How the Gondolas Met

In telling the story of how Mr. G and I met, I first need to start with how I came to Japan. I, like my older sister and brother before me, went to a high school in Ft. Lauderdale that had an international studies program. The international studies program offered many languages you don’t usually find at your average high school. A few months before my freshman year of high school started, my mother and I went to see a guidance counselor to choose my classes for the term. When it got time to choose the language I wanted to study I spoke up and said I wanted to take French. I was a 14-year-old girl and had beautiful images of Paris, croissants, and me looking up at the Eiffel tower while my scarf blew in the wind—ooh la la!

My guidance counselor flat out said no. My mom and I were both surprised. My mom knew the guidance counselor pretty well from enrolling my brother and sister and knew he was Italian so she said, “Oh, you want her to take Italian, is that it?” He said no. “Latin?” I suggested. “Nope,” he said. “You’re going to take Japanese.” He looked over at my mom who shrugged as if it didn’t matter what language I took, and he went ahead and filled in the Scantron card. I was quite speechless. I wanted to take French, not Japanese. Why was he making me take Japanese?! I didn’t know anything about Japan except for Nintendo and Sailor Moon—which were both pretty cool. After a few moments of thought I decided that learning Japanese wouldn’t be all that bad and didn’t fight the decision.


Me participating in a Japanese Club activity

Much later on, I asked that guidance counselor why he had forcibly put me in the Japanese class. He told me that I was his last appointment of the day and that the Japanese class was going to be cut if one more student didn’t enroll. He was desperate to keep the class open and knew my mother well enough to know that she wouldn’t mind me being put in the class.

I took Japanese and found out I was pretty good at it. I took it for all four years of high school and decided to major in it when I went to university. My junior year I did a study abroad program for a year and had an awesome time in Japan. After I finished my senior year of college I moved back to Japan as an English teacher. I taught English for a year and started working odd jobs after that like bartending, hostessing, and waitressing.


Super waitress Ms. Gondola!

It was at a waitressing job where I met Mr. G. He was best friends with the bartender of the restaurant and stopped by to say hello. Mr. Gondola is Japanese-American, but I assumed he was just Japanese. I came up to him and tried to take his order in Japanese. He responded in English and my first thought was, “Wow! This Japanese guy’s English is amazing!” My brain later processed that he was actually American—I can be pretty slow sometimes. We quickly became friends—as many expats know, it is very easy to become friends with a fellow countryman when you are both living in a foreign country. In a few months we were dating and six years later here we are now, engaged and very happy.


Looking back, our entire relationship would not be in existence if it wasn’t for that guidance counselor. If I wasn’t his last appointment of the day I would probably be in France somewhere eating croissants with my fiancé Jean-Pierre. One man completely changed the course of my life, and I am very grateful to him as I now am blissfully happy with Mr. Gondola.

Is there anyone who was key in making your relationship happen?

*All photos used are personal


Mrs. Gondola

Wedding Date:
December 1969
Ring Ding Dong
Watercooler: July 13, 2013
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  1. campfire Member
    campfire 1045 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:31 pm

    I love fate stories like that!

  2. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 2:34 pm

    Ah, I love your story. In my case (aside from the whole how I started studying Japanese part), had my friends’ airplane not arrived later than mine and had their hotel reservations not been messed up, I wouldn’t have met Mr. B in Sapporo.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Katie, Guest @ 2:51 pm

    If one of my friends had not been able to make it to the beer tasting event he bought tickets to, I would not have bought his ticket, and met my guy at the tasting.

  4. Member
    cakeyp 2562 posts, Sugar bee @ 3:15 pm

    A professor at my fiance’s first college (he went for theater) mentioned to him that he had the right skill set for architecture, and that he should really think about switching majors (and that meant switching colleges).
    Well, he did.
    With three years under his belt at his first college, FI took a year off and then started fresh in our architecture program.
    I entered the program right out of high school.
    Those four years between his graduating high school and starting architecture school were my entire high school years.
    If that professor didn’t mention the architecture program to him, we would have literally missed each other – he would have graduated from the first college and our paths probably would never have crossed.

    I love your posts so far, Miss Gondola!

  5. Member
    mrscvsomeday 164 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:19 pm

    What a sweet story! Looking forward to hearing more about your weddings! :)

  6. mouse Member
    Mrs. Mouse 5761 posts, Bee Keeper @ 3:26 pm

    Such a cute story, Miss G! You two are the most adorable.

  7. Member
    Mrs. Rubber Stamps 821 posts, Busy bee @ 4:21 pm

    What a great story!! Have you been in touch with the counselor to thank him for the path he set you on?

  8. Member
    luluvohn 1194 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:41 pm

    When I graduated college I went to work at Walt Disney World, which is where I met FI. I guess I should thank the recruiter who placed me in my location, otherwise I never would have met him.

  9. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:40 pm

    What a wonderful story, it sounds like you were meant to find each other!

  10. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 6:12 pm

    I love stories like that! :)

  11. Member
    nightcheese 1836 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:26 pm

    such a cool story!!

  12. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 6:56 pm

    Great post !!

    Ah hon, thank your lucky stars that it turned out that Japanese and fate led you to Mr. Gondola, and not to the Fiancé you’ve named Jean-Pierre.

    JP, would no doubt be setting you up as a life as a French Wife… (nice life, as far as girlie things go… couture, shopping, house, wine, vacations on the Med, wine, etc.)… but as is the custom, he’d probably be lovin’ and respecting you as zee wife, while having de mistress on the side.

    Nah, you are much better off with Mr Gondola… less heartache, more happiness in the long wrong.

    Mais Oui = しかしはい = But Yes !!

    :-) *smile*

  13. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 7:02 pm


    Silly typo…

    Last line should say:

    “less heartache, more happiness in the long run”

  14. gondola Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:10 pm

    Thank you so much everyone!

    @Mrs. Bracelet: @Katie: @CakeyP:@luluvohn: Oooh, I am loving hearing about everyone’s “fated to be” stories! One moment changed all our lives!

    @Mrs. Rubber Stamps: Yes, I saw him about two years ago. There weren’t enough words to express my gratitude to him. He changed my life!

    @This Time Round: Haha! Oh no, I would not like the mistress on the side bit at all. So glad I got Mr. Gondola instead!

  15. Member
    adventurer 209 posts, Helper bee @ 7:47 pm

    What a beautiful story! I love thinking of the stories of one’s life . . . creating a beautiful, epic journey . . . and who would have thought that one moment could so irrevocably change your course . . . your high school, your college, your career, your marriage, family – what a reminder of how one moment can change your life in such a beautiful way 😀

  16. mswaterfall Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:34 pm

    I guess it was destined, huh! 😉

  17. Member
    Fizzy8 1662 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:47 pm

    My high school wrestling coach!
    Convinced me to try the sport, thinking that it would suit me. It did. So did the quiet, handsome team captain. We just *clicked*. …And now I have this big grin on my face remembering.

  18. Member
    misspine 1579 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:24 pm

    Awesome how the oddest things can lead us to the love of our life!
    I’m looking forward to reading your posts!!!

  19. Member
    lealorali 4827 posts, Honey bee @ 4:51 am

    Isn’t it funny how seemingly small decisions on the part of one person can affect our whole lives?? Crazy!
    Just curious… did your high school offer the International Baccalaureate program? I am getting trained in that as a teacher right now, it’s an awesome program! :)

  20. msmongoose Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 6:29 am

    What an amazing story! Isn’t it funny where one small decision has a lasting impact on the rest of your life?

  21. Member
    BigJohno 36 posts, Newbee @ 7:19 am

    What a great story!!

  22. gondola Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:06 am

    @lealorali: I heard the IB program is amazing! When I was in high school it was just international studies, not IB.

  23. Member
    In the media 1565 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:19 am

    All of these stories are adorable!

  24. Member
    bebelicious1 1891 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:06 pm

    That is an amazing story. My FI loves Japanese culture and we want o visit soooo bad. We would go there on our honeymoon, but we probably won’t have the funds or vacation time available. But we are determined to go one day. My FI and I met online, so I guess if I had not given him a response to his message we would not be together now. I don’t think we would have ever met in person. Ironically, brother is friends with my ex’s sister’s boyfriend. So we literally would have driven by each other and not have known it…

  25. Member
    desiree.0615 772 posts, Busy bee @ 6:38 pm

    What an AWESOME Story!!!!

  26. msbicycle Member
    msbicycle 718 posts, Busy bee @ 7:02 am

    Wow, it is so amazing how fate can take control sometimes! You guys are adorable.

  27. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:55 pm

    It’s so funny when one little fluke incident like that changes the rest of your life.

  28. Member
    sallycakes 57 posts, Worker bee @ 3:59 pm

    Aw super cute story! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Member
    missslipper 55 posts, Worker bee @ 9:14 am

    That’s an awesome story! It’s crazy how life works out

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