I have a pair of friends that fascinate me. It's not their jobs or personalities or their lifestyle that makes them stand out for me. It's how they love each other. I hadn't ever thought of myself as someone who would notice, much less care about this kind of thing. But here I am writing about them. They have agreed to let me interview them for this blog, and have an ongoing dialogue. First I'll introduce them.
Ben and Agnes Reynolds live in Calgary, Alberta and are 32 and 29, respectively. They were married in 2003 after meeting in college. Ben was born and raised in Alberta, but Agnes was born and raised in the Czech Republic. Her name is actually Agneska, but she prefers Agnes. They have 2 children together; their daughter, named Israel (they call her Izzy), is 3 and their 1 1/2 year old son is named Ajax.
CS: So you met in college. Tell me about that.
AR: My parents felt that I should study in Canada, since my english was pretty good. Things in the Czech Republic weren't great at the time. This was before the EU. So it cost more money, but I studied at Sait and met Ben there.
BR: Yeah, we were both in the Electronics Engineering Technology program, so we had almost all of our classes together. She was an amazing student. Me: not so much. I think that's why I first approached her. I was actually pretty nervous, because, I mean, look at her. I asked her to explain some digital circuit to me. She had this amazing accent, and she missed nonessential words. It was so cute. It kind of made her less intimidating. I thought she was really, like, cold, but she was just shy.
AR: Most of the students thought that since I didn't speak perfect English, I wasn't intelligent. Ben was the first one to see past that.
BR: Yeah! I don't get that. Why people from other countries, with superior educational systems come here, get by speaking a second language, which is quite a feat on its own, and they're considered the unintelligent ones. It doesn't make sense. Oh well.
CS: No kidding. That's an interesting point. So your first interaction was in class. How long before an attraction developed?
BR: For me, not long. For her, I still wonder. Just kidding. (To Agnes) What would you say?
AR: He was so different from the boys back home. I thought he was weird, and not a good student. He didn't seem to take anything seriously.
BR: Yeah, I could have done better in school, I guess.
AR: Well, no, that's not it. As I spent more time with him, I could see some of the reasons he was like that. And it was okay. He had a hard time in school when he was younger. He was bullied, and he had learning problems. So making fun of everything was what he did to deal with it. I think at Sait, he did it to distract from him not being smart. Well, that's not what I mean, because he is smart, really smart. I studied almost every day, and he never studied, and almost did as well as me. He just loved learning it.
BR: I have trouble with math. But I love electronics. That's a difficult situation. (laughs) I get Agnes to do the math.
AR: Actually, Ben comes up with things and understands things that I never could. It's really amazing.
CS: So, Agnes, when did you find yourself being attracted to Ben?
AR: Ben asked me to help him with our Control Systems class. We would study in the family room of the host family I lived with until late at night. After a few weeks, we would talk until 2 or 3 in the morning, and Ben would have to walk home - and this was in the middle of winter! I saw through the way he is outside and saw something in him that was important, and special.
CS: That's really cool. So did you start dating right away?
BR: There were a few guys that wanted to date Agnes at the time. Like, she was friends with them and all, but I think they wanted more, y'know? But I called her one day and asked if she just wanted to walk around downtown with me. After that, we saw each other almost every day. I think some of those other guys were annoyed, but whatever.
AR: (To Ben) I think I just liked you the best.
CS: I think I'm going to stop there. We'll continue this next week. Thanks so much you guys.