These two lovebirds took a train ride and met me in Paris for their engagement photos and I’m so glad they did! We were able to explore a little bit of Paris and spend a lovely afternoon together. Catherine and Bruno are the most lovable people you will ever meet and I’m honoured to call them my friends. I can’t wait to document their wedding day this September in Brussels! They have a very unique and special love story and it has beaten all odds. You can read more about it below. Enjoy!
From the soon-to-be-bride…Our story is complicated and I feel like we’ve beaten the odds. Bruno is from Brazil and I’m from Belgium. Throughout our relationship, we’ve traveled through many countries – Belgium, Mexico, Brasil and Canada – at times we were apart, making it difficult and stressful at times but we made it! After six and a half years, we’re in Paris with Bruna taking our engagement photos!
It has been an adventure with so many memories we’ve made together – not without compromises – but a lot of happiness and love along the way.
We met on November 14th 2008 in Toronto. I was studying English in a language school that happened to be Bruno’s place of work. He was the cleaner, making money after having himself studied English. His plan was to stay in Toronto to go to George Brown to study Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management.
In October 2008, the school organized their regular farewell party for the students going back home. I was chatting with friends when Bruno came up and kissed my hand – the first time that has ever happened to me! At the time, I didn’t know he was working for the school. I was surprised and said, “Who in 2008 kisses hands anymore.” He thought I was being a snob and we didn’t talk for the rest of the night.
My friend who also worked for the school, invited me to his birthday get-together at his place. I had no idea that Bruno was his roommate. When I arrived, everyone already had too much to drink. Bruno and I started talking but I felt very awkward after what I said at the farewell party. We eventually did too many shots of vodka and I stayed the night.
After that night, I went back to stay at his place every night until I had to go back home to Belgium. We felt a deep connection.
A month after we met, Bruno asked me to come with him to Buffalo to get his student visa to study in Toronto. We weren’t sure if he would be able to get his papers, so it was a very stressful trip. Going through this together ended up really strengthening our relationship.
In December later that year, I completed my English studies and had to return home before going to Mexico City in February to volunteer. I had to leave Bruno. Saying goodbye at the airport was one of the saddest and most difficult moments in my life. I thought I was saying goodbye to him forever and would never see him again. My life plan did not include staying in Toronto – I was 18 and supposed to go to university in Belgium, and I couldn’t afford to study in Toronto anyway.
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Back home in January 2009, I told my mom that I wanted to go back to Canada to be with Bruno – she disagreed with my choice and this resulted in a lot of fighting. I tried to come up with money on my own for college and my uncle ended up helping out. I told Bruno to wait for me because I would come back to study and live with him in Toronto. We were apart for 6 difficult months while I was back home studying Spanish. I then went to Mexico and Oaxaca to volunteer. Bruno and I talked every day on Facebook, sending each other photos and messages. The most difficult thing for our long distance relationship was trust – because you get stressed out when you don’t hear from the other person – but we made it!
I was supposed to leave Mexico in July to go back to Belgium, but in June the H1N1 flu appeared in Oaxaca where I was staying. The association I was volunteering with didn’t want to risk me falling ill and asked me to leave. I decided to go back to Toronto to apply and do the entry English exams.
We were finally together and even though we had no money, we were happy to figure it out with each other. Bruno started school at George Brown and also held a full time job at a Portuguese restaurant. It was exhausting for him – maintaining this full time job through three years of school. I never understood how he was physically able to do this. He’s such a smart and strong man – he impresses me every day and I am so grateful he waited for me to come back.
In the summer of 2009, I had to return home to organize my move and say goodbye to my friends and family. I came back to Toronto in September to start studying at Seneca College for Business Management and Events. We were living with Bruno’s cousin, brother and friend. It was difficult living with four other guys! We were tight on money because I wasn’t able to get a working visa while in school for the first year. Living on a tight budget taught us a lot about ourselves and brought us closer together.
I found a serving job at a restaurant after getting my work visa and thank to that, we were able to find our own apartment – closer to my school and Bruno’s new job at Copacabana. We finally had privacy!
Bruno graduated from school in 2011. I was so proud and happy that he managed to do it all and pay for his own way.
When I was in Toronto, I made it clear that it was temporary – staying for my studies and going back home to Brussels after I graduated. Deep down, I truly and deeply hoped that Bruno would come with me, but it was his decision to make and I didn’t want to push him. A few months before I graduated from Seneca in May 2012, Bruno told me he was coming to Brussels. I was over the moon and couldn’t believe it. We arrived in Belgium on June 1st with 100 kilos of luggage and Silly, our cat.
The experiences we’ve had taught us a lot about us and our relationship. It made us stronger, and even though we fight, we always talked about everything. Today, we are at a great place in our lives.
In January 2015, we went to Brazil to visit Bruno’s family. We went to Jericoacoara – where we walked along the beach for an hour. It started to rain and Bruno proposed to me under a rock during a thunderstorm. It was extremely romantic and I was not expecting it at all! Bruno always expressed he didn’t understand the point of marriage, so I thought and accepted it was never going to happen – but he did it! He put a ring on my finger!