Often times, miscommunication leads to some type of conflict. However, for this couple, it helped them fall in love!
Xiao Liu, also known as Monica, left China to come to the University of Tampa in September 2011. She started her Master’s degree in marketing and really wasn’t expecting to fall in love.
Little did she know some slight miscommunication would lead her to find the love of her life.
Since Monica didn’t have a car, she had to walk everywhere. One day she was carrying her groceries back to her dorm.
“I saw a group of guys and one of them was really friendly,” Monica explained. A U.S. American with a thick New York City accent came up to her. “He said, ‘I think that’s heavy. Do you want me to carry that to the dorm?'”
This was her first encounter with Brad Rosen, her future boyfriend. At the time Brad was studying for his Bachelor’s and Master’s in accounting.
“He was very helpful,” Monica started. “He was a typical American guy. He used truthful words, different from the guys I’ve dated in the past. He came out and asked for my number. Guys back home don’t do that.”
Monica, new to the U.S. and the University of Tampa, just wanted to make friends. She didn’t realize this move actually meant something more.
“I didn’t know asking for the number meant he was interested in dating,” Monica laughed. “I give a number to a friend. You just want to make friends [as an international student]. I didn’t think he felt that way.”
It wasn’t long until Brad called Monica, it was that weekend actually.
“I didn’t get his phone call, it went right to voicemail,” Monica shared. “But we saw each other on campus later and he said he tried to call me. He then asked me to go to dinner.”
The two ended up having dinner in the school cafeteria. They talked about different cultures, how Brad was from the suburbs of New York City and Monica from China.
“My English was really bad,” Monica laughed. “But I was just excited to talk about what I was learning in class. It was fun talking. I still remember it.”
Monica thought she made a new friend. Brad lived in a neighboring dorm and both had the same circle of friends. Some nights the group would get together and watch TV. The next time Monica saw Brad was when it was her roommate’s birthday.
“I said because it was my roommate’s birthday, we were going to Disney World,” Monica started. “But he thought I was asking him to come with us! He said ‘Sure, let’s go there.'”
Monica replied, “Ok, that’s really nice!”
Before they left, all of Monica’s friends kept telling her Brad liked her.
“I thought they were gossiping,” Monica chuckled.
It ended up being a great date at Disney World. They ended up talking about everything. After that, Monica and Brad started going on dates every weekend.
In October 2011, Brad said he wanted to get serious.
“I wasn’t 100 percent sure, but I thought why not give it a try?” Monica explained. “In China, people are friends for years until getting together. They are friends during college and then they get together. In the States, it’s kind of like fast. Some of my friends back home waste their time. I like this way better.”
Since both have to take international classes because of their majors, both already kind of knew some of the cultural differences, such as gestures and food. But Monica and Brad continued to learn from each other.
“In China, we have a lot of festivals,” Monica started. “In America, I don’t know what he celebrates.” So they have to remember to tell each other. Monica also started to learn more about U.S. culture as well.
“We went to a baseball game last July Fourth, that was my first time seeing a real baseball game,” Monica shared. “People were so excited around us. I still don’t know the rules. Everyone was cheering, I was like ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ ”
Monica also had to learn to be more open with her feelings. She suggested when dating an American guy, you have to be more open.
“They have feelings and they talk about it, face to face,” Monica shared, smiling over the phone. “For other girls, like Chinese girls, they are shy about feelings. Sometimes I am too. I don’t want to tell other people. After a while, I started to express myself since he kept doing it!”
The parents are more than happy with the relationship. Monica visited Brad’s family for Christmas in 2011 and 2012 and Brad already Skyped with Monica’s mom.
“I was nervous to tell my mom because [my family] is so far away and they can’t meet him in person, but I was surprised she said it was great,” Monica laughed. “I don’t feel like I’m dating a foreigner. I feel like I’m dating a person. It’s just him and me.”
Right now, the couple is dating long distance. Brad graduated and moved to New York City in August 2012. They admit it’s hard, but the most important things they can do to keep the relationship alive are communicate and remain focused.
“He visits me sometimes, right now it’s tax season so he’s busy,” Monica explained. “We visited each other for Christmas and New Years. It’s not that bad, not like it’s China and the U.S. We talk every day!”