One of the most beautiful things about studying abroad is that it brings people from around the world together to form new friendships—and sometimes even romantic relationships. Craig Doner and Jenifer Goldenberg, two AIFS alumni, are now husband and wife, and their story is inspirational and heartwarming. There are people who think these kinds of things only exist in fairytales, but this love story really happened! Jennifer describes how their relationship unfolded below.
“Craig and I met while studying abroad in Rome with AIFS in the Spring of 2009. I’m from New Jersey, and he’s from Ohio – yet our relationship started in Italy. So many of our favorite memories from our relationship were in Rome, like how we spent hours of photography class getting to know each other, while taking photos of the historic city around us. One of the moments I knew our relationship was special was when Craig met me at the tram in Trastevere for our first date. It was going to rain, so he brought an umbrella. I knew he was kind and genuine, but he was truly chivalrous. I now know Craig never carries an umbrella, and that he brought that one for me. Or the time he visited Florence with his parents and brought my favorite panini back to Rome for me. And the Sunday morning we spent wandering the Trastevere flea market. Our time together in Rome was the only time Craig and I lived in the same city from 2009-2014. After returning from Rome, we spent those five years traveling long distance to see each other, but it only made our relationship stronger. We traveled from the east coast, to the midwest, and many travels in between. We returned to Rome in 2014 for our 5 year anniversary, and visited our friends at AIFS. We spent a whole five days wandering our favorite city and eating as much pizza and pasta as humanly possible. Craig moved to New York in July 2014, where we currently live.
A year later, Craig proposed to me on a flight to Chicago. I always book the right window seat – and that’s where Craig asked me to marry him. In the very seat where I spent so many flights crying and wishing we were in the same city. When we arrived in Chicago, our families surprised us to spend the weekend together celebrating our engagement. My family arrived at the airport an hour earlier on the flight prior to ours and was waiting at the gate for us. Truly amazing. It was our best weekend – until our wedding.
Craig and I got married in Tarrytown, New York on February 20th at Tappan Hill Mansion. We had an incredible weekend with close family and friends, and everything was simply perfect.
Once we make it back to Italy married, we’ll have come full circle. Ciao, until then.”
Craig and Jen decided to have Sant’Eustachio chocolate coated coffee beans as their wedding gift boxes to serve as a reminder of the city where they first met.
Please join us in extending congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Doner as they embark on this journey together as husband and wife! We wish you a lifetime of happiness, love and gelato!
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