Josefina was a 21-year-old from Ecuador and made a nightly habit of checking her CatholicMatch account to see who and what was new. It was after three months on the site she decided to experiment. Her search was only geared to find people up to 25-years-old. It was an understandable age window for her to be looking at, but would someone 26 be that far beyond the pale?
Josefina changed her search parameters and looked at the new matches. Michael, 26, from Memphis, appeared as one of them.
They had made their online connection through chat. In January of 2008 something really clicked between them. “We chatted about our past experiences,” Josefina recalled, “how we had similar experiences: loving and not being loved in return. We exchanged phone numbers and emails, and then the most wonderful week of my life began!”
A phone conversation followed within 24 hours, and given the distance they only talked for about five minutes. But they packed a lot into that time. Josefina talked about tired she was about her Corporate Finance week, they talked about their favorite movies, music and weekend hobbies.
Both felt comfortable with each other and they each gladly ran up a huge phone bill making the calls from Ecuador to Memphis.
In the wee hours of one memorable morning they were doing an online chat, and Josefina candidly asked him if he’d ever been in love.
His reply was breathtaking: “Is it OK if I tell you that I’ve in love now?”
The relationship was headed to a new level.
Josefina flew to Memphis that May and spent a week there they both treasured. “The following months were really sad for me,” Josefina recalled. “I was missing him so much!” They continued to work the relationship on the phone and online. “He was the first person I called in the morning,” Josefina told CatholicMatch, “and the last person I ‘kissed’ good night.”
It was the summer of 2009 when Michael visited Ecuador and Josefina returned the favor at Christmas and again in February. “The only drawback was Michael’s night schedule at work,” she said. “It was not easy to get along with that.”
The tough hours he worked dampened the spirit of the visit, but they both knew there wasn’t anything anybody could do about it.
The difficulties associated with Josefina’s two visits were the start of a period where they each had to work harder at keeping up communication. It was hard to give more than thirty minutes of time to a phone call. Both of them did their best, including text messaging and e-mail and if nothing else, they were able at least let the other person know they were missed.
In late 2010 Josefina had graduated from the university and had her paperwork ready to go the United States where she would settle in Memphis. Right before leaving, Michael called her with some great news: his work schedule was being shifted and he would work regular hours.
For Josefina, this was the Christmas present she really wanted.
By this past February, Josefina was in Memphis, when “my real life started. It was just so special to see Michael everyday, spend time with him, have lunch with him, see him everyday!”
Josefina was doing some dishes in May when Michael surprised her with a visit. He got her to go the backyard on the pretext that he saw a rabbit. Josefina was looking, when she turned around and saw Michael on bended knee with a ring.
They were married in July.
“It was hard to leave my family and friends in Ecuador,” she said, “but this was the chance I was waiting for, marrying a man who loves me the same way I love him!”
It’s a chance to got its start when Josefina didn’t hold rigidly to her 25-year-old search criteria.