< SWITCH ME >

When she first met Amaury, Mishelle thought that he was handsome, but that he would surely be like other guys who just wanted to find a girl to spend the night with. But events proved her wrong: two years later, she's married to him. Isn’t that what everyone is looking for? An exception to ruin the rules they have in their minds?

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Photo: Mishelle and Amaury
Mishelle and Amaury when they got engaged.

Amaury, for his part, had more innocent intentions, at least at the very beginning: "I thought she was beautiful and that maybe we could become friends," he says.

In 2010, during her studies in Communication Science, an exchange programme drew Mishelle from Mexico to Lausanne, Switzerland. During that period, the same reason brought Amaury from Brussels, where he was studying International Trade, to the University of Lausanne too. They met at a student party on the night of the 31st of March. Attracted by Mishelle’s appearance, Amaury started talking to her and soon realised that friendship was not enough…

Their first date started with Amaury's invitation to an ice hockey game in Lausanne, but they ended up doing plenty of other things as well. They met at the train station, they went for a drink, they watched the match, they had a Lausanne-by-night tour around the city, they witnessed a man shouting the time from a cathedral tower and they ended up in a club.

Unexpected and unavoidable, falling in love could have been the easy part. It didn't require any effort. It just happened. Keeping their relationship alive after the end of their exchange programme was the real challenge.

Soon Mishelle had to go back to Mexico. One month later, Amaury graduated and followed her. When he returned to Belgium to find a job, it was time for Mishelle to follow him. But three months after that, her visa expired and she had to go back to Mexico for at least three more months. During this whole "back and forth" period, they managed to maintain daily contact through Skype: "Being separated in different continents was really hard and absolutely not cool but we handled it. We spoke every day for at least one hour. We sent each other emails and pictures of all the things we wanted to share: a nice view, a good meal, all of that,” they recall.

However, if geographical distance can be covered by taking an aeroplane, the distance between different cultures often needs more than just a ticket.

"To be with someone of a different nationality and culture should make you more tolerant because you know that you do not have the same background. Things that are basic for me, do not mean anything to Amaury: songs, films, singers, actors, sayings, games, jokes," admits Mishelle.

"We exchanged our vows in two languages, me in Spanish and Amaury in French," says Mishelle. 

Amaury agrees that a relationship with a person of a different nationality is quite challenging: "I think it can be easier to have a relationship with someone from the same nationality, because you share the same culture. Sometimes we have misunderstandings because of different culture codes. But to be with someone of a different culture, at the same time, teaches you a lot of things and makes you more open minded."

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Photo: Mishelle and Amaury
On their wedding day, the couple arrived to the chuch in an old jeep.

Just married!

However, despite their different personalities and cultures, Mishelle and Amaury enjoy being with each other and spend their time on things that they both like. Playing tennis, watching movies and series, gardening and travelling have now become part of their everyday life in Walhain, Belgium.

Since they both have jobs there now and a house to live in, they decided to take their relationship a step further. On 2 June 2012, they got married at a ceremony with more than 300 guests. Among them were a lot of their mutual friends from the exchange programme at Lausanne, where they first met.

"Amaury loves old jeeps, so we arrived at the church in an old jeep. We felt very happy the whole day of the wedding. Even if we were tired, we were full of energy and time passed too fast. We exchanged our vows in two languages, me in Spanish and Amaury in French," says Mishelle.

What's next? They would ideally like to end up back where they first met, one day, and live in a house in the mountains of Switzerland. And their dreams actually seem to speak the same language…

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