These two. Where do I begin. Like the golden hour sun, these two shined into my life and warmed my very soul. Just eat the cheese, people. Because there’s no way I can talk about how great these two are without sounding a little bit cheesy. They’re just that great. And their love story is even more incredible.
Christine and Jenya met at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center, a Ukrainian resort where they were both working one summer. In Christine’s words, “I was the head of the dining room that summer and Jenya was a waiter. And we fell in love.” But there was one major obstacle. They didn’t speak the same language! As if that wasn't enough, Jenya’s working visa was about to expire. But that didn’t stop them. Jenya returned to Ukraine and Christine soon followed, visiting him multiple times over the next year. The following year Jenya moved to Canada for work. Christine again followed by moving to the closest city on the US border so they could close the gap as much as possible. As Christine so perfectly put it, “It’s been 4+ years, we have never lived in the same country, but it has been the most amazing journey. Love always wins!”
And let me tell you, their wedding day was one of the most joyful I’ve ever witnessed. Christine and Jenya were married at the same Ukrainian resort where they met. Nestled in the woods of New York, surrounded by a canopy of yellow and green, I witnessed their love bring together two families from opposite parts of the world. Two families who couldn’t even speak the same language but were united by their stop-at-nothing, undying love for one another. And it really is that. Christine and Jenya love each other like they won the lottery. Their attraction, attention, and support of one another is such a beautiful example of what selfless love really is. And how much you can love squirrels. Not joking. Jenya made a point to mention their “common obsession with squirrels.” Christine filled in the story: “Jenya never saw squirrels in the Ukraine and he was blown away by how many we have here. Like, he would call me every time he saw one. Sooo ridiculous! Adorable.”
Sometimes I daydream about returning to this wedding day. The musty cabins, basement dining hall, peals of laughter scattering through the trees, music and dancing and generous pours of vodka. It was a day I’ll never forget and feel lucky to have witnessed. A huge thank you to all Christine and Jenya’s family and friends who not only provided me a ride (thanks, Kim!) but also for taking such good care of me. I really felt like one of the pack and it meant so much.