Transcribe your podcast

Listeners, when it comes to podcasts, I've explored a lot of topics, but one you probably haven't heard me dive into are the twists and turns of a good old fashioned love story. Well, I am thrilled to change that today by sharing a very special episode from the Spotify original from podcast Our Love Story. It features my relationship journey with my wife. And to make matters even more exciting. Naomi joins me to tell it. I am beyond delighted to share this window into my life with you.


I really do hope you enjoy it. And here's something else fun. Our love story has also highlighted other podcast hosts and a handful of truly heartwarming episodes. So once you're finished here, be sure to head over to our love story to see which of your favorite hosts shared their story. Listen free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


Hi, I'm Naomi. I'm 32 years old. I'm originally from Lake Forest, California. I am an actor and a comedian.


Hello, I'm Alistair or A.J., as I call him.


I'm 35 years old, originally from Chelmsford, England, and I'm a voiceover actor.


We've been together for 12 years and happily married for eight of those years.


And our love story feels like a rom com. Welcome to our Love Story, a Spotify original from Pakistan. Every week, a real couple recounts how they met, how they fell in love, and the biggest moments of their relationship. Now let's hear their love story.


So the way we met is actually it's it's kind of epic in a way, because I so I was just out of drama school and I was doing a show at the end of a fringe festival. And I always wanted to see a show called Children of Eden. And I saw that it was showing. So I definitely had to go see that show. And I was blown away to how good it was. The people in the show were fantastic. So I wrote a rave review about it on the French website.


Then the next night I went to see another show called Songs for New World by Jason Robert Brown. And outside the theater, this woman offered me a half price ticket. I didn't have any cash, so I ran to get some cash at a very near ATM.


Meanwhile, I was in that show, the Children of Eden that A.J. went in saw, and he apparently wanted to say hello to us after, but he chickened out because we are a younger cast. I just graduated from high school and I had my last hurrah with my high school theater group at the Fringe Festival. So he wanted to say hello to us after. But he was scared because we were younger.


I would have been inappropriate, I think.


So I happened to be in a line the day, day later to see songs for a new world. And I saw this gorgeous boy walk by and I said, That's me. And I stopped and I said, Oh, my goodness, that's my husband. I should go talk to him. And then he started talking to my best friend's mom. So when he went away to go get cash, I walked up to her and I said, let me sell that boy that ticket.


So I came back and that's exactly what she did, though she did say so you only need one ticket.


That was how I was flirting. And we did the transaction. And then he came and stood in line with us and sat next to you as well, because we found out, obviously, that you're in the show.


The I saw the IRA, the view about and it was just this very serendipitous. So the night that we sat together in the theater, I had never been more sweaty in my life because I was so nervous. I was sitting next to this gorgeous person and I wanted to be cool. And that nervousness caused me to sweat profusely. I don't know how you are feeling, babe.


I was fine because and not because I wasn't sitting next to an amazing person, but because I was in my mind, I was thinking, all right, well, I'm not going to flirt with this person because they're international and that's not a good idea. And also, I'd been burned relationally as well. So I was like just trying to stay away from any and all drama, as it were. So I an eighteen year old girl from California, was like all kinds of drama.


So I was like, no, I'm not I'm not nothing about this, though I will say she was like, astonishingly beautiful. And I remember being captivated by her eyes as well. And then after the show, it was really funny. And I'm so glad she did she did this. She said, can I be a lame American and take a selfie? Oh, no, you didn't say selfie because we didn't call them selfies back in 2007.


They weren't invented yet. I asked him, will you take a photo with me? And I, like, flipped it around like you used to do with your normal camera. And I took a picture and that was the first day that we met in that picture is now on our wall.


Yeah, we still have it. I was determined to see AJ again, and because he saw our show, I said, I'm going to come and see your show. So one evening we bought tickets to a show. We got all dressed up. I went with my friends. The one rule for the evening was do not look cuter than Naomi. So I was all gussied up and my friends wore like plain clothes, no makeup, their hair in a bun.


It was very sweet.


And then we hung out after his show and he decided to take us to a pub, which I thought would be fine, to be honest, like because we were just getting food and you can get food in a pub. But apparently this pub was very strict on you couldn't be there if you were under 18 without a parent or something like that.


And some of my friends were not yet 18. So we got kicked out of that pub so hard.


Yeah, we did. And then we made our way to his favorite restaurant.


No, McDonald's and my friends decided to crowd around one table like all five of them around one table. So AJ and I were forced to sit at one table together and enjoy each other's company.


That's right. She wrote me a lovely letter as saying, like, keep in touch, stay in touch. And, you know, at that point, pretty much email and Facebook was brand new and we'd only just got it like that year. So we're like, oh, we'll keep in touch via Facebook. It will be great. But then she surprised me.


It was my last night in Edinburgh and I knew that I wanted to see AJ again before I left for college forever. And I happened to have a spare ticket to the military festival in the castle. Yes. So she surprised me after my show with the ticket, we ran up the Royal Mile to see it and I remember distinctly I accidentally stepped on your foot. Right. And we call eyes for like a split second. And in that split second, my heart, like, flipped upside down.


And I went, oh, no, I've fallen for her, I'm in trouble.


And then that evening during the show, it got really cold and AJ got really cold.


It was very it was chilly in Scotland. So we borrowed someone's scarf and we were like rubbing each other's hands to keep them warm and then ended up holding hands. And then after that, we went to a lovely restaurant and we had dinner. But I had to make sure that Naomi was back in time for curfew. So I made sure very responsible 22 year old that I was the you know, I would walk her back to her dorms, but her dorms were very far away and the walk was going to take far too long.


So it was going to be past curfew anyway. And I had failed. So we were walking. We were walking back and we're already past curfew.


And it's like, well, this is this is a lost cause anyway, so whatever. But we sort of got to her campus area and there were these drunk Scottish men behind us being very loud, very Scottish. And we were like a little bit nervous. So we sort of tucked into this side street kind of thing and let them pass by us. And we were very close to each other and just holding each other. And I looked up and I looked at the stars and then he looked at me and you kissed me.


I did. I kissed her. Not realising at the time that that was your first kiss?


It was, yes. So my time in Edinburgh was done, and my favorite movie at the time was The Holiday. And there's a quote from the holiday that says, basically, you need to be your own leading lady of your own life. And because of that quote, I made a goal list to kiss a boy with an accent. And that was the number one goal. And I did it. I accomplished it. And I remember leaving and Berl the next day I was on the airplane and a kiss was still buzzing on my lips.


And I kind of knew that that was just the beginning of many kisses we would have together.


After a time in Edinburgh, I knew that I just had to see Naomi again in person before we made any decision about whether or not we wanted to be long distance.


The only issue was getting money for a flight. So I remember saying, like, if I can get the money together, I'm going to come see you over Christmas, which is when she had a break from college.


And I got an email almost a week later from a company that I had auditioned for a year ago saying, hey, remember that thing? You auditioned for us a year ago? Yeah, we're shooting another thing. Could you come in for a week and it pays the exact amount you need for a flight? I couldn't believe it. So of course, I did it. I got the money. I got the flight. And that was right before Christmas of 2007.


Now, in my head, we were already together. We were boyfriend girlfriend.


I was telling my friends I have a British boyfriend not knowing that AJ was still a little cautious because I said, like, let's figure this out and I should come and see you first in person before we make anything official.


And to me, that meant we were in love forever. Because.


Because what? Because when I got to the airport thinking that, oh, we're going to we're going to, you know, go home, we're going to go back to her place, whatever, figure this out, get to the airport.


She's running down the hallways to come see me. And I was like, oh, great. But then she throws herself at me and kisses me immediately. And in my head I was like, oh, well, I guess that's decided.


You know, I wanted that rom com moment and I got it. So we planned together our first date, very first day.


And it was Christmas time. And we do we decide together that our first date was going to be Christmas Eve. I think the timing just worked out that our first date was on Christmas Eve and I'd never been on a date before. And I was so excited. And also my mom was excited. I remember I went from your parents house to the local store. I got your favorite flower in a like in a bunch of Becae, came back, rang the doorbell and your mum answered and she goes, Oh, Naomi, your date is here.


It was very sweet. And then we went to my favorite family owned Italian restaurant. That was our first date. It was very magical. And then the next day was Christmas, Christmas Day. And we were in Ajram and we had just unwrapped presents and we were sitting together alone and we were asking each other if we like. Yeah, what presents you liked.


You said you were like, what do you. I was like, oh, I love I love that I got this. I love this like sweater or something that your mom gave me and I and I love you is very sweet. You said I love you and I said, I love you back. And then in my big sister's ultimate great timing, she walks into the door and says, Hey, guys, what's going on? Because what we're doing today, we're like sitting there cuddling.


We just told each other we love each other for the first time. And then after a couple of kids, she was like, I think I just walked in on something important. And she's like, I'm going to go. And she had walked in to something really important. Yeah. We finally got to really be together for the first time in four months. And we said we loved each other and that we knew we were going to give long distance a real go.


And it was it was incredibly important for me because that was the first time I had actually allowed myself to feel that way again, because the last time I had I go horribly burnt. So for me, that was a big deal to be like I'm actually going to risk my heart being broken again, but I feel like it's worth it this time. And let's just say it really worked out for him.


They really did. After all the time together in California over Christmas, it was pretty much long distance and we only actually physically got to see each other two, three times a year if that and those times were so happy and filled with adventures and had a very vacation vibe to it.


Yeah, because they were usually time off work or time off school. So after two years of doing this long distance, we made the decision that we should probably see if our relationship can survive just the mundanity of everyday life, like a long stay. Basically, if I came to the U.S. for an extended period of time and it wasn't just like a vacation, quote unquote. And so we did that and it did. We were great together. You know, I feel like it just worked.


It just clicked. And in my mind, I remember thinking it was just so easy. Just being with Naomi was so easy. I could be myself. I didn't have to put on any false as nothing like it was just such a breath of fresh air.


And I was so nice to have your best friend and your biggest cheerleader and your biggest supporter actually there with you every day. I don't take that for granted. And AJ decided that you wanted to lock me down, lock me down a phrase. There was a big open mic concert at her college called Rock The and he was in the outdoor amphitheater and anyone could perform any song they wanted. And I was like, done. This is where it's going to happen.


So I got a bunch of friends, bunch of a family. I worked on a song with them. We got parts. We had the drummer guitarist, we had trumpets, we had backing singers, everything. And it was like, is this all set to go? Hopefully it works. I'm pretty sure it will. But then the day rolled around and Naomi was in a bad mood.


I was in such a bad mood. I was in a musical at school and I was a senior and I was trying to establish a very positive vibe. And there was this freshmen person who I could see was really ruining that vibe. So it put me at a really bad place. We made plans prior to go to rock the camp and I just said, babe, I don't want to go. I don't want to go to this. I'm in such a funk.


I was like, oh, let's just go for a or just cause I was like a fine.


So I convinced her to go for a beer and we go and we sit. And at one point the emcee is like, is there is there an age here?


So I literally just got up and I ran to the mic and sort of introduced myself and Naomi, who was still sitting in the stands. And I just said, I'm going to sing a song for her. And everyone came out and we we played We Belong Together from Toy Story three.


And because AJ decided to do this proposal in October by birthday month, I thought when he got on stage, this was for my birthday and I only really realized that I was being proposed to when he was on his knee, when he got me up from the audience and got down on one knee. And then all of a sudden my bad mood just melted away and it was just absolute bliss.


There was no point in saying, well, I think I tried to say, will you marry me? But when I got down on one knee, everyone screamed so loud, like the whole audience just erupted that I tried. And I think I just got like that was all that came out of my mouth. But then because Naomi welled up and then I welled up and then we, you know, the ring went on her finger and we hugged and I went to a very small college.


So it was like a beautiful community. So everyone in that amphitheater was my friend. So it was just really nice to be supported that way to.


So after the proposal, we decided we are going to have a year long engagement and get married the following year in October, I was so excited. I did everything. I got the dress, the location, the caterers. It was absolute heaven. I went away for the summer to teach in China. So I decided to take the opportunity to go back home to England. Yep. And then I had one last flight where I was coming over to get married and the universe had other plans because as soon as I got to LAX, the guy looks at my passport and he looks confused and he looks at me and he takes me to secondary interrogation.


I'm like, OK.


And then I wait there for hours and hours and hours and hours and I call Naomi and I'm like, I don't know what's happening. They're just keeping me back. Eventually I go to the interrogation room and the guy, I swear, an oath basically answer all these questions. And it comes down to that they've determined that I've been coming back and forth to the U.S. too much. There is no set limit on how much is too much. But if they determined that you've been doing it too much, they'll just send you home.


So he literally just looks me square in the face and he says, we're going to send you home. You cannot return to the U.S. without a visa. And we don't have a flight tonight.


So we have to put you up in the detention center in downtown L.A. all this time, I'm out in the waiting section to try to see A.J. And when he comes out, he is in between two huge officers and they have handcuffed him. And I am beside myself, but I'm trying to be strong for him. So we have our last interaction and I say goodbye to him. He says, I'm so sorry if I've ruined everything. Yeah, I honestly felt like I ruined everything.


They escort me into an armored vehicle back of a truck kind of deal. I go off and then they lead me into a room that is brightly lit the entire night. There is no bed. It is a metal bench around the room. They wouldn't let me wear my hoodie because I had strings. I'm freezing cold as well. So I get like maybe half an hour of sleep the whole night. Eventually they take me back to the airport and again handcuff Ahmed Van the whole nine yards and then they throw me in a room at the airport with only airport snacks to keep me tied over.


And then I eventually do sleep and they find me a flight. I have to pay for it myself. They put me back on said flight and back to the UK.


I go feverishly working at getting a visa in time for a wedding. I can make this work. I can do it. I can get a visa in time for October, guys. I did not. But eventually in December I did get my visa. I got the visa to come to America. I came back in December again just before Christmas seems to be a Christmas miracle. And we had our actual wedding in February of 2012, just four months after we originally planned to have our wedding.


So not too long.


And I remember everyone had been on this big journey with us, with AJ. Will he get back or won't he? So I felt like it was the end of like a saga. A saga. So everybody wanted to come to this wedding. Yeah, it was a great day, especially because everyone we loved was there and our friends from England who weren't going to be able to come to our first wedding. Now that it was later, they had the opportunity to actually be there for us that day.


So I think that was one of the greatest things to come out of our wedding being postponed.


Absolutely. And everyone just commented afterwards that our wedding was fun. Everyone just kept saying how fun it was.


Oh, my gosh, you guys, they were so fun. I wish you were there. We had a candy bar before. That was cool. We had cupcakes. We had photo booth before. They were cool.


We had the whole gym because it was in a gym, but it was decorated like an English country garden. Mm. Yes. And we danced.


Oh, how we danced. So finally we had our wedding day and the day itself was absolutely perfect after all that strife getting to that day. And that just made us realize that we are finally where we're supposed to be. And our relationship when we met was so beautiful and magical. And then through all that strife, we got to that perfect place, our wedding, and it really set us up for an amazing marriage. Thanks for listening to our love story.


Don't forget to check us out on Facebook and Instagram at Precast and on Twitter at Carcas Network. For more episodes of our love story, follow us on Spotify and check out other precast originals all available on Spotify. Our Love Stories executive produced by Max Cutler and Sparkasse Studios' Original is created by Jon Cohen. Sound Design by Kristen Acevedo with Associate Sound Design by Jamie Ryan. Our Love Story is produced by Jon Cohen, an associate produced by Ashley Hannah.


Thanks for listening to this very special episode of our love story, if you enjoyed it and want to hear more raw and relatable moments that define a relationship. Be sure to follow our love story free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes air every Tuesday.