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Couple falls in love despite distance

Staff writer

Oliver Good and Marina Moriera passed each other like ships in the night during their time at Marion High School.

He was a Marion boy with a high school girlfriend.

She was a Brazilian exchange student who lacked confidence in her ability to converse in English.

They had little reason to interact during school and they both went on to lead separate lives a continent apart after graduating from MHS.

Good went on to attend and graduate from Kansas State University. He has since settled in Lawrence, working as an assistant contractor.

Moriera graduated from a university in Brazil with degrees in public relations and interior design.

They both had a series of relationships in their 20s. For Moreira, one of those attempts at love gave her a daughter, Luisa, who is now 9 years old.

After 13 years, Moriera still remembered Good — through the sparse sightings of him in the hallways at MHS and because his mother, JoAnn, taught Spanish at the high school. Moriera happened upon Good’s profile on Facebook and then sent the 30-year-old a written message.

Although it was not the original intent, the message would be the beginning of a long-range relationship that would eventually blossom into marriage.

The avenues of communication available today provide second chances in life. If Good and Moriera would have crossed paths in Marion a decade earlier, the opportunity for re-connection stretching more than 1,000 miles would not have existed.

However, it was providence that Good took the message seriously. Possessing an advanced understanding of Spanish and knowing that Spanish and Portuguese are closely related languages, Good hoped to impress Moriera by responding to the English message in Spanish.

“She politely responded something to the tune of, ‘I speak English better than Spanish,’” Good said. “My wife has a lot of patience with me.”

Good and Moriera first corresponded through instant messaging on Facebook. Even though they faced a four-hour time difference, they connected over a silly sense of humor, sharing appreciation for awkward situations, and a love of rock bands such as the Smashing Pumpkins and the Brazilian band Los Hermanos.

“We wrote every day, we sent music back and forth. When we wrote back and forth it’s a different sort of relationship,” Good said. “There was something special there. We both could have gone out and dated anyone.”

Instant messaging transformed into phone conversations and then they used Skype, an Internet video telephone and chat program to speak face-to-face. They soon discovered they shared similar life experiences.

Good and Moriera had dates over Skype, including times they would both rent a movie and watch it together on separate televisions. Good joked that although they are living together they may try a Skype date again as an ode to the early beginnings of their relationship.

After a few months of long distance communication, the couple decided to meet in Boston, where Moriera’s mother lives, last January.

“We were both nervous it took a little while to break the ice,” Good said.

Over the course of dates seeing the sites in Boston, the ice between Good and Moriera melted and the sparks of their first face-to-face meeting quickly ignited a romantic relationship.

“It just felt right,” Good said. “It feels like your fingers lock together. There were a lot of strong emotions.”

Their relationship progressed quickly. Moriera traveled back to Marion this past spring. She visited her host family from high school and eventually met with JoAnn and Robert Good, Oliver’s parents.

“They knew when they started getting to know one another, when they started seeing one another in person, it worked,” JoAnn Good said of the fast moving relationship. “They have the experience of dating other people.”

Oliver Good visited Moreira at her home in Pouso Alegre, Brazil, this past summer to meet her family including her father and Luisa.

“This trip was unlike any I’ve ever taken before,” Good said. “Everyone I met was really friendly and welcoming. We hope to go down again very soon.”

Eventually during their travels, Good proposed to Moriera on an airport escalator. Even in an unusual environment for such a gesture, Moriera responded with jubilation rather than surprise.

“She can read my mind,” Good said.

A month later, in October, the couple wed in Marion.

Now, the Good’s have settled in Lawrence. They are currently going through the immigration process so Moriera can become a U.S. citizen.

“Your mind can swim with all the legal phases,” Good said. “We’re probably about halfway done.”

The next step is getting daughter Luisa enrolled in school in the U.S.

Over the past few months, Moriera and Luisa have assimilated to American culture. The cold weather is still a shock; Luisa saw her first snowfall this past week. Good said Moriera and Luisa are picking up the nuances of the English language quickly.

“Both she and Luisa like to use the word, dude,” Good said.

But more than anything, the couple are enjoying spending time together.

“It’s been the happiest months of our lives,” Good said. “People who have been together take that for granted.”

Last modified Feb. 10, 2011

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