Te Encontraré – PART I

Some have asked me to tell more about how Carlos and I ended up together. It is an incredible story or a boring one, depending how I remember it, and how I choose to tell it on any particular day. I don’t mean to take liberty with the truth, but in the tradition of Latin American storytelling, (which perhaps has influenced me over the years), it’s understood that family histories evolve and change over time – eventually no one quite remembers what is truth and what is fiction.

In that spirit, I will tell you about how I met Mr. López.

“Mexicans are always making things up…Don’t ever believe these family legends people have. It’s like how white people like to say their great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess, but worse…Everyone’s family is like that. Everyone’s grandmother drank with Diego and Frida…and everyone’s grandfather rode with Pancho Villa. Everyone’s abuelo can’t have ridden with Pancho Villa, mijos. The Mexican army would have seen them coming ten miles away!”

-“Everyone’s Abuelo Can’t Have Ridden With Pancho Villa” by Andrea Saenz

Te Encontraré – PART I
~Yes, I kiss on the first date~

The summer fresh out of high school with absolutely no direction in life – That’s me, working at a music store while my friends go off to university. My parents encouraged me to go but never pushed. Maybe they were partly relieved not to take on the financial burden of student loans, and besides, things could have been worse. My mother always said she worried I’d end up in a Turkish prison. I think she just meant I had a way of getting myself into trouble.

Living in his brother’s apartment – one block away from the music store – That’s Carlos. He’s been in the United States for a year. He’s recently been given an actual bed to sleep in – before that, he slept on the floor. He makes a living cleaning windows, but some days there isn’t any work, and on those days he goes walking around the city.

One day, by chance or fate, he walked into the store where I worked. I watched him browse the Latin Music section before asking “Necesitas ayuda?” – Those are the first words I ever said to him, “Do you need help?”

Now, I’m not sure I believe in love at first sight. My husband says he knew right away that we were meant to be. I do admit, I felt something strange, like I was looking into the eyes of someone I’d known before.

He asked me in English, “How many years do you have?” which made me laugh. I asked where he was from – he said El Salvador, and I pretended to know where in the world that was, though I didn’t. It seems like in school we memorized the capitals of all the countries in South America, we studied Mexico from every imaginable angle, but Central America? … If you asked me where Central America was, I probably would have guessed Kansas.

Between blushes and glances at our shoes, he eventually asked for my phone number and left with it in his pocket.

The first time he called me was that same night. My little sister answered the phone and then yelled down the hallway that separated our bedrooms, “Tracy! I think it’s for you! It’s a guy who doesn’t speak English well!”

We arranged to meet the next day to spend the afternoon together. At this point I’d very much like to say that our courtship was chaste and innocent, but see this photo? This was taken in a photo booth that first day together. (My sincere apologies to all the other gringas for tarnishing your reputation. I couldn’t help it. He was cute.)

That night we sat in the grass, looking at the reflection of the moon in the glassy surface of a lake. Between his broken English and my basic Spanish, we somehow communicated, though not perfectly. Maybe that’s why we kissed so much. Besos don’t need translating. At one point he held me close and began to sing quietly into my ear. I didn’t understand the words back then, but now that I do, it makes me wonder if Carlos knew something I didn’t – If that day, he really did feel that he knew we were destined to be together.

“Yo te encontraré,
no habrá sitio en el mundo,
donde te escondan te hallaré.

Yo te encontraré,
porque eres mi destino,
aunque seas la aguja en el pajar
yo te encontraré.”

– Te Encontraré / Ricardo Arjona




  1. Awwww, what a nice story!! Can’t wait for the second part ;)

    BTW, I received your little regalito today!! Thank you sooo much!! I love it!! =D
    And tell Suegra I said gracias too! It’s simply lovely ;)

  2. Love it! Mi esposo and I also used the language of besos as well since the other two languages were challenging for both of us. :-)
    Love that the song is by a Guatemalteco. ;-)

  3. I’m actually weepy! That is so romantic. Me and my hubby were not love at first sight, nope not at all. I could see something solid and good in him right from the beginning, but it was not love. We were just aquaintances, then plutonic roomates for AGES before deciding to be a couple.

    • @ *pol – Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Even though this is “romantic”, you’ll notice I never said I felt it was love at first sight. I felt a connection – but I didn’t fall head over heels, (despite all his best efforts! LOL.) … I think there is definitely something to be said for building on a friendship. If the final result is love, it really doesn’t matter how it began.

  4. Something about them Latino boys (I think it’s their eyes) that just make us gringas throw caution to the wind. I’m making sure my daughters only date nerdy white guys with braces and thick glasses. They also must wear suspenders and like pocket protectors. Think that’ll work? :)

    • Hahahahaha! Love this idea — just let daughter date nerdy white guys with braces and thick glasses, etc. Unfortunately, my daughter now four months after college graduation, had already met an adorable (actually extremely handsome and very, very nice) Latino boy during sophomore year in high school. After SIX years, they’re still together.

      As for me, I had my share of Latin guys when I was young. Yes, there indeed is something about them…

      Looking forward to reading the rest of the story. Have been very busy recently, and am exhausted, so am going to bed.

      Hasta mañana!

  5. So I just started reading your blog and can’t help but love you ( I don’t mean this in the literal sense but you get my point…lol)! You are so funny! I want to read more and more- this is the only reason to stay past my bed time. Yes, I’m a gallina – in bed by 9p.m.! Bravo -fabulous blog, seriously. I have enjoyed reading your husband blog too. I have only got through two entries but can’t wait to read more!! Yay Tracy -glad you are part of this great community and so willing to share :-) I will send you a link to my blog later..

  6. I just started reading your blog and you are so funny! I am hooked! My husband is from El Salvador and we live in the NoVA area, and my husband said the same thing about me when we met. He said that he knew that we were meant to be together. 5 years of marriage and we are still together, and people said that we wouldn’t make it. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Keep up the great work!eobni

    • Felicidades on your 5 years together! Yes, ignore the people who say you won’t make it and just do your thing. Wishing you many more years together. Thanks for reading my blog and commenting. Very nice to “meet” you, Eboni :)

  7. Que interesante, el amor no tiene fronteras!! Comenze a leer, por que mi enamorada que es Salva (y yo tambien) no sabia que el pan se llamaba peperecha.., yo sabia que se llamaba asi, pero nunca supe la relacion con las prostitutas…Ahora si lo se!! Gracias Tracy!!

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