The Romaniuks


How can someone’s story be simultaneously so simple AND so romantic?


This is Vadym and Sheryl Romaniuk.  Are they not darling?

I’ve been friends with Sheryl even longer than I’ve known my own sisters – we met when we were 18 months old in San Jose, CA, and when I was 6 and my family moved to Colorado, we started to write letters (yes, the kind that were signed “LYLAS”).  Our families vacationed together every summer, and when we both decided to attend the same college in Seattle, we were roommates for the first year.

Post-college, Sheryl made the gutsy decision to join the Peace Core, and was assigned to Ukraine.  Two years is a long time to dedicate oneself to anything, let alone to a country in which vodka is a vital tool in cat neutering.  But Sheryl dedicated herself to the Ukrainian language – which, I should add, uses the Cyrillic alphabet, so it’s even MORE impossible – became fluent, and in the process, fell in love with Vadym.

Long story short, and many twists and turns later, Vadym left his family, his home, his language, and moved to the United States.  In the same way that Sheryl had been so bold, Vadym left behind all that he knew – in order to be with the woman that he loved.

(Imagine me blogging in a low, dramatic voice, because I feel like this should be a plot synopsis on a movie preview.)

This weekend, I had the honor of standing next to Vadym and Sheryl in San Jose, CA, as they said their wedding vows.  Vadym speaks very little English, but spoke his English promises clearly and sincerely.  Sheryl looked like a goddess.

And I?  With all of the traditional Ukrainian toasting, I drank too much vodka and accidentally found myself in the middle of the dance floor during “Chattahoochee.”

But that is neither here nor there.

Vadym has decided that Sheryl is worth anything and everything that it takes to be with her.  And Sheryl has become a haven for Vadym – a safe place in the middle of the chaos that his life surely holds, far from all that he has ever known.

I am so grateful for this beautiful picture of what love and romance are in their most simple and true form.




  1. Laura on August 3, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    I’m so happy for them! They are a beautiful couple. Too bad you don’t have a picture of yourself on the dance floor to share with the WWW!

  2. hootenannie on August 3, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Laura, I’m terribly worried that one of those might surface.

  3. Cara on August 3, 2009 at 2:03 PM

    geez that gave me chills.

    the part about you doing the chatahoochee, that is.

    of course i joke. wow! what a love story!

  4. Carmen Goetschius on August 3, 2009 at 4:04 PM

    Beautiful… so happy for them. What a lovely story– I am a sucker for stories that involve courage like this.

    You are too cute. I would have enjoyed a few glasses of vodka (pronounced wad-ka, right?) and danced a little to chattahoochee right alongside you!!

  5. Jason on August 3, 2009 at 9:39 PM

    Remember I was your dance partner!

    ~Jason Mahaffey~

  6. Deborah Barnett on August 4, 2009 at 9:30 AM

    that does it. I’m joining the Peace Corps. Who’s with me?

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