Our California girl finds a husband at Occupy Cork protest

Alisa and her fiancee Jonathon

Unfortunately, I must disappoint our audience (or perhaps pleasantly surprise them) and confess that I came to Ireland with no romantic intentions whatsoever. I have never seen “Circle of Friends” or “P.S. I love you”. I found “Leap Year” to be cheesy and ridiculous. And the closest thing I have gotten to seeing and enjoying an Irish romance film is “The Quiet Man”, in which the American, John Wayne plays the hero, and which I appreciated more for its wit than its love story (though I do look a lot like Maureen O’Hara who plays the Irish heroine).

No, I did not come to Ireland to find my Gerard Butler, who I am sorry to say to those who did not already know, is not Irish but Scottish (he is still very sexy, none the less). In fact, having come to Ireland before and traveled a great deal in my young lifetime (over ten countries total), I arrived with the knowledge that men are men no matter where you go.
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My view on the world of men is not that they behold any greater charm in some magical distant part of the universe, but that they are all humans, just as women are all humans. It is a disappointingly sane and realistic point of view, I know. But that has not kept me from the most startling and profound romance of my life.

It is true that I don’t believe that the general population in any one nation can hold that magic formula for producing perfect men, but I seem to have found the perfect man for me here on this beautiful island. I came to Ireland with no romantic expectations whatsoever, I did not want to ruin a beautiful experience with unrealistic hopes and dreams of cinematic grandeur that wouldn’t be met. And, when I joined the Occupy movement here in Cork, I walked into the camp with the same feeling. I joined the camp for no other reason than to support a cause I believe in and I stayed for that reason. And yet, I found myself returning daily for a new reason.

Not shortly after my first visit to the camp I met my now fiancée, Jonathon, who is head of security at the campsite. Due to the expectations I had constructed for myself, (or rather lack of expectations) I viewed our initial encounters as friendly, fun and a bit flirtatious. But, it did not take long at all for me to realize that his intentions (and I found mine as well) were far more romantic and quite serious than I first thought.

Jonathon is straight forward, as I am told Irishmen often are when it comes to matters of the heart. This, I appreciate heavily. I hate playing games and with Jonathon there was little to no question at the start that he was interested in pursuing things for the long-run. A woman in a shop told me once, “You always know where you stand with Irish men,” and that is exactly how it is with Jonathon. He wasted no time in telling me what he thought of me and what his intentions were and I surprised myself in finding that mine were in line with his. And so we became engaged, with Jonathon proposing at Occupy Cork’s General Assembly, becoming the first couple to meet and be engaged in the global Occupy movement (as far as we know).

I am not prone to romance or fantasies of perfection. In fact, I can be quite skeptic. But this I feel does not diminish the situation I now find myself in, this flash romance resulting in a commitment that means for life. I rather feel it fortifies it, that I am not one to just run off with any Joe. It took someone I was serious about, someone who was serious about me, to make that decision. I never thought I would have a story like this, a story made for cinema, of two revolutionaries finding each other in the cold, damp nights of the Occupy Cork camp and fall in love for eternity.

Arriving here in Ireland, I was sure I was the last person who would be falling in love, let alone be getting engaged and married. But, I never accounted for my West Cork man to be waiting for me in the Occupy Cork camp, the man who was made for me. I don’t know that I would say the men in Ireland are overall more charming than any other group of men in the world (though that accent can trip one up a bit), but I know that my own Irishman is. And, if it were not for his being raised here with a fierce loyalty to his country, its people, culture, and history, and being formed into the man he is now via that context, he would not be the man I love. Yes, Ireland produced the perfect man for me. I would not have found him in any other nation so perfectly formulated. It’s sappy and romantic but I am finding I am finally happy with that kind of story, because it is my story, my revolutionary romance. I love you always, Jonathon.

Eireann go Bragh!
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