Volunteering undoubtedly brings people from different backgrounds and cultures together. Spending a minimum of six weeks together, volunteers make friends for life. But an engagement? No one expected this!
At first glance
Despite the romantic notion, Karolina and Colin did not fall in love at first glance. Colin, a Scotsman, and Karolina, a Pole, met at the volunteer house in Cape Town in 2014. As past volunteers know, although you live together in the volunteer house, you spend the whole day at your project location. In this case, Karolina and Colin were on different projects. Karolina tried her luck at being a young vet at the African Impact TEARS Project; whilst Colin tried his luck at teaching abroad at Luntu and GAPA.
The first meeting
During a weekend, both Karolina and Colin signed up for a safari trip. This was the first time they interacted, although Karolina doesn’t recall. Colin said they spoke, although not much. Karolina remembers peering at him from behind her binoculars, interested but not too interested to spark a romance abroad.
After 6 weeks in South Africa, it was time to head home. Karolina and Colin began chatting (more chatting than they had before, we suppose?) during their wait for their flights. We’re not sure who suggested the exchanging of phone numbers – but it happened – and so a long distance friendship blossomed.
As one can assume, the pair lived in different countries – Colin in Luxembourg and Karolina in Poland. However, we’re not sure what Colin said but he managed to sway Karolina and her sister to make a trip to visit him in Luxembourg in 2015 (almost exactly one year after meeting in Cape Town). And so began a long-distance relationship…
Now, one can guess how difficult it is to maintain a long-distance relationship. The amount of data and minutes spent chatting to each other, the time difference, the expensiveness of travelling to see one another – we’re surprised these two had the guts to embark on a long-distance relationship. But they made it work for a whole year. They both took the time traveling together, also introducing each other to their home countries and families. The year was spent growing together as a couple, but doing so apart. After the year’s long-distance, Colin decided to make the move to Poland in January in 2017 to move in with Karolina.
The details are sparse – probably due to the excitement of the event – but a few important snippets have come to life. Colin recalls the otherwise ‘dreaded’ meeting with Karolina’s parents to ask permission to marry their daughter. We’re assuming they granted him their blessing! On the 12th of January 2018, Colin organised for a romantic meal for two, got down on one knee and proposed to Karolina!
As you can imagine, when the news hit us at African Impact, we were ecstatic for the pair! Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to share their story. African Impact loves love!