Meeting my American Wife in Madrid

I was living in Madrid, Spain, during the fall of 2003 for graduate school, but had to move back in with my parents in Georgia in January 2004 due to a serious illness. Two weeks later, I heard of a girl who had moved to Madrid. We had some mutual friends, and I kept hearing of this “Kelly Wills.” I was intrigued, but she was an ocean away, and I was in a wheelchair.

In September 2007, I was ready to move back to Madrid! I had recovered, finished my degree, and I was ready for more! But, I still didn’t get to meet Kelly, as I moved to Madrid two weeks after she had left for the States on furlough. I got to know her roommates, her co-workers, and even helped out at her church while she was away. Later on, I would find out that all of these people were talking me up to her.

And one day in early December, I got an e-mail from Kelly Wills. She was asking if I wanted to still help out with the music at church once she got back to Madrid in January. “I’d be happy to help out,” I replied. “It’ll be good to finally meet you!” We e-mailed and Skyped over Christmas, and I was really getting excited to meet her in January! We went out with some friends a couple of times then made plans to go to a musical on Madrid’s Broadway, Gran Vía. We chatted and texted over the next week or so making plans for our big date. And it was on that first date that I asked her a very serious question as we were finding our seats.

“Do you want to be my girlfriend now? Or later?” She hesitated for a second. I took her hand and looked reassuringly into her eyes.

“We both know that you’re going to be my girlfriend,” I started. “So is it now, or is it later?”

“Now!” she gushed, smiling and giving my arm an extra squeeze.

After the show, we went on to dinner, where I got to know more of my new girlfriend, and we stayed out talking until way after the last train for the Metro had left. “I don’t mind walking home tonight,” I thought. Every detail came together, and to top it all off, I was starting a new chapter in my life!

Three days later, after we had gone for a jog, I blurted out, “So, where’s the wedding going to be?” This caught even me by surprise because I was usually such a cautious person. But to talk about marriage so soon was exhilarating! Here I was in another country choosing to have a life with this woman. Everything I had been before changed in that moment.

P and K wedding

On our wedding day

I formally proposed two months later, we married in Madrid that September and honeymooned in Morocco. We moved to Memphis a year later, and started our family about another year after that. Sometimes our lives in Madrid seem like a dream, but despite the daily grind, it’s comforting to hold my wife in my arms and remember that we’re together. No matter what. No matter where.


The Beginning
About Paulo Jennemann

I'm first generation Southern; my dad is from Ohio, and my mom is from Puerto Rico. My wife and I moved to Memphis, TN from Madrid, Spain, and we have two sons. I'm a high school Spanish teacher, a home cook, a dad, and a blogger. I don't always speak English after 7pm.

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  1. Kelly says:

    You were so smooth :). And holy crap, how on earth have we (or I at least) aged so much in six years!?! We need to slow it down, babe!

    All told, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Never a dull moment :).

  2. Troy says:

    Love this! What a wonderful story… 🙂

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