"In 2004 I decided to go on a six-month backpacking trip through Europe. Little did I know then that eight years would pass before I would return to live in Australia.
I met my future wife Tatiana whilst travelling through France. We clicked instantly, however, straight away there was a snag – she couldn’t speak a word of English and I couldn’t speak a word of French! What saved us was that Tatiana is a Belgian with Russian background and I am an Australian with Russian background. So there we were, in the middle of France, speaking in Russian to each other. As a child, I always complained as to why it was necessary for me to learn Russian, whereas, today I am so grateful to my parents for teaching me the language.
The next eight years were spent living in Ireland, England, back to Australia for a short stint, then Belgium where we finally got married.
My wife is the most loving, caring and patient person I’ve ever met – she learned English for me, migrated to Australia for me and stayed with me despite me taking seven long years to finally propose. She loves a barbie on the beach, sings along to Powderfinger songs and even attends AFL games now and then, although she hasn’t quite got used to Australian insects yet!
Thanks to my wife, I now appreciate Belgian beers and sweets, have learned a bit of French and most importantly have a whole new family on the other side of the world!
Our wedding day is still the most memorable and happiest day of my life. We were married in Belgium, surrounded by friends and family from all over the world. It felt like a United Nations conference at times with speeches in French, Russian and English.
I had never imagined I would be married in an old Belgian castle surrounded by a moat and forest, nor did I think I would be serenaded by a gypsy band, or that the wedding would go all night and into the morning – pausing only for traditional onion soup and sandwiches at midnight.
I’m so grateful to have met someone from a different culture and background and despite the challenges, it’s so enriching and rewarding to be part of such a special relationship.” - Andrew
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