It's a classic tale of boy meets girl, but this brief encounter on an Amsterdam park bench had far more dramatic twists and turns than your average Hollywood romcom.
Vic Kocula had been backpacking around Europe when he ran out of money earlier than expected. He decided to continue with the trip regardless of his cash flow issue, and pretty quickly the wheels fell off—heavy drinking kicked in and before he knew it, he was sleeping rough.
"It was such a gradual turn...all of a sudden one day I realised that I'm a homeless alcoholic," he remembers.
Such was the situation when one day he noticed a woman in a park. "I just saw this beautiful woman sitting on a bench by herself and she seems so comfortable by herself—it didn't look like she was waiting for anybody, it just looked like she was super content sitting there with a smile on her face."
Writer, Emmy Abrahamson Swede was in fact waiting for someone, but happily her friend was running late, and so the pair struck up a conversation, immediately hitting it off. So much so that when Emmy's friend arrived, Vic knew he had to seize his chance, asking Emmy to meet him later in the week at the same bench.
"I just couldn't get it out of my mind and it just didn't make sense that somebody so visibly homeless could be so confident," remembers Emmy. "I was single, dating loads of guys and they say they'd call and they don't and then there's this homeless guy..."
Despite Vic being 20 minutes late for their first date—arriving on a children's bike, they went on to spend the day together.
"I really wanted to kiss him but I didn't know if I could...he was quite smelly," admits Emmy.
Homelessness wasn't the only issue in the way of this relationship. Emmy was visiting Amsterdam and soon had to return to Vienna where she was living at the time. She gave Vic her number, expecting that she'd never hear from him again.
But shortly after her 30th birthday she received a call to say that Vic had managed to find his way to Austria and wanted to see her.
Eleven years on, the pair are married and have twin children. Vic is now a mechanical engineer. "And he smells great," jokes Emmy, who's turned the story into a fictional novel called How To Fall In Love With A Man Who Lives In A Bush.
"If you would have told me 12 years ago that I was going to end up marrying a homeless alcoholic I would have said that you're crazy but I did and I won the lottery...because I have the most amazing man."
It's quite a story! And one that reminds us that love , when we're open to it, can strike at any time. The path may not always run smoothly, but that's all part of the wonderful adventure that is falling in love!
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