The Story of Our Romance
It was just over seven years ago that our paths began to cross with an increasingly frequent basis. Though not by design, our romance spanned many years and several continents before culminating in our October 2009 wedding in Vermont
As with many couples, Calum and I met at the office; we were both working at the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN’s humanitarian food agency, based in Rome, Italy. Rome was a wonderfully romantic place to start our relationship. Dates included moonlit motorino (moped) tours of the city, classical concerts in ancient churches, dinners featuring full-bodied wines and delicious cheeses and weekend afternoons in the Italian countryside.
Our time together wasn’t without its interruptions, though; only three months into our budding romance, the war in Iraq began and WFP launched one of its largest operations ever - and I was sent in as part of the emergency team, with only days to prepare for what would be a six month deployment. Intrigued by the challenging aspects of this operation (and perhaps concerned that our romance was facing a rather abrupt end), Calum also joined the operation and within a few months we were together again, though in Baghdad rather than Rome. I think we were probably one of the only American/British couples to be dating in Baghdad during the summer of 2003. Needless to say, our opportunities for actual dates at that time were rather limited, consisting of an occasional coffee in between meetings and dinners together when we managed to get rooms at the same hotel.
This pattern of moving to new countries with WFP continued for the next few years. Following a bombing at the UN compound in Baghdad in August 2003, we were both relocated to Jordan. A few months after that, my assignment with the Iraq operation was finished and I headed back to Rome, and shortly thereafter onto Cote d’Ivoire and then Senegal. For the next few years, our relationship consisted of e-mails, phone calls and periodic vacations together, meeting up in places like the lavender fields of Southern France, the Lake District of Northern England (Calum’s home), and the souks of Morocco.
In 2006 our paths brought us both back to Rome, where I remained for nearly two years before moving back to the US for a position with the UN in New York.
Thus began another year of e-mails, phone calls and vacations together until, while in England celebrating his April 2009 birthday together, Calum proposed to me on bended knee.
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