Distance Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder

Married 10 Years

Rosemary and Neil

Neil, originally from Yorkshire, England was working for an IT company in the south of France, and had to travel to Alaska for work which resulted in a layover in Seattle. There was an ice storm and people were stuck at the airport til planes could be de-iced. Neil was at a bar looking to get something to eat and sat down beside Rosemary. They “carded” him when he ordered a drink and he was laughing about that because it is highly unusual in Europe to be asked for ID in a pub. Neil had the first iphone that was available in Europe and he had placed it on the bar. His pick up line was, “How do you like the new iphone?” Rosemary laughed because she had had her phone for quite awhile but the line worked and they started a conversation. Rosemary was flying to her second volleyball tournament in two weeks to cheer on her daughters.

Rosemary had to go back to the gate and check on her flight status and Neil walked her back to her gate. He left and as he walked up the ramp to his gate, he had this niggly feeling that if he didn’t get her number he might regret it. When he returned, Rosemary was almost through the gate and had he been any slower to get there he would have missed her. He asked if she had a business card and she gave him one. The only card Neil had was one from a business acquaintance in Japan so he put his number on the back of the card and handed it to Rosemary and they went their separate ways.

About two or three weeks later, Neil found Rosemary’s card and thought he’d send her an email. Rosemary joked with her girls about receiving the email as she had already thrown Neil’s card out. Her teenage girls were intrigued because they had been trying to get their mom on eHarmony and one of their friends even offered to write the response. Rosemary wrote Neil back asking about Alaska and whether he had seen any moose. The emails continued for a few weeks and then he asked if he could call her. Rosemary said, “No” but on his third request, she agreed.

Rosemary was nervous–she didn’t know much about Neil. Unbeknownst to Neil everything he did was being scrutinized as to its legitimacy for example, it was an international call from France so that checked out. He would call everyday and chat about things and the girls would get their mom to put him on speaker phone because they liked to hear his English accent. At one point, Rosemary mentioned she was surprised he had travelled so much but had never been to San Fransisco and offered to show him the city if he was ever in the vicinity. Neil had to return to Australia to renew his visa and arrangements were made for him to visit for a week on his way back to France. In the meantime, Neil bought Rosemary a small piece of land in Scotland which made her a titled Lady of Scotland–a fundraiser for the land conservatory.

Rosemary was still hesitant and when she picked him up from the airport she made sure her friends knew that she was with him. When he arrived, Rosemary introduced him to her friends first and they believed he was legitimately interested in Rosemary. Despite her friends’ reassurance, Neil stayed in a hotel and never found out where she lived nor did she meet his girls. The first day in San Fransisco they met up with a friend and were basically chaperoned. Over the course of the week, Rosemary showed Neil all around the area including Carmel, Big Sur and Monterey. Neil asked if he could come back in about a month or so and Rosemary said, “Sure that would be nice.” Two days later, Neil phoned and asked if he could come back that weekend and that was the start of 15 round trips over two years. The second time he came out, he got to meet the kids and the third time he stayed at their house. Six months after they met, Rosemary flew to London to meet his friends and family and his co-workers in Nice, France.

Rosemary’s Grandfather used to get up early in the morning and her Grandmother said, “Louis, you can get up as early as you want, just don’t make a virtue out of it.” He would bring her coffee every morning and it was her quiet time to read. Neil went out and bought coffee and croissants when they were in France and brought them back to the apartment while Rosemary was still sleeping and when he walked into the room the way the light shone it looked like there was a halo above his head. Rosemary saw that as a sign from her Grandmother that he was the one. Neil still brings Rosemary two cups of coffee every morning in bed.

Neil said he knew Rosemary was the one, when they were in France and went to a small village called Eze between Nice and Monaco. There’s an old castle on the top of the hill of the village owned by the Swedish Royal Family with beautiful views of the Mediterranean. It was pouring rain and the wind was blowing so hard the rain was coming down sideways. Rosemary was still keen for the adventure. Her sense of adventure sealed the deal for Neil.

A year later they went back to Europe for a holiday. On their way to Prague, Czech Republic they had a layover in the Munich airport giving them time to do a little shopping. A ring in the window of the Bulgari jewelery store caught Neil’s eye. “Now that’s a pretty ring.” and Rosemary replied somewhat surprised, “You like THAT ring?” Rosemary had actually bought that ring for herself and then decided to return it because she thought it was too expensive. Neil asked, “Would you like that ring as an engagement ring?” This question caught Rosemary off guard and she said, “We need to sit down and talk about this.” This was a couple who lived in two different countries and they needed to figure out how this would work.

After a lovely dinner in Prague, Neil officially proposed to Rosemary as they walked over the beautiful medieval Charles Bridge. There was a second proposal when they returned to California. Neil not only asked permission from Rosemary’s father but her daughters as well. Neil recalls walking through the hall of their home and asking Rosemary’s two daughters if they minded if he proposed to their mother and they said “Oh we know already.” They were all sitting around the kitchen island and Neil got down on one knee and asked Rosemary to marry him in front of the girls. Two years later on the day that they initially met, they were married in Monterey, one of the first places they had visited together. They travelled to Australia on their honeymoon. Neil and Rosemary have been married for ten years.

At the time, it made sense for Neil to move to California and become a US citizen. However, Rosemary may become a dual citizen at some point so they can return to England and Neil’s family.

Combining families from different countries is not without its challenges. Some people say that long distance relationships don’t work but this one did because as Neil says they were blessed and he was able to work from wherever and had the resources to travel back and forth. If you have a long distance relationship and you can’t see each other regularly then he believes one of you has to move. Otherwise, you’ll be apart so much, you’ll loose the connection.

Rosemary believes combining two families with children requires balance. In a new relationship, you have to ensure that your time is divided such that no one feels ignored. Rosemary had an understanding with her girls that because Neil wasn’t in the same country, when he came to visit, he was the focus of her attention and then when he left, Rosemary focused on her girls.

Broadcast Love wishes Rosemary and Neil many more years of happiness and adventures.

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