How we met: ‘Within hours I knew I would marry her’April 20, 2020
Santiago and Gisela Klein, 55 and 48, met on a beach in Uruguay in 1994. Originally from Argentina, they now live in Hertfordshire
In January 1994, Santiago Klein was taking a break from city life with a beach holiday in Uruguay. “It was a popular place for people living in Argentina to visit. I started talking to Gisela’s sister because she knows my sister,” he recalls. It wasn’t long before the pair were introduced, and he asked if she wanted to go on a date later that day. “I noticed her eyes at first, and I really liked her.” They arranged to go out at midnight. “In Latin America, we go out late and stay out until 5am,” says Santiago. “I went out for dinner with my family first and they asked about my date but I couldn’t remember her name. I just knew there was something about her I really liked.”
Keen to impress his date, he admits he was showing off at the start. “At first, I thought he was a bit full of himself, but I soon realised he was really down to earth and lovely,” says Gisela. “I went home and told my mum and auntie that I’d found the man I was going to marry.”
Santiago felt the same way. “We had lots in common and wanted the same things in life. In the space of a couple of hours I knew I would marry her.” Though they were both coming out of long-term relationships, something felt right between them. “I had never thought about marriage before and suddenly I just knew,” says Santiago.
A few days later, he returned to Buenos Aires for work, while Gisela continued her holiday. “He came back to Uruguay a week later and he proposed,” she says. “We went to a market seller there and he bought the rings.”