Alex graduated from UCLA with a major in linguistics and a minor in anthropology. She has loved the Italian culture from a young age –teaching herself to speak Italian when she was just 10 years old– so it was quite a surprise to everyone when she elected instead to focus on Spanish linguistics in college.
Shortly after graduation, she learned about an opportunity to teach English in Spain for a year and decided it would be a fun and educational experience. After a tedious process involving a mountain of red-tape and numerous delays – so much so that she almost gave up on going– it was finally determined she would be living and teaching in the city of Jaén.
We hadn’t heard of Jaén before, but soon learned that the province is located in the Andalusian region and is recognized as the World Capital of Olive Oil, –producing an astounding 20% of the world’s total production —more than the entire country of Greece! —Who knew?
Anyway, shortly after Alex’s arrival in Jaén, she hit it off with a friendly British guy named Ali, the only other native English-speaking teacher at her school.
Meanwhile, Alessio, born and raised in Palermo (Sicily) and studying law, has come to Jaén to attend school via the Erasmus Study Programme. (And by the way, —yes. We have three derivatives of the same name converging in one story here.)
As Alessio tells the story, he had already seen Alex and Ali about town (two tall blondes in a Latin city– hard to miss) and assumed they were boyfriend and girlfriend. So when Ali and Alex appeared at his door in answer to his ad for a roommate, he was both pleased to meet the blonde girl who had caught his eye, but disappointed that his assumption had been correct – obviously she was there helping her boyfriend find a place to live.
Despite this, Alessio did end up selecting Ali to be his roommate and, of course, once Ali moved in, it didn’t take long before the real story came to light. Alessio and Alex began dating soon after and the rest, as they say, is history. That was 2008 and they have been together as much as possible since then with Alex flying over to Italy as often as she can manage it and Alessio visiting Los Angeles whenever he can break away from his ongoing studies and exams.
Needless to say, Alex has happily re-immersed herself in the Italian language and culture she has always loved. She has been graciously embraced by Alessio’s wonderful family and we think the world of Alessio —we could not ask for a more generous, considerate and caring soul to be in Alex’s life.
Alex and Alessio walking through Ortigia (Italy) January 2011
And finally, a well-known poem I never tire of:
…with a special dedication and best wishes to Alex and Alessio —and anybody else who is far away from the one they love this Saint Valentine’s Day. xoxo ~
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)