How we met: ‘He sent 40 Valentine’s cards with all the different things he loved about me

when Savannah moved to Barcelona to teach English in 2017, meeting someone was the last thing on her mind. “It was a sort of Eat, Pray, Love experience,” she says. “I’d broken up with my ex and wanted to spend some time away. I left my job in London and went to Spain.”
As soon as she arrived, she instantly fell in love with the lifestyle. The school she taught at was near the beach and she quickly found a new group of friends. “I also used dating apps to meet new people,” she says. Soon, Michael’s profile caught her eye. He was living in Barcelona temporarily, to play tennis, while he took a break from his job as a mortgage broker in Sydney, Australia. “My profile said ‘Australian tennis player’ so I think Savannah had visions of me at Wimbledon,” he laughs. “In reality, I was paying for the opportunity to play at an academy.” Even so, they soon hit it off. “I liked the way he looked and he sent me a silly line about my favourite Skittles flavour,” says Savannah. “He’d been in London before Spain and had been staying in Islington, five minutes from where I grew up.
They met up for brunch, which turned into an eight-hour date. “We went to a bar after brunch, then lunch, then to another bar. It was just so easy to be around each other,” says Michael. From that day on, they began to see each other frequently and their relationship developed quickly. “We practically moved in together a week later.”
Worried that he’d be alone for Christmas, Savannah invited Michael to England for the holidays. “He had never actually celebrated Christmas because he’s Jewish,” she says. Michael was happy to accept the invitation, and spent his first ever Christmas with Savannah’s family. “It was wonderful and they were so welcoming,” he says.
Afterwards, they returned to Barcelona, but Michael’s visa was running out. They split up at the end of January, thinking it would be “too hard” to carry on. “We decided it had been an amazing three months, but we’d go our separate ways,” she says. Logistically they didn’t see how it was possible to make it work. But within just a few days of Michael leaving, the pair realised they wanted to give long-distance love a go. Savannah travelled to Australia for three months over the summer and Michael returned to London to meet her at Christmas. “We spoke all the time as well. I’d be coming home from a club and he’d be going to work, so we would have these incoherent chats,” says Savannah. “Plus he was always sending me romantic letters and gifts. Once, he sent 40 cards with all the different things he loved about me to open in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day.”
In 2019, she took the plunge and moved to Sydney, taking a job in communications. They got engaged in 2020 but shortly afterwards, Savannah fell ill. “She told me she’d lost feeling in her foot and was being rushed to hospital,” says Michael. While she was there, he did everything for her, updating her family and sleeping by her side. “I was so grateful for him. At first we thought it was something like MS, but thankfully it was a nerve-damage issue and I made a full recovery.”
They eloped to the local registry office the following year. “It was very low-key, just the two of us, but I was still so nervous,” says Savannah. “I love that Mike is so in touch with his emotions and encourages me to express mine, too. He’s the most positive person I’ve ever met.” Michael appreciates how much stronger their relationship has grown over time. “Savannah is so caring. She’s never thinking about herself, she always just wants to make my life easier. We definitely made the right choice to be together.

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