Moving across the seas for Love: An aussie girl and a Frenchman

This is the Love Story of Emily and Pierre

 * Not their real names and there are no recognisable photos included as they wish to remain anonymous. This is a true story.

Photo Credit: *Emily
A beautiful photo

Born and bred in Melbourne, *Emily was happily working in healthcare, where she had been working for many years a a physiotherapist before she met Pierre.

One night about ten years ago, she went to The Salsa Foundation Melbourne. (It is very well known and incredibly popular. I have also been a salsa student there! I am actually not even sure you could come up with a number for the amount of couples and even marriages that have come from attending The Salsa Foundation! It is quite amazing).

That night, she met *Pierre, a Frenchman originally from Paris as they were introduced by a a mutual friend also present. They talked somewhat and danced together once; Emily discovering that Pierre was in Australia on a Working Holiday visa. It was very impressive to her that his English was so fluent after only a few months! When the lesson finished, they simply said goodbye not particularly even thinking about whether they would see each other again or not. 

One evening, Emily was picking a friend up from the train station who had said they would be bringing along with a friend of theirs to play badminton as they usually did each week. Emily arrived at the train station and was surprised to see Pierre! He was her friend's said friend. Conversation flowed during the car ride over and once there, they laughed about the amusing and so-called  "badminton group relationship gossip". Afterwards, everyone went to dinner as the group. 

Pierre and Emily became friends on Facebook, and she eventually gave Pierre her number. This was the first of many Monday evenings that they shared with the group both playing and having dinner each time. Over the next few months, they saw each other every week and salsa dancing weekly on. There were always events organised by their mutual friends and naturally over time they became closer. 

Then one night, they had their first dinner alone. In addition to playing badminton and going to salsa, they spent time just as a twosome exercising along St Kilda Beach, going to the night markets at Queen Victoria Market as well as going to the cinema. 

They fact that they had mutual friends meant they were often together attending events like housewarmings, birthdays and friends' salsa showcases and group dinners. Neither of them had intended on entering a relationship and they kept the relationship light. Emily gave him a bottle of Versace Pour Homme for Pierre's birthday, which coincidentally was his favourite fragrance that he used back home. 

They felt a deep connection and somewhat of a familiarity and knowledge of each other after a short period of time. This was particularly as Pierre was due to eventually go to Belgium for an engineering job. 

Saying goodbye

On his last day in Melbourne, they spent it together... with Emily even going to the airport. They were smiling in photos they took but their hearts were sorrowful despite trying to hide their pain from each other. They finally had discussions about their love and affection for each other and it was a very emotional parting. However, the decision was made, despite the uncertainty that they wanted to continue their relationship long-distance exclusively. Emily stayed with Pierre until he had to pass through security. 

But when would they ever be able to live in the same country?

Photo Credit: Libby Crozier
Emily would often go to events with me as I was quite involved. They were conferences, presentations, discussions, or movie screenings often focusing on health and social issues

After some time, Emily decided to join Pierre in Brussels. They also went to France. Emily was of course daunted by meeting Pierre's parents and siblings in Paris, let alone stay with them for a few weeks. Pierre showed Emily famous Parisian monuments and places. He was also keen to show her memorable places from his childhood that meant a lot to him. This felt as though they were increasing intimacy between them. Pierre would later move to Canada from Belgium, while Emily remained in Australia continuing her work in the hospital setting.

Being separated for the next few years, it was very important for them to maintain frequent communication. The time difference between Australia and Europe/Canada made it challenging to speak over video call as frequently as they would have liked. 

They did make a concerted effort to reunite by meeting somewhere either in Europe, America, and Pierre came back to Australia where they took the opportunity to travel together. They were in the lucky situation that they were able to travel to meet each other. This can be more difficult for some international couples.

When visiting Melbourne, Pierre would often come to the hospital that Emily was working at at the end of the day. They also went to England, the Netherlands, Germany and counted down the 2016 New Year in Paris.

Pierre visited Emily in Melbourne for three weeks before going on a road-trip around Tasmania. He stayed with Emily’s family in Melbourne for one week and got to know them better. Their lives naturally became increasingly enmeshed. 

Emily visited Pierre in Montreal before going on a road-trip in Canada and the USA together. During this period, Emily started to envision how life could be like living in Montreal. Luckily, Emily's mother also recovered from cancer treatment and so she felt that she could leave home.

Photo Credit: Emily

When I met Emily at work, she had been in a relationship with Pierre for quite a few years. We were very good friends and not only colleagues by the time Pierre visited Emily in Melbourne again. He stayed with her and her family. Luckily was able to work from home, while Emily continued to work at the hospital. They were always doing something in the evenings and being social people, went out with many friends. The weekends were also well spent exploring Melbourne and its surrounds.

Photo Credit: Libby Crozier and Emily
We bonded over food, taking photos of food, and volunteering with the St John's Ambulance (including pizza/karaoke nights (Libby was surprisingly even worse than she had expected. "Sing Star" is not my forté)

Photo Credit: Libby Crozier

An amazing day where we went out on a fellow St John's Ambulance volunteer's boat/. We went from St Kilda and right into the city. We even docked near Crown Casino to grab hot chocolates and pastries before Emily and i decided to take a dip on the way back

Sacrifice and a New Life

After significant planning (and to my own admittedly selfish chagrin), Emily quit her long-term full-time job in March 2019, and relocated to Pierre’s apartment in Montreal. However, I did unexpectedly find myself back in France before the end of the year but that is another story! 

I was heartbroken to lose one of my dearest friends and confidantes. We saw each other everyday and worked closely sharing patients. 

But I had met Pierre; I liked him, and at the end of the day I wanted Emily to be happy. 

Emily found life together in Montreal very amusing and she was happy... although she had to learn French. It had been quite limited although she had picked up some whilst being in a relationship. Emily attended classes and also used Duolingo, which we both found hilarious. She would always send me ridiculous and phrases that were hardly useful in any situation...



Photo Credit: Emily

These screenshots were very amusing

As foodies, they bonded and Montreal was particularly good in this regard. In addition however, Emily and Pierre were very active types and shared a love of exercise and exploration. They began running together up Mount Royal and going for long hikes in national parks, and made sure to make time for the outdoors whenever they went travelling. 

They later ended up celebrating both Emily’s 30th and Pierre’s 34th birthday in New York, Times Square. The proximity to America was definitely a perk and they were able to explore many places including the Grand Canyon.

They returned to Paris in February 2020 and Emily and I were able to catch up, which frankly made me quite ecstastic. We also spent time as a threesome with me even going to meet Pierre's family on one occasion.


Photo Credit: Emily
The beautiful photos that I was sent of Emily's travels around Canada. Emily knew I was a big fan of "Kim's Convenience" and she visited when she went to Toronto with Pierre.
The bottom left photo is at "Chez Julien," a 'bouillon' in Paris, where we meet in February 2019 just prior to the pandemic

The relationship that Emily and Pierre have forged over the years was based on friendship. They had a real connection in which they felt comfortable to share everything about their lives with each other, possibly at an earlier stage that most people. There was never any judgement between them and they shared the same sense of humour, and both having optimistic personalities.

Emily has never been known for her cooking skills nor kitchen experience. She would agree so I am definitely exaggerating or being unkind! However, she has ramped up on these skills due to living as a couple led her to develop an enjoyment in it. We have video called each other many times over the years and many times Emily has been in the kitchen whipping up dinner. She also has sent me photos of her many creations.

Pierre is now a Canadian citizen and they plan on remaining on Canada for now. Emily wanted to continue developing her physiotherapy career in Montreal. Emily went to Canada on a work permit, and commenced her physiotherapy equivalency process to be employed as a health professional in Quebec. She then found work at a clinic. 

After much work including a very thick application finally holds Canadian Permanent Residency!

They hope to become parents within the next few years. Ideally, Emily would like to return to Australia at some point.

I am pleased to say that Emily and Pierre are now happily engaged, although they are not likely to hold a large ceremony especially as both of them have family and friends on other ends of the world. Emily states that they also do not feel that they have to prove the deep love for each other by holding a big celebration. This is one of the major difficulties being in an international relationship unfortunately.

I thank Emily very much for sharing this more personal side with me. We have known each other for quite a significant time now but I was not really aware until a couple of years ago the way Emily met her Frenchman! 


The Salsa Foundation

Where Emily and Pierre first met (like many, many others)

Video Credit: The Salsa Foundation Melbourne
This is Jai Barkley
The first beginner lesson is always FREE!

Additional Information:

Address: 600 Little Collins St, Melbourne 3000