A jiu-jitsu world champion and a hair stylist walk into a bar. Surprisingly, no, this is not the opening line to a corny joke. This is exactly how Walnan Constantino, a jiu-jitsu world champion and Sierra Constantino, a local hair stylist, met.
Tongue and Groove, an Atlanta dance club, transforms into a Latin paradise every Wednesday evening. “Latin Wednesdays” is the perfect mid-week outing for anyone who is passionate about the Latin culture.
Sierra and Walnan both have a passion for dancing, especially salsa, so going to “Latin Wednesday” was a no-brainer. The club was packed, the music was loud, and the drinks were strong. The couple did not come together, but once they locked eyes, they knew they didn’t want to go another day without one another. Sierra explained that she was completely star-struck the first moment she spoke with Walnan.
I was on my way to the bathroom with my friend. We were walking down a crowded hallway when I head some yell out. I looked behind me and standing there was the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. He told me he liked my hair, but I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. I was still in such shock that this guy was even talking to me. I got really nervous and I blurted out the first thing that came to mind – I complemented his hair, back. I had to keep following my friend, so I couldn’t stay and talk, but I just couldn’t get his beautiful face out of my mind from that moment on.
Walnan then explained that he, too, was nervous to even approach Sierra.
She was just so beautiful. At the time, she had really short hair, one side was shaved. She looked so beautiful. I was nervous to talk to her; guys get nervous before they talk to a pretty girl. Talking to a pretty girl is especially hard to do when you’re at a club. Girls go to the club to dance and to hangout with their friends; I never want to take away from that. I know some guys can be really aggressive, and I didn’t want to come off like that, but I knew I needed to say something to her.
As the night continued Sierra was in search of Walnan while Walnan was in search of her. When the couple finally found one another, they danced and talked into the early hours of the morning. Sierra explained that although it was not love at first sight, she knew he was something special from the very beginning.
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One of the first things that he told me, was that he was Brazilian. I had traveled to Brazil the previous year and completely fell in love with every aspect of the Brazilian culture. My trip to Brazil was the first culture shock that I had ever experienced. I grew up in a very conservative, Mormon family, so there was something really intriguing about the lively, passionate Brazilian culture. When he told me he was Brazilian, I knew I was done for.
The connection, and attraction, between the two was instantaneous. They exchanged phone numbers, and Walnan wasted no time pursuing his dream girl.
The more I saw Sierra, the more I liked her. Our passion just kept growing and growing. I would share all my days with her. I would share all my free time with her. I didn’t want to be without her. Early on, I knew I was falling in love with her.
Walnan wasn’t the only one who was feeling the passion. She also knew very early on that she didn’t want a future that Walnan was not apart of. As their love continued to grow, so did Sierra’s passion for the Brazilian culture.
I think Portuguese is a beautiful language. I can’t speak Portuguese, but I’m learning slowly. I love the Brazilian culture and I love all of Walnan’s friends, but they all speak Portuguese, I am typically the only English speaking individual. At first, I didn’t really know how this was going to pan out, but it actually works out great. I am a hairstylist so I am taking to clients all day long. When I get home and Walnan’s friends are over, it’s nice to just relax and not have to talk, or even pay attention to the conversation. Walnan and I can communicate with each other and that’s all that matters. Love is our language.
Walnan knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Sierra, so he knew he would have to take their relationship to the next step. Marriage traditions vary from culture to culture, so Walnan sought out a little advice as to how marriage proposals are done in the U.S.
I wanted to marry her, but I didn’t really know how. I asked my friend, and the guy at the ring shop, how to propose to an American woman. I am from a different country, so we don’t have all of the same traditions. The guy at the ring store told me that I need to do something really special. He told me that it was not about the ring, but about how I gave her the ring. In that moment, I knew exactly how I was going to ask Sierra to marry me.
Sierra had worked a long day at the salon, and when she came home, she was surprised to see their apartment was packed with all of Walnan’s friends. As she started to say hello to everyone, the music changed, and so did the mood of the entire room.
The song “Mary Me” by Bruno Mars came on, and then Walnan led me to the bedroom. The whole room was covered in flowers. It was so sweet. I still wasn’t sure exactly what was going on though. He then told me to open the bathroom door. I opened the bathroom door and sitting on the floor was an adorable little puppy. My childhood dream had always been to own a dog, and sitting in front of me was this precious baby. I thought all the celebration was because he got me a dog, and I was totally ok with that. I kneeled down to pet the dog, and I then noticed the sign around his neck. The sign said, ‘Will you marry my dad?’ I was so surprised! Walnan got down on one kneen and asked me to marry him. It was the best day of my life.
The couple is now married, and their love continues to grow. Walnan choked back tears when he tried to explain how much he loves his wife.
She’s my life. She is my whole world. I want her to have the happiest, best life. When she is not happy I am not happy. I love her so much. I just love her.
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