The Forbidden Kiss: An Expat Love Story

14 February 2013

Our collection of expat life stories holds tales of love – and indeed heartbreak – from all over the world. Most of our archive has been kindly donated by accompanying partners, who have sometimes given up their own careers and said goodbye to friends and family to set up a new life in another country with their spouse.

Did you meet your partner in another country, or did you relocate to be with them? Perhaps you spent some time apart in different countries, writing letters or emails to each other. Your love story may have been shaped or changed by the place you were living in, or by the cultures that you were both from originally.

For Valentine’s Day, here is a story from our archive recalling a dramatic ending to a romantic moment in Venezuela in the 1950s:

“It was on a lovely morning, more than forty years ago. The Dutch boat had just reached the port of La Guaira and I had had my first glimpse of Venezuela – the beautiful green hills of the coast. I felt happy, the long three weeks’ journey was over and I was soon going to meet my fiancé.

As we had to wait for the customs officers to arrive, my fiancé and I drove out of town to a quiet spot to enjoy a tender ‘tete á tete’. But no sooner had we moved a little closer to one another than out of nowhere, a grim-looking policeman appeared. “Trespassing the law!” he snapped and without further ado, opened the door of the car, sat on the back seat and ordered my fiancé back to town to the ‘jefatura’, the main police station. My fiancé, having lived in the country for twelve years, knew better than to protest.

There the officer in charge, a dignified elderly gentleman, dressed in white, listened with a stern fact to the policeman’s accusation and later to my fiancé’s defense, that in his country, kissing in public was allowed. After reflecting for a few minutes, the ‘Jefe’ finally let us go, but not without the severe warning not to do it again! We didn’t – in the car!”

From “The Source Book: An Expatriate Social History, 1927 – 2007”,
available at the Expatriate Archive Centre

Love stories that cross borders are a wonderful part of expat life, and your memoirs and letters would be treasured by the Expatriate Archive Centre. Find out more about donating your story.