Things are less exciting around the Johnson household so I thought I would touch on a different subject.
I was recently asked about how Lis and I met each other. I’ve been meaning to write about our story for quite sometime and now that I’m being asked about it, I figure it’s a good time to write it.
A lot of people wonder how we met since she is from Brazil and I’m from the United States. Well, I actually purchased Lis off the Internet for a cool price of $135. The site, which I will not disclose (mostly because I can’t think of a catchy website name), guaranteed “a hard-working Brazilian woman who enjoys cooking food for you, cleaning up after you, will produce you a son within two years, and will occasionally sleep with you.” What a deal at $135. So I bought her online and they shipped her straight to my door. I tried to return her after she was diagnosed with leukemia but it was past the 1-year warranty. Have I gone too far with my lame joke? I think so.
How did Lis and I meet? We have different stories we tell to people, I don’t know why but we do. I think I’ll skip the games and tell our honest story.
Our first encounter came in the fall of 2001. Lis was here in the United Statesas an au pair (nanny) and was going to school at a nearby community college working on her English. She wanted to learn English so that one day she could hopefully teach English in Brazil.
I had made acquaintances with another au pair from South Africa. This girl and I made plans to meet at an Applebee’s for dinner and a movie. She was going to bring a couple of her friends and I needed to find someone to go with me. After being rejected from a couple of my friends I asked my baby brother Randy to tag along with me. He agreed since we were going to see “Ocean’s 11”. When we got to Applebee’s the South African girl was there along with a cute Brazilian girl and a girl from the Czech Republic. It was like a meeting of the United Nations with four continents being represented.
I instantly was drawn to this Brazilian girl. We went around the table asking how old everyone was. I was certain this girl was 19 or so. At the time I was 24. Her name was Lis and she was 24. Score, I thought to myself. Then she mentioned that she had a boyfriend and they’ve been dating for six years. That was that. I wasn’t going to even try. I stuck with the South African girl and put away any thought of the Brazilian girl.
After dinner and the movie we went to my parent’s house and hung out. Lis joked around with Randy often beating him up. In the four months that followed Lis and I would often hang out together but always with the South African girl who I had become “friends” with. In January 2002 the South African went back to her country and on the night we said our good-bye’s to her I did the “bad thing” of asking Lis for her email address. This “bad thing” turned out to be the smartest move of my life.
I had no intention to date Lis or become “friends” with her. We were going to stick with being pals. I knew she was in a relationship and I was still trying to get over an ex-girlfriend and our on-again, off-again 4-year relationship. But I knew Lis didn’t have anyone to hang out with and I didn’t either.
A couple days later I emailed her and together, along with another gal, we got together for games and movies and hung out and talked. Eventually the three of us became just the two of us and Lis and I began hanging out more frequently. We’d go to movies together, I’d help her with her English, we’d eat Blizzards together and we’d buy the same books and read them together while hanging out at Barnes & Noble.
Normally, I’m the type of a guy that dives into a relationship. With Lis it was different. We were friends. We’d talk for hours about past relationships, her family, my family, anything. I could complain about whatever and she’d listen. Probably because she was trying to learn the language – I think. For the first time in my life I didn’t rush into a relationship. I was completely myself, I didn’t try and be someone I wasn’t going to be. I also knew she was in a relationship, though she didn’t sound happy.
Things changed a bit when we went to a Mardi Gras party in Seattle. Lis and I danced a bit then we kissed. Our friendship took a turn (for the better) but we vowed not to change anything or get more serious.
We became “friends” which drove my roommate Ian nuts. He kept asking us what was going on between us. We would tell him we were just friends and that made me crazy. Lis and I continued to hang out and both joked about running away from our relationship problems to Italy and backpacking Europe together.
Lis was to leave in July 2002. My family had planned a Lake Powell houseboat trip for that month. We asked her to come along with us and she got permission from her host-parents and the au pair company to extend her stay an extra week.
We went to Las Vegas and then to Lake Powell and we had a blast. She impressed my parents so much with her knack for helping out. She helped so much that both of my parents declared that the next time they go they are only bringing Lis. They also said the Lis was the son they never had because of her toughness (see the innertube video where she remains on the tube while I fly across the water). To this day I believe my parents fell in love with Lis before I did.
Lis returned to Brazil in August and we continued to maintain our friendship via email. We chatted constantly sending multiple emails to each other throughout the day.
In October I decided I would visit Lis in Brazil. We made plans for me to come down in December and stay for a month.
It didn’t take me long to remember why I made this long flight to South America. She was absolutely beautiful. Probably because she had returned home, stopped eating the junk food I kept feeding her and she was her natural tan color. Yummy!
I quickly fell in love with her and her family quickly fell in love with me. I don’t know what it was but I felt totally comfortable around them. Lis always says that her mom liked me the first day I was there when I walked into the kitchen and opened the pans on the stove to see what she was cooking. She was happy that someone was so comfortable around them. I think I was just nervous.
In January we took a trip to Rio de Janeiro. The first night there Lis and I walked the beach. I stopped her and asked if we could just hang out and listen to the waves. We had both heard stories about people being robbed on the beaches of Rio so we were both constantly looking over our shoulders. I then grabbed her hand and a ½ hour later (or so it seems) I broke down in tears and asked Lis to marry me. She replied with “okay”. I don’t think she believed me and would later say that she thought I was breaking up with her.
It didn’t seem real. I returned to the States and then started saving money for my return trip to Brazil. The pain hurt so much being so far away from fiancée and for three months. It didn’t seem real. We again chatted and chatted and in April I returned to Brazil. In May we got married in front of her family. In August 2003 we returned and my parents threw a reception for us.
That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.