International Love

Alicia & Jacob Danyali

First Date: May 1998 at a Spanish tapas bar in Amsterdam

Wedding Date: Feb. 14, 2002

Venue: The Beach House Hotel, Miami

Residence: Pikesville

Favorite Activity: Traveling and relaxing together

Jacob met Alicia while they were both living and working in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Introduced by mutual friends at an Indian restaurant, Jacob and Alicia found they had common interests as well as common friends. Both Jacob and Alicia were living as American expats, and both ran small businesses in Amsterdam. Jacob was a food-and-beverage importer; Alicia had a showroom representing designer labels that sought a presence in the boutique and department store market.

Although they were friendly, Alicia was surprised to learn Jacob was interested in dating her. Alicia recalled: “I thought he was only interested in talking about business. I was oblivious. My friend finally tipped me off.”

Alicia was up for the adventure of dating. They traveled together through Europe. Then, on a road trip from Geneva to the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Jacob planned to propose.

“It was flash-flood season,” Jacob recalled. Alicia adds: “We’d just driven in from Geneva. The Mont Blanc tunnel was closed, so the one-hour drive ended up taking eight hours through the mountains. Then we stopped in this little restaurant in La Ricci, and it flooded. It was high tide.”

Despite their exhaustion from the unexpectedly long drive, and “water up to our ankles” in the restaurant, Jacob proposed, Alicia accepted — and they drove back to not-flooded Geneva. “The food was good” in La Ricci, Alicia said. “Don’t go during flash-flood season,” Jacob warned.

Their international adventures continued during the engagement. In Antwerpen, they found a beautiful set of Limoges china at a flea market. In a coincidence they found — and still find — it amazing, the china is imprinted with the initials of both their last names: “C” and “D.”

Before marrying, the pair decided they missed living in America and moved back to Florida, where Alicia’s (originally Canadian) family was based. The wedding was small. “We’d just moved back. We had 11 people [at the wedding]. Immediate family only.”

Now based in Baltimore, Jacob is still an entrepreneur, running his own property management and care business. Alicia returned to her first career, education, after returning to America and is now principal of the New Century School in Fells Point, an international language immersion school. She is passionate about promoting intercultural awareness and proud of her multilingual students: future global citizens, like Alicia and Jacob.

Alicia and Jacob have returned to Amsterdam three times with their 11-year-old son, showing him where they met and what they did in Amsterdam while they were dating.

They also visit Alicia’s sister while they are in Amsterdam: She moved there after visiting Alicia, and Jacob’s father ended up introducing Alicia’s sister to her now-husband.

Alicia loves that Jacob is “loyal, loving” and “a genuinely good person. He takes care of us, even when we’re not in the best mood.” Jacob loves Alicia’s “patience, helpfulness, her insight into people — she can read people in a second.” And, he added: “She tells me not to touch the stove.”

The best thing about marriage is “friendship, companionship,” Jacob said, and Alicia concurred. That friendship evolved into a romance and then into a romantic partnership that has spanned 19 years, two continents and a dozen countries.

Erica Rimlinger is a local freelancer.

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