreno-Gongora)
Who: Grace Moreno-Gongora (24) and William Myers (25)
Where we met: Montevideo, Uruguay
Relationship status: Living together
(As told by Grace)
I went to Chile to study abroad in Viña del Mar for the summer. Just a side note: Because Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, it was the equivalent of winter there – cold! Buenos Aires, Argentina is a quick trip, so I decided to visit the city. When I was traveling back to Chile, I noticed William on my plane. I thought he was cute, and as we were disembarking the plane in Montevideo for a layover, I struck up a conversation. He was wearing a North Face jacket, a clear “I’m an American” symbol, and I joked with him about being so easy to pick out in a crowd.
As it turned out, William was also studying abroad in Chile, and like me, was returning after a trip to Buenos Aires. When we got off the plane in Montevideo, we ate empanadas and chatted until our next flight to Santiago. When we arrived in Santiago de Chile, he rode with my friends and me on a bus to Viña del Mar. My friends fell asleep, but William and I talked for hours. I have no idea what we talked about, but I just remember how comfortable and familiar our conversation felt. He walked me to my homestay that evening, and we exchanged numbers. I was definitely attracted to him, but the fact that we had such a great mental connection meant even more.
Grace and William were both studying abroad in Chile. (Photo: Grace Moreno-Gongora)
We met up a few times after that in Chile, and every time was better than the last. Still, I had reservations because I didn’t think it was possible to start a relationship because I went to college in Oklahoma and he went to school in Pennsylvania. Finally, our studies were over, and it was time to head back home. I was worried that I might never see him again. But when we got back to the States, we kept in touch via Skype. We spoke often over the following months, and eventually he came to visit me in Oklahoma and we made it official. Dating long-distance was tough, but we would leave Skype on for hours while we studied or watched TV. It was almost mimicked being in the same room together. In a way, the distance brought us closer together.
The couple on a trip to San Francisco (Photo: Grace Moreno-Gongora)
When we graduated from college in 2011, I moved to Houston for a job, and he enrolled in a master’s program at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013, we moved in together in Houston. It felt like a major accomplishment in our relationship to finally live in the same city. Till this point, we hadn’t been physically together for more than two weeks at a time, but surprisingly it was a very easy transition. And just recently, we bought our first home!
We’ve been fortunate to travel extensively thus far in our life, and it’s a passion we both share. From more trips, to continuing to build our life together, I’m definitely looking forward to all of the adventures ahead.