Our #travelsister Julianne Bonasera gave up her dream job in Spain to be with an Israeli guy she’d only known for 24 hours. Get ready for the cutest love story ever.
“I gave up my dream job in Spain 8 years ago to be with an Israeli man I had just met. A girl once asked me if I ever questioned my decision and this was the answer I gave her:
Of course I questioned it! It was my DREAM job! A job that consisted of traveling the world, meeting foreign people, and jet-setting across the globe. It was everything I had ever wanted and more and it was in the palm of my hand. I was so pumped and excited I could hardly believe it. Before I went on my final interview in Madrid, I spent a weekend in Vegas. I was 22-years-old at the time living in NYC, had just finished college, and ready to take the world by storm. I thought I had it all figured out. I was gonna get a kick-ass job, travel the world, avoid marriage at all costs, and have a bad-ass life living on my own terms.
At that time, I had just sworn off all men for all eternity because I kept having shitty relationship after shitty relationship. And then it happened… Just as I was getting used to the idea of being a single Goddess for the foreseeable future, I met a man in the jacuzzi of the Palms Hotel that would change my life forever.
He was the first Israeli I had ever met. He was charming, his accent literally made me melt (obviously), and he had the cutest dimples. We had a Blast in Vegas together – we went to dinner, pool parties, I met his friends, went to a club, it was great! It was totally casual, or so I thought.
We spent only 24 hours together, but that was enough for him to know that there was something more between us. He took me to the Bellagio Fountain Show before he dropped me off at the airport to go back to NYC. Once the show finished he looked at me and said “Jules, I gotta be honest. I don’t know anything about you at all. I don’t even know your last name! But I know that you are the woman I’ve been dreaming of my whole life and I’m going to promise you right now, that no matter where you are in this world, whatever crazy adventure you might be on, I am going to find and I’m going to make you mine.”
(I found out a few years later that he literally did dream of me his whole life. He had constant dreams of a brown haired, blue-eyed girl since he was a teen, and he believed in meeting this woman so much that he was going to get a tattoo of her on his side.)
I didn’t know what to say! So I just gave him a kiss after the show, truly not expecting to see him ever again because he was from Israel and how could we possibly make that work? After we said our goodbyes, we texted and Skyped every single day. When we met in Vegas he was at the end of a year-long trip in the states, and had to fly back to start University in Israel. But our encounter changed everything for him. He ended up flying to NYC a month later. He gave up his plans of studying at college and I gave up my dream job in Spain.
Our first “place” consisted of living on a mattress in a basement of a friend’s place in Queens, NY. Two other people lived in the basement with us, so we used some extra mattresses to build our own little room. We had no money because we were two broke kids just getting started in life. Neither of us had jobs, neither of us knew what the future held. But at the same time, neither of us had ever been so happy and so sure of anything in our entire lives. The dream job became just a job in my mind. Jobs would come and go, but love? That’s the most precious thing in the world, to be handled with the utmost care. We didn’t need anything but each other, and I mean that literally.
We opened a kiosk in Jersey Gardens Mall selling hair straighteners. We worked from sunrise to sunset and barely had any sort of social life. This was the exact opposite of the lifestyle I had in mind!! I questioned what I was doing with my life a lot – but I never questioned my love for him and I trusted in him so much, I trusted in us. We eventually got our own place, but to save money we had to share it with our employees. There were times where we couldn’t even buy avocado due to money problems.
Again, I questioned what I was doing, but the love we shared made me believe that it would all be OK. Then the issue of getting a visa came up. He had a travel visa, but that was only for a few months. And if I wanted him to stay I had to really think about the next step for us. So I decided that in order for him to stay with me that I would marry him. Crazy? Yes! Terrifying? Yes! Best decision I ever made? Yes!
We were married within 4 months of meeting each other. We got married in Mortistown, NJ by a Justice of the Peace and she had her two elderly friends come over to be witnesses (we eloped and didn’t tell anyone until 9 months later). Our ‘reception’ consisted of us going to a 24 hour diner and scarfing down a sandwich and fries. That was 8 years ago. We have lived in NY, NJ, Israel and California and have traveled everywhere together.
We have had our share of ups and downs. We have known what its like to live on basement floors and also a penthouse in San Francisco. We know what it’s like to barely be able to afford rent and have to hustle at the end of every month and also what it’s like to take luxurious weekend spa trips to Napa just because. We know what it’s like to literally scrape pennies together for food and also what it’s like to spend $250 on dinner without batting an eye lid. We have been through it all – together. Now I know for sure that no matter what will come, our relationship is stronger than anything.
Money will come and go, jobs will come and go, but love, if you find true love you better hold onto that for dear life. Not only can we afford avocados now, but we have built businesses together in Israel and in the U.S. that allow us to travel 4 months out of the year. Anything worth having will take some work. Yes, I questioned everything at one point and time, but I let my heart lead me and I think that has made all the difference.”
Anyone else crying? Big thanks to Julianne for sharing this incredible story and cudos for following your heart. Go girl.