There are no boundaries in love


From Russia with love

When Anastassia Zvoryguina came to the United States all the way from the Urals Mountains in faraway Russia, she never imagined that here in the Quad Cities, she would find the love of her life. Ernesto Garcia, on his behalf, gave up the sun, the sand and the seas of Acapulco for the snow in Moline and the warmth of Anastassia.

This love story began at Black Hawk College where both of them were students. They became real good friends and would communicate in English, since she didn’t know Spanish and he didn’t speak Russian.


Two years after an intense friendship, Ernesto decided to take things a step further and surprised Anastassia by declaring his love for her. Although she was somewhat confused, Anastassia agreed to begin a relationship with Ernesto. The language and the culture of these two dreaming young people was not an obstacle for love to sprout its roots and flower in their hearts.

Ernesto keeps admiring the decisive and enterprising character of his beloved lady from faraway lands and Anastassia doesn’t stop loving the protective and trusting attitude of this Mexicano that came to the Quad Cities seeking a better future.

After two years of marriage, Anastassia has become an expert in Mexican cooking and Ernesto has learned to enjoy the singular Russian culinary. But when there isnt enough time to prepare a special meal, like every other immigrant that has assimilated to the American culture, they don’t pass up the opportunity to taste a good hamburger.


Anastassia and Ernesto are a living example that in love there are no barriers. She learned to speak Spanish and even though he hasn’t had the same luck of learning Russian, there are words that he does know well: “Lubov”, which means “Love”.

imelda_bob.jpgLove, the Mexican way


40 years have passed and they still remember as if it were yesterday; the place and even the time that they met. Imelda Luna and Robert Crinklaw didn’t have any plans to get married. She had just turned 17 years old and he was only 19.

Bob and Imee, as their family members and countless friends know them by, met casually on August 8th of 1968, in a café in Mexico City.
Bob got to the cafe (which was close to his hotel) and couldn’t find a place to sit, so he asked a young man if he could share his table. Minutes later, a pleasant young lady arrived to meet with her friend, who was now accompanied by a “gringo” whom he had just met. Four hours later, Bob took Imee all the way to her house and during the remaining 10 days that Bob stayed in Mexico, they didn’t stop seeing each other.


“I became interested in her since the first time I saw her,” remembers Bob. Before returning to the US, he proposed to Imee.

“I accept, but you have to ask my mom for permission”, replied the young lady with a decisive character. With barely 17 years of age, Imee knew she was before the love of her life.

Just a month after meeting and with her parents’ permission, on September 7th of 1968, Bob and Imee were married in Cedar Falls.

Now after two children and five grandchildren, the four decades that they have remained together has shown them that the path of love is not easy. Throughout their marriage life they’ve had their problems just like every couple, but they’ve been able to overcome them. Bob and Imee assure that tolerance and respect are the secret to battling difficulties and maintaining the flame of true love alive.

Though many doubt it, the story of Bob and Imee show us that “love at first sight” doesn’t only exist, but it can last forever.

gladys_mike.jpg“If you go to Chile…”

When they met in the city of Chillan, in the central part of Chile, the only way they could communicate, was by using a Spanish-Finnish dictionary. Gladys Candia and Mika Laakso didn’t speak any similar languages, but destiny had a path ready for them to take together.

Days after meeting, he had to return to his faraway Finland. But one month later, his work took him back to Chile, though this time, Mika had a surprise for Gladys. His interest in communicating with her made him learn Spanish quickly. The following months served to cultivate a beautiful friendship, that later turned into love.

Again, Mika and Gladys had to separate; he was supposed to return to his country and this time it would be permanent, since the company for which he worked for had finished its projects in Chile.

But neither distance nor the intense work erased Gladys’ look or smile from Mika’s mind. On her behalf, she couldn’t stop thinking about that young sincere and honest engineer that had stolen her heart.

“I believe that I went after my destiny, that’s why I quit my job and went to Finland. My heart always told me he was the man of my life.” Mika invited her to Finland, Gladys didn’t think twice.

Far away from her family but surrounded by the friends and family members of Mika, they were married in the city of Lahti, thousands of miles from her native Chile. Years later and now with two children (Matias and Emilia), work was in charge of bringing them to the Quad Cities.

Even though the project for John Deere, whom Mika works for, ends in June of 2010, they both know that the place where live doesn’t matter because the love they have for each other is enough to help them adapt to new cultures, new friends and why not, new languages. Meanwhile, he will tell her in Finnish, “Mina rakastan sinua,” and she will respond in Spanish: “te amo”.

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