I love this thread and all these stories!
I moved to Ireland in 2005 after university. I'd done a scholastic program there during high school, and had gone back every opportunity after that, it's my favorite place in the world.
I was working for a small engineering firm, with a lot of diversity in the nationalities of our employees. We had people from Malta, Argentina, Poland, Italy, Ireland (obviously), and me, the Yank. I was the only female in the firm.
As the 2006 World Cup approached, we had a pool in the office. Each person put their cash in the pot, and randomly drew two national teams- a first tier team, and a second teir team.
I drew Italy and Tunisia.
One of the Italians in our office (I'll call him "R") drew the USA and France. R begged and pleaded to trade USA for Italy with me, even offered to buy it off me, but I didn't budge (though of course I was routing for my national team!).
When the match schedule came out, it turned out the first match for our teams was against each other (USA v. Italy). R and I decided to watch it together.
I met R at a packed pub in town the day of the match. He'd brought along his flatmate, "G". I was caught completely off guard. I thought the flatmate was gorgeous, and had a really sweet demeanour, but... he didn't speak English! All he said the entire night was "Hi, I'm G", and "me too" (his "answer" for everything!).
The match was a draw, 1-1.
After the match we ended up in a few other places. In one club R abandoned us on the dance floor. So we kind of ended up dancing together, and G got the impression I was hitting on him (but I wasn't, really!), so he tried to kiss me. I wasn't totally (ok, not at all) against kissing this hot guy, but R had told me previously that he was "training" G to be a stereotypical Italian male... he'd called it the "perv in training" program
. Anyhow, I wanted nothing to do with that, so I dodged G's attempts, told him I was going to miss the late bus, and hightailed it out of there.
I got to be better and better friends with R, and we continued watching World Cup matches together. G was always around, and we did flirt... and more... but we couldn't really talk.
Anyhow, a few months later, it was like a wall came down. All the years of school English suddenly clicked for G, and we became inseperable (in eachother's pockets my flatmate said). He followed me back to the states when I left Ireland (a choice I wish I hadn't made), and I followed him to Italy that autumn.
I had such a string of good luck- Italy won the tournament, so I got €200 off my colleagues, and met the love of my life. Our wedding bands are engraved with the date and results of that match, ITA 1-1 USA... because we both feel like we "scored" evenly that day.
P.S. As for R and his Italian "perv in training" programme: G and I will be standing up for he and his fiance's wedding in June