• 72°

Couple look forward to the day they#8217;ll be together

Nannette and Andre’ reached across an ocean on the Internet.

She taught the German citizen n a 42-year-old engineer whose company had recently been bought by the American-owned Lear Corp. n English, and their

minds touched.

Months later, when they finally met, their hearts touched.

Last Nov. 22, after nearly a year of visiting back and forth between Hampton Roads and Germany, they tied the knot during a small ceremony at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel.

Now, with their first Valentine’s Day as a couple quickly approaching, Nannette and Andre’ Marx-Bongiovi are being kept apart by international laws designed to protect the United States from a terrorist attack.

Initially, the young couple had hoped to be settled in their Portsmouth home by February, Nannette said. But as the weeks ticked by and they hired an immigration attorney, they began to realize that the time frame was not realistic.

“There’s a lot more to it than we realized,” she said. “It’s pretty confusing. They can’t even give us an exact date.”

But gradually, progress is being made, said Nannette, an operations manager for Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in northern Suffolk.

The couple’s Norfolk-based immigration attorney has told them their first petition for Marx to move to the United State has been approved and is awaiting the green light from the U.S. Visa processing center. Once that agency signs off on it, it will be forwarded to the immigration office in Germany for processing.

Nannette Bongiovi and Andre’ Marx were introduced by Nannette’s college friend, who had gotten married and moved to Germany several years ago. Her friend’s in-laws, as part of their American daughter-in-law’s wedding gift, had given her online German language lessons.

Around the same time, Andre’ Marx had signed up for English lessons, believing it would help further his career. Marx had sent out an e-mail request asking Americans who might be willing to help him beef up his English skills to e-mail him.

“Susan was the only person who responded to his e-mail for an American pen pal,” Nannette said. “When Andy e-mailed his picture, (Susan) said she thought of me.

“She called and told me she has someone for me to meet, that she was sure we would click … even though he lives in Germany and hardly speaks English.

“A long-distance relationship is bad enough to start with … but imagine not even speaking the same language. I was happy to help him with his English …but I wasn’t interested in anything beyond that at first.

“I didn’t want him thinking I was his American mail-order bride.”

Finally, the couple’s communication lines extended beyond cyberspace. They began talking by telephone for hours every night and eventually planned to meet at the German home of their mutual friends, Sven and Susan Schreck.

“He was always so easy to talk to,” said Nannette. “He is one of those people you can talk to about anything.

“He had never been around Americans and he was so nervous. As soon as I saw him for the first time, I knew that he was the one for me. He was so unlike anyone I had ever met.”

After visiting each other’s countries and getting to know one another’s families in the past year, Nannette and Andre’ became close.

“In the process of falling in love, we became very good friends,” Nannette said. “We just clicked.

“From day one, there were never any games between us. We both say exactly what we think and feel. It’s very refreshing.”

Once they decided to marry, Bongiovi and Marx looked at holding ceremonies in Germany, Denmark and the United States.

“We knew that we were in love and that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together,” she said. “The only question was where? It became a logistical nightmare.”

Because this country seemed to have the least amount of red tape, the two finally exchanged vows in a quiet ceremony in Norfolk, while Marx was visiting at Thanksgiving.

As people around the country celebrate Valentine’s Day on Tuesday,

Nannette and Andre Marx-Bongiovi are looking forward to the day they can celebrate their love every day.

“We are just waiting for paperwork,” said Andre’, during a telephone interview from Germany. “This is a terrible situation. “I hate being here in Germany while my wife is in America. I need to be with my family and I miss her so much.”

Contact Williams at allison.williams@suffolknewsherald.com