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Surprised By International Love {Guest Post}

I'm delighted today to introduce you to my friend Sarah (great name!). She also married cross-culturally and is raising a bicultural daughter, so I always enjoy hearing her story. You can read more from her at her blog My Gringa Life


"How did you two meet?"

So often, when you meet a new couple, this is the first question you ask. Naturally, right? Two different people, two different lives until one magical day their paths cross. Probably at college. Or at a bar, small group, or dating website. Or at an orphanage in the Mexican desert.

That’s our story.

Karlos had no intention of ever leaving his beloved Mexico and I, a suburban white girl (aka “gringa“) failing Spanish, had no intention of finding a husband on my first mission trip as a 16 year-old. But sometimes the Lord laughs and writes a better story than any of us could imagine.

I like our love story. We were (and are) a little crazy. A little naive. And a lot in love.

Karlos doesn’t remember me from that first year. “Too many gringas and you were all wearing the same t-shirt.” Touché.

But alas, I barely spoke Spanish, and he only knew a bit of English. So I headed home, completely in love with the niños I had met and determined to learn the language a bit more in order to return to the orphanage the next summer.

But I remember him. I remember how good he was with the kids he worked with at the orphanage. How they called him when they needed help. How he seemed like a strong, constant presence in their turbulent lives. I dunno – I think it may have been amor a primera vista.

And I returned. Again and again. And over those first couple of trips, Karlos and I became friends. I ended up studying abroad in Costa Rica (#lifechanger) and became conversational in Spanish.

And over one spring break, our lives changed forever when my sis looked up how to say “You have my permission to marry my sister.” Sometimes you just need an advocate – even when you don’t realize it.

From those courageous words, we mustered up the courage to acknowledge that this long distance, crazy pants adventure may be worth trying out. So, as we both prepared to graduate from college, we also began dreaming and praying about a future together.

After we got engaged, we embarked on the necessary journey every bi-national couple must embrace: immigration. The process was HARD and humbling and tear-provoking and exhausting. It formed within us hearts for those who desire to live in this country and a passion to advocate for those who have no legal path to do so.

Our unique journey has also opened up doors for us to share our story and help others process what life in the United States may look like for a immigrant, bicultural, bilingual family. Whether it's discussing immigration policy or which kids' shows on Netflix are available in Spanish, we consider each conversation holy ground and an opportunity to invite others into what the Lord is doing through His global church.

Let me also make it very clear that we are constantly learning what this life looks like. We try to be as intentional as possible in our bicultural identity, but we fail more often than not. The critical component is commitment. It's hard, but the result is a firm identity in who we are individually and as a family.

We are a Spanglish speaking, taco-loving, New England-living family. And I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

Sarah is a New England girl, married to her dear husband, Karlos, who immigrated from Mexico. They have a beautiful daughter, are a Spanglish-speaking family, love exploring, and eating authentic Mexican food (it really does exist in Boston!) You can find Sarah at her blog, My Gringa Life or on Twitter.

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