Despite growing up on different continents and living in different countries, Andrea Mendoza and Victor Aguilera did not let themselves stop pursuing a relationship after they met during Oktoberfest in Munich in September 2016.
“She was beautiful, smart, interesting – of course I had to keep in touch, even though the distance was huge,” said Mr. Aguilera. “We could talk a lot. It never got boring.”
Mr Aguilera had flown to Germany from Zurich, where he was living at the time. Ms. Mendoza, who was completing an architecture scholarship, flew from South Africa to the city, where she met Mr. Aguilera in a beer hall during a 14-hour layover before flying to Brazil.
They are both of Mexican descent and have bonded over their shared heritage and love of learning about different cultures. “We just had an instant connection,” Ms. Mendoza recalled.
Mr. Aguilera, 41, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, to a Mexican father and Swiss mother. When he was 10, he and his family moved to Jona, Switzerland. Graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, Mr. Aguilera is currently a laboratory technician for quality control and analysis at Carbogen AMCIS, a drug development and commercialization service based in Hunzenschwil, Switzerland.
Ms. Mendoza, 29, born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona, graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016. After her fellowship, she moved to Shanghai for a year to work at an architectural firm. In 2018, she moved to Santa Fe, NM, where she began working as an exhibition designer for Meow Wolf, a local art production company.
In the years after they met in Munich, the two kept in touch sporadically, sending the occasional postcard and life update via WhatsApp. They reunited in Colombia in the spring of 2018, after Ms. Mendoza on a whim invited Mr. Aguilera to join her on a five-day trip she planned to Bogotá and Cartagena.
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Two weeks after they broke up at the end of that trip, Mr. Aguilera asked Ms. Mendoza to be his girlfriend. Although she “wasn’t really interested in dating” before visiting Colombia, Ms. Mendoza said their time there made her think.
“We had such a good time, I was like, ‘Yeah, this makes perfect sense to go ahead and see when we can meet again,'” she said.
The following year, they met in various locations around the world. On November 15, 2019, Mr. Aguilera proposed to Ms. Mendoza during a trip to Costa Rica for her birthday. In 2021, Ms. Mendoza left New Mexico for Switzerland, where she is currently studying for a master’s degree in advanced studies in architecture and digital fabrication at ETH Zurich.
The couple married on April 7 at Schadau Castle in Thun, Switzerland, in front of 40 guests, nearly all of whom had been vaccinated. Stephanie Huber, a local government registry officer, functioned.
The ceremony was followed by a boat ride on Lake Thun, during which the couple cut their wedding cake. Then the newlyweds and their guests walked through the old quarter to Thun Castle for a toast on the summer terrace. Afterwards a dinner and reception took place in the Congress Hotel Seepark in Thun.
After spending the early years of their relationship so far apart, Ms. Mendoza and Mr. Aguilera are most looking forward to enjoying the quieter aspects of living together in their new apartment in Lenzburg, Switzerland.
“It’s so nice to be doing the mundane things now,” said the bride. “We’ve traveled so much and spent so much time apart that it’s exciting to be home, furnish our apartment, take care of things and make it a home.”